Postcard from Vietnam: Jaiyyanul Huq

Jaiyyanul.Huq.jpgJaiyyanul Huq is the Executive Creative Director at Grey Group Vietnam and he explains that you have to do the old, to do the new....

It's that time of the year again. That time, where I have to put my thoughts into pages. Primarily, because it's useless if they just stay as thoughts. Last time I wrote something - it was about how creatives were starting to care more about impacting the world around them - in a more meaningful way - by being closer to impacting the society that they belonged to - giving their ideas a cultural continuity that they know it deserved. A lot has changed since that article. For me and for the world around me. Some great and some... well that's for a different day.
The biggest change for me was that I made a life changing shift. Both geographically and professionally. Last October, I had the pleasure of coming into a country that most people associate with Rambo, Hueys and Napalm. If you still haven't guessed it, you need to re-calibrate your pop culture compass. Becoming a WTO member in 2007, Vietnam has seen an unprecedented growth in its economy. And with all that growth, came a million other opportunities for the population that seems like the most entrepreneurial I have ever come across. It's a different world out here.

My move to Vietnam has brought me deeper into my realizations of one simple fact - creativity is destined to triumph. Be it in the millions of entrepreneurs that give life to the streets of Ho Chi Minh city or in the billion other digital agencies that spring up around the world. In a world where people are becoming less emotional and more rational every day, creativity is the only thing that will re-connect, people with their emotions, brands with their consumers, and digital agencies with the reason to exist (and no, Facebook likes aren't enough).

Grudges? No, not really. I don't hold any. Not against them or to the trend of 'being cool by association with them'. I actually did want to become part of one when it was a fad. But like a thousand others around the globe, I realized that you don't have a radio agency, or a TV agency. Why should there be a digital agency? Isn't it just another medium?

Are creative agencies doing enough with the medium? Well, some are. In the Vietnam context of things, maybe not. Like in Bangladesh, here in Vietnam as well - Digital agencies are still like a zit on the advertising agency face - it's there. It's not a part of your body, it seems ugly. Every advertising agency is thinking about it, but not talking about it. And most importantly, it's a sign that great things are going to happen to you. Why? Because, it creates an inherent pressure to become your creative best. It pushes you over the creative tipping point to think of things that you never thought about. Ever!

Like the beautiful Cannes Prix winning print ads for Burger King. That makes more sense in the social-media age - even as a meme maybe. As Fran Luckin, CCO for Grey Africa, puts it in the Adweek article (Why Burger King's 'Burning Stores' Are the Perfect Print Ads for the Social Media Age, June 2019) - she briefed her jury members asking - "What is that piece of work that evokes everything that is great about classic print, images that leap off the page, the distilling of a complicated message into one powerful moment - and yet has also clearly been created within our modern, hyperconnected age?"

The creative process of arriving at an idea hasn't changed much over the last couple of decades. Strategies still provide the creative compass. Great ideas still do come in the loo. Conversations still help crack insights. And executions still take time. The medium can change, but the process still remains its best self. And with digital, it's high time we do the old, to do the new!

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