Chris Kyme: Postcard from Hong Kong

Chris Kyme_April2016.jpgChris Kyme continues his "Postcards from..." series and this time his topic is ... from stress control to pest control - end of year...

I've been under siege the past month or so from pests. Two varieties in fact, but both similar in nature - cockroaches and hackers. One is grotesque and sneaky and goes creeping in and out of your private life trying to feed off you and infect you, the other pops up in dark corners of your kitchen looking for food.

Dealing with the cockroaches takes a bit of patience and a tightening of your hygiene practices on surfaces etc but over time with some carefully laid traps they go away..or so it seems. Dealing with the hackers (see photo opposite)  is a bit more of a challenge because it's they who are laying the traps. What you think are seeming legitimate, normal every day spam emails or similar are in fact sneaky attempts to get you to click on a link so they can invade your system and do all sorts of nasty stuff. Then there's the extremely sinister emails which come in telling you they've been watching you and if you don't pay 60 squillions in crypto currency in 2 days your whole online connected community will get naughty pictures of you doing whatever. Assholes. What sort of low-life individuals do that for a living?
Anyway. Advice from various friendly neighbourhood digital detectives was the same - ignore them and be diligent. Which I've been doing. But it was with all that going on that I jumped at the chance to chill out among new and old friends at the recent Kam Fan awards in Hong Kong. The annual show. The main event. Which I have been attending on and off and give and take for too many years to mention. I've been up on that stage as a winner, as a presenter, as a Chairman of Judges, as an MC, I've even been up there as a woman (no kidding..anything for a laugh). So it was with fond memories that I found myself dragging my sorry-feeling self along once again for this year's show.

Kagami.jpgNelson PP.jpgAnd I'm so glad I did. Not so much because of the work (keep in touch with what's going on) but because it was the chance to mingle with old and new friends, rub shoulders, catch up, meet and greet. That's the best part. Imagine my delight and surprise to bump into former Dentsu guru Akira Kagami (seen here with another legend 'MaYan of JWT Shanghai) who was in attendance as a guest. What a gent. What a legend. And there were all the old and current Hong Kong faces. It's on occasions like this that I really do feel a part of the Hong Kong industry family. I'm probably by now one of the very few of my generation still at it (most of 'em are smarter than me and taking it somewhat easier). I'm sure it's the same for many people in their local shows. I've always been one for encouraging the local creative community to mingle more and it doesn't happen enough if you ask me.

One brilliant moment was seeing two generations of Paul Chan, past and present, bump into each other (seen here with Nelson Ng of Touches) . Past Paul was one half of Paul and KC Tsang who at one stage were responsible for some of the best work coming out of Hong Kong and cleaned up every year on brands like KMB buses. Still running his own agency, he's always good for a banter. Present Paul is Mr Snappy Dresser ECD of Cheil and currently flying quite a flag for Hong Kong on the global stage and no stranger to this publication, so no surprise to see him making his mark.

Yeah it was a good night for some lovey dovey hugs and drinks for sure. The work? Actually I have to be honest, I don't remember a lot. Let me just elaborate on that before it sounds like I couldn't give a shit. A cursory glance over the display wall outside seemed to present a Finalists line-up distinctly bereft of print and outdoor - is it me or is nobody interested anymore? With the exception of two very well-known and already well-lauded campaigns (chickens and earphones) that naturally did some cleaning up on the night, but which we all know well enough are 'agency initiative' campaigns (correct me if I'm wrong). Fair enough. But the rest of the wall was littered with board versions of entry videos for this project and that project. Which to be honest, aren't very interesting as browsing materials. The TV monitors showing the film entries was equally as bare. A nice looking film for a funeral service (who were desperately in need of ramping up their marketing budget, obviously), a well shot music video, among others.

What I do recall on the night, and take my hat off to, was Grey Hong Kong taking more than a few walks up onto the stage for their work on Hong Kong Tourism Board, not traditionally an easy account to go clocking up gongs with (been there, failed at that). Good to see and credit to their team for making the effort and getting the rewards. Proper stuff.

It was also a changing of the guard for the Kam Fans, with Angela Ng, Executive Director, bowing out, and new Executive Director, Onie Chu, bowing in. Not sure where the show goes from here. But I do know there are some categories that are worryingly sparse, if what we see in the regional shows (ie vs other markets) is anything to go by. We'll see what transpires.

So, I'm looking forward to chilling out for Christmas, hoping the cockroaches are now at bay. I'm not sure about the hackers, I'm just waiting for someone to invent a cyber-repellent so I can just spray them away.

Best wishes for the holidays, whatever version is yours.

Chris Kyme is Co-founder and Creative Director at Kymechow, Hong Kong


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