As the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity rolls around for its 65th edition China’s presence at the festival continues to grow in terms of attention, delegate numbers, and sponsorship. For the second year in a row there will be a day dedicated to China related talks.
Is it that Chinese agencies and brands do not place a high value on foreign awards shows or perhaps there are deeper questions to ask such as how is creativity and innovation different in each country and culture. Could it even be that international award shows like Cannes are fundamentally biased against the type of creative work coming out of new giants like China?
SHP+ asked local creatives, producers, and designers in China’s creative industry a few of these questions. Leading up to the festival we will feature these interviews. The second interview comes from Peter Shen, Ricelebrate Founder and CCO.
SHP+提出了几个小问题，询问中国创意人士、制片和设计师的看法。在戛纳到来之际，我们将给大家带来系列访谈。下一位受访者是Peter Shen, CCO/Founder, Ricelebrate 生米组成 首席创意官／创始人。
RICElebrate 生米组成 | CCO/Founder 首席创意官／创始人
1. How do you define or understand the word creativity 你如何定义创意？
Creativity has always had a close relationship to advertising. Now as new media channels and technology flourishes in the communication field, creativity as we traditionally think of it and its relationship to advertising reaches far beyond this. Anything that can be used as a platform for communication can be seen as an advertising method. Therefore I feel that the definition of creativity leans more towards innovation. By innovation, agencies still aim at the same goals or KPIs but with different methods, on levels beyond standard communication.
2. How much do you feel your cultural background impacts this definition or your understanding of creativity? 你认为自身的文化背景对你的定义有何影响，对你对创意的理解又有何影响？
China is without a doubt the world’s most vibrant market. Most people agree that this is where the most opportunities are, which also means thers is the fiercest competition. The foundation of advertising is serving commercial interests, whether that is through traditional methods of advertising or unique business models, as long as it is about boosting a brand’s exposure. We see enterprises in China growing into some of the world’s largest corporations, we’ve seen Alibaba expanding beyond Amazon, WeChat getting smarter than Facebook, so I think Westerners need to adjust their perspective on the Chinese market, not the other way around. In China, creativity needs to be more realistic and result-driven. Leading Chinese creatives are used to this result-driven work pattern, so I don’t think that our cultural background has restrained or impacted our creativity, it is just that in China, things operated a bit differently than perhaps what the West has already standardized as ‘normal’.
3. China often is accused of being a copy-cat, is this a misunderstanding of China’s creative industry development or do you find this to be a genuine issue in China’s market? 中国总被人说成是山寨，你觉得这是对中国创意产业发展的误解吗？还是事实确实如此？
The “copy-cat” issue happens everywhere in the world and undeniably in China as well. With China’s huge number of brands there are of course different kinds and sizes of agencies, so sometimes when creatives research for references they may have a different understanding of the term “reference”. Sometimes the client makes the decision that they want something completely the same with the “reference”. Smaller agencies in China also need to deal with accounts more efficiently, so at other times, they opt for being a “copy-cat” to save time and sell to clients directly.
4. Why do you think Chinese brands and agencies have not received many international awards? 你认为中国品牌和广告公司没有斩获太多国际大奖的原因是什么？
I find that this situation has changed in the last couple of years. We do see works from China getting awarded at Cannes, LIA, New York, I think great works at award shows really require the client’s active support. But I also think this situation is going to improve even further particularly now with China’s official “One Belt One Road” policy, with this Chinese brands are really encouraged to go international. Now there’s even a China Day at Cannes, the first of any country in the world. I sincerely hope that China’s brand can take advantage of this opportunity to be on the world’s center stage for advertising.
在过去的两三年内，这个情况有一些改变，在Cannes, LIA, 纽约，亚太区的奖项中国也有一些优秀的作品，也是博人眼球。优秀案例的数量不够多，和品牌是否想要积极参与是有关的，这个状况随着中国的政策会有改变。比如，戛纳从去年开始有了中国日，这是别的任何国家都没有的待遇。希望中国的品牌在世界舞台上占有一席之地，我们拭目以待。
5. How do you define the difference between creativity and innovation? 你如何界定创意和创新之间的区别？
Creativity is about finding a smart way of combining and using existing solutions, in order to achieve communication; while innovation is searching for brand new elements to create communication opportunities, it is a whole new invention, while creativity is more about digging deeper on existing methods.创意是在原有的解决方案里面找到聪明的组合方法，形成沟通。创新是有全新的元素，去做传播上的努力。一个是全新发明的，一个是在旧有的基础上深挖。Many of my friends’ works recently has stood out as creative and innovative, including work of my own. We combine creativity and technology and have won for the innovation category in many award shows. For example, China did quite well in Cannes last year. China particularly stood out by works using technology innovation, and that is quite different to traditional award categories such as print and video. It is always good to try and take steps forward in innovation.我们自己和其他的伙伴，透过创意和技术的结合在过去一年内在国际奖项里斩获也不太少，中国去年在戛纳的收获不小，更多是在创新及数字方面，这和其他国家在传统奖项类别里拿奖的状况不太一样，尝试跨出创新的一步总是好的。
6. Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about the growth and development of creativity in China’s ad industry?对于中国广告产业的成长和发展，整体来讲，你是乐观还是悲观？
I am generally optimistic because the Chinese market is very vibrant. Talented creatives have stood up and opened a number of “creative hot shops”, while 4A agencies continue to operate sucessfully as well. I believe it is a time of “blooming flowers” (百花齐放). There’s going to be competition and as long as there’s competition, there’s good works, good innovation, and good creativity. This “blooming” state will continue for a while as the Chinese market continues to open up.
Advertising in China also includes e-commerce, self-media, celebrities, online celebrities, technology innovation and other media developments, they are all in a blooming form compared to other markets right now. At the same time, public welfare and CSR projects have gained powerful support from both the Chinese government and Chinese society. It is also an opportunity for creativity and innovation, more integration of creativity and technology. Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether creativity still lies within advertising but that is indeed happening.
Check out below the work RICElebrate submitted to Cannes Lions this year under the CSR category, entitled Brave Babe. The campaign raises awareness about child sexual abuse in China and gives a solution for schools to implement with this interactive poster campaign.