Learning from J-Pop’s book

Creative Myths About Asia — Stereotype No.2 Asian talent is great at copying but don’t expect originality

I was constantly told that in Asia I would see a copycat creative culture. I was assured I would witness few new creative ideas and definitely not encounter a rich ground for innovation. If this was not bad enough; this lack of originality was caused by a huge gap in the level of local talent required to deliver great creative work.

As with most sweeping generalisations of this type, the truth is actually very different. Whilst there is no doubt, finding great talent is a challenge in the region, isn’t it everywhere?

What I actually see on a day-to-day basis is the desire to leapfrog traditional creative thinking altogether, leaving legacy ways of working behind.

Let me illustrate with a simple example, the rise of mobile as a communication channel.

In the West there are still very few truly great mobile-first examples, unlike here in Asia where mobile is normally the starting, and sometimes also the ending point.

With the rise of mobile, watching video content on your smartphone is becoming the new normal. Not only has the shift to mobile changed the way people are consuming media, it’s made marketers think differently about the platforms they’re using to get their message across.

Asia seems to have embraced this shift a lot more readily than other markets. To the point where people other than marketers are now creating video content entirely geared towards mobile consumption. Have a look at the link below to see what I’m talking about: (Link warning I have no clue what they are singing about, it is brilliantly J-Poptastic and needs to be viewed on an iPhone.)

Here, Asian creativity is giving the world an entirely new spin on mobile video. Crafted by an industry known for its eccentric taste, the content has been shot in portrait aspect and integrates Apple IOS notifications; Twitter, FaceTime etc., making it look like someone has taken control of your iPhone. The video works by creating a feeling of immersion, making you feel like you’re a part of the process of creating and sharing the content across social media.

In fact it is so effective, when I first watched I had a quick panic attack as I thought I was about to miss my plane due to the time on the clock!

Though it’s not a traditional creative spot, the video shows how the Asia-Pacific market is embracing mobile and could serve as a good indicator for marketers around the world. The very fact the video, from what I understand to be a very popular band in Japan, works solely by being viewed on an iPhone speaks volumes about its target audience.

While the execution is uniquely Japanese, the idea has truly global applications. It’s a great example of Asian creativity showing the rest of the world a new way forward.

For more of my attempts to dispel creative myths about Asia and general ramblings on what we can all learn from this amazing region view my Man About Asia series here