Leading up to this year’s Caples Awards, Patrick Collister caught up with Kestrel Lee for a 10-question session covering a variety of topics from his side hustle, the work he is most proud of and more.
Lee, Integrated Solutions, Creative Lead at Dentsu China, started out as a copywriter in Singapore, where he also made his mark at digital-led integrated agencies such as Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett, FCBi, TBWA/Tequila, Sapient, and ZENO/Edelman working with clients such as Mars, Unilever, L’Oreal, HP, Apple, Microsoft, adidas, Volvo and Air New Zealand.
Today he is a sought-after creative mind for insights on e-commerce and emerging media, as well as what’s happening in gaming and the metaverse.
You’re a top creative director. Do you have a side hustle? What do you do as a counterbalance to the pressures of your workplace?
I am an avid gamer as I am an obsessive fan of ACG i.e. Anime-Comics-Gaming and I run a small guild for an online game, as well as managing two Facebook games for retro gaming handhelds like Nintendo game & watch. I also manage an eSports and gaming WeChat messenger group for gaming and eSports in China.
If you hadn’t ended up in advertising, what would you be doing instead?
If I weren’t doing this I’d go into data-based consulting, which is something that is increasingly becoming part of the job scope of ECDs and CCOs in Asia. For all the talk about AI and ChatGPT, a mainstream or normal senior creative will not be replaced by AI.
“For all the talk about AI and ChatGPT, a mainstream or normal senior creative will not be replaced by AI. However, they will be retired by creatives who use AI and data to inform their creative thinking and to persuade clients to accept disruptive ideas…”
However, they will be retired by creatives who use AI and data to inform their creative thinking and to persuade clients to accept disruptive ideas in the MarTech, Social Media, Web3/Metaverse and Ecommerce spaces.
In your career, what one piece of personal work are you most proud of?
I love this piece of work as it gave me the epiphany that media-sensitive ideas work much better than media-agnostic ideas, especially in the age of social media and smartphones.
It is my Martel Ultimate Start-up Space campaign which ran from 2009 to 2010. I was the interactive group lead for the social media strategy and creative work. This crowdsourcing campaign won more integrated and social awards in Singapore that year than anything else.
Leveraging on the previously unknown insight that social content will drive search results, it was at a time when most agencies had not even started in social media.
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Facebook Banner Hack
When, due to its earlier success, the campaign ran again, I was no longer with the agency but was happy that I was able to design a crowdfunding experience, which I negotiated with Paypal Singapore for deployment support.
What work has your agency/team produced you’re particularly proud of?
I am currently at Dentsu China and our agency is a pioneer of disruptive Gen Z marketing with innovative use of social and gaming spaces in China. One particular client of note is KFC China and here are some great examples from Dentsu China.
KFC China – Digital Transformation:
KFC China – Cat Streamers:
What recent work have you seen from another agency (or agencies) that you would really like to see entered into The Caples? And why?
I particularly like BETC’s award-winning Gender Swap campaign:
I love work that is media-sensitive and is able to drive meaningful conversations online to enhance campaign success and relevance.
Are awards important?
Awards are important in that they represent our wish to push past barriers to great work and our desire to compete against the best in the industry. Most of us could have gotten easier jobs but we live for the adrenaline surge and fire in our belly for the slim chance of doing a few good campaigns to bookmark a meaningful year.
For like-minded people, our mantra should be “We don’t win Silver. We lose Gold.”
What does it mean to you to be a juror of The Caples Awards in 2023?
It means reconnecting to an award show community where we put our networks aside and truly try to understand, embrace and recognise great work from all over the world.
The Caples is free to enter. Is this brave? Or very, very stupid?
Brave. And being responsible as retrenchments have become the norm everywhere during the COVID era and agencies need to hoard their cash to retain their staff. And such agencies need an award show that shows recognition for their great work.
If you could have five creative luminaries sitting around your kitchen table, having a drink and a chat, who would they be? What do you think you’d talk about?
I prefer an alternative answer. I don’t want to talk work around my kitchen table. I would prefer to invite 5 friends from art, anime, gaming, technology and data sectors. I get my best ideas for my briefs from non-advertising friends.
Impossible question. But what is your one all-time favourite piece of advertising, the idea you most wish you’d done yourself?
I love “Best Job In The World” as it gave relief to its target audience who were afraid of losing their jobs in 2007-2008.
Entry awards for the 2023 Caples Awards end on April 14th. To enter visit www.caples.org.