Q&A: Guan Hin Tay on Influencer and Experiential Marketing

Here is a quick chat with Guan Hin Tay, Chief Creative Officer of BBDO Singapore and a member of the BBDO Asia Creative Council, offering his perspective on the evolution of influencer marketing, how brands adapted to the loss of experiential marketing during the pandemic, and the future of virtual events.

Is influencer marketing evolving? What avenues are most successful?

A new wave of influencers is emerging, and it’s not real. It’s virtual. They are called the genuinfluencer, a term used by WGSN, who is relatable rather than aspirational.

Angie is a virtual influencer on Douyin.


Jesse Zhang built her. Because of Angie’s imperfections, it has become a new standard in beauty. Angie’s skin and face are not smooth and perfectly symmetrical compared to other virtual influencers. Like a natural person, she encounters issues like acne, sometimes her makeup creases, and her teeth aren’t perfectly aligned. Instead of wearing designer clothes, she wears simple white T-shirts and shorts.

Influence marketing is evolving. “Being too aspirational is repellent now,” the Guardian reported in August 2021.


This is also sifting into the virtual domain, where brands frame their genuineinfluencers around their authenticity and relatability.

What campaigns have successfully and creatively adapted to the loss of experiential marketing during the pandemic to drive business, and how?

Before the Pandemic, PChome24h Shopping has been celebrating the anniversary. When COVID happened they cannot hold large-scale gatherings to invite people to join like in previous years. Nevertheless, they still want to bring some joyful activities that can be engaged together at home.

They turned the APP for shopping into a fun and addictive mobile game! “PChome24h 21km Finger Marathon” (*In Taiwan, the abbreviations “k” is commonly used to represent “kilometer”.) June, it coincides with the 21st anniversary of PChome24h. We turned the PChome24h APP shopping interface into a marathon racetrack, also the 21st anniversary into 21km distance.

Once you open the APP to shop, the race starts.

All the tracks scrolled by fingers are converted into marathon accumulated distance.

When consumers scroll on the product page with their fingers, they can see the accumulated marathon mileage next to the page.

The longer the browsing time, the longer the accumulated distance.

Compared to a real race, they created a real marathon experience for their consumer journey, seamlessly utilized multiple channels to promote the campaign.

What is the future of virtual events as we slowly emerge from COVID variants?

During the height of Covid, we were turned into Zoombies. Zoom fatigue sets in when we all have to attend virtual events. Now there is web-conferencing software like Zoom, but with the added feature of visiting the virtual “room”, you and others are occupying.

You have the ability to move about and interact with others based on your locations in the room, just like in real life. You can easily start and end side conversations and chats, or return to the main speaker just as at a real-world conference. Rather than being moved to a Zoom breakout room, today’s software like Gather.Town or Kumospace. you can simply walk your avatar to tables and chairs, sit down, and start a conversation.

Until such times, like “Ready Player One”, which shows us what is possible once our devices are interconnected to our bodies and brains to deliver an immersive experience, that perfect blend of our real and digital lives might not be here for a while.

Guan Hin Tay has also been tapped as a Grand Jury member for the 2022 AME Awards. You can learn more about that here