The Truth About Ascending Asia – McCann Worldgroup Launches Global Report Preview at Cannes Lions

In Asia, 85% believe that “everyday life will be better for a person like me in 10 years” vs. 52% inEurope

McCann Worldgroup has launched its latest Truth Central Study, the Truth about Ascending Asia, at an event held at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

The event served as the global preview of an extensive research study that will roll out across Asia later this year, and explored how innovative thinking from the world’s most diverse and dynamic region can power the marketing and creativity approaches of global brands.

The opening panel session “Meet the Culture Shapers”, moderated by Atifa Silk, Managing Director, Campaign Asia, featured Andy Del Rosario, Associate Creative Director, McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Sea Yen Ong, Head of Channel Revenue Partnerships, Southeast Asia, TikTok and Partha Sinha, President of The Times of India Group.


The discussion focused on the Asia-first and pioneering brand-building principles and flavors of creative innovations in social, influencer, and commerce.

Truth About Ascending Asia Speakers

Shilpa Sinha, McCann Worldgroup’s APAC Chief Strategy Officer, then shared key insights from The Truth About Ascending Asia, reflecting on how Asia has been setting benchmarks of exceptionalism in economic success and technological disruption, even in the wake of significant social problems.

In an interdependent and interconnected world, the boundaries between global and Asian challenges are fading. Climate change,  A new war and Growing economic inequalities emerged as the top three worries for Asians.


Despite these, according to the research, there is an undeniable optimism driven by Asia’s economic growth, innovation potential and belief in its enduring value systems:

  • 85% believe that “everyday life will be better for a person like me in 10 years” vs. Europe 52%
  • 76% believe that Asian societies are better equipped to handle stresses of modern life than Western societies
  • Respondents believe that Asia will emerge as the best place in the future to: Have work/life balance, Access to global brands & products; Have an education

Sinha then revealed the three ways in which brands can derive inspiration from the ‘Asian Dream’ to have a more enduring impact.

Deriving inspiration from the ‘Asian Dream’

The following summary was provided by McCann Worldgroup

1. Catalyse Collectivism

Societal Cohesion & Harmony continue to be Asia’s enduring ideals. A testament to that is the naming of Mahatma Gandhi by many Asians as the person who best represents being Asian.

While collectivism is an age-old concept within Asia, new forms of ‘The Collective’ are shaping the Asian identity beyond the country and family role

  • What best defines me as a person: My country (48%), my local community (33%) my work or professional community (29%), my city (26%)

Fostering togetherness and collaboration is the mandate given to brands by Asians

  • 86% believe brands have an important role in bringing society together
  • 68% believe that Asian brands should cooperate more to solve problems effectively as opposed to compete more to drive up productivity & innovation (32%)

The concept of Unity is Unbound

  • 83% believe that there should be an “Asian Union” like the “European Union”
  • 67% of Asian people believe that Asians, Americans and Europeans are fundamentally alike

2. Innovate ‘Human Tech’

Asians have a Tech-First mindset and vision:

  • Which brand would you choose to govern Asia in place of existing political institutions & parties: Google 28% Apple 21% Samsung 21%

Asians are driven ahead by Tech Thirst:

  • 67% believe that people can fulfill their true potential only with the help of technology. Europe 50%

Asia is already one of the leaders in tech fields like mobile, gaming, robotics, e-com etc. and Asians believe Asia is the future Tech-Titan:

  • When asked where Asia will lead in the future, Science & Tech was ranked no.1

But there is a ‘Techcotomy’- ‘optimism-exhaustion/apprehension’ relationship with tech

  • 67% believe that potential benefits of technology outweigh any known risks BUT
  • Almost 1 in 2 would like to have less tech in their everyday life in the future
  • 56% say a future with robots frightens them (EU-67%)

3. Celebrate Cultural Affluence

Asia’s cardinal character is its culture

  • 67% of Asians say Asia is ‘A Culture’. vs. Europe 43%

Beyond its current and future material affluence, Asia revels in a more profound notion of prosperity: Cultural affluence

  • 92% believe that cultural diversity is Asia’s greatest wealth and should be celebrated more

There is varied palette of cultural riches residing within Asia which Asian people are proud of, ranging from food, tradition, diversity, history, music and hospitality

The event closed with a discussion, “Building Enduring Global Brands”, between Asmita Dubey, Chief Digital & Marketing Officer, L’Oréal Groupe, and Prasoon Joshi, APAC Chairman, McCann Worldgroup, moderated by Valerie Madon, APAC Chief Creative Officer, McCann Worldgroup.

The discussion explored powering global brand platforms with Asian thinking to keep winning in culture, category and within communities.

Prasoon Joshi, APAC Chairman, McCann Worldgroup, reflected on the key event themes:

“Asia is a conglomerate of diversity and has much to be emulated be it the values of collectivism or humane approach to technical innovations. Beyond the material and its monetisation, it’s Asia’s uniqueness as a cultural exporter which makes it imperative for us to decode and understand this non-linear region.”

Shilpa Sinha, APAC Chief Strategy Officer, McCann Worldgroup, added:

“I am delighted by the overwhelming response we have received for our global preview. Asia is home to 60% of the world’s population and youth and is inspiring radical creativity for global brands. As Cannes Lions is the ultimate global stage for celebrating creativity, we felt it was the perfect platform for unveiling our Study. Stay tuned for the full Asia download this autumn!’

You can read the executive summary of the research here.


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