Vietnamese Advertising: Creating a Distinct Identity

On November 17 in HCMC, the seminar Vietnamese Advertising on the Global Stage: Creating a Distinct Identity took place in a robust atmosphere with 03 sessions, each lasting 90 minutes. Experts discussed and shared their perspectives on different aspects through the sessions, which were Embracing Innovation and Technology; Talent Development; and Building Trust and Partnership.

The seminar was facilitated by Dr Soumik Parida, Senior Lecturer, Professional Communications, School of Communication and Design, RMIT University. Speakers for the sessions were influential leaders and experts in the industry.

In the morning, Session 01 titled “Embracing Innovation and Technology” explored technology advancements that are reshaping advertising in Vietnam and the world. The three speakers of the session were: Christopher John Catchpole – Chief Creative Officer of Rockstar, Lê Bá An Bình – Managing Director of Adtima, and Tarun Dhawan – Managing Director of Moblaze.

Recently, there have been significant concerns and discussions on how technology and artificial intelligence will replace humans and transform the creative industries. Tarun Dhawan noted that changes have been happening for a long time due to the remarkable development of technology. For example, programmatic advertising has completely transformed the way we buy and sell advertisements. Today, technology has made another breakthrough and we can see the influence of AI on creative industries or how AI operates in chatboxes. Technology truly has a distinctive impact on how we do marketing, create and approach customers. 

Christopher John Catchpole, through the observation of a creative, saw new technologies and artificial intelligence being increasingly perfected and opening up endless possibilities that require creatives to quickly adapt and master them. In the near future, there could be new positions in the creative industries such as curator director, when AI can generate hundreds of thousands or millions of images and texts, providing brilliant ideas but a person to select the right ones is necessary.

Lê Bá An Bình believed that technology and artificial intelligence offered two positive approaches to advertising: the democratisation of creativity that allows almost everyone access to creativity; and the optimisation of product marketing to the right consumers through the automatic analysis of consumer behaviours.

Continuing the event in the afternoon, Session 02 titled “Talent Development in Vietnam” discussed the importance of nurturing local talents in advertising and growth opportunities on the global stage. Speakers for the second session included Livio Grossi – Group Executive Creative Director of Dentsu Redder | Dentsu Creative Vietnam, Jazz Tonna 0 Creative Director of Happiness Saigon, and Natasha Koziy – Award-winning copywriter/associate lecturer at RMIT Vietnam.

Starting the session, Dr Soumik Parida posed the question: “What do you look for in a candidate in the communication field?” Livio Grossi’s immediate response was attitude and personality. Sharing the same viewpoint, Jazz Tonna added that the CV was the first thing to be overlooked by recruiters in the creative industries. It is all about one’s personality, what makes them stand out, their motivation to wake up every day, and the job that they are passionate about even without compensation. Recruiters want to see motivation, goals and dreams.

Both guest speakers underlined that young people should have a thorough understanding of advertising through professionals who are active in the industry, seeking out those they admire, want to learn from and work with, and find ways to directly approach them. It is because the important thing is not where you work but the team you work in. That makes a significant difference in the type of jobs and knowledge that you will acquire. Natasha Koziy suggested young people keep up with specific companies, identify successful projects and from that point analyse and understand the way they approach the briefs and provide solutions to clients. The more one understands about the place they want to work in, the better prepared one will be.

From the perspectives of companies, speakers believed that the most effective talent attraction strategy is through creative products. Creative products are the clearest message and signal that reflect the type of work they do and what they are aiming for. In addition to that, awards also contribute to an agency’s “attractiveness” in the eyes of young talents.

As a creative director, Livio Grossi is proud to not only attract young talents but also nurture and guide them to mature in the industry. Many young individuals have worked alongside him from his early days in Vietnam until now, learning and developing together. For Jazz Tonna, attracting young talents is also about company culture. He and his colleagues have built Happiness Saigon as a place where people can do the best jobs and where they work for joy and happiness.

As Session 02 came to an end, the speakers once again reminded young people that a career in advertising entails many difficulties, challenges and uncertainties. Their advice is to be well prepared and step into the industry with earnest passion and aspirations.

Session 03 began in the late afternoon of November 17, this was also the final part of the seminar Vietnamese Advertising on the Global Stage: Creating a Distinct Identity. Titled “Building Trust and Partnership”, the session focused on exploring strategies to nurture a long-term relationship between the client and the agency, emphasising the values of trust and commitment to continuous growth and success. Speakers for Session 03 included Saby Mishra – Entrepreneur in branding and consumerisation space, Lợi Hoàng Ứng – Brand Director of Media, Digital and E-commerce Transformation at P&G Vietnam, and Sudarshan Saha – Managing Director of Essence Mediacom Vietnam.

Dr Soumik Parida began the third session with a direct question: “What are the key elements that contribute to a successful long-term client-agency relationship in the communication industry?” According to Loi Hoang Ung, a long-term relationship must be based on a trusted partnership and shared vision. Saby Mishra believed that this should not be considered a “relationship” but a partnership, as each party has their own role and responsibility to together achieve the final results. Humans are also an important factor, a catalyst for a dynamic partnership.

Sudarshan Saha pointed out that whether it is a client-agency relationship or a partnership, there will always be conflicts and challenges to drive both sides forward. Essence Mediacom Vietnam and P&G serve as a prime example of a long-term partnership. For 12 years, Essence Mediacom Vietnam has accompanied P&G through many ups and downs. To survive and thrive, both must proactively adapt and quickly adjust to the market. Trust is also fostered and becomes the foundation of their partnership.

The client-agency relationship is seeing a tendency to shift from a project-based model to a transitional relationship instead of a long-term partnership, and speakers disagreed. Building a long-term partnership means both sides invest in human, financial, time resources and long-term planning. A project-based model is difficult to develop in terms of scale, time and budget. It might save costs for clients at that exact moment, but in the long run, there will be a lack of thorough research and connection between campaigns as well as expenses that arise in the future. 

On the other hand, in a long-term partnership, agencies are willing to invest time and human resources to study the market and understand the clients over several years, which enables them to predict trends of the next two or three years and be flexible in case of urgent campaigns… In a long-term partnership, the agency truly accompanies and grows with the client. In conclusion, the client-agency relationship needs to be fostered and nurtured through a long-term partnership for continuous success. 

Watch the seminar in full at this video:


Chii Nguyễn