JUNE 3, 2014
Stone Lei, President 180China*
How long have you been in the ad industry in China, why and when did you launch 180 China ?
Stone Lei: I have been in the advertising industry for close to two decades. I founded 180 (China) in 2002 and my goal was to change the way advertising is done and create a wholly independent creative agency that produces trans-media solutions for clients.
At the IAA (Intenational Advertising Association) World Congress in Beijing May 8-10, young millenials were asked to share their advertising dream. 180 China’s Creative Director said the agency was “looking for clients ready to take big risks” ?
Stone Lei: You are right. Cheelip, our Executive Vice President (Greater China Creative Network) spoke about his dream of having braver clients — clients who are bold enough to embrace new ideas that haven’t yet been attempted. Many times, clients may be afraid to accept a concept that is totally new because the success has yet to be proven. However, for advertising and brands to evolve, marketers will have to start accepting fresh and radical ideas from agencies. At 180, we are very fortunate to have open and forward-thinking clients who work along with us in creating the most innovative solutions.
Do you have a mentor in this business ?
Stone Lei: I draw lots of inspiration from Steve Jobs because he is a visionary who dares to dream big, challenge conventional thinking and transform the world with his ideas.
What illustrates this philosophy in 180 China’s business approach ?
Stone Lei: At 180, we have a philosophy called S.E.E.T — Storytelling, Engagement, Entertainment and Topicality. They are the pillars of all our trans-media campaigns and help ensure that our solutions effective resonate with its target audience.
We first started working with JD (Jingdong, 2nd B2C platform- but 1st independant, who listed on the Nasdaq in May) in 2013.
– N°1 B2C site Tmall transformed 11.11 or Singles Day, into an annual shopping carnaval. However Tmall has no a self-built logistics system, which results in the growing problem of late deliveries, becoming an object of public denunciation. Jingdong ‘211fast delivery’ promises to arrive within 12 hours even on 11-11. Jingdong wished to take advantage of Singles Day to value the concept of “not only low price, but also fast delivery” vs Tmall ‘50% discount for all on 11.11 only’ with the idea of “Slow delivery results in tragedy” through the 3 films below. It translated into breakthrough sales of 10,000 million RMB on 11.11.2013 vs 2,000 million RMB on 11-11-2012
JD TV campaign
Baidu is a new account we won in 2014 and we will be creating a suite of integrated campaign for them for one of their products, which we can’t reveal as of now
Do you think taking risk in the ad industry in China is any different than in the West ?
Stone Lei: Clients in western countries may be more open when it comes to accepting radical and irreverent ideas but I believe more and more brands in China (such as JD) are daring and adventurous enough to attempt and support ideas that are totally new and cutting-edge. Baidu is a new account we won in 2014 and we will be creating a suite of integrated campaign for them for one of their products, which we can’t reveal as of now
Do you have any western clients ? How different it is to work with them vs Chinese clients ?
Stone Lei: We had worked on our share of international brands such as KFC. Regardless of domestic and international clients, we adopt the same approach which is to help our clients connect to consumers with the most buzz-worthy campaigns that subvert traditional thinking.
How do you see China’s Ad landscape evolve in the coming years ?
Stone Lei: Independent creative agencies will grow to become a dominant force in China. They are more mobile, integrated and respond to clients’ needs faster without all the hierachical red taps. Therefore, I foresee independent agencies to be the key players driving change and progress
* 180China belongs to the World’s Leading Independant Agencies network