Concept and Scriptwriting
Earlier in my career, I lived for three years in Singapore, working as head of copy at Saatchi & Saatchi. That followed two years in Sydney Australia. Each country had its own cultural idiosyncrasies and, in order to write advertising that worked, I had to be mindful of differences and sensitivities.
Australia had a history of producing powerful road safety ads with a shocking, gory approach. So when my Singaporean art director Francis Wee and I were briefed to create an anti-drink/driving campaign for the Singapore Government, I was inclined to write Aussie-style advertising. But our client didn’t want that. They wanted us to use a more cerebral approach. We came up with many concepts, each of which was rejected. Fortunately, we had lots of time to work on the project, an advantage that allowed us to explore different routes. Eventually, our ideas became simpler and less expected, until we surprised ourselves with the glasses concept. I wrote the script with Francis.
Our commercial won many awards for creativity, including a D&AD Black Pencil and Cannes Gold Lion. Even more pleasing, though, was that foreign governments, NGOs and charities adapted our concept for their local audiences (with our blessing), either using our film with their own end-frame, or completely reshooting it. Our commercial, or an adaptation of it, ran in various countries for a number of years, including at least 10 in Canada.