Alice Chou is the chief creative officer of Dentsu Creative Taiwan, and Jury President for Brand Experience Lotus and Direct Lotus at ADFEST 2023. She has had a remarkable career at dentsu that has been acknowledged with personal awards such as Outstanding Creative Person of the Year at the Taiwan Advertiser Association, creative leader in Women Leading Change Awards in 2017, Campaign Asia’s Women to Watch in 2018 and Adweek’s Creative 100 in 2021. She has also led her agency’s creativity to achieve its own spotlight moments, that include eight Grands Prix at ADFEST, AD STARS, One Show China, Longxi Creative Awards, China 4A, China Great Wall, LIA China Creative Award, China Times International Awards and Taiwan 4A.
The Stable (TS):You were named Outstanding Creative Person of the Year. What do you think it takes to be outstanding?
Alice Chou: Actually, it is not about the person alone, they represent the team’s work, the company and many people besides who taught them, gave them chances, supported and worked hard together with them. As for my personal experience, If I have done something right, that may be because I sense there is too much I don’t know, so I am just being a sponge and absorbing knowledge from everyone and everything around me; because I have also failed many times in the past, so I learned the art of moving forward between persistence and compromise.
I think there are two important qualities make a creative great:
One is to make it big. Aiming at the target with a very powerful determination. When everyone is going to give up, they will hold back and wait calmly, and then grasp that particular opportunity, strike back and hit target.
Another is to make it small. When facing challenges, understand the art of compromise. Compromise means failure? I don’t think so. There is always a need to make compromises when one pursues ideals. As long as we never forget our goal, then compromise is not a compromise. We bow down because we want to get out of that awkward situation first and wait for a better opportunity to strike back.
TS: You have spent the greater part of your career at dentsu. What is it about dentsu that has kept you there?
Alice Chou: The reason I spent most of my career at Dentsu Creative Taiwan is mainly because of the colleagues/clients who have been with me for years. We share common culture, believe in each other, willing to look further, not to sacrifice long term value for short term benefits. And that’s why we have clients with many of them over 10 years, even 20 years+ relationships. Plus, team members’ trusted relationship and emotional bonding.
The other reason I like dentsu is its humble spirit. We respect people, against the feeling of knowing. We believe that being a professional is not a static end, it’s a dynamic process to keep it up. We embrace change, but at the same time, we still focus on how we face survival, belief, success, love and our persistence to protect those we love, that will never change. The dentsu people and dentsu culture are the main reasons why I have been staying here till now.
TS: “In Love We Trust”, which you led, was the first Cannes Lions Grand Prix winner from an agency in Taiwan and the most shared and most liked commercial in its year. It was also a strikingly unexpected campaign for a property company. What was the thinking behind it? What do you think were the features that led to its success?
Alice Chou: To me, the most important achievement of this campaign is not the rate of sharing, likes, becoming the most popular film in Taiwan, nor the first Grand Prix Lion for Taiwan. It’s because we have linked up Taiwan’s important cultural insights (Asia no.1 divorce rate and world lowest birth rate issues), the expectation and fear of the young generation, and a meaningful brand purpose. We use goodness to make business, give young people courage to step into the future and expand the brand’s influence.
I must give credit to my client who didn’t focus on short term sales results and to the whole team who put many personal experiences into the story and never give up to execute beautifully in every detail. I always want to create work that can see our own self, to see our hope and fear, expectation and uneasiness, love and hate, to reflect the value that we want to believe. Link up with the world to deliver a more meaningful and kinder message.
TS: Brand Experience is a difficult nut to crack. What do you believe are the most important ingredients for success?
Alice Chou: To hear, you may miss; to see, you may forget; but to experience, the memory will go deep into your heart. Brand experience reminds us that brands are just like people. We know brands not only by what they say, but more by how we feel when we get along and interact with each other. Great brand experiences engage the senses, form emotional bonds, they make the brand part of the customer’s story, and meaningful and valuable in people’s lives.
If there is a single most important ingredient for success, I will say it’s Innovation with insight and inspiration. I hope to see in the jury room really great work that could redefine the vision of the category and inspire the next step moving forward.
TS: What do you hope to see in the Direct jury room? What will you be looking for in work that deserves to be awarded?
Alice Chou: It’s the age of activism. Great Direct work will not just start a conversation, it can make the debate become a positive action from brands. It will stop us, make us look at it and answer the call to action. With new technology being developed every day to enhance the way we communicate, I believe there will be more modern creative ideas that break the imagination of this category. On the other hand, I still hope to see a winning idea that has a deep human insight, being creative and relevant, unique and ownable for the brand and beautifully executed. And most important of all, it can deliver a meaningful message to the industry for the future.