Vietnamese trio win top prize in international Ad Age contest

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Creative planner Nguyen Tuong Luan, art director Nguyen An Hoa and copywriter Do Duy Thien at Ho Chi Minh City-based G2/Grey Group have won first prize of this year's Ad Age Global Cover Contest.

The Global Issue of Ad Age, which the international advertising and marketing magazine publishes each June, focuses on the international advertising and marketing scene, multinational marketers and their strategies and how brands connect with consumers in regions around the world.

This year's cover contest for young creatives drew 369 entries from 54 countries, up 220 entries from 2010, the year of the first competition. In addition to the winning team from Vietnam, finalists were named from Australia, Canada, France, India, Singapore, Spain and the US.

The Vietnamese trio, ranging in age from 27 to 29, will attend the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity from June 19 to 25, and their entry will be displayed on the French festival's billboard along with covers of other finalists.

Ad Age Global judges selected the Vietnamese team's concept of "Kaleidoscopes," designed with logos of well-known brands, as the best entry in the contest. The "Kaleidoscopes" cover reflects a connected world with logos of noted brands such as Louis Vuiton, BMW, Puma and Facebook cleverly "holding hands" to surround Ad Age's Global Issue logo.

When asked about how they chose a kaleidoscope to feature the idea of a "connected world," An Hoa, 27, recalled evenings the trio spent together brainstorming.

"We kept going out for coffee, discussing, agreeing, and then arguing. We kept mulling over different ideas, until one day we spotted the Duc Ba [Notre Dame] cathedral's stained glass," he said.

Everyone agreed that the colorful, sparkling image of a kaleidoscope could represent a unified world in which every member had its own color.

"Different brands can create unity in that you are choosing the same experience as thousands of others all over the world," Hoa said. "Isn't that making our world "˜connected'?"

After finishing their design, the trio sent it to the competition along with a video clip featuring the changing of colors and shapes as the brand kaleidoscope turned. The clip was not required by the contest, but it had a great effect and received praise from the judges.

In addition to being co-workers at G2/Grey Group, the three young men are also close friends. Hoa and Thien were classmates in high school, and Luan once worked with Hoa at another company. Shortly after Luan moved to work at Grey, Hoa joined the staff, and there with Thien they rapidly became a perfect team. They decided to work together on the Ad Age contest which they thought was a good opportunity to showcase their talent.

"Friends in the advertising world often share information about such contests. We share everything because it is a big playground to compete with others in and outside the country. That is somehow a connected world too, right?" he said with a smile.

"Ad Age's contest is a big one in our field. It receives entries from countries around the world. Though Vietnam's advertising market is just growing up, we were confident because our company supported us, and we considered this is a chance to grow up as well."

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