Thought Leaders in association withPartners in Crime

Going Crazy in the Right Way in the Digital Era

Associations, Award Shows and Festivals
Busan, South Korea
Chairperson of the AD STARS executive committee, Hwan-jin Choi on dedicating yourself completely to achieve what you desire

There is an ancient Korean idiom dating back to the Joseon Dynasty period: 不狂不及 (read as ‘bul-gwang-bul-geup’). It literally translates into 'you have to go crazy to go crazy.' The former ‘crazy’ means 'the state of being obsessed,' and the latter means 'the state of being dedicated.' In short, it means that you have to dedicate yourself completely to achieve what you desire. 

Korean ancestors highly regarded those who went to obsessive lengths for self-development or personal preferences. For example, Je-ga Park, a leading Confucianist scholar in the late 18th century, wrote about the life of Deok-jeong Kim, who was obsessed with flowers and flower paintings, in his book entitled Baekhwaboseo. Kim is said to have stared at flowers without even blinking and without communicating with others all day long. People sneered at him, calling him a lunatic. However, the collection of the hundred flower paintings drawn by Kim, Baekhwabo, came to be praised as a milestone in the history of flower vases, “worthy enough to be remembered through memorial services in the country of fragrance.” 

This obsession-like engagement has presumably been the most important driving force behind success particularly for artists. The feet of Sue-jin Kang, one of the most acclaimed ballerinas of our times, may be the clearest visual testament. However, the era in which practicing asceticism in seclusion for years to become a master has come to an end. If you choose to live a life of a recluse to achieve mastery in one area for, say, ten years, the world will have already moved quantum leaps ahead for that period.

The media often states that society is shifting towards the era of changes, digital network, computer and communication, multi-tasking, AI and Big Data, unlimited competition, and many more. It implies that delving into a single subject on your own may no longer be the best option. In this digital era, we are standing on the shoulders of collective intelligence enabled by AI and Big Data. We need to join forces with other individuals and organizations to reduce time, increase efficiency, and enhance productivity to survive today’s competition. It is also important to find creative solutions of your own supported by such collective intelligence to set yourself apart from others.

We must never cease to actively seek ways to find creative solutions. Thai Airways’ ‘Stay Home Miles Exchange,’ which successfully improved its brand preference and built post-Covid-19 leverage by offering mileage to people forced to stay at home due to the pandemic; Aeromexico’s ‘DNA Discount,’ which provided discounts on flights to Mexico for residents of the southern states of the US based on the ratio of their Mexican DNA; and SAIC-GM’s “Human Traffic Sign,” which had former traffic accident victims stand at points prone to traffic accidents, holding a sign urging compliance with traffic lights, are not ideas that can just accidentally come to mind while practicing asceticism in seclusion for ten years. 

The abovementioned campaigns have all received high evaluations as creative solutions in the past iterations of AD STARS. They testify to our role as a platform for exchanging and rewarding forward-looking ideas to inspire global advertising professionals to ‘go crazy.’

In celebration of our 15th anniversary in 2022, we plan to change our name from AD STARS to MAD STARS to highlight our focus on 'going crazy.' This change signifies our will to embrace marketing and digital content as important segments of advertising, as well as our support for all moves to reach creativity in the digital era. Through this change, we aim to declare our role as a platform upon which ideas to 'go crazy' and find innovative solutions can be sought and brought to life.

AD STARS is Asia’s largest international advertising award. It will be staged online over the period of three days from August 25 this year, less than 20,000 entries from more than 60 countries, to celebrate 'crazy' ideas aimed at bringing positive change to the world. 

Work from Mad Stars