About us

The Naïve Network is an Independent Creative Network specialising in marketing to Asia.

With a diverse range of talent, experience and skills we create communication ideas, experiences, and digital content to help clients who are marketing in Asia and advertising in Asia.

Our creative team helps clients communicate their Asian marketing stories across various media platforms, helping to grow brands and improve value.

Utilising creative marketing techniques we take a totally integrated, media-neutral approach to help clients reach their target audience with the right message.

And offer an experienced team of Asian-based experts to help clients solve their Asia marketing problems.

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Horsing About

In a recent Campaign Brief post, Andrew Lok compared the traits of cats and dogs to the qualities required of agency people (dogs more fun, cats lethargic, etc).

As we enter into the Year of the Wooden Horse, we thought it might be apposite to see how agency personnel might look through an equine lens. So in the spirit of the season here’s our guide to the creative stable.

The Racehorse: A thoroughbred – at least in his own mind –, sleek and totally focussed on passing the winning post in first place. A real ‘look at me’ horse whose self image is of a white stallion galloping through the surf at sunset, possibly with a naked rider clinging to its mane. This is an animal that’s been bred to believe that he is special, and if he’s not trotting around the winner’s paddock come award’s season he’s likely to throw a tantrum. But this creature is also high maintenance, often sulky and sensitive, which doesn’t make him very popular with the rest of the stable. Not that he cares of course. Fawning management, desperate to maintain some sort of creative profile, colludes to keep him believing in his own legend.

The Stallion: Less focused than the racehorse, the stallion wants control and to be master of the herd. This is a horse that does a lot of snorting and stamping of hooves. Stallions tend to act more aggressively during the awards season, when they feel somewhat threatened by the racehorses. However, most of the time, he maintains his position by laying down scent-marking manure piles and urination spots to communicate his dominance as the numero uno.

The War Horse: Strong, dominant and often intransigent; this is a horse that you don’t want to get in the way of at full gallop. Management’s favorite for leading the team into battle. It’s not the smartest of animals but, nostrils flaring, and hoofs drumming it’ll bear down unflinchingly on any enemy. It’ll also run down anyone who gets in its way. However once its protective armour (management’s backing) is removed, it is revealed to be a much more timid beast that seeks to ingratiate itself with the rest of the stable. Not a horse to be trusted with the oats.

The Carthorse: A great docile creature assigned to haul the heavy loads. Often seen with its junior partner the pack horse, or assistant art director. Stolid, reliable, plodding and usually to be found toiling away on the agency’s less glamorous but more profitable accounts. This amiable animal is held in contempt by the preening racehorse for his willingness to work on accounts offering few creative opportunities, but for the same reason is generally liked by the rest of the herd. These horses are required to work extremely hard to make up for the indolence of the racehorses. Several charities now run sanctuaries where these noble animals can live out their last years in peace, instead of going straight to the knackers yard.

The Hack: A dying species with most having been put out to pasture long ago. But you can still occasionally find one in the dark corner of a bar, complaining that it’s all gone to pot, it’s not about ideas anymore and the kids these days haven’t a clue. These old nags can be entertaining for a while but are probably best avoided.

The Gelding: Every agency has at least one of these; otherwise known as the creative director.

The Filly: A dancing, prancing creature that can sometimes be a bit of a handful. Quite often found sniffing around the bottoms of the racehorses, with whom they like to hang around. Beware when feeding apples to these skittery creatures, as you are liable to get nipped in the process.

The Mare: Generally a calming influence on the herd and definitely too few of them in our creative departments. Our favourite animal by far.

The Bucking Bronco: Nobody wants to ride this one: up one minute, down the next with a mean kick. And woe betide anyone who finds themselves at the wrong end when he’s been nibbling at those funny flowers in the corner of the field again.

* Any resemblance to agency people we have worked with is purely coincidental.
** The word ‘he’ refers in all cases to he or she.


The Mad Men effect

Just when you thought nothing was deader than the advertising jingle, up pops a Cannes Grand Prix winner that Don Draper would be proud of.

Dumb Ways to Die has proved that there's life left in this ancient advertising form.

And if the praise being lavished on this particular campaign (not to mention the 52 million YouTube views) is anything to go by it's a form that's possibly about to make a big comeback.

Of course nothing is really new in this world, and it's good to see a tried and trusted technique being revived.

The only difference may be that today, Don Draper wannabes probably have to add a bit of digital sugar coating to sell such antediluvian concepts. So a jingle with a great bit of animation becomes a viral-video, linked to multi-platform digital media content, resulting in multi-touch-point engagement.

Are we jealous? You bet.

And we hope the trend continues. 

Who knows, next year we may even see the return of the print ad with body copy!


Squeezing agencies until the pips squeak

There was a recent report in Campaign Asia on the average client payment times to big agencies that we found staggering.

The quoted average time it takes WPP, Omnicom and Interpublic to receive payments was 221, 156 and 276 days respectively.

276 days. That's 9 months! How can any business function this way? Let alone one that operates on already slim margins.

To us it speaks volumes about about how the big agencies are now valued by global clients; how low we as a business have sunk in the food chain, and what little value these global conglomerates put on what we produce.

It also shows just how desperate traditional agencies have become, when even with their already skinny margins, they agree to do business on these terms, effectively becoming bankers for their clients.

Luckily our clients have generally respected our payment terms (this might have something to do with the fact that we only work with clients we trust and value), but if the squeeze continues, it's difficult to see how smaller agencies will survive in the long term.


The rise of the accountants

Yahoo's recent decision to ban their employees from working remotely seems regressive, to say the least. 

They claim that "some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings." 

What they mean of course, is that management like to see more bums on seats so they feel they have more control over their employees (or so they think!).

Whilst collaboration is a great thing, especially for creative teams, the encouragement of impromptu meetings is almost always counter-productive. 

Having spent the first half of our working lives in the offices of large ad agencies (or trying to sneak out to the coffeeshop around the corner!), we are very aware of how many hours of employees' time can be wasted in meetings, and other random gatherings often called by people who have nothing more productive to do, and far too much to say for themselves. 

Add excessive emails, social media, and other distractions to the mix, and it's easy to see why a lot of people are still in the office at 8pm or later.

Of course, this is well documented.

Yahoo's CEO also claims that: "Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home". 

One has to wonder if Yahoo is aware that technology has provided us with some incredibly powerful tools for liaising with each other remotely, without disrupting the creative flow.

As a creative team, we have always found that working in an environment isolated from random interruptions to be most productive. Our clients are often surprised by the volume of ideas we can produce within tight deadlines, particularly compared with less fortunate, captive creative teams.

Focus and creativity are not the friends of unscheduled meetings. And offices are rarely the most conducive environment for thinking.

We don't expect Naive will be working with Yahoo any time soon!


Will agencies shed their skins in the Year of the Snake?

As we slither quietly into the Year of the Snake it is beginning to look like our independent, collaborative creative model is being increasingly adopted by big agencies struggling to meet their client needs.

In recent months we have worked on 2 big international pitches, as well as number of local projects, where our agency partner was actively seeking a new perspective; one that sits outside of, and apart from the agency culture.

Entrenched interests and bureaucratic structures have in the past held back those who wanted to seek alternatives to the top-down "cubicle" model, but it does look as if – driven by necessity – the BIG agencies in Asia are finally realising that the future is going to require quite a different creative approach.