We are pleased to have Clara Ho, Creative Director at Grey, joining the Judges panel for the People & Lifestyle category at the Spotlight Awards. Get to know more about her professional career in the advertising industry, personal projects and expectations for this year’s Spotlight Awards.

Production Paradise: You have been a Creative Director for over four years. Could you give us some insight into your background and how you got to your position as a Creative Director?

Clara Ho: My career took a turning point when I won a design award that led to a scholarship in London, where I completed a Master’s Degree in Creative Planning. That year was very well spent, I was surrounded by people who helped nurture my imagination and immersed myself in a learning environment that equipped me with strategic thinking and planning skills, all of which pushed me to “think out of the box”.  The experience played a key role in shaping my career after returning to Hong Kong, since I had learnt to approach works with a ‘problem-solving mindset’, enabling me to create insightful works.

Winning creative competitions during my junior years also gave me the chance to represent Hong Kong at the Cannes Young Lions and Adfest Young Lotus. All of the above, coupled with my work experience at various international advertising agencies laid a strong creative foundation that helped build my confidence and path my way in becoming a Creative Director.

Production Paradise: Your work has been recognized in festivals like Cannes Lions, AdFest and many other advertising awards, could you tell us more about it? Which one has been the most special one so far?

Clara Ho: Entering works to different award shows provide an excellent opportunity to showcase creative work on a global stage.

Cannes Lions Festival is the most special one to me – I feel like it is equivalent to attending the Olympics of the advertising industry, all creative medals you earn will stay with you forever, and it’s international recognition of your creativity. Cannes Lions is beyond awards, it has become an event where people from advertising, marketing, technology and media come together to celebrate top-level creations. It is a one-of-a-kind platform where one can gain inspiration and embrace the latest digital and media trends.

Production Paradise: You have been creating content for a long time now. Could you tell us one of your favourite projects you have worked on and why?

Clara Ho: Some say, “Advertising is really bad at being kind”, but I believe advertising can have a positive impact not only on businesses and brands but also the world at large.

Scrabble Keyboard is one of my favourite projects. It is a third-party keyboard app for all mobile devices to combine autocomplete with auto-thesaurus so that vocabulary learning is integrated into every conversation and across every social platform.

I love works that are beneficial to both the brand and community and strongly believe that world-changing ideas are always rooted in humanity and creativity.

Production Paradise: Working in an agency, what’s your opinion on how the advertising world has adapted to the pandemic situation? Is this reflected in how the campaigns are developed?

Clara Ho: The whole world has had to adapt since the coronavirus pandemic started and has since become the “new normal”. Rapid changes to consumer lifestyle and product needs mean we needed a whole new approach in advertising in order to appeal to our audience.

With the travel industry being amongst the hardest hit in the pandemic, Grey’s hospitality and tourism campaigns have focused on recovery by reviving tourism through a combination of short-term and long-term strategies, encouraging local consumption and domestic travelling with a view to inspire locals to explore our home city. The creation of immersive digital content also allows our audience from all corners of the world to dive into a virtual travel experience.

On a positive note, the challenges we faced during the past year will better prepare us for future unpredictable situations. The pandemic has also prompted us to rethink the future of tourism and how technology can be used to successfully optimise campaigns.

Production Paradise: It is your first time judging in the Spotlight Awards, as a People & Lifestyle Photography judge, what are you expecting to see in this competition?

Clara Ho: I look forward to seeing how photographers become storytellers and capture authentic moments from different cultures under this new normal and are taken on a journey through their lenses to discover the unknown.

Production Paradise: What benefits do you think Production Paradise and its awards bring to photographers looking to increase their international exposure?

Clara Ho: This award helps both emerging and established photographers build their professional network on a global scale, connecting them to future opportunities. By appreciating the works of other photographers, one can also further improve their techniques at an international level. The juries have a wealth of experience and expertise from all over the world, any feedback or advice from them would surely be beneficial to photographers’ looking to find their unique voice through this universal medium.

We want to thank you for such a delightful and inspiring talk. Now that you know what kind of images have a better chance to catch the judge’s attention – pick your best shots and enter our Spotlight Awards!