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Unlocking Creative Boundaries in Advertising through Peddling Stories
Updated 2014-09-14

Alvin Teoh is a creative ad-man from the famous advertising agency called Naga DDB. He inspired the students through his sharing entitled ‘Peddling Stories’, a session about breaking through creative limitations in advertising through story-telling. To The One Academy advertising students, the creative director didn’t want to only share about the awesome projects he has contributed, but rather, the things he has learned throughout the years with hope that he could inspire advertising students to be inspired by their own life stories.

The world of advertising needs change. Whether it is TV, radio commercials or print ads, it needs ‘oomph!’; but as we evolve together with technology, people have become less inspired, overlooking the little things in life and become much more attached to the big chase while society become less passionate about career or life and work for the sake of working.

According to Alvin, there is lack of soul in advertising. It isn’t just about the awards, but it is about becoming good story-peddlers because that is what advertising is all about- stories. “My only hope is that advertising students can become the game-changer of making better ads with good & influential stories,” said Alvin. He added that as an advertising student, this is the best time to observe life and express how you feel, most importantly, knowing your audience and understanding people.

Sharing to students who are now experiencing what life is all about; Alvin talked about how students can gain inspirations from their own life experiences. Alvin himself recounted his own childhood experiences that eventually became his inspiration in his projects for DiGi. Clearly story-telling isn’t textbook knowledge, Alvin elaborated that story-telling comes from within; it is in our DNA, tracing all the way back to our ancestors where story-telling was often practiced among tribes to maintain a strong community. “Stories and rituals often glue communities together,” Alvin smiled, and today, we call it advertising.

To become good story-tellers, advertising students picked up 3 ways of getting people stories as shared by Alvin: tell as it is, take insights from people and tell as a concept, and lastly, turn it into art form (poetry, film, animation, illustrations, lyrics, etc.)

The other lessons Alvin added was; learn to take note of journeys in life, which means turning your life stories and experiences into work of art. He also suggested students to take note of what you read or see and take note of the people you meet and their stories, especially the ones apart from your friends.

At the end of the sharing, The One Academy students learn to understand that to make it in life, they need to learn how to be a sponge and counter life by coming out of their comfort zones. Alvin encouraged students to go out and get to know people and their stories, because that’s how you get inspirations.