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Discovering the True Meaning of Creativity with One of China’s Top Creative Directors

September 22, 2022 | Campus News

Back by popular demand, the Virtual International Design and Creative Masterclass organised by The One Academy was a hit among secondary school students and students of the academy! A series of masterclasses spanning over the course of two consecutive weekends, global creative experts in the fields of digital animation, advertising, interior design, visual effects and digital media design were invited to impart their knowledge and industry expertise.

Presenting for the advertising segment was Xiao Kun, the co-founder and chief creative officer of TianYuKong – one of the hottest creative hot shops in China. With nearly 20 years of advertising experience, he leads his team to serve global brands and has won numerous accolades in top international advertising awards including two Golds and two Bronzes at the Cannes Lions Awards, the global benchmark for creative excellence. Their clients include some of the biggest brands such as Alipay, Amazon, Huawei, Lays, Taobao and Tencent.

In his talk contradictorily titled “Creativity Is Not That Great”, he touched on the topic of why people like creativity so much, and why creativity may not necessarily be that great. When it comes to creativity, brands are certainly talked about. However, in his understanding of brands, he said that no company can truly own a brand as it is temporarily kept by the users. A brand is a collection of the user’s memories of a brand, and because it exists in the user’s mind, it is scattered, dynamic and changeable.

“From user insight, to market insight, to social insight, it will become more and more difficult for everyone to have something in common. Everyone has their own preferences. This is also one of the reasons for advertising, hoping to find more powerful insights in order to achieve better ideas. Therefore, the greater the insight, the greater its influence,” Xiao Kun explained. Many creative agencies go with showy ideas which they think are very smart, but have little to do with people.

“Advertising is collaborating together with the client with the ultimate goal to solve their business problems. When addressing these problems, it is important to avoid showing off our intelligence. At the end of the day, what matters most is the rationale behind our idea and the value it brings to the client,” he added.

According to him, creativity will develop in these three directions. The first is – be creative about the product and make it part of the user’s desire. This way, the products will sell better and our creativity will have more meaning. The second is event-based creativity – to create news worthy of user’s attention. At his company, they often ask this question, “Can we write ten news headlines with this idea?” The third is creative content – align with what users are willing to pay for, which is quality and interesting content. People are still willing to pay to watch movies at theatres or on streaming services, and advertising could learn from this.

He drove his points across by sharing some of the projects and campaigns that he has done for clients such as Oreo,, Tmall, L'Oréal and UnionPay, which were indeed insightfully creative, inspiring and connects with the human emotions.

“To get inspiration, you have to be an observer of your daily surroundings, so your designs and advertisements are more relevant to people’s story, problems and perspectives. Through this, your ad campaigns are able to touch people’s hearts,” Xiao Kun shared.

“First of all, your portfolio is very important. Be sure to develop a strong portfolio that’s able to showcase your ideas. Secondly, it’s equally important to have patience and the passion, always be excited to learn and achieve more. That’s how you can grow and sustain in this industry. Even better if you have a strong art sense of what works and what doesn’t,” he advised fresh graduates about the industry’s expectations.

The One Academy is committed to providing the best art education programmes and continues to nurture its students passionately through its “Masters Train Masters” coaching philosophy, which has been practised for over 30 years, by providing diploma and degree courses in Advertising & Graphic Design, Digital Animation, Digital Media Design, Film Visual Effects, Interior Architecture & Design, Illustration, Fine Arts, Paris Fashion Design & Pattern Making, Computer Science, Game Design and Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation. For more information on The One Academy, visit or call +603-7875 5510 or e-mail your enquiries to [email protected].

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