Charlie Blower










The Grand Jury is NYF’s front line in selecting the World’s Best Advertising®. These award-winning creatives evaluate NYF’s entries from over 100 countries worldwide and determine which creative campaign will move on to the medal round. Not an easy task. It takes experience, brilliant creative chops, and dedication to their craft.

NYF’s 2018 Grand Jury of 300+ creatives are one of the most diverse juries on the planet, with advertising creatives from over 50 countries around the globe, this jury is a powerhouse of innovation and creativity.

Charlie Blower is Co-founder and Managing Partner of Blak Labs. He is an award-winning creative leader who set up Blak Labs in Singapore with his local creative partners in 2010. Over seven years on and with a second office in Myanmar, the company is  learning and growing thanks to the partnership of clients such as Maybank, Gardens by the Bay, Mercedes-Benz and others.

Prior to Blak Labs, Charlie helmed Euro RSCG Singapore as its MD and ECD, leading teams to develop effective creative work for Carlsberg (Malaysia and Singapore), Volvo (Asia-Pacific), Dell (APAC) and DBS (Singapore.) In 2009, the agency won “Agency of the year” for South-East Asia. 

Charlie was one of DDB Singapore’s creative leaders, delivering Effie-winning ideas and results for clients such as the Breast Cancer Foundation, Riding for the Disabled, UOB, Raffles Hotel, RSAF, Volkswagen etc during his time working across DDB, Tribal and Rapp Collins. 

On Judging:

New York Festivals: Why judge…and how do you find the time?

Charlie Blower: It’s important to make the time to see what’s out there. We live such distracted lives nowadays – it’s essential to refocus and reset.
Being invited to judge is a privilege because it gives you a snapshot of what is current and relevant from around the world. Which in turn helps me try to figure out what we should be doing for the future.

New York Festivals: What cultural/social changes do you think will influence this year’s work?

Charlie Blower: The diversity debate. 

New York Festivals: What are your personal criteria for choosing award-winning work?  

Charlie Blower: Does it challenge category conventions in a positive way? Does it take the conversation somewhere new? Is it fresh and relevant? Does it move you? Do I wish I’d done it? 

On Advertising: 

New York Festivals: What was the hardest ad you ever had to create and why? 

Charlie Blower: The one we’re working on now.

New York Festivals: In 3 words or less, what do you think about 6 second commercials? 

Charlie Blower: Watch this space.

New York Festivals: What was the first ad you saw that made you say “wow!” and got you on the track to a career in advertising?

Charlie Blower: Hmm, this gives my age away but British Airways “Manhattan”. One big idea that conveys an incredibly powerful message.

New York Festivals: What are your thoughts about clients/brands are creating in-house departments to create their advertising, how will/does this affect the industry regarding creativity in communications?

Charlie Blower: I think clients are smart to bring the creatives inside. It’s a great way to manage their business, create ideas from the heart and manage costs and time.
Thing is, when you do all this from the inside, it’s easy to lose perspective. That’s the danger.
What independent agencies provide is a view that connects with the people on the street. Clients should value that point of view and the freshness it brings to their business. 

New York Festivals: What philosophy drives your career? 

Charlie Blower: Keep learning, doing and discovering.   

New York Festivals: What’s the single best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t go into advertising. Slightly counter-intuitive I know, but hey it seems to be working.

New York Festivals: Who gave you your big break in advertising?

Two guys in Hong Kong. The first was Hans Ebert, who ran DDB. Hans took pity on my shoes and offered me a job. Guess I’d worn out the leather looking for one. The other is Mark Amdur, who sadly passed away recently. Mark owned his own shop in Hong Kong, where you had to do everything. A great place to do stuff and learn.

On Life: 

New York Festivals: What’s the one smartphone app you couldn’t live without?

Charlie Blower: BBC News. 

New York Festivals: Who’s a creative icon that inspires you?

Charlie Blower: Dave Trott.

New York Festivals: Favorite travel destination?

Can I have more than one? Bali, London, NYC, Tokyo. 

New York Festivals: If you’re binge watching…what are you watching?

It’s a toss-up between Game of Thrones and House of Cards.