We won an award

W hat motivates good works? If you spend meaningful time working with the meaningful people for the meaningful works, that’s how good works are motivated.

When an agency is awarded for good work, it doesn’t really matter for how they win it or how many times that they’ve won it. It simply means the work is special.

We won the best experiential marketing award for a design created for Google. It is thankful to have an opportunity working creatively with a long-term client who understands how we works. It takes guts and efforts to risk for good ideas. But after all, you reward the good work with the trophy on your hand and the smile on your face. Numerous times of undo or even redo become the worthy moments.

Anybody can do bad work, but not everybody does good work

Any work can easily fall into a routine. Even in the creative business, things can be McDonaldized with robotic practice and programmatic thought process. Working in the creative industry, good idea doesn’t always flow when you need it. It needs process to research, generate, and validate before a thought becomes a viable idea. That’s why as a designer, I believe patience is one of the most important attributions in our character and also the ticket to a good work.

Then what’s next after being an award-winning agency?

2020 was a tough time for the world. 2021 is the time for improvement. We follow the world to do the best of our part and continuously to improve ourselves. As a creative agency, we greatly rely on the opportunity when everyone is open for innovation and willing to integrate conventional wisdom for unconventional thought. So, talking about what’s next after being an award-winning agency? We don’t actually feel that we need to be different, but instead, we need to be better as life progress towards a better tomorrow.

Never caged, never settle.

We know we are dying to bring comfort back to life. But normality always eat ourselves with complacency especially when you are labeled – “Special.” It is very natural to have your comfort zone where you feel safe and confident. But never, never take ego into the comfort zone because it is a true devil. It will blind you with distorted reality and false consciousness.

Yes, we won an award

It is an award for the effort and the people who are devoted to the good work. To be frank, winning an award doesn’t give more happiness than finishing a good work. In fact, we have a lot of good works that never been awarded but those hidden gems brought us the same happiness every time when we deliver it to our customers.

At the end, it doesn’t matter how many times you win an award or not winning anything, the moment that a good work is created, is always the moment that you feel very special.

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Marketing for beauty

Love of beauty is taste.
The creation of beauty is art.
The marketing of beauty is science.

Mills is selected by two world-renowned medical aesthetic companies - Merz and Teoxane to develop marketing campaigns in SG.

We fit right into the mission because we love to design beautiful aesthetics.

We know in the first place, taste can be subjective, the idea of beauty and taste are also philosophical but not necessarily conceptual. The imagination intrigued by the philosophy of beauty that takes us to explore the golden ratio practiced by Leonardo Da Vinci in Vitruvian man. Da Vinci’s golden ratio is 1:0.618 and has been coined golden because it is said to be aesthetically pleasing with the perfect proportion of the human body.

Voilà! our mission for this pursuit of beauty becomes a science. Let’s go on with this journey.

Without doubt, both of our clients in the medical aesthetic industry will agree that the dimensions of beauty should be measured by art and science.

When Mills first got the project, our designers had already rejected the superficial idea of making things simply look good. It sounds cliché to say beauty always comes from the inner-self. But the inner-beauty is indeed the aspect that we want to keep long-lasting. The notion echoes the perspective of designing a brand marketing is that, we must create the customer reward with a long-lasting value.

Moving into our plan to accomplish the mission, we want to design the aesthetics of the marketing campaign which isn't just about a pretty face,

but more to perfect a personality. Particularly in the APAC region where some medical aesthetic companies emphasize the enhancement of natural beauty in the marketing message. When we look at China, on the other hand, where the market is trending with the beauty triangle, etc.

After months of learning and studying, going through panel interviews with the practitioners and influencers, we nail the important part in the deliverable with a series of marketing to activate the awareness of medical aesthetics for our customers.

Our work enhances the brand affinity with the right personality. Our center-message magically escalates the brand perception from a pretty face to the appearance becomes a whole personality package. The website that we’ve designed for our customers not only engages the target audience for traffic, but also be used as a consultation tool to assist the purchase decision.

Our design effort complements the innovation in our customer’s products. Mills has earned a bonus of all the good learning working with the knowledgeable customers. When we gain all the industrial knowledge to assist our work, the customers gain the power to strengthen their marketing. The reward of good marketing should always be a reciprocity like this - Customers feel happy, our mission is accomplished :)

The Concise Live-streaming Playbook

The world is expecting 82% of the internet traffic generated through video streaming in 2020. You shouldn’t miss this opportunity in your marketing. But live streaming is not easy, a professional livestream cannot be just a smartphone, a ring light, and then point and shoot. As the experiential agency behind the Google’s livestream, after numerous hours spent on research and even more hours spent for trial and error to design the Google’s livestream content, we certainly know how to make a good video show work. This livestream playbook will walk you through our experience of how to plan and produce a professional live-streaming event.

Think small for your big show

First of all, adjust your mindset. Even you have a big idea, the space and the attention given to you on livestream are tiny. The majority of your target audience are most likely to watch livestream on a mobile device. You do not have a big screen estate to capture their attention. So, bear in mind that you are designing the content for mobile screen, not for a big stage.

As a business, adopting livestream in your marketing communication can be very effective because 80% of consumers would rather watch a live video than read a blog. To begin planning a livestream for your business, follow the marketing rule of thumb: Be On-Brand. With the limit screen estate, you need to think of how to present your brand assets side by side with the speaker in a right proportion. Also, think of your livestream event as a product placement marketing, in which your brand and products are featured in the content that targets a large audience. Almost everything can be branded in your livestream including the mic!

Planning a livestream or a pre-recorded video stream are very different. To manage a livestream is actually similar to planning an event. You have at least two timelines to manage: (1) content design (2)  tech & event logistics.

Remember, when you are live-streaming your business, you are reaching out to your target audience on a small screen. So, be on-brand, simple and concise, let go of the clutter.

See Also  Design For Google

A digital steroid for sales

We also designed a social commerce livestream event for the cosmetic brand Make Up For Ever in Shanghai (eventually we couldn’t launch the show because of the covid-19 lockdown). The experience of preparing the show was truly mind-blowing. In China, live-streaming is taking over the whole digital space. Business in China, particularly the b2c sector, are fully adopting live-streaming as a point of sales. Live-streaming in China is like a digital steroid booster for the TV home shopping network in the past. The pace and the reach are way faster and wider to trigger the pulse of the shoppers.

Live streaming is actually a perfect hybrid in marketing. The Make Up For Ever show was planned as a livestream event at a shopping mall. The goal was to engage the footfall at the mall while amplifying the product message over the web via live-streaming. The design aspects combined all the digital and spatial elements for a show. Besides the usual event planning, we also developed a screenplay to connect the content on the ground to the audience in the digital space. Imagining a consumer journey like this will be all over the marketing touch points and is truly 360° degrees on-ground and online. Not to mention with the KOL effect to drive the social commerce, the outcome can be very rewarding!

It is important to set the stage

Your stage of a live-streaming event is essentially the online media and you probably only have a few choices.

To understand which media should be chosen for your livestream, we have collected some statistics for you:


In May 2019, YouTube Live videos were watched for 284 hours. This was a monthly record for YouTube.

Non-gaming content has been a major growth driver for Twitch representing 11% of the hours watched in December 2019 compared to 8% in December 2018.

In Q2 of 2019, Twitch users watch 2.9 trillion hours of live content.

Twitch is actually bigger than YouTube and over 50% viewers are Asian. Twitch is predominantly for the eSport content.

70% of consumers prefer to watch live video on YouTube over other platforms.

In Q1 2020, Twitter hosted more than 1,200 live-streamed events.

Facebook Live Stream saw a 330% increase in searches between 2016 and 2018.

One in five Facebook videos is a live broadcast.

The number of livestream users reached 560 million in China as of March of 2020 accounts for 62% of the country’s total number of internet users.

The number of people watching livestreaming e-commerce events in China had reached 265 million in March 2020.

In Feb 2020, Taobao live saw a rise of 110% in user numbers.

In China, other than the market’s key live-streaming players such as Tmall, WeChat, Weibo, the growing star is Bilibili which is the number 1 online entertainment platform for the Gen Z in China.

Furthermore, not all the video streaming media provide live-streaming service. If you are planning a livestream event in Singapore or Hong Kong, you probably do it on YouTube or Facebook for the reach and visibility reasons. And then different video streaming media have different requirement for streaming the content. As a wise choice for good result and quality, you might want to talk to an experienced agency like Mills who can strategize a plan to produce your livestream event.

Embracing the new Phygital era

The marketing paradigm has once again shifted for customers and brands. You can see from the above Google trend, less and less people are interested in search engine and then live-streaming is far more popular than social media. If digital marketing plays an important part in your marketing mix, then to move along with the trend of live-streaming seems to be wise.

See Also  If content is King, then data is God

At Mills, we continue to improve our capability of the livestream production. We can customize different scenes and themes at our studio in Hong Kong and Shanghai to suit different marketing and branding livestream events. We believe live-streaming has created a movement in marketing. It fills the gap in the marketing journey between on-ground and online. As an experiential agency, we are very fond of producing livestream event because it elevates our creativity. For marketers, live-streaming has a lot of untapped potentials to improve the return on marketing spending.

The future of marketing looks good. We pledge to commit our creativity to make it even better.

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Authenticity is more than being perfect

Some people look for a real experience. Others make an experience real. We push our boundary to perfect the engagement for a marketing experience with authenticity. This is a story about making a hero moment real and memorable.

The World Of Ip Man To Life In FILMART

The Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART) is an event to promote Hong Kong as the hub for film distribution and production, TV programs and entertainment-related products in Asia Pacific region. Mills was entrusted by the Mandarin Motion Pictures Limited and Macao Government Tourism Office to design and fabricate a pavilion to promote the iconic film – Ip Man Four: the Finale, a Hong Kong biographical martial arts films based on the life events of the Wing Chun master of the same name.

To bring an icon to life, aesthetics is not the first thing to start with

The Ip Man special pavilion aims to release a new teaser trailer of Ip Man 4: The Finale at the FILMART 2019. There has been quite a lot of media portrayals about the great martial arts master. Ip Man – the teacher of Bruce Lee is a household name. You don’t think of redesigning an icon like Ip Man; instead, the challenge is on how to bring the martial arts master and his fame to live.

Before starting the design, we had several meetings with the actor Donnie Yen who played the character Ip Man on screen. The designer must grasp the essence for the presentation, amplify the message of the film, even to dissect the mind of the character in hope of re-generating the best scene of the Ip Man series. The goal was to arouse echo and resonate with the audiences.

See Also  Fill the space

Mills design team re-created the home of Ip Man in the movie. It was an aesthetics that we replicated the early 20th century Foshan for bringing the audiences close to the real life of the world of Ip Man. To construct the pavilion, we referenced the traditional skills of Chinese stonemasonry architecture and mixed with the expression of modern art. We managed to use a LED screen as a Chinese plaque to display the movie trailer and a 3D graphic wall was used to create an illusion of a fighting scene in the Ip Man movie. The pavilion developed a mixed reality which integrated storytelling and art for an unique experience.

The power of storytelling

As a creative agency we share big passion in experiential design, we understand that with only the aesthetic skill is not good enough, storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into our imagination. It is essentially the same as one says marketing is no longer about the product you make, but about the stories you tell.

To re-create an Ip Man experience, we add design with storytelling for an authentic and memorable marketing journey, and we feel so proud to bring the world of Ip Man to life for the fans of this iconic film series at the HK FILMART.

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If content is King, then data is God

Digital marketing is nothing new, but still not a big leap forward. The question of how digital marketing works has been irrelevant for years. It is not about how it works, but more on how to do it right? At Mills, we have a unique approach for digital marketing.

In digital marketing, content is the King, data is GOD.

Take a look at a chart of the HubSpot state of the marketing report 2019 (see above). Nowadays, with all these channels in marketing, we need two skills to practice our work: (1) content skill (2) data skill.

Here is our thought for content. Everything on social media is about content and mainly the short and snackable content. The world is now left with only a few-seconds attention span. The content consumption behavior has been changed from reading to glancing, and now may be just a few seconds of screen swiping.

  • The average attention span is 8.25 seconds (less than the attention span of a goldfish), compared to 15 years ago, the average attention span was slightly longer at 12 seconds.
  • 17% of the website pageviews last less than 4 seconds, and only 4% last more than 10 minutes.
  • The average percentage of words read on a single web page is about 28%.
  • Internet videos seem to be more captivating with the users spend an average of 2.7 minutes per video.

You should find your audience before engaging them with content

As an experiential agency, we totally understand that it takes great effort to produce content. But with a wrong match of the audience who give only a few seconds of their attention, the effort to engage will be in vain to produce any meaningful outcome. It is true that good content can create attention, but what if you can know the audience’s interest or intent before creating the content to grab their attention? Does it sound like a better strategy?

Mills has a unique data crunching approach to research for interest and intent. Our client Kering Group came to us for a digital landscape research before they developed their marketing content.

See Also  Design For Google

Of course we can’t reveal the client’s data, but we can still show you our approach and methodology.

Too many data, too little source.

It isn’t difficult to find data but not many channels that you can find the legit data sources. Good data is priceless, rubbish data can be toxic. Data add a scientific layer to marketing. With the correct data, you will be benefited from making the informed decision.

But good data is a scarcity. Too many people claim to have data but in fact most of the insights developed through the bad data are superficial, if not worse, it distorts the result. Most people will turn to the search engine and social media for data. These two channels are indeed useful, one for the intent-based data, the other is good for persona.

Some DMP and the data on-boarding companies are able to provide you the advance programmatic data solutions. But if you just want to develop a landscape of your market or establish a baseline to validate your marketing campaign, etc., using a DMP might be a bit overkill.

A holistic approach for your digital landscape.

While you are screening and classifying the data, you should also come up with a structure for your data views.

This is one of the models that we are using to develop a digital brand insight. It gives a very concise but holistic perspective of your brand landscape with different views for interest and intent.

  1. Start with the market, look at the brand equity with the data distribution.
  2. Establish a benchmark with the TOMA – Top of mind awareness.
  3. Create a market drill-down for segments.
  4. Craft a digital persona of your audience.
  5. Profile your competitors.

There are always things that you don’t know you know

Data discovery is way more interesting than data reporting. Why do you pay for the insight that you already know? Your marketing will not be benefited from the conventional wisdom. At Mills, because of our DNA as a creative agency, we like to discover new horizon. In fact, it is much more fun and invaluable to discover new insight instead of reporting the same old.

In our experience, with the digital Gen Z taking over the economy and they are eligible to vote for what to do and how to live, digital marketing needs a new face to communicate for new perspective. We no longer push or shout to our customers without knowing what they need; instead, co-creation is the key to resonate with them. And the winning strategy for content co-creation is to discover things that we don’t know we know.

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Fill the space

The knowledge of space can be science, can be art. To design for space, it is a dialogue between art and science. Space also encompass visual stimulus and emotional sensation. This is a story of a designer’s journey filling space with imagination.

A spatial designer monologue

Forget about design theories or philosophy, leave the designer’s pride aside and stop bluffing with the psychedelic imagination. Just get the work done.

A structure cannot be visualized in the designer’s mind but a few trial-and-error with a series of self-mumbling in funky language will probably get a blur idea of how to move forward.

Go back to check the brief if it does exist, hope to find some hints or discover a danger zone that you cannot be there. Knowing the boundary of what you cannot do is the same as knowing the objective. Try to swap eyes with your audience, taste what they feel disgusted and imagine what they will be astonished. Suddenly, everything flows into a clear direction. Beautiful ideas stacked up to fill the empty space. The designer starts sketching and the blur image becomes frame and skeleton. Voilà! everything works like a charm.

From space to a journey

The space is an answer of the question for a journey. It sounds philosophical, but truth be told, it is actually essential. To design a space, the designer must validate a lot of elements and requirements. The validation process is very important to understand how the space will be used, how the people will navigate the space, how do they interact with the content of the space? Very often we ask ourselves can we make the space talk?

Why not? Navigating a space is like listening to a story. The aesthetics always gives the first impression. It waves and welcomes the people for walking into the space. The zoning plan arranges all the content of the space which they are carefully curated to connect different parts of a visitors’ journey. The designer will also plan the lighting, the sound, the WOW factors, all are the stimulus that trigger the visitors’ basic senses. While you might think spatial design is about fitting out an interior, the design process is more like planning an experience for a journey. This is how good design works.

How do we plan a happy journey for Alibaba’s exhibition visitors

Built to last

Someone must take the design blueprint and starts proving it with nuts and bolts. These are the professional workmen with the craftsmanship. The validation process continues with a dialogue between engineer and designer. It is a reality check and sometime crushes the Alice wonderland. Where are we heading to? Should we go back to the ground zero or should we courageously move on? A dialectical relationship begins to heat up.

This is exactly the moment when a skillful project planner who is the lifesaver with the plan A and B and sometime C to Z. Eventually the team finds harmony from discord. We finally are heading to the mission accomplished.

None of us is as smart as all of us. If you take out the team in teamwork, it’s just work. Who wants that? When you hand good people possibility, they do great things. And this has been our belief at Mills and it becomes our virtue built to last.


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Build For Art

Art can be seen as a poem without words. Building an art installation isn’t just putting pieces together in a plot, the expression of the meanings and ideas are all in the details required meticulous craftsmanship and care.

Murakami vs Murakami

Curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran, Director of Astrup Fearnley Museet (Oslo, Norway) and Tobias Berger, Head of Art at Hong Kong Tai Kwun, MURAKAMI vs MURAKAMI – a major survey exhibition of the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, which opened from June to September 2019 in Hong Kong.

The exhibition featured divergent extremes of the artist’s oeuvre from his large-scale post-apocalyptic works to his optimistic flower pieces, and then to his contemplative Enso paintings, offering Buddhist visions of enlightenment.


A designer toy designed and produced by the Japanese company MediCom Toy Incorporated. Be@rbrick is an anthropomorphized bear with an extremely simplified form and a pot belly.

Many contemporary artists and designers from all over the world have designed figures. Designing a Bearbrick figure means creating a design scheme, or deco, for the standard mold. Contributors range from visual artists such as H. R. Giger to Pushead, Stash, and even fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood and Ivana Helsinki.

This was a show that we curated in Macau in 2019.

Work guided by passion

Working with all these unique masterpieces elevates our character. The mission was indeed challenging, but it keeps our technique and sensitivity in pace with the sense of contemporary. The pleasure is all ours.

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Design For Google

Google is our first client since day zero before we even thought of what our future would be. Our story with Google is about courage, hard work, and persistence.

Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying

Our first design for Google was the Google flagship experience – the China’s Google Developer Days (GDD) in 2017.  It took us six months to finish the aesthetic design. GDD in China is equivalent to the Google I/O in the US. It is a market barometer for technology. Our inspiration was to give tech a playful character. Why not organize a play day for the geeks?

Think With Google

The success of GDD brought us to another milestone design for Google in China. We started working on a Google’s b2b experience – Think With Google. In an effort to position Google as a thought leader, the Think With Google is a Google’s brand for consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research. Think With Google talks to the marketers about how digital marketing works. The consideration of the design aesthetics is to amplify the professional essence and the applications of the Google technology, but not overkill when telling the story of how tech works in a creative way.

Design for the future of Google

Google is no stranger to design. To design for Google, it is important to understand the Google’s design philosophy – the material design, a visual language that synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation of technology and science. We were given a mission to design an important branding style guide for the future of Google – the TensorFlow.

See Also  Fill the space

TensorFlow was developed by the Google Brain team initially for research purpose only. Today TensorFlow is the most famous machine learning technology in the world. To design a communication style guide for TensorFlow, we put adaptability in the first priority. Our belief is that any styling guideline must be produced to fulfill a practical purpose. A styling guideline is a document that can be used to help build and identify your brand as well as the language used to communicate your brand. It is a document that anyone could pick up, look through, and fully understand your brand.

Till today

It is a fruitful journey to work for a professional client who can challenge your wisdom and grow the knowledge together. Our relationship with Google continues to evolve, until today, we have been producing so many aesthetics for Google from spatial to experiential, brand styling to the best practice playbook, on-ground to online. This agency-client relationship is still going strong after three years and we are learning new things every time when we work together. We feel so much for the design that we’ve done together with Google. At the end, we realize, we don’t just design things that look good, we create wisdom made visible.

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