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#BelieveInYourself

#BelieveInYourself

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith

March 15, 2018

Only you can make your dreams come true.

One of the greatest acts of courage is to persevere when the odds seem to be against you. A recent TV spot for Cambodian telecom company Smart Axiata dares more young people to go after their dreams—despite what anyone may say, even friends and disapproving family members.

The film, created by Havas Riverorchid Cambodia, is part of a larger campaign that’s inspiring driven and ambitious Cambodians to #BelieveInYourself. Joint Creative Director Paul Bermingham shares how Smart Axiata managed to tap into a greater story about unyielding confidence.

"Over the past few years, through strong perseverance, a creative revival has started to blossom."

So, tell us the storyline for this spot.

We share the stories of five young Cambodians who have dreams. Their paths and passions may be different, but they all share the same goal. Their stories are entwined as we see them go through a few struggles along the way where nobody believes in them. They question their path and think about giving up, but through sheer determination and the ability to overcome their fears, they eventually achieve their goals.  

What was the insight that led you to create this story?

Most young Cambodians have dreams, but they lack the self-confidence to achieve them. Either from a lack of support from their families or friends, or a lack of infrastructure, they don’t have the encouragement that they need to achieve their goals, and the fear of failure paralyzes them.

We wanted to help inspire the next generation of Cambodian creatives to overcome their fears and believe in themselves.  

How does this spot tap into a larger narrative about perseverance and self-confidence?

Cambodia has a revered artistic past that was nearly wiped out during the Khmer Rouge rein in the 1970s. Many artists and musicians lost their lives, as they were seen as a threat to the establishment. This created a creative vacuum as outside influences flooded into the country during the 1980s–2000s. The music during this time was usually a copy of Chinese or Western songs translated into Khmer.  

Over the past few years, through strong perseverance, a creative revival has started to blossom with original music being written by young Cambodian musicians and then championed by Smart through their SmartMusic app. Graffiti artists are painting walls throughout Phnom Penh, fashion designers are creating contemporary styles, young foodies are opening their own restaurants, and people are not just copying ideas anymore, but are confident enough to create their own. They are not afraid of failure anymore.

"It is about believing in yourself enough to blaze your own trail..."

What makes this story so relatable?

By telling the story of five young Cambodians in different creative fields, we show a cross-section of youth culture that young Cambodians can relate to. There is also a lot of family pressure put on young Cambodians to follow traditional career paths such as medicine, law, and education. It is about believing in yourself enough to blaze your own trail in a new creative industry where you can truly express and be yourself.

What’s been the reaction to the campaign so far?

There has been very good feedback from Smart’s fans in the digital space. The spot has had close to four million online views, 12k shares, 136k likes, and thousands of comments on the brand’s Facebook and YouTube pages, producing the highest number of likes for all Smart TV commercials.

But you didn’t just create a TV commercial.

No. We created an on-ground and digital teaser campaign where people were shown inspirational quotes. That was launched a week before the spot was aired. Famous key opinion leaders shared their own personal stories about how they achieved their dreams, and a “Dream Box” activation was placed in universities and shopping malls, where people could reveal their own dreams in a video booth and then Smart would give them a message of encouragement.

One of the greatest acts of courage is to persevere when the odds seem to be against you. A recent TV spot for Cambodian telecom company Smart Axiata dares more young people to go after their dreams—despite what anyone may say, even friends and disapproving family members.

The film, created by Havas Riverorchid Cambodia, is part of a larger campaign that’s inspiring driven and ambitious Cambodians to #BelieveInYourself. Joint Creative Director Paul Bermingham shares how Smart Axiata managed to tap into a greater story about unyielding confidence.

"Over the past few years, through strong perseverance, a creative revival has started to blossom."

So, tell us the storyline for this spot.

We share the stories of five young Cambodians who have dreams. Their paths and passions may be different, but they all share the same goal. Their stories are entwined as we see them go through a few struggles along the way where nobody believes in them. They question their path and think about giving up, but through sheer determination and the ability to overcome their fears, they eventually achieve their goals.  

What was the insight that led you to create this story?

Most young Cambodians have dreams, but they lack the self-confidence to achieve them. Either from a lack of support from their families or friends, or a lack of infrastructure, they don’t have the encouragement that they need to achieve their goals, and the fear of failure paralyzes them.

We wanted to help inspire the next generation of Cambodian creatives to overcome their fears and believe in themselves.  

How does this spot tap into a larger narrative about perseverance and self-confidence?

Cambodia has a revered artistic past that was nearly wiped out during the Khmer Rouge rein in the 1970s. Many artists and musicians lost their lives, as they were seen as a threat to the establishment. This created a creative vacuum as outside influences flooded into the country during the 1980s–2000s. The music during this time was usually a copy of Chinese or Western songs translated into Khmer.  

Over the past few years, through strong perseverance, a creative revival has started to blossom with original music being written by young Cambodian musicians and then championed by Smart through their SmartMusic app. Graffiti artists are painting walls throughout Phnom Penh, fashion designers are creating contemporary styles, young foodies are opening their own restaurants, and people are not just copying ideas anymore, but are confident enough to create their own. They are not afraid of failure anymore.

"It is about believing in yourself enough to blaze your own trail..."

What makes this story so relatable?

By telling the story of five young Cambodians in different creative fields, we show a cross-section of youth culture that young Cambodians can relate to. There is also a lot of family pressure put on young Cambodians to follow traditional career paths such as medicine, law, and education. It is about believing in yourself enough to blaze your own trail in a new creative industry where you can truly express and be yourself.

What’s been the reaction to the campaign so far?

There has been very good feedback from Smart’s fans in the digital space. The spot has had close to four million online views, 12k shares, 136k likes, and thousands of comments on the brand’s Facebook and YouTube pages, producing the highest number of likes for all Smart TV commercials.

But you didn’t just create a TV commercial.

No. We created an on-ground and digital teaser campaign where people were shown inspirational quotes. That was launched a week before the spot was aired. Famous key opinion leaders shared their own personal stories about how they achieved their dreams, and a “Dream Box” activation was placed in universities and shopping malls, where people could reveal their own dreams in a video booth and then Smart would give them a message of encouragement.

Natasha Smith is the strategic communications manager for Havas Group. She happily represents 404 in the 212.

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