Metalworks will be headquartered in Singapore and led by Tom Kelshaw, director of technology, Maxus, and Nico Abbruzzese, Asia-Pacific head of digital, Maxus.
Abbruzzese said the unit will focus on utility and delivery of technology solutions, implementing ideas for clients, not just talking about them.
“It is starting from the fact that everything we create has to have some criteria that turns it into reality,” he said. “It has to be a useful solution and it has to be used.”
Metalworks will be a standalone unit within the agency, with clients utilising the division without a requirement to engage Maxus, Abbruzzese said.
Recent Metalworks projects include sensor-equipped cricket equipment and apps, Twitter-powered vending machines, facial recognition systems for retail environments and out-of-home media.
Abbruzzese said brands must now focus on technology solutions and move away from the mentality that campaigns or ads will solve every marketing problem.
“That’s not the solution nowadays—quite the opposite in fact,” he said. “Companies like Nike, Starbucks or Coca-Cola are responding to marketing challenges by doing things for consumers. It’s a move away from 'saying' towards 'doing'. That’s the key to unlock if brands are sitting in stalemate.”
With the division headquartered in Singapore, Maxus expects the exportation of ideas globally as part of an “East to West strategy”.
Abbruzzese said this will deliver better results than the import of ideas from the US or UK, where he says there is already a “high degree of tech evolution”.
“If we create ideas and opportunities using technology that works and starts from concepts here in Asia, it is absolutely scalable to the UK and USA markets,” he said. “If you can make it work here, it can work everywhere.”
Metalworks will be able to rigorously test multiple ideas at a lower cost and with more available talent resources than in the West, he said.
"Testing in [Western] countries, where the cost to create is fairly high, is a dangerous exercise,” he said. “Testing and playing in places where the cost of entry and availability of talent resources and skills is much more accessible is offering us a longer runway to get things off the ground.”
This article first appeared on Campaign Asia