Shanghai Expo 2010

Sowing the Seeds of Creative Partnership For a Better City and a Better Life

To capitalise on the showcasing opportunities offered by Shanghai Expo 2010, UKTI instigated and supported the development and delivery of a tailored creative industries business programme at the event. Led by Christine Losecaat, this included a series of trade missions for specific creative sub-sectors, as well as a number of associated experiential workshops focused on advertising, architecture, communications and design.

Called ‘Sowing the Seeds of Creative Partnership  For a Better City, Better Life’, the workshops aimed to reflect the overall theme of the Expo, drawing on the design and concept of the UK’s pavilion, which incorporated seeds from the Millinium Seed Bank Project.

Each workshop was designed to showcase UK creative expertise to a Chinese audience and was led by at least one British creative leader, boasting international credentials in their chosen field. Participants were taken through the creative process for the sector in question, with UK approaches and capability used as a model.

The workshops aimed to:

  • Be experiential, by showcasing the importance of the ‘big idea’ and how the UK’s creative process and approach set the country apart from its competitors
  • Create tangible output that would be business focused and eye catching
  • Help develop new/enhanced networks
  • Increase knowledge and understanding of the breadth, depth and unique attributes of the UK creative industries in important growth markets
  • Encourage decision makers in government, business and the arts to choose the UK as a trading partner or investment destination
  • Eclipse the profile of the UK’s competitors in target markets
  • Enhance the reputation of UK creativity and creative thought leadership
  • Attract significant media coverage, contributing to the positioning of the UK as a creative, innovative and collaborative nation
  • Increase the number of invitations to tender offered to UK businesses and ultimately the number of contracts won

On behalf of UKTI, Christine worked with the IPA, RIBA, IVCA and Bell Design to develop and deliver the programme. Post event evaluation suggests that several million pounds of business has already been won as a result and much more is in the pipeline.

Participant feedback included:

The trip for me had two really worthwhile outcomes, aside from the excellent company. First was the opportunity to discover what future clients might look like in five years time, if and when China decides to export brands as well as things. The second was the opportunity to see at first hand the tectonic economic events which are affecting all our present clients right now.”
Rory Sutherland, former IPA President and Vice Chair Ogilvy Group UK

A fascinating insight into how China is dealing with its relatively new found business strength, and how it is coming to terms with being in possession of some of the most powerful brand potential in the world.”
Russ Lidstone, CEO, Euro RSCG

The more you experience China, the less you realise you know. Our objective to assist Chinese brands to go global was correct. How we do this is probably more complicated than we think.  As a ‘people business’ we have a lot to learn. That said, the Chinese have a lot to learn from us too and they recognise this. For all of their economic might, at a personal level everyone we met was interested in what they could learn from us. It is this mutual desire for greater understanding that is really exciting. Greater co-operation between UK agencies and Chinese brand owners represents a ‘win-win’ for both sides and there-in lies the opportunity.”
Carol Stickler, Head of Strategic Planning, 23red