12 Questions : 20 People - #2 Eugene Cheong, CCO Asia Pacific, Ogilvy & Mather

eugene.jpgSydney based creative business 12:20 is currently in Singapore and Hong Kong working on a regional brand campaign. While in the region Christian Finucane and Jon Skinner are meeting 20 creative leaders from the top agencies to discuss the opportunities and challenges for the creative industry. The interviews, '12 Questions: 20 People' are being published in a series of blog posts on Campaign Brief Asia. The second interview is with Eugene Cheong, (pictured) Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific.

What's the most exciting thing about working in Asia? Piyushrajivabhijitajayjoonofinkyjuggidougschifffrancisweejenniferhuajabdavefowler reedcolinsmccrackengrahampainterwisitnidkorngavinsimpsonrafaelmehdimelvynlimjeffcurry chrisgurneyshaynepooleytroylimjonlokenicolascouranttonyyimervynreyanttixanderalvinchin lindyhowardstevewallsfionagordongiriwanlingjamesbrookpartridgepdinsumedi richmondwalkerdanicomarangushennah.
What inspires you?
Trust and respect.
How has social media impacted creativity in the region?
Social media's destruction of creativity, as I know it, is total. The only thing left standing is storytelling.
dumb ways to die-thumb-400x217-117367-thumb-400x217-133069.jpgWhat is the recent campaign everyone wishes they'd done?
Dumb Ways to Die. Even my son is playing the game.
Which clients are pushing the boundaries and how?
For me, it's Coca-Cola. The sweet spot of Coke's Open Happiness platform is the invention of toys like the Friendship and Hug machines that genuinely give people pleasure without any pretension of saving the world. I do wish Coke were more generous with the greenback though.
Are there any cultural 'creative watchouts' working here?
Don't be an asshole. Don't just manage up. Don't just look after number one. Don't play with yourself. Don't shut the door. Don't eat alone. Don't be a creative badass, circa 1980. It's boring.
Which Asian country is punching above its weight creatively?
Cheil, Korea. Party, Japan.
Why does creativity matter?
Are you kidding me?
CF JS Singapore.jpgWhat makes the local industry different?
Local clients are entrepreneurs. They are generally more open to new things and new thinking than the average global brand.
Cannes Titanium, Spike Asia Grand Prix or AWARD Gold Pencil?
Cannes is a lottery. That said, it's the only doorstopper that unites the clients, the creatives, the suits, the planners and Sir Martin.
What is the creative issue that frustrates you most?
Procurement. Clients think that by starving the agency they are being clever. In the end, it swings around and bites them in the bum. Instead of pros with 10,000 hours under their belt, they are getting kids straight out art school working on their business. No wonder, 99.99% of the stuff on the net sucks.
What's the biggest opportunity for creative people?
It has always been, and will forever be, the pristine white piece of paper.

Pictured above: Christian Finucane and Jon Skinner in Singapore.


Jerry said:

Have to disagree with his views on procurement. Most clients have a reasonable approach to cost...its just that the big agencies take a lot off the budget as their profit margin....which leaves them no choice but to get kids out of art school working on theeir business.

Its something both parties need to address.

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