Chris Kyme: Postcard from Hong Kong

Chris Kyme_April2016.jpgChris Kyme continues his "Postcards from..." series and this time he catches up with some of Asia's finest creative directors at the recent Hong Kong Kam Fan judging...

Kymechow in major business win (plug plug)... Having never been one to take advantage of any physical or virtual stage to promote my own interests, I start this month by breaking with tradition, seeing as it's harder to get any mention in the usually business news-hungry trade rags when you're a smaller independent these days than it is to get a ticket to the Rugby 7s. So, I hereby announce that Kymechow was recently appointed by major High Net Worth insurer Transamerica Life Bermuda as its brand and creative agency. No mean feat I might add since we nicked it away from a BIG NAME AGENCY. There, that's done and out of the way.
Speaking of BIG NAME AGENCIES quite a few were represented last night (as I write) as the Hong Kong Kam Fan awards hosted its 'Meet the Judges' evening at the 2nd Draft bar in Causeway Bay, with a jolly good turnout of fine gents and ladies, and always good to rub shoulders with some of Asia's finest, including Claudia Cristovao, Head of Brand Studio, APAC, Tokyo, CK Tan, CCO, Amber China, Yasuharu Sasaki, Digital ECD, Dentsu Inc, Woon Ho, CCO of Hakuhodo, S.E.Asia, and the legendary Thai guru who needs no introduction Suthisak Sucharittanonta, Chairman and CCO BBDO Bangkok.

And last but not least I had the pleasure to meet John Pallant, Creative Director of Brouhaha UK, and whom I was more than familiar with in his former years as a major D&AD-frequenting writer and creative director from the 90s during his years at creative giant agencies like BMP, Saatchi & Saatchi, CDP and GGT (if the acronyms don't ring any bells, go grabs some old D&ADs and do your homework). So, great to meet and have a chat with Mr Pallant and compare some mutual London and Asian acquaintances from back in the day "What's Jeremy Clarke up to these days then?", etc..).

Postcard pic 1.jpgPostcard pic 2.jpgPostcard pic 3.jpgAnd of course, then there was good old Jimmy Lam, co-founder and grandfather of AdFest as well as founder of Longyin Review, himself quite a legend, who just managed to get past the door last night despite their policy of not accepting anyone over the age of 70, because luckily he had his Hong Kong Old Age Pensioners I.D.card with him to prove he had not quite reached that landmark yet.

So all good and fun and games and catching up with delightful company.

Such is my own maturity I can still namecheck not just old Thai industry stalwarts from back in the day with Sir Suthisak but even recollect major award-winning TV spots ("Do you remember that brilliant Nivea spot done by Bhanu?" etc..). I think I've been around just a bit too long. He did express an interest in reading my 'Made in Hong Kong' book about the Hong Kong 'glory' years of advertising, which dear soon-to-retire and bound to be missed Executive Director of the Hong Kong 4As Angela Ng did provide for him later on.

Of course I was always under the impression that only about 3 people in Asia ever read my 'Postcard from Hong Kong', which includes my 14 year old son who only reads it because I threaten to ban him from listening to George Ezra and Childish Gambino for a moth if he doesn't. But alas shock horror I was mistaken, and quite a few of last night's crowd owned up to actually being regular readers of my ramblings, which actually worked against me when I blurted out that the gathered verbal content of the evening's conversations might make it into this very article in the coming days.

So from then on, my perceived persona seemed to change to that of snooping paparazzi and my further seemingly not-loaded questions were met with verbal brick walls.

So, Khun Suthisak, do you think Hong Kong creativity is going down the pan? "No comment."

CK, is China leaving Hong Kong behind? "No comment."

Mr Woon Hoh sir, see much scam work this week? "No comment."

Sasaki-san, is it true Dentsu have tried to buy out Tesla? "No comment."

Jimmy Lam, where do you get your toupee fitted, just in case I start losing my hair? "No comment."

Lost for words, I almost went over to ask the rather ubiquitous Cheil Hong Kong CCO Paul Chan if his agency was officially the hottest creative agency in town, but realised that I'd promised to get home before 3am so I gave that one a swerve. And so I trundled off into the night, not before bidding farewell to these fine folks and saying hi and promising a future beer with Richard Sorensen of Ogilvy.

A great gathering, Hong Kong needs more of it!

Chris Kyme is Co-founder and Creative Director at Kymechow, Hong Kong

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