John Kyriakou comes on board and Chris Chiu moves up at Leo Burnett Arc Singapore

Chris Kian John.jpgLeo Burnett Singapore has promoted Chris Chiu (left), currently ECD of Leo Burnett Singapore, to Group ECD, Leo Burnett & Arc Worldwide Singapore. In addition John Kyriakou (right), most recently Regional Creative and Managing Partner of Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore, joins in the newly-created role of Deputy CEO of Leo Burnett & Arc Worldwide Singapore.

"With Leo Burnett and Arc Worldwide on track to grow double digit this year, we want to ensure that our team has the best leadership and support in place to take this growth further; these are indeed good consequences to manage," Said Jarek Ziebinski, President Leo Burnett & Arc Asia Pacific.
The appointments come on the back of the agency's growth over the past year which saw the addition of high profile new business wins including UOB, Friesland Campina and Singapore Army to its roster.

Tan Kien Eng (pictured center), CEO of Leo Burnett & Arc Worldwide Malaysia and Singapore said: "Elevating Chris to Group ECD signifies our continual focus in ensuring a seamless approach towards providing solutions for our clients. The rapidly evolving communications landscape today demands that we stay relevant; the promotion of Chris also represents our ambition to be a centre of creativity at the forefront of change. John is a veteran who brings vast experience in brand building and managing large clients to the agency. The new role will see John managing existing businesses as well as lend his support to new business acquisition".

Chiu, who was named Creative Director of the Year at the Hall of Fame organised by IAS, spent the last ten years at Leo Burnett where he's been Executive Creative Director of the Jakarta, Bangkok, and Singapore offices - the last three and a half years as ECD at Leo Burnett Singapore.

Kyriakou is an industry veteran with over four decades of experience working on brands across virtually all product categories in several countries including Australia, London, Singapore, and Toronto. During which, he accumulated a wealth of experience setting up direct and digital businesses, developing strategies, creative and the managing of large clients and agencies as well as collecting a slew of industry accolades from award shows including One Show, New York Festival, Creative Circle Awards and Clios.

Over the course of his career, Kyriakou spent a total of 22 years with JWT working in Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and Toronto. At JWT Singapore, he led the office first as Executive Creative Director and later with the additional role of Chairman, from a team of 30 to 120. He also led the positioning of Citibank through the 1990's and it not only became a business success but was considered campaign of the decade.

Kyriakou left Asia for Toronto in 1997 where he diversified into corporate responsibility, healthcare and digital. During this time, he also taught copywriting at the Ontario College of Art & Design. He returned to Singapore in 2007 to join Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore as Regional Creative and Managing Partner.  


Anonymous said:

Other agencies have nothing to fear here. Clearly a costcutting move...have one guy take over 2 peoples jobs. And of course UOB demands that the silver haired one has to move with the business.....can't have him just doing retail bank ads can we?

Anonymous said:

Jeez - whatever is Publicis coming to? Shuffling people between Dah Groupe agencies Saatchi and Burnetts isn't really fair to the genuinely talented Chris Chiu.

For the records, Kyriakou always moves with UOB's Khoo - first at JWT with Citi and then at Saatchi with UOB.

Wake up Singapore - for the west already has!!! Shouldn't the 3As institute some sort of cross-agency audit to ok the creds of senior hires? After all, it is in the unanimous interests of an industry in search of its survival. No?

Anonymous said:

Hey, let's give the Kriakou a break, yeah? It wasn't his fault that an agency got pressurised into hiring another creative. UOB is such big money, LB had better listen to their management when they say, "Hire..."

Anonymous said:

“…a slew of industry accolades from award shows including One Show, New York Festival, Creative Circle Awards and Clios.” How? The true picture can be ascertained by the award-winning performance of Saatchi on UOB – where the entire UOB team couldn’t pull off a SINGLE blue-blooded award (Cannes, D&AD, Clio, Adfest in over 4 years.) EXCUSES, ANYONE?

“…led the positioning of Citibank through the 1990's and it not only became a business success but was considered campaign of the decade.” Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Clutching at straws now, are we?

Anonymous said:

A real look at the demise of stature, ability and mettle in Singapore's advertising scene over the years:
Burnett: Martin Lee then, Chris Chiu now.
McCann: Marc Shattner then, Farook Madon now.
Saatchi: David Droga then, Richard Copping now.
Ogilvy: Neil French then, Jagee Ramkishan now.
Euro: Jeremy Rawles then, Victor Ng now.
DDB: Tim Evill then, Neil Johnston now.

The only positive aberration is JWT, where Guan Hin is a dramatic improvement over his predecessor. Which is why this agency may be the one bright spark of hope for the next generation.

Anonymous said:

9:28 - To be fair, French and Droga are incomparable and would pale any bunch of current CDs, here or anywhere else in the world. Take those two out and the current crop of CDs are holding their own in terms of creativity and accomplishments. It's always hard to compare eras so let's keep an open mind.

Guan Hin is one of the good ones but disappointed to see him condoning blatant plagiarism at JWT (see WWF).

Anonymous said:

You forgot to mention BBDO Singapore...oh wait...

Anonymous said:

Somehow, I can't help but get the feeling that LB was forced into hiring. But at that position? Surely they could have agreed to take him on as a Creative Group Head in charge of UOB?

Yeah, Guan and Elrick are probably the only two legends around.

Anonymous said:

It's unfair to label John Kyriakou so wrongly. He didn't just work on UOB. He was also the brains behind the much-awarded Thai SPCA campaign. In fact, wasn't he also the brains behind the agency's Risk campaign? He has all these award winning campaigns, so let's stop accusing him of only creating the trashy UOB work.

Anonymous said:

I'm glad this thread is gaining momentum and getting skeletons out of the Singapore ad industry's closet. I only hope this becomes for us, what the Tsunami TVC was to the West. I don't know this John Kryako personally but he sounds like our agency's Chief Creative Officer who only works on retail ads for a retailer and boring outdated tv commercials for a telco. Why can't our generation have the advantage of being taught by the greats like Droga or French?

Anonymous said:

BBDO? Haha, my pet peeve. Just take a look at all the "world-class" creative for their SingTel, Visa and HP work to know how good their then ECD was with real work for big brands. ("Oh no, but that isn't fair. ALL the clients of THIS BBDO office are jerks. Not like BBDO's clients in other parts of the world. THOSE clients are ALL treats.")

Anonymous said:

A bunch of punks obsessed with winning awards any way interfering in how agencies hire their senior personnel. Lay off kids, it's none of your business.....there are far greater considerations when making a senior hire than worrying if the person features on the CB list.

11.30 I know who you're referring to....this person does not play the awards game...say what you will about him, but he is a very smart operator who knows which side of his bread is buttered....very good with clients and relationships....the work this guy does cannot be measured in metal but by how many people enjoy employment with the ageny as a result of his efforts and support their families with the salaries they regularly take home....can you claim to do even half of that.....judging by your venomous post, probably not.

Anonymous said:

Guan and Steve Elrich are both very good ecds but what we miss is the David Drogas, Neil French's, Craig Davis's, Jim Aitchison's and the Tony Redman's.

Tham Khai Meng was the biggest name here but he left. Linda Locke is gone. Andy Greenaway has no power left within Saatchi so is sidelined. Eugene Cheong is still finding his feet and has to prove himself.

Who else is there to make us a power in Asia? No one wants to work in Singapore any more. I wish there were great people who can fill these shoes and make our industry great again. The power has turned to China and India.

Anonymous said:

1.58pm; Well said.

Anonymous said:

If you put half as much effort into improving your creative as you do whining,
you won't need a French and Droga to make your career.
They got to where they are by hard work.
Stop using CDs as an excuse.
Raise your own game and be the hope for your generation.

Anonymous said:

Dear 1:58... We are... a bunch of punks? And you are - Droga? Batey? French? Elrick? Cheong? Finally, we coax some highly paid deadwood... out of the industry dread wood. Listen dude, going by your outburst, chances are you DON'T head the creative department of a creatively-relevant gig like Ogilvy, BBH, JWT or Lowe. In which case, you may as well keep doing what you're best doing... viz., plastering bus panels with dengue prevention or burger voting creative disguises.

Anonymous said:

@ 1.58 - any chance that you (personally) are one of the retailer-telco CCO's salaried gratefuls? If I recognise the tone and language of your post, it's similar to the emails you inseminate our consciousness with frequently, mister (Ee See Dee) Jay Jay. Going by track records, both sides of y-o-u-r buttered toast are jammed. You've bitten the hands of genuinely talented mentors (like Madon, Guan and Ramakrishnan). They fed you. You back-bit them (quite the way you will soon back-bite your current benefactor). And, worst, they know you did

Anonymous said:

Sure, the new breed of ECDs may be t-r-y-I-n-g to fill those giant shoes of yesteryear. But where’s the stature, intellect and global respect? Barring Guan and (to some extent) Tian It, which of these dim lads or lasses is capable of even thinking about a Whopper Virgin or Campaign for Real Beauty?

UOB pays executive salaries to people who write `copy’ that announced fixed deposits and art directed rate charts.

BBDO? Surely we aren’t in awe of those ridiculous telco bus shelters with kids endorsing Freedom of Expression? The body copy is in teeny weeny type. So much for the tested wisdom of low attention spans with outdoor media. One of these kids looked sheepishly into camera, while confessing that he accidentally sent an sms to a teacher. Guess the only one laughing at this `humour’ was that poor unsuspecting kid himself. But all must be pardoned because the client must have “loved it”.

Let’s talk about Droga’s legacy. In his time, Saatchi was untouchable. Now, the agency’s only `retouchable’. Over the past decade, the agency’s brightest performance was the SPCA work, scam-infested to the extent that the client was in Thailand and looked like it took months to retouch…. Does Mister Levy even know that the creative destiny of this once prestigious regional hub is now in the hands of a glorified photoshop artiste who keeps sneaking into the limelight by art directing other people’s smarts?

I don’t absolve JET or Lowe of such misdemeanours, but at least they’re fighting real battles on steely brands, instead of retouching pics of dogs adoring humans.

Anonymous said:

Love the making of a "Singaporean Tsunami", but aiyaa - too much digression. Think I know who the Chief Creative Officer in "question" is. If I'm not mistaken, he was once a lieutenant of JWT. That may explain his so-called lame retail and telco work.

Let's pardon him and LB... But John, could you please tender asap, so that this much-warranted ire subsides asap? As for 1.58's comment, NOT "winning awards" does not entitle a Chief Creative Officer to get away with 1970's scripts in the hope that steamy execution can salvage them.

Anonymous said:

My two scam-cents worth: Chris Chiu doesn't deserve a boss. Chris is an honest, bright and apolitical ECD - rare in Singapore these days.

Anonymous said:

1:58: It's none of our business? Then? It's yours? And who are you? Someone from the other camp who earns big bucks dishing out small creative? This here place is about smart guys who raise smart issues concerning decisions we made about advertising as a career option. And now we have to hear people like you telling us it's none of our business? Just who do you think you are?

Anonymous said:

(Fuming) Take EVERY word of that first para BACK 1.58. Get your own creds in place before you even dream of preaching to "our" generation. And yes, the next Jet Airways flight back home is early tomorrow.

Anonymous said:

Yo. Time to get clients like me involved, what? I'd say that 1:58, 6:41 and 7:41 are all the same guy or gal. Point is, the rest of the voices seem to have a winning argument. If the abovementioned trio is from the agency that handles my biz, I'm seriously concerned about the way the person's thinking. Any more clients on the blog?

Anonymous said:

1:58, in the past, we wouldn't have had cause to question creative management. Can anyone imagine quizzing bosses who inspired `Fiery Fries', `Singapore Girl' or `the God campaign'? But, whoever you are, is a tenth of such world-impacting magnitude in your book? Isn't there a hint of regret at what you may not have not accomplished, but still choose to navigate young talent? If you're as grey as the Kryako guy, shouldn't you think twice before adding to this blog? And if you aren't, shouldn't you have at least some conscience, lest the black turn to grey - in guilt?

Anonymous said:

It's always funny to see kids who know nothing about this business (apart from a heavily retouched picture) mouth off about who's more deserving and making up their own misguided criteria.

And it's even funnier when their xenophobic tendencies get the better of their limited intellect.

Nobody gives a rats what you lot think about a particular senior hire. Thats between the client and the senior management of the know nothing of the way the wheels turn up there, and it's gonna be a long time before you get anywhere near there. Instead of dragging people down with personal attacks, maybe try and do something that lifts you up for a change.

Anonymous said:

Singapore's true creative talent:
1. Steve Elrick
2. Guan Hin
3. Eugene Cheong
4. Graham Kelly
5. Tian It
6. Ali Shabaz
7. Pete Moss
8. Rob Gax
9. Troy Lim
10. Chris Chiu

All the others, please sign up for sales jobs with NTUC...

Anonymous said:

hahaha, 1.58 aka 10.28. Looks like it's gonna be a long long time before YOU get up there. Chances are, never. Know why? Young turks like us have options in other allied industries. You losers, naaaaaah!

Anonymous said:

What did Chris been done?

Anonymous said:

@ 10.28 - I'm a client and you're obviously not. So, like many of your type has learnt to do in the interests of more wine and song (and just that, as opposed to more cerebral gain), please... be quiet.

Remember, it's someone from my camp who got this Kyriakou chap lucky. Need your next break? Kneel before us, we're clients.

Anonymous said:

10:28... the guy who specialises in "heavily retouched pictures" isn't a "kid". In fact that's all he ever does... retouch! And he appears to be of your vintage whaaat? Sure, you aren't the same guy I'm talking about? ;-)

Anonymous said:

Chris scripted Singapore's most memorable TVC (The Funeral) since Troy Lim's IKEA dog film. A worthy contender could well be Lowe's `just showered' work for Rexona. All the other TVCs from Singapore creatives were conceptualized in the minds of print-reared cretins. And the UOB stuff was the dregs of these dumps.

Now we must patiently await the comments of sparks like 10.28 - who will proceed to tell us that Chris' work was a ripoff from some Robin Williams scene. Yeah? Well, our gen says "Rip it, but don't rape it".

R.I.P. brave Yasmin!

Anonymous said:

I like your list 10.45. Certainly your top 10 today is strong. Maybe John Merrifield and Andy Greenaway should be in there?

What about a top 10 ever in Singapore.
1. French
2. Droga
3. Davis
4. Guan Hin
5. Aitchison
6. Redman

Anonymous said:

Thanks 11.13. Yes, John Merrifield deserves inclusion too. Interestingly, you've added Guan to a Top 10 Ever list. i respect that. Guan is really a legend in the making. JWT had better hang on to him!

Anonymous said:

Redman, Droga, French, Davis, Aitchison, Batey, Guan... yeahhhhhh!

1.58, 6.41, 7.41, 10.28... naaaaaah!!!

Must make the switch to digital before Singapore adland's has-beens hijack our ideas.

Anonymous said:

Boy, Ive never seen the word 'legend' used so loosely.

Anonymous said:

11.13pm....Yasmin Ahmad WROTE and directed the 'Funeral' tvc (as well as the one before it--'Family'). She was approached to do them directly by the MCDYS, after being recommended by Singapore's PM....her conditions to undertake the job were 'total creative control'...and she did a lovely job of them.

I would imagine Chris Chiu's involvement in the whole thing would possibly have been saying 'i really love it, Yas' when they went thru the formality of showing him the edit.

Not many people write like Yasmin because she writes from her own experiences...(I doubt chris has ever had a husband who farted all night). Her style is unmistakable and not one that is easily imitated.

10.05pm....I cant believe you're a client, specially when you say 'yo'. Is that way of appealing to the youth market? Or are you an intern?

Anonymous said:

1:58 - Agreed, there are `greater considerations' than the CB list when making a senior hire. That's rather fundamental, right?

I think the point being made by the pained kids on this blog is that the senior hires haven't quite stepped into their predecessors' shoes, at least here in Singapore. Yes, there are exceptions like Steve Elric and Guan Hin - but not everyone can work in BBH or JWT. Someone mentioned Khai Meng. Yes, he had impressive stature too, and his absence has left the agency visibly rudderless. Pete Moss would have made a super successor.

The overall sentiment seems to be one of `the industry desperately needs nurturing ability and sound creative direction'.

That's quite evident, and the proof (in terms of produced work) is out there for all to see. As a part of agency management myself, I must confess that Singapore is far less respected than current creative powerhouses China, India and Thailand. Good observation, 5.52!

It may have a lot to do with the fact that (somewhere over the past decade or so) no one pushed TVCs in this country. Result - the current ECDs have appalling films on their reels. Instead of leading my example and learning from some of the current film-savvy ECDs of the west, they expect newbies to table brilliance. Not only is this unfair, it's also headed nowhere, because the people evaluating newbie scripts haven't got anything near a decent film themselves.

The west and even countries like Thailand, China and India are way ahead in terms of cinematic sensibility, plot and production values. The films from Singapore on the other hand can only boast top dollar production values.

Recent work for the armed forces is a good example of this "bland storyline/excellent production values" TVC syndrome. But we did see world-class engaging Navy films from the Droga-Davis partnership, didn't we? So what happened after they left?

Why can't seniors and newbies join forces to see how Singapore's `cross-media conceptual bar' can be raised instead of getting vitriolic and all upset in here. It can only do good.

Of course, agency managements also have to acknowledge glaring recruitment blunders. Being a decent bloke with twinkling eyes simply isn't good enough for a big paycheck. Especially, given the times we're in.

We have a future. Let's seize it, together.

Anonymous said:

11.13 - Merrifield's good, but Greenaway? - together with ECD Copping, the agency has lost UOB, Guinness, Navy, Tiger, Sony-Ericsson, Toyota - all in a span of about two years. Anyone know what clients Saatchi's left with?

Anonymous said:

7.56am, good add to it....

One way to rubbish the 'legend' theory' is to compile a list of real legends globally and see how things stack up then. I can already see it would be a laughable comparison.

The real legends produce work that moves people... then ad juries, in that order. In Singapore work is produced to move ad juries...period.

Perhaps the reason the current crop of Singapore 'legends' fail to inspire is because they only specialize in work of the latter category.

As for recruitment blunders, no industry is immune to them. Look at the banks, the car companies. You have to let the market rule on these matters. UOB's work has been rubbish since they left bateys. That's what we say, but maybe that's what the client wants and they may feel they've found just the guy to provide them with it.

Anonymous said:

Hit the nail on the head 7.56 & 1.18! A worldwide comparison of CCOs and ECDs will sort this debate out, once and for all.

In the meantime, until a crystallised solution is in place, it may help if local CCOs and ECDs spent a month with their global bosses, primarily to understand the dynamics of film scripting - because motion is not just relevant for TVCs, but also the fast-evolving social/online realm of YouTube etc.

This will help local creative heads develop better scripts of their own, before evaluating the work of teams who currently lose out to their contemporaries in the west... just because they're taught by the wrong guys. In any event, `Leadership By Example' will never go out of fashion.

I agree with 1.18 view on recruitment blunders. But while they can't be avoided, surely they can be remedied?

It may also be a good idea to get senior clients partnering this exercise - just so that they empathise with our efforts for self improvement. Emailing 30 or 40 of the country's brightest marketers a PDF of this thread may be a smart start...

Anonymous said:

anyone that has really worked on a big bank understands that half the challenge is managing the client and relationship.

which is no easy task.

this is what it appears kyriakou was hired to do as his role is not creative, but CEO.

for that, it seems like the right man for the job.

he has achieved longevity in this career through learning how to build brands and manage clients, not just bring home awards. which is something most of us will never see.

he may not be winning awards anymore, but big boys have better things to spend their time on than 3x scam ads in Navigator magazine.

let's face it, compared to running real accounts, where you're accountable to clients for real results your work brings in, scam ads are child's play.

which is why it's a game best left for the kids.

ps - for anyone that thinks scams/awards are the be all/end all of advertising, just try getting a job outside Asia with a book full of them.

Anonymous said:

9.07am - the voice of common sense.

Anonymous said:

May 19 10.27 The "God" campaign was plagiarized off the internet.

Wait - it wasn't advertising that was plagiarized, so it must be "OK" then.

Anonymous said:

On a side note - Merrifield had nothing to do with the Adidas Olympics campaign, he actually didn't want to enter it into awards. And the other idea for the soccer on the side of the building, well, everyone knows that was the idea of 2 interns.

Dave Droga is great because he can see how great work is without need of a reference point. He sets reference points for the rest of the world to work from. But the rest are pretenders. They can only go off what they've seen win before. If it's new and it hasn't been done, they can't make a real call on the work, because they've nothing to compare it too.

Anonymous said:

Well said, 9:07.

Also in regards to the previous posts about taking from other avenues of art and adapting to advertising...really fine line between inspiration and copying. O&m fhm paper cutouts a good example to debate on that front.

Anonymous said:

lot of envy here, I can see. People wanted to learn from Droga etc. How come he's not hiring you guys if you're that good and passionate.

Anonymous said:

"But the rest are pretenders. They can only go off what they've seen win before. If it's new and it hasn't been done, they can't make a real call on the work, because they've nothing to compare it too."

... that was an awesome insight 2.28. Kudos!

Problem is, young teams in Asia are too worried about their job security to confront bosses with questions like, "Why can't you give me your own creative solution to this brief, instead of citing bright examples from the west?"

Our own ex-ECD was a master at this game and the teams hadn't the courage to question him... until I received an email from one of the art directors. I avoided any kneejerk reactions, to give the ECD the benefit of doubt. Instead, I decided to patiently bait him with a few challenges directly. As it so happened the art director was right, and the ECD was requested to look for opportunities elsewhere. I hope you're reading this .

Not too sure how many CEOs would `sacrifice' an incompetent ECD in the interests of justice and (more importantly) the future of youngsters who we must all be committed to nurturing with the same wisdom that nurtures talent in the west.

Even Asian countries like China and India now boast some truly mighty creative leadership. On a recent trip to Shanghai, I was impressed to see Group Heads presenting kickass storyboards directly to clients - clearly a sign of strong mentoring by an ECD who could soon take up the creative reins of our Latin American operations.

But, in Singapore? Let alone Group Heads, I shudder to think what would happen if Singapore agencies unleashed their ECDs on clients at big brand forums. Their TV scripts would look like bitty adapts of some highly retouched print bilge, and their speak would (still) be centred around childish words like `Big Idea'.

Thankfully, all is not lost - until we continue to have progressive minds like Steve Elrick, John Merrifield, Guan Hin and Tian It in our midst. One can only hope that the rest sacrifice their lucrative (retirement enhancing?) positions in the interests of an entire industry's future.

To end, a puzzling observation: there are many comments in this thread that appear to be from `senior people hitting out at award-obsessed youth'.

Puzzling, because (in fact) it is the senior creative management of this country that has been scam-obsessed, and kept alive a culture of formula-based print executions that adhere to Cannes' flavour of the year.

Interns have haplessly HAD TO align their `perceptions' of success in our industry with the scammy thinking of their leaders... who enforce rigorous award-churning regimens, while callously choosing to dish out work for real briefs overnight.

To my mind, this thread is not a battle between `noble seniors and scammy juniors'.

To the contrary, it is one between `seniors and seniors' - the former being scamsters, and the latter (let's call them `BLANDies') who aren't.

Interestingly, with the exception of some work from BBH, TBWA, JWT and Lowe, BOTH these groups of `current seniors' (scamsters and BLANDies) are yet to table a single brilliant campaign idea or (even a one-off) TVC to date. (Oops, sorry Troy - forgot to mention it, but your Ikea Dog film was an exceptionally refreshing piece of work! As were most of Elrick's brilliant TVCs for Levis.)

Anyone still wonder why this thread begs for another Droga, Aitchison, French or Batey?

Anonymous said:

The simple fact is most aren't good enough to work for Dave Droga. Also, those who are, are probably working under dinosaurs who will never let through any ideas but their own. I have seen it and it's frustrating.

The dinosaurs are fossilizing on their thrones and to stave the onset of fossilization they hire digital departments and take digital lessons. If only they'd just realize they're extinct.

Anonymous said:

9.53am.....i agreed with most of your piece until you tabled who you thought to be Singapores most progressive minds...I would have to say not one of them would last over 3 months at any decent agency overseas in that same role they hold in Singapore. Guaranteed.

Anonymous said:

You know, doing initiative based ads is not really such a bad thing...but there is one important need to be equally talented at putting out real work that sparkles too.

And this is where Singapore (and not just Singapore) falls short.

When the entire layer of senior creative management of a country is filled with people who can ONLY do initiative ads then it spells trouble....the kind of trouble you're seeing right now. With Singapore being shunned at the award shows recently.

The West has cottoned on to the culture of rule bending and loophole finding that still allows some of these clearly fake ads to slip through.

The answer is not to create categories like 'Scammies' and 'Blandies'....what use is that except to start fights? Clients and CEOs (creatives may be too close to the subject to think and act objectively) need to be aware of the problem and put an emphasis on rewarding people whose brilliance doesn't just appear when doing ads for themselves.

Anonymous said:

Accuracy, 9.53! If only there were more CEO's like you, Scamland would have perished in the very sea of print that created it. Arise, all you bright young sparks - the digital world beckons with bigger bucks and a far more meritorious acension plan.

Anonymous said:

"...Puzzling, because (in fact) it is the senior creative management of this country that has been scam-obsessed, and kept alive a culture of formula-based print executions that adhere to Cannes' flavour of the year. "

9.53Am. That is so true. As a Junior trying to establish a career in the industry, you don't have a choice. Either you play the game and make your CDs look good at award shows, or you risk becoming the day-to-day creative that clears the crap which the scammers will never have to touch. Just look at how far the Top 20 creatives in CB's list have come. Can anyone remember a piece of real work any of them have done? No.

But that's not their fault and it's not their problem. Because our industry has established a system where only those that do scam work are bumped up the ladder. So any smart young creative will do what's needed.

Anonymous said:

9.53...a lot of truisms even though you didn't say you were a CEO...assuming you are, the solution can't be that difficult.....Im guessing you have banned scam award entries in your agency (even if its run once in some pottery magazine) and possibly have told your new ECD that you want to see award winning work on real briefs from all teams. And if that doesn't happen you will obviously keep changing ECDs till you find one that meets your vision.

Plus you would also have had a chat with your fellow CEOs (small club) and perhaps persuaded them to share your thinking.

So, it's just a matter of time now.

Anonymous said:

SCAM legends are just cheats.

Running an agency (creative department) is/always has been about growing the business.

Is there real merit in collecting prizes without actual accomplishment?

Has any of the mentioned legends won much new business, lead companies to financial success? Achieved honest dynamic grow, and the slavish loyalty of their clients? I think not.

Scam achieves little other than precipitate the industry's downward hurl from trust to distrust.

But, please, continue...

You're only breaking your OWN rice bowl.

Anonymous said:

2.30... You can do your bit to start changing the rules.

9.53's is the kind of note you could circulate among the more senior of your clients, with a plea for them to take a more active role in changing the game. Chances are, they've long been waiting for something to trigger change, but didn't know where to begin. Well - if your client insists that your local creative boss be replaced by someone with more brand beef, your global agency management will have no choice but to listen. If each afflicted newbie makes it his/her mission to do whatever it takes for his/her future, it's not a huge thing. First step, send that senior client a copy of this thread. Do it now! I've been in this industry long enough to know that it is a long-overdue move that is just waiting to work.

Anonymous said:

9.53: Love the `Scamsters and Blandies' observation. Frankly, I don't think kids could know enough about what's going on, to write the kind of stuff that's popped up here. Moreover, I don't think they give a damn anymore.

This thread is about senior creators of Blandie work (McDonald's, KFC, Mastercard, Starhub, SingTel...) versus Scamster work (Thai SPCA and FHM).

Anonymous said:

Honestly, how hard is it to copy work that's been done before and get awarded for it or get your name put on juniors work for "helping" (making the sky more blue is not credit worthy anywhere else in the world but Singapore)?

A lot of Singapore's so called "greats" have either pilfered and plagiarized the internet, "helped" juniors for a credit or have just stolen their work or even sunk as low as to copy a previous campaign - almost identically.

Even though this type of behaviour is not isolated to Singapore, it is shunned overseas. In Singapore they hold these people in high esteem and even look up to them. And people wonder why some of the agencies are in disarray.

Anonymous said:

Of course Singapore is dying for Neil French to come back...

Wasn't he the one who told the BBC that scam is good and he thinks it's ok for juniors to lie and cheat to get ahead....words to that effect.


Anonymous said:

Yo. Wait a minute dudes and dudedesses, surely you jest! If you want to work out who the serious players are then you will have to look closely at the context and that is, how will you derive at the top ten list listing? You will have to examine each individual's contribution to their work, to their company, their leadership qualities, their support for young people, their contribution not only to their native land, ie Singapore... but to the whole creative world out there. And, how have they placed or still placing Singapore on the advertising world map? What is their contribution here locally and their contribution globally? It's no use to have their contribution only here in this small red dot, or in Asia alone for that matter. We know that some of them have left these shores but dude, they have either retired or still doing extremely well outside of Singapore. They deserve to because they are the best! I believe you have to see their contribution against the global context. You also have to ask the question, is their influence felt today still? Yo, this has got to be the all time top five. It has got to be these dudes, man. Check it out:

Neil French
Tham Khai Meng
Ian Batey
David Droga
Jim Aitchison

The next five is of a different class, they have to be mentioned because they have made or still making some contribution. But it is not the "A" list. Check it out:

Kash Sree
Eugene Chong
Andy Fackrell
Andy Greenaway
Mr Brown

Anonymous said:

All time best:


Anonymous said:

How about this for a list.

Andy Clarke
Edmund Choe
Jagdish Ramakrishnam
Ted Royer
Ross Ludwig
Danny Higgins
Francis Wei
Trevor Thomas
Guan Hin
Rowan Chanen
Calvin Soh

That was The Saatchi Singapore team Dave Droga had in late 90's.

There may never be a stronger department in Singapore again

Anonymous said:

Gimme a break, Droga was not here long enough to be classified in any form or shape to be in the league. Hello, everyone knew that Saatchi Singapore under his watch was only a scam office set up to win awards. Little doubt that they had some really top guys there like Francis Wee and Andy Clarke, good solid talent. Singapore could do with more peeps like them. He is full of himself and everybody knows that but wouldn't say that to his face. All Aussie hot air, totally superficial. If you huff and you puff you will blow the house down.

Tan Khiang said:

I'm a relic from the 80s. Worked under Linda Locke in Saatchi & Saatchi, way before the Drogas and Davies. The agency to beat then was Ogilvy under Neil French. They signed the agency's name on the side of the ad. So did we.

Back then 99% of the work that won awards were real briefs for real clients. There were no scams. BMW, Philips, Tiger Beer, Army, Promenade were winning awards, Eugene Cheong, Patrick Low, Tan Shen Guan, Francis Tan were creating these work with Neil.

At Saatchis, Navy was already winning awards, way before Droga. A look back at those award books will reveal some interesting names for the list.

Real work, real briefs, no scams. It was possible then, why not now.

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