TEH C, KAYA TOAST AND PETER SOH
Learn how to survive (and thrive) in the demanding and competitive creative industry from the former Chief Creative Officer of Saatchi & Saatchi Greater China, with a cup of tea* and toast in your hands.
Be inspired by the famous mad kampong boy in an event that could possibly change your career and life.
: 7th July, Thursday
: 7.30pm - 9.30pm
: 30 Merchant Road
Riverside Point #03-22 S'pore 058282
Peter started his advertising career not in the mailroom, but in the traffic department. He quickly realized traffic managers have to meet deadlines and switched to art direction. He then became a copywriter because copywriters always go home early.
Thinking that he was an old hand already, he started his own shop, which of course proceeded to fail. Realizing that he had to learn more, he returned to the same agency, and somehow they took him back. That was when he discovered Chinese copywriting, as nobody was doing it at the time, and it became his part time job. Shortly after, at the Singapore Creative Circle awards in the year 1990, he took home all the awards in the Chinese language category, and in the international arena, his work was the only Chinese entry awarded. He did that again the next year, but won them on behalf of five (or was it six?) different agencies.
He then went through a period where he was vigorously head-hunted and received a few offers from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and after advice from his fortune teller, he joined DY&R as creative director. His team struck gold at many international and local awards. He returned to Singapore in 1992 and joined DMB&B, pottered around a bit, and strangely enough, was the most-awarded Chinese language creative director in the 1993 Creative Circle awards. Still, his mother wasn't impressed.
The next year, he started Fong, Haque, and Soh with suit David Fong and copywriter Rita Haque. Their local shop took home 12 awards in the 1995 Singapore Creative Awards. The following year, the agency rose to one of the top 3 in Singapore, and only then did his mother break into a little smile.
With the track record of winning every pitch during the last 3 and 1/2 years, his local shop was bought over by TBWA, and became TBWA Fong, Haque & Soh. Thinking that his job was done, he left the agency in 1998.
After spending quite a while in Hawaii, he returned with a beautiful tan but failed to make the pro surf team.
With a few good men--Jimmy Lam, David Sun, and Tomaz Mok, the 4 Wise Men, also known as the 4 Godfathers, founded the World Chinese Creative Awards "Long Xi." Today, it is the only Chinese award that is
recognized by the western world.
After adding a few more Ultramen, Godzillas, and a huge Tin Tin rocket to his toy collection, he started to look for his second spring. He set up "The Noble House," a creative brands consultancy that specializes in Chinese creative content, and amongst his clients was Singapore Press Holdings and the Television Corporation of Singapore. Again the group won many local and overseas awards, including best Chinese copywriting and art direction award. His head was once again hunted, and after talking to quite a few agencies for almost a year, he finally took the offer from Saatchi & Saatchi to head their shanghai office as their CEO and CCO.
He was told that a CEO must wear a suit, so he waited for the final reduction sale in Hong Kong and bought himself two Armani suits. After a year, he felt like a monkey and went back to wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
The next year, the Shanghai office not only looked like somewhere in the Mediterranean, but it also did well under his leadership, winning many accounts as well as their fair share of awards. His dream of making a difference in the Eastern front has made him a well-respected figure in the greater China circle.
Of course, he insists that his good looks help.
In the year 2005, he stepped down from his CEO role, kept the Armani suits, found a seat on the Worldwide Creative Board, and became Saatchi's greater China and North Asia Chief Creative Officer. He now masquerades as a judge at the local and international award shows; these include the coveted Cannes in both print and outdoor categories.
He was also invited to talk at most of the colleges in mainland China, as well as the rest of the world, and is a regular speaker at the Asia Pacific region. He is also the first Chinese lecturer at the Miami Ad School. He has been invited to talk not twice, but three times on the TED stage.
At the end of 2008, he decided to call it a day, but not before he and his team took the first and only gold for China at the world Effie festival, which happened to take place in his old home town, Singapore. He also received the Creative Achievement award from New York Festival, as well as being nominated for the Singapore Entrepreneurship in China award.
Two years ago, he was recalled back home to have his advertising life recorded in the Singapore National Archive. A ranking was done by a Chinese ad magazine, China Modern Advertising, and his good name came behind David Ogilvy and Bill Bernbach. He has also gone down in the record as the person who started ONE SHOW's creative youth camp in China, the creative consultant for New York Festival in China, and the man that brought about the Chinese showcase in Cannes. In conjunction with New York Festival, he set up a dozen media centers in several colleges all over China. As well as being associate professor of several Chinese colleges, he is also an honorary dean of Nanjing University. Most recently, he has been appointed a member of Experts Committee to promote innovation and creativity in Shanghai.
His mother must be finally and truly laughing up in the sky at this time. His dream of starting a regional ad school is next on the menu, as well as writing a book, having his own art exhibition, collecting more toys, and breeding champion fighting fish.