12 Questions : 20 People - #19 Clarence Chiew, Executive CD, Leo Burnett Singapore

Clarence Chiew.jpg12:20 is a Sydney based creative consultancy that works with agencies across Asia. Recently, while working in the region, Christian Finucane and Jon Skinner met with 20 creative leaders from the top agencies to discuss the opportunities and challenges for the industry. The interviews, '12 Questions: 20 People' are being published in a series of blog posts on Campaign Brief Asia. The 19th interview is with Clarence Chiew, Executive Creative Director, Leo Burnett Singapore.

What's the most exciting thing about working in Asia?
I don't see why working in Asia should be any more exciting than working anywhere else in the world, especially in such a globalised context.

What inspires you?
The internet and its ability to completely disrupt everything we hold to be true.

How has social media impacted creativity in the region?
I think it used to have a positive and democratic impact in terms of the level playing field it created - if people loved what you created, it would get noticed, shared and amplified. Since then, the algorithm seems to have been tweaked to favour those with more money than ideas.
Volvo_Splits.jpgWhat is the recent campaign everyone wishes they'd done?
When 'Epic Split' broke, it felt like the whole world put everything aside to spend a few moments with that story.

Which clients are pushing the boundaries and how?
See above and the other pieces of work they created as part of the campaign. It's a visionary client who buys work that has cultural impact.

Are there any cultural 'creative watch-outs' working here?
This is a generalisation, but most South-east Asians prefer not to be direct to their managers about what they feel they deserve, probably stemming from a belief that working hard should be enough of a message - around these parts, it helps to be as proactive with creative talent management as possible.

Which Asian country is punching above its weight creatively?
Does New Zealand count as Asia? Because they have been punching above their location.

JS CF Surry Hills photo crop.jpgWhy does creativity matter?
Creativity matters because it is what helps us solve problems in new and unexpected ways. Problems like traffic tickets.

What makes the local industry different?
Again, this is another generalisation, but Singapore being such a mash-up of influences from all over the world, our local industry seems uniquely adapted to a world where borders are becoming ever more blurred.

Cannes Titanium, Spikes Asia Grand Prix or AWARD Gold Pencil? Which and why?
It depends on who won in which year. It's the work and not the show it wins in that matters most.

What is the creative issue that frustrates you the most?
How we price our ideas - 'hours' are a poor reflection of the value we bring to our clients' business. It also discriminates against talent who can think and work at speed.

What's the biggest opportunity for creative people?
I'm putting my money on Andalusian Flamenco.

Photo caption: Jon Skinner (left) and Christian Finucane (right)

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