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A rant worth listening to

A rant worth listening to

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From creative to digital, and now social, Rudi Leung, general manager at Social@Ogilvy, has some stories to tell in his journey through the digital world, writes Jennifer Chan

Inviting Rudi Leung out for lunch first crossed my mind after stumbling across his blog Adman’s Rants, but this is just one of the many reasons.

Leung, a veteran ad man, describes himself as the middle man between traditional and digital. When he first saw the changes digital were bringing about, he quit his job at a traditional creative agency and went to work for Yahoo.

“I had a strong feeling that the age of digital was coming.”

Working at Yahoo in the early years was a steep learning curve for Leung. Yahoo was at the time headed by Ivy Wong who set a path for complete market dominance for more than a decade – even as its parent company in the US was suffering.

With a pledge to bring big advertisers to the Yahoo platform, Leung walked straight into the job as creative ambassador.

“I stepped back a lot in terms of both salary and position just to be a trainee at Yahoo. They taught me digital media, and in return, I showed them how to do advertising,” he said.

We quickly glance through the menu at Mano Restaurant at L Place in Central, just minutes from his social@Ogilvy office.

I set my sights on the stodgy Mano burger while Leung opted for a much lighter salad. Indeed, he is not a greedy man.

The years following Yahoo were kind to Leung who went on to head digital operations for Agenda Hong Kong and more recently DDB Group where as head of DDB Tribal he took on a whole new challenge.

“My time at DDB was another learning process about integration, shaping the digital production arm and structuring digital production teams within the agency.”

I attempt to eat my oversized burger while Leung, who does most of the talking, nibbles at his salad.

But when our conversation finally reaches the company he currently works at, he puts down his fork.

“Social@Ogilvy started in public relations, which was a smart move. I dare say now social media is almost PR,” he says.

In a way, social media is similar to PR. Both are highly labour-intensive.

Digital agencies such as CMRS and Guru keep ahead by pulling in huge resources that global competitors are often unable to maintain.

“Big ad agencies are often too obsessed with what they call ‘strategic thinking’, but what’s most important is to put it into action next.

“We are building that scale in Social@Ogilvy, but there is still a long way to go.”

I leave my dish half untouched as we leave the restaurant.

All I was digesting for the past two hours is what he calls the social “rants”, which I must say, I wouldn’t mind spending two more hours listening to.

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