Bates CHI & Partners goes outside the agency

Bates CHI & Partners has established for four months now, and though CEO David Mayo (pictured) has just sealed a deal with a global hotel brand and a technology brand, he still wants to pull his hair out most of the time.

“You shouldn’t work in advertising if you don’t want to pull your hair out,” he joked.

Four months ago, the partnership initially formed to bring the creativity of CHI – a London- and New York- based agency – to Bates’s reach in Asia. But as clients are getting more advertising-savvy and with the need for global and local campaigns, Mayo’s says the key of the new joint venture is in the “& Partners” of the name, explaining that it is the first agency to draw in outside expertise.

“We work with agencies, chefs, commentators, journalists, bloggers, programmers, online game people. These are the things you need to communicate with sometimes, yet these are the skills you can’t have in your traditional agency,” he said.

Currently, one of Mayo’s biggest challenges is China – a market he describes as “a beast to overcome”. While he said that the country has yet to realise its maximum creativity, he added that the new breed of marketers will inject more emotional campaigns compared to the current informational pushes that the Chinese population is so used to.

“Communications in China is growing rapidly: look at the FMCG area, a lot of the pushes are entertainment-based now. There’s a lot of customer involvement and creativity going on,” he said. “China is a remarkably creative place, but it needs to find its way into advertising.”

So for now, Mayo said his work is to help brands go back to basics to look for “the big idea”, which is defined by the mantra that drives the brand forwards.

“If the company is not built on the idea of big ideas, they will fail,” he said. “Once that part is formed, we create different medias to carry out different parts of that message to different regions to make it local. That’s the agency’s job to personalise that message to another level.”

Bates CHI & Partners appointed ex-Havas Worldwide’s digital strategist, Todd Martin, as their new regional head of digital and social last Friday following a slew of new hires late April.