Woon Hoh, Hakuhodo's regional chief creative officer, has left after 17 years with the agency. He started his career with Hakuhodo in Indonesia and eventually rose up the ranks to oversee ASEAN markets including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. He also won a slew of local and international awards during his time with the agency.
Hoh told A+M that he met plenty of people who shared a common interest in wanting to do good work and pursue creative excellence at Hakuhodo. "A special mention would be Hakuhodo Indonesia's president director Irfan Ramli. He was not only my boss during my time in Indonesia, but he was also like my partner. Even after I joined the regional team, I was still included in his office as a creative lead. Our partnership never stopped," he said. When asked why he left Hakuhodo, Hoh explained that "there's no more challenge for [him] so it was time to move on". During his time there, he worked with clients including Toyota and Biore.
When asked about the advertising trends and innovations he is excited about, Hoh cited ideas about inclusion and genuinely engaging the minds and hearts of consumers. At the same time, he added that digital goes beyond social media posting and is no longer a trend. Instead, it is not a thing that companies should do.
"Everyone is trying to jump on the digital bandwagon but digital is just a media, a tool. At the end of the day, we cannot overlook creativity. That's the reason why creativity will never die. A media platform might die but not creativity. We cannot lose sight of the creative instinct," he said.
Hoh added that compared to other countries, Malaysia's ad industry is smaller and clients are also constantly looking for ROI. "Since our population is small [compared to other countries], clients wouldn't see the need to overly invest in advertising. Instead, all the money will be channelled into creating social media posts," Hoh said.
While he acknowledged that social media posts will help reach a certain number of individuals do help hook consumers, he said there is more to that when it comes to digital. "Can we do something more interesting and more innovative? This goes back to inclusion and connectivity, about bringing goodness and value to the brand," he added. Hakuhodo did not comment on his replacement.