Meet the CEOs: Arcade Indonesia's Gary Caulfield

In 2014, when Arcade decided to launch an office in Jakarta, Gary Caulfield (CEO) and Alfa Aphrodita (ECD) were appointed to take the agency forward as the CEO and ECD respectively.

With its founding client being Unilever, Caulfield was tasked to grow the Arcade brand and work with both international clients looking to market their brands in Indonesia, as well as local entrepreneurs and brand owners seeking to grow in Indonesia and abroad.

Caulfield who prior to Arcade was in Ogilvy, was clearly chosen to be the right man for the job, given has been in the industry for over 25 years has worked in numerous leadership positions. He has worked with the likes of McCann and Leo Burnett. Here's a look at how his journey has been thus far.

How do you describe your management style?

I simply treat our clients and our people the way I would like to be treated myself - honestly, openly and passionately!

In terms of the company itself, I was told by our Arcade group CEO to simply be a nice person, do great work and work really hard, then everything else will be fine. And my own personal view was, I knew exactly what I didn’t want my company to be. My 27 years in multi-national agencies taught me that.

This meant being clear about what I didn’t want us to be, I also made it clearer as to what we would become and how we would operate. My amazing co-founder and business partner, Alfa, shared the same vision. We’ve been a team for many years before starting Arcade late in 2013, and we shared the same values. So too the very talented Aldo, our other business partner and co-founder who joined in early 2014.

These shared common values have been the driving force for creating the very successful agency we have today.

Who was the mentor who influenced you the most and how?

Alfa has really helped shape me, with her tremendous insight and incredible "gut feel" for what’s right. She is a genuine genius of our industry. There’s no talent I’ve ever met quite like her. Especially when it comes to what’s right for this market, and mastering the world of "digital transformation" for our clients.

What has been the proudest moment in your career?

Starting Arcade Indonesia and seeing it become the massive success it is today. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would grow this big, this fast!

Handling almost 50% of all Unilever brands in Indonesia makes us incredibly proud too, especially to have become such a trusted partner. Launching IKEA in Indonesia for the very first time was pretty cool, as well.

Especially when you consider the fact that we actually managed to get ourselves invited to the pitch very late in the decision making process. And there was literally only Alfa & myself at that time with no office, no people, nothing else at all. Not even a laptop between us. Just some paper & a pen and one amazing idea the client loved thankfully.

What inspires you the most?

What the human mind is actually capable of creating. And, like I mentioned previously, Alfa too.

What’s the toughest part of your job?

Wearing two hats - both CEO and ECD role. And caring so darn much about every single person and every single thing we do, every single minute of every single day, even at night when I’m trying to sleep!

What do you do in your free time?

As a creative person I think you never really stop thinking.

I have always believed you have to be like a sponge for everything in life. You don’t have to actually do everything, or participate in everything of course, but you need to at least be aware of everything. As you never know where you might draw your inspiration or an idea from at any point in time.

How do you ensure a proper work life balance?

I think there’s nothing better than doing what you love for a living and being as good as you can possibly be at it. For those that know me well, I try to have as much fun as I can, when I can, and that makes for a good balance too. But overall, I simply try to do my very best for myself and for those I care about, namely, my Arcadians.

Favourite vacation spot?

Having lived away from home for 24 years, these days I don’t often take vacations, I use the time to go back to Australia to visit family and friends. But previously, I’ve taken holidays to the Bahama’s and the West Indies, which were both pretty nice. And when I lived in Sri Lanka for two years, I used to go to the Maldives for the weekend, as it was only a 45-minute domestic flight. So that was pretty nice too.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out?

Understand just how much the entire media landscape has changed from the ‘good old’ ATL and TV dominated days, and never stop adapting to how the new "digital world" is constantly shifting and evolving. It’s the only way you can truly understand how to land relevant creativity.

What issue would you like to see the industry change in 2018?

I have always wondered why we seem to be the only industry in the world that pitch our ideas and IP for free without any guarantee we will get anything from it.

I would love to think that our industry could get to a place where agencies could simply pitch with their credentials and relevant "case studies" over their life’s journey to prove that they are more than capable to cope with whatever the brief might be.