Industry speak: 2015 Boo-boos and 2016 bets

It’s that time of the year again! Time for us to pause, reflect and plan for the future.

This year, we reach out to some of our industry friends on what their hopes are for 2016 and what are some of the bumps they faced along the way. Take a look at what they had to say.

Damien Cummings, global head of digital marketing of Standard Chartered


Biggest boo-boo of 2015: I’m not sure whether it’s a booboo, but it’s certainly bad luck. I seem to start working at stable workplaces that then go into big reorganisations. For some reason, I thought that the Financial Services industry was going to be somewhat more stable…

New year’s resolution for 2016: Stop lying to myself and others about the lifestyle changes I say I’m going to make, but never do. What’s life without fun, good food, wine, silliness and lazy weekends anyway?

Pat Law, founder of Goodstuph:



Biggest boo-boo of 2015: That contribution I made about ridiculous things clients say in Singapore which Marketing Magazine published.

I had a couple of new retainers pending during the same period and a couple of clients called to ask if I was talking about them. Very smooth of me, very smooth. Thankfully, our clients have a similar sense of humour and our retainers were secured.

New Year’s Resolution for 2016: It is as boring as it gets – to stay curious, stay hungry, stay humble, and stay bloody discontented.

Desh Balakrishnan, managing director of Maxus Singapore

Desh Balakrishnan_Maxus


Biggest boo-boo of 2015: Turning up for a presentation at 10 am on a Tuesday which was slated for Wednesday. The dates got lost on my calendar!

New Year’s Resolution for 2016: To work smarter and have a better work life balance.

Jonathan Bonsey, creative and managing director of Bonsey Design

Jonathan Bonsey


Biggest boo-boo of 2015: Given that everything our business does revolves around people, its likely our biggest blunders will have people at their core. Assumption being the mother of all messes, our biggest assumption revolves around recruitment. Our blunder was to assume that what is standard practise and logical in Singapore would therefore be the same in the Philippines. Sadly this is not the case as we found out to our cost as we revolved two office managers in two months in our Manila office. Mind boggling, exhausting, disrupting and frustrating.

New Year’s Resolution for 2016: To learn more and blunder less!

Don Anderson, regional managing director of We Are Social

Don Anderson


Biggest boo-boo of 2015: Walking around in the hot Singapore sun for what seemed a lifetime trying to find a proper location to shoot a simple senior team photo — and trying not to melt in the process!

Also, FIFA hands down. It’s apparent “misguided” selection of Qatar for the 2022 World Cup nearly wiped out any remaining credibility left the sporting body ever had and sent sponsors running in the other direction.

New Year’s Resolution for 2016: Be bolder. Continue to beat the drum of social thinking. Eat healthier. Celebrate more. Promote work/life balance. Have more babies.

Nick Foley, president of the Southeast Asia and Pacific regions of Landor



Biggest boo-boo of 2015: Coming back from meetings in Jakarta. Rushing in the taxi then sprinting through the airport to catch a 7pm flight home.  Thought I missed it.  Actually… my watch was still on Singapore Time and I was an hour early!

New Year’s Resolution for 2016: Listen more. Talk less.

Lars Voedisch, principal consultant and managing director of PRecious Communications.

Lars Voedisch


Biggest boo-boo of 2015: We frequently use Whatsapp for our company – so it actually happened more than once that I accidentally sent photos of my children and me doing silly things to the team instead of family; well – now the team actually demands for me to share more family pictures.

What nearly happened: From a previous intern I got a t-shirt boldy stating “Like a boss” with jeans and sneakers; was wearing that on a day I forgot to meet a rather corporate client… not sure how they would have perceived that. Luckily they postponed the meeting. Otherwise I would have played the “we’re creative people” card.

New Year’s Resolution for 2016: Continue to avoid time sheets, AVE, office politics – and retain reasonable working hours, laugh a lot, learn especially from our new joiners – deliver great work, creative ideas, work with awesome brands – and keep PRecious a place I enjoy going to every single working day.

Prantik Mazumdar, Managing Partner at Happy Marketer



Biggest boo-boo of 2015: A CXO client asked why he never saw his banner ads running on Facebook even though the campaign was live? He wasn’t quite convinced or amused when we explained to him that he didn’t see them because he was not the target audience. So eventually we did something clever and funny. We set aside a small budget to run custom audience ads on Facebook just targeted at his email, so that he could feel good by waking up to his ad every morning.

New Year’s resolution for 2016: To make many more marketers in the region “Happy” by expanding Happy Marketer into three key markets: Middle East, ANZA and Indonesia. At an individual level, I would like to continue “sharpening my digital saw” by exposing myself more to the world of digital transformation and attribution analysis!”

Jacqui Lim, managing director of Havas Media

Jacqui Lim_ Havas Media Corporate Portraits


Biggest boo-boo: I wish I had the opportunity to invest the time to do at least one pro bono piece of work to give back to the society or industry.  That’s my goal next year!

New Year’s resolution for 2016: My new year’s resolution for 2016 (for work), will be to focus on doing fewer, but bigger things for our clients and agency. And to sustain the team’s energy and drive by creating a culture that makes our work more meaningful and joyful.  Someone once told me that for your work to mean something to others, you have to first find meaning in your work.

Rod Strother, VP, digital transformation of StarHub



Biggest boo-boo of 2015: I am just starting at StarHub, so I’ve got plenty of opportunity next year.

New Year’s resolution for 2016: New Year’s resolution is simply to make an impact in StarHub. I think along with my (awesome) team in Lenovo we were able to move the needle significantly in Social Media across the organisation. In heading up Digital Transformation at StarHub then I hope we can achieve similar success.

Ara Hampartsoumian, managing director of TBWA Group Singapore

Ara Hampartsoumian

Biggest boo-boo of 2015: Ummm… don’t really have one in particular.. in our business, booboo’s happen everyday!

New Year’s resolution for 2016: Disruption, Disruption ,Disruption!

Melvin Kuek, managing director of Y&R Singapore


Biggest boo-boo of 2015:  When we were told by a client prospect for a beverage product that our advertising implied too much sexuality. Obviously, we didn’t win. And, when we were told that a spokesperson we recommended for a pitch proposal was rejected on the grounds that he looked like a particular Minister!
New Year’s resolution for 2016:

1) We are bringing sexy back!

2) Avoid all Minister doppelgängers.

Ivan Wong, managing partner, Mindshare Singapore


Biggest boo-boo of 2015:  I would not say it’s a blunder but more of taking a stand that it is OK not to win more new businesses if it’s ultimately commercially not viable.

New Year’s resolution for 2016: Media like life itself is one continuous beta. The increasing speed, ubiquity and integration around us will change marketing and media in many ways. In the new year, we need to be single-minded in building on our fantastic foundation and successes that we have and to do so with the conviction that we can all make a difference, together.

Yu Poh Leng, SVP and general manager, Ruder Finn Asia

Biggest boo-boo of 2015:  My biggest blunder this year is holding on too closely to my work. As a result, it hindered my team members’ growth as they were not empowered to make decisions. I became the bottle neck for most decisions unfortunately.

One of the most “hated” tune among my friends is the theme song from the Disney Movie  Frozen. It’s interesting how the logic of this song “Let it go” has taught me a lesson or two about management skills.

New Year’s resolution for 2016: 2016 marks the Ruder Finn’s 20th  anniversary in Singapore. It’s time to step out and celebrate this landmark year with gusto!

What are your biggest blunders and hopes for the new year? Share with us below or e-mail me at


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