Ogilvy Malaysia has appointed Adrian Miller as chief creative officer, effective 1 January 2022, relocating to Kuala Lumpur in December. Miller (pictured) will work closely with Singapore's chief creative officer Nicolas Courant to ensure both markets work together to capture the many creative opportunities presented by Ogilvy's network clients who operate in both markets. This is part of Ogilvy's overall integrated strategy. In January this year, the agency integrated its Singapore and Malaysia offices to present one agency in two locations along with a new organisational structure.
Miller is currently chief creative officer at Ogilvy Indonesia and has been instrumental in client growth for the office in addition to mandates from key clients such as Nestlé, Unilever, Mondelēz, and BP, and new business wins including Pizza Hut and World Food Programme. Miller also previously worked in Malaysia as ECD for Saatchi & Saatchi and MullenLowe Group. He takes over from Kurt Novack who will be returning to Paris. Novack has led the agency office since his appointment in 2018.
According to Miller, his last three years at Ogilvy Indonesia have been an incredible experience. "The growth and transformation we’ve been able to achieve as a team is testament to putting work first. When it comes to my new position in Malaysia, my game plan is the same: win with work. I’m extremely bullish about the creative possibilities. Partnering with chief executive Nizwani Shahar to help take Ogilvy Malaysia to the moon is the one and only aim," he said.
Nizwani said: "I’m just thrilled to see Miller’s return to Malaysia. This is a game-changer for us. It’s not often you see local talent with unrivalled international experience at the helm, and the creative reputation to really set the standard for the market moving forward."
Ogilvy Indonesia’s creative leadership will be announced in due course. In the interim, ECD Peter Hibberd, together with senior creative directors will lead the charge, as a newly formed creative council mentored by Asia chief creative officer Reed Collins.
Collins said Miller is "a big reason" why Ogilvy's Jakarta office has improved greatly during his tenure. "I have no doubt he will bring the same energy and commitment in driving even greater outcomes for our clients in Kuala Lumpur as he returns ‘home' to Malaysia," he added. He also thanked Novack for what he has been able to achieve these last few years.
Meanwhile, Ogilvy Indonesia's group chief executive, B Ramanathan, explained that Miller has been one of the key architects of Ogilvy Indonesia’s transformative growth over the last three years. Big ideas and modern output has fuelled the agency's top client partnerships such as Nestlé, Unilever, and Mondelēz.
"He has also been instrumental in many of our new business wins. Of course, we are sad to see him leave. But we are enormously proud to have been part of his Ogilvy journey, and even more grateful for the creative leadership he has put in place with our new creative council," he added.
Ogilvy Malaysia has been beefing up its integrated strategy and digital capabilities. It brought on board Debdan Banerjee as head of integrated strategy a few months ago to lead its strategy department, ensuring strategic integrity and effectiveness across all clients and capabilities. On the digital front, it also named Alicia Yap as executive group director and Moheeta Tamrakar as director of experience and social in June.
When asked about her plans for Ogilvy's creative direction now that Miller is on board, Nizwani told A+M that while the agency believes that great ideas and brand impact lie in the intersection of things; she believes Miller is "a transformative creative leader who brilliantly sits at the intersection of international experience and local depth".
"Miller and I are excited to reignite the power of growing brands through creativity in the industry. Ideas that are ingenious, surprising and effective," she said, adding:
We've seen a trend where creativity has been compromised for short-termism and tactics. While there is time and place for tactical executions, the power of a brand and business success lies in the power of a strong creative idea.
Nizwani and Miller also see it as part of their ambition to bring back the creative idea mindset to Malaysia - a way of working, a way of thinking and an outcome to not only do great for Ogilvy's clients but to do good for the Malaysia creative industry overall.
At the same time, Nizwani said the pandemic has also validated a lot of jer value systems and beliefs as a leader. She has always felt that a strong leader leads with empathy. "We should know the way to balance between leading with silk and steel. Now more than ever having a strong duty of care for our work family, to know when enough is enough and to set limits to what we would do to win business and deliver outstanding work is crucial," she added.
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