Having joined Grey Group Singapore as its new chief creative officer from DDB China where he held the same role for four years, The Drum caught up with Tim Cheng with 10 questions for him to answer.
1. What was your first ever job?
The first ‘real job’ I managed to make a living out of was as a self proclaimed web designer in the mid 90’s after reading a copy of The Dummies Guide to HTML.
2. Why did you get into this industry?
I was studying to become a structural engineer. I was very bad at it.
Eventually decided to follow my passion and made the switch to graphic design.
Now I can still help to create a better world and no one will get hurt because my bridge collapsed.
3. What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Mr. Edwards, my high school art teacher, once made me draw a can of Coca Cola.
I did a pretty good one within 5 min. Then he crushed the can and asked me to draw it again.
An hour later I was still struggling.
He said: “You thought you knew how to draw a can of coke, but the crushed can is no longer familiar to you. Now you really have to look and try to understand it.”
Everyday I continue to crush the familiar and seek to find new understanding around me.
4. What is the coolest thing you have seen in the last year in advertising?
After all the innovation and experimentation in technologies, the most impressive idea to me was The Swedish Number. The humble phone number that connects anyone in the world to a random Swede. Amazingly simple.
Absolutely the coolest idea for me.
5. What do you hate most about the industry?
I don’t believe in ‘hate’. It’s a privilege to be in an industry that I’m constantly surrounded by creative people who celebrate diversity and open mindedness.
What’s there to hate about that?
6. What is your favourite piece of creative work ever from the industry?
7. Who is the person you most want to meet and why?
Miles Davis. Every recording of his performances touched me on a different level.
Yet I know very little about him. Love to have a chance to get to know the real person behind the music.
8. If you could go to one marketing event this year which would you choose?
Effies. More important than just having a great idea is a great idea that is effective and helped to achieve real changes.
9. What is your favourite social media platform?
WeChat. I’m already having WeChat withdrawal symptoms in the short period of time I’ve been in Singapore.
10. If you could ban one buzzword or piece of jargon what would it be?
360 campaign. I don’t believe any marketing needs to be firing into every single direction. It should be about precision… talking to the right person in the right place at the right time. 360 campaign simply implies you are not quite sure about who you need to target.
10 questions with is a new regular feature for The Drum speaking to prominent and interesting personalities within the marketing services industry all around the world.