CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER
DENTSU BRAND AGENCIES APAC
The 2018 New York Festivals Executive Jury, is an elite dream team of Global Chief Creative Officers and C-Suite creative executives. Words like iconic, visionary, accomplished and influential come to mind when describing these prominent award-winning creative leaders. They will assemble this April in New York City for 4 days of live judging across all mediums—one panel of advertising giants, 30+ strong, all coming together to select the World’s Best Advertising®.
2018 Executive Jury member Ted Lim is Chief Creative Officer for Dentsu Brand Agencies APAC, Singapore. As regional CCO, Ted works with 26 offices across 15 countries. He repositioned Dentsu Asia-Pacific as an “Innovative Business Solutions” provider beyond advertising that produces non-traditional work in the mobile, digital and social space.
His first integrated digital/social campaign for Toyota Asia-Pacific ‘Wakudoki’ garnered over 10 million views on Facebook and YouTube to rejuvenate an aging brand. In 2017, Ted pushed the envelope to further differentiate Dentsu Asia-Pacific from traditional advertising networks. He took the concept of a strategic support unit from Dentsu Tokyo, remodeled it into a specialized business solutions network by mothers for mothers and launched MamaLab Asia-Pacific. BBC took notice of the potential of marketing to the “mom economy” and covered the launch on World News.
Being a Juror:
New York Festivals: Why did you decide to accept the invite to NYF’s Executive Jury?
Ted Lim: I am always looking for the game changer. Be it an idea, an ad or an experience. I hope to find more than a few at NYF.
New York Festivals: What are you most looking forward to with this experience?
Ted Lim: Specifically, I will be looking for innovative business solutions. Is it different? Will it make a difference? Will it move people? Will it move business?
Working in Advertising:
New York Festivals: Tell us an experience (or two) that shaped the course of your career.
Ted Lim: I have been fortunate to have worked with and learned from people who are smarter, wiser, more insightful and creative than me. One thing I have learned is not to accept what is. Ask “What if?”
New York Festivals: Best client story ever?
Ted Lim: Sorry but I’m writing a book on this. I can’t give the plot away and hope to sell a million copies.
New York Festivals: What is the most outlandish request you’ve ever gotten at work?
Ted Lim: To produce a film like Jurassic Park for the entrance fee to an amusement park.
New York Festivals: What’s an idea you were excited about, but just couldn’t carry out because of logistics?
Ted Lim: Wow, we’ll be here till Christmas. Where do I begin? I haven’t given up on the ideas yet so please bear with me until I get them produced.
New York Festivals: The world may have changed since you started in the business. What kinds of accounts were you working on back then vs. now?
Ted Lim: The accounts I worked on when I started in this business are still very much in business. Thank God!
New York Festivals: Share an ad you are particularly proud of.
Ted Lim: This is a brilliant piece of strategic thinking for Adidas from Taproot Dentsu, our office in Mumbai https://youtu.be/b1T6w-J6hRk
New York Festivals: Share an ad that changed the way you view the business.
Ted Lim: It’s not easy to take a stand and say “We won’t change” in a world where change is constant and other brands are telling people to keep moving. Dentsu Taiwan did just that with Glenlivet https://youtu.be/j5xbAQSNfco
New York Festivals: Share your favorite ad that illustrates how advertising can change the world and tell us why you love it.
Ted Lim: This effort for BabyLove diapers by BWM Dentsu Sydney brought a tear to my eye https://youtu.be/kJoN8wzntOk
New York Festivals: What do you look for when hiring new talent?
Ted Lim: Someone who can do what I can’t. Someone who asks, “What if?” and not just accept what is. A mover, not a moaner. I was told to hire PhDs. People who are poor, hungry and determined. I can’t agree more.
New York Festivals: What are some missteps you see from up-and-coming creatives that might impact or stall their career if that don’t learn a better way? What are some new things you are happy to see?
Ted Lim: I would like to work with people whose head is bigger than their ego, whose heart is as big as their head.
New York Festivals: What kinds of things (positive or negative) did you learn about being a creative leader from people you worked for along the way? Anything you wish your creative leaders had told you?
Ted Lim: Doing mediocre work is easy. Accepting mediocrity is tough. I wish there’s an easier way to ask people to try harder.
New York Festivals: What’s the toughest part of your job? Favorite part?
Ted Lim: It’s not easy selling good work. Though I have had my fair share of success, I wish I was a better salesman. Favourite part of my job? Working on the next big thing!
This and That:
New York Festivals: If we asked for three adjectives to describe you, what would people who know you say?
Ted Lim: Strategic, creative, pragmatic. Not the most exciting combination, I’m afraid.
New York Festivals: What are you most excited about in 2018?
Ted Lim: Surprise me!
New York Festivals: Who’s a creative icon you admire and why?
Ted Lim: Former DDB Worldwide chairman and chief creative officer Bob Scarpelli. He’s living proof we don’t have to be a bastard to be great.
New York Festivals: How do you find balance (or do you?) between your high-powered job and life/family/outside of-work fun? Any ‘secrets’ you can share?
Ted Lim: I don’t separate work from life. Sometimes the best ideas come when we are not at work. I like my work, I like my life. I don’t switch off.