Tham Khai Meng
Ogilvy Influencers
Tham Khai Meng’s 2017 Media Resolution

Ogilvy & Mather’s Worldwide Chief Creative Office and Co-Chairman would like to put on weight this year.

This year, I would like to put on weight—not personally, but conceptually, with more heavyweight campaigns on more heavyweight brands. I’d like to see much more of big, brave, mold-breaking work on the brands that we help build. Work that moves people on a grand scale that changes cultures and helps our clients realize the numbers with maximum creative impact.

And while we are at it, let’s forget about buzzwords like “modern marketing.” Calling yourself “modern” is like telling people you are funny—it seldom works. The term was outdated as soon as it was coined.

We all must resolve to make better use of what does work, like storytelling that grabs hold of emotions and incites passion that moves people and makes them act. Advertisers haven’t always taken the storytelling route, but recently opting in to storytelling has become mandatory.


Because there’s no escaping that in a world of data, you and your brands need to be likeable and shareable. You still have to touch hearts and inspire emotion. And the cost of choosing not to do so will be very steep. But the rewards for doing so will be very great.

I have said this before, but there is definitely something big in the air, a palpable sense that we are standing on the threshold of epoch-making change. There have been so-called golden ages in the past, but this is more. Digital technologies and social media combined with the undreamt possibilities of VR, AR and AI, 3-D printing, robotics—it seems anything is now possible. If you can dream it, you can make it. Creatives have been given the keys to Harry Potter’s spell box. And we need to use it.


Which brings me to my third resolution: To keep making the case for creativity in a world too often obsessed with pure data. And I am steeled to do so with a book by James Hurman called “The Case for Creativity,” which uses statistics to prove its point. Using research beginning in 2010 from the IPA, Hurman concludes that creatively awarded ads outperformed less creative ones by a wide margin, not only in terms of awards, but also marketplace effectiveness. And thanks to social media that margin is increasing. I’ll toast to that.

First appeared on CampaignLive.

    We'd love to hear from you.