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Working in a playground

Published on Thursday, 04 Nov 2010
Ken Hui’s career as associate creative director is a labour of love.

While many people spend years searching for their passion in life, Ken Hui at 29 can claim that work has stopped being just a job and has become a pleasure. “Advertising and I are a good match. I'm enjoying myself in a playground every day... [and being paid] to create something interesting,” says the associate creative director of TBWA, a global advertising agency   with clients such as Levi's and Standard Chartered Bank. He was also named China’s Top Ten Young Creative Directors in the LongXi Nova Awards for Chinese language advertising in 2007.

Why were you drawn to advertising?
I studied product [and] graphic design and advertising at PolyU. I believe a good idea can be interpreted in different media. I was attracted to advertising for the flexibility in using [different channels of expression].

What is your role at TBWA?
I lead a team of arts specialists and copywriters, and oversee the development and execution of creative concepts in [advertising] campaigns.

How do you balance your personal style and a client's needs?
The artistic style of the creative director is secondary to the image of the client's product. My team combines multiple disciplines and media, from print advertisements and electronic devices to indoor and outdoor promotional materials.

How would you describe your experience in London?
It was an important period for my personal growth and career. [I learned about] strategic planning in advertising and digital media [from the course]. Strategic planning in advertising is concerned with the mapping of the overall direction of a campaign, the development of a brand, and maximising the impact of the campaign by using different media. While studying, I worked part-time and built a network of arts designers and creative directors. I also took advantage of [the school’s] broad alumni network and got myself involved in cooperative projects with leading agencies. 

After completing the programme, I joined Volume Group in London as head of digital creative and helped expand the B2C [business-to-consumer] business. Last year, Saatchi & Saatchi created the role of senior integrated creative and designer for me to help bridge the gap between traditional and digital creative development and technology.

Why did you return to Hong Kong?
I am always fascinated by Hong Kong being an international city teeming with global brands. I wanted to win international accounts in Hong Kong using the skills I gained in Britain.

What are the differences between working in London and Hong Kong?
In London, I was given the time and money [required] to develop and perfect creative concepts, while the challenge in Hong Kong often lies in finding world-class solutions within a tight deadline and with limited funds. But limited time and money shouldn't be a barrier [to work], as creative ideas form the core of any campaign.

What is your career goal?
I want to be a world-class creative director and designer. It would be great if my projects will engage as many people as possible. I want to create projects that will cheer up others and inject positive energy into their lives.

What has kept you motivated?
My passion for advertising has sustained my enthusiasm. I am not just working for my clients; I am working on something I love.

Tips from the top

  • If you have the passion and interest, the drive will come naturally
  • Go the extra mile for the best solutions, whatever the task 
  • Satisfaction comes from working on something you love
  • Embrace changes and be on the cutting edge

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