Creative Trailblazer Sheung Yan Lo Retires from the Ad World

“Today, we bid farewell to a creative visionary whose impact on the APAC advertising industry is immeasurable.”

Following a career spanning over three decades, Sheung Yan Lo – known as ‘Ma Yan’ by his peers, is making an exit from the marketing industry.

Most recently serving as Chief Creative Officer, APAC at Wunderman Thompson, Ma Yan, who is originally from Hong Kong, was previously a secondary school teacher. He started his career in 1996, joining China’s advertising industry as a copywriter for JWT Shanghai. His career saw him quickly shooting up the ranks, eventually becoming the Chairman of JWT’s Asia-Pacific Creative Council in 2013, before being appointed Chief Creative Office, APAC for Wunderman Thompson in 2019.

“Today, we bid farewell to a creative visionary whose impact on the APAC advertising industry is immeasurable,” said Audrey Kuah, co-CEO APAC, VML.


 

“Ma Yan’s innovative spirit, dedication, and unwavering passion have left an indelible mark on us and the entire industry. As he embarks on this new exciting chapter, we wish him a retirement as vibrant and inspiring as his career has been.”

Throughout his career, he has played a pivotal role in shaping the advertising landscape in China. Under his leadership, JWT garnered numerous prestigious awards, cementing its reputation as a powerhouse in the industry, and China’s most awarded agency. From being named “Network Agency of the Year” by AdFest (2008 & 2009) and Media Spikes (2009), along with “Agency of the Year” by Campaign Asia in 2011, Mayan’s contributions have been instrumental in elevating the agency’s profile on the global stage.

Having worked across numerous high-profile award-winning campaigns, he was also responsible for producing many firsts for China’s advertising industry, from winning China’s first gold Clio, to helping lead China to its very first Grand Prix at Cannes in 2011.

In 2012, he made history once again, becoming the first Chinese jury head of Cannes’ Outdoor Advertising Awards. Ma Yan has also continued to support the industry by serving as a juror at regional awards like Longxi Chinese Advertising Awards, Spikes Asia and ADFEST. His achievements were further recognised when he was honoured as “Lotus Legend” at Adfest 2016, and was awarded the Honorary University Fellow by the University of Hong Kong in 2021.


 

A well-rounded creative, Ma Yan has more than 15 years’ experience writing, directing and acting in stage plays, and writing lyrics for Asian pop songs and musicals, as an active member of the Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong. In 2009 the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce also honoured him as one of the Outstanding Hong Kong People in Shanghai.

In this next chapter, he plans to spend more time with his family, while continuing to explore his creative passions, including writing for musical theatre and studying.

Ma Yan said: “As I retire from this thrilling 36-year journey, I reflect with profound gratitude on all my years of creativity, growth, and camaraderie. I am reminded of the wise words of Mao Zedong ‘The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours.’ To the fearless, passionate souls who now carry the torch, I offer my sincerest blessings.”

 

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