Henry Shen is Chief Strategy Officer Greater China for McCann Health. He oversees brand, engagement and digital strategy for Greater China, with a team of diversified and talented planners. Henry brings over 13 years of experience in the advertising industry to the jury panel, he has proven expertise in Beauty, Luxury, Health Care, FMCG, and Electronic Goods.
In the following conversation Shen about his work on campaigns such as the highly-acclaimed Breath of Life for GSK, what inspires him, how creativity can bridge differences, and the effectiveness of award competitions in light of his upcoming seat on the AME Awards jury.
What campaign or campaigns are you most proud of and how did it move the needle for the brand?
The Breath of Life for GSK campaign is intended to raise disease awareness of underdiagnosed COPD conditions in China. Inspired by the traditional Chinese art form of blow-painting, we collaborated with a well-known artist and a leading Pulmonologist to create Breath of Life, a revolutionary new app for self-testing of COPD. Every once in awhile, Science can speak the human language!
The ThisAbles Campaign/project from IKEA, created by our brother company McCann Tel Aviv, which drew up a list of dozens of products that can already accommodate people with a range of disabilities, like tables that work for wheelchairs. This is a solid example of how brand can play, instead of just talk about, a meaningful role in people’s life.
What cultural and/or social changes do you think will influence this year’s work?
The world is suffering from great divides, from economic, political, gender, to value and beliefs. I believe ideas that help bridge divides and unite people will have major impact on the progress of humanity in this challenging time.
What do you do to keep your creative and strategic juices flowing?
A beginner’s mind. It’s easy for people to take things for granted and ignore the new happenings in the world, if not become judgmental. Life can offer inspirations and insights in any form, at any time.
I believe ideas that help bridge divides and unite people will have a major impact on the progress of humanity in this challenging time.
Who is your inspiration and how has this philosophy made you who you are today?
Buddha is one of my fountains of inspiration. To me, he is not a religious figure but more importantly a teacher who is loving, kind and wise. Just as Buddha preaches differently to everyone because he sees every person as different and respects each individual. Brands need to learn to address these differences between people with wisdom and serve them with loving-kindness.
Why are effectiveness competitions like the AME Awards important?
Under the pressure of growth, Today’s marketers care about effectiveness more than ever. Thus, CMOs are redefined as CGOs. That’s why creativity can’t be siloed from results. Instead, it should become the magnifier for growth. Competitions like AME Awards is a great platform to encourage creative-led marketing solutions.
What makes you share you time and energy to participate on the AME Grand Jury and what do you hope to learn?
It’s a great honor and a rewarding learning process for me. I hope I can find new possibilities to leverage creativity to solve brand challenges and drive growth.