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    Q&A: Kelvin Leong – ‘Consumers Are Just as Curious About New Things as Creatives’

    Leong joined RGA/Shanghai in late January.

    By Sam Roth - Feb 24, 2021
    Q&A: Kelvin Leong – ‘Consumers Are Just as Curious About New Things as Creatives’

    We recently caught up with Kelvin Leong, the newly appointed Executive Creative Director at R/GA Shanghai. Kelvin has more than 20 years of industry experience in China and Malaysia in agencies large and small.

    He has worked on campaigns for some of the world’s largest brands such as Coca-Cola, Sony, and Toyota and has been recognized at Spikes, AdFest, D&AD, Clio, the One Show and Cannes.

    Leong joined R/GA Shanghai in late January and is responsible for leading the agency’s creative vision. In the course of our conversation, he discusses the changing behavior of consumers and what the future looks like.


    What’s been keeping you busy lately?

    I have been fostering an abandoned dog, Buddy.

    It has been a good training for both of us especially for me. I learn to be more patient. Just like us, dogs all learn at different rates. And dogs bring out the good in us. They are truly the best friend you could ever hope for.

    You previously said “We are curious about things. By uncovering great human insights, and applying new world tech, we can produce breakthrough ideas.” Could you expand upon that?

    We often forget that consumers are just as curious about new things as creatives. If we can produce ideas that they can relate to, using executions that will wow or convey the message better, than 80% of the battle is won.

    Such as the latest work R/GA did for Google, the first ever virtual Developers Summit that lasted 6 days. Filled with contents that are insightful and hands-on for the target audience, games and projects developed using Google tech and tools through easy access on your laptop and mobile.

    You spent much of your early career working in Malaysia. What are the differences between Malaysia and China in terms of creative culture?

    I don’t see much different in both countries. All of us are working hard to achieve great creative work. I was very lucky to work with some of the most talented creatives in China like Kun Xiao, HaiBo Huang, Adams Fan and many more. They inspired me to be even better than who I was at Malaysia.

    You’ve joined R/GA at a very strange time for the industry. How has the Pandemic changed things and which of those changes do you think will stick around?

    The pandemic changed consumer behavior no doubt and therefore the advertising industry. Consumers are now conditioned to be socially distant, touchless, and masked, so those who can connect the brand to each consumer emotionally – through digital service, voice technology, and immersive experience will have the greater market share.

    This is why R/GA’s new positioning of “Creating a More Human Future” resonates with the direction we are headed.

    What’s the future look like for R/GA?

    It’s encouraging to know that R/GA has always been forming its own changing cycle, and constantly improving the company itself. This will be their edge when going out to market and to face the unique challenges that come our way. I am very thrilled to lead the creative future for next big Change!

    Are there any great campaigns that have come out of the pandemic?

    Staged, a show series developed by BBC One starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen as themselves via virtual Hollywood through Zoom! It is such a clever and yet simple way for a new form of comedy entertainment to cope with the “new normal” straight from home that relates to so many of us.

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