DDB Asia CEO David Tang talks to DDB Group Philippines about their global positioning ‘Unexpected Works’ and the DDB of Tomorrow

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DDB Asia CEO David Tang talks to DDB Group Philippines about their global positioning ‘Unexpected Works’ and the DDB of Tomorrow

DDB Group Philippines recently wrapped up the first half of 2021 with DDB Asia CEO David Tang as guest speaker in its town hall.


For DDB Group Philippines Chairman & CEO Gil G. Chua, Tang’s guesting in the companywide meeting was an opportunity to learn more about the new global positioning as well as to catch up with a colleague and old friend.

“I always look forward to chatting with David, whom I last saw in his DDB Group Singapore office in 2019. He has always been there to lend a hand and guide me and the agency,” Chua said.

Tang opened the virtual conference by saying that the Philippine office must surely be “the happiest DDB agency” having topped the charts in terms of the agency network’s yearly employee engagement survey.

Tang said: “DDB Group Philippines has such a positive spirit, and happiness is ultimately what we live for. You can make more money, be smarter, win more accounts, but when you’re not happy with your work, you’ve missed the whole point.”

Beyond happiness, Tang talked about the agency network’s new global positioning dubbed “Unexpected Works” which made waves around the DDB world and the global advertising industry in the past month.

Like Marvel Superheroes
Tang recounted how at the global level, right in the midst of the pandemic, he and some other DDB people from the US, Asia and other countries spent the last six months putting together what they thought can really inspire the world and help the agency network and its clients prepare for a new tomorrow.

He said that, at the onset, coming together has been one of the best things about the Unexpected Works.

“It is so unexpected of DDB because we’re so strong as local heroes. But when we do come together, we unleash our strengths like a bunch of Marvel Superheroes,” says Tang.

The objective of the whole exercise was to give this Co-Creativity a new kind of belief, a new kind of ambition, and also a new kind of optimism. Thus the new creative positioning “Unexpected Works” was born.

“I like that the focus of our new positioning is to further inspire courage and innovation, that guts to say that we must find better ways as we go forward. That we don’t get stuck with a formula. It actually brings out that creative spirit that is always within us for tomorrow,” he said.

One of the key things that DDB has begun to unleash to find unexpected works is to start a new creative evolution in marketing. It encourages one to look ahead at what clients really need in growth marketing and achieve that kind of business transformation.

He pointed out that DDB can stretch its mind, creativity and capabilities beyond advertising. “Although we’ve been winning Cannes, Effies and even marketing awards, what is even more important,” he said,“ is to really spur marketing growth moving forward.”

“Creativity is a much bigger asset than we imagine. Our clients are looking at creative ways to grow. It goes back to what Bill Bernbach did as he transformed brands, marketing and businesses in truly unexpected ways,” he added.

Two Dimensions of Change
Tang further explained that “Unexpected Works” brings the agency network to two dimensions of change for the DDB of tomorrow.

The first dimension represents the ambition to go higher with Growth Consulting aided by insights and best practices.

Tang said that clients’ CMOs or CEOs are thinking about how they can grow the business. Across every category, they are into deep learning of how best to grow, from marketing to product innovation to new consumer demand and values.

“This is where we must look at growth strategy in terms of best practices and innovation. We must have the insights and intelligence to advise our clients way before we do the advertising. The world has changed irrevocably in 2020. The demands for marketing innovation has accelerated and DDB has more amazing ways to contribute to the clients we work with,” he said.

He said that in every local market, among our biggest clients, we suddenly have the challenge and the mandate to show how creativity can really drive marketing growth.

“It’s no longer the age of the lone genius. Going upstream with consulting with the help of global research firms like Rocsearch, OMNI and Forrester now arms us with the best practices and capability to talk to the CEO with ideas on how to grow the business. We study into what works and then make it better. In North America and Europe, we have been running Accelerator Workshops. We can be more creative and impactful by learning and collaborating with expert partners beyond DDB,” he stressed.

The second space for growth for the DDB of tomorrow that the Asia CEO discussed represents the ambition to go deeper with Data-led, Digital-Run Content Creativity.

He said that, in the past, we run an ad, somebody runs to the store and buys it. Now literally, your ad is a sales offer. Somebody with two clicks could be transacting. So it is a powerful new frontier.

“Creativity is often born out of very smart insights, intelligence and precedents. It is not some fantasy agenda; it is a results-seeking missile. We just have to use it in a bigger and much braver way like helping clients get in the frontier of social commerce,” he said.

Indeed, data-led, digital-run, contextual creativity that gets into online and digital commerce is now a center of excellence that DDB has begun to roll out.

Tang concluded by reminding everyone that, while data and technology have a big part in what will move us forward, what we are ultimately here to offer is creativity. It calls for both heart and brain, and lots of courage and honesty, in the journey to Unexpected Works.