Christmas connections and a playful new year

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Christmas connections and a playful new year

Grenville I Francis chats with three of Malaysia’s creative leaders about their Christmas wishes and new year resolutions.


What will the grand old bewhiskered gentleman in the red suit bring in his bag of goodies as he climbs down the chimneys of Malaysia’s advertising agencies in the wee hours of December 25?

Then what new year resolutions would take affect after Auld Lang Syne has been sung, the yum seng has been yum senged and 2021 makes way for 2022? Let’s find out what three creative heads would like.

Graham Drew, Grey Group’s Chief Creative Officer (pictured above right) wishes his teams will connect with family and friends the good old-fashioned face-to-face way this Christmas. “Switch off and see people for real, not in little digital grid,” he asks for.

This comes after “an amazing year” for Grey that saw agency growth and no job losses. “Everyone has given their all, plus a lot extra that they found hidden in a drawer somewhere,” he says with pride.

Alvin Teoh, Chief Creative Officer of Naga DDB Tribal (pictured below) wants to be a child again and surrender to wonderment. He wishes “to bring to life the stuff we see in our heads and feel in our hearts.”

Woei Hern, Executive Creative Director of VMLY&R Commerce Malaysia and Southeast Asia (pictured above left) bypasses Santa and wishes upon a Tik Tok “that the best of the past will be the worst of our future.”

He also would like to “find a beautiful balance of being able to collaborate in person and craft in private.” As well as achieving the right mix of working from home and in the office that “becomes a choice and not a chore.”

The new year resolutions have common threads weaving their ways through the 2022 thinking where, COVID and all its variants and strains aside, going back to some of the basics seems to be the general intention. Do it better, do it together and have fun doing it.

Grey’s resolution is the same as last year and the year before. “To create bigger and better work than last time and try and find some fun along the way,” Drew says.

He believes this is best created in person. “When it comes to craft and creation, there is no substitute for being in the same space together,” he says. “As for the fun part, that space certainly doesn’t have to always be the office.”


Christmas connections and a playful new year

Teoh intends to be the kid in the class whose hand is always up querying and questioning. “What if this happens? “What happens after that? “What if it doesn’t happen?” He would also like to “play more.”

Woe Hern wants to follow the ‘WFH’ principle in 2022. Work For Happiness, Wander For Highlights and Wonder Filled Hours. He also aims to be the kid with his hand up enquiring, “What if… and how might we…?” Resulting in work that puts smiles on faces and “makes someone’s day.”

Will these creative head honchoes get what they wish for this Christmas? Will their agencies adhere to the new year resolutions?

Intentions that lay the foundations for better and more fun work next year, making it very much something to look forward to when the Yuletide celebrations are over and all get back to it in January.

Christmas connections and a playful new year