Staff Reporters
Nov 20, 2023

40 Under 40 2023: Harry Chen, BBDO Shanghai

Chen’s sharp technical strategy prowess, thought leadership and people skills have made him one of the key pillars of BBDO’s Asia network.

40 Under 40 2023: Harry Chen, BBDO Shanghai
Proven leaders with path-breaking expertise

Harry Chen

Group planning director
BBDO Shanghai

In the eyes of Hans Lopez-Vito, chief operation officer and chief strategy officer at BBDO Asia and Harry Chen’s direct supervisor, “Chen is a stellar representation of what the next generation of planners could be. We would surely be a lesser agency if not for Chen's role on Mars, ABinBev, Pepsi, Goodyear, and Didi (to name a few).”

Chen has worked hard to earn his stripes. All of 29 years of age, he has become the youngest and fastest-promoted group planning director in the history of BBDO Worldwide. A London School of Economics graduate who majored in social science and philosophy, Chen pursued his passion for investigating the causes of things, understanding human motivations and reasoning as a student, arming him with the right arsenal to become a successful strategic planner in the advertising industry.

Chen excels at enabling creativity backed with sharp insights and strategy. Take, for example, AB InBev’s Harbin Beer campaign that rides on the FIFA World Cup fever. The insights inspired the launch of “Harbin Sit Pack”—a special package of 10 beers that can extend and transform into a bench accommodating up to eight people. This went viral on social media, drove substantial business growth, and swept multiple awards, including gold at The New York Festivals and AME Awards.

Chen has not only been driving organic growth from existing accounts, he has successfully created a new revenue stream for the agency by foraying into the territory of brand consulting. Given his strong strategic capability demonstrated in work for brands like Mars, Wrigley, AB InBev, PepsiCo and Goodyear, and a deep understanding of the baijiu category in China, Wuliangye, the second largest baijiu corporation in China, awarded BBDO their brand consultancy project without a pitch. This strategy-led project brings the agency a revenue incremental of 4.8 million RMB.

Last year, Chen was selected to join the Tencent Reality Show—Next Promotion as one of the mentors from BBDO China. His sharp strategic thinking and insights, mature and empowering leadership style, and charismatic personality made him very popular on social media. He used this influence on the younger generations to advocate the advertising industry as an exciting career option.

Proven leaders with path-breaking expertise


Campaign Asia

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