Staff Reporters
Feb 15, 2024

Creative Minds: A tale of 14 tattoos and limited patience

Rebel ink enthusiast and creative maven, Nicha Jaroensuk, isn't afraid to defy norms in the vibrant world of Bangkok's advertising scene—and her 14 tattoos are more than just skin-deep.

Photo: Courtesy of Nicha Jaroensuk.
Photo: Courtesy of Nicha Jaroensuk.

Name: Nicha Jaroensuk

Origin: Bangkok, Thailand

Places lived/worked: Singapore, New York, Chicago, Florence

Pronouns: She/her

CV:

Creative director, Love Frankie Social Impact Agency, Bangkok, Thailand, 2023-present
Creative director / promoter, Grammy PLC, Bangkok, Thailand, 2021-2023
Head of copy, PwC SouthEast Asia Experience Centre, Singapore, 2019-2021
Creative director, J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, Bangkok, Thailand, 2018-2019
Creative director, Rabbit's Tale Digital Creative Agency, Bangkok, Thailand, 2017-2019
Associate creative director, Lowe Lintas + Partners, Bangkok, Thailand, 2015-2016
Copywriter, JWT, Bangkok, Thailand, 2013-2014
Regional copywriter, Lowe Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand, 2010-2013
Creative intern, Havas Worldwide, New York, 2009- 2009

1. How did you end up being a creative?

I graduated with a Fine Arts degree and a long list of jobs I wanted to try. Being an art director was third on my list. I moved to New York after graduation with the list and after crossing the first two off within the first year, I applied for an internship at an advertising agency located in the Lower West Side. After being an art director intern whose hand was attached to a Wacom (tablet) all day, I found myself no longer making art on my own time. I decided I wanted to keep the art part of my life pure without the distractions and pressures of trying to sustain a living on it. So, I showed my creative director at the time music and concert reviews I’d written for a school newspaper and he suggested I switch to being a copy-based intern instead. Ever since that first headline I tried to write as an intern 16 years ago, copywriting has become (and still is) the craft I passionately devote myself to.

2. What's your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?

For my first project as a creative director, I had Maybelline as one of my clients. At the time, Maybelline was about to launch 15 shades of lipstick and they wanted communications that were overall sassy and insightful, while at the same time highlighting each shade very clearly. So, my team and I spent a few weeks writing a script that puts a clueless man armed with endless cheesy pick-up lines in a speed dating situation where he learns his lesson in the complex world of women’s many moods—15 to be exact. With each different response from the lips of each girl, each shade gets the spotlight most humorously. Plus, we shot the entire thing within a 24-hour shoot, and it was a fun, memorable experience for both my team and I at the time.

3. What's your favourite piece of work created by someone else?

Are you seriously asking creatives to name just one piece of their favourite work?! This gives me the feeling that you are not aware of how never-ending and obsessive the quest creatives take to collect inspiration can be. Since I’m a copywriter, I tend to feel more drawn towards copy-heavy ads (surprise, surprise). So, in the spirit of being childishly silly and my admiration for ads that talk about things that are difficult to talk about, I put forward the hilarious 'Poo-Pourri' ad. 

4. Tell us about your tattoo(s).

I have 14 tattoos and limited patience, so I’ll tell you about only one of them—the latest one. On my upper left arm, I have a song lyric from The Smiths that says, “Hang the blessed DJ” which is from their song “Panic.” The song tells a story of a man’s frustration surrounding the social unrest and “panic” that spreads throughout the towns and cities in his country, wondering if he would ever feel sane again. To aggravate this frustration even more, no one is playing the music that he can relate to. His conclusion is to burn down the disco and hang the blessed DJ. I got this tattoo because as a Thai living in Thailand, I feel we go through many periods of political or social unrest, and as fate (or my snobbery when it comes to music) would have it, everywhere I turn, I can’t seem to hear music I can relate to. I guess for me, the tattoo is a symbol of rebellion against the status quo and an expression of the type of loneliness that only happens in a loud, crowded room.

5. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.

The worst job I ever had was the one where my former executive creative director (ECD) supported another creative director (CD) in taking the ideas my team and I came up with and presenting them as his own, word for word—in front of myself and my team. I won’t name names. After all, I’m not Taylor Swift.

6. Do you have any secret or odd talents?

I can remember lyrics and lip sync exceptionally well, especially when it comes to rap songs. Even though I have a terrible singing voice, my pretense is quite impressive. Another one is, I can draw the entire human skeletal system without looking at a reference picture. It’s the most useless party trick I possess.

7. What is a charity or cause you think needs more attention?

I think financial literacy and education for women is a cause that’s often neglected. Whether it’s historical gender roles or educational gaps that cause this oversight, it’s spiralled into a lack of targeted programs and underrepresentation of women in finance. I feel we could benefit from taking into account the unique challenges and circumstances women face, as well as promoting more equitable gender roles in financial decision-making. I think we should start proactively empowering women in their financial journey, both as professionals and as consumers. Women represent the largest market opportunity in the world, with purchasing power that will continue to rise well into the future. It’s time women are viewed as one of the most influential demographics that deserve to be educated on the best options we have for the bacon we just brought home.

8. Analog or digital?

I know everyone says this about their generation, but as an ancient millennial, I think I was born in the best generation…when it comes to the matter of analog or digital anyway. I got to spend my teen and early adult years without the hyper-maximised connectivity of a smartphone and the dreadful compare-and-compete attitude social media brings. Yet at the same time, when the digital world kicked off, I wasn’t too old to catch up to all the latest tools and technology that greatly benefit my professional and personal life. So I guess to answer your question, I mix sentimentality for analog and curiousity for digital in a blender and consume appropriately according to the mood or the task at hand.

9. Who is your 'hall pass' celebrity?

Seth Rogen, hands down. Forever and always. I like funny and even though he’s no Gosling, his laugh is so bright and infectious, that’s pretty irresistible to me. 

10. What makes you really happy?

One of the things that makes me really happy is to have a conversation with someone who really loves and feels passionately about their job. I love observing the hopeful sparkle in their eyes beginning to appear and the motivated tone that shifts into the way they speak. We spend so much of our time on our professional life and it’s not always a cakewalk, so it inspires me and makes me happy to talk to someone who’s into the job they have.

11. Finally, what advice would you give to 10-year-old you, if you could?

Stand up straight and accept the unique qualities about you that others might deem peculiar. If you like to dream big (I still do) and want to make a difference in something greater than yourself (I still try to), it helps to have the courage and confidence to dare to go against the grain. Nothing different can grow in a field overtaken by similarities. I’ve spent most of my early years attempting to follow others, hoping to fit in like a blandly-coloured jigsaw puzzle piece but because I’m the type of person who can’t even follow a simple instruction manual to save my life. Those wasted years have taught me there’s no greater cost than forcing yourself to play by the rules, when in your heart, you want to change the game.

Source:
Campaign Asia

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