|In Creative Minds, we ask APAC creatives a long list of questions, from serious to silly, and ask them to pick 11 to answer. (Why 11? Just because.) Want to be featured?
Name: Anh Nguyen
Origin: Odesa, Ukraine
Places lived/worked: Hanoi, Vietnam; Odesa, Ukraine; Edinburgh, Bristol, London, UK; Atlanta, NYC, UK; Singapore
Kvur, Singapore, senior copywriter, February 2023 - present
TBWA\Media Arts Lab, Singapore, copywriter, August 2019 - February 2023
Iris Worldwide, Singapore, creative, June 2017 - August 2019
Campbell Ewald, New York, freelance writer, December 2016 - March 2017
Grey, New York, November 2016
PwC, London, senior associate, September 2012 – September 2014
1. How did you end up being a creative?
After graduating from university in the UK with a degree in economics, I landed a job with a Big Four consulting firm. About six months in, I realised I had zero passion for number-crunching and selling cookie-cutter solutions, even though I was pretty good at it.
I didn’t want to push the same old wheel; I wanted to reinvent it, maybe turn it into a frisbee. But that wasn’t encouraged by my old company. So, while my colleagues were busy planning their climb to the corporate ladder, writing music and poetry became my creative outlet.
I started to seriously wonder if I could turn this passion into a career, something I never thought was possible growing up in an academic Asian family. In the end, I googled ‘advertising school’ and took a leap of faith across the ocean at The Creative Circus in Atlanta.
That's where I realised everyone has a ‘creative’ somewhere inside them; it’s about having the audacity to own your unique point of view without fear. And I did just that.
2. What's your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?
My favourite has got to be this Shot on iPhone piece we commissioned for Apple on Instagram to celebrate Holi. With all the stereotypical images of Holi flooding the Internet, we had to ‘think different’ to make our work stand out.
Capitalising on iPhone's ability to highlight details, we chose to zoom into the abstract textures of the coloured powder on people’s faces. This allowed us to both capture the essence of Holi from a fresh perspective and show off iPhone.
I was super happy to see how much the work resonated culturally. Our carousel became one of the top five best-performing creator commissions on Apple. What was even more rewarding was seeing people in India posting images inspired by our shots.
3. What's the one piece of work you most wish you'd done?
There are so many great ads I love, but this Axe Susan Glenn spot by BBH New York was the first that came to mind. The human truth behind it is very relatable, and the writing is just out of this world. It also signalled an important brand pivot for Axe. I’m still hoping I’ll get to write an ad this good one day.
4. Do you work best under pressure, or when things are calm?
Do you work best under pressure, or when things are calm?
I find that the right amount of pressure helps me to stop overthinking, which is usually my biggest problem.
5. What advice would you give to 10-year-old you, if you could?
Having a vision for your future is great, but also, be open to finding opportunities in the curveballs life throws your way.
6. What’s your favorite music / film / TV show / book / other of the past year, and why?
Javelin by Sufjan Stevens. No one writes about love quite like him. The lyrics are poetic and beautiful in a very subtle way. This latest album is dedicated to his partner, who recently passed away, so it’s extra gut-wrenching.
7. Tell us about a charity or cause you think needs more attention.
The crisis in Gaza deserves the headlines right now, but the war in Ukraine has not stopped either. If you’re looking to support my second homeland, I recommend savelife.in.ua – your donations will reach those who genuinely need them.
8. What app could you absolutely not live without? What app do you wish you could delete?
9. Do you have a catchphrase?
“I’m in an open relationship with my ideas.” It's not a catchphrase, but it's my philosophy regarding creativity. It’s a reminder not to be so precious with your ideas – there’s always a better one around the corner.
10. Early riser or night owl?
11. Extrovert or introvert?
I classify myself as a shy extrovert. I love being around people but can be quite reserved in the beginning. But once I’m comfortable with the environment, I’m probably the loudest person in the room.