Creative Minds: Audrey Chia on running her own business and why passion needs to pay
With a relentless pursuit of becoming an award-winning creative director, Audrey Chia lives a life of no regrets—which includes breaking boundaries with marketing ideas, turning heads and elevating brands.
BBH Asia Pacific, Singapore, copywriter Jan 2019 - Jan 2022
Noah Hong Kong, growth, Jan 2022 - Dec 2022
Close With Copy, founder, Jan 2023 - present
1. How did you end up being a creative?
As cliché as it sounds, when I was 13 I saw an ad on TV—it was a film by Royston Tan that changed my life forever. At that moment, I knew I wanted to create work that would make people feel something. Anything. That sparked my relentless pursuit of becoming an award-winning creative director. Or so I thought.
2. What's your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?
I led a go-to-market team for Noah Hong Kong—a men's telehealth startup that specialises in sexual conditions like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. My goal was to help men stand tall and proud. But no one knew about us in Hong Kong. And as a startup, we had a limited budget and a big goal of attracting new customers. So what did we do? We sent penises down the streets. Yes, you heard that right. We hijacked Hong Kong's streets on Halloween with a rising female star, accompanied by an entourage of 30 men dressed in inflatable penis costumes. This content was then amplified through paid socials driving us compounding reach, brand awareness and new customers. A perfect play of guerilla marketing & tactical marketing on a lean budget.
3. What's your favourite piece of work created by someone else?
The movie—Her, by director Spike Jonze. Interestingly, I'm running a hybrid AI-copy consultancy right now. It seems like I have always been drawn to the concept of humanising machines.
4. What's on your bucket list?
To help as many businesses as I can supercharge their growth. And I'd also love to own a surf shop in Bali and watch the sunset every evening. Can I do both?
5. Who do you most admire?
My grandma. She single-handedly raised eight kids without her husband and still managed to put every single one of them through school. She's my inspiration and the reason why I'm working so hard to forge my own path.
6. Tell us about the worst job you ever had?
I don't think it's ever about the job. But about the people you meet on the job. Running your business is hard when you meet clients who try to take advantage of your passion and expect work for free. As a founder, you've got to think about your business and separate it from yourself. Passion needs to pay.
7. What advice would you give to 10-year-old you, if you could?
I have so many things to tell my 10-year-old self. Learn to say no to the wrong things, so you can say yes to the right things. You might feel a fear of missing out on opportunities and you'll want to take everything that comes your way. But if you can say no, it'll get you the projects that actually matter.
8. What really motivates you?
If you're not growing, you're dying. I firmly believe that everyone is put on this earth to learn, grow and become a better version of themselves. Every day is an opportunity to get better. I'm really lucky to be able to wake up every day and look forward to learning at work.
9. Tell us about a charity or cause you think needs more attention?
"Living alone is one of the most painful things when you're old." This is an actual quote that someone shared with me. I think we don't talk about it enough but there are many individuals who don't have that support system. I would like to launch a campaign that bridges this gap & brings people together, especially with our ageing society.
10. Do you have any recurring dreams?
1,000 needles deep in my skin and pulling them out one by one for a full hour. I know...
11. Any regrets?
I never live with regrets. Oh maybe except for my past five boyfriends.
On November 24, over 100 media and marketing guests attended Haymarket's fundraising luncheon for the local charity, that has strongly supported children without families and pregnant teenagers in Hong Kong for more than 30 years.