Staff Reporters
Jan 20, 2022

Creative Minds: Why Eddy Nazarullah went mad for ads

The creative director answers 11 of our questions. Learn how his art teacher's husband set his destiny, why he admires Goku (from Dragon Ball) and Rocky, what he fears, and why he hasn't really seen NYC despite going there more than once.

Creative Minds: Why Eddy Nazarullah went mad for ads
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: Eddy Nazarullah

Origin: Selangor, Malaysia

Places lived/worked: Malaysia, Hong Kong

Pronouns: He/him


  • Creative director, Ogilvy Malaysia (2022)*
  • Creative director, Reprise Digital (2020-2022)
  • Creative, Digitas, Hong Kong (2019)
  • Creative director, MullenLowe Malaysia (2018-2019)
  • Creative group head, MullenLowe, Malaysia (2016-2018)
  • Copywriter, Lowe & Partners, Malaysia (2013-2016)
  • Copywriter, Leo Burnett, Malaysia (2010-2013)

1. How did you end up being a creative?

Where did it all begin? After multiple flashbacks of my life, I can now confirm the exact point my love affair with advertising began. I was in high school and met the husband of my art teacher. He worked in an ad agency and introduced me to this book, The New York Festivals. I fell in love with the work in that book and realised I had found my calling. It also helped that I was defying my parents. LOL. Like most Asian parents, they wanted me to pursue a career in architecture, business or engineering.

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

This is quite hard to answer because I like most of them. Can I provide more than one? These are my top picks:

A. Kepci Kitchen: This has sentimental value as it’s the first work that got me an award with Reprise (Effie Gold).

B. FlyKlia Booklet Design: I pick this one because I did not come from an art background. And this was a design-led brief. To be able to lead the team to answer this brief is definitely something I feel proud of. Even though we’re all about digital these days, I was told all of the copies are gone. I don’t think you can find one anywhere. Thank god I took one after it was printed.

C. TM Stream Champion TVC: Because this cracks me up every time.

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

Oh, I get a lot of ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ moments! But this one goes to BK’s 'Stevenage Challenge'. I am not a football fan, but as a gamer, I would most definitely take part in this. They managed to turn the smallest team in real life, into the biggest one online. Pure genius.

4. What/who are your key creative influences?

Definitely everyone I’ve met in life. EVERYONE. Former ECDs, CDs, MDs, partners, interns, cab drivers...EVERYONE. I personally believe creativity is a reflection of human behaviour, and I love my work to be relevant. Sometimes, I would just go to a ‘mamak restaurant’ to people-watch and observe behaviour.

5. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

I accidentally took part in the demonstrations in Hong Kong in 2019. Being a foreigner in Hong Kong and not speaking its local language is an experience you’d never forget. So, here we were blissfully unaware of any demonstrations happening that day we were out shopping. We walked out of a store, and were immediately immersed in a sea of demonstrators. But after we realised it was a demonstration, we thought, “When else can we be part of such a huge movement?”. So, yeah, we took part for a while. I might have marched till the end if I was not with my wife.

6. Who do you most admire?

Do fictional characters count? I admire Goku from Dragon Ball. In the series, he’s the strongest in the universe but still keeps pushing his limits, trying to be better and better. That’s the attitude I believe we all should have. To always aim to be better than before. I try to practice that, and always challenge myself to do better than my previous work.

7. Who’s on your dream dinner guest list (alive or dead)?

For my dream dinner table of 4, I would pick these guys who have shaped me to be who I am today.

Akira Toriyama: The author of Dragon Ball. Thanks to him, I got into martial arts. It is definitely a good self-improvement activity. It taught me focus too, which is a very important aspect considering our hectic agency life.

Yoshiyuki Tomino: The father of Gundam. I confess, I’m into action figures too. My siblings and I collect them. Growing up, assembling the action figure was a hobby that taught me patience. Patience first to collect enough money to buy the action figure. Then to assemble it.

Jeremy Clarkson: I remember as a kid making sure not to miss an episode of him on Top Gear. To me, his reviews were not just car reviews. They were an art form. But of course I like cars too.

8. What really motivates you?

The fear of being irrelevant. The industry is forever evolving and it’s changing at an unimaginable  pace. If I stopped evolving, they’re not gonna wait for me. Turning fear into a great motivator helps me keep up with the changes in this industry. It also pushes me to move away from my comfort zone.

9. How would your co-workers describe you?

Poyo. Definitely this. To give context, ‘poyo’ is a local slang to describe someone who loves to brag or show off. Yeah, I love to tease them through humble-bragging. Another one must be 'lame' since I love making lame jokes in reviews and meetings.

10. What’s your favourite music / film / TV show / book and why?

The entire Rocky movie series. Come on… who doesn’t love Rocky? Even the theme song makes you feel like you can take on the entire world. But, what I like most about it is it’s not always about winning—but it’s always about the fight, about not giving up. I think this is the most popular quote, “Life's not about how hard of a hit you can give... it's about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.” Yeah, the one who’s gonna hit us the hardest, put us on our knees is LIFE. Just need to keep that winning-never give up spirit, especially in challenging times like these. 

11. Any regrets?

This one sticks in mind. I was sent by my former agency for a training in New York. I missed out on the Brooklyn Bridge and Grand Central my first time there, so I was dead set on seeing it my second time around. The training ends, and my boss informs me that I’m on the next available flight out as I have to be home for an important pitch. We won the business—I’m glad—but I’m still waiting for that next visit to the Big Apple.


We ask for only 11 answers, but sometimes people can't help themselves. And sometimes, those extra answers are even illuminating and/or entertaining.

Who's the most important person in your life that wasn’t your parent?

My wife. Definitely her. The one who supports all the unthinkable, unreasonable, foolish things I want to do. Yes, passion led me to places, but she pushes me further. If I needed a nudge, she’ll give me a massive push.

What career did you think you'd have when you were a kid?

An astronaut. Well, most kids have the same dream. But to me, it was to be Malaysia’s first astronaut. Obviously we now know our first astronaut is not me, but the dream still lives on.

What kind of student were you?

The kind that doesn’t use his textbooks. Not that I hate textbooks. Yes, they’re very heavy, and yes a textbook is good to learn about theories and stuff. But there are always new things in the market and the textbooks can’t be updated. I mainly refer to award books and marketing magazines when I do my assignments. Current and up-to-date cases are way more interesting and relevant.

What advice would you give to 10-year-old you, if you could?

Keep looking at things through the eyes of a child.

What's your favourite GIF/meme, and why?

“Hello There Obi Wan Kenobi”. We love to create chat groups for every job that comes in. I feel this is a nice way to start a chat and it also shows I am ready for it, just like how Obi Wan said ‘Hello’ to General Grievous in that scene. And I like the ‘Homer disappears into bushes’ too. Can be used not only to jokingly express “I’m not interested”, but also as a format to funnily show you’re appearing as something else.

What food can you not live without? What food would you be happy to never taste again?

Shake Shack’s ShackBurger! We can’t get this in Malaysia, but when I was in HK, I had it almost every weekend. And whenever I travel, we’ll visit Shake Shack before going back to Malaysia.

Never taste again? Can’t think of anything…

Do you have any recurring dreams?

I keep dreaming about travelling in space to other galaxies.

What app could you absolutely not live without? What app do you wish you could delete?

I can’t live without Lichess, a chess app. I really like chess. But it’s a dying game, and it’s hard for me to find someone who I can play with. So the app really helps. It’s my chess buddy. And playing chess is a way to not think about work at times.

If I could, I would want to delete WhatsApp! LOL. There are just way too many chat groups… It’s annoying especially when I want to slay some dragons or do work.

* Editor's note: This profile was submitted and prepared some time ago. Nazarullah is still with Reprise Digital until April. However, his impending move to Ogilvy Malaysia was announced early this month.

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