DDB China Group has a new CCO on board today, overseeing both Tribal and DDB in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and reporting to Danny Mok (莫熙慈), China president and CEO.
Mok's new hire is his namesake, Danny Chan (陈永泰), who gave up his acclaimed executive creative director role at Wunderman China and, in December 2016, founded a startup out of his own pocket, steering it towards R&D in connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Chan can be considered a replacement for Jimmy Lam, whose departure in December 2015 left the position vacant until now.
Mok told Campaign China that he managed to convince Chan to return to advertising even though he chose to leave the industry last year after more than 20 years in the agency world.
"It's a long story. We knew each other for over 20 years. We are old friends and have very close wavelengths," said Mok.
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Chan was a traditional creative talent previously but "pushed very hard" into the digital world, Mok described. "I admire him a lot for that. His latest interest is how to integrate technology into communications. And this is also my interest. I’m a computer science graduate actually, and very into technology."
Since the two have the same knowledge, experience and background in advertising and also aligned in how to build DDB and Tribal into a new digital model, Chan was a "perfect fit", said Mok.
"It's not really me convincing him on my own but more like we have common goals," he added.
Besides, Tribal Worldwide China's current managing director Allen Wang has little resources to help him gear up the digital agency, said Mok. "We cannot let Tribal be just a name".
Mok joked about finding another executive with a first name starting with B, so the agency's China management team in future can be a microcosm of DDB's original founders (Maxwell Dane, James Edwin Doyle, William Bernbach).
“Danny Mok is a charming and respectful leader; I can't resist joining him,” Chan said.
Chan will exit his role as co-founder and creative director for innovation for his startup 123Jump, and dedicate his time to "reboot" DDB and Tribal. "I do wish to uplift the tech aspects and innovate from there," he told Campaign China.
"It is a difficult decision for me too. It's not easy to found a startup, especially one in new experimental ground," Chan revealed. "We [Wayne Sun and Tomy Chan] experienced a lot together. But there are things that big brands are able to give [me]: more creative freedom."