Harrington replaces Po Cheung, president of North Asia for Futurebrand, who will be leaving to pursue other interests. Cheung has been with the agency for 13 years, intially joining as managing director of Greater China and then stepping up to her current role in January this year.
Harrington joins from Turner, where he was most recently vice-president of marketing, branding and communications at Turner Broadcasting Systems Asia-Pacific Hong Kong. He first landed in Hong Kong 10 years ago when he moved here as vice-president of marketing for Disney.
Kim joins Futurebrand in a newly created role from Siegal+Gale London, where she was creative director.
Kim’s appointment speaks to Futurebrand’s larger plans for the Hong Kong office, explained Harrington. “Kim is a world-class creative," he said. "Hong Kong, not just Futurebrand, is lucky to have someone of her calibre. She represents one of our investments into the Hong Kong market, we’re also looking to hire a strategy director.”
By the end of next year, Harrington expects Kim to be leading a team of around eight creatives and for the Futurebrand Hong Kong team as a whole to grow to around 20 members.
The HK office will also be expanding its remit to include Macau and Southern China, he added. “While our absolute and clear focus will be Hong Kong, there is a strong demand in Macau and in South China for our services.”
Harrington noted that the new appointments are a reflection of a tipping point in the Hong Kong market for branding services. “I’ve only been in the role for the past five weeks, but already it’s apparent that they’re interested in building more substantial brands in Hong Kong.”
While brands are still at the early stages, as the adverts in Hong Kong’s MTR can attest, companies are finally recognising the need to move beyond shouty posters and “get ahead of the competition,” said Harrington.
The prospect of the market’s potential growth in branding led Harrington to join the agency. “Once I met Sarah (Reiter, president Asia-Pacific) and she took me through Futurebrand’s vision for Asia-Pacific, it seemed to me a great experience to be a part of. This is where the growth is going to come, and Hong Kong, because it’s been underrepresented, will be a great growth story in 12 months time.”
In an earlier interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific, Reiter outlined her strategy for the agency in Asia-Pacific, which included senior creative appointments and an aggressive talent procurement and development strategy, of which Harrington and Kim are a part.
“[Harrington and Kim’s] skills combined with their passion, energy, and creativity are qualities that will be in high demand by Hong Kong businesses that are looking to get ahead of the competition and create brands that resonate with consumers and stakeholders," she commented in a statement. "Their appointment is a signal of positive change for FutureBrand Hong Kong and reflects our ambition to make FutureBrand the leading brand agency in Asia Pacific.”