The new office opens officially next Tuesday (12 January) and will be headed by current Greater China CEO Simone Tam and chief creative officer Jeffry Gamble, both of whom previously held top leadership posts at DDB Group Hong Kong before joining Mcgarrybowen to oversee the Shanghai office early last year.
Since then, they have landed clients including Intel, Estée Lauder, The Cheesecake Factory and Kangshifu Juice.
The Hong Kong launch continues the agency's strategy of growing its international network. Last year, Mcgarrybowen, in partnership with parent company Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN), acquired Same Same But Different and Manghamgaxiola.
Evidently, the network is building on Tam and Gamble's background in the Hong Kong market. "We are so familiar with HK already due to our career and industry roots here while at DDB and Tribal," Tam told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "We needed at least a year [in 2015] to focus on China and familiarise ourselves with the market. We can now devote more time to HK."
The new Mcgarrybowen Hong Kong office will launch with a roster of clients in the food and beverage, consumer products, and financial services sectors, said Tam, who was unable to name them individually.
"We have seen that clients are somewhat getting a bit tired of the way big agencies work, and are using small shops," said Tam. "Big agencies are still very good at strategic planning but lacking the know-how to execute digitally, so clients complain about non-integration in the big agencies. Small shops are not getting involved in the strategy and ideation process they need to do great work. But we are positioning ourselves as being able to bring the best of both worlds together and hand pick talent whom we believe meets both ends of the stick".
The resources of DAN will set Mcgarrybowen apart in the scramble for new business, Tam asserted. "What I'm observing is that clients will typically choose two big agencies and one boutique one to throw in the mix for pitches," she said.