Robert Sawatzky
May 2, 2023

Valerie Madon joins McCann Worldgroup as SEA chief creative

Madon, who has held lead creative posts at VMLY&R, Havas and Meta, starts in the newly-created role mid-May.

Valerie Madon joins McCann Worldgroup as SEA chief creative

McCann Worldgroup has brought in one of Asia's most highly-experienced creative leaders to begin a newly created role of chief creative officer for Southeast Asia.

Valerie Madon, who left VMLY&R last November to lead Meta's Creative Shop for SEA and emerging markets is returning to the agency world, tasked with leading McCann's creative teams across Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong. Based in Singapore, Madon begins her new CCO role in mid-May and will also serve as chair of McCann Worldgroup’s APAC Creative Leadership Community (CLC).

Madon will report to Nick Handel, president, McCann Worldgroup Southeast Asia, whom she previously worked with more than a decade ago at Leo Burnett. She tells Campaign that she's excited to apply her creative experience at an agency that has produced such inspirational work. 

"Every network stands for a certain creative vision," Madon says. "McCann Worldgroup's work from Fearless Girl to Mastercard's Priceless platforms, from Dumb Ways To Die to countless Microsoft innovations has been iconic work that didn't just build brands, but movements, that the world lived and celebrated. My goal is to continue this legacy of the network and create more meaningful experiences with my brand, media and tech knowledge. Invisible walls need to be broken down so that open and collaborative people can build on each other's expertise. That's what I look forward to leading at McCann Worldgroup Southeast Asia, in partnership with Nick."

By bringing in Madon, McCann Worldgroup acquires one of the most experienced creative leaders in the region, with a career spanning more than two decades at agencies like VMLY&R, Havas, JWT, Leo Burnett and two stints at Meta/Facebook working for a bevy of top brands including HP, P&G, Singapore Airlines, STB, HSBC, Burger King, Visa, Shell, GSK, Friesland Campina and many others. She has judged and won awards at top shows including Cannes Lions, Spikes Asia, D&AD, Effies, One Show, and more. 

“The addition of Valerie to our organisation marks a significant development," said McCann Worldgroup's APAC chairman Prasoon Joshi. "Her extensive experience and innovative creative approach will add a fresh dimension. She is a keen observer of the evolving media landscape and latest technologies, which will further drive our creative excellence and strengthen our creative leadership in the region.”

Asked about what she brings back to the agency world from her experience working at Meta, Madon tells Campaign that having a strong sense of how users experience brands across various platforms is critical.

"The best creative work happens when we play to the strengths of the media platform," Madon explains. "Many understand this importance for 'traditional' media but not for 'new' media. Work that's inspired and created natively will always be more successful. What makes platforms, such as Meta, exciting for creatives are the opportunities to play and be the first to demonstrate what brands can do with relatively new features such as Instagram Reels. It's like having a new kind of canvas to paint and experiment on. It's also important to recognise that user behaviours are different from one platform to the other and creatives who can tap into that insight will create experiences that people want to spend time with."

Handel says the new CCO position is especially important for McCann as it integrates a wide variety of creative talent with different skills across Southeast Asia. "Our agency brands, McCann, MRM and Craft have fantastic local leadership and a diverse array of strong specialist talent," he says. "With Valerie on board, we are looking to not only improve the overall quality of our creative product but also better integrate that talent for every client with the aim of being to draw on the very best and most appropriate talent our network can offer, regardless of where an individual may sit or what business card they may carry."

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