Raymond Chin has been named chief creative officer for Asia at VMLY&R, joining from within WPP at Wunderman Thompson, where he was the agency's CCO in China.
In doing so, he fills the role, which has been vacant for five months after Valerie Madon departed for Meta, and will work closely with Paul Nagy who was recently promoted to the role of VMLY&R chief creative officer for APAC.
The Singaporean creative has spent 15 years in China, working for Publicis, Wieden and Kennedy, and TBWA. Chin also had a stint in Singapore with Accenture Song (previously Accenture Interactive) as chief experience officer for Droga5.
Chin was drawn to the role because revaluing creativity for clients has been on his mind. He tells Campaign he believes VMLY&R has a wide-open toolbox and can create anything from ecommerce experiences to product innovation and digital activation, saying he looks forward to working with a talented team that cares about clients' business and thinks of innovative ways to help.
The roles of creatives are rapidly changing with technology, particularly now that a lot of creativity, like copywriting, is becoming commoditised and this trend will only accelerate with generative AI.
Chin says he believes addressing this trend is both a challenge and an opportunity to figure out how to put a fair value on what creativity can do. He points out that communications campaigns can use creativity for many clients.
"In my time at a consultancy firm (Accenture), I learned how to extract value from my work. Clients are coming to terms with market realities, including fragmentation, and they need help beyond just communications," Chin explains to Campaign Asia-Pacific.
"This is where creativity can step in to create top brand and customer experiences and commerce offerings for them. Not many places can do that. The big 'why' of this is that we want to help brands' purpose show up in relevant places for their consumers, building long-term affinity while also powering commerce outcomes. Combining all these aspects is creatively interesting to me."
Chin also wants to draw on his experience in China. He has noticed that keeping up with the clients' business spirit is crucial in China. He notes marketers in the country are dealing with fragmented media and multiple touchpoints, including ecommerce and social platforms.
"Your budgets are spread thin, so finding meaningful and effective ways to reach consumers across these touchpoints is essential. In China, they are 12 to 18 months ahead of the rest of the region regarding social media trends and live broadcasts, so marketers have much to deal with, especially in the rest of Asia," explains Chin.
"As (generative AI) becomes more prevalent, marketers need to revalue the power of creativity and work with clients to enhance brand and customer experiences while taking ownership of their commercial growth."
Even though he acknowledges the benefits of AI-generated art, Chin is not keen to use it for clients. At least, not in the next six months.
Chin is wary of the use, ownership, and royalties of generative AI, citing ongoing lawsuits. He argues there are no clear answers to addressing copyright infringements with generative AI.
For example, Getty Images, known for its historical and stock photos, has sued AI image generation Stability AI, the maker of Stable Diffusion, for copyright infringement. Getty alleges that the company copied over 12 million images to train its AI model 'without permission or compensation.'
"Unless you have set the proper parameters already, like what Coca-Cola has done recently, where they are feeding the AI with pre-creations of Coke bottles that they have commissioned artists. This gives the brand better control over the image rights of what gets created in the end," says Chin.
"We need to have those kinds of safeguards in place. That is external, but internally, it also gives us a lot of efficiencies so that you can spend more time creating new concepts. The quality of creativity would improve with these tools, you know so that we the focus areas right.
However, Chin believes generative AI will create new jobs like 'prompt directors' in the creative industry and can create more possibilities for creatives.
"Generative AI will unlock more resources for creative minds to focus on new expertise where creativity is applied to more service design and experience design approaches, as an example of brand building."