Faaez Samadi
Feb 19, 2019

Why Cheuk Chiang joined upstart agency Mutiny

New agency focused on predictive use of AI also includes former PwC and Y&R executives.

Mutiny leadership (L-R): Henry Innis, CSO; Harriet Wray, COO; Cheuk Chiang, chairman; Matt Farrugia, CEO.
Mutiny leadership (L-R): Henry Innis, CSO; Harriet Wray, COO; Cheuk Chiang, chairman; Matt Farrugia, CEO.

Cheuk Chiang, Asia-Pacific CEO of Omnicom Media Group until last April, has joined Australian ad agency Mutiny Group as chairman.

Established in Melbourne just two months ago by former Y&R Melbourne managing director Matt Farrugia and national engagement strategy director Henry Innis, Mutiny brands itself “the world’s first predictive advertising agency”.

Chiang joins as partner, investor and chairman. He was also previously APAC CEO at PHD, managing director at Cummins & Partners, and held senior roles at M&C Saatchi and Leo Burnett.

Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Chiang said in considering his next move in the industry, he sought to move away from the “legacy structures” of advertising that had led to “an inability to change path” for many agencies.

“Most of the industry has been struggling to reinvent itself, caught between the traditional space, or integrating creative and media again, or developing data and tech offerings,” he said.  

Mutiny’s focus on AI, deep learning and predictive analysis is the solution “that has been staring us in the face”, Chiang said, because the agency is “taking a lot of the guesswork out of what the industry does”.

“The thing that’s missing in this big focus on data and tech, is we’ve forgotten it’s about what they provide, which is analysing huge data and using deep learning to predict what happens next,” he added. “That’s the most exciting bit.”

Farrugia said Mutiny has already created two proprietary products based on machine learning, and is looking to develop five more in the next six months. The agency has partnered with companies including IBM Watson, Facebook and Google to leverage their AI technology.

“There’s a lot of technology available, a lot of it is underpinned by AI and the power of machine learning, and these are terms that get bandied around with very little actionable understanding,” he told Campaign. “With Mutiny, we thought, let’s build for the most complicated component of our business–AI­–and the rest will be simpler.

“It’s a new and unique offering we have and we need strong partners, intellectual prowess and major investment in leading tech to help us achieve our vision of building the future agency. Cheuk is the perfect partner and a strong addition to our team.”

Mutiny has also recently hired Harriet Wray as COO from PwC, where she was a product lead.

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