CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER
NYF’s 2018 Grand Jury of 300+ creatives are one of the most diverse juries on the planet, with advertising creatives from over 50 countries around the globe, this jury is a powerhouse of innovation and creativity.
These award-winning creatives evaluate NYF’s entries from over 100 countries worldwide and determine which creative campaign will move on to the medal round. Not an easy task. It takes experience, brilliant creative chops, and dedication to their craft.
2018 Grand Jury member, Andrew Hook is Chief Creative Officer at Havas Singapore. Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, Andrew first plied his trade in Middle Earth, working at boutique shop Generator for five years. In 2005 he packed his bags and set sail for Singapore.
Andrew first landed at Batey Ads, where he worked on regional and global accounts. He was made ECD of Batey at age 32 and managed the global relaunch of Qatar Airways out of the Singapore office. He joined DDB in 2010, where he was the creative lead for the Health Promotion Board (HPB), as well as iconic Singapore brand Tiger Beer. During his tenure, HPB was voted Marketer of the Year and picked up multiple golds at both the Effies and the regional Appies. One of HPB’s branded content projects, an hour-long telemovie called Recipe, was even presented at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
In mid-2014, Andrew took over the reins at Havas Singapore and was appointed CCO in early 2017. His work has been widely recognized at regional and international shows, including Cannes, Spikes, Clio, One Show, and D&AD.
New York Festivals: Why judge…and how do you find the time?
Andrew Hook: Judging – especially at an international level – is a wonderful exercise in humility.
Envy is a very powerful motivator. Reviewing some of the best work in the world (and having the privilege to give your two cents’ worth about it) sparks up that little voice in the back of your head: So, what about our stuff? Is it good enough to match what I’m seeing here?
Finding the time is definitely tricky. You don’t want to rush it. Personally, I block slots in my calendar and try to lock myself away in a room where no-one can find me…
New York Festivals: What are your personal criteria for choosing award-winning work?
Andrew Hook: No matter what, it’s got to move me in some way. Of course, an idea that’s ‘moving’ can occupy a very broad spectrum – whether it makes you laugh or cry, makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, or anything else in-between.
No matter what innovation, technology or other trickery a campaign might be anchored on, I believe the most meaningful work always delivers on an emotion in some way. And it's the power of that feeling that decides the colour of the metal.
New York Festivals: Has the relationship between agency and client changed at all and if so how?
Andrew Hook: It has changed to a degree. But I think it’s more that the details have changed, but not the real substance.
We’ve all been buffeted by the digital revolution, agencies and marketers alike. The pressures have become a lot more complicated. But I think we tend to fixate on the poles of our experience: either everything is totally awesome, or else it’s all impending doom. I think the reality probably sits somewhere in-between (hopefully closer to the awesome bit).
I think the core principles of the relationship remain the same. No matter what sort of work you’re doing, a client-agency relationship has to be based on trust. That’s the foundation, always has been.
Of course, trust takes time to build. But when you give it patience – and that’s measuring things in years – that's when the results can be really impressive. With each new campaign, the relationship and rapport become more robust and more effective.
The client has to trust that the agency has their best interests at heart, and that the agency will always push them – honestly and passionately – to create the very best work possible, and to achieve the very best return on their investment.
New York Festivals: What’s the single best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Andrew Hook: I’ve had a lot of good advice over the years from different people. But one thing stayed with me since very early on. It was just a few words, told me in passing. No big deal really. But from my point-of-view at the time, it meant a lot.
I was just one or two years in as a junior writer. I had been given a huge brief on my own – a TV spot for a major auto brand. Don’t know why I had it; I think everyone else was just too busy to look at it. Anyway, I was writing scripts day in, day out, and I thought they were all rubbish (they more or less were). Then one day I was sitting outside, stressed as hell, and one of my colleagues came out to ask what I was working on. I told him – and explained how I simply couldn’t crack it. I had nothing.
He didn’t bat an eyelid. He didn’t offer to help or look over my scripts. He just said, ‘keep going, you’ll get there.’ And that was it. A day or two later I had finally nailed a script. It got approved and went ahead for presentation.
Two things came out of this for me: the big one is self-belief. You have to believe in your creative abilities, no matter what. No matter how hard the going is, no matter all the things that might go wrong, no matter how much you might doubt yourself.
The other lesson was the importance of tenacity. There’s no way to create great work without being tenacious. It’s the bottom line. You’ve got to be a like a Rottweiler when you’ve got a great idea in front of you. You’ve got to bite into it and not let go – from the strategy, to concept, to execution and right through to production. And I’m not just talking about creatives here. It applies to all of us: to be a real success, you need that spirit of tenacity running through the agency from top to bottom. Not easy to achieve of course, but that’s the goal.