McCann Hong Kong boss says he will continue to back peaceful protests after half his staff miss work to support Occupy Central

Spencer Wong

Spencer Wong

The boss of one of Hong Kong’s largest ad agencies has said that productivity has not been “majorly affected” over the last week after around half of his staff responded to his offer to miss work to attend the Occupy Central protests.

Spencer Wong, the CEO and chief creative officer of McCann Hong Kong, sent a text message to all of his 200 or so staff on the eve of the demonstrations saying they could “support something more important than work” and attend the rallies, which he said half of them did on Monday or Tuesday of last week before the Golden Week National Day holiday began the following day.

Everyone had returned to work on Friday, the first day back after the public holiday, and productivity was “not majorly affected,” he said.

Wong told Mumbrella that while he sympathised with the protesters, he was more for standing “against the use of violence against students and the general public” than he was for the political stand of Occupy Central.

Tear gas and pepper spray was used on Occupy Central protesters on the first night of the demonstrations, on Sunday 28 September.

“We encourage our staff to judge with their own free will, to support what they think is right,” he said.

On how the protests might affect Hong Kong businesses, Wong said the impact would mainly be felt over the Golden Week, with retailers in key tourist areas being hit the hardest. The stock and property markets remain “quite stable”, he noted.

“It seems the momentum of the movement has dropped, and we are all waiting for the outcome of negotiations between the government and the students on Friday (tomorrow).”

“We don’t think there will be a big impact over the long term,” he said, adding that he would continue to back supporters of Occupy Central only “if the government continues to use violence against peaceful people.”

McCann has clients including Cathay Pacific, Nestlé, MasterCard and Darlie Toothpaste.


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