Opinion

24 Hours With… Saatchi & Saatchi Greater China chief creative officer Fan Ng

Fan Ng24 Hours With… spotlights the working day of some of the most interesting people in Mumbrella Asia’s world. Today, we hear about a day in the life of Fan Ng, chief creative officer of Saatchi & Saatchi Greater China.

6.30am. My son wakes me up bright and early every morning – and I love it. He climbs on my shoulders and we fly around the room. After we’re done saving the world (and working up a pretty serious appetite), I dress him up and we head to breakfast.

7.30am. A quick WeChat check to listen to Luo Pang’s 60 second message [his WeChat account, luojisw, is one of the most popular in China, with 3.5m followers]. When that’s done, my wife and I make breakfast for the three of us or walk downstairs for some delicious, local Shanghainese breakfast treats, like wontons, fritters, noodles and soy milk.

8.30am. Firmiana Road. The 20-minute walk to my son’s kindergarten is shaded by firmiana, also known as Chinese parasol trees. My wife and I walk our son to school most every morning. Today, we spend the walk chatting and admiring the trees, leaves finally starting to come out after the winter. When we reach the school, everyone heads straight to the playground to get in a few minutes’ fun before class starts.

Fan Ng's 24 hours with

9.15am. Traffic time. Whether I am on my way in to the Saatchi & Saatchi office or a client’s office, I use the time stuck in traffic to check my emails and take a look at the latest social platforms. Lately, what’s really gotten my attention are the “Live APPs”, like huajiao and easylive.

10.00am. Client tango. Into the Porsche office for a workshop. Not every agency does it this way, but I think it is the only way to develop the best ideas – you have to brainstorm with the client. That’s Saatchi & Saatchi’s style. Creative is play. So why not play with the standard structure of agency work? Why not get as many minds as possible thinking about a problem and coming up with new ways around it?

Jing’an sculpture park, Shanghai

Jing’an sculpture park, Shanghai

12.30pm. Recharge. Back to Saatchi & Saatchi for lunch. The Jing’an sculpture park is only a stone’s throw away from our Shanghai office. It’s great to head out there with the team and have lunch and maybe play a little Frisbee, especially on days when there’s no haze.

2.00pm. Workaholic mode. A quick brief with account, planning, and creative teams and then a tribe session. We start with improve games to build ideas. With “yes, and” and “yes, but”, we build three creative directions. The teams from Shanghai and Japan are working together on Stride, coordinating the brand’s messages across cultures and countries.

Saatchi & Saatchi Greater China4.00pm. Brief break from the tribe to join the Greater China creative leadership conference call. It’s in our DNA – all our creative leadership wants to work together closely and to keep the rest of the creative teams up to date on ideas, trends, and campaigns.

5.00pm. Back to the tribe to hear the teams’ idea presentations, hear reactions from other teams, give feedback, and choose the best strategies to bring out of the day’s work.

6.00pm. One-on-one time with either senior creatives or a monkey teammate. Our monkey team is filled with young and fresh creatives, like a monkey chock full of magical ideas. I may lead the team, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have time to hear their ideas and get to know them.

7.00pm. I end the non-stop workaholic part of the day with a drink and catch up with my partners in crime, Greater China CEO Michael Lee and Shanghai managing director Irene Shum in Irene’s office.

8.00pm. Favourite moment of the day. On the way home at the end of the day, I always take a few night shots. This city changes so much once the sun sets. But, the best part of the day is when I make it home to have dinner with my family. After the meal, we play and watch TV until bedtime. If I had gone to my Muay Thai class this morning, I’d have half a Haagen-Dazs, especially if we have my favourite flavor, macadamia nut.

10.30pm. Back to the Grind. Instead, after my family heads to sleep, I head to the Stride shoot and the celebrity’s fitting. We need to get everything just right in order for our team’s ideas to come to life.

1.30am. Guilty Pleasure.  After a late night, I indulge in a little midnight snack and a drink with the shoot’s director and producer before heading home. It’s an awesome way to end the day.

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