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Andrew Hook leaves Havas to join VCCP as agency’s first regional ECD for Asia

Andrew Hook has been hired as VCCP Singapore’s first regional executive creative director responsible for Asia.

He will work on local, regional and global businesses at the agency – and was appointed following the recent Cathay Pacific account win by VCCP.

Hook moved to VCCP from Havas Singapore, where he was chief creative officer. He has previously worked for a number of agencies including DDB and Batey.

Speaking to Mumbrella about the reasons for the move to VCCP, Hook said: “I’ve spent a large part of my career attached to the bigger holding companies.

“Of course, everything has its pros and cons, but for the past little while I’ve been wondering what life would be like outside.

“When I heard about the role at VCCP, it seemed to be the perfect fit: A grown-up agency with a really strong heritage and track record, operating at scale, while still retaining its bold, independent spirit.”

Hook added: “Secondly, the chance to come in at ground-level, building out the foundations of the agency, was really appealing. That doesn’t happen often.

“It’s quite unlike anything I’ve done before — to be able to lay the groundwork of the new office, while expressing the values of the mothership in a totally new context in Asia — that’s a bit of a privilege, really.”

Hook believes his experience so far ensures he will fit well with the challenger mindset that VCCP is said to be built around. He said: “Some years ago, we handled a global launch for Qatar Airways, in the days when it was still largely unknown outside the Middle East.

“It was definitely a tricky proposition, with the work being produced by a small team in Singapore, managing a myriad set of stakeholders on the other side of the world.

“In the end, we were very pleased with the outcome, and I would like to think it played some small part in the ongoing success of the airline.”

He counts Tokio Marine insurance and TD Ameritrade as other challenger brands he has worked on in the past.

Outlining the highlights of his career so far, Hook said: “Winning new business and awards will always be tangible highlights.

“But on reflection, over the past few years, for me the most rewarding moments (and biggest lessons) come from the intangible side.

“Building a genuine team bond is pretty special. There’s no textbook and I’ve had my fair share of flailing around in the dark not knowing quite what I was doing. But you know it when you’ve got it.

“An agency team that is intrinsically motivated – where each member knows what the goal is, how to achieve it, and what their contribution is — can produce outsized results.

“It’s a familial bond mixed with a touch of sibling rivalry. You don’t want any prima donnas, as they can too easily become toxic. But a healthy dose of jealousy can do wonders for motivation.”

Speaking about his ambitions for VCCP, Hook said: “In the first year, I think it’s fair to say we will be judicious about what we target and what we go for.”

Hook is a self-professed fan of VCCP’s work. Speaking about his favourite campaigns from the agency, he said: “The classic ‘Be more dog’ spot was on high-rotate in the office when it came out a few years ago. I used to show it to youngsters as an example of what can be done – that it is possible to sell an idea like that, even on a massive telco. It’s just really hard, that’s all.

Another favourite is the longstanding campaign for financial services site comparethemarket.com.  The near decade long campaign started off playing on the similarity between the words ‘market’ and ‘meerkat’. Over the years, it evolved into an extensive ongoing narrative universe featuring meerkats Aleksandr and Sergei.

 

Hook said: “As well as being another ‘how on earth did they sell that’ kind of idea, they’ve created a genuine cultural icon, something so sticky that they can keep coming back to it year after year, while keeping it fresh, and remaining a crowd favourite amongst the public.

“That kind of campaign is very rare and very hard to achieve.”

Speaking about Hook’s appointment, VCCP APAC regional director Craig Mapleston said: Andrew is a proven creative leader, who has consistently delivered some of the best work out of Singapore for over a decade.

“He’ll be the first to admit that you can only deliver great work by building a great team. We’re really looking forward to Andrew coming on board and building a world class creative team at VCCP Singapore.”

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