Y&R Branding partnership lures Pih from Hong Kong to West Coast

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As a young Saatchi & Saatchi account exec, Angela Pih was transferred across the globe from Canada to China to help Procter & Gamble Co. launch Tide detergent. Ms. Pih, a Chinese-Canadian, visited remote Chinese villages to study women's daily laundry habits. She gained in-depth consumer insights that made Saatchi a true partner to P&G in formulating, pricing and positioning Tide for the Chinese market.

Fast forward eight years. Ms. Pih, now 33, has just moved to San Francisco from Hong Kong as one of four partners at Y&R Branding, a business consultancy for branding and marketing.

"It's the vibrancy of the technology category here and being the center of where it's all happening," she said. "Here there's more of a head start in terms of what's being invented."

BUILDING Y&R BRANDING

Started in July, Y&R Branding is a new-business unit designed to help dot-coms and other companies -- mostly non- Young & Rubicam clients. San Francisco is the home of the first Y&R branding unit, a concept the company hopes to develop in other places.

"We're going to see how it takes off here," Ms. Pih said.

Projects at the new unit can lead to more business for other Y&R companies. For example, two Y&R Branding projects -- one for Investors' Business Daily and another for Covad, an Internet service provider -- have been converted into assignments for the network. The unit has also completed a project for Cisco Systems.

Until July, Ms. Pih was Dentsu Young & Rubicam's regional director of business development across 13 countries. Before that, she was general manager of DY&R's Hong Kong office.

In San Francisco, she said, "Asian clients are definitely an opportunity."

For example, in July, Dentsu Young & Rubicam pitched for the ad account of AsiaOnline, an Asian ISP. Ms. Pih helped out by meeting with the Hong Kong-based company's global and West Coast executives in California, providing useful assistance, even though in the end DY&R didn't win the account.

Although the nature of her business is still international as the dot-com category knows few boundaries, most of her world travel right now is for pleasure. After vacationing in Bali this month, she is already planning a trip to Egypt in December.

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