Y&R's Stephen Drummond

Other news in Greater China

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SHANGHAI--Stephen Drummond has left the top spot at Nitro in China to return to Young & Rubicam as national planning director for China, starting March 1.

“Our China operation has been crying out for someone like Steve, he is one of those rare breeds who has a wealth of experience in planning as well as Chinese culture,” said Rob Campbell, Y&R’s regional creative planning director in Singapore.

Mr. Drummond, 43, joined Nitro, a global independent agency network based in Shanghai, nearly three years ago, and he held dual roles there as group managing director and planning director.

He will remain based in Shanghai, a frequent home since 1996, and will work on Y&R’s key brands in China like Campbell’s, Brand's Essence of Chicken and LG Electronics, which Y&R will handle globally with Bartle Bogle Hegarty as lead creative agency.

“Since I joined the agency five months ago, I wanted to build the quality of Y&R in China, and I knew I needed a team of partners to help me bring the network forward,” said Tom Kao, Hong Kong-based chairman, Greater China.

“We do not have well established planning function within Y&R China, so I am counting on Stephen to attract and train our people internally to be even stronger when it comes to planning and more disciplined when it comes to strategy,” Mr. Kao said. “He has developed into a creative planning person too, so I’m expecting him to stimulate our creative.”

Before he joined Nitro in 2005, Mr. Drummond held senior planning roles at Lowe Worldwide and JWT in China, including a stint in Hong Kong on Lowe’s regional team that helped develop the agency’s successful “World’s Local Bank” campaign for HSBC. While at Lowe, he also developed one of the first psychographic studies of Chinese and Asian consumers, called “Faces of Asia.” He began his advertising career 20 years ago with Young & Rubicam, as planning director in his hometown Adelaide in Australia.

“There’s a sense of resurgence with Y&R internationally and within the region,” said Mr. Drummond, who isn’t daunted by Y&R's difficult past throughout Asia/Pacific. Embroiled in a sticky joint venture relationship with Japan’s Dentsu for much of the past three decades, the network has struggled in China and the rest of Asia.

“Only a handful of agencies in China really have their act together in terms of business, like Ogilvy and JWT, but really everyone in China has a long way to go, and the only way is up--as long as you aren’t dealing with joint venture politics,” said Mr. Drummond.

“In terms of creative work, I don’t think anyone here should be boasting and saying they’ve completely sorted it out in China. I also wanted to get back to a 100% planning role at a bigger agency. That was an issue for me at Nitro. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life managing an office.”

But he does want to remain in China. "[It's] an amazing place, particularly for a planner. The potential of the market and the difference you can make here is enormous. You can change things quite dramatically. That’s hard to do in a developed market, where you’re chasing a 1% change in share. That’s a bit dull. Shanghai is a fun city as well.”

Other appointment news in Greater China

[shanghai] The Nielsen Company has promoted Chris Morley to managing director, Nielsen Marketing in China. Based in Shanghai, he will oversee the various businesses of Nielsen Marketing (previously ACNielsen) across the mainland, and will be responsible for expanding the company’s retail and consumer research. Previously, he was managing director of Nielsen’s operation in Vietnam, based in Ho Chi Minh City.

[shanghai] WPP Group’s MindShare has promoted Linda Lin to general manager of its Shanghai office from brand team leader. She succeeds Sara Si who has moved to GroupM, the holding company for WPP’s media agencies, as general manager of its Knowledge Center. Chi Ka Wa was promoted to managing director of MindShare's Guangzhou office, a new position, from general manager.

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