Omnicom-owned DDB is moving its chief creative officer Amir Kassaei and the network’s creative headquarters to Shanghai, a pretty emphatic underlining that China and the wider Far East region is where the money is these days.
DDB CEO Chuck Brymer says: “This is one of the most significant moves we have made in the history of DDB. The world as we know it is changing and our industry’s growth market is now without doubt the Asian region. Move over New York, London, Paris. Hello Shanghai, Mumbai, Singapore. With this in mind, there’s no time better to set up our creative powerhouse in China.”
Amir (pictured) joined DDB as CCO of DDB Germany in 2003 and also set up Tribal DDB as its multichannel agency there. DDB Germany has been a strong creative performer, figuring high in Gunn Report rankings. He was appointed global CCO in February 2011.
An Iranian raised in Austria he has worked at agencies including TBWA and Germany’s Springer & Jacoby. Of his philosophy he says: “It has never been just about advertising. Our business is marketing products, companies and relevant services – and one of our vehicles is advertising.”
This a big step for DDB and owner Omnicom which has been criticised by some as being slow off the mark to commit to the Far East in comparison to rivals WPP and Publicis Groupe. Omnicom CEO John Wren recently announced plans to rapidly increase its footprint in India.
DDB, for many the classic Madison Avenue agency thanks to legendary founder and creative chief Bill Bernbach, has laboured in the shadow of BBDO, the first among Omnicom’s three big agency networks (the other is TBWA) recently. While its creative work remains at the top of the tree it has not always converted this successfully into client wins and retention.