DIRK ESCHENBACHER - Creative director, OgilvyOne Worldwide, Beijing
When and why did you move to It's been four years this month. I was
China? asked to freelance on a couple of
projects for OgilvyOne Beijing. During
my visit, I was offered the position
of creative director. At the time, the
dotcom rush was still on and business
was good, so I accepted the challenge
and dived into Chinese culture and a
What's the best thing about The people. I have met some of the
living and working in most amazing personalities here and
China? have made some of my best friends.
People in Beijing are very grounded.
There's nothing artificial about them.
They're genuine and very open.
... and the worst? Public spitting, although it's got
much better since Sars, which put an
end to a bad habit. Second-worst is
taking a taxi. They are small and
dirty. In the summer the air-
conditioning doesn't work, and in the
winter drivers tend to sleep in their
cab and it smells awful. Thank God I
have a car.
What is the big cultural That there's no pop culture in China.
difference you need to be most While the West listened to Elvis and
sensitive to? The Beatles, people in China went on
marches. China closed its intellectual
borders in such a rigorous way that it
wasn't worth risking having a music
tape from Taiwan, let alone the West.
Now you get a sense of a culture
freshly exposed to sex, drugs and rock
'n' roll after more than 30 years of
isolation. My ideas have always come
from personal experiences. Many of
them suddenly didn't match the
collective experience of my Chinese
target audience, which was hard to
Where else have you worked? In Thailand. I moved during a January,
How does it compare with away from sunshine and palm-trees to
China? grey, cold Beijing. The biggest
difference, though, is the pace of
life. China wants to catch up with the
rest of the world and you can feel it
in every project timeline. Working
doubly as fast as in Europe means
organising your life in a more
efficient way. As a German, this
doesn't cause me too many problems.
Which Chinese proverb do you None. But there is one I absolutely
live by? hate: "Cha bu duo." It means "should
be ok" and whenever someone uses it
you can assume that it's far from
Which Chinese advertising There are many brilliantly creative
figure do you most admire? people in China, each with their
unique style. But China's
communication industry is still too
new to have produced true
legends ... yet.
What's China's latest consumer Small wrinkly dogs. The government
fad? recently dropped a registration tax on
them, and it seems that every urban
family gets one to make up for the
not-allowed second child. The pet-food
and accessories industries are going
to explode here over the next few
Which Chinese brands should I guess Chinese electronics, and
the world watch out for? especially consumer electronic
products, will play a bigger and
bigger role in foreign markets. My
favourite brand in this sector is Bu
Bu Gao. It used Arnold Schwarzenegger
for its brand campaign a few years
ago. Rumour has it that he never got
GAVIN HERON - Managing director, TBWA\Shanghai
When and why did you move to In 1997, I realised that China would
China? become the focus for the world's great
brands. But it still took me five
years to get there after working in
TBWA's Hong Kong office.
What's the best thing about The best thing is being able to go to
living and working in a Jean-Paul Gaultier after-party and
China? ending the evening drinking cold beer
on the sidewalk while eating freshly
grilled Xinjiang lamb kebabs...or that
this is the most exciting market in
the world, where anything is
... and the worst? The look of terror on passengers'
faces when I attempt to squeeze my 90
kilogramme body into an overfilled
metro ... or one of our clients asking
for a 20 per cent discount after not
paying fees for six months (and then
offering, after we had renegotiated
the discount to 15 per cent, to pay
the difference with product instead of
What is the big cultural "Ego" or "face". While "face" leads to
difference you need to be most better relationships, it does often
sensitive to? mean neither side will back down
because neither wants to lose
Where else have you worked? South Africa, London and Hong Kong.
How does it compare with Other than Hong Kong, which tends to
China? think small, South Africa and London
are all about big advertising ideas.
They also tend to have much more
internal competition within the
creative department. China develops
creative ideas collaboratively. These
ideas are more likely to be media
neutral than in South Africa or
But this avoidance of internal
competition - and therefore "face" -
tends to restrict the quality of
ideas. The big challenge is to build a
culture of internal debate to replace
Which Chinese proverb do you "Respect comes before affection."
Which Chinese advertising Tom Doctoroff. He built China's
figure do you most admire? leading agency, JWT, and does a superb
PR job for both himself and his
agency. He's built a company which, I
would think, is one of the better JWT
agencies in the network.
What's China's latest consumer The fusion of Western and Chinese
fad? culture in fashion and design.
Which Chinese brands should None. Unlike Japanese and Korean
the world watch out for? brands, Chinese brands do not have the
luxury of time to develop without
international competition. The global
players are simply too deep-pocketed,
experienced and attract the best local
people. They are also buying the more
successful Chinese brands while
developing their own.