84. Elvis Chau

Executive Creative Director of JWT Shanghai, How to tell a story in a single image

Elvis Chau has worked in three JWT offices--Singapore, Thailand, and now China--and has become one of the biggest names in Chinese advertising. His "Heaven and Hell" print ad for Samsonite (below) earned Mainland China's first Grand Prix Lion at the 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. He explains the process of making it.

"The ad is based on fears that every traveler might face. If I watch the conveyor belt, I wonder if my luggage will come up in one piece."

"I like to go to exhibitions, museums. I encourage my people; they need to see more. Don't just sit there and think. Ideas will not just jump out."

"Initially we hired a master in oil painting. But it didn't bring out the impact. Then we realized we had a lot of these relief sculptures set in a church or old buildings. You have to select the best execution to bring the idea to life."

"We were quite concerned about the quality of the finishing, because if oil painting could not do it, how can we do the bigger relief style to make it perfect? Luckily, [the artists] were very committed."

"Advertising is not that original. For me, it's, How can I put all the things together, combine and mix it into something that's unique? And sometimes when I really need to think, personally, I need a cigarette."

Timeline

  • 1999

    Starts career with JWT Singapore

  • 2003

    Becomes Art Director at JWT Bangkok

  • 2006

    Becomes Creative Director at TBWA Shanghai

  • 2008

    His Adidas China Olympics campaign wins first Cannes Lion for China; returns to JWT as Executive Creative Director of Shanghai office

  • 2011

    JWT Shanghai wins China's first Cannes Lion Grand Prix for Heaven and Hell; named Agency of the Year for Greater China region by Campaign Asia

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