Exchange and global opportunities

Bonjour! Nei Ho! We say g’day to Publicis Hong Kong

It’s hot, humid and sticky as the group is nervously wiping away sweat ‘staches and straightening up as we enter our first agency visit at Publicis Hong Kong. For most of us this is our first look into a top tier creative agency and the study tour group is equally excited and nervous.

The elevator doors open and everyone reaches for their phones, snapping the Publicis gold lion logo, and beautiful views from the boardroom. The sleek offices overlook the lush mountains of east Hong Kong understandably helping them produce beautiful work. Publicis Worldwide has 217 offices in 80 countries with over 11,000 people, and the Hong Kong office has over 110 staff working across a broad range of markets. Publicis Worldwide is part of the massive Publicis Groupe, a French multinational of the leading advertising and public relations companies, considered one of the “Big Four” agency companies.

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We meet with CEO Sue McCusker and strategist Lucille Belleville who take us through the updates, milestones, and changes across Publicis over the past 18 months, including initiatives that promote creativity and encourage lateral thinking locally and in offices worldwide.

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Publicis Hong Kong have a strong focus on strategy, boasting the largest number of planners compared to other agencies. Sue explains this is vital to their growth as successful campaigns are no longer a short sprint but a marathon of engagement that bridge creativity and real time activity. This is so important in Hong Kong as its such a fast paced city with so many varied cultures and markets.

One of the more interesting new developments is Drugstore, a Publicis initiative that aims to connect creative start-ups with brands, essentially acting as an incubator and accelerator by providing space and resources to start-ups. This lateral thinking has produced some really interesting partnerships and beautiful campaigns, check out the Dare Greatly campaign for Cadillac which used the Drugstore network to pull together social influencers and completely reposition Cadillac.

Publicis is also leveraging its expertise in luxury by recently launching a new luxury focused agency, Publicis 133, which has been a powerhouse in creating beautifully polished creative for luxury brands. Publicis 133 is set to launch in Hong Kong in the coming months, with plans for other markets.

So how can you get a job in Hong Kong, and possibly with Publicis Hong Kong? Sue and Lucille let us in on some tips..

  • Have a global mindset – One solution won’t work in all markets.
  • Speaking local language is an asset – Even a small amount will help.
  • Research the company you’re approaching and know who they are – This sounds simple because it is, but often neglected by many applicants.
  • Consider opportunities in the emerging markets across Asia.
  • Never lie on your CV!!

As we leave Publicis and the elevator brings us back down to reality (and the heat!) there’s more than a few students looking bright eyed and ready to delve further into what makes Hong Kong such a unique place to work in advertising, marketing and public relations.

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I'm a third year Mass Communications student majoring in Advertising and aspiring art director.

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