With a career that began in Thailand in 2000, Thipayachand ‘Joup’ Hasdin is pretty qualified to talk about all things creative in the country. Now COO at GREYnJ United, Joup has had high profile roles at Leo Burnett Group’s Alpha 245, where she was the youngest ever executive in Thailand’s advertising industry, as well as at BBDO Bangkok where she was chief client officer and managing director.
As Thailand’s creativity touches upon new and innovative ways to draw consumers in, including via an alcohol ad with a difference, LBB’s Natasha Patel picked Joup’s brains on her experiences and views on the future.
LBB> At this current time what is Thailand's advertising scene's main focus?
Joup> There are a few factors. First is the changing consumer behaviour which has been experienced at a very fast pace, and the fact that Covid-19 and has accelerated the shift of many businesses to online. Second is live commerce – this is the instant purchase of a featured product and audience participation through a chat function, where some sellers have generated sales of over $3 million (100 million in Thai baht) within five minutes. Third is the brand role where they have noticed and started incorporating social issues into their plans and this brand purpose has fast become an expectation from consumers.
LBB> How do you see this going in the future and what changes do you think we'll see?
Joup> Technology will dominate more on the execution as it fosters a seamless experience for customers, but creativity remains the core. Data will continue to play an important role in gaining customer insights that will help fuel creative ideas into becoming even more effective.
LBB> Tell us more about your role as COO at GREYnJ UNITED.
Joup> My key role is to grow businesses, in a highly competitive environment both locally and regionally. Now that I’ve served as a COO for two years, I can proudly say that it’s been beyond my expectations with 22% top-line growth and 42% growth in profits. This has been fuelled by new business units with new capabilities – a couple of examples of which are a brand conflict management unit called Black&White, and a brand consulting unit called 4Colors.
LBB> You started your career in account management for Lowe Lintas, how many of the skills from those early years are still relevant today?
Joup> Always ask for more and say ‘YES’ to unknown challenges – I was first assigned to work on a rather static account when I started my career, I felt my learning curve was quite linear so I spoke up and asked my supervisor for a job rotation where I landed myself on Unilever, one of the most challenging and biggest clients on the agency’s portfolio at that time. Those years prepped me to work hard and stay hungry, and always ask to do more -to say yes and bring it on.
LBB> Tell us about your experiences at Leo Burnett in Thailand.
Joup> ‘Relentlessly reach for the hottest stars but never forget the lonely men and women’ was definitely a religion. Let me explain a little -I spent over a decade of my time there, I was Burnett-ified to the core of my being. The culture and the founder’s values forged me not only to love creativity and strive to be the best adwoman that I could be but also to be the best human being – to respect and empathise with others, the people, the clients, the team, the lonely men and women who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. It’s about being good and being humble.
LBB> How did it feel to be the youngest executive of the Thai advertising industry when you were general manager at Alpha 245, part of Leo Burnett?
Joup> Scary and with big pressure are the words I would describe it as. I fell into the dilemma of trying too hard to justify myself to fit with the title’s expectations and perceived norms. Then, I realised that ‘authenticity’ was key. Instead of worrying or getting myself undermined by age or by the perception of others, I built up my confidence by improving my ‘authentic self’. As a leader, it’s about showing your true self and to keep working on your qualities. If you are good enough at what you do, you are old enough to be in that role.
LBB> Growing a business such as Alpha 245 can't have been easy. As a leader what challenges did you overcome?
Joup> For a new start-up agency, we were always in ‘hunting’ mode with many hits and misses. As a leader, making sure your never-ending optimism and energy is contagious to spread to everyone in the team, motivating them to see obstacles as temporary and to keep bouncing back and always remembering to celebrate the ‘small’ wins too.
LBB> Being a creative leader means you must have picked up many skills along the way. Which do you think are key?
Joup> Growth mindset comes first. As the world is constantly evolving, ad people need to learn continuously and embrace and adapt to the changes they come across, especially new technology-driven execution. Critical thinking and innovation are also a big plus.
LBB> Let’s talk about ‘6 Takes of Drama’, created by GRETnJ United, which caused plenty of conversation last year at our Immortal Awards. Tell us more about this specific campaign?
Joup> ‘6 Takes of Drama’ is branded content that merges the product message and entertainment. The film gained more than 12 million views in just two weeks, despite the strict laws in Thailand that prevents us from talking directly about the product quality. The message is simple: ‘The more you distil, the better result you get’. We tied this message into a social insight that easily resonated with everyone and raised the conversation in Thailand.
LBB> Is a spot like this indicative of Thailand's ad scene and where it's heading?
Joup> Online film remains one of the most effective tools of marketing communication, but it is not a guaranteed win. Insight-driven creativity is the heart of it. As technology and creativity merge together, we will see more branded gaming and the virtual world will play a bigger role in peoples’ real lives.
LBB> Any parting thoughts?
Joup> The year 2022 will be another challenging year as we are not completely done with the impact of the pandemic and so the situation still remains somewhat uncertain. However, having said this there will be many things that are here to stay and one of those is the digital behaviour of consumers.