As part of its continuing expansion into the Asia-Pacific, 72andSunny earlier this year announced the appointment of Bassam Abdel-Rahman as Managing Director in Singapore.
“Bass” officially joined the team in September after spending two years as a global group brand director at 72andSunny Amsterdam. At the time of his hiring, APAC Executive Creative Director Johnny Tan said of Bass that, “72andSunny runs in his blood.”
Bass recently spoke with Branding in Asia from the agency offices in Singapore.
This marks a return to Southeast Asia for you. What are your impressions of the region and what did you miss?
I’ve only been away for three years but I’ve been blown away by the homegrown creativity that has emerged and flourished since then.
Maybe I was looking in the wrong places but now, you simply can’t escape it! It serves as a pleasant daily reminder that we made the right call to come (back) here.
What are some goals you’ve set for yourself and the agency with the new gig?
Our goal for year one is to listen, observe and learn about what SEA really needs? The last thing we want to do is come in guns blazing without first understanding how best we can help add value to the industry.
Following your hiring, you said you were looking forward to building “something different and special.” Tell us about that.
Culturally, we are a laid back collaborative bunch who embrace each other’s diverse thinking (and weirdness 😉 by abolishing hierarchy or departmental divides.
While operationally we are keen to avoid the traditional agency/client structure by embracing genuine creative and commercial partnerships.
You spent two years in the Netherlands. What are some differences in the SE Asia region from the European market?
In a word – Pace. In my experience, Southeast Asia operates in double time compared to Europe. On one side it keeps you on your toes as it can be challenging to constantly keep up with developments but on the other it allows you to experiment with new ideas and get immediate real-world feedback. For a modern company like ours that’s gold!
What work over the years are you most proud of?
Obviously, over the years, launching the PS3, iPhone, British Airways 2012 #homeadvantage and adidas World Cup are all fond memories, but the winner has got to be when we flipped the influencer model and got a bunch of talented everyday kids to break into the Bernabeu and use their creativity to get noticed by Zidane. They all became legit stars in their own right with sponsorship deals, agents and all!