Name: Ng Tian It
Places worked/lived: Beijing; Singapore; Shanghai
- Chief creative officer, Publicis Communications, 2022—present
- Executive creative officer, Publicis, Singapore, 2019—2021
- Chief creative officer, McCann Worldgroup China, Shanghai, 2016—2018
1. How did you end up being a creative?
Like most Singaporeans, it was never an intended career path. Had to concede to what’s left of my strengths—which is art—due to a dearth of options dictated by poor academic results. Even so, advertising also turned out to be an accidental (but extremely rewarding) detour from my pursued path as an illustrator.
2. What’s your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?
If possible, I will always prefer to share my latest as part of continued learning rather than past reflection. Here’s one from the client who I took immense pride in serving—Singapore Health Promotion Board’s Vascular Dementia case study
3. What’s your favourite piece of work created by someone else?
Dole and Ananas Anam Piñatex case study. It’s no longer just a piece of communication but one that has transformed the entire business model addressing the environmental problems and increasing the social impact among the farmers.
4. What/who are your key creative influences?
Lee Clow on how to stay ever so humble despite being a legend. Antony Redman and Craig Davis on how to be a leader with a big heart. While most in similar positions will tend to dictate, they demonstrated the value of fostering a conducive and laissez-faire environment for creatives to thrive in.
5. What kind of student were you?
A dutiful but inept one in school. Fared better in art school as I was more interested in what I was learning. Therein lies the lesson in always going for what you like and not what is right, especially in others’ eyes.
6. What career did you think you’d have when you were a kid?
A law enforcer or policeman. Guess I was largely influenced by the US cop shows on TV and also the fact that it appealed to the valour in me.
7. What really motivates you?
When I was told it’s impossible. I always believe in a fighting chance, especially when it comes to creative solutions. If we are genuinely proud of what we do, we should not be easily deterred and must trust in ourselves to come up with a myriad of ways to get it across the line.
8. What’s your favourite music / film / TV show / book / other of the past year, and why?
Just when I thought I was done with my cop dreams, a recent Mainland Chinese TV drama series got me hooked and reminiscing again. ‘Ordinary Greatness’ is like no other police drama. It’s a refreshing change of scene depicting the lives of grassroots police officers from a fictional station at Balihe. While they may not deal with the biggest or most intriguing of crimes, their courage and dedication were all the same on seemingly trivial daily matters.
9. Do you have a nickname? How did you get it?
Rocky. Coined by my secondary school classmates and hence, only known to them. Reason being my name sounded rather similar to an ex-footballer from Singapore named Lim Tien Jit. He was known as Rocky for his defensive fortitude, the same position which I played in.
10. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
Anything other than advertising perhaps. In truth, though, no job is ever the worst for me as they all add up to one’s experience. Every job—no matter big or small—offers different learnings and an invaluable facet which we can cull from in the future.
11. Extrovert or introvert?
Believe it or not, both. When I need to stand up and be counted for the team, it has to be the former. If I could be spared from social obligations, it’ll be the latter.