Chief creative officer, China
With initial aspirations to become a classical musician, it was only while studying for her music degree at Boston University, that Kelly Pon made a 180-degree turn and graduated with honours in Communication.
However, what the music world lost in terms of talent, the world of advertising has surely gained. Pon cut her teeth in the industry working for DDB Needham in Paris, then Ogilvy, M&C Saatchi and finally at BBH Singapore. In 2006 she moved to Shanghai to launch BBH’s first office in China and was promoted to CCO in 2019.
As the first female CCO of BBH China (and BBH globally), Pon has established BBH as an exporter of Chinese creativity to the world, creating global campaigns for LG, Samsung, and recently some of the biggest gaming companies: Garena, Lilith Games and Goat Games.
Pon has been instrumental in expanding BBH China’s revenue with 11 wins in the past 12 months, including Mini-Cooper, Keppel Land, Athletic Greens, NIKE, and Goat Games (Esports)—wins that not only contributed to growth but to a diversified client portfolio. She is credited for leading BBH’s transformation from a traditional ad agency to a bonafide IMC agency. Pro-actively pushing creative boundaries with her team to look for agile, innovative ways to optimise creative work.
Being the first female CCO for BBH China is a responsibility Pon takes to heart. To inspire by example that women in advertising can indeed break glass ceilings, she co-founded BBH’s ‘Project Herd’ a support group for talented women to inspire and encourage each other.
Outside of her day-to-day role, Pon has been appointed as a member of the International Board of The One Club for Creativity (the world’s foremost non-profit organisation whose mission is to support the global creative community). She is one of 22 diverse creative leaders selected from around the world and will serve a three-year term working to elevate creativity and champion diversity in the industry.
Pon is also the Chairwoman of the Publicis Groupe China’s Creative Council, represents BBH and Publicis Groupe as a juror on numerous award shows, and devotes her time to develop and inspire young creative talents as a regular mentor.
A multi-linguist fluent in English, Mandarin, French, Cantonese and Bahasa, Pon is also a DJ and cofounder of Elevator, one of the most popular underground nightclubs in Shanghai, and an entrepreneur creating her own brand of pork jerky, unfortunately defunct. Above all, she’s a wife and mother of three young children.