(Marketingmagazine.com.my) – By: Malati Siniah
Once ranked top 10 in Asia’s Most Popular Person in Digital Advertising, Khoo Kar Khoon, has never stopped his tireless efforts in growing the industry. Sitting on the board of key industry bodies including the Advisor to MAA Council, Member of the Board of Advisor for UUM (University Utara Malaysia) and President of Malaysia Advertisers Association, Khoo has played a key role in igniting change within the media and advertising scene.
No stranger from separating the facts from figures, Khoo started off his career as an accountant working with one of the leading Global Accounting Firms – Coopers & Lybrand. He then had his first taste of the advertising industry joining Bates Advertising, as its Cost Accountant for five years before joining SJ Securities.
In 1995, he co-founded the first media specialist agency in Malaysia – Zenith Media, a key player in the local market Zenith has worked with the nation’s top advertisers including Petronas, Dutch Lady and Celcom.
Then in 2009, Khoo joined the largest FMCG player in the Malaysian market, Nestlé, growing over fourteen categories of Nestlé’s fifty brands including Milo, Maggi, Nescafe and KitKat as its Communications Director.
Khoo recently shared with MARKETING that he was leaving the company he had served for over 17 years. We caught up with Khoo getting him to clear a rumour floating around the industry on where he was headed to next and share some of his career highlights.
If you had to pick one, what would be the best campaign you ran in your 17 years at Nestlé?
That would be Nestlé’s 100 year’s celebration in Malaysia. Going across several touch points, the digital aspect of the campaign called for Malaysians to share on social media their favourite memories with Nestlé’s brands.
This is not just a normal campaign, but an aggregation of the emotional attachment and affinity of Malaysians with all of Nestlé’s leading brands including Milo, Nescafe, Maggi, Nestum and KitKat.
What would you miss most leaving a global corporation like Nestle?
The great people of Nestlé and friendships that were built in the last 17 years both locally and abroad.
In the future would we be seeing you still sitting on the client’s side or on will we find you on the other side of the fence?
I go where my passion takes me and it can be either side.
There is a rumour going around that you are joining your former company, Zenith Media, how do you respond to this?
Obviously, the industry is pretty poor with its intelligence, good with rumours but bad with facts. No, not true at all.
How do you see the future of this industry moving forward?
The industry will continue to struggle with talents, profitability, business stability and disruptions from digital players, until someone is smart enough to come forward with a new business model.
A new game plan is badly needed for the industry.
You mentioned that moving forward you were keen on helping local young startups. Any that have caught your eye? Plans of launching a startup on your own?
I have done that in the past and I will continue to reach out to the young talents and new startups to support them on brand and marketing campaigns. There are many around, but I’ll identify those that are worth helping.
I wouldn’t consider starting one my own, just extending my support as part of my initiative to help local businesses grow.
Grab solved our taxi issues, Kaodim and Service Hero disrupted the service industry, what issue do you think local startups have yet to solve?
Selling last minute media inventories.
If you launched you own startup addressing the issue above what would you call it?
A quote that keeps you going in tough times?
Nothing last forever, including tough times.
Last movie you watched?