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  My4AsNews {October 2007}

My 4AsNews Interviews Ray Pak

My4AsNews conducted an exclusive interview with newly-crowned SMA 2007 Young Media Person of the Year Ray Pak of PHD Singapore.

You have been in the industry for a fairly short period of time. What would you attribute your fast raise in the industry to?
Personally, for me, it'd have to be a deep sense of understanding and maturity, than say compared to a complete newbie that has just started out in the media industry. Yet, at the same time, it is important, always, to not lose one's sense of direction and integrity. Other equally important factor would amount to having a good mentor that allows you to scale, without the fear of judgment from the rigid media hierarchy.

What trends and changes do you see in Singapore 's media landscape and how do you see client's leveraging off these changes?
With the fragmentation of media, we're heading into the age of individualism – my media space only. Consequently, what would capture the attention of consumers would be channel and content that they best identify with. With that, exposure-based advertising would take the backseat, and precedence been given into developing content with media owners that would best suit clients marketing objectives. This slow but eventual death of mass media would birth new communication avenues, which for the time being centers on digital media, which creates dialogues and not monologues with our consumers. Clients are beginning to see the impact with measurable business results. The question that begs to be answered would be how efficiently we would to cluster consumers without getting too niche.

You've established yourself as the “digital guru” in your agency. How do you see the role of interactive in the future and how does it affect traditional advertising?
In Singapore 's media context and the rise of digital penetration in our market, digital marketing, always permission-based, should be part of our communication, with some industry gaining as much as 40-50% of the overall media budget. Digital media has started to take varied forms in a mix-meshed of other media spaces, and would probably take the stead in time to come, with digital-outdoor paving the way. And with that the same content in traditional media, needs to be adapted and worked in these channels.

We understand that you have formulated an in-house training programme, using real life case studies to prepare and equip your team. Tell us more about it.
There's an innate fear of the unknown, a natural human aspect, may you be in the media industry or otherwise. The in-house digital programme serves to familiarize planners and executives to firstly understand the technical aspects of the channel, how it should be planned and most importantly, how to sell digital ideas to clients. As we say, “No colour is bad, it is how you use it”, and that's the same rule the programme took with digital media.

How does it feel to win the recent Singapore Media Award's Young Media Person of the Year and what does winning this award means to you?
It means a lot to me, as the transgression from other disciplines to media have not been an easy one. For me, more than anything else, it is recognition of the sacrifices which I've made for the past 4 years.

You have been described as a passionate and self-driven strategist. Tell us where you draw your inspiration and drive from.
Passion is just a natural aspect of life, without it in any environment, survival is uncertain. In my agency, they use to jest that I'm a Mr. Know-it-all (KIA for short), I'm more or less of a media / pop junkie. I tend to draw my inspirations from books, movies, music and conversations with strange people that I meet along the way.

You started as a creative, became an entrepreneur and later joined the media sector as a media executive. Why did you choose this path? What were some of the challenges and how did you overcome them?
I started off as an account executive in a local digital agency which later morphed into web production, and copywriting. Media was a stumble-upon, a mere desperation that I needed to find work after the dissolution of a business partnership, all these whilst we were the economy contracted and opportunities to reenter advertising were grossly limited. I've to thank Ms. Pat Lim and Ms. Regina Chan for giving me the opportunity.

I'm a floater. Perhaps it is fuelled by pride in doing the best that I can or a simply never say die attitude. The greatest challenge of which would be to toe the fine line of maintaining equitable media relations with client's demands. My mentor helped me navigated those murky waters, not letting the tail wag the dog is a good solution.

If you have to relive your life, would you be a creative, media person or an entrepreneur and why?
I'd not relive my life in any other way than what it is now. The greatest achievement comes from the greatest failure, even if it has been a tortuous path, still it is a great journey and continues to be so.



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