The CSI approach to advertising

Saturday, 28 February 2015 13:44
DATUK Johnny Mun, a fan of the crime drama series CSI, may not be Gil Grissom, but he also sees his job as a profiler. A brand profiler, that is.

“In the old days, people said advertising is an art and I still think it is so. But the business side has evolved to be a science,” he says.

“The ideation starts from the company itself before the creative comes in. CSI is about forensics – more than what meets the eye. I want to specialise in ‘forensics’. I want to go to the (client’s) company and see what are the things that it does well or doesn’t, and then see how we can harness the best from it.”

Mun’s new agency Oxygen Advertising, where he is the CEO, wants to breathe life into a brand.

“We want to care even for something as mundane in your company as the training programme for technicians. Maybe we can make the technicians prouder and when they become proud, wouldn’t they carry your brand better? Those are the little touches that we want to look at.”

He says everything boils down to the brand at the end of the day, from the staff to the company’s modus operandi. “If you go in and dissect the various aspects of the company, you can find many more business opportunities than what you can imagine.”

“We have to set certain standards for different areas so everything converges to become the brand. We profile brands just as you (a reporter) profiles people. We dissect brands because every piece of work that you do, whether it’s a small wobbler on the shelf or a big creative campaign, is a canvas of your work on the brand.”

Oxygen Advertising opened its doors in October last year, employing some core people from Mun’s previous agency Krakatua Sdn Bhd and serving Krakatua’s clients, including Gardenia, Olympus, Fisherman’s Friend, Loacker, MST Golf/SportsDirect and Grundfost.

While Krakatua had grown into a reputable mid-sized advertising agency, Mun and his three partners decided to go their separate ways.

“Over the last nine months, two of the partners decided to do something else so we decided to split up and come up with our own brands. Hence the birth of Oxygen,” says Mun.

“Krakatua still exists but it is not as active as before. Krakatua owns shares in other business interests so we have to slowly resolve these things.”

Oxygen is a boutique agency with a staff of 13. He says the new firm is on “a frantic hiring spree” for account service and creative people.

Oxygen has been invited by ICOM, the world’s largest network of independent advertising and marketing agencies, to be its member. (Krakatua has been an ICOM member.)

Asked where he wants to take Oxygen, Mun, who was once chief operating officer of Batey Ads in Kuala Lumpur, says: “It’s not about making huge bucks. (Batey Ads founder) Ian Batey’s philosophy was very simple; he wanted to do great work for his clients but along the way, if he could train and create some good managers, that would be a dream come true.

“Oxygen also wants in the long run to build great brands, let the people have fun doing it, and create some good managers so that this industry will not just grow but thrive.” – By M. Hafidz Mahpar