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The Milo Chao Show is a biography podcast where we talk to remarkable creators about how they got here. In so doing, we hope to better understand the roots of creativity and how we all might nurture more in ourselves and those in our care.

Jul 20, 2019


Hi. Welcome to the Cao & Chao Show. A podcast where we talk to remarkable creators about how they got here.

Today, we are at TBWA Shanghai – in the sprawling yet sparse office of the Chief Creative Officer – Ronnie Wu.

This interview is a bit different from earlier interviews. It involves cheese and a bottle of decent wine. Plus, it is the first interview in series 2 where we record outside the studio.

Finally, this interview is mostly in Chinese – that is, Ronnie answers my questions in Chinese.

First, a little bit about TBWA.

TBWA is the disruption agency, home for pirates, they say. It is most famous for the work they’ve done for Apple – they basically built the brand. Thanks Mr. Clow.

TBWA is also well-known for creating the Absolut Vodka print campaigns – the longest running ad campaign in advertising history.

Also, remember adidas’ “Impossible is nothing”? That was TBWA. Personally, one of my favorite taglines ever. Politics has a way of defiling greatness. Oh well.

Ronnie sits at the helm of TBWA China.

Prior to joining TBWA, he headed Young & Rubicam Beijing which became one of the most awarded agencies in the world at Cannes during his tenure. Y&R won their very first “China Creative Agency of the Year” as a result.

He also created the world’s most awarded print campaign, named Penguin ‘Mic”.  Ronnie was one of the youngest ECDs in China, and one of the most awarded in the country with top accolades from Cannes, D&AD, LIA, New York Festival, CLIO, ADC, Spikes Asia, and AdFest.

In our long and meandering conversation Ronnie and I get into the origins of his mission to inject a touch of perfection into his craft. In an industry operating on fast forward, where good enough is great, how is he able to indulge his obsessive-compulsive disorder? The key, he says with deep conviction, is responsibility, being and taking full responsibility for the work.