The wrong university entrance interview led this Forsman & Bodenfors creative into advertising | Advertising | Campaign Asia


Name: Kenneth Wong

Origin: Singapore

Places where you’ve lived and worked: Singapore

  • Creative/Copy, Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore. 2022 – present
  • Copywriter, Goodstuph, 2018 – 2022
  • Video Editor/Copywriter, Villains, 2016 – 2017

1. How did you end up being a creative?

I did not go to university because I attended the wrong entrance interview and only realised it after leaving the faculty. And so, without a degree, I thought I’d better do something in the creative industry. I was exposed to video production and writing in my diploma (Creative Writing for TV and New Media #rip), so I started as a video editor/copywriter. 

2. What’s your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?

I had the opportunity to write and create this little Christmas jingle for Bosch Home Appliances. It was a lot of fun mucking about with food, but then again, I was away on leave for the shoot, which may be why I enjoyed this project. 

3. What’s your favourite piece of work created by someone else?

I like the Where Life Happens campaign by IKEA. This campaign touched on a full spectrum of human moments, from poignant to humorous, without forcing the brand into the conversation and making an ad not feel like one always feels like the gold standard to hit. 

4. What/who are your key creative influences?

Comedian Lee Mack inspires me to find punchlines in everyday life with his lightning-fast wit. I remember watching Not Going Out and being blown away by the pace of the jokes (this was before I found out about the existence of ghostwriters).  

And he never fails to deliver on Would I Lie To You? A slew of cartoonists (Ellis Rosen, Paul Noth, and Will Santino, just to name a few) help me see the absurd. asia%2fcontent%2f20230406065545 Dan+Neary+%2812%29

The cast of ‘Would I Lie To You?’ with Lee Mack in the middle

Gag cartoons are also a great way to distil an idea to its bare minimum, which is an excellent exercise for creative work. But I’m only saying that to sound wise. I just like laughing. And, of course, the ultimate creative influence — an ever-approaching deadline. 

5. What kind of student were you?

I was a pretty good student for the most part. I was horrible with my mother tongue and played too many video games, but I still had reasonably alright results. Come to think of it, I made a pretty good target for bullies, but thankfully, I had good friends instead. 

6. What really motivates you?

A Casey Neistat video marathon, black metal, caffeine, military books (they got me through NS), and my Creative Director breathing down my neck. 

7. Do you have any secret or odd talents?

I can accurately judge where exactly the bus will stop at the bus stop. It’s affected by several factors, from time to the number of buses at the bus stop. If you’re still reading along, I admit it’s a pointless skill, but hey, I get to board 2 seconds earlier than you losers! 

8. What’s your favourite music/film/ TV show/book/other of the past year, and why?

RRR. It is such a crazy film, and it was also my first-ever Tollywood experience. As a friend put it, every scene was a dopamine rush designed to keep you hooked.  

Like K-pop, but not. I also discovered Mike Birbiglia earlier this year, and he has a unique and human POV. Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories has been my favourite read in the past year. I’d highly recommend watching the film as well. 

9. Tell us about an artist (any medium) that we’ve never probably heard of.

My good friend JZ, who I work with on ‘Highnunchicken’, creates some absurd everyday objects that are odd. 

10. What’s your favourite GIF/meme, and why?

Not entirely sure if it counts as a meme, but I follow a Korean family on Instagram. Rohee and Romi are super cute and will brighten your day.  

11. What food can you not live without? What food would you be happy never to taste again?

As a textbook Asian (one writing up this very response in Europe), I will have to go with rice—the final answer.  

I can’t live without it. Never is a strong word. I don’t think I feel strongly against conventional food to being happy never to taste it again. So I will use “food” loosely here and say human blood.  

It is technically a source of food. Just ask the survivors of the Andes flight disaster. It’s not so much that it’s an offensive flavour or anything. On the other hand, it’s probably not a good thing for me to taste it unless I develop some sort of kink for it down the road. I wouldn’t count on it, though. 

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