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great minds on music : an interview with tham khai meng

In this edition of our “Great Minds on Music” series, Uli Reese, President of iV2, catches up with Tham Khai Meng, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer & Chairman, WW Creative Council Ogilvy & Mather. “Great Minds on Music” is a collection of interviews with some of the top names in the advertising industry, engaging them in conversations about music, audio and advertising.  If you’d like to read more from these innovative thinkers, selecting this link will aggregate all the interviews for easy viewing. 

GREAT MINDS ON MUSIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH THAM KHAI MENG

Reese: You were talking about the “messy process” of creativity. Let’s talk about how music fits into that. How do you use music in brand communication? How important is it in your work?

“…music is as much as 60 or 70 percent of a film. It’s visceral, it’s emotional, it communicates to us. It cuts across generations, across diversity. It connects.” – Tham Khai Meng

Khai: Boy…you know, if I could put a percentage to it, I might say music is as much as 60 or 70 percent of a film. It’s visceral, it’s emotional, it communicates to us. It cuts across generations, across diversity. It connects. So music is an enormous part of what we do – which is connection.

Reese: Talk to us about your process. How do you approach the subject when you’re going into a campaign? What’s your secret?

Khai: Well, there’s no secret – it’s just hard work, really. First and foremost, you have to get to the idea. It’s a long process: messy, chaotic, lots of white paper, lots of fear. There’s always that pressure in the back of your mind: you want to do something great, every time. Every brief is an opportunity. What I like to do is draw boxes and put ideas in them – it could be words, or visual ideas. Because, you know, we have a lot of clutter in our head. We need to empty it sometimes.

Reese: What inspires you in terms of music? Do you have an iTunes library that you listen to when you work?

Khai: Yeah, sometimes. I’m always listening to music at home. Or you might have heard something in the car that morning, and you can’t get it out of your head. So you think about that genre and how it might work. You ask other people for their opinion, of course. They may be right, they may be wrong – it doesn’t matter. You need new thinking.

Reese: You’re like a sponge…

Khai: All the time. Or more like a vulture. Continue reading