Started off as an account executive intern at Grey Hong Kong, Narrow Door's director Terry Tsang has always enjoyed being a creative copywriter and garnered the experience of different creative writing styles in the advertising field.
Prior to Narrow Door, Tsang held a number of creative director positions at J.Walter Thompson Worldwide, McCann and more, where he met some inspiring mentors that showed him life is hard and full of challenges and unknowns, and most importantly, advertising is not for mediocre who seeks comfort and expects fair result. Moreover, he has learnt that creativity, honesty and trust is the nutrients to good advertising.
Tsang decided to launch his own company Narrow Door in 2018 as he wanted to create his own and unique way of serving clients in the industry. Over the years, he described himself as the overseer who constantly watched out for opportunities ahead as well as potential dangers his team might be heading towards, which Tsang believes to be a fundamental requirement to provide the best soil for his staff to grow.
Find out more about Tsang's journey in advertising thus far and who inspires him.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What was your first job?
I worked as court liaison officer at Duty Lawyer Scheme for over four years, assisting the duty lawyer in offering legal aids to defendants who are not represented by lawyer in criminal court everyday. Yes, I visited all prisons in HK to take the ir statements of defense and I met the No.3 most wanted person in prison. I can recite the criminal ordinance by heart.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What was your first role in advertising?
An account executive intern at Grey Hong Kong, assigned by the 4A internship programme. But I always knew I wanted to be a copywriter. So I quietly studied the different style of every piece of copy handed over to me by my creative colleagues, and challenged the m occasionally. Other than that I went to store check every week for my client Wrigley, preparing weekly competitor’s report including tear sheets and occasionally complied a competitive reel for presentation from a master U-Matics video tape.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What was your first impression of advertising?
Messy desks and cigarette butts. People talk fast and think fast.
Huge vocabulary of dirty jokes with great sense of humour. Enjoy at work and indulge in life to the fullest. To me, the y chose to live honestly and I like it.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: Who was the mentor who influenced you the most and how?
Daisy Ching. My assigned account director and the first person I met in advertising. Ching t asked me with many projects at the same time and asked me to find out the solution by myself, not from her. She also taught me to “add value” in everything I was in touch with. She showed me life is hard and full of challenges and unknowns. Advertising is not for mediocre who seeks comfort and expects fair result. She fought the good fight and is now resting in heavenly place. Her spirit lives within me and she will be forever remembered.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What's the harshest criticism you've received and how did you cope with it?
One time my CEO boss said he regretted to hire me and totally rejected the ideas I proposed. In fact for over three months he disapproved of every ideas I came up with. Instead of confronting him right away, I sought prayer support from my family and closed friends. I also went to psychiatrist and was diagnosed with mild depression. After I told him about this, his attitude turned mild. Later I knew he was under strong pressure from regional finance and was about to leave the company.
Lesson learnt: Everything happens for a reason. Every abuser is a victim of abuse. I like to examine the cause behind every problem.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: Describe your own management style now as a leader
I am the overseer who constantly watch out for opportunities ahead as well as potential dangers my team might be heading towards. As a Christ follower, I try to live out the servant-leader model and often see my staff as gifts rather than tools.
My role is to provide the best soil for my staff to grow.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What's one thing you wished employees understood about being a leader?
The necessity to sacrifice for others. In terms of time, money or works. Sacrifice is the ultimate form of love.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What do you do during your free time?
Movie, family, church, reading, cooking, hiking, tennis, beach & sunshine. Did I mention cooking?
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: Where do you find your inspiration?
The Bible & the weekly sermons from my church. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: If not in advertising, where would you be?
A film director. Movie has always been my first love and I have never skipped a commercial shoot since my first day in advertising.
I think it’s the closest thing I can get about movie-making. Meanwhile, I also enjoy cooking for friends and family. I wouldn’t mind to be a chef if I hear the call from God someday.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What advice do you have for someone looking to start a career in the industry?
Be honest. Be humble. Be humourous.
Be honest about your passion and capability. Be humble to learn from everyone around you. Exercise your sense of humour especially in time of difficulty.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What issue would you like to see the industry change in 2022?
Brand should not blindly follow the trend to the point of losing its own identity. Yes I’m talking about Metaverse, Web3 and NFT. Everyone talks about it out of FOMO and wants to look cool.
Meet the CEOs: DDB Group HK's Andreas Krasser
Meet the CEOs: MediaCom's Alice Chow
Meet the CEOs: Dentsu International HK's Simone Tam