As a bartender, Gavin found ad people much like his customers who drank until 3am. They smelt bad, were incoherent most of the time and frequently broke. But he liked their stories and the jokes they told. He even found advertising vaguely interesting and took art classes with the dream of making it in a glamorous industry.
After graduation, he joined Ogilvy & Mather Direct, Malaysia back in 92 as Junior Art Director and Visualizer. After 6 years of licking stamps and stuffing letters into envelopes, he moved to mainstream advertising at Naga DDB in 1998.
Two years later, he returned to Ogilvy and was ranked as the No.1 Malaysian Creative in 2002 and 2003 by Campaign Brief Asia - winning Malaysia’s first Gold & Silver One Show Pencil in 2002.
Subsequently, he moved to Y&R Malaysia as Creative Director where he picked up his first LIA Winner Award in 2004.
He then took on the role of Executive Creative Director for Ogilvy Manila in 2005. As well as driving the quality of the creative output, Gavin mentored the local team and ensured that their work was of global standards. The results were almost immediate, under Gavin’s leadership; Ogilvy & Mather Philippines was awarded 2006 Creative Agency of the Year in the 4A’s Agency of the Year Awards. The last time Ogilvy Philippines was awarded Creative Agency of the Year was back in 1998 prior.
To top his incredible 12 months turnaround, Gavin also won a Gold Cannes Lion for 'Land Rover/Direction' for an ad he wrote in between jobs. Coincidentally, the ad was also voted 4th Best Ad in the world by the Gunn Report.
In the Philippines 2007 Creative Guild Awards, Gavin once again led the agency to be the number 1 agency, garnering the highest number of Gold – 9.
In 2007 Gavin moved to Ogilvy Hong Kong as Executive Creative Director. Gavin’s creative leadership was instrumental in Ogilvy winning the global account- Shangri-la Hotel and Resorts. Other significant wins include Mercedes Benz HK, Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway and K11, a property under New World Development Company. During his time the agency also won numerous awards and was voted No.1 creative agency in HK. In his free time, Gavin would roam the streets of Hong Kong in search of the perfect dim sum.
In 2010, Gavin went back to his roots as Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy Malaysia. Under his stewardship, Ogilvy Kuala Lumpur was awarded Agency of the Year at Spikes Asia 2011. At the same time, Ogilvy KL has also picked up two of the country’s most prized accounts, Malaysia Airlines and BMW.
In 2012 the agency scored a rare ‘nomination’ and Yellow Pencil at D&AD - along with a Gold, Silver and Bronze at Cannes. The same year the agency picked up a Gold, a Silver & 5 Bronzes at LIA. His Pictionary Quick Draw Wins campaign was named 2012, second most awarded campaign worldwide by The Gunn Report. In 2013 Ogilvy KL picked up 2 Silver Cannes Lions and 2 Bronze Cannes Lions. Ogilvy Kuala Lumpur was also ranked 2nd most Creative Office among all 500 Ogilvy offices from 120 countries worldwide. At the Campaign Asia Pacific Awards, Ogilvy Kuala Lumpur was also awarded Gold for Malaysia Creative Agency of the Year and Silver for Digital Agency of the Year for Year 2016 & 2017.
Awards aside, Gavin continued to win more new business including Bernas, CIMB Bank, Huawei and U Mobile.
After a long innings with Ogilvy, Gavin join Fortuna, Indonesia in late 2020 as the Chief Creative Officer. In addition to client responsibilities, Gavin will also be responsible for developing and training the agency’s talent. Gavin Simpson is a proven creative leader. He has made his mark by winning business pitches and awards wherever he went – From Kuala Lumpur to Manila to Hong Kong to Jakarta. With business wins and international awards wins under his belt, he is one of Asia’s most consistent creative leaders. Gavin has not seen the evening sun since 1992.