Facebook Creative Shop set to lure more Asian brands to digital

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Peter Riley.
Peter Riley.

The company's in-house agency will expand to India, China, Japan and Korea in a bid for APAC creative

SINGAPORE — Facebook will be rolling out its in-house agency Creative Shop in India, Greater China, Japan and Korea by the end of the year.

The move is part of Facebook’s mission to hire creative executives to help move ad dollars from traditional media.

Creative Shop set up operations in Singapore earlier this year and hired former Ogilvy executive Peter Riley to lead creative output in the region. Singapore-based Riley currently has about 10 people reporting to him from across the region. With the launch in the four new markets, Riley hopes to add 10 more people to his team. Globally, the agency has about 80 people working on major clients such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Nestle. Riley reports to Mark D'Arcy, Facebook's chief creative officer.

Agencies need not worry that Facebook is trying to come between them and their clients, according to Riley. "The demand for creativity is huge," he said. "As we can never work with all brands, my goal is to work with creative agencies to scale what we do."

Read now: Why is Facebook adoption slowing in Asia?

Riley started his career in advertising almost 25 years ago and became a prominent figure in the UK agency world in 2003 when he co-founded 20:20 London, a digital advertising agency. He later sold the agency to Digital Marketing Group and moved to Hong Kong, where he was regional executive creative director for Ogilvy, a post he remained in until earlier this year.

According to Riley, Creative Shop offers tremendous opportunities for precise targeting and measurement and creates a compelling justification for Facebook’s effectiveness over traditional advertising. It has also developed tools and conducts workshops that help brands and agencies decode the "secrets of effective storytelling".

"Creativity in its purest sense of making things appealing is totally relevant to Facebook and to Newsfeed," Riley said. "We have to make things stand out. We have to work with brands and agencies to create images or stories that leap out at you."

To illustrate how Facebook’s creative team works, Riley shared an example of a brief from Indonesia where the company is working on getting locals to think about safe sex. "Facebook can do that with connections and authentic stories," he said. "It has moved on from images and headlines to deep storytelling and making strong connections."

As he builds the team, Riley is certain he wants senior creative agency people. "We need people that understand brands and markets," he said.

When asked if Creative Shop is in competition with agencies, Riley said agencies are doing the heavy lifting, while Facebook is more concerned with advising them. "Our relationship is always with the agency," he stressed.

This article first appeared on campaignasia.com.

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