Name: Andy Cairns
Role: Managing Director of Iris Worldwide (Singapore)
Age: 50

Andy Cairns is the Managing Director of Iris Worldwide, with over 20 years of experience in notable names such as Havas, BBH, TBWA and M&C Saatchi Australia. He has been a transformative force, bringing in new account wins such as FairPrice as he took over the reins at Iris.

1. What are your hobbies?

Books, dogs, hikes, bikes and cricket. My three favourite books include two trilogies: Cormack McCarthy’s Border Trilogy and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall Trilogy while John Bannville’s The Sea rounds off this list. Cormack is the only author whose books I’ve read multiple times.

As for dogs, I don’t really have a favourite – love them all! But I have friends with Singapore Specials in all shapes and sizes and a soft spot for two Lagottos called Cookie and Orso.

andy cairns

These days I’ve started hiking more and MacRitchie and Mt Bukit Timah are mild obsessions. As for biking, less these days after a few near misses in Singapore’s traffic.

rainforest path
The Rainforest Path in Botanical Gardens at sunrise.

2. What is your favourite quote?

“​​Creativity is the defeat of habit by originality” – Arthur Koestle

3. What is your favourite movie?

The English Patient: Because it comes as close to being the perfect film ever made; It’s got stellar performances, exquisite cinematography, a cracking storyline and a magnificent soundtrack.

4. What is your favourite song?

Foo Fighters – Everlong.

5. Where’s your top foodie spot and dish there?

Blue Label Pizza called “I wish I was a baller”. It’s completely unique which is why it’s so good.

6. Three words people use to describe you:

Funny, weird and adamant. Same words I’d use to describe myself.

7. Last good Netflix show you watched?

The Last Dance. It’s a docu-series from 2020 that chronicles the rise of Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls.

I love it for 2 reasons:

  1. Michael
  2. Jordan
9. People who inspire and influence you?

Dave Grohl (founder of Foo Fighters), for writing the soundtrack to my adult life. Naomi Osaka (Japanese pro tennis player) for being cool, vulnerable and talented in equal measure. And finally, Jim Carroll, for having the pleasure of working alongside the greatest ad strategist in history.

10. Share a personal or life goal

Arsenal winning the Champions League!

11. Campaign done by others that most inspired you:

The Economist by AMV BBDO. This was where the news house launched an out-of-home advertising campaign where thought-provoking sentences on topics aligned with The Economist were screened on billboards, alongside free coffee and magazines.

The Economist
Image credit: Marketing Communication News

12. Campaign done by you that you’re most proud of:

Tango; “You know when you’ve been tangoed”


13. Peers you highly respect in the local industry:

Ville Vainamo who is the Head of Strategy at Iris Worldwide Singapore.

14. Tell us a fun fact that most of your employees don’t know about you

andy cairns

I used to be an actor and starred in more poor theatre productions than I care to recall. Plus, several TV commercials including a BP Petrol ad in Australia where I (supposedly) flew with a jetpack.

15. What do you look for in employees when hiring?

Cognitive difference – it is ultimately a clever way of saying a different point of view. It’s about embracing alternate perspectives, even celebrating them.

16. Advice for people to become more creative?

There is no such thing as a playbook for creativity. The simple act of reading books is a great way to stimulate original thought be it childhood classics like “Harry the Dirty Dog” or Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”.

17. What do you hope to accomplish at Iris Worldwide within the next year or so?

Creative Supremacy. In a nutshell, “Creative Supremacy” means being the most sought after and creatively awarded agency in Singapore.

IRIS Worldwide’s website
Andy Cairn’s LinkedIn

This post is part of our Media Industry Leaders series. If you’d like to be featured, or have a nominee in mind, please drop us a note at


Comments are closed.