Name: Pat Law
Role: Founder of GOODSTUPH
Age: Late 30s
Pat Law is the brains and wit behind independent agency GOODSTUPH, bringing with her an extensive 15 years of digital and social advertising experience. We have a chat with one of Singapore’s Most Influential Creative Directors.
1. What are your hobbies?
I’m a COVID cliché with my plant collection. Also, when time allows, I write comic strips at Chief Everything Officer.
2. What is your favourite quote?
“Sweet is not sweet without the bitter.” I haven’t the slightest clue who first said that to me, but definitely not Confucious.
3. What is your favourite movie and song?
I wish I could throw out a cult classic and wax lyrical about its cinematography but I’d be lying. My movie diet is appalling. I don’t have a favourite movie, it all depends on my mood for the day.
Similar to my consumption of movies, sharing my Spotify playlist would be career suicide. I listen to all sorts of music depending on my mood. But I’d say that my anthem before I head into a pitch presentation would be Eminem’s Lose Yourself.
4. Where’s your top foodie spot?
I’m biased but my parents’ duck rice at Changi KK Duck. However, as a kid, I’d have the unsold leftovers for dinner so at that point, I was pretty sick of it. Now, it tastes like home. Deprivation makes one appreciate family better, I guess?
5. Three words people use to describe you:
I found it rather obnoxious to be second-guessing so I asked.
The Internet (I did an Instagram story poll): Witty came up often enough. The impression might be derived from my daily news update on Instagram Stories.
My fianceé: Principled. I’m no saint (hell, I’m in advertising) but I do believe character matters as much as credibility. I need to be able to recognise myself in the mirror.
My mother: Smart but I suspect she’s just praising herself.
6. Three words you’d use to describe yourself:
Curious. Rigid. Loyal.
7. Last good Netflix show you watched?
Maid was thought-provoking but I reckon one of the most underrated dramas I’ve caught is Broadchurch, which is also available on Netflix.
8. People who inspire and influence you?
From a career front, I had the luxury of meeting really seasoned hands and intelligent minds.
Linda Locke, the Godmother of Advertising, plays a big part in shaping the way I run my business. “Be fierce, but just”, as she’d say.
I have to credit Kelly Olafson, for being such a great performance coach as well. Each time my fuel tank runs low, he pushes me to the finishing line.
Chief People Officer of Ogilvy Asia, Sue Olivier, has taught me so much about human kindness, and well, dealing with humans. I’m one who’s better with animals than humans I think.
From a personal front, my fianceé has taught me, through her own values and behaviour, that true wealth comes from doing good.
9. What was the most memorable moment in your career?
Weathering the pandemic storm has been quite a heck of a ride, especially steering 3 ships at the same time. But I’ve been very blessed with great captains and crew.
I don’t wish to undermine the severity of the situation but I am quite the masochistic optimist.
When COVID-19 first hit us, I thought, “Oh wow great. We’ve kept GOODSTUPH profitable for the last 10 years. So even if it goes into the red now because of this pandemic, it’s not on us. It literally required a global pandemic to take us down.”
On a less sinister note, it was also a time to show who we are as an agency. While we were more prudent, there was 0% headcount and bonus freeze, retrenchment, or pay cut during this period. Painful, no doubt, but I’m proud we did so.
10. Campaign done by others that most inspired you:
It’s hard for me to pick a favourite because my choice is relative to what I’m evaluating the campaign for.
For example, from a storytelling perspective, I love Sandy Hook Promise: Evan. Stellar storytelling there.
From a consumer insight perspective, I think JetBlue FlyBabies deserves more attention than it got when it first launched.
Credit: CeCe ShoW
A little closer to home, I appreciate what Sentosa has done with Virtual Sentosa with respect to the pandemic.
Credit: BBH Singapore
Finally, something that made me laugh most recently was Krungsri First Choice Metaverrrrrrr. It’s an accurate depiction of an Asian client I reckon.
11. Campaign done by you that you’re most proud of:
Every campaign has its unique set of challenges so it’s difficult to pinpoint one that I’m most proud of. There is a saying though – you are only as good as your last campaign.
Credit: Netflix Indonesia
Our last campaign for the launch of Money Heist’s final season led by my partners in GOODSTUPH Thailand alongside our teams in both Singapore and Indonesia was nothing short of magical.
I remember being in quarantine in Hong Kong screaming my head off when we won Digital Agency of the Year at the acclaimed Citra Pariwara 2021 – Indonesia’s most established advertising award show in part because of my team’s brilliance on the Money Heist campaign.
12. Peers you highly respect in the local industry:
Eugenia Tan, Fajar Kurnia and Jeremy Chia, my partners-in-crime. We cut our professional teeth at Ogilvy Singapore together, and now have key man insurance to each other’s names. Haha.
Out of GOODSTUPH, in no particular order:
A. Pann Lim – He is living proof you don’t need to be an asshole to have an illustrious career.
B. Emily Poon – She is a classic Ogilvyian – Sharp, Confident, Hungry and Ruthless. Yet, she brings a new air of agility, creativity and empathy for the next generation of Ogilvians.
13. Tell us a fun fact that most of your employees don’t know about you:
This was pre-GOODSTUPH days. My ex-colleagues and I were burning back-to-back late nights for a presentation to a government client. We had wine for fuel, and we were pretty much braindead the night before our presentation. Our half-drunk head planner was plotting our ideas on the white board in circles when I uttered, “F*** that looks like the cross-section of a f***ing lotus root”.
Our other colleague was replicating the circles in the deck, and she conveniently named it “The Lotus Root Strategy”. We forgot to rename the slide when we met the Chief Executive the next day. My Business Director didn’t even bat an eyelid when she introduced “The Lotus Root Strategy”.
And yeah, we managed to sell a proposal we penned half-drunk.
14. What do you look for in employees when hiring?
Guts, Grit, and Grace. With the appetite to match the ambition for Glory.
15. Advice for people to become more creative?
For a start, creativity cannot be measured. What exactly are we measuring? Impact on society? Reflection on payslip? Number of awards on one’s shelves?
While I can’t dispense any advice for being “more creative”, I’d say that personally, I’ve learned that I’m often at my most creative, when poor.
I use the term poor loosely, of course. It’s about staying hungry, staying curious, and believe me or not, staying humble and humbled.
16. Advice for students thinking of starting a career in an agency?
Have the appetite to match the ambition.
17. What do you hope to accomplish at GOODSTUPH within the next year or so?
Launch GOODSTUPH Vietnam. We’re in Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, so hopefully, with heaps of Redbull, we’ll be able to launch Vietnam by this year if not next.
18. What are your most memorable moments as a lady boss?
I won’t go into the specifics for there is one zodiac cycle to run through, but running an agency is a lot like a restaurant. It takes a family related not by blood, but by passion and purpose, to constantly serve good content at the speed of culture.
It takes a very well-oiled kitchen for your customers to trust you enough to serve them based on your recommendations. Sure, there are days when you get nasty customers, a sous chef suffering from a hangover who bails, a dishwasher that breaks down, an unreasonable Yelp review and whatnot, but sweet is not sweet without the bitter.
The best part of the journey, I think, is figuring out what’s the menu of the future.
19. How is your regional expansion doing?
It’s been going great. We panicked a little back in 2020 when the pandemic hit, but you know, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Better yet, own the lemonade plantation, distributorship, and sell bloody Lemonade NFTs.
On a more serious note, I do recommend for Singapore-based business owners to go forth and expand in the region. The estimated total GDP of all ASEAN countries is around USD3.08 trillion. How much of that pie can you chase for? Someone said this, “If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom”. It rings very true.
I’ve learned so much more in us going into Jakarta and Bangkok than I ever did, setting shop up in Singapore. I have no idea how ignorant and sheltered I was until we entered those markets.
20. Any advice for talented creatives wanting to start their own agency
As the founder, the buck ALWAYS stops with you. If you’re unwilling to hold the blame for everyone and everything in relation to your business, then stay put as an employee.
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