Michael Houston on the New Gig at Grey

Branding in Asia sat down in Seoul last week with Michael Houston during the Korea-leg of his “getting to know you” tour of Grey offices in Asia.

Just last August, the New York-based Grey Group, a century-old firm which ranks among the top advertising and marketing organizations in the world, serving one-fifth of the Fortune 500 in 96 countries, appointed Houston as its Worldwide CEO – only the fifth in one-hundred years.

Over the course of our conversation, the affable Houston talked about settling into the new gig, his take on brands moving creativity in-house, trends he likes in the industry, ones he doesn’t, where Grey is focused in Asia, and more.

One particular topic of interest was brands bringing creative work in-house.

Houston feels there is a place for it, but he stressed the importance of companies first creating the right culture if they’re serious about pulling it off.

“I understand the desire to take work in-house, and I think there are certain things that, truthfully, a client can take in-house,” said Houston, before anchoring that statement in a caveat.

“I do believe wholeheartedly, however, that creativity takes a certain kind of culture to really thrive, and unless a client is willing to create that culture, I believe there is still value, of course, in an agency, and the environment that we’re able to create for creativity to thrive.”

You can watch the full interview with Michael Houston here:



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