2 Minutes With … Pathida Akkarajindanon, GCD at Leo Burnett Thailand

Creative adventures from Virus Tag as a kid to her inventive health campaigns

Pathida Akkarajindanon started her career path as a copywriter in 2009. She has worked at multiple agencies from TBWA Thailand and BBDO Bangkok to J. Walter Thompson Shanghai. She is currently group creative director at The Leo Burnett Group Thailand.

Throughout her 12 years of experience, Pathida has been responsible for accounts such as Nissan, Chevrolet, Samsung, Tesco Lotus, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Telenor, Johnson & Johnson, Mondelez International, Thai Health Promotion Foundation, Bank of Ayudhaya and Siam Commercial Bank.

She loves roller skating, cats, and being open to any experience that life may throw at her. She’s trained her own cat to high-five, sit and crouch down. Her other super-power is resilience: Even if she fails, she chooses to get up stronger.

We spent two minutes with Pathida to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations, and recent work she's admired.


Pathida, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I was born, raised, made mistakes and learned, all in Bangkok, Thailand.

How you first realized you were creative.

When I was a kid, my friends and I got bored of playing play tag and freeze tag. Therefore, I created a new game called Virus Tag. The rule is that the virus can't harm you if you have strong cells, so you must run and pair up with someone to be safe until the virus evolves, then you must pair up with a new person. Later, it became my school's most popular game.

Because of this hit, I came up with another new game, The Watermelon Farmer. Again, it became a hit—until one of the kids' parents stopped us because of all the bruises we had. That's where my creations ended.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Jureeporn Thaidumrong. One of the most influential figures to shape Thai advertising.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

I won a spot in TBWA's Young Bloods creative development program. And so my path to a career in advertising began.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

The 19-year-old Thai teen rapper Danupha "Milli" Khanatheerakul. Besides her exceptional talents, I admire her ambition to make a change in Thailand for the better, using her music as a form of fighting.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

Hospital Playlist, a K-Series. It's light but also deep in the meaning of life. I just finished it, and for the first time in my life I'm considering becoming an organ donor.

Your favorite fictional character.

Doraemon. I always get excited whenever he is getting cool stuff out of his belly pocket. I once read that he held up to 4,500 gadgets from the future in his pocket.

Someone or something worth following in social media.

Lonelyman (@lowcostcosplayth) is the most crazy, hilarious, but also very creative, lonely man. His terrible budgeted cosplay makes the internet a joyful place.

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

It taught me not to take anything in life for granted. Cherish every moment and everyone while I still can.

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

The work I did with the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, "How are you?" The 15-second film displays the legendary George, Ringo, Paul and John crossing the Thai version of Abbey Road for a health checkup just because they can't find the answers to the question "How are you?"

Thai Health Promotion Foundation | How are you?
A recent project you're proud of.

My most recent project that I'm proud of is a campaign for the Bank of Ayudhaya, with the Krungsri Health Insurance plans that can be adjusted based to fit different individuals' lives.

I'm proud of this work, not because it won big at an award show, but because of how we worked behind the scenes to make it happen. According to the concept, we wanted the protagonists to be able to really touch and play with the supers on screen. I remember the director asking me, "Do we want to do it the safe way and be flexible for later adjustments in post? Or do we want to explore it together by creating the super for real and shooting it realistically? It might not be flexible for later adjustments, but it will be fun to see the effects it gives us." We both agreed on the second option. Unfortunately, we did not anticipate the sudden change in the supers' message as a result of legalization the night before the early morning shoot. Thanks to great teamwork spirits, we were able to pull it off.

Krungsri Health Insurance | Big Responsibility Man
Krungsri Health Insurance | Hardworking Freelancer
Krungsri Health Insurance | Terminally Ill
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

Nike's "Dream Crazy" campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick. "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."

Someone else's work you admired lately.

WeCapital, the Data Tienda campaign from DDB Mexico. This is a very smart way of gathering new data from overlooked cultural insights. Most important, this gives many low-income women access to credit and a better life.

Your main strength as a creative person.

I'm a highly sensitive person. However, I feel that it is my strength as a creative person, with a wider capacity for empathy, feelings and intuition. It helps me to be more mindful of the world around me. We all want to create strong and powerful works that move and impact people in some way, but in order to do so, we must first understand humans.

Your biggest weakness.

As said, I'm a very sensitive person, so I'm easily in tears. Somehow, many people still mistake my tears for weakness and fragility.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Touching my cat's toe beans.

One thing that always makes you sad.

My cat's irritating reactions when I'm touching her toe beans.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

Perhaps open a pet center, an all-in-one stop for your beloved floofs.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a senior broadcast journalism student at the University of Colorado Boulder and a contributor to Muse by Clio.

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