Eugene Lee, senior director of marketing, strategy and insights at McDonald’s Malaysia, has been promoted to regional director of marketing for the Asia business unit. He will continue to based out of Kuala Lumpur. In his new role, he will work closely with the local market CEOs and CMOs across Asia while reporting to Nick Rodd, marketing and menu lead (Asia business unit).
Lee will also focus on assisting and consulting markets across Asia on their marketing plans, strategies and tactics. He is also one of the key contacts and representatives for the Asia region on the global stage, working closely with international leadership to shape McDonald’s marketing worldwide. Lee told A+M in a statement that the new role was created to lend additional support to the McDonald’s markets across the region.
Lee has spent more than 10 years at McDonald’s Malaysia. He first started in the company as a marketing officer in 2009 before rising through the ranks and taking on roles such as marketing manager, senior marketing manager, and marketing director. Prior to McDonald’s, he was with SOUL Society for two years.
“It’s exhilarating. Stepping out of my comfort zone and moving into a bigger regional role is definitely an exciting change,” he said, adding that he will now be exposed to more marketing work worldwide and be able to get a bird’s eye view of how things are evolving both regionally and globally.
Lee explained that while many think marketing is an art, the science behind it is extremely important as well. In Malaysia, the team has always tried to balance having enough facts and data, pairing that with gut feel and marketers’ intuition to take risks and be creative.
Discipline and ability to balance the two is something I can bring to the table.
That said, he foresees the challenge of learning and understanding the local culture of other markets. “I am an expert on the Malaysian market, but to be a truly effective regional marketer, I need to be sensitive and truly immerse myself in the culture of all the other countries,” Lee added.
During his time at McDonald’s Malaysia, Lee was responsible for campaigns such as the McDonald’s Malaysia elections last year to drive engagement for its own menu; a four-part video series to drum up hype for its Spicy Korean Burger; an OOH campaign which turned its food into iconic Malaysian landmarks; as well as the changing of its signage to Mekdi at its Bukit Bintang outlet.
According to Lee, the marketing work from McDonald’s Malaysia over the past few years has been recognised not just locally, but also on an international level. He explained that this is a testament to the great work that the team has been doing, and he hopes to bring that experience and knowledge to other markets, sharing ideas to further build on the exciting marketing plans McDonald’s has across the region.
“[The future of marketing] is bright and exciting and will be a huge new challenge for marketers everywhere. We’re no longer just fighting with other advertisers, we’re now battling for customers’ attention with all content ever created – Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and cute cats, for example,” Lee said. He explained that this will force marketers to become more creative with their campaigns, and I believe that we will see more and more innovative advertising coming out from brands.