If you haven’t been in Timbuktu the past decade you’ve probably enjoyed Judy Hu’s work. As GE’s global executive director for advertising and brand, Hu launched the “Imagination at Work” campaign which put the company in a hip new light and introduced some of its thousands of products and, increasingly, services.
Hu’s own star shone brighter after the campaign exceeded expectations and won advertising industry awards like Best Integrated Campaign for 2003 from B2B, a Silver Cyber Lion at Cannes, the Gold and Silver Effies and National Gold Addys. In 2005 NY Ad Week’s “America’s Favorite Ad Slogan” contest picked “Imagination at Work” as one of its winners.
Hu’s knack for cutting through clutter to spotlight the essential message goes deeper than the creatives beamed out to the world’s consumers. In 2004 she dug the foundation and laid the blueprint for a simplified global brand architecture and sharpened design guidelines for GE and its myriad businesses. The effort paid off. The next year Hu won more raves with GE’s “ecomagination” campaign. It won the CEBA Grand Prize. The TV commercial “Singin’ in the Rain” topped the USA Today ad tracking survey. In 2007 GE’s “Jar” spot even won an Emmy nomination.
Hu is a cum laude Harvard graduate with a Yale MBA. Her prominence in the advertising industry is reflected in her after-hours activities: she sits on the Board of Directors of the Ad Council and the Association of National Advertisers. As early as 1996 she was picked out by Advertising Age as a “Woman to Watch”. In 2006 she received an Asian Women in Business Award.
Before joining GE Hu spent five years at another corporate giant, General Motors, after a stint as senior vice president at the advertising agency DMB&B in Bloomfield Hills. Hu managed major airline, bank and telecom accounts for Leo Burnett’s Hong Kong offices. Her entry into the advertising world was at DMB&B’s New York office where she worked on Procter and Gamble brands. Hu’s ability to carve out evocative slogans may have been honed editing trade books and textbooks as an editor at a Boston publishing house.