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Ariyanto Zainal

Partner and President


MACS909 - Jakarta, Indonesia

Because of his interest in art and building structures, Ariyanto chose to study civil engineering, but after three years, he realized he was no good at calculating loads and other computations required in this profession. So he took some time to find another passion, meanwhile doing everything from sewing jeans to washing restaurant dishes to playing music to spray painting cars. After several years, having moved to Australia, he came upon something new to him - advertising.

So he applied to study graphic design at KvB Visual Concept, as it was then known (now KVB Institute of Technology) in Sydney and the path to a career in advertising began. After completing his studies, he worked for several agencies in Sydney. At the time, in the late 1980s, advertising was booming in Indonesia. So with the full support of his wife and four kids, he and his family made the move to Jakarta.

Experience he gained at Ogilvy & Mather Indonesia convinced him that more was needed than just multinational companies taking over the local scene, but it wasn’t as easy as he thought. After a false start, he stepped back, and the result was MACS909, founded in 1993. He recalls hitting the ground running with three partners and an office boy. It has been a long road of hitting high spots and falling into potholes, but he believes strongly that independent agencies can hold their own against the multinationals. MACS909 has become known as one of the most creative agencies in Indonesia with many creative awards to its credit. For two consecutive years, it has been named the best medium-size agency in the country.

The current business model encourages collaboration among many different disciplines in order to keep the company lean and still be able to provide clients with many different services. To stay on top of the ongoing changes in the business, Ariyanto remains involved in many aspects of the industry: a lecturer on the technology of marketing communication, jury and jury chairman of Indonesia's 4As creative awards, member of the advisory board and advertising ethics of Indonesia's 4As as well as a mentor-career counselor to high school students.