Sumita Vaid

Singapore Airlines shifts base from Contract Advertising to rmg david

The agency's work on Singapore Tourism was a sufficient reason for the senior executives at Batey Advertising and Singapore Tourism to move the account from Contract

When Batey Advertising, the creator of long running 'Singapore girl' campaign, and Singapore Tourism had appointed rmg david as the agency for Singapore Tourism Board (STB) earlier this year, it had opened a world of possibilities for this WPP agency. Six months hence, rmg david has been awarded the creative duties of Singapore Airlines as well.

Till some time ago, the account was with Contract. However, for various reasons, the agency decided to part ways with Singapore Airlines, thus putting an end to a 16-year association with the airline.

Rajiv Sabnis, senior vice-president, Contract Advertising, delineates the reasons of resigning the business, "Honestly, the creative and strategic involvement from us was almost negligible. We would normally release the international creatives, you can understand there was no joy..."

Besides that, the agency feels that its role, with the passage of time, had diminished as initially, it used to give creative inputs at least. "We did not see a role for ourselves anymore and add to that is the fact that since it was not a sizable business, it did not make business sense." Also, the agency at this time wants to forge a stronger relationship with South African Tourism. "We will like to concentrate on our relationship with South African Tourism now..." said Sabnis.

As for rmg david, unlike the last time, it was not subjected to a grueling process of selection. agencyfaqs! readers would recall the story done in April on rmg david winning the Singapore Tourism Board account, where some 25 agencies were screened.

Robert Kay (chief operating officer, Batey) and Rowena Bhagchandani (regional head of Singapore Tourism) had come down to India towards the end of January this year, and after a lengthy process of shortlisting had struck an alliance with rmg david.

The agency's work on Singapore Tourism was a sufficient reason for the senior executives at Batey and Singapore Tourism to move the account from Contract to rmg david.

"There was no agency pitch. Our work on Singapore Tourism won us the Singapore Airlines business. And this, indeed, is a very prestigious business for us," said an elated Josy Paul, country head & national creative director, rmg david. The size of the business could not be ascertained as revealing numbers is against WPP policy.

The immediate communication task for the agency is more tactical in nature. That, of course, does not exclude brand related activities. The creative services of the agencies would certainly be employed to that end. And, the iconic Singapore girl is going to be the central figure of the brand's communication.

While this may sound wishful thinking, but yes, for rmg david, Singapore Tourism could be an ideal opportunity to demonstrate its creative prowess internationally. Just as well, it has done for STB.

rmg david's recent campaign on Singapore Tourism was rolled out in the South Asian region, besides India. "The campaign on Singapore Tourism, in a unique manner, promotes Singapore as a tourist destination from the perspective of a child. And this campaign has been released in some six countries in the South Asian region."

While Paul agrees that this business can be an opportunity to go global, he also mentions in the same breath that eventually, "It is all up to us."

Finally, the sincerity of the effort reflects in the work. But the fact that the creative shop Batey Ads, along with the two biggest organisations of Singapore - Singapore Tourism and Singapore Airlines, are confident about rmg david is in it itself a tremendous boost for the agency.

With that comes great responsibility. "What is so heartening is Ian Batey, the founder of Batey Ads, has sent me a personally signed copy of this book, Asian Branding: A Great Way to Fly with a note urging me to take care of these precious brands... Now that is so touching and encouraging. We, of course, will do our very best."

© 2004 agencyfaqs!

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