SINGAPORE – The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has appointed creative, media, digital and digital production agencies as partners in STB’s destination brand building efforts for two years with effect from 1 May 2013.
An open tender exercise was undertaken from November to December 2012, and saw a substantial number of submissions received from creative, media, digital and digital production agencies. After several rounds of rigorous evaluation and scrutiny over all proposals, STB’s appointed agencies are: creative agency James Walter Thompson (JWT), digital and digital production agency XM Asia (XM), and media agency Mediaedge: cia (MEC).
“The appointed agencies are the ones which have provided the most compelling proposals, shown their strength as a team and best exhibited the required combined expertise that can support the full range of STB’s brand building and marketing needs across our key markets,” said Ms Sophia Ng, Assistant Chief Executive, Marketing Group of the Singapore Tourism Board. “We would like to thank all the participating agencies for their interest in partnering STB. STB appreciates the time and effort that they have committed in contributing to this exercise being a thorough and fruitful one.”
Since 2011, STB has adopted a visitor-centric approach to marketing, developing strategies and campaigns that are specifically geared towards addressing the evolving needs of consumers from Singapore’s key tourism markets. Hence, for this tender exercise, STB was looking for agencies which, in their respective fields, were collectively able to display their combined strengths in delivering solutions based on in-depth market knowledge and consumer understanding, have proven track records in building global brands, possess a strong network and presence in STB’s key markets, and demonstrate commitment to develop a mutually beneficial long-term partnership with STB.
"Our entire team is humbled and thrilled. Singapore is a world-class country that embodies the best of Asia’s beauty and diversity. But more importantly, it's where we call home. So it's an honour for us to be given the noble task of showing the world what Singapore truly is," said Frank Bauer, Chief Executive Officer of JWT Singapore.
Ms Connie Chan, Managing Director of MEC Global Solutions (APAC) added: “We are incredibly proud to have been re-appointed as Singapore Tourism Board's global media agency of record. This will further extend our partnership with STB, which started in 2009. We are thrilled to continue working with STB to drive Singapore’s image as one of the world’s greatest destinations across our network. At MEC, we believe in working with our clients to uncover rich insights, and exploiting these insights to develop integrated solutions, which ultimately deliver great results.”
Mr Paul Soon, Chief Executive Officer of XM-Asia said: “It has been a 4-year journey culminating in a pitch battle amongst the full roster of blue-chip Agency brands. I can only sum it up with 2 words; ‘Heart’ & ‘Soul’. Those were the key differentiating factors for us. Our suits, planners and creatives were able to meld their smarts with teamwork and passion, to work tirelessly in developing a digital strategy that was insightful, inspiring and fresh.”
In addition to individual agency’s strengths, STB’s priority was also on appointing a team of agencies which not only had the right expertise but also the ability to combine their knowledge and experience together, and support the wide spectrum of STB’s brand building and marketing needs. These agencies will also be expected to work together in an integrated and synergistic fashion, alongside STB’s Singapore and in-market public relations agencies to develop and deliver holistic marketing solutions.
A critical criterion was the presence of offices or affiliate/partner networks in STB’s key markets – Indonesia, Malaysia, India, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, UK and North America. Other criteria included the agency’s financial standing, servicing model, brand management and strategic leadership, the strength of the proposed team, and the proposed fees. The evaluation process included a review of all the agencies based on their network strength in supporting STB’s global needs, servicing model, brand management and strategic leadership.
Ms Ng adds, “We would also like to thank the incumbent agencies for their dedication and contribution to STB’s destination brand building efforts in the last four years. STB recognises the strong partnership and performance of incumbent creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), who were key partners in building the YourSingapore brand which has won several awards, as well as the suite of destination videos such as Shiok and Lyrical which were launched last month. Other corporate campaigns like Can You Serve have also won awards in the Singapore Effies 2011 and Spikes 2012. Indeed, BBH has set a high bar in our partnership model for our global agencies. Still, the rigor of the tender process accorded fairness and transparency in providing a level-playing field to all shortlisted agencies, and the evaluation of the tender is an independent process based on the merit of the agencies with the most compelling proposals. We now look forward to our appointed agencies to build and strengthen the partnership in STB’s brand building and marketing efforts.”