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CPF says yes to pitch fees, hands agencies SG$3000

Pitch fees. An issue we have been talking about for years. While our neighbour across the border have often been lauded for being able to implement it, the concept is still fairly new in Singapore.

Just in 2015, 4As Malaysia issued a letter to Malaysia Airlines regarding a pitch for its business with least 15 network agencies involved. This included several branding agencies from Singapore.

Maybe going forward, this is the start of change in Singapore.

Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB), which recently launched a tender to appoint an agency to provide integrated marketing and creative services, has stated that it will pay an honorarium of SG$3,000 to up to five tenderers shortlisted for the second stage of its selection process. This was seen by Marketing in a brief sent out to various agencies. In a statement confirming the move, a CPFB spokesperson said:

By providing the shortlisted agencies with the pitch fee, it can help to offset the time and costs incurred for the submission of design concepts including detailed sketches.

However, no amount will be paid to tenderers who are not shortlisted for the second stage, or failed to properly submit the detailed concept proposals and conduct the presentation, read the brief.

CPFB added that the request for quote was opened to all awarded agencies under the whole of government (WoG) communications campaigns contract by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

The appointed agency will aid CPFB’s goal to make retirement planning top-of-mind with those in the middle-life segment. It will also work to create more positive associations with CPFB and take its ongoing Big ‘R’ Chat campaign into its third phase – which is planned for launch in mid-June 2017. The third phase is also foreseen to be an ongoing effort that requires a stretch beyond just one mass publicity campaign, hence the proposal needs to have measures to ensure longevity and scalability and complement existing communication initiatives and platforms.

In a conversation with Marketing, Bernard Chan, CEO of 4As, said more advertisers are recognising that agencies put a lot of effort and investment into their pitches.

“Great ideas and campaigns don’t come from thin air and it is really heartening to see that government agencies have joined the ranks of the more enlightened clients, who realise that successful marketing is most often the result of integrated client-agency partnerships and not just commodity purchases,” Chan explained.

Agreeing with Chan is Goh Shu Fen, founder of pitch consultancy R3, who added pitches are a resource intensive exercise which often costs agencies thousands; hence the spirit behind this recognition definitely sets the right tone.

“Besides paying agencies, investing time of senior people on client side at key stages is also another tangible way to show respect for the process. From R3’s past experiences, some form of funding and time investment has always been greatly appreciated,” Goh added.

Last year, the government body launched its Big ‘R’ Chat campaign to get people started talking about retirement as it was not top-of-mind. In 2016, it continued the conversation by communicating the holistic benefits of the CPF system and the role it plays throughout one’s life through emotive storytelling. To promote the brand, a series of five retirement planning roadshows were also organised, aimed at making retirement planning less daunting through a more personal outreach.

To target the younger crowd, last year, CPF launched its web-series “Are you cleverer than a typical Singaporean?”, one which was hosted exclusively on its YouTube channel.

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