Digital: Finding digital form
It's been one big year for the digital industry. The rapid ascension of social media has seen many marketers take a fresh look at the digital sector, pushing online spending to an estimated HK$351 million in the first six months of this year, driven largely by social media channels.
It's also a year that has seen six of the top 10 digital agencies in Hong Kong join the agency rankings survey for the first time. Agencies Rice 5, Kitchen, wwwins Consulting, Agenda and Stepworks take a position against a stellar line up of agencies including OgilvyOne, TribalDDB and Fluid.
But topping the charts for a third consecutive year is OgilvyOne, a WPP-owned agency continues to win the approval of Hong Kong marketers. As you read through these pages, it also becomes clear that OgilvyOne is leading not just the digital field, but across many marketing disciplines.
OgilvyOne has again demonstrated a solid performance even as the economic slowdown settled in, with recently departed MD Sean Rach steering the ship successfully through turbulent waters. Key wins for OgilvyOne include Shangri-la Hotel & Resorts and SmarTone-Vodafone, which it consolidated in August. The agency also continued its work on American Express and was responsible for overhauling North West Airline's Delta brand.
While OgilvyOne's dominance is clear, it is not set in stone. Local competitor Fluid, ranked in second place for two years running, is inching closer and closer to the top spot, and for good reason. Tucked away in its Sheung Wan headquarters, Fluid has been quietly building a reputation as a major contender to the big end of town, securing digital work for major brands like The Wall Street Journal, A.S Watsons Group, The Economist and PCCW.
With a host of Fluid-owned and managed brands like ILoveSoHo.hk, Fluid Publishing, email marketing offering e-volution and Fluid Media, the agency managed to buffer itself from the downturn and in turn create opportunities to service clients through a diverse set of offerings.
Locked in a battle for third place are Rice 5, TribalDDB and Agenda; however Rice 5 managed to scrape through ahead of TribalDDB.
Despite this close result, the news should be welcomed by all three agencies. This year TribalDDB climbs its way up from seventh place in 2008 with Rice 5 and Agenda making their debut in the rankings survey.
Rice 5, established in 2002, is a local interactive agency specialising in design, rich media and TV production.
Its major projects this year included the Adidas 60th anniversary website launch and the minisite launch for Neutrogena, which saw the skin care brand team up with local celebrity Elanne Kwong to develop a wake-up-call service to promote its range of cleansing gel products for men.
TribalDDB, part of DDB Group Hong Kong, had its fair share of big events this year, appointing Eric Phu as managing director to oversee clients including McDonalds, KLM, Reebok and Philips.
Amanda King, president and managing partner for Tribal DDB Asia Pacific, says Phu's appointment was a clear move to push the agency further into digital. The agency most recently hired Tim Cheng as executive creative director to oversee its key client base. It's fair to say Tribal will be one agency to watch in the coming year.
Also locked in third place and a newcomer to the rankings survey is Agenda, acquired by Wunderman last year due to its strong presence across the region, with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur.
Finally, yet another new face in the top 10 rankings is wwwins Consulting, an agency that is another one to watch as managing director
Chris Ryan takes over and continues its run of new business wins, which this year includes new business from Swire, Proctor & Gamble and The Miramar Group. This year has seen the Aegis-owned agency launch a number of digital initiatives including a specialist digital joint venture with sister agency Carat and a social customer relationship marketing (SCRM) platform Astro.
On top of all this, wwwins took out Marketing's first Media Agency Bowling Challenge, beating rival agencies OMD, Isobar, Starcom, PHD and Mindshare.
So, a big year for the digital category, but it's a category we predict will only grow in importance and relevance.
Top Agency: OgilvyOne
Owned by: WPP
Headed by: Kitty Wong, Managing Director
Last year: 1