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GOVT SG founders launch second agency with Heineken as maiden client

ALT Worldwide the owner of creative agency GOVT, has launched its second subsidiary, THE LAB. THE LAB is a specialist agency, and is currently led by ALT’s Group CEO, Leon Lai and ALT’s chief creative officer, Aaron Koh.

THE LAB is 10 men strong now and will grow to 15 specialists by end of first half of 2019. Stepping onboard as THE LAB’s founding client is Heineken Asia Pacific Export (HAPE). THE LAB first worked with HAPE on the launch of Tiger Beer into Japan in May 2018. With the success of its maiden campaign, where Tiger Beer Japan secured 30 new distribution points, HAPE will work with THE LAB as its lead agency in 2018 and 2019 with the remit of HAPE’s International, Cider and Craft portfolio managing key strategic markets such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Guam.

In a conversation with Marketing, Lai said THE LAB will only focus on creation of brand activation platforms as it is a specialist agency. It will not eye the “traditional ATL” space, Lai explained. He added that the agency was conceptualised almost a year ago, as this was a “niche in the industry yet to be explored”. Its focus goes beyond Singapore although the agency is housed and built in Singapore, he said. Lai added:

 We will also not take on every brief that comes our way.

THE LAB, Lai said, is meant to be an agency that is mobile where specialists are deployed outbound, hence the staffing is meant to be very diverse and international. Lai and Koh aim to fill the agency with talents from a variety of disciplines – from content creators to spatial designers, from technologists to shopper marketing experts. Currently, the agency competes with the likes of Jack Morton, MSL Group and George P Jensen.

“We don’t need to be experts to know that communications are targeted at humans. And that’s what THE LAB was set up to build, a consideration for the human experience. Advertising has evolved from being a pusher, to that of needing to be a pull factor. And those pull factors exist in a variety of ways,” he said.

Consumers, he added, are looking for the overall customer experience, engagement and interaction, “and that matters more than just the static advertising messages that brands are putting out”.

As such, “how brands behave today needs to be more important than merely what brands say,” Lai added.

“Every brand is different, and that’s our aim – To create a unique personality and brand experience for each and every one of our clients,” Koh added.

The duo added that THE LAB is not an advertising agency, but a creative company. Ideas are the vehicles for us to push through our solutions. Sometimes advertising is not a solution but creativity will always provide the solution to a problem.  Lai also shared that as a parent company, ALT Worldwide’s objective is to be the leading communications company in Asia.

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