Greater collaborations in 2020: Global agency heads buckle up for new year

Globally, brands are taking functions such as creative and media in-house. For example, Revlon is one such brand that parted ways with Grey, and formed an in-house agency as a centre of excellence for content creation. P&G on the other hand, said in its financials that 30% of media planning is now done in-house as well. Recently, Gucci's parent company Kering also brought digital functions in-house to strengthen its omni-channel capabilities.

Be it a network or boutique agency, this trend will no doubt impact the ad industry and poses yet another challenge to the agencies' leadership. As the year comes to a close and agencies start charting their path for 2020, Marketing speaks to network agency leaders on the challenges they expect to face in 2020, and how they plan to overcome them.

Nick Morrell, managing director, BBDO Singapore 


The year 2020 will no doubt have its challenges and throw us plenty of surprises along the way, just like 2019 did. But we are looking forward to it and relish the new ventures we will undertake and the new friends we’ll make along the way.

I believe 2020 will be a year where the industry increasingly sees greater collaborations mark the greatest success stories.

We are lucky to have a great stable of siblings, each bringing complementary capability expertise to the table, which we can draw upon with the aim of improving the work for our clients. As for a collective new year resolution, I really hope we can put some of the fun and magic back into the industry and in the process make even better work that helps Asia get recognised on the international stage.

Susanna Fagring, CEO, Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore

For us, 2019 was all about recruiting, finding a space and establishing the agency in a new region. The year 2020 will be focused on getting great work out. I can’t wait to see all the new campaigns launch next year. The advertising industry will continue to reinvent itself in order to connect with consumers; that’s obviously challenging, but I believe it is healthy and very much needed.

Our agency's collective wish is to make good and be brave. As an agency we have the power to create powerful messages together with our clients. Good campaigns affect many people if you get it right. Let’s use that power to also make good when we can.

Doing good for people and for the planet will be at the top of the agenda for next year.

I also want us to continue to be brave and dare doing things in new ways. Explore and be creative with how we create communication that truly stands out and affect people.

Jacqui Lim, group CEO, Havas Singapore

Tackling challenges has become a way of life as we are living in one of the most disruptive periods in human history. In 2020, the pace of digital disruption coupled with the obvious challenges of consolidation of ad spend, complex media marketing landscape and rise of new competitors will continue to grow.

As a result, there will be unrelenting pressure on value creation. As we embark on a new year, our focus as a "Village" is to make a meaningful difference to the brands we work for by helping them better engage with their communities with authentic messages, unique emotion and a purpose beyond profit: this is what customers expect today. This cannot be achieved without our talent and in 2020 we will continue to focus on how we become more meaningful in the way we hire, manage, train and promote our talent to make Havas the most meaningful place to work.

Ambrish Chaudhry, managing strategy director, Superunion Singapore

This year has been a seminal year for us, working in sectors such as technology, eCommerce, retail and consumer lifestyle partnering iconic brands such as Lazada, FairPrice and EZ Link amongst others. We’re excited as our work hit the market and demonstrated positive business impact for our clients and will continue to do so in 2020. We enter the year with long standing client relationships and traction in growth sectors such as technology.

Famous last words - 2020 is set up to be a good year for us.

When we set up Superunion as the merger of five leading branding agencies within the WPP network; we set out to create a truly next generation offer. One that builds long lasting client relationships and evolves with the changing needs of businesses. With that in mind we have expanded our offer to include more collaborative ways of working, applying creative technology, screen-first branding and evolving, living brand guidelines. Our approach has been ratified by the support we’ve received from clients and we aim to continue to build on this in 2020.

Ara Hampartsoumian, CEO, TBWA\\ Singapore

I honestly don't think it'll be any more challenging than any other year. We're in a tough industry, global economies are in flux, competition is growing and we have a constant talent issue - the wheels on the bus go round and round. We're used to it, the strong will survive, I am confident that we'll be fine. Our agency's collective new year resolution is to be braver with ourselves, our work and help our clients achieve their goals.

Avery Akkineni, head of VaynerMedia Singapore

The year 2020 will be a year of tremendous growth for VaynerMedia Singapore; our first full year in APAC. It's never easy to launch a new office in a new market, but we're up for the challenge. We have several exciting new clients, campaigns, and initiatives in the works - we're thrilled to start the new year. Our collective agency resolution is to make work that people care about, build the best agency culture in APAC, and have a damn good time doing it.

Craig Mapleston, APAC director, VCCP

Next year will be our second year in Singapore, and we’ll enter the year with a full team and a great client list. The year 2019 was the year we created the agency, while still delivering global and local market campaigns for the likes of Shell, Cathay Pacific and Hisense. A bit like building the plane while in the air.

2020 is when we take the plane to new heights.

With the region and categories in which our clients operate going through major upheaval, our independence and challenger approach will be even more important to their success. Clients will be looking for agencies to give independent advice, agility to move or flex quickly, and offer a broad range of strategic and creative solutions. VCCP has that on offer.

Our collective goal is for Asia creativity to earn its way back onto the world stage. As a region, Asia has been underrepresented recently for our creativity and effectiveness. VCCP and our clients will be doing our best to change that.

Arshan Saha, APAC CEO, Xaxis

The optimist in me always focuses on opportunity and on that accord, the addressability of a consumer on the back of digital proliferation will only present brands and agencies with the continued ability to deliver relevant advertising. Challenges are a constant and it’s important that we are conscious of these macro-economic factors that are clouding the environment with sluggish growth in some parts of the region and the implication of  trade war. The other constant is change and the ability to overcome any challenge lies in being adaptive, flexible and continuously innovating that has been a focus for us as a leadership team in the region.

We still believe that all media will be digital; and all digital will be addressable.

It's our resolution that we remain as pioneers by focusing on automation to ensure advertising stays relevant for both advertisers and consumers. Our focus will be to:

  • Enable brands to drive ROI via outcomes that are meaningful
  • Scale AI to enable better decisioning and efficiency to advertising
  • Not forgetting the creatives

Read also:
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