The Independents: Addiction Advertising

In the last four years, Addiction Advertising has worked with the some of the biggest names in the Singapore market. Its client list includes the likes of Braun Buffel, Bosch, Capitaland, Toshiba, SGH, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, Sonofi Aventis and Jean Yip Beauty Group.

Lionel Lim, co-founder of the agency shares with Marketing what keeps the agency addicted to striving for the best.

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When was the precise moment you knew you wanted to do something on your own?

I don’t believe in office politics as it often undermines the quality of work produced for clients. Unfortunately, a work environment with no politics seem to be an exception in our industry. And after years of being in the industry, I figured I start something on my own that is anti-politics and pro-clients.

Which year did you first start up? Who was the first client you had on board?

We were established towards the tail-end of 2011 and were very fortunate to have the Ministry of Health as our first client whom also gave us our very first island-wide campaign.

How did you put your first team together?

I’m fortunate to have worked with some of the best talents in the industry and even more fortunate that they were willing to leave the comforts of their jobs then to join me.

What was one of the toughest moments in running your agency? How did you overcome it?

So far it has been perfect! Starting Addiction is the best decision of my (career) life!

Were you afraid of failing? How did you handle it?

I’ve not experienced any significant failures in my life, something that I am truly grateful for. But given my personality, I’m sure I can handle it with a smile. :)

How does it feel like to be your own boss? Could you ever work for someone else again?

I don’t see myself as a boss but more of a catalyst. A catalyst to positivity and happiness in the mostly b*tchy industry.

Pluses and minuses of being independent?

Plus- You get to set the vibe and pulse of the agency.
Minus- I’ve not experienced any.

When you first started out, how did you market your agency? How did you get clients on board?

Our clients see us as an agency with top-notch creativity with an amazing servicing level. And at super-duper fast turnaround time, probably the fastest in the industry. At Addiction, there’s absolutely no internal politics as we believe that positive and happy talents result in happy work and happy clients.

Positivity attracts positivity. That’s how clients come on board.

What was your first experience in the ad world? How do you think that shaped you? (share pics)

I’ve certainly had my fair share of working with some of the best-in-class b**ches that our industry has to offer which often resulted in the client suffering. This is why at Addiction, we have a "no-b**ch" rule. And a 100% client retention rate.

What have you taken away from your years in the ad world and implemented in your current business?

Internal politics result in clients not getting the best from their agencies. At Addiction, we are all friends. Never colleagues.

What is the one thing start-ups need to remember in this market?

Always ask yourself- why are you in this industry? If you don’t smile when you think about it, leave and be happy.

What is one piece of advice you’d give anyone wanting to make it out on their own?

Do it. Let’s make our industry better.

Would you be open to buyout?

We have generated some interest- let’s see.

First client: Ministry of Health
Founding year: Tail-end of 2011
Founded by: Lionel Lim, Thong Chew Fatt & Jason Lee
Claim to fame:
One of our proudest campaigns was the one which we did for the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS). The campaign was extremely meaningful and heartfelt to us as CHAS is targeted at lower- to middle-income Singaporeans and they can sign-up for CHAS to receive healthcare subsidies at participating GP and dental clinics. When we first won the campaign, Singaporeans were not familiar with it. But today, over 500,000 lower- to middle-income Singaporeans have signed up for CHAS and benefited from it. No feeling can be better than that! Oh…our campaign was also mentioned on PM’s Facebook page which was sweet!


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