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TSLA breaks into China with new Shanghai office

Singapore-based The Secret Little Agency (TSLA) has made its first foray into the Shanghai market with the opening of its new office. It will be headed by co-founder Mavis Neo (pictured far right) as creative lead, and Krystie Koh (pictured far left) as director of operations.

The agency was founded in Singapore in 2007 by Nicholas Ye (pictured second from left) and Neo. It counts brands such as Singapore Economic Development board (EDB), Tiger Beer and Netflix as its key clients both regionally and globally.

According to Neo, China is a big step towards TSLA’s vision to impact culture from Asia to the rest of the world. Through the opening of the new office, the agency hopes to build strong cultural contacts with partners, artists and creators who collaborate with them.

Work for brands such as Tiger Beer, Awfully Chocolate and the Singapore government is slated to roll out in the China market. Meanwhile, TSLA will also extend the regional needs of its current client roster into the China outpost in coming months.

A new client which has joined its portfolio in China include Strip/Browhaus, which recently launched its first campaign with TSLA called “Care 毛”. The campaign which is socially-led calls for Chinese women to ‘strip’ away outdated social misconceptions of waxing. It also features a suite of mobile, experiential and social vehicles. It was also taken offline, involving a giant pink fur-wrapped shop-front, complete with outdoor activations at malls and junctions across Shanghai.

“We’ve been told many times that we’re late to market, but really – we feel we’re first to market. China’s huge, and we are tiny, but that is the exact reason why we’re going to be punching above our weight with every brief that we get,” Mavis Neo, creative lead for TSLA Shanghai, added.

“We met several agencies, but TSLA certainly came with the freshest ideas. We also appreciated how socially and digitally native they were on the content creation front, which was rare for an agency here in China,” BJ Macatulad, director of Strip & Browhaus Shanghai, said.

TSLA recently led a content campaign for Tiger Beer called Tiger Jams. It is the beer brand’s new music platform which aimed to strengthen its brand presence in Malaysia. Six music videos were staged to showcase undiscovered musical talents in Asia based on original tracks from various artiste collaborations.

It also created a social campaign for kiwifruits marketer Zespri, aimed at changing the perception of its flagship Green Kiwifruits. A music video was created, featuring a trio of heavily tattooed tough guys who suddenly break into song and dance midway to elaborate the plight they share with kiwifruits.

Last year, the agency appointed Julia Wei as general manager of its Singapore office. Wei’s role involves helping TSLA anchor and expand headquarter operations in Singapore, as well as contribute to strategic client counsel.

It also struck a partnership with EDB to help accelerate its growth in global User Experience and Experience Design capabilities. This was in the form of a Global UX Lab that focuses on three key pillars — user experience (UX), technology, and product design. According to a statement from the agency, with EDB’s support, it aims to deliver innovative experiences that go beyond the realm of advertising.

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