TBWA Worldwide has managed to hold on to one of the most coveted advertisers in Asia after it was announced yesterday that its Singapore Airlines (SIA) contract had been renewed without a pitch. There was speculation that the airline could be putting the account up for review, but this news appears to have put an end to this, so TBWA can rest easy until at least 2017, which is when the contract has been extended to.
TBWA's Singapore Airlines contract has been renewed without a pitch
The company said in a statement that, whilst TBWA will remain onboard as the creative agency of record, and will continue to be run from Singapore, they were “Unable to disclose details of the agreement as it is confidential.”
Singapore Airlines – Understanding Your Needs (China)
TBWA must be relieved to have avoided a review, considering they initially won the account back in 2007 after one of the most hotly contested pitches in recent memory, which saw TBWA facing off a final round against Publicis Worldwide and Omnicom's DDB. The agency was tasked with positioning Singapore Airlines as “The brand for air travel now, and for the next 10 years,” under the long-running slogan “A great way to fly,” and have obviously done a bang-up job thus far. The news of TBWA’s re-appointment emerges less than a year after SIA appointed Dentsu Möbius as its first social media agency after a ten-agency pitch that included TBWA’s digital arm, Digital Arts Network.
Singapore Airlines – Creating Around You (Scotland)
Speculation concerning a potential account review was sparked when some the member's of TBWA's pitch-winning team moved to competing agencies, with Lou dela Pena, who once want the SIA business at TBWA, joining Publicis Singapore as CEO last December, and former TBWA digital creative director, Jeff Cheong, moving to DDB's digital shop, Tribal Worldwide as Asia president.
SIA is known, however, as a loyal brand, with TBWA once the second creative agency they have worked with in over four decades, and it appears (for the next 3 years at least) their loyalties remain with TBWA. The “Other” agency, which the brand worked with for 35 years, was Batey Ads, which helped to build the brand into a global air carrier thanks to the tireless work of founder, Ian Batey. After losing the SIA account to TBWA, Batey struggled to recover, and end up being folded in the WPP sister agency, Grey in 2009.
Singapore Airlines – Bringing You The World (Venice)
TBWA's most recent campaign for SIA (the campaign that surely played a large part in the decision to keep them on board) was called “The lengths we go to,” and debuted in September last year. It showed the “Singapore Girl,” originally created by Batey, travelling the world in search of the best global customers. The campaign was based around three films directed by John S park, one of which was shot in China, one in Scotland, and one in Venice. The China spot saw the airline's mascot attempting to source the best ingredients for SIA's in-flight meals, whilst the Scotland spot saw her searching for the best leathers and the Venice spot had her rooting out the best technology for in-flight entertainment purposes.
Singapore Airlines – Making Of “The Lengths We Go To”
In related news, SIA recently replaced SingTel as the headline sponsor for the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix after an unsuccessful year, which saw a reported 56% fall in profits. This is due in part to the losses at subsidiary, Tiger Airways, but might also have something to do with the hits the company took to its image after it appeared to use the MH17 Malaysia Airlines disaster as a PR stunt.
SIA recently replaced SingTel as the headline sponsor for the Singapore F1 Grand Prix
Just over a year ago, Singapore Airlines was also on the receiving end of a searching critique by former ad man Calvin Soh, who pitched for the airline during his time as Asia co-chairman of Publicis. Soh argued that SIA’s standards have “Not kept up with consumer expectations.” Still, the contract renewal proves that the airline must have felt TBWA was one of the few constants that kept the company airborne (pardon the pub) during this tough time.