Singapore's local creative agencies unite under IAN to help local businesses succeed

IAN_Singapore.jpgLast night saw Singapore's top independent advertising, design, interactive and branding agencies come together to form the Independent Agency Network (IAN) and will launch a 'Made In Singapore' initiative for local businesses next year.

This collective, comprising the biggest names in the local communications scene, has been established to give independent agencies a voice, while providing a single point of contact for clients looking for alternatives to the MNCs.

"The independent agency scene in Singapore is growing rapidly. Coming together to form IAN gives us a greater presence, while ensuring clients know that there is one single entity they can reach out to for communications and branding help. With the launch of IAN, we intend to provide an alternative to the bigger agency groups out there. One that's collaborative, nimble and just as creative," says Alvin Wong of the Alchemy Partnership.
"IAN gives us an opportunity to draw on each other's special talents in the same way a large network draws on talent from its offices," explains Gary Tranter, Executive Creative Director of Arcade. "It makes independent agencies more competitive and it levels the playing field."

"Clients can readily access the smartest minds in the business," says Anand Vathiyar of Up&Up. "With IAN, they can work with local agencies committed to helping other local businesses succeed with ideas that truly deliver."

As an inaugural initiative, IAN has plans to launch 'Made in Singapore' in the first half of 2014. 'Made In Singapore' will provide local brands with the opportunity to get branding and communication advice to help them succeed in the global marketplace.  

"There have been many great products born and bred in Singapore. You just have to look back to Sim Wong Hoo and the Soundblaster at Creative Technologies. The Trek thumb-drive is another. And in the fashion category, Charles & Keith are flying the Singapore flag. What we want to do is give new brands the benefit of our time and thinking to help them get ahead on the global stage. We'll be making an announcement about 'Made In Singapore' in the coming months, so watch this space!" says Charlie Blower, Managing Partner of Blak Labs.

Ian Batey.jpgIan Batey, Founder of local hot shop Batey Ads and creator of the iconic Singapore Girl, was in town to grace the launch of IAN. "Local brands have never been in a better position to take on the world," says Batey (left). "They can acquire a competitive advantage by harnessing the creative prowess of IAN - something that was never available."

Apart from business, IAN is also dedicated to nurturing the next generation of agency talent, with potential tie-ups with local institutions to provide teaching support, training and internships. IAN started as a social gathering for like-minded independent agencies. The group celebrates its independence with quarterly get-togethers and networking events.  

Founding agency members include the Alchemy Partnership, Arcade, Blak Labs, BS Advertising, Convertium, FlabSlab, Kult, Up&Up and Wild Advertising & Marketing. Parties interested in collaboration are encouraged to contact the Founding Agencies or visit for details.


Think Big said:

Is Ian planning another of his massive takeovers?

Belly Nice said:

There have been some great independent agencies worldwide like martin agency, forsmann bodenfors etc.

But in singapore they only exist because they provide services faster and a lot cheaper. (only exception to cheaper being arcade)

To do things this cheap they mostly employ really junior and intern level the work is pretty bad all the time.

Clients don't care because they get the lowest price and quick turnaround.

IAN's first job as an organised body should be to address this.

Local agency shouldn't mean cheap and should mean different and better.

Bingo said:

Well said Belly Nice, I'm with you on that. Independent or not, it is about making the best work and wowing the world over that matters. Same on you if you're just about being cheap and finding the easy way out, you will be ignored.

Wake and smell the kopi said:

While some do, not all independent shops thrive only on low quality and low cost.
Remember that smug and arrogant attitude when you start losing pitches and awards to some of them.
Weren't some of the big winners at the last CCA indie outfits?

Exackry said:

I could not see anything compelling about their charter...apart from having a website that lists all the local shops in one place.

All this stuff about collaborating on clients' projects sounds a bit like wishful thinking and runs counter to real world practicalities. We have seen how other advertising associations cannot even unite on basic things like pitch fees.

Quite interestingly, a few of the more well regarded local agencies seem to have stayed away from joining this club as of now.

One reason may be that they are still trying to see what the benefit is to them.

Ian and the Jets said:

I wonder what the real benefit is for any boutique to join IAN. Looks to us like it's a vehicle to sell Arcade. Think about it, why should an indie join a mini-4As just so they can take a selfie with Ian Batey. The 4As is a dead organisation, and so is the IAS. They make money off the shows yet have zero pull with real issues, education, workers' rights or negotiations on disputes between clients and agency or pitches. They are seriously useless fighting media corps who compete with agencies writing their own creative, negotiating disputes, or setting industry advertising practices. They've been here for years and they are still just in it to milk money off us for their shows twice a year. Now, you're asking the indies to join another organization and become the very thing they all hated most, and what I mean by that is another big fatty network. Why bother when there is no Benefit at all other than hang out with the old man who is some sort of silent partner in Arcade. Nothing against uncle Ian, he's rich anyway so who cares, but I wonder if our indies can do something better than reaching back into their past to do something new.

Hillary said:

The claim about empowering local businesses to go global (a la singapore airlines) smells a bit like typical adman BS. SIA was always going to be global because that's what an airline is created for.

Among all the indies here, Arcade is the most attractive and professionally run, as it's basically BateyAds under the old pre-wpp management. Founded by the old man to give sorrell the finger. The rest of the local agencies are just getting by on undercutting the established networks. Of course they will be cheaper since they operate with pinfully low overheads. It would be great if they would occasionally do a great campaign (and I dont mean packaging for a sushi shop). Then clients can all see the benefits of going local.

Leave a comment

About Campaign Brief Asia

A blog for advertising creatives in Asia. To pass on news or advertise on the CB Asia blog, or to subscribe to Campaign Brief Asia or Campaign Brief Australia/NZ magazines, or The Work 09 Annual, email: Kim or Michael

Latest jobs

Retrieving latest jobs

House rules for commenting

Here are the ground rules for posting comments on stories: This site is a moderated blog. Comments that are seen to be more abusive than witty and/or constructive will not be posted. Obviously, we do not allow 'hate speech' or comments that are seen as a personal attack, defamatory, degrading or prejudicial to an individual or company. Overly abusive language also adds nothing to any discussion and will not be published. On occasions we will be asking people to contribute work, opinions and views on various topics - you are free to disagree, so long as you observe the above rules and remain constructive.