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Singapore 4As on ‘Unlimited changes’ brief: Be brave and ignore it

Extract from brief on GeBiz

Extract from ‘Unlimited changes’ brief on GeBiz

The head of Singapore’s Association of Accredited Advertising Agents, the industry body for the ad business, has urged the local creative community to “be brave” and ignore briefs like the one posted of government portal GeBiz this week that insisted that “unlimited changes” could be made if the client so desired.

The brief, which went viral after a designer posted it on her Facebook page with the words “Please share this post if you are against Unlimited Changes”, prompted a bitter response from the design and creative community in Singapore, with the practice described as a “retrograde procurement procedure” and a local blog likening the brief to slavery.

Chan

Chan

Bernard Chan, chief executive officer of the 4As, told Mumbrella today: “Our position is quite clear. There will always be a government department that will ask for the biggest things at ridiculous prices. The problem is created when agencies choose to respond, and then get themselves in the mire trying to make ends meet.”

“I would encourage agencies and designers not to pitch for this kind of brief,” he said, adding that there was nothing much the 4As could do, since the GeBiz portal falls under the auspices of Singapore’s Ministry of Finance.

He said that the 4As moves to tackle what are regarded as unfair business practices – such as low agency fees or the absence of pitch fees – have met with opposition in the past by Singapore’s Competition Commission.

“It may take some guts, but it won’t be worth doing,” Chan said about the brief.

“Value-added doesn’t seem to be part of the equation for them,” Chan commented about some briefs that have the habit of appearing on the GeBiz portal.

He said that not all agencies in Singapore are members of the 4As, with most members being big or medium-sized, but there are “little guys” who may pitch for a brief like this.

Whitley Secondary

Image: Whitley Secondary School website

The tender, it emerged yesterday via online news site The Online Citizen, was posted on GeBiz by Whitley Secondary School. The project Whitley Secondary had sought design help for was for its 2016 school magazine, handbook for school rules and newsletters.

The school had not responded to Mumbrella’s request for comment at the time of publishing.

“They’re probably better off going to their alumni and getting the work done pro bono. Old school ties would do it for free,” Chan said, adding that he has helped his former school in this way in the past.

“But don’t tell me where to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. I wouldn’t tell a school how to teach their kids,” he said.

The Ministry of Finance has responded to a request for comment from a friend of Kelley Cheng, the designer who complained about the brief, saying: “We agree that it is unfair to expect the suppliers to agree to unlimited changes.”

The ministry has said it was looking into the matter.

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