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‘Made in Singapore’ agency products to go global following government investment

Lou dela Pena

Publicis Communications is one of four agencies to have entered into a three-year “marriage” with the Singaporean Government to create “made in Singapore” products for the global marketplace.

The deal means the Economic Development Board will give funding to Publicis Communications’ design and technology arm Nurun to “push for innovation”.

The finer details of the grant given remain unspecified at this stage, but the agencies will not be expected to repay the money or offer the government a share of any profits. Product details also remain vague at this nascent stage, but Publicis Communications said that the initiative could include chatbots and interactive technology in areas such as retail.

Chief executive officer Lou Dela Pena told Mumbrella Asia that any products developed as part of the initiative would then be sold to brands as “white label” services.

She explained: “This is a particular initiative that means the government is investing in talent, training and equipment to promote innovation here. They approached us and we have essentially got married for three years and we will use those resources and apply them to our clients’ businesses.

“What will happen is that we will create a product for one client and then we will do the same for another. In a nutshell, we have to hit the ground running and come up with these products. It’s that simple.”

So far Publicis Communications has already created one prototype that will be ready to launch once the patenting process is complete. This is likely to be a number of months away still and details on the type of product created remain secret for now. The company’s partnership forms one of four signed by the EDB with Singaporean agencies. The other agreements – with Ogilvy, DDB and Dentsu – also fall under the “pushing for innovation” umbrella.

Reiterating that the products made “could be anything”, Dela Pena said: “We don’t just want to create good work that gets recognitions at awards shows, we want to create good work through innovation and technology.

“It’s not creative agencies trying to be tech companies. We will never be tech companies, but we can’t ignore the role of technology in the business of building brands and solving client issues. We have to use it.”

Further details on the initiative and the products being developed are expected later this year.

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