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TBWA & PHD win Singapore Airlines global $100 million account – and ‘Singapore Girl’ will stay

TBWA and PHD have jointly won the Singapore Airlines global business after a pitch process that started last August. The mandate will include integrated strategy, brand and creative, media, content, the website, app and production.

Crucially, the airline has revealed that the iconic ‘Singapore Girl’ will remain part of its marketing and communications strategy.

The agencies have won the business – thought to be worth around $100 million – for a five-year period and will commence working with the airline this April.

Going into the pitch, TBWA and Zenith were the incumbents for the creative and the media accounts, with 11 other agencies said to be in the fray in the first round of pitching.

According to a comprehensive request for information document, SIA was looking for agencies to “cut through the changing marketing and communications landscape with impact”.

Agencies were asked to bring a “fresh perspective on how the Singapore Airlines brand should be modernised”. They were also required to have offices in six regional hubs: South East Asia, North Asia, Southwest Pacific, Europe, West Asia and Africa and the United States.

Several agencies including a team from WPP were knocked out in the first round. The last round came down to a battle between DDB and the Omnicom Media Group, TBWA with PHD and the Dentsu Aegis Network. TBWA and PHD eventually won the account thanks to  strong partnership working.

Singapore Airlines senior vice-president of sales and marketing Campbell Wilson said: “As we carried out our review it was clear that our underlying branding approach, which consists of the iconic Singapore Girl and an emphasis on customer service as a crucial differentiator, remains current and continues to set us apart in our industry.

‘Singapore Girl’ remains current, says Wilson

“We are confident that TBWA and PHD will now be able to creatively execute that promise with a more modern touch, bringing about an evolution in our branding and marketing communications.”

The iconic ‘Singapore Girl’

A Singapore Airlines spokesperson added: “Through a new integrated agency approach, TBWA and PHD will jointly provide overall strategy, creative, media planning and content narrative solutions under one holding group, which will result in enhanced strategic marketing communications.”

TBWA\Singapore managing director Ara Hampartsoumian said it was an honour to be reappointed as the global agency of record for what he called “the greatest airline in the world”.

“I’m extremely proud of the synergy of both teams; for us, success was an only option and our persistent passion, energy and ambition for the SIA brand won in the end,” he added.

Backing him, PHD Asia-Pacific chief executive officer James Hawkins said: “This appointment is a testament to the strength of PHD and TBWA’s integrated approach, which allowed us to unlock the best of media and creative, and deliver the type of fresh thinking that can ultimately take an iconic brand like Singapore Airlines to even greater heights.

“As one team, which we have called SQ1, we look forward to leveraging the best of both our capabilities in driving innovative and impactful communications for the airline.”

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