BBH, a 100+ person startup: Singapore’s most innovative agencies

By Charlotte McEleny | digital editor

September 6, 2016 | 4 min read

Singapore has developed into the central hub for the marketing industry in APAC. Its proximity to high growth, huge scale markets like Indonesia and the Philippines has seen many major brands including Diageo, Shell and Unilever centralize some of their global marketing teams in the city state. This, coupled with a government committed to a smart city mandate in the short term, makes it one of the most exciting locations to be working in the marketing industry today. The Drum takes a look at 20 of the most innovative agencies operating on the island, including BBH.

Singapore’s most innovative agencies BBH

Singapore’s most innovative agencies BBH

“Attitude is everything” according to BBH chief executive John Hadfield. “We like to think of ourselves as a 100+ person startup. It gives us a great sense of optimism, possibility and a desire for change”.

It’s very much a BBH ‘black sheep’ mentality but with a steady mix of global, regional and local work, Hadfield says “we believe that we can be a world-class agency that just happens to be based in Singapore”. Testament to this is the awards the agency is picking up, including Singapore’s first Entertainment Lion at Cannes.

But it’s not all trumpet blowing: “We recognize that we can’t be great at everything, so we focus on our own game and then get the best around us to augment our offer. We share the office with DigitasLBi, a best-in-class digital consultancy with profound capability in data/CRM/media, and the innovation consultancy Propellerfish. Previously from this office we’ve housed a mobile production business, a design agency and an analytics company. We even bought one of them,” says Hadfield.

He says the way the agency works with clients is changing, with principles including ‘speeding up’, ‘no single set process’ and ‘test and learn’. In reality this looks like hackathons, prototyping and, Hadfield says, “we’re interested in different remuneration models… we’re very happy to have skin in the game”.

Of the diverse range of projects being undertaken, he explains: “We’ve just helped launch a unique hotel experience in Singapore that drives greater guest interaction; have developed a new global consumer journey for a large global retailer; are working on our first VR project; have helped develop a mobile product that links prospective customers with insurance advisors based on their interests; have produced a unique experience for Nike in Manila featuring a 200m LED-lined running track where you race against an avatar of yourself.” It’s an impressive output for any agency, let alone one from the Little Red Dot.

This article was originally published in the Singapore supplement of The Drum and is available for free on The Drum app which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play.


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