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The Secret Little Agency, helping the West understand Asia: Singapore’s most innovative agencies

By Charlotte McEleny | digital editor

September 6, 2016 | 4 min read

Singapore has developed into the central hub for marketing in APAC, with many major brands now based in the city state. Add to this a government committed to a smart city mandate, and it is one of the most exciting places to be working in the industry today. The Drum takes a look at 20 of the most innovative agencies operating on the island, including The Secret Little Agency.

Singapore Innovative Agencies: Secret Little Agency

Singapore Innovative Agencies: Secret Little Agency

This agency’s name is wonderfully ironic, given it’s neither little or much of a secret in Singapore, and its size and reputation follows almost a decade of hard work in a market that is typically hard graft for independents.

The Secret Little Agency has now carved a niche in helping global and Western brands understand Asia – something that has resonated with brands already well versed in innovation, such as Netflix and Ikea.

Conversely, homegrown brands use it to take their history and story to the wider world with perhaps one of the agency’s most innovative pieces of work for the EDB of Singapore. It was briefed with the challenge of finding a way to get jaded execs at conferences around the world talking to each other and about Singapore. The agency created a machine that would only dispense two coffees at a time, physically forcing people together. It was a communications brief but answered with a product and it is now travelling the world at conference circuits.

TSLA is able to do this sort of work because its office on HongKong Street counts makers and coders from all walks of life and disciplines among its staff. Nicholas Ye, the agency’s chief executive officer, says it cultivates innovation “by taking the concept of innovation off a pedestal, rolling our sleeves up, and actually getting dirty with the thinking, developing, prototyping, testing, making and tinkering of our ideas”.

And as for the future? “These times, both economically and culturally, call for us to be even more agile. For our developers to talk to our copywriters to talk to our experience designers so that we all deliver against the same creative goals and ambitions. We see ourselves becoming even tighter as a ship. We also see this ship growing, as we recently opened another TSLA in China,” says Ye.

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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