Thursday, November 23, 2006

Local creative for local Batey

Everyone’s surprised at Tian It leaving McCanns and joining Batey, but if he cannot turnaround Batey, no one can -- having a local creative heavyweight lead an iconic Singapore brand is just perfect.

When Tian It joined McCanns in September 2003 after being headhunted by Sorab Mistry, the agency had quite a negative reputation and people were writing it off.

This was before my time, but Tian It shared that the agency was the butt of jokes at award shows and elsewhere.

Here’re some examples:

At the CCAs one year when Jim Atchison was the chairman, he said (and I’m writing this from memory so excuse the inaccuracies), “Ok we’ve got some awards here and agencies have five seconds to come up and grab them and if we have no takers by then, we’ll give them to McCann Erickson”.

An agency professional joins McCanns and he meets his compatriot one day.
Agency guy: I’m at McCanns now.
Compatriot: Oh. So when are you coming back to advertising?

Tian It has a knack for identifying young talent that no one else would give two hoots about. A good number on his creative team are ‘first-timers’ whom he has groomed to become stars.

Now that Tian It has put McCanns back on the creative map in a mere three years, he’s without a doubt the best medicine for Batey -- kudos to Alan Fairnington (pictured left) for snagging him. I have to say Alan has really made big changes since he’s been here, with the axing of MDK, the championing of digital capabilities and the installing of new blood.

There’s no need to dig up Batey’s troubles again, but looking forward, I’m eager to see the agency returned to its former glory. All these stories I hear about what Batey used to stand for, its illustrious history, it being the agency which put Singapore advertising on the world map – they’re nothing but stories to me.

I can’t wait to see what Tian It is going to make of it. He’s taking on a mammoth task and his labour will take a while to bear fruit but it will happen. He’s done it before.

No comments: