Who ever thought that “creative advertising agency” would appear as just another item on a call for tenders wedged between a call for suppliers of uniforms and doorman services?
We are writing a story on the commoditisation of advertising in the upcoming February edition of Marketing magazine and someone pointed me to a perfect, live example of the issue.
I refer you to www.singaporeair.com.sg . Look under Company Information, Procurement, Commercial Supplies.
Now look for what’s wedged between “Supply of standard size and tailoring of made-to-measure uniforms for Engineering Staff” and “Porter cum doorman services for period 01 April 2007 to 31 March 2009”.
It’s “Singapore Airlines request for information for global creative advertising agency review”.
I hear gasps from the audience.
Perhaps ad agency folks think too highly of themselves and cannot stomach having their expertise relegated to a spot between sanitary napkins and stainless steel kitchen knives.
But really, everyone knows creativity is one of the basic drivers of human civilisation. How else would we have even discovered stainless steel and sanitary napkins?
However, before you start pointing fingers at Singapore Airlines, it may be interesting to some that the main culprit subjecting advertising to such a degrading state is the government.
Our government puts out tender documents for almost everything it wants to purchase and it’s been doing the same for advertising services for eons. Thus spurning and feeding a generation of marketers who are ‘too busy’ to properly select its ad services providers based on fit.
Agencies are finding themselves steeped further and further in a cut-price market. Where does it end?