Thursday, December 11, 2008

When the going gets tough, the government gets going

Every business has its modus operandi of dealing with the global economic crisis - some lay-off, some freeze hiring, some seek policy support to bail them out and some turn towards government accounts to make sure business keeps flowing.

And it is the advertising/marketing industry in particular of late that is pouncing upon any government or quasi-government account that is out to pitch. A recent briefing for a pitch from a government department drew as many as 45 agencies to attend the briefing session.

Another government tender saw 15 agencies, much less of course, but on any given day it’s a lot more than what is the usual turn-out for a government account.

Some of the ongoing tenders include the Ministry of Foregin Affairs and the family development division of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

On this trend, one industry insider says: “Welcome to 2009. I am not surprised. It had to happen”. Another remarks: “The situation was almost similar back then during the SARS period.”

The entire uncertainty that looms large over the corporate sector, has made agencies jittery to pitch for some accounts, particularly those in the banking market. Another industry source says, “It’s strange to see even the big ones [agencies] pitch for the smallest government account.”

The pinch is being felt everywhere isn’t it?

Recent lay-offs announced by banks and financial institutions, most of which cover support services like marketing, have undoubtedly had a bearing on the way agencies approach an account. Well, it is a nightmare if you are an agency in the middle of an ongoing pitch and one fine morning you learn that the entire marketing team is laid-off and the pitch revoked.

It will be interesting to see how agencies will behave during the boom that will follow the recession (It has to, it always happens).

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