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Then and now: A real look at the #10(long)Years(of)Challenge(s) agencies faced

Marketing Interactive, 27 September 2019, - At the early part of the year, the #10YearChallenge featured a barrage of posts from brands and public figures, sharing images from 2009 and 2019 for comparison. While the #10YearChallenge was one of the earliest Internet fads this year (which has clearly run its course), there is no slowing down for the agencies who have actually turned 10 this year.

Filled with challenges and triumps, during its birthday celebrations yesterday, The Media Shop managing director Gary Tang shared he journey the agency had been through, with its ups and downs, and how far it had come from its early years, with close contacts and media friends. Similarly, Germs also had its "sick" 10th year anniversary celebrations two months ago, where the agency threw a "sick" party. Its invite said: "It's been a decade since we first opened our doors. Yet, we're still spreading like an epidemic."

With this in mind (and because we have a fair number of Millennials in our marketing industry), we thought we might want to relive some of the early days with agencies that have turned 10 this year.

Here are some of our 10 year old industry folks:

The Media Shop 

Gary Tang, managing director, said stepping into a decade old, the agency has now grown from a two person start-up to a strong team of 15. Today it has industrial veterans such as Lee Chee Wee, head of digital and Jessicca Lyok, media director, who form part of the management team. The Media Shop's clientele has also expanded from B2B tech companies to a variety of clients from the banking, entertainment and tourism industry. Meanwhile, it has added programmatic in-house to provide clients with sophisticated digital offerings.



Meanwhile, CEO Jessica Toh, added: “We are now a multi-award winning agency that has silenced doubters over the years. We are a true alternative for clients seeking intimate partnerships with their media agency that can add value to their businesses and help drive their ROIs."


James Chua, managing director said 2009 saw the birth of "two contrasting viruses" – the buoyant, positive GERMS and the devastating H1N1 pandemic. Over the years Germs has won several massive awards and have since worked with clients such as Senoko Energy, UOB, LUXIEE, NTUC Income and many others. This year, the agency bagged four awards at Marketing's MARKies awards.



"Amidst this global health crisis and against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, the circumstances under which GERMS was born could not be direr. But we stayed optimistic," he added. Fast forward 10 years, the agency has transformed from a small local boutique creative agency with a few good men to a full-service multi-disciplinary marketing consultancy with three business arms: advertising, artist management, and a start-up.

"We have close to 40 staff, hundreds of metals and two offices – and a revenue growth of more than 10x since our inception. So we didn’t just survive; we thrived," he added.

Happy Marketer

Happy Marketer has had an immensely exciting year. Earlier this year, it was acquired by Dentsu Aegis Network. Post-acquisition, the agency was also rebranded as Happy Marketer, a Merkle Company. During the acquisition, the agency told Marketing that the partnership was a strategic one providing foundation for Merkle’s data, analytics, and CRM solutions, further enabling the agency to deliver people-based marketing at scale across the region.

During its rapid growth, what held the agency together and kept the #happytribe rooted is its culture and work ethos. Happy Marketer remains confident that this is what will keep it going as it focuses on accelerating its internationalisation process as part of its next #10YearChallenge.



Prantik Mazumdar, managing partner said: "Happy Marketer started an independent digital agency run by three mavericks and in a decade, we have transformed ourselves into a regional, award-winning, digital consulting firm and this year we are celebrating #HMX, our 10 year journey. What has helped this growth and transformation is our insatiable desire to acquire knowledge, our pursuit of excellence and our dedication to clients."

Rice Comms

From its humble beginnings in 2009, where the agency was founded by Sonya Madeira, RICE has significantly expanded – not just in Singapore, but in Myanmar, China and, most recently, Hong Kong. It has grown from a boutique agency of three to a mid-sized, award-winning consultancy employing 45 people.



James Brasher, managing partner said, "As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, one thing has remained the same: RICE’s greatest asset has always been a team that is as competent as it is close-knit. This people-first approach will remain in our DNA as we strive toward the next 10 years."



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