Spaulding & Hawi DDB - based in Bangkok - has put itself, and the
country, on the advertising map by becoming the first Thai agency to win
a global account.
After a four-way pitch including unnamed agencies from Chicago, London
and Dubai, Spaulding & Hawi DDB scooped the Bt240 million (pounds 4
million) global account for Ethiopian Airlines.
’We went into the initial presentations with a solution to their
problems,’ Steve Watkins, an account director at the agency, says. ’We
simply pointed out that the client is from a third world developing
country and needed to address its image.’
A campaign targeting audiences in Europe and the United States is airing
now, with TV work appearing on CNN and print ads in Time, the Washington
Post and the New York Times. ’The focus is on the modern face of the
airline,’ Watkins adds.
One press ad running in Time magazine carries the line, ’The advantage
of being beautifully maintained’, and appears next to a photograph of an
attractive air hostess. ’We are trying to say that our staff, but more
importantly our aircraft, are modern and well looked after,’ Watkins
Watkins also realises that it’s a risky business drawing consumers’
attention to the negative issues surrounding a third world airline.
’People often associate Africa with famine and violence. We obviously
don’t want to draw people’s attention to worries they may not already
have,’ he says.
Ron Spaulding and Thorleif Hawi, who founded the agency in 1993, have
worked on major airline accounts before, including SAS and Thai
International, but the obvious difference this time was the obstacle of
working long distance.
Watkins has travelled to Addis Ababa nine times in recent months and
says that it isn’t proving as problematic as he first thought it might
be. ’If anything, it sharpened us to be on the edge and deliver complete
jobs on time, but occasionally it means that the work must speak for
itself if nobody can make the trip.’