Droga5 establishes Asia presence but cool on full office after Tiger win

Droga5 has established a presence in Singapore on the back of its win for global creative for Tiger Beer, but the bosses of the Sydney office have poured cold water on suggestions they agency will open an Asia office soon.

Last night Tiger revealed its new brand identity ‘Tiger Uncage’ in a bid to move the brand into a more upmarket positioning in the Asia region, with the work coming from the Sydney office of Droga5.

However, Droga5 Sydney CEO Sudeep Gohil said the agency, which started in New York and last year opened a London branch, is not rushing to start a presence in Asia, instead hiring Tribal DDB account director Simon Lockyer to run the partnership in Singapore.

Gohil told Mumbrella: “There’s nothing specific in terms of reasons why we haven’t opened an Asia office. We’re very happy with the offices in Sydney, New York and London. The plan is not to have offices everywhere, but to have great network of people. We need to focus on the task in hand, which is servicing a client in Singapore and building out potential in Asia.

“There’s no doubt in that Droga5 is thinking more seriously about that part of the world.”

His comments were echoed by creative partner David Nobay at the launch event in Singapore last night, who told Mumbrella Asia: “If we built an office after winning a single client we’d have offices in lots of places. We didn’t make any promises saying we’d set up here or anywhere. The distance has actually created an enormous amount of passion within the agency, and we communicate via video conferencing from Sydney.”

Gohil said the challenges in creating a new positioning for the brand, which is rolling out in 25 territories in Asia with a media spend of around $15m, was finding an insight to work in Asia which could be rolled out across Western countries as well, but moving away from the tradition of jokey beer ads.

“The people in the ads are all real people from the region, and we think these people will resonate with the consumers there,” he said. “These are not laddy beer ads, they’re very different from Australian beer ads and beer advertising in general.

“Asian beer ads are similar to Australian ads but there’s no punchline. They tend to show a group of guys on a night out having the best night ever, then going off in a spaceship at the end or something like that.

“The whole aim is to grow the Tiger brand in Asia. Part of it is respecting the heritage of the brand, and it’s well loved in Asia and beyond. The real challenge for us has been to interpret its Asian character and have it resonate with Asian consumers and bring the brand across Asian markets. It’s about getting people to fall back in love with the brand.”

Nobay said he was “not going to apologise for winning this business”, telling Mumbrella Asia: “But let’s not forget that Australia is part of Asia. The more enlightened among us worked that out a long time ago.

“Asia is a really important region for us. Many of us have had experience working here. David Droga worked for many years in Singapore. He’s very serious about Tiger Beer brand. We knew there would be critics, just as there were doubters when [US-based] Goodby, Silverstein & Partners worked with CommBank in Australia. We hope that the work answers most of your questions.”

In the Q&A, which can be seen here, Mie-Leng Wong Tiger’s global brand director said: “We needed a new direction. We wanted to unleash the creative side of Tiger beer. Our global ambitions mean that we need to find right balance between being authentically Asian, and having contact with the West. Australia is a bridge between the East and West. Besides, Droga’s people have plenty of experience of this region.”

Alex Hayes and Robin Hicks 


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