The Stagwell Group is uniting its two main creative agencies in Singapore as it continues to build out its regional hub.
Forsman & Bodenfors (F&B) and 72andSunny are combining into a single agency in the city-state, operating under the F&B brand. The combined group will be led by F&B Singapore president Po Kay Lee and will operate out of F&B’s existing Singapore headquarters at 47 Craig Road.
F&B global CEO Toby Southgate says that while some internal competition between holding group agencies in the same market can be a positive thing, it sends a stronger signal to clients when creative resources are pooled for their benefit.
“It's a really good strategy to communicate to our people and our clients that the focus on creativity is such that we can present a singular, strong, united creative base in the market,” Southgate tells Campaign Asia-Pacific.
72and Sunny president Ida Siow and its executive creative director Johnny Tan will be moving on to new ventures, stepping away from their existing roles by the end of March and will not be part of the newly combined agency formed by the end of Q1 of this year. Siow and Tan tell Campaign they made this decision independently last quarter but this next phase of the business serves as a fitting time for them to move on.
"It's best to leave on a high," Siow says. "We took 72andSunny from a startup with zero founding clients to working with Asia's biggest biggest unicorns and global giants. We were hit by Covid in 2020 and staged the biggest turnaround in 2021—we grew the business, grew the teams and ended last year with work that made national headlines. We built a solid foundation, an incredible team and growth momentum, it was the right time to move on."
"We accomplished what we set out to do, which is to build a thriving creative company with great culture and people," adds Tan, who considers himself a serial entrepreneur. "I’m always looking for new creative challenges."
In addition to Siow and Tan's exit, the merger also follows the departure of 72andSunny APAC CEO Chris Kay last June. The move will not affect 72andSunny’s other Asia-Pacific office in Sydney.
In Singapore, Forsman & Bodenfors is the larger of the two agencies, with a staff of 22. In the past three years in the market it has produced regionally and globally recognised work for the likes of P&G brands SK-II (Marriage Market Takeover) and Head & Shoulders (Ando the Anime Spy), as well as GoJek (The Flow).
72andSunny has more than 15 employees who will be offered roles in the combined agency of 30 to 40 people. There are no planned redundancies. Client conversations are underway with 72andSunny Singapore’s Asian and global clients, which include Carousell, GIC, Adidas and Diageo. The latter is a shared client with F&B and therefore is already comfortable with the arrangement, Southgate says.
"Across the Forsman & Bodenfors collective, our commitment is very simple," Southgate adds. "We’re here to make ideas that change things—creativity that shifts perceptions, impacts culture, and solves our clients’ biggest problems. This is a philosophy we have always shared with our friends at 72andSunny, and we are committed to making this combination a success for our clients, our people, and our work.”
The move comes after Forsman & Bodenfors recently signalled its intention to grow in the region. It also is part of a larger expansion push by parent holding company Stagwell Group, which is setting up a regional hub in Singapore. Stagwell is looking at growth through acquisition but also through its affiliate programme. The Group hopes to expand F&B’s existing headquarters and build a connected home across neighbouring buildings for other Stagwell businesses including Assembly, NRG, MMI Agency, Allison & Partners and Ink.