Former Executive Creative Director of BBDO Singapore, Francis Wee, has a new faith – His own creative agency christened Religion.
As Francis explains, there are no wider reach or better communications than the four main religions – Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. If they were brands, their consumers go by billions. Yet, they engage no advertising or public relations agencies to spread their faith. So why shouldn’t our advertising follow similar doctrine?
Rationale and Beliefs
His reason for starting his own agency is well argued: There isn’t one local ad agency that succeeds to become a global player. Yet there are many successful local brands like Creative Technologies, Tiger Beer and Singapore Airlines that grew exponentially, local and global. It’s about time a local ad agency takes the lead and shine locally, regionally and internationally.
Religion’s practice is to turn client’s brand into a religion, and convert its consumers to die-hard followers.
“Like any religion, our ideas should connect and own a space in a consumer’s heart and mind, not just blatant messages in various media.”
The name Religion illustrates creativity and audacity. It also suggests provocation, even controversy. And Francis is well satisfied with his choice.
“It took 3 months to get Religion officially approved by the Registry of Company/Business. During the process, I was tempted to submit “less controversial” names for easier approval. Thank god I didn’t. There isn’t another name that so ingeniously summarises everything about branding and advertising.”
Francis’s approach is to keep things pure and simple within the agency, especially when it comes to creative ideas. Currently, the agency is run by creatives. If any account servicing wishes to apply for a job, he/she would have to be a creative suit. “We advocate a creative culture, and if an agency cannot cultivate such practice internally, we don’t deserve the creative label,” reasons Francis.
He elaborates further, “What clients really need from an ad agency is coming up with ideas that are bigger than ads.”
Before the agency is officially registered, Religion has been approached by Unilever and Samsung to work on global, regional and local projects.
Religion has been approached by Unilever and Samsung even before the agency is officially registered. They have worked on a handful of local, regional, as well as global projects.
“Some of the recent projects we have developed are way beyond ads. Consumerism has changed rapidly in the last few years. The last thing this world needs is another ad agency that only produces TV commercials and print ads. Religion is not into ads, but great creative ideas that stay relevant in today’s context.”
ABOUT FRANCIS WEE
Francis Wee, the founder of Religion, is renowned for producing effective world-class advertising campaigns that garnered many international awards in his previous agencies, Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore, Saatchi & Saatchi Hong Kong and BBDO Singapore.
During his creative reign, the three respective firms topped as one of the most creative agencies in Asia. He’s highly regarded as a creative guru who’s capable of turning a non-creative agency to a top creative agency in Asia in just 2 years. He is currently ranked as the No. 2 Most Creative ECD in Asia according to the Campaign Brief Asia’s Creative Rankings.
He has a long laundry list of local, regional and global accolades under his sleeves. He has won every gold award in all the prestigious advertising shows in the world like Cannes Lion, One Show, Clio, AdFest and Media. Incredibly, to date, he remains as the sole D&AD gold pencil winner outside of The US and UK.