This piece was first published in MARKETING WEEKENDER Issue 355
The piercing screech of the referee’s whistle has been blown…Game On!
Reflecting on the coach’s whiteboard over the years, it’s funny how things motion FULL CIRCLE… and no, we’re not talking about the spherical nature of a football per se. Rather, it was 15 years ago that a bright-eyed, bushy tailed, young fella graced the cover of the formerly known Marketing Magazine (ADOI in the good ol days) with football purposefully placed in palm, set to take on the Communications ‘East End’ stage.
Needless to say, football is once again dominating scores of screens on a TV, tablet or mobile near you. 17 years since the inception of GO, we are nowhere near ‘extra time’ but the game has certainly changed. We therefore thought it rather apt to deep dive into the GO dressing room and share more on this multifaceted, multitalented and cohesive all-star squadron of players in concert with the wonder of the WORLD CUP. They’re not gonna sit in the stands and blow their own vuvuzelas but rather share in what has become a cup-winning year both on and off the PITCH.
Much like the famed Brazilian slick counter-attacking samba sides gone by, the GO Team rebounded from the Covid endemic with aplomb. As they say, when the GO-ing gets tough, the tough get GO-ing. 2022 was a special year for the agency from both a team and performance perspective, registering its best year in the record books.
The World Cup might be our interwoven theme for this particular story. However (and somewhat ironically), football has never been too far away from the agency in a literal sense. Aside from the commonality of characteristics that can be imbued from the ‘Beautiful Game’ such as Team Work, Communication, Determination, Leadership, etc., GO possesses a biblical bond to football that is unmatched within the tournament realm of agencies.
GO’s CEO, Peter de Kretser, was once a professional player, gracing the pitches of the S-League (Singapore) and A-League (Australia) in years gone by. The late, great, Michael de Kretser (Co-Founder) was once a manager of Singapore footballing doyens, Abbas Saad and Fandi Ahmad, both going on to become Sporting Ambassadors for the agency.
Serendipitously in 2016, the creation of the GO-inspired programme, Million Dollar Feet™ was born. A FREE footballing programme/ competition that would travel to major Malaysian states providing young kids aged 11-16 with an opportunity to ‘strut their stuff’ within the halcyon levels of Premier League clubs and players in the UK. Incorporating legendary Liverpool icon, Steve McMahon as the Head Coach, the programme successfully inducted four players into premiership clubs. Both Leicester FC and Nottingham Forest took young, promising Malaysian players as part of a scholarship programme for over two years, each valued at over RM 1 million.
Historic spectacles like the World Cup don’t come around very often
Contrarily at GO, the team has been privileged and proud to have been associated with some of the most groundbreaking campaigns to have appeared on the scoreboard throughout the year! From launching the highly anticipated billion-dollar Genting SkyWorlds Theme Park to the 89th minute comeback of the iconic Hennessy Artistry showcase, each producing player-of-the-match performances.
The agency was presented with Golden Opportunities to organise and hold the largest global productions such as World Congress Innovation Technology (WCIT Penang) and Defense Services Asia (DSA), of which even the renowned Italian defense would have been proud.
From launching the firstever dry-ski slope in the country (Escape Penang) to birthing new social media platforms (AppZaloot), paving the way for global influencer ambassadors (including the infamous Ms. Pui Yi) to garner even an even larger social voice. From sharing a sliver of sushi with legendary Chef Nobu to the fast-fingerclicking launch of the latest Sony PlayStation, the intensity of the counter-press was always in play.
They say you don’t win the silver, you lose the gold. And it’s fair to say that GO has netted its fair share of awards, boasting its largest haul yet this year both domestically and internationally. Highlights include the GOLD for Influencer Agency of the Year – a growing marketing discipline for brands during and post pandemic.
Awards ain’t the be all and end all. Just as exciting for this skillful squad was the alwayson development of players through regimented training programmes, establishing a unique, independent culture that sets GO-Getters apart from the rest. Over the years, the agency’s contribution to a variety of NGOs has been a key part of its giveback philosophy, and in 2022, they had the honour of putting their passion and pedigree forward in assisting the likes of HOSPIS Malaysia, National Kidney Foundation and the House of Hope (Penang) in both a fundraising and awareness capacity.
It’s the ‘Lionel Messi’ magic that sometimes makes the goalscoring difference. Adopting an innovative, strategic and aboveall STORYTELLING FIRST philosophy, puts the agency in attacking positions more often than not.
GO may have put the Singapore Airline stewardess into Madame Tuassauds, had a horse (and camel) walk into a bar for a drink, flown in sumo wrestlers to showcase the magnitude of a condominium and even formed a child board of directors for a prominent hotel. Through it all, they are eternally firm believers that it’s the fiery “cili padi” sambal (in the story and the image) that makes the nasi goreng sizzle in the mouth!
Hennessy Artistry 2022 Ending the year with a bang, GO pulled off The Party of The Year with Hennessy Artistry attended by 2,000 fans
Much like the introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology, GO has become a digitised operation at its core… 2022 marked its involvement in the first-ever National Day in the metaverse (‘Merdekaverse’), with a special Tunku Abdul Rahman avatar tribute to boot. At GO there’s no flipflopping – only boots.
While many were vacillating with work-from-home processes, the agency was resolute. Even prior to the pandemic, GO was the first in the country to practice 4 ½ work-day-weeks which it maintains until today, increasing efficiency, productivity and work-life-balance. With further expansion of the team on the horizon the agency has its sights set on collaborating with its 16th GO Group agency down under in Australia within the first quarter of 2023.
Win, lose or draw, it’s ultimately how you play the game, perpetually building colleagues and clients as fans first. Culminating to the close of the cup finals and the conclusion of 2022, GO continues to bedazzle with bright colours and a new sense of optimism for a world (and nation) that’s cupping a new dawn.
As Peter says, “Let’s take a moment this Christmas to ‘WAKA WAKA’ (Shakira) and GO for it!”
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