Surprisingly eighty advertising agencies with 180 staff turned up at the SPH News Centre Auditorium ready to hear the brief on the ‘The Pitch’ contest. Some people felt the ad agencies would not have the time to enter such a contest with staff so stretched. However, the large numbers show that either they cannot resist a contest with their peers or the top $20,000 cash prize (with $250,000 of media) is much needed after the past tough years for the industry.

It was revealed that the ‘secret’ client was Paragon, the Orchard Road Shopping Mall. Not surprising, as SPH own this particular Mall.

The six semi-finalists will be announced on 11th April and they will be invited to make a 45-minute presentation on 21st April. The top three for first, second and third prizes will be revealed a week later.

SPH as a major media owner in Singapore has for several years recognised the important role that ad agencies play in the success of all their media platforms. The ‘SPH Ink Awards’ given to agencies and advertisers each year have helped developed the relationship and encouraged creativity. The Reader’s Digest many years ago tried a similar tactic with the Pegasus Awards. This new contest, ‘The Pitch’, seems to be another relationship building avenue that is being explored by SPH. Both industries recognise they need one another.