The women-led Thai agency’s managing director and co-founder Pimmard ‘Be’ Leenutaphong tells LBB’s Natasha Patel about working on a Netflix series, creating a makeup palette for a tourism campaign, and adapting to the times
You’d be forgiven for mistaking Thai agency SOUR Bangkok for just another advertising agency. Instead, they are an agency ‘for women that understands women’. Co-founder and managing partner, Pimmard ‘Be’ Leenutaphong says the inception of the agency began with an idea to position itself as a ‘woman insight agency’. She adds: “We also see the opportunity where nowadays a client is no longer looking for one big agency, but a more boutique agency that has expertise in the specific area that they want.”
The area that Sour Bangkok’s clients are going in is to appeal to women via women. In particular the team produced an innovative campaign for the Tourism Authority of Thailand that viewed women as the centre of the tourism industry. From booking flights, to inviting or planning out cultural expeditions on the trips, the Tourism Authority of Thailand identified these as predominantly women-led. So, to ensure that they fit the brief, the team at SOUR teamed up with Thai cosmetic brand Oriental Princess to create ‘Palette of Thailand’, an exploration of Thailand through cosmetics. Be explains: “This was the first ever campaign that uses the colour of the real travel locations in Thailand to derive colour in the cosmetic palette. The idea is what if beauty can take women on a journey?”
The agency is keen not to put limits on creativity and so when clients come to them with a specific brief, they tackle it as a business brief as opposed to a creative one. Be believes this means they have unlimited opportunities this way and the end result is a ‘better communication outcome’. One way that they did this that took off was with Thai mystery thriller Girl from Nowhere, which has recently just launched its second season and was number one in the charts for Netflix in 11 countries worldwide.
The opportunity to work on the series arose from the agency’s mantra and focus on women. They were approached by entertainment company, GMM Grammy who had a simple brief: to move away from shows on housewives and working women and reconnect with a younger female audience. Be says: “So with a business solution in mind, rather than doing an advertisement to lure a younger audience in, we came up with the idea to produce a series that focuses on young female schoolgirls.”
This propelled SOUR into a totally new sphere where they realised there were no limitations when it came to what kind of projects they can work on. Be explains that instead of pivoting to new media forms, the agency looks at providing different media services alongside creative communications. “We strongly believe that data and creativity should work seamlessly together for the best result possible. Therefore, we want to help clients with a 360 solution where the idea and media are matched to gain the best possible solution.”
Be has been in the advertising industry for 15 years now and has seen plenty of changes in that time and believes that with the rise of social media and digital consumption, advertising has to ‘lead and foresee the trend’ before anyone else does. She adds that because social media has led to consumers being less patient when consuming communication and adverts, the agency has a passion to break up this impatient behaviour ‘by not providing them with traditional advertising patterns anymore, but rather introduce something else’. That something else is the ‘idea’. Be explains: “A strong idea can lead to any form of communication and with a great idea, people are willing to stop and pay attention to the idea we share with them.”
The agency has weathered the Covid-19 storm and now that Be believes they are looking at the brighter side of things, with SOUR Content a strong asset into the television world, the agency’s hope for the future is simply to create great work for their customers. Be sums it up: “To produce great content consumers want to consume.”