Maltese ad agency sees growth opportunity in media business

Interview with Richard Agius, Creative Director of TBWA Malta.
How did the pandemic influence your business in Malta?
We were quite lucky to have a wide range of clients from varied industries. Some clients, like Brown’s Pharmacy chain, remained very stable as their customers were more frequently visiting their outlets. Another big client, McDonald’s, closed the stores for visits, but introduced home delivery, which was well timed as their customers were staying home most of their time. The food industry saw huge competition growing when it came to food delivery on the islands. Together with the largest bank in Malta, Bank of Valletta, as bank visits slowed down, we urged their customers to switch to their digital platforms and payment systems. These campaigns helped change the clients’ mindset and knowledge especially for the less digital savvy customers.
Unfortunately we had to reduce working days from 5 to 4 to make sure we could retain as many employees as possible. Some agencies in Malta had to let some of their staff go. Compared to last year, our business has slowed down during the 3-month Covid period too.
It is not back to normal yet, although Malta had a relatively mild pandemic compared to some other countries. We are currently working in a rotation system, some days from office and some from home. The Tourism industry, that is one of the biggest businesses in Malta, is slowly picking up. Last July we had approx 10,000 tourists per day, this year we have around 3,000.
Where do you see the opportunities for growth?
Since we are part of the TBWA network, it is hard for us to work with the clients from other markets, since most other countries also have TBWA network agencies. Sometimes we have consulted some other agencies from our networks about how to market products in a small island. We see media business as one possibility for growth. For example, we publish inflight magazine for Air Malta and also sell advertising to this publication. We are always looking for similar opportunities.
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