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January’s Top 5 stories: Which Southeast Asia brands nabbed the top spots?

MARKETECH APAC Reports_January

After a challenging year for both brands and consumers, the new year has finally ushered in and one thing remains – brands in the Asia Pacific region continue to innovate and amaze, whether that’s through a new creative campaign, a promising collaboration, or a novel tech that no one has seen before.

Southeast Asia brands start with a bang this year, where five out of five stories for the month’s top stories come from the region. One is a last hurrah from Christmas campaigning in the Philippines, while another comes from a used-car platform in Malaysia. Two Singapore brands also joined forces for a tie-up that would benefit travelers, while a top Singaporean marketing executive came with big news that involved new business ventures. Meanwhile, MARKETECH APAC’s Marketech Expert Up Close also continued to hook readers when it featured the founder of a newly launched esports platform in the Philippines. 

Based on Google Analytics from December 16 to January 15, here are the top stories for the month. 

Top 5: Lay’s Philippines’ Christmas ad 

The Christmas spirit is still hanging over at the beginning of the year as famous chips brand Lay’s in the Philippines bags a spot on this month’s top stories with their recent Christmas campaign

With currently 4.5 million views on YouTube, the ad used a tongue-in-cheek marketing strategy, presenting an unexpected combo of endorsers to personify the campaign’s message – ‘Double the Holiday Flavor’ – featuring its Classic and Sour Cream & Onion flavor.

The stars of the ad were the country’s long-time top balladeer Jose Mari Chan and comedic social media personality Nico Bolzico. Using a humorous spin-off of Chan’s classic song ‘Christmas in our hearts’, the two duetted together on a concert-type performance, complete with Black tie and a piano. 

Top 4: myTukar’s AI car detection technology

News hailing from Malaysia hooked readers this month when its locally-developed used-car platform myTukar revealed that it will be releasing a tech that is a first in the industry – an AI Car Defect Detection system and Car Plate Masking. 

The said technology enables the platform to automate and standardize car inspection through analyzing images and videos. Using scalable and deep learning technology, myTukar is able to detect car defects such as dents, scratches and paint deterioration in seconds.

The platform’s Chief Technology Officer David Voo shared to MARKETECH APAC that the inception of the tech came about when a vendor approached the platform with the sample of the AI detection system, where the tech didn’t initially meet its standards, pushing the platform to develop it further to cater to its customers. 

COO Jeffrey Ong said, “It will overall reduce the human error and also to be enhancing our inspection efficiency. So what would happen is we would have a very accurate inspection report. This will definitely overall enhance the whole customer experience.”

Top 3: Esports platform KALARO’s founder Jun Lasco

The launch of Filipino-developed esports platform KALARO was likewise featured in the top stories in October last year, and this time we dive deeper into the man that founded the company behind the platform. 

In the episode of MARKETECH Expert Up Close, we sat down with Jun Lasco, the founder of The-AsiaGroup.com Inc. to learn more about his inspiring corporate and entrepreneurial journey in the world of tech, and later on in esports.

In the episode, Lasco bared his beginnings, which started out as being a tech executive for some of the biggest brands in the Philippines such as San Miguel Corporation, Ayala Group, and Fujitsu, in line with work that included programming and tech analytics. He also revealed the challenges he met in his early attempt in putting up a company, where three had to be eventually shut down in 2016 due to corporate setbacks. 

Now with its rebirth, Jun shared, “Being naive or too naive about business and people is also not good; funding is a must-have during the initial phase of the start-up ventures and friendships sometimes end when there is big money at stake, among many lessons.” 

Top 2: Atome and Agoda’s partnership 

Amid ongoing travel restrictions in the pandemic, two leading Singapore platforms recently tied up to entice travel-loving consumers. In December, a partnership was announced between booking platform Agoda and installment payment platform Atome, giving travelers an additional option to pay for their accommodations. 

Atome, with its famous ‘buy now, pay later’ scheme, continually adds brands and stores on its platform, and the latest partnership enables those planning to travel to have more breathing ground when it comes to financing.

In a conversation with CEO David Chen, he shared that the idea behind the tie-up is that most of the time, people wish to book a certain accommodation but are disheartened at the onset due to higher prices. 

He said, “[Buy now, pay later] is an attitude. It’s an aspiration. People want something that’s of good quality to uplift their fulfillment.”

Top 1: AIA Singapore’s Head of Brand builds own communications practice

Our top story of the month is brimming with brilliance and inspiration as insurance company AIA Singapore’s Head of Brand and Corporate Communications Joanna Ong-Ash exits the company to start her own communications practice, Bravery Communications.

Joanna served the company for a decade, being the communications lead for many of its notable programs such as AIA Vitality in 2013, which was then Singapore’s first comprehensive wellness program, and also launching the insurance company’s first-in-market critical illness plan for those with Type II diabetics and pre-diabetics. 

Taking into account Joanna’s holistic corporate experience – she brings 20 years of marketing expertise with her, working with financial services companies such as American Express and Mastercard, hence also marking her exit from corporate life. 

Of the new communications firm, Joanna shared that she wants to become a reliable partner of brands that may not be as big as others, but have a bold vision and purpose. 

Joann said, “Some of these SMEs do not have the ability to go out to big agencies to afford their expertise. Their purpose is so bold, and a lot of them, when they set up their own companies, they want to help others, they want to contribute to [the] community, and do good.”

“Where I come in, I feel like I am the extended arm of their business. When I work with a client, I’m not just working [with them] because I’m a consultant, I am working with a client because I totally believe in the cause and I want to do good together with them,” she added.

Watch the live report of the top stories for the month on our YouTube channel, where we give you exclusive appearances from the newsmakers themselves.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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