Manila, Philippines – Philippine telecom Smart Communications (Smart) has partnered with famous Gen Z personalities to promote its new data package, the new Double GIGA promo. The new data offering, which doubles the amount of existing data packages of Smart, is positioned as a helpful service to enable the youth to enjoy more of the things they are passionate about, hence, the spot ‘Smart Barkada’. 

Barkada is a Filipino term for your ‘group of friends’, and part of the ‘Smart Barkada’ is actor and songwriter Iñigo Pascual, actor and host Donny Pangilinan, dancer AC Bonifacio, and vlogger and youth advocate Hannah Pangilinan, as well as singer-songwriter Jayda Avanzado, and rapper Michael Pacquiao.

The group of artists partnered by Smart is known to be passionate about their craft. Through the ambassadors, Smart aims to encourage Filipino youth to make the most of its new data promo to embody the same passion and to confidently engage in the things they love.

With Double GIGA, Smart Prepaid subscribers are now able to enjoy twice the data for ‘passion apps’ to get more from their favorite offers. For example, one of its existing packages has been expanded to now be ‘Double GIGA Video 99’ delivering anew 2 GB per day for streaming on YouTube, Cignal Play, iWantTFC, and NBA League Pass – plus 2 GB open access data for ₱99 valid for seven days.

“Knowing that the journey to be better at something never stops, the Smart Barkada aims to help their fellow youth to be better at what they love to do through inspiring and hopeful stories – whether it’s about being a better friend, daughter or son, inspiring others to uplift their spirits, refocusing their energy on new passions, or just simply continuing to do things that make them feel healthy and happy,” said the company in a press statement. 

Meanwhile, students and professionals can be more productive and achieve more with an expanded Double GIGA Study and Double GIGA Work data packages, while for gamers, they can enjoy more game time with Double GIGA Games.

Prepaid subscribers can register to Double GIGA offers via the GigaLife App, or by dialing *123#. The promos are available to all Smart Prepaid, Smart Bro, and TNT subscribers.

Japan Global apparel retailer UNIQLO has appointed Doraemon, the famous fictional character in the Japanese manga and anime series of the same name, as its global sustainability ambassador.

The ambassadorship will see the blue Japanese manga and anime character turned into a green model, to be called ‘Doraemon Sustainability Mode’, with the UNIQLO logo also rendered in green. The green color signifies the many ways in which the apparel retailer company materializes its sustainability message, “Changing our future through the power of clothing.”

The Doraemon character will be responsible for presenting the brand’s sustainability initiatives in fun and easily understandable ways. The company said that in turning Doraemon and the UNIQLO logo to green, it aims to emphasize the company’s determination to strengthen its sustainability efforts. ‘Doraemon Sustainability Mode’ will be featured in UNIQLO stores around the world, the brand websites, and other channels.

Doraemon will join Japanese actress Haruka Ayase, the sustainability activities lifewear special ambassador of UNIQLO, and other global brand ambassadors, which are Swiss professional tennis player Roger Federer, Japanese professional tennis player Kei Nishikori, and Japanese competitive snowboarder Ayumu Hirano, as well as British professional wheelchair tennis player Gordon Reid, and American actor Adam Scott, among others.

Doraemon and Ayase are slated to participate in the UNIQLO school outreach program for elementary, junior high, and high school students in Japan, while the other global brand ambassadors will also contribute to these endeavors through sports and by wearing everyday apparel incorporating environmentally friendly materials.

The company also shared what the new fictional ambassador would have commented: “Hi, everyone! I’m Doraemon and now I am Green! I’ll do my best as UNIQLO Global Sustainability Ambassador to help create a much brighter future! I want to work with you all, so we can make people everywhere more interested in the future of our world!”

Koji Yanai, the group senior executive officer of FastRetailing, shared that they are delighted to partner with Doraemon, saying that over the past two decades, UNIQLO has undertaken numerous sustainability initiatives through business to contribute to a better, more sustainable world. 

“We believe that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, social transformations, and evolving consumer attitudes make it more important than ever to collaborate with customers and other stakeholders in driving positive social change,” added Yanai.

Singapore – E-commerce platform Lazada has announced its first-ever local ambassador in Singapore, choosing celebrity Michelle Chong to represent the brand in the country. The company said this is part of the platform’s continued strategy to engage more with younger shoppers and promote Lazada’s key campaigns.

The ambassadorship will see Chong connect with various audience demographics, and hype brand campaigns in Singapore, starting with Lazada’s ninth birthday celebration on 27 March until the ‘9.9 Big Sale’ in September. 

Michelle Chong is a multi-hyphenate and a ‘familiar face’ in Singapore’s entertainment industry, serving as a producer, writer, director, actress as well as a local entrepreneur who is known for her ability to create memorable TV characters, such as Barbarella, The Noose, and popular online personalities such as Ah Lian, as well as school girl Chiang Ying Wen, among others.

During Chong’s key campaign promotions, she will introduce her three popular characters, namely Ah Lian, Chiang Ying Wen, and Sonia, whom local audiences are familiar with. Lazada believes that this strategy will help them better connect with all consumers on the platform, from households to young millennials and Gen Z shoppers, who shop for daily essentials and quality goods from LazMall and RedMart. 

The engagement activities will cover various touchpoints, including radio and television broadcast, outdoor media, and social media platforms on Lazada Singapore, as well as Chong’s own platforms, and Lazada’s live streaming channel LazLive.

Commenting on her ambassadorship, Chong said that being Lazada’s first local ambassador is a dream come true for her and expressed that she is honored to be associated with such a forward-thinking brand that has great taste and foresight.

Meanwhile, the Chief Marketing Officer of Lazada Singapore, Wook Kwon, said that the company is thrilled to have Chong as Lazada’s first ambassador in Singapore, saying that Michelle is one of the nation’s top comedic talents, and easily the most recognizable female comedic actress in the country, having created memorable characters that have resonated with a diverse audience.

“She will be able to effectively reach the younger generation with a relatable sense of humor, which ties in well with our strategy to connect more with shoppers on LazMall and RedMart as well. Beyond that, she has built a successful career and business for herself, and shares the same entrepreneurial spirit that Lazada supports,” said Kwon.

Furthermore, Kim Hoon, business development director of entertainment agency Left Profile, said, “We are excited about this collaboration and are humbled by Lazada’s recognition of Michelle’s talent and versatility in creating and personifying characters that entertain and touch different strata of audiences.”

Hong Kong – The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), a statutory body in Hong Kong that promotes, assists and develops the country’s trade, has once again invited Leon Lai, a Hong Kong-based actor, to act as Ambassador for the 2021 Entertainment Expo.

The HKTDC is a statutory body in Hong Kong that aims to organize international exhibitions, conferences, and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. It also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via trade publications, research reports, and digital news channels.

HK superstar Leon Lai commented, “The pandemic has created a new normal for the local film and television entertainment industry. I am proud to act as Ambassador for the expo during this particularly challenging period to continue promoting Hong Kong’s entertainment industry.”

On the other hand, the HKTDC also enlisted the support of the renowned multimedia directing duo Tsui Brothers to shoot the promotional video for this year’s expo, with the theme “Gazing to the Future”.

The 2021 Entertainment Expo will be held from March 15 to April 12, 2021, comprising six events that cover a global mix of film, TV, music, and digital entertainment. The events include the Entertainment Asia Forum, and Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), among others.

This month, MARKETECH APAC truly lived up to its name. For the top 5 stories this September, we saw a diverse set of newsmakers hailing from around the APAC region.

The top stories were identified based on Google Analytics from August 17 to September 15. In the list, two great brands from Southeast Asia and East Asia flexed their creative prowess to showcase novel brand marketing moves. Marketing leaders also continue to dominate the list; a marketing executive from South Asia recounted her almost two-decade marketing journey, another one, an APAC business director filled us in on a growing buying trend that no one saw coming amid the pandemic, while a significant appointment from ANZ also grabbed people’s attention this month. 

Top 5: Shopee gets fictional character Phua Chu Kang as new face of the brand

Ever since eCommerce platform Shopee was launched, it has only been putting its trust to big, international names to represent its brand – that would be Kpop girl band Blackpink and professional footballer Cristian Ronaldo. During its 9.9 super sale, the brand decided to show what hyper localization really means by getting not just any local personality, but a deeply rooted cultural icon – sitcom character Phua Chu Kang.

Phua Chu Kang, played by actor Gurmit Singh, is the title character of the longest-running sitcom by network Mediacorp, which revolves around the misadventures of the Phu family.

The show ran from 1996-2007, and within that time, Singaporeans grew to love the eccentric, overly confident, and yellow-boots wearing contractor. So what has truly made the Shopee team go for this rather unconventional stint?

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Head of Marketing Tiger Wang said, “The [appointment] marks another milestone for us as we continue to build on the hyper-localized approach and deepen our engagement with the local audiences. Phua Chu Kang is a household name and a celebrity, [and] local icon. His ability to resonate with and unite local communities aligns with Shopee’s vision, making him the best choice for us.”

Top 4: Hong Kong-based Towngas cooking academy extends its expertise to YouTube 

Amid in-person limitations during the ongoing pandemic, many brands and businesses alike have turned to the virtual side of things. Take Hong Kong-based cooking school Towngas Cooking Centre as an example. The culinary academy which has flame cooking at the core of its program, has gotten things rolling this September as it forayed to YouTube this month, and it doesn’t stop at that. It has a bunch of high-caliber celebrity chefs to boot, tapped to showcase the school’s virtual sessions.

Healthy Monday, French Wednesday, Culinary Tips4U, and Star Chef Weekend and Sunday Mom & Dad are just some of the quirky-titled lessons that are slated for its YouTube viewers.

General Manager for Retail Marketing & Sales Catherine Wong said that the occurrence of COVID has definitely pushed Hong Kongers to prefer home-cooked meals to dining out, and this is what ultimately brought the brand to make the most out of the situation. 

Top 3: Healthcare marketing maven Jasrita Dhir

Last month, the #MARKETECHMondays episode of Philippines’ Mark De Joya entered the top five list, and this time, another one of the webisode’s guests – India-based marketing leader Jasrita Dhir has been one of the stories that garnered the most views.

Jasrita’s marketing expertise expands almost two decades, where she’s worked with a list of well-known brands such as consumer product giant Procter & Gamble, hospitality brand Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, and television media company NDTV before having focused entirely on brand and marketing for healthcare services. 

Currently, she is the assistant vice president for healthcare provider Fortis Healthcare in India. When we sat down with Jasrita during her #MARKETECHMondays episode, she shared some very helpful advice that could be very well treated as a guiding light to budding marketers. 

“I just have two things to say to [marketers]; the first is, please never forget why you decided to become a marketer. There would be times in your journey when you’re feeling low, but constantly remind yourself [your why], [which is] because you want to be your consumer’s voice inside your organization,” said Jasrita. 

‘The second is keep upgrading; it’s nobody else’s responsibility to upgrade your skills. Because your consumer is going to keep changing; there are new avenues, [mediums], [and] new platforms. You have to have their pulse,” added Jasrita.  

Top 2: Stella Berry’s take on a new phenomenon in shopping amid the pandemic

Have you heard of revenge shopping? We bet not, but we too are sure that it would be a term soon to ring bells. In a nutshell, revenge shopping goes hand in hand with luxury shopping. It is a phenomenon that sees luxury stores opening their doors to shopping-starved consumers looking to avenge their months spent holed up at home during the lockdown.

This month, Regional Business Director of mobile advertising solutions Adludio, Stella Berry dedicated a full thought leadership article on the buying trend.

Stella said that it is a testament to the unique relationship consumers have with luxury. 

“No one could have predicted that after months of lockdown, the need for luxury goods has resulted in long queues outside of boutiques. This phenomenon is the result of brands, really making the effort in continuing to engage with people even during the lockdown,’ shared Stella.

All looking positive for brands and consumers, but Stella also puts out a caution.

“Returning to business as usual at this [rapidly] accelerated pace could bring about a negative impact [on] the environment, and consequences on sustainability. So luxury marketers need to find their balance to ensure the brand continues to remain sustainable, but also well-loved,” said Stella.

Top 1: Cognizant ANZ ropes in former PwC executive Jane Livesey

Our top story for the month comes from Australia and New Zealand, and from global IT firm Cognizant at that. In August, former PwC managing partner Jane Livesey was roped in by the firm to become CEO

Livesey breathes and lives IT. At PwC, she led over 800 IT professionals for the company’s technology consulting practice team in Australia; while for 12 years, she served as tech managing director for Accenture. With a seasoned IT experience under her belt, Livesey has also become an active advocate for women in the field of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, or STEAM. 

It hasn’t been very long since Jane settled into the role, and as we checked up on her, she shared with us, “It’s been great to join Cognizant and hit the ground running in Australia and New Zealand. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had conversations with both our clients and our teams. At Cognizant, we are focused on how to enable organizations in ANZ to keep on top of era-defining innovations and drive growth in the face of continuous technological and market changes. As CEO of ANZ, my priority is to provide local enterprises and governments with high-quality, market-leading digital transformation capabilities that enhance the lives of people and support digital-first.”

Watch the MARKETECH APAC REPORTS of these top five stories, with exclusive appearance and commentary from the newsmakers themselves.

If you have interesting stories, thought-leadership pieces, and case studies in the area of marketing, technology, media platforms, and SME, please send us an email at [email protected]. Who knows your story could be part of our top 5 next month.

Shanghai, China – Swiss-made timepiece brand, Movado has announced that it has partnered with award-winning A-list Chinese musician Ronghao Li to be its newest global ambassador. 

Li will be featured in Movado’s updated global advertising campaign with the tagline, “Mastering Time in Your Way”, paying homage to Movado’s brand positioning. 

The campaign, which will be launched in mid-August this year, is said to have been strategized to speak to the consumer who is confident and true to themselves, which are trademark characteristics of both Movado’s and Li’s DNA.

Having been chosen by the brand, Li has expressed fondness as he thinks the brand’s personality coincides with his as a musician. 

“I have always expressed the importance of ‘being authentic and true to yourself” which gives me inspiration for my music. Movado has a deep history with the arts and a similar artistic vision in the design of their watches as I do with my music,” said Li. 

Movado Global Chief Marketing Officer, Mary Leach said that in choosing Li, the decision transcended his talent as a musician.

“Mr. Ronghao Li is more than a talented musician; he has his own unique character and charisma,’ said Leach.

“We were immediately drawn to Li because he is has a passion for the creation of authentic artistry, self-expression, and being true to yourself; characteristics that make up our brand DNA,” added Leach. 

Presently, Movado has more than 70 offline stores in China’s main locations in first and second-tier cities and has also launched its own TMALL and JD flagship stores which went live in 2016.