Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Want a Carlsberg? This AI rewards you with a free beer when pronounced correctly

Vietnam – As Vietnamese find themselves having a hard time to pronounce the brand name ‘Carlsberg’ locally, the popular beer brand has teamed up with Happiness Saigon and BLISS Maker Studios to launch an AI that rewards bypassers with a free beer if they manage to say Carlsberg the right way. 

The AI was built using voice inputs from hundreds of people pronouncing ‘Car-z-berg’ and was trained to distinguish the most accurate entries possible. The Carlsberg AI doesn’t just power the voice activated tap, it also powers the campaign website.

In addition, a social video of the on ground activation, billboards across the city of Ho Chi Minh, YouTube pre-roll, and Spotify ads all lead to the microsite where anyone in Vietnam can attempt to nail the difficult name themselves and win some ice cold beer.

“Carlsberg is one of the leading brewing companies in the world today. This year they are celebrating 175 years as ‘probably the best beer in the world’. But before doing that, the brand needs to properly (re)introduce themselves to the Vietnam market. A market where their unique name is practically unknown,” according to a press statement.

Meanwhile, Hoàng Vũ Hải, brand manager at Carlsberg Vietnam, commented, “Working on carlsberg for all these years, our team realised something: it is so difficult to pronounce. So difficult in fact, we want to reward anyone who can pull it off with a complimentary beer. We think it’s a fun and smart way to increase brand recognition and product trial, especially for the launch of the new product in Vietnam.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

This ad for an Aussie writing festival honours literature’s famed passages–using AI artwork

Melbourne, Australia – The Melbourne Writers Festival has teamed up with creative agency TBWA\Melbourne to launch a new campaign which aims to develop a collection of AI artwork, created by inputting humanity’s most imaginative writing, word for word, into AI. 

The art project campaign arrives following the launch of AI Mid Journey, an AI bot that turns written prompts into artwork. The technology has initiated an intense worldwide debate on what AI-generated imagery means for the future of art. 

To create the unique art pieces, passages from classic works of literature from literary icons Mary Shelley, Herman Melville, H.G. Wells, Bram Stoker and George Orwell were inserted verbatim into the AI Mid Journey. Each breathtaking visual stands as a timely reminder of the enduring power of the written word.

Casselly Main, marketing and communications manager at Melbourne Writers Festival, said, “This year’s festival is all about ambition and this campaign is the perfect encapsulation. We’re ecstatic about the response the images had at the festival. Even though most of these books were written over a hundred years ago, their words continue to inspire today.” 

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for TBWA\Melbourne commented, “Like most of the industry, when we first saw Mid Journey, we experienced a momentary existential crisis. “What does this mean for creativity? Is it now out of human hands?” The short answer is no, far from it.”

They added, “AI like Mid Journey are an incredible creative tool. Even in the past weeks, we’ve seen huge leaps in visualisation, composition and lighting. But our partnership with the Melbourne Writers Festival shows the strength of beautiful writing — past, present and future.”

The campaign was launched in conjunction with the Melbourne Writers Festival appearing in OOH and digital. In addition, illustrated e-books of the classic novels, featuring further AI interpretations, are planned for release in the coming months. 

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Google announces multiple initiatives across AI innovation with SG gov’t

Singapore – Tech giant Google, through Google Cloud, has announced partnership with Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) to strengthen AI cooperation in Singapore, including co-creating solutions, deepen AI capabilities in public service, and shape AI governance and ethics.

Google’s parent company Alphabet and its other subsidiaries will work closely with SNDGG’s National AI Office and other government agencies to co-create, test-bed, and scale AI solutions in key sectors like finance, sustainability, and healthcare.

In addition, Google Cloud will provide dedicated training resources and certification programs to cultivate deep AI and machine learning proficiency for identified public sector officers. These programs reinforce Google Cloud’s commitment to bridging the AI talent gap, and will build on Google’s Skills Ignition SG training program in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

Lastly, Google Cloud will support the Singapore government’s efforts to shape AI governance and ethics in key sectors like finance. These efforts complement Google’s involvement in Singapore’s Advisory Council of the Ethical Use of AI.

Sherie Ng, country director for Singapore and Malaysia at Google Cloud, said, “Already recognized as a leading smart city, Singapore has continued to grow in stature as a global center of AI innovation and real-world application. It is a privilege to be the first technology company to enter into a partnership with SNDGG’s National AI Office to co-develop and deploy new AI solutions of value and relevance to Singaporeans and the future economy.” 

She added, “Through this public-private collaboration in the field of AI, we aim to advance the technology’s ability to deliver greater societal benefit in areas like financial inclusion, carbon footprint reduction, and personalised healthcare, while ensuring equity, privacy, transparency, and accountability.”

Meanwhile, Chng Zhenzhi, director of the National AI Office at SNDGG, commented, “This MOU is a win-win collaboration. Singapore will benefit from Google’s deep technical expertise and investments, while Google can tap on our rich innovation ecosystem. Singapore can also be a test-bed for Google’s efforts to trial new solutions safely, before introducing them to the region and beyond.” 

She added, “With the MOU, we can look forward to novel AI solutions that will make an impact on the way Singaporeans – and people around the world – live and work. This is one of the many examples of how the public service and private sector can come together to undertake innovative projects for the greater good.”

Technology Featured East Asia

SK Telecom introduces new AI service ‘A.’

Seoul, South Korea — SK Telecom (SKT) has announced the launch of its new AI service named ‘A.’ or ‘A dot’ as an open beta version for Android on One Store and Google Play, with SKT currently working on ‘A.’ for iOS and plans to release the service as soon as possible.

‘A.’ embodies SKT’s vision to become a leading AI Service Company that realizes greater value and convenience in customers’ daily lives through warm, human-centred technologies and services.’

Ryu Young-sang, CEO of SKT, said, “We created ‘A.’ as a means to provide customers with the benefits of warm, human-centred technologies in this era of AI. Going forward, we expect ‘A.’ to constantly grow and become a more valuable service with the active participation of customers.”

‘A.’ handles many different tasks on customers’ smartphones and recommends or plays music or video that matches their preferences making it a beneficial time-saving solution.

Built with advanced natural language processing and sentiment analysis technologies, ‘A.’ enables customers to create and enjoy communicating with an AI character that understands them well. The key AI technology applied to ‘A.’ naturally combines daily conversations based on the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 with the handling of specific tasks requested by customers. While having a free conversation with ‘A.’, customers can naturally shift to task-oriented dialogue.

Like other AI apps, ‘A.’ users can create and customize an AI character that reflects their personalities; communicate with the character through conversations or text messages, and ask for diverse information.

Through seamless interconnection with apps like FLO for music, Wavve for OTT, T Map for navigation, ‘A.’ allows customers to conveniently use a long list of services with their SK Telecom T ID. Customers can also send text messages, make phone calls, set alarms, manage schedules, and check daily information like weather, news and stock quotes.

In the second half of this year, SKT plans to add new features to ‘A.’ including ‘My TV’ and games. Other features like English learning, photo management, and concierge/expert will also be added going forward. SKT also plans to expand the features of ‘A.’ through partnerships with other companies.

Marketing Featured ANZ

AI programmatic marketing firm Scibids launches in ANZ, unveils country manager

Sydney, Australia — Paris-based AI programmatic marketing firm Scibids has announced that it has launched in Australia and New Zealand. Scibids, which builds artificial intelligence for marketing, has appointed former JAPAC sales director for Flashtalking by Mediaocean, James Whitbread, as country manager for ANZ and has also elevated its former commercial director for India, Mansi Garg, to be the commercial director for ANZ.

Scibids AI supports strategic business outcomes for brands by building customizable algorithms for powerful ad decision making that don’t rely on user tracking and profiling to deliver immediate and measurable results.

Scibids AI is enabled within leading Demand Side Platforms, and helps unify the ad stack between planning and measurement and delivers measurable ROI for a long-lasting competitive advantage.

Rahul Vasudev, managing director for Scibids APAC, said that Australia is a market leader in the adoption of new technology, and given the market dynamics around media costs, desire for transparency and talent, an Artificial Intelligence solution like Scibids is a perfect fit.

“We are excited to be able to officially launch in Australia and New Zealand with two highly passionate and experienced individuals like James and Mansi,” Vasudev said.

Whitbread has more than 17 years of media experience across various ad tech, digital and programmatic businesses including DoubleVerify and most recently at Flashtalking. In those roles, Whitbread has been working with high-value brands and agencies plus collaborating with various DSP’s, SSP’s, and ad server partners.

Meanwhile, Garg holds extensive experience in the marketing and advertising industry. Most recently, Garg worked with Scibids in India and also worked for multiple years for the media company GroupM in Australia.

The hiring of Whitbread and Garg comes at a time of quick expansion for Scibids, who recently announced the hiring of in-market teams in Japan as well as India.

Whitbread commented on his appointment, saying, “Both Mansi and I are very excited to be joining Scibids at such a crucial time for the company’s expansion globally and regionally. Scibids is a unique proposition in the fact that it removes the guesswork. Programmatic businesses get an upfront view of the likelihood of AI improving their results. But in addition to improving media efficiency, Scibids brings a huge amount of automation benefits to the trading units as well. Given the shortage of Programmatic Traders in the AUNZ market, this brings massive efficiency to the operations as well.’’

Technology Featured Global

Taboola updates AI-powered tech for advertisers’ autonomous campaign management

Singapore – Advertising company Taboola has announced an update to ‘SmartBid’, an AI-powered technology that helps advertisers maximize their campaign performance even more autonomously.

The update, known as ‘SmartBid Dimensions’, now allows advertisers to couple contextual and demographic data with more user dimensions on readers – data points which uniquely connect content, consumers and interests, and are sourced from the company’s 500 million active users and 30 billion clicks annually.

The original SmartBid software was first introduced in 2018, which uses readership pattern data from global campaigns that reach more than 500 million daily active users and deep learning algorithms to adjust advertisers’ bids, to drive actions an advertiser wants to accomplish.

Prior to the new update, SmartBid took advantage of Taboola’s scale and size, including its curiosity graph – the connection between reader interests across content – to make decisions on behalf of the advertiser when it came to auction price.

“It is so important to help advertisers succeed, because advertiser success is directly correlated to publishers’ success and it keeps the open web thriving. SmartBid is one of the most sophisticated A.I. technologies in the world, now providing advertisers an autonomous autopilot-like experience, where they can keep their hand on the wheel, but let the car drive on its own,” said Adam Singolda, CEO and founder at Taboola.

In hindsight, SmartBid analyzed a site’s performance, and used that as a main signal to adjust the price an advertiser should pay. For example, if a site drove less conversions for an advertiser, SmartBid would adjust the price lower and vice versa. That still meant that advertisers had to be somewhat leaned in, to take into consideration more granular circumstances such as geography, time of day, day of week, platform, operating system, creative, and dozens more.

Singolda adds that what makes their company unique from a data perspective is that they sit on a ‘curiosity graph’, which understands what people do when they finish reading an article. He adds that this data shows a much more authentic version of consumers versus what they tell social networks about themselves.

“That helps SmartBid make accurate predictions, and as of now will help our advertisers to go beyond human capabilities to reach better results, while being even more hands off. I’m so proud of our algorithm teams for working hard to make our advertisers, publishers and open web successful,” he concluded.

Technology Featured Global

InMoment appoints Mehul Nagrani as GM for AI product and technology

Sydney, Australia – Experience improvement (XI) solutions company InMoment has appointed Mehul Nagrani as the company’s new general manager for AI product and technology. He brings in extensive experience in leveraging machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) to deliver artificial intelligence (AI) products and technology that operationalize experience data to drive better business decisioning.

He was most recently the founder and CEO of Fokal AI, an AI automation company and platform for ML applications. Prior to Fokal, he also served as the EVP and general manager, digital for Univision Communications where he transformed the division including its technology stack, personnel, products and overall financial performance. He was an engagement manager for McKinsey & Company, and an IC design engineer for Micron and Intel.

Nagrani’s appointment follows the recently announced acquisition of Lexalytics, a provider of cloud and on-premise natural language processing and machine learning. The Lexalytics technology team will report to Mehul, and he will report to Andrew Joiner, InMoment CEO.

For Joiner, Nagrani’s appointment comes at a significant time of growth and investment for the company, adding that when they introduced the idea of experience improvement last September and challenged the industry to do more, they did so with the knowledge that acting on data is paramount. 

“Experiences are changing every day, and expectations are dynamic. Our vision of AI is to offer faster progress and improved decision making by automating tasks that can easily be facilitated through technology. We are tuning our approach to the tasks of CX professionals to give them more scale,” Joiner stated.

Speaking about his appointment, Nagrani commented, “InMoment has consistently been recognised not only for its future-proof vision but also its ability to execute on that vision. I was drawn to InMoment largely because of its comprehensive vision, innovative approach and caliber of talent.”

He added, “While already an industry-leader, accelerating the advancement of AI-based technology that leverages all types and forms of data, will help InMoment and our customers better deliver on the promise of experience improvement. I look forward to working with the combined InMoment and Lexalytics teams to accelerate this progress.” 

InMoment has also recently appointed Eric Weight as its VP of solutions consulting for APAC.

Technology Featured ANZ

Creative agency Orchard amps up Hyundai AU’s FB CX with devt of AI keyword recognition

Australia – Hyundai in Australia has partnered with creative agency Orchard to enhance its customer engagement on Facebook. The new tech developed by the agency is an AI smart assistant keyword recognition on the brand’s posts on Facebook.

The new Facebook chatbot is customer experience and smart execution rolled into two key user journeys. Its direct to Messenger feature focuses on helping users discover the Hyundai vehicle they may be interested in and providing a direct line of contact with customer care through phone support or via the enquiry process.

In addition to this, when users comment on a Facebook post with specific questions, the AI capabilities of the chatbot are able to harness the power of keywords and respond in real-time. The keywords trigger the Hyundai Smart Assistant, inviting customers to discover valuable information about the model or post.

Furthermore, Orchard has implemented an auto-comment response on Facebook posts, which allows the public to see when other users’ comments have been acknowledged by Hyundai.

Kevin Goult, Hyundai’s director of marketing for Australia, shared that conversational UI is redefining community management, and they wanted to extend Hyundai’s offering by providing customers with a helpful experience on social channels. 

“We are confident the Facebook chatbot created by Orchard will deliver a higher level of customer satisfaction and engagement with Hyundai,” said Goult.

The new feature is an Australian automotive first for community management, which aims to assist current and prospective Hyundai owners to interactively find information about vehicles while on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Andrew Killey, Orchard’s practice lead, noted, “Customers love the convenience and can become easily frustrated by having to wait online for answers. We wanted to create a seamless UI experience that engages users with Hyundai right from the start of the customer journey until the very end.”

Paul Balbo, the client partner at Facebook Australia, commented, “We are confident that this Messenger project will help Hyundai increase customer satisfaction, lower costs and ultimately drive sales.”

Just recently, Hyundai has unveiled its newest ‘Tomorrow wants its car back’ campaign for its all-new car model, ‘Hyundai Tucson’. It features the car’s futuristic look with the appearance of robots coming from the future to steal back what is rightfully theirs from 2021.

Platforms Featured Global

Shutterstock acquires three AI platforms as part of new subsidiary launch

New York, USA – Global creative platform Shutterstock has announced the launch of new subsidiary Shutterstock.AI, which aims to offer computer vision and predictive performance solutions with the goal of enhancing creative performance. To mark the launch, it has also acquired three artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to boost the offering.

Said platforms are marketing platform Pattern89, content personalization platform Datasine, and image intelligence platform Shotzr. All of the companies have an aggregate cash consideration paid among them by Shutterstock amounting to US$35m.

Through the new offering, Shutterstock.AI will continue to rapidly develop its own predictive performance capabilities to help creatives and customers accomplish their goals by making more data-informed content decisions.

In addition, Shutterstock.AI will commercialize data assets within Shutterstock’s immense content library, which includes over 400 million images, videos, music tracks, and 3D models, as well as partner with innovative companies to grow their capabilities in computer vision and content insights to power the next generation of AI models.

Stan Pavlovsky, chief executive officer at Shutterstock, said the offering will help their customers globally solve the biggest creative challenge they have: discovering and selecting the right content that is relevant, and that resonates with audiences. He added that they want their customers to ‘create with confidence’ based on their content.

“To complement this, Shutterstock.AI will also help new customer segments accelerate the development of artificial intelligence, by unlocking the power of the data associated with our vast content library. From autonomous vehicles, to content moderation, to AI powered process automation, Shutterstock.AI’s high quality data and services will enable companies to develop the next generation of technologies,” Pavlovsky.

The company also stated that they see the future of creativity through the lens of performance, as the engine that will transform customers’ ideas into accomplishments.

“With the acquisition of these three creative AI companies, and the creation of Shutterstock.AI, Shutterstock is redefining what creativity means, and helping solve our customers’ problems by expertly navigating the availability of content. Looking ahead, Shutterstock.AI will develop predictive creative AI models, leveraging cutting edge technology to help customers make more informed content choices, providing more confidence about the performance of what they produce,” Shutterstock said in a press statement.

Technology Featured APAC

E-commerce enabler Awake Asia merges with ADA for market expansion

Singapore – Awake Asia, a regional e-commerce enabler, has announced that it will be now merging with data and AI company ADA, which will help both of the companies empower their services across 10 markets in Asia Pacific, particularly in the e-commerce sector.

Awake Asia’s integration under the ADA brand is effective 1 June this year, where they will serve the markets of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, South Korea, and Vietnam.

The merger entails the combination of Awake Asia’s deep e-commerce expertise with ADA’s media, creative, and analytics solutions to drive online sales for brands. This is best applied through digital marketing deeply linked to e-commerce revenue generation; consumer data and analytics leveraged to uplift e-commerce sales; and reaching vast audiences in super-apps and marketplaces.

For Srinivas Gattamneni, chief executive officer of ADA, the merger brings together an integrated approach for brands to reach and convert digital consumers, which is best supported by the fact that more brands are forced to adapt to capture the ‘great migration’ of consumers from offline to online, and business owners still in the dark on how to navigate the challenges to maximize return on investment.

“At ADA, our belief is that e-commerce should not be a siloed execution but needs to be deeply integrated into the brand’s analytics, media, creative, and marketing technology investments – only then can we achieve superior performance,” he said.

Leading the new division is Simon Paterson who joins ADA as chief of e-commerce enablement and the former CEO of Awake Asia. 

Commenting on his new appointment, he said “Over the past 5 years, Awake Asia has built a formidable e-commerce enablement business in Southeast Asia. We are excited to embark on this new phase of growth with integrated analytics, media, and creative to boost e-commerce operations for all brands in the region.”

The merger opens a new market for ADA in Vietnam with over 150 e-commerce specialists currently serving more than 120 brands, driving e-commerce growth for clients such as P&G, Unilever, BMW, and Wyeth; and e-commerce partners including Shopee, Tokopedia, and Lazada among others.

ADA has recently been expanding its data and AI-oriented services across Asia Pacific, such as launching its martech service, an end-to-end e-commerce service, and its partnership with Insider for data-led enterprise marketing endeavors, as well its recent US$60m funding from Softbank.