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Marketing Featured APAC

Mediabrands appoints Harrison Boys as director for standards, investment product for APAC

Singapore – Mediabrands, IPG Mediabrands’ media and marketing solutions arm, has appointed Harrison Boys to the newly-made role of APAC director for standards and investment product, effective immediately. He will be responsible for leading the strategic direction and product development for digital standards in the Asia-Pacific region, and will focus on developing and maintaining long term brand hygiene strategies.

In addition, Boys will be also responsible for working closely with partners to ensure that their product development roadmap is aligned with Mediabrands future facing standards strategy; and developing internal products that provide a more transparent view of our partner ecosystem to our clients.

With eight years of industry experience, five of which with Mediabrands’ MAGNA, he has been responsible for delivering significant projects around brand safety, ad fraud, media responsibility, and in-depth media partner assessments, in addition to developing investment products.

One of his notable works include being the author of the “2021 Dis/Misinformation Challenge for Marketers” research study report, which examines the accelerating amount of inaccurate and misleading content appearing across online news outlets and social media platforms; and what brands can do to ensure a more brand-safe environment.

Speaking about his appointment, he said, “I am excited to be working back home in the Asia-Pacific region. Working in such a diverse region is an exciting prospect as it offers significant opportunities to contribute to the sustainability of the online ecosystem.

He will be reporting to Raja Kanniappan, chief financial officer at Mediabrands APAC, and will be based in New Zealand.

Kanniappan said, “The topics areas Harrison specialises in have become increasingly important to clients, agencies, and the wider industry. Harrison’s objectives for the region will be to implement strategy and education on media standards, increase alignment and capabilities for assessing our media partners, and working with existing teams to advance our investment product.”

Meanwhile, Leigh Terry, CEO at Mediabrands APAC, commented, “Welcoming Harrison to Mediabrands Asia-Pacific is the latest in a series of key appointments where we are investing in specialized talent within our region to provide a central and consistent focus to progress the health and sustainability of our industry, in addition to working with clients and platforms to share best practices around upholding suitability standards for advertisers.”

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Technology Featured APAC

Wootag secures fresh funding to boost AI capabilities for in-video interactivity

Singapore – Wootag, a visual marketing SaaS company, will be using its latest series A funding worth around US$1.7m to enhance its AI capabilities of the in-video interactivity of its technology. Said funding was led by Cornerstone Venture Partners Fund (CSVP), with further backing from existing investors Wavemaker and SEEDS Capital.

In addition, the funding will also fuel Wootag’s expansion plan to scale in Asia-Pacific markets and empower the recent launch of their ‘Creative Automation’ product, where brands can showcase the product collections within videos.

Raj Sunder, CEO and founder at Wootag, said that the new investment will support them in providing marketers a platform to drive in-visual interactions, conversions and insights. He added that participation from new and existing investors shows confidence that Wootag is one of the top visual interactive players in Asia-Pacific.

“The visual marketing sector is growing exponentially year-on-year, and it is continually evolving with new developments occurring all the time. Digital marketers are exploring ways to adapt around this latest market development. To date, more than 1 billion viewers across the globe have watched and interacted with videos that have been Wootagged,” Sunder said.

The company launched Wootag Signal in 2021, empowering marketers to utilize real-time conditions, including weather conditions and football matches, as a trigger to engage with audiences and deliver marketing messages. In-video interactions can be generated at various points of the video without leaving the video ad, including purchases, sign-ups, participation in polls, receive promotions, view product catalogs, make bookings, view store locations, to name a few.

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Platforms Featured APAC

Cartoon Network’s new brand experience invites kids to redraw their world

Singapore – Cartoon Network, one of the largest kid channels on television, has unveiled its latest brand experience called ‘Redraw Your World’ for its APAC market. This new brand experience aims to appeal to a wider demographic, as well as inviting kids to always be true to themselves, and be confident in their abilities to impact real change in both big and small ways. 

As part of the new brand experience, Cartoon Network will be donning new vibrant colors, music and design for its programming. In addition, the network will be premiering two episodes of ‘We Baby Bears’, a spin-off of the popular series ‘We Bare Bears’ on 8 January.

Moreover, Cartoon Network is looking to launch pop-up doodle stations and craft videos powered by Crayola, the regional campaign’s official ‘creativity partner’. Armed with inspiration and the right tools for creativity, kids are invited to express themselves and let their imagination run free by drawing or doodling their vision of the world they want to live in.

The video series, entitled ‘Craft Your World’, will launch on Cartoon Network Asia and Crayola websites and social channels in the coming weeks until the end of 2022.

Leslie Lee, head of Cartoon Network and WarnerMedia Kids in Asia Pacific, said, “Cartoon Network is committed to inspiring imaginations and empowering kids. It’s a vibrant and fun place where differences are always celebrated.”

‘Redraw Your World’ physical events are also taking place from February onwards in malls across the region, including in Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines. These will be complemented by a rich content offering including AR filters on Instagram.

Meanwhile, only in Singapore, Cartoon Network has teamed up with NTUC FairPrice and Plus! Programme in 2022 for a number of initiatives. Cartoon Network characters will be also on show in the build up to the Chingay Parade 2022 later this month. Cartoonito, a preschool programming block on Cartoon Network, will be launching in Asia later in the year.

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Platforms Featured APAC

Premier League rolls out Asia campaign to discourage piracy of football matches

Hong Kong – Premier League, one of the well-known football leagues globally, has rolled out its second phase of anti-piracy campaign across Asia, specifically to the markets of Hong Kong and Malaysia. Said campaign is centered around the dangers that illegal football streams pose to fans.

Done in partnership with broadcast partners Astro and PCCW, the campaign notes the perils of patronizing illegal football streams which include data theft to malicious malware, as well as emphasizing the poor viewing experience through broken links and delays.

Said campaign will feature images of fan favorites such as Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min and Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp. In addition, the campaign will be rolled out across digital platforms in Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Speaking about the campaign, Kevin Plumb, director of legal services at Premier League, said, “This campaign is an important part of our education to fans. We will continue working with our broadcast partners to fight piracy and disrupt illegal Premier League streams. However, we want to ensure supporters really understand that piracy is not only illegal but also brings with it many risks.”

He added, “Illegal Premier League streaming also means missing out on watching high-definition games in real-time with expert commentary and insights from players and managers. We want fans to enjoy the best Premier League viewing experience possible via official broadcast channels, not via broken and delayed illegal sources which also bring with them a great risk of malicious malware and ransomware.”

The Premier League is committed to tackling piracy and continues to work closely with its official broadcast partners in the region to educate consumers on the dangers they face when watching illegal football streams.

Furthermore, across the Southeast Asia region, the Premier League has also been targeting those responsible for operating illegal football streams and bringing them to justice through the courts.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Porsche’s anniv ad celebrates those who dare to chase their dreams

Singapore – Global luxury car brand Porsche has just released its latest film that both celebrates the brand’s 20 years of existence in the Asia-Pacific market, and a tribute to those that keep on chasing their dreams towards reality.

Directed by Singaporean filmmaker Roslee Yusof, the story follows the journey of two childhood friends pursuing their passions that are at odds with typical notions of ‘success’. Along the way, the protagonists face pressure from convention, fear of failure and personal challenges – but in the end, rise above and achieve fulfilment on their own terms. 

Said film echoes the words from founder Perry Porscho, who states that ‘In the beginning, I looked around and could not find quite the car I dreamed of, so I decided to build it myself’, hence the brand goes by the tagline of ‘Driven by Dreams’. Furthermore, the company translates this ‘chasing dreams’ theme in a regional context. 

Speaking about the campaign, Yannick Ott, marketing director at Porsche Asia Pacific, said that the film celebrates the dreams that drive all of us, the spirit of staying true to oneself, while venturing forward in a world where expectations of gender, culture and success can pull one in many different directions.

“We have seen exceptional growth in this part of the world; inspired by the creative force of a youthful population and their personal aspirations, we expect that this region will enjoy one of the most exciting prospects for the years ahead. Against this backdrop, want to reinforce the message that the future is in the hands of those who follow their dreams,” Ott stated.

In relation to the ad release, Porsche also announced last week a long-term partnership with non-profit organization United Women Singapore (UWS), supporting their Girls2Pioneers program. Said program reaches out to girls from underserved communities, aged 10-16, to encourage them to pursue their passions in higher education and careers, thus paving the way for a more gender-equal society.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Wunderman Thompson unveils new senior leadership elevations for APAC, AU

Singapore – Advertising company Wunderman Thompson has elevated former CEO for ANZ Lee Leggett to the company’s role of chief growth officer for Asia-Pacific. Through the new role, she will lead the strategic growth for the network with a focus on new business and key clients across the region.

In addition, Wunderman Thompson has also announced the elevation of Matt Parry, former managing director for the agency’s Sydney office, to the position of CEO for Australia.

With more than 20 years of digital and international experience, Leggett first joined Wunderman Thompson in June 2020. Through her tenure as CEO for ANZ, the company has clocked in several achievements, including the appointment as UNDP’s global digital experience agency and business wins including the University of Melbourne, Department of Education and NSW Rural Fire Service.

Speaking about her appointment, Leggett said, “I have felt honoured to have spent the last few years running our Australian business and looking after our people and clients in such an extraordinary time. To be able to do that across the region is a brilliant opportunity. Our business in Australia is in great hands with Matt and the rest of the team and I look forward to being able to continue to work with them as I start my new APAC role in 2022.”

Meanwhile, Parry began his career with the network in 2006, before moving to Asia in 2012. Before his move to Sydney, Parry was formerly managing director of Wunderman Thompson Hong Kong where he grew the agency to be one of the strongest in the market.

Speaking on his appointment, he said, “The Wunderman Thompson business in Australia has amazing people, capabilities and clients. I couldn’t be happier to take up this role, and to carry on Lee’s brilliant work in setting us up for a fantastic 2022.”

Both Leggett and Parry will report to Ewen Sturgeon, CEO International at Wunderman Thompson.

“Over the past two years, Lee has created a strong Australian business with inspiring momentum behind it, and this new regional role is a testament to her work. Lee leaves it in a great position for Matt, who I have no doubt will continue this success and take Australia to new heights,” Sturgeon said.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Digital agency Dept expands to APAC

Singapore – Dept, a Netherlands-based digital agency has announced that it will be expanding to the Asia-Pacific region, marking it with the appointment of former Havas Group CEO Vishnu Mohan to assume the agency’s partner and chief growth officer role.

Dept, founded in 2015, is majority owned by Carlyle, a global private equity firm. Dept has recently acquired design and experience agency BASIC®️, as well as creative marketing technology agency Byte.

Through the market expansion, Dept said it will follow an acquisition-led growth approach to grow to 1,000 people and contribute 10% to global revenues by 2024. This will be complemented with a Singapore hub and a satellite team in Manila.

Meanwhile, Mohan, who will work closely with Dimi Albers, Global CEO of Dept, joins the agency after a 25 year stint with Vivendi’s Havas Group, where he was widely recognized as the key figure behind the launch and development of the group in Asia Pacific.

Speaking about his appointment, Mohan said that he looks forward to working with Albers and the teams, adding that they will be leveraging the agency’s growing client base and track record in the region to build a business that is ‘big enough to cope and at the same time small enough to care’.

“Dept is a very strong digital transformation agency with a rich tech heritage. Their integrated one-stop-shop principle of delivering tech, design, creative and performance with a simple structure, speed, clarity, and personal contact is why I truly believe it can make a difference in the APAC markets,” he said.

Meanwhile, Albers commented that a team on APAC that will work fully integrated with their teams across EMEA and the Americas will help them make an even bigger impact in the region, both for global clients and local brands. He added that with Mohan’s network, market knowledge, and growth mindset, they have found the right leader to boost their Asia journey.

“Over the last few years, we’ve delivered a variety of impactful projects in the Asia Pacific market for brands like Mizuno, Samsung, Weber, Fujitsu, and KLM. Our vision has always been to help our clients work with the best talent in the world, regardless of geography,” Albers concluded.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Channel Factory launches in AU, appoints Kevin Wong as VP for APAC

Sydney, Australia – Global brand suitability platform Channel Factory has announced that it will be expanding its operations in Australia, and has hired Kevin Wong, former head of product marketing at TikTok, to be Channel Factory’s new vice president for Asia-Pacific. This new development will help Australian brands have greater control over contextual targeting and conscious advertising on user-generated content platforms.

Wong will be working alongside Alex Littlejohn, managing director for APAC at Channel Factory, to spearhead the growth of Channel Factory in Asia-Pacific. Wong will also be responsible for leading operations, product strategy, development, and driving sales growth.

Channel Factory’s technology allows brands to contextually target audiences on user-generated content platforms, brands have greater control over ad placements in a way that aligns with their brand values and eliminates reputational risks.

In addition, with the company being a YouTube measurement program partner, Channel Factory focuses on maximizing brand suitability, turning YouTube’s five billion videos and 500 hours per minute of new content into efficient advertising opportunities.

Speaking about his appointment, Wong said that he is thrilled at joining the company, adding that they want to achieve their mission of building a better digital advertising ecosystem by connecting brands with the right consumers in the right context; content that incorporates a brand’s definition of what is and is not suitable for that brand to be running adjacent to.

“Currently, there is a disconnect between the level of investments brands are making in user-generated content platforms, and the level of contextual targeting of audiences. Our goal for Channel Factory is to eliminate this reputational risk [while] maintaining the ROI of their campaigns across YouTube today and all platforms in the future,” Wong said.

Meanwhile, Littlejohn commented that their expansion to Australia is a step further in their mission to enable CMOs to consciously connect with consumers. He also added that Wong has a wealth of international experience and they are delighted to have him spearhead their operations in Australia and the wider APAC region.

“Channel Factory’s brand suitability solution goes far beyond traditional brand safety technologies and brings the contextual alignment of traditional TV and broadcast environments to user-generated content, while embedding its own brand values into the media planning strategy. Brand suitability is the metric that marketers need to work towards, in making sure they maximize their return on ad spend,” Littlejohn said.

Along with Wong, Channel Factory has made a number of diverse experienced hires, including Zenith’s Rhys Bennett as sales solution director.

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Marketing Featured APAC

The Hoffman Agency launches consulting arm PR+ to improve B2B media exchange

Singapore – Integrated communications agency The Hoffman Agency has announced the launch of PR+, a premium media consulting arm targeted to help the exchange between media practitioners and B2B tech brands in the Asia-Pacific region.

The regional PR+ media hub will lead media relations and editorial support in collaboration with local market media consultants in each market in the network, including Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Indonesia.

Said consulting arm forms part of the agency’s integrated marketing communications (IMC) offering introduced in June 2021, and draws on expertise in Asia-Pacific media and content across the network.

According to the agency, while there is an evident communications industry’s rush to adopt new services beyond PR, there has been a loss of focus on the craft of media relations, and that there remains a significant misalignment between B2B technology brands and the media, which PR+ will help resolve. 

Some of the issues PR+ intend to address include the inability to clearly articulate what brands do, jargon-heavy communications regardless of audience, an overload of product announcements and messages, a tendency to talk about product and brand out of context, andand unrealistic coverage expectations.

Caroline Hsu, managing director for APAC at The Hoffman Agency, said that PR+ aims to improve the ability of media relations to tackle business challenges such as international expansion, attracting investment and new customers, and growing the workforce.

“Addressing the gap between brands and media is key to achieving this, and it means putting content at the center and ensuring stories are grounded in the real world, with genuine value for journalists and their audiences,” Hsu stated.

The PR+ counsel will include workshops to audit client assets and identify key points that are’ relevant to current business affairs. Furthermore, other initiatives include story and story bank development, the creation of straightforward, engaging content that eliminates jargon; and the launch of media intelligence that includes C-suite spokesperson training, guidance on achieving coverage in top-tier media, and on running international media programs.

Alessandra Tinio, director of brand communications at The Hoffman Agency, commented that the agency’s specialization in technology and experience in distilling worthwhile stories from complex and outwardly dry subject matter sets a solid foundation for PR+.

“As an agency, it is our duty to act as a true partner to clients, not simply as additional arms and legs. That means looking at the story from the media’s perspective and building a realistic understanding of the process of securing meaningful coverage,” Tinio said.

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Platforms Featured APAC

Global payments platform Thunes announces new SVPs for APAC, Greater China

Singapore – Global cross-border payments platform Thunes has announced the appointment of new senior vice presidents in the Asia-Pacific, namely Biren Zandani, SVP for Asia Pacific and Daphne Huang, SVP for Greater China.

Zandani, who is based in Singapore, is a recognized payments expert with over 20 years of experience in financial services, particularly B2B, B2P, and P2P payments. Prior to joining Thunes, he was the head of APAC at Transfast, a Mastercard company, where he was in charge of generating revenue and establishing robust network partnerships. He was also the head of business development and network management for SEA and ANZ at Earthport, now Visa Direct.

Meanwhile, Huang, based in Beijing, brings in over two decades of sales, business development, banking, and fintech experience. She was previously the head of China for SWIFT, where she spearheaded its strategic and business development initiatives.

In addition to the two new appointments, Thunes has also appointed other SVPs in other regions, namely Jenna Wyer, SVP for the Americas and Simon Nelson, SVP for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Speaking about the new senior hires, Aik Boon Tan, chief commercial officer at Thunes, said, “We have been ramping up our efforts to piece together a best-in-class team and solidify our leadership globally. The company is now in a position to take on new challenges with an expanded leadership team.”

He added, “We have added four highly talented regional senior vice presidents (SVPs) to complement the strong leadership we already have in Africa and Europe, who together will accelerate our growth of Thunes across the different regions where we operate. And I’m glad to highlight that half of our global SVPs now are women, as diversity in the workplace can only strengthen us as a company.”