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Marketing Featured South Asia

This COVID-19 initiative by EETech is both a tribute–and an innovative product

Mumbai, India – India was one of those countries globally that have been greatly affected by the pandemic, especially during 2021 when the country had a shortage of hospital spaces to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Reflecting on these events that shocked the nation, eco-friendly solutions company Eco Eclectic Technologies (EETech) has worked with creative agency Cheil Worldwide India in creating hospital beds out of waste face masks and PPEs.

In a film shown by the company, it stressed that thousands of people have passed away when they could not receive treatment due to the lack of available beds. In parallel, 100 million masks every month are being thrown into landfills. This non-biodegradable waste is littering our streets, landfills and even on our oceans.

The process features in a campaign, called ‘The Novel Bed Project’, showing a hospital bed being lovingly created from scratch, using discarded PPE kits, more than a thousand used masks, coffee waste, eco-friendly laminated paper and scrap materials.

“Exactly one year after the brutal second wave sent ripples through the country, the first bed made has been endorsed by doctors and donated to a hospital in Delhi, serving as a tribute to all the loved ones we had lost during the difficult period,” the agency said in a press statement.

Dr. Binish Desai, founder at Eco Eclectic Technologies, said, “I saw the amount of waste being generated by single use masks and I started experimenting. I don’t see waste as a waste, I see it as a resource. As humans we have created it, so it is our responsibility to get rid of it and so I started this particular project. Coming up with innovation from pandemic-related waste is very important.”

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Upputuru, CCO at Cheil India said, “We needed a novel way to address Covid waste in a way that would benefit society. With the dire shortage of hospital beds in India, we knew of no better way to repurpose the waste than to create much needed hospital beds. Something only possible by collaborating with Dr Desai’s EETech, the world leaders in breakthrough recycling technologies. The first bed produced was presented to a hospital in Delhi as a tribute to the ones we lost.”

The one-minute film, made by production house Epitome, breaks on 27 April in India across digital platforms and aims to educate people about the amount of pandemic waste generated by discarded face masks, how to dispose of it in a way that benefits communities and how it can be used to overcome hospital bed shortages.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

NSW state gov’t partners with media agency UM to launch latest vaccine campaign

Sydney, Australia – Australian state democratic administrative authority of New South Wales, NSW Government, has launched its new advertising campaign, designed to reach all audiences, targets everyone 16 years and older encouraging them to get their COVID-19 booster shot.

Developed in partnership with media agency UM, the new campaign expands on the NSW Government’s original ‘Let’s Do This’ campaign released last August and reinforces the importance of getting a COVID-19 booster to reduce the risk of severe illness and help protect communities.

Moreover, it includes ads in 19 languages, including Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Hindi, and Italian, amongst others, as well as advertising for the Aboriginal community, which appears in the Koori Mail, on radio, social media, and digital display, as well as video.

Isobel Scouler, NSW Government’s director of brand and campaigns for Department of Customer Services, noted that it is imperative the whole NSW community, no matter their language or cultural background, receives accurate and timely information about how important it is to receive a booster shot in their fight against COVID-19. 

“The campaign commences with broad reach channels and will be continually optimised to target populations that may be dropping behind in booster uptake, to ensure we are encouraging all people to have a booster to protect them and their family,” said Scouler.

Meanwhile, Andrew Clift, UM’s senior account director, shared that the campaign with such a relevant message needed a media strategy to reach all members of the NSW community but could also speak to the individual motivations and barriers of key segments. 

“At such a critical juncture in the NSW Government’s vaccine campaign we needed a major media campaign, strategically planned to engage with key audience segments across NSW, including regional NSW, Youth, CALD communities and Aboriginal audiences,” said Clift.

The campaign will run until April 2022 across print, television, radio, outdoor, and digital, as well as social media.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

NZ agency Motion Sickness’ campaign targets to make Christmas safer for all of us

Auckland, New Zealand – In a bid to remind all of us to always keep safe come the Christmas festivities, New Zealand-based agency Motion Sickness has launched its newest campaign for their clients that plays on the notion of protocols we use to keep safe from COVID-19.

Titled ‘Scan In Santa’, the campaign features an artisan biscuit containing a directive for Saint Nick to follow the COVID protocol, all contained in a QR code. By scanning it, not only ensures that people can meet Santa safely this year, but each box also represents an NZ$40 donation to the Auckland Foundation COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

Will Macdonald, creative at Motion Sickness, said, “Given the events of the past year, it’s understandable that people might feel apprehensive about welcoming strangers back into their homes, let alone a paunch-bellied old man down their chimneys. With this in mind, we wanted to ensure Santa’s sack contains nil but joy.”

The campaign is a Christmas-themed target to the ‘new normal’ of relentless sanitizing, mask wearing and generalized droplet anxiety that has left this Christmas tradition in peril. In addition, with the long tail of COVID-19 wrapping itself around everything in its path, the preservation of a wholesome 2021 Christmas was paramount.

Meanwhile, Sam Stuchbury, founder and executive creative director at Motion Sickness, commented, “Let us be your Bloomfield as you sleep peacefully through the night, before Santa fills your stocking with everything you ever wished for.”

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Marketing Featured ANZ

UNICEF Australia, Carat embark on phase two of vaccine equity campaign

Sydney, Australia – In a bid to promote vaccine equity for all, dentsu’s media agency arm Carat and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Australia have launched the second phase of their ‘Give The World a Shot’ campaign, which targets to drive donations from Australians to ensure vaccine equity for all. In addition, the agency also called on the business community to get behind this initiative.

For AU$5, the amount will be able to deliver two COVID-19 vaccine doses – enough to fully vaccinate one person. A donation of AU$500 can help to deliver enough vaccines to protect 100 people from the virus.

Dentsu had announced last month that they had joined the COVID Vaccination of UNICEF Australia to support positive vaccine advocacy and encourage donations for the global COVAX initiative, which has to date seen 398.9 million doses delivered to 144 countries. The expectation is to deliver 1.4 billion doses by the end of 2021, with a target of 2 billion in early 2022.

Sue Squillace, CEO at dentsu Media ANZ, stated that working with UNICEF Australia has been such a rewarding experience for all of them and that they look forward to seeing the campaign come to fruition, adding that they have seen Aussies rise to the COVID-19 challenge and believe they will rally again behind this worthy cause to help UNICEF deliver vaccinations across the world.

“Leveraging our understanding of the Australian context and how people are feeling right now, we have created a tailored ‘Give The World A Shot’ campaign unique to this market with a sense of positivity and optimism. We could not be happier with the message we are putting out there,” Squillance said.

Carat hopes that the campaign encourages all Australians to pay it forward and donate to UNICEF’s ‘Give the World a Shot’ initiative. To aid the campaign, the media agency has triggered its ‘Compassionate Explorer’ audience, identified through dentsu’s proprietary planner tool CCS.

Furthermore, the agency has also triggered its media channels by state in line with Freedom Day, particularly across NSW and Victoria. The dynamic digital large format sites are placed in high quality locations and display contextual messaging, comparing the local suburb vaccination rate with that of low-income countries. In addition, digital homepage takeovers across state mastheads align with print ads to drive cut-through and impact in topical environments and will be staggered based on the level of restrictions in each respective state.

For UNICEF Australia CEO Tony Stuart, the organization is working on the largest procurement and supply operation ever to ensure that countries around the globe have equitable access to 3 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. And yet, no organization can do it alone, and everyone has a part to play so nobody misses out, which is why the campaign is vital to drive donations.

“As Australians reach high vaccination rates and we begin to open up to the rest of the world, now is the time for each of us, as individuals, to know the small, but crucial, part we can play in vaccine equity. Thanks to Carat’s help to grow greater awareness of UNICEF’s Give the World a Shot campaign, we can do this,” Stuart stated.

Meanwhile, Amanda Florence, client manager at Carat, commented, “Working with UNICEF to bring to life an incredibly worthy cause has been a humbling experience for our team. We are very lucky to be in a position where we are able to help those less fortunate than ourselves and believe that no matter how big or how small, everyone can help.”

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Paper Moose’s COVID-19 vax ad pitch wins in TV series Gruen

Sydney, Australia – Creative agency Paper Moose’s latest ad pitch depicting the theme of encouraging the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has won against Analogue Folk with a score 4-0 in favor of Paper Moose, in the Australian TV series ‘Gruen’, following the series’ return, as featured on the program segment ‘The Pitch’

‘Gruen’ is an Australian TV series currently airing on the Australian channel ABC which focuses on advertising. Part of that TV series is the segment ‘The Pitch’, where two competing marketing or advertising companies create an advertisement for an ‘unsellable’ product.

On the new ‘The Pitch’ segment, both agencies were asked to create an advertisement encouraging Australians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a topic that dominated the show.

For Analogue Folk’s part, they produced an ad asking why people ignore those they care about, but listen to strangers on the internet spreading misinformation. However, Paper Moose’s ad utilized a high-pressure situation to explore the current issue of skepticism towards COVID-19 vaccinations, where in fact millions of lives currently depend on it.

The ad depicted a man having an allergic reaction but asking questions about the EpiPen he is being administered as he struggles. The ad then ends with a message ‘science has our back’ and to get the vax.

Commenting on the ad execution, ‘Gruen’ panelist and Australian businessman Russel Howcroft stated, “The first commercial from Analogue Folk, I think that was really well made. However, the insight from Paper Moose, in particular the idea that the brand matters, when there’s a bigger thing at play, it really appealed to me enormously.”

Fellow ‘Gruen’ panelist Sunita Gloster also agreed, stating that ‘[Paper Moose’s ad] felt more cohesive and I think it addressed one of the barriers in a way that didn’t get your back up.”

Speaking as well in agreement with Paper Moose’s ad execution, panelist Todd Sampson commented, “I think there was one clear winner there, and it won. I thought that to take one of the big concerns that anti-vaxxers have, and then to dramatize it in that way – by the way I thought they could have gone serious or funny with it, both would have been powerful – I thought the second one [Paper Moose] was much better.”

This is the third season in a row that Paper Moose has taken victory, with a draw the year before.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

6 of 10 small businesses in SG on ‘survival mode’ amid new COVID waves

Singapore As the peril of new waves of COVID-19 outbreaks looms, around 59% of small businesses in Singapore or around six out of ten of them say that they are basically on ‘survival mode’ in terms of operations, a new survey from global services company American Express shows.

The survey notes that only 28% of local businesses say that they are ‘thriving’, while 12% of local businesses note that they are at risk of closing their operations. About 1% of the business respondents replied that they have closed down their operations.

Despite the cautionary mood among the majority of these businesses, about 67% of the respondents are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about their future, noting that this year’s annual sale will be a lot higher compared to their pre-pandemic sales during 2019.

Reasons to note such optimism include increase in revenue from expanding their businesses online (46%), support from new customers (44%), and continued support from regular customers (40%).

In addition, 71% of respondents shared they are optimistic they can thrive in the new normal—with 76% having made adjustments to sustain their business in the next 12 months. The top two changes businesses plan to make in the new normal are to focus more on e-commerce and communicate more with customers via social media.

Ho Yat-Wai, country manager at American Express Singapore, notes that while local businesses are more optimistic after almost two years since the pandemic started, its volatility weighs heavily on business leaders’ ‘minds’, adding that the recent spike in local cases is an example of the fluidity of the situation and difficulty in planning.

However, optimism alone would not drive businesses forward, the study noted, as the uncertainty for concrete business plans to move forward are still prevalent. Only 45% of business leaders state a clear long-term strategy compared to 84% before the pandemic. Meanwhile, Another 25% changed their business strategy to become more agile to better respond to changes, rather than focusing on long-term planning. Among those who do not currently have a business plan, 23% attribute it back to uncertainty.

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Technology Featured APAC

ADA’s newly-launched dashboard features insights on consumer behavior

Singapore – In order to aid the influx of businesses that are now slowly opening up due to easing pandemic restrictions, data and artificial intelligence company ADA has launched a new dashboard that features data-driven insights on the changing consumer behavior in Southeast Asia and South Asia, widely disrupted by COVID-19.

Said index, called ‘The Recovery Index’, leverages ADA’s in-house data management platform, XACT, and was built with anonymized data sourced from millions of mobile devices and apps. While not a traditional economic indicator, businesses can use the dashboard to guide their decision-making by observing consumers’ mobility and digital consumption in near real-time.

Users of the dashboard, which is free to access, can drill down from the regional view to the national and state-level in eight countries, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

A sample screenshot of ADA’s ‘The Recovery Index’

Some of the notable insights lifted off the index as of September 22 include countries in the Southeast Asian region, where for instance, the Philippines where footfall at malls and F&B outlets had recovered fully in June this year before declining to 70% of pre-COVID levels currently following a recent shift in lockdown policies in Manila.

In Indonesia’s case mobility has recovered more quickly in Java where Jakarta is located compared to surrounding islands. Footfall at F&B outlets has climbed to 110% of pre-COVID levels while footfall at malls has fully recovered. Usage of business and productivity apps, however, has collapsed to 60% of pre-COVID levels, even as usage of fitness apps has surged to 140%.

Lastly, in Malaysia, the main economic hub of Klang Valley is leading the recovery vis-a-vis other corridors in the Peninsula and the Bornean states. The recent easing of lockdown measures has seen footfall in malls jump to 130% of pre-COVID levels, even as road density and other mobility indicators are yet to fully recover.

For Srinivas Gattamneni, chief executive officer at ADA, part of the reason the dashboard was released was in response with the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused to business and to consumers, affecting them how they shop, where they go, and what they do on a daily basis.

“We created this dashboard as a resource for businesses to make sense of and respond to the ‘new normal’ in consumer behavior. The dashboard can serve as a guide to what has changed pre- and post-pandemic in terms of shopping, app usage, and mobility, allowing marketers to pivot their customer acquisition and retention strategies in an environment that continues to be volatile,” Gattamneni stated.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Business Council of Australia brings Aussies ‘one shot closer’ to return to normal life in new campaign

Australia – Business Council of Australia, the association of business leaders that gathers and engages in professional, intellectual, and leadership development, has launched a new campaign, aimed at bringing together employers of all sizes from across the economy to boost vaccination rates in the country.

Titled ‘One Shot Closer’, the campaign, which was created in collaboration with creative agency M&C Saatchi and supported by Facebook, seeks to reach at least 80% of Australians and give every business in the country access to a toolkit of messages and assets to let them speak with a united voice. 

The Business Council’s CEO, Jennifer Westacott, shared that the campaign is carefully researched and geared to complement existing state and federal advertising with messages that remind Australians that safe and effective vaccines are their path back.

“This is critical to the economy and the mental health and well-being of all Australians, as businesses across the country are pulling out all stops to reach our vaccination targets and put Australia on track to reopen. We have shown we can bounce back if we plan now to safely reopen, but that all depends on our ability to get Australians vaccinated,” said Westacott.

Meanwhile, Will Easton, Facebook’s managing director for AUNZ, noted that they have supported Aussie businesses and the community in staying connected during these challenging times.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer our support to the ‘One Shot Closer’ campaign and help the Business Council of Australia amplify this important message on our platforms,” said Easton.

Alexi Boyd, the CEO of Council of Small Business Organizations, believes that without a clear roadmap out of COVID restrictions small businesses will struggle to reopen and stay open.

“This initiative will help small businesses by encouraging more Australians to get jabbed, get our communities flourishing again and support Australian businesses,” said Boyd.

The campaign comes as more than 160 businesses employing millions of Australians sign the Business Council’s joint letter backing the National Plan, which is to help the residents to be freed from the pandemic lockdown.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Around 42% of Aussies think non-health brands should engage in vax awareness efforts

Sydney, Australia – As pandemic woes globally are now starting to ease thanks to constant rollout of vaccination campaigns, a large chunk of Australian consumers, around 42% of them, believe that even non-health brands should play their part as well in promoting vaccination campaigns in their respective localities, new data from Kantar shows.

Despite the high percentage of consumers agreeing to heightened brand-centric vaccination campaigns, 74% of Australian consumers still believe that brands should not use the pandemic in exploiting others, while 54% of respondents say that they want brands to talk as they have always done, signaling the balance of brand communications and advocacy.

Such proximate affinity of these consumers to their brands of choice in the mid of the pandemic is rooted in the factor of locality, to which 76% of respondents choose to shop at local stores since it shows importance for the community. This trait has raised 12% since its last reading in April this year. In addition, 35% of respondents strongly suggest that convenience fares better than the price of a brand’s product or service.

Jonathan Sinton, chief commercial officer at Kantar Australia, said, “Homegrown is preferred with 37% continuing to pay attention to product origin, [which is] a marked increase to pre-pandemic preferences when origin was far less of a consideration. Additionally, almost two-thirds (63%) of Australians believe that environmental issues are more critical than ever (+6%) as we become more focused on purchasing sustainable products and brands right now.”

He also added that Australians are only decreasing sustainable behaviors that are against current pandemic rules, such as carpooling and keep cup usage, or where they have hygiene concerns or because it is simply inconvenient.

“Being a strong brand committed to provenance, value and sustainability is key to connecting with pandemic weary Australians in these uncertain times, but this must be communicated with authenticity,” Sinton added.

Adding to the sentiment of Australian consumers for brands engaging in vaccination campaigns is the fact that 66% of Australians want the majority of the population vaccinated to feel safe returning to daily life and 55% believe the country should keep the goal of zero cases of community transmission.

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Technology Featured Global

CX automation platform yellow.ai raises US$78.15m to amplify global presence

Singapore – Global customer experience (CX) platform yellow.ai has announced the conclusion of its Series C funding, which has raised around US$78.15m, which brings the total funding raised so far by yellow.ai to US$102.15m.

The company aims to use the funding to strengthen its leadership in more than 50 countries including India, Southeast Asia, UK, Middle East, and Latin America, as well as establishing a strong presence in the U.S., adding 70 employees to its more than 500 global headcounts.

Said funding was led by WestBridge Capital along with Sapphire Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures, as well as renewed participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners.

For Raghu Ravinutala, CEO and co-founder at yellow.ai, the company has ‘broken out’ of the crowded virtual-assistant market with its automation-first with a human-assist model, to deliver a higher customer satisfaction and incremental revenue growth to it’s enterprise clients. 

“With our rapid client and revenue expansion in Singapore and across the world, we’re geared to becoming the global leader in the CX Automation space and are bullish on building our product, partnerships, teams, and community to truly democratize AI in the near future,” Ravintula stated.

With the fresh infusion of capital, yellow.ai will deepen investments towards global expansion, hiring top talent across regions, and applied research and development (R&D) in hyper-automation. Currently, the company’s AI-powered bots deliver automated CX on more than 35 chat and voice channels, across more than 100 languages, handling billion interactions every quarter. 

According to yellow.ai, one international financial services company was able to leverage its virtual assistants to generate US$100m in upsell revenue in three years.

As part of this large endeavor and to support the global war against COVID-19, yellow.ai also launched ‘yellowAI Cares’, a CSR initiative to empower organizations with COVID-19 help-related omnichannel chatbots. With no prerequisites or conditions attached, any NGO, hospital, support group or business in SEA can get an AI chatbot built by yellow.ai to drive crisis efforts.

yellow.ai will provide access to an omnichannel chatbot on any text platform for COVID-19 related use cases. These could support real-time services like providing medical information related to plasma donation, oxygen/hospital bed availability, vaccine registrations, scheduling appointments, collecting patient data, mental health assistance, handling insurance queries and more.

When designed and deployed effectively, chatbots may help prevent misinformation, aid in symptom detection, engender infection-limiting behaviors, encourage positive health impacting behaviors, while reducing psychological damage caused by fear and isolation.