Platforms Featured South Asia

Elsevier extends COVID-19 info hub to India to combat ‘fake news’

New Delhi, India – As India continues to combat its second wave of COVID-19 infections, research publisher and information analytics company Elsevier has launched a new COVID-19 online healthcare information hub for India in order to relay the latest COVID-19 information for the greater benefit of Indian healthcare frontliners and the general public in the country to fight misinformation.

The Elsevier India COVID-19 Healthcare Hub features complimentary resources and online learning tools, as well as latest evidence-based information on the novel coronavirus, with materials on the prevention and management of COVID-19. These include approved treatments and guidelines, along with other useful tools to help doctors, nurses and healthcare workers provide patient care. 

In addition, this resource aims to meet the increasing need for standardized, credible and accurate information around the pandemic and allow healthcare professionals to provide consistent and safe patient care.

Kok Keng Lim, managing director for Asia Pacific at Elsevier believes that the publisher institution has a responsibility to provide high quality evidence-based information and tools on COVID-19 and the newly approved vaccines.

“By aligning these localized resources to global care standards, we aim to support frontline workers with credible data and patient discussion tools that can bolster their confidence to address concerns, dispel vaccine falsities and quickly make critical decisions for better patient outcomes,” Lim said.

He added, “The India COVID-19 Healthcare Hub also provides patients with a single source of accurate data to help curb the spread of misinformation on the disease.”

First introduced last year, the India COVID-19 Healthcare Hub is the local extension of the global information hub, which has received over 300,000 visits from physicians, nurses, clinicians, patients and researchers who are seeking the latest information and trustworthy resources on the pandemic.

In addition to the India COVID-19 Healthcare Hub, Elsevier is also supporting Swasth Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that promotes universal and affordable healthcare for the people of India. Together with the RELX Group, Elsevier’s parent company, the two organizations have contributed approximately 22 high-flow oxygen concentrators to support more than 12,000 critically ill patients in India.

Shankar Kaul, managing director for India at Elsevier, commented, “The COVID-19 pandemic has been a global health crisis for over a year and our teams across the United Kingdom and Latin America have conducted extensive research around the variants of coronavirus. These global insights are now available through the India COVID-19 Healthcare Hub, providing the public and healthcare professionals with access to the latest resources to manage the new strain of the virus.”

Users can also access the latest information from the Elsevier COVID-19 Healthcare Hub by connecting with them via messaging platform Whatsapp to receive automated updates.

On a separate note, Google India has launched the Google News Showcase in the country to create local curated news for the Indian readers, especially about COVID-19 updates, and similarly to combat misinformation about COVID-19.

Platforms Featured South Asia

DonateKart, NEWJ team up in latest campaign for COVID-19 awareness in India

Mumbai, India – As the country is battling one of the worst waves of COVID-19 recently, crowdfunding platform DonateKart and media tech NEWJ have teamed up in a recent campaign aimed to raise awareness of the COVID-19 situation in the country by raising funds for oxygen cylinders and concentrators.

The fundraiser responds to the evident shortage of medical oxygen in the country, as more and more medical institutions are battling oxygen shortages to be distributed to COVID-19 patients.

The contributions from the campaign are directly given to ‘Doctors For You’, a pan-India humanitarian organisation begun by doctors and members of the medical community with an international presence.

NEWJ, acting as digital media partner, will amplify the message through its channels to a community of over 19.75 million audience and encourage their participation through donations.

“We, at DonateKart, have consistently worked towards bringing together individuals for causes that affect lives. In this time of crisis, the need to reach out to a larger audience is of utmost importance. For this, we are glad to have partnered with NEWJ to amplify this significant campaign to encourage individuals to contribute and make an impact in this hour of need,” said Anil Kumar Reddy, co-founder and CEO at DonateKart.

Through various campaigns, DonateKart will be helping more than 20 charities in helping raise oxygen supplies and help the disadvantaged and raised funds worth INR20 crores towards procuring necessary relief material and products during the pandemic.

“We are grateful that NEWJ as a platform can reach a wide, diverse audience who form a united community and act as agents of change. Our users have shown an overwhelming sense of empathy and desire to help amidst the second wave of COVID-19. We urge every citizen to play a part in ensuring India conquers its battle against COVID,” said Shalabh Upadhyay, founder and CEO at NEWJ.

As of this writing, the campaign has raised more than INR15M, about 16% of their goal, which has tallied 1406 unique donors.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Jollibee’s first-ever global campaign a ‘message from the future’ on finding joy over fear

Manila, Philippines – In an attempt to bring an overall message to the general populace amid the pandemic, Philippine-born fast food chain Jollibee has launched its first-ever global campaign centered on the message of finding joy and love amid the tumultuous times brought by the pandemic.

Jollibee which was put up in the 70’s is the biggest and leading fast food chain in the Philippines, and is continuously making a name globally with new international openings coming after another. To date, it already has 1,300 chains worldwide, with the latest branches in Maryland, USA, and in Leicester Square in London. 

With its wide presence, Jollbee has always made it a point to touch the hearts of consumers through localized narratives, making sure that messages are one with cultural values. This time, due to the call of the global pandemic, the brand has moved to delivering a unified communication in order to bring the message of hope to everyone amid these hard times.

Titled ‘A Message From The Future’, the ad narrates the story of a migrant Filipino family in New York City who, like million others around the globe, have felt the brunt of the pandemic. Set in the future year2060, the first half of the campaign shows the various faces of the pandemic effects, such as job loss, losing loved ones due to the virus, as well as the mother of the family getting infected as well. 

Jollibee stresses that despite all of these losses, the family has found joy and love in the mid of their hardships, focusing on the importance of togetherness. In addition, the campaign signifies the transition of fear into hope by the color grading of the film from monochrome black to a colored one. The campaign concludes with the grandfather telling her granddaughter that one ‘could never take anything for granted’.

For Francis Flores, country marketing head at Jollibee Food Corporation Philippines and marketing head at Jollibee Philippines, the brand aims that through this campaign, they are able to help others find a ‘silver lining’ in these hard times, true to Jollibee’s core value of the joy of family.

“Coming from a powerful truth that we are spending time with our families more than ever, it has never happened before and may never happen again – we wanted this campaign to acknowledge the grim reality of the current pandemic but still give a positive message of hope. It’s all about appreciating these moments with them and finding the ultimate joy with family. Our families have been a comforting factor for most of us in these tough times and we wanted everyone to be grateful for that,” Flores explained.

In producing the campaign, Jollibee chose creative agency BBH Singapore to transition into a global approach.

Sascha Kuntze, chief creative officer at BBH Singapore, commented, “We got a little tired of seeing empty streets and locked up places in commercials. The pandemic was and is a lot more personal. To really make an impact we wanted to show a perspective nobody had explored before.”

The campaign was directed by Law Chen of Stink Films Shanghai, and was shot in New York City.

Prior to this, Jollibee’s home market has also recently released a campaign in line with Jollibee’s new ‘Family Thanksgiving’ month initiative, which was launched to encourage everyone to always appreciate and be thankful for their families.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Creative agency VMLY&R Commerce Encompass produces fundraising campaign for gravely COVID-stricken India

Mumbai, India – Creative agency VMLY&R Commerce Encompass in India has recently produced a virtual fundraising campaign called ‘I Breathe For India Campaign: Covid Crisis Relief’.

Currently, India is grappling for the lives of its citizens as it recently tallied a record-breaking number of daily positive cases of COVID-19, where in just four months, it added 10 million cases. Currently, the healthcare supply in the country is running way below its need, with Indians dying in their own homes, ambulances, and parking lots, in dire need of a hospital bed or oxygen.

As a way to help the country battle the COVID-19 crisis, Indian actress Lara Dutta and sports scientist Shayamal Vallabhjee led this initiative together with US-based non-profit organization The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE) and online donation platform Give India.

The virtual fundraising event has already kicked off last 9 May 2020, bringing together various famous Indian personalities, namely actor Amitabh Bachchan, religious leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and film director Karan Johar, as well as professional cricketer Rishabh Pant, and actress Samantha Prabhu, among others. 

During the event, the stars have recited poetry, sung songs, and delivered heartfelt messages, as part of a specially curated showcase, which was streamed live across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

The donation drive will be running until 20 May, and funds collected from the campaign will go towards essential life-saving medical supplies, humanitarian aid for families under the poverty line that has been affected by the crisis, and manpower support for setting up vaccination and isolation centers to strengthen the nation’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Commenting on the virtual fundraising event, Vallabhjee said that the campaign was more than a fundraiser as it represented the collective consciousness of many people whose only desire was to help India and its citizens in its hour of need, and in many ways, it helped redefine what is possible as the world moves towards the new normal. 

“Thanks to the unwavering dedication of the Encompass team and its partners, we more than doubled our initial goal of $1 million and now, as a result, have extended our deadline to allow us to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling. Both Lara and I, and the teams from TIE Global and Give India are eternally grateful to the entire unit that made this possible,” said Vallabhjee.

Meanwhile, Dutta commented, “The success of the #IBreatheForIndia fundraiser would not have been possible without the individual efforts behind the scenes. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to each and everyone for selflessly giving your time and talents. God Bless and keep you all and your families safe until we are able to overcome this crisis together.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Grab PH rolls out vaccination support program

Manila, Philippines – Super-app Grab in the Philippines has launched ‘GrabBayanihan Vaccination Support Program’, to help increase vaccine access and education for Filipinos. 

The program aims to encourage all consumers, drivers, and delivery partners to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Through this, Grab will work closely with the national and local government units and leverage its ground fleet network and app.

Grab will be subsidizing COVID-19 vaccinations for the driver and delivery partners who are not covered by the national vaccination program. It will also be launching a specialized car fleet composed of vaccinated driver-partners to provide discounted mobility services to senior citizens and high-risk Filipinos going to and from vaccination centers.

Furthermore, Grab will also work with the Department of Health (DOH) to provide accurate vaccine and other public health information within dedicated high-visibility spaces in the Grab app to combat misinformation and boost public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. The super-app will launch a ‘COVID-19 Snap Survey’, which will enable DOH to gather real-time data on vaccine sentiment and conduct a series of workshops and town halls to educate Filipinos on getting vaccinated.

Grab Philippines’ country head Grace Vera Cruz said, “Now that we are gradually striving towards socio-economic recovery, we believe that the vaccination efforts from both the private and public sectors provide much-needed hope for many of our kababayans (fellow citizens). Through Grab Philippines’ technology, platform, and partnerships, we are reinforcing our commitment to supporting livelihoods and helping the recovery of our communities.”

This year, Grab has also shown its commitment to vaccination efforts in Indonesia. It has been using its platform as an educational channel to fight misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine and has been opening new vaccination centers in different parts of the country, including Bali and Banten Province.

Marketing Featured APAC

foodpanda launches vax awareness campaign across Asia

Singapore – Food and grocery delivery platform foodpanda has announced that it will be rolling its vaccination awareness campaign across its key markets in Asia, which lines up with the upcoming World Health Organisation’s World Immunization Week from 24 to 30 April 2021.

The campaign focuses on a series of content which will be shared through digital and social media channels that provides useful information and resources on local vaccination programs, tips on identifying vaccination misinformation and reminders on COVID-19 safeguards. Foodpanda is also supporting local vaccination programs in Singapore, Cambodia and the Philippines. 

In the Philippines, foodpanda will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Health in April 2021 to combat vaccine misinformation by creating correct information materials targeted for riders, consumers and partner vendors. Foodpanda Philippines is also supporting the ‘IngatAngat’ vaccine information awareness campaign by the local T3 Task Force, composed of government and private sector members to encourage vaccinations.

Meanwhile, foodpanda Cambodia, throughout the month of April, is supporting and showing appreciation to frontliners, by donating food and drinks to four major hospitals and vaccination centres. Foodpanda Cambodia is also working with local authorities to get employees and delivery riders vaccinated. 

In Singapore, foodpanda is working with the Ministry of Health to ensure that its rider partners are vaccinated, while exploring collaborations with local authorities on initiatives to help raise public awareness about vaccines.

Other initiatives include virtual onboarding, fee waivers, and support initiatives for merchants to join the platform quickly and seamlessly. Foodpanda has also allowed more riders to join the network and making food, groceries, and daily essentials available for safe and convenient doorstep delivery, made contactless by default to minimize direct contact and protect the health and safety of customers, riders and merchants

According to Jakob Angele, CEO of foodpanda, the campaign is the company’s objective in spreading the message of being vigilant on keeping our ecosystem safe.

“Leveraging existing channels with our network of riders, merchants, employees and customers, we can raise greater awareness around fighting misinformation and share information around local vaccination programmes, so that our entire delivery ecosystem can be informed and mobilised. We will continuously explore ways to play a part in the fight against COVID-19,” Angele said.

The new campaign comes after foodpanda has recently revamped their brand identity across Asia.

Foodpanda’s campaign will be rolled out in phases across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Optimism on the rise among Singaporean travelers on travel resumption: report

Singapore – Despite current travel restriction implementations brought by national governments to combat COVID-19, a large majority of Singaporeans are optimistic that travel restrictions will be lifted soon, and that travel will resume, new statistics from a report by booking platform shows.

According to the research, seven in ten Singaporean travelers (71%) feel more hopeful about traveling in 2021 due to the unwavering commitment of the scientific and medical communities and the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, and potential air travel bubble developments. The same amount (70%) states that not being able to travel extensively in 2020 has made them yearn for travel even more in 2021. 

Part of the growing optimism among Singaporeans can be attributed to the current rollout of vaccines in the country, as the research shows that slightly over half (63%) of Singaporean travelers state that they won’t travel internationally until they have been vaccinated, which rises to 69% among those 55 years old and above, while a greater amount (67%) of Singaporean travelers showing willingness to travel only to countries that have implemented vaccination programs. But there still is some hesitation, with almost half (52%) remaining skeptical as to whether a vaccine will truly help make travel safer. 

Despite feeling mostly optimistic, travelers all around the world acknowledge that not being able to travel in 2020 as they used to in previous years has had a significant effect on their well-being, with over half (52%) of Singaporean travelers reporting a negative impact on their mental health and 47% stating they have felt imprisoned in their own home due to travel restrictions.

Around 65% of Singaporean travelers also say travel is more important to them now than it was before the pandemic. So much so that almost two thirds (65%) of Singaporean travelers would even go so far as stating that they would rather go on a vacation in 2021 than find true love. Meanwhile, 59% would prioritize traveling over success at work, preferring to go on vacation than getting promoted.

Meanwhile, six in ten (62%) Singaporean travelers have used the increased time at home to plan future travel while slightly over half (54%) banking more vacation days, feeling excited about the potential of taking longer vacations in 2021. When dreaming about their next vacation, 51% of Singaporean travelers feel confident that they’ll be able to hit the beach by summer 2021, and 18% say a relaxing beach or spa trip will be the first type of trip when it’s safe to do so. After an exhausting year, only 9% will book a city break and just 5% say an active break is a priority.

Following the impact that COVID-19 has had on the travel industry, 96% of Singaporean travelers think the industry needs to be supported to get back on its feet. Nearly three quarters (74%) believe that government financial stimuli are now needed to help travel’s recovery and over two thirds (69%) worry that the industry won’t survive unless it is supported with government grants. 

In terms of more practical regulations, 75% state that wider access to pre-travel COVID-19 testing is needed, and 73% say that governments should collaborate with travel associations and providers to set more consistent standards.

According to Nuno Guerreiro, regional director for South Asia, Oceania, and Chains at, the company remains firmly committed to supporting everyone on their journey to getting back to travel, as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“We have grown over the past year navigating the pandemic, as our consumers have too, and we’re optimistic that we’ll be able to experience the world together again soon as we work together with all those in the travel industry to ensure its recovery,” Guerreiro stated.

He added, “With our mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, when the time is right to discover the places, cultures and experiences we’ve all been dreaming of, we will make sure you can find them on”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

This new PH-developed web app allows contact tracing through data-driven analytics

Manila, Philippines As the country’s number of COVID-19 cases are continuously surging, Philippine-based marketplace HyperLokal has developed and recently launched its contact tracing web application Hyperpass that allows a more efficient approach to contact tracing through data analytics and insights.

Through Hyperpass, registered users can be easily notified via SMS alert if a particular place or establishment has recorded cases of COVID-19, and then recommends safety measures to protect themselves from the virus.

Users can access the program from a web browser, and is both desktop and mobile-friendly.

Hyperpass’ ability to create notifications about COVID-19 cases is all in the app’s ‘intelligent tracing and notification’ algorithm, which is dependent on data accumulated from registered users and establishments.

For places, the establishment or location only needs to register in the Hyperpass website as a place and Hyperpass will automatically generate its unique poster that can be immediately printed and displayed. The poster is complete with a QR code for scanning and checking in and directions for visitors, employees, or guests on how to complete their health declaration forms.

For visitors, guests, students, and employees, they only need to scan the QR Code or go to the shortlink on the place’s poster. As described by the place’s printable poster, they would then need to enter their personal and contact details (with an option to password-save their details for future use), answer the Health Declaration Form in the app interface, and click ‘Submit’.

“Hyperpass is built on Serverless Technology that automatically scales when used. So if Hyperpass is suddenly used by the 100-million Filipino population, it will automatically scale to serve that number without lag or crashing. Hyperpass is database integration-ready and is AI-ready for analytics, human traffic management, and other applications,” the company said in a press statement.

The company, led by its CEO Guilian Sencio and CTO Danilo Enova, aims to apply the said application for the benefit of the national government to aid them in contact tracing of positive and exposed individuals.

“The success of Hyperpass (and of the national Contact Tracing effort) will rely on its universal adoption for contact tracing—and its centralization—across the nation. With its numerous features and unlimited potential for developing more, it’s the best option that we have in the country right now,” Hyperlokal added.

The company also aims to make Hyperpass fully integrated with public and private healthcare databases, adding that “technology-powered contact tracing will only make sense if there is a free flow and centralisation of information between public and private testing centers, vaccination hubs.”

To date, Hyperpass is continuously adding more features in the platform, including vaccine card passes and tagging that tags various vaccine manufacturers, as well as travel clearances and passes, and also specific dashboards for public and private healthcare providers to check on vaccination drives and testing results. A COVID-19 test history is also set to be included in the app.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Digital adoption on the rise among MY small businesses: survey

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – As a result of the disruption caused by the global pandemic, more small businesses in Malaysia have utilized digital technologies in their operations and services, new survey from professional accounting organization CPA Australia shows.

According to the survey, 40% of businesses have begun increasing their focus on online sales in the past 12 months, as well as social media amplification, with over 60% using it to promote their business and 55% using it to communicate with customers.

While most Malaysian small businesses offer customers new digital and mobile payment options, 61.5% still receive 50% or more of their sales in cash, above the APAC survey average of 46.4%.

“The strong connection between technology usage and business growth and the quick returns many Malaysian businesses experience when investing in technology is no doubt helping to drive this uptake. Forty-two per cent reported positive returns from their technology investment last year,” said Jimmy Lai, president of CPA Australia, Malaysia Division.

Despite efforts among the small businesses scene in the country, most find difficulty in financing conditions. Nearly 50% expecting they will face problems accessing finance. These difficulties, plus an uncertain outlook are also expected to impact the solvency of many businesses, with 32% anticipating it will be difficult to repay debts in 2021.

“Small businesses may be offering limited digital and mobile payment options due to a lack of understanding about what’s available or scepticism towards these solutions. This echoes findings from CPA Australia’s 2020 Report on Business FinTech Usage Survey, that showed 31% of businesses with fewer than 50 employees identified a lack of fintech understanding among the board or senior management as a challenge to fintech adoption,” Lai said.

He also added that more can be done to assure business that digital and mobile payment options can provide better customer reach, which should contribute to recovery this year.

COVID-19 is likely to continue creating challenges for Malaysia’s small businesses. Developments such as the spike in infections at the start of the year are balanced by the vaccine roll-out and easing of restrictions. This suggests a more positive picture for 2021, which is supported by the survey results. About 70% of respondents expect their revenue to grow this year, up from 56% last year. Exporting will make an important contribution to growth, with 45% expecting revenue from overseas to grow this year.

“With many small businesses having a strong focus on innovation, e-commerce, good staff and improving business strategy, we are likely to see them recover quickly from COVID-19, especially in the second half of the year. Such a focus also sets them up for long-term growth,” Lai stated.

He added, “However, uncertainty in the economic outlook will remain an impediment to small business recovery. The government should therefore continue to play its enhanced role in supporting this fundamental sector of Malaysia’s economy in the near term.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Pavilion KL welcomes CNY with 3D show of a ‘Golden Bull’

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysian shopping mall Pavilion Kuala Lumpur has unveiled its new attraction for the Chinese New Year, a 3D show depicting a ‘Golden Bull’ charging towards Pavilion KL.

The show depicts a ‘Golden Bull’ charging towards the mall, as it ‘breaks’ the glass with the words “Together Against COVID-19,” and graphics showing greetings for the Chinese New Year.

The 3D show is best viewed from Pavilion KL’s Crystal Fountain and is aired until March 2021. The Pavilion Elite LED Screen measuring 60.8m in width and 21.5m in height, with an impressive total size of 1,310 sqm, is a venue in showcasing this groundbreaking 3D show and technology. 

This 3D Golden Bull show on the Pavilion Elite LED screen presents yet another first in Malaysia showcase by Pavilion KL for this Chinese New Year’s‘ Blessings of Prosperity’ celebrations. The other first in Malaysia record is the ‘Biggest Golden Bull’ in the mall’s Centre Court, measuring 15ft in height and 16ft in width.

MARKETECH APAC has already reached out to Pavilion KL for further comments on the 3D show installment.