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.

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.

Technology Featured Global

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

Singapore – Global customer experience (CX) platform 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 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, 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, 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, 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, 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 to drive crisis efforts. 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.

SME Featured ANZ

CBA extends financial support to pandemic-strained SMEs in NSW

Sydney, Australia – In response to some of its customers affected by the recent lockdowns due to COVID-19, financial institution Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has announced that it is extending its financial support to affected small businesses in the state of New South Wales in Australia.

Part of the main service CBA will offer is its loans, where they are provided through the federal government-backed SME Loan Recovery Scheme. This offers eligible businesses loans up to AU$5m with variable interest rates from as low as 2.6% per annum for secured loans, and from 2.85% per annum for secured loans with a repayment holiday from 12 months. Unsecured loans are available with rates from 3.25% per annum, and from 3.75% per annum with a repayment holiday from 12 months.

Other services include repayment deferrals on asset finance and eligible business loans; a refund of merchant terminal fees for up to 90 days for eligible customers; and a waiving of fees and notice periods on cash deposit and farm management deposit accounts for eligible customers.

For Matt Comyn, CEO at CBA, they wanted to assure any of their customers who need assistance during this difficult time that they have measures in place to support them including short-term repayment deferrals. He also added that their teams are here to help them and can tailor solutions to suit their different circumstances.

“We know this lockdown will have an impact on the Sydney-based business community and we’ve been speaking to our customers to understand if they need assistance. Our business customers have demonstrated great resilience throughout the pandemic and we’re committed to doing what we can to help them through this lockdown period and beyond,” Comyn said.

He added, “We have a range of measures to help businesses to free up cash flow and provide some certainty, whether it’s through loan deferrals, fee refunds, or new low-cost funding through the SME Recovery Loan Scheme. As well as helping to deliver vital cash flow and provide peace of mind during this challenging time, these funds have allowed many businesses to adapt and innovate their operations, such as transitioning online.”

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.