Australia – It’s Friday has been appointed as the creative agency of record for global human resources software company ELMO. 

Founded in 2002, ELMO Software is a cloud-based solution that helps thousands of organisations across Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom to effectively manage their people, process, and pay, with a mission to create best-in-class technology accessible to all workplaces.

Kate Jones, head of marketing at ELMO, said, “We have bold, ambitious goals for the brand, and we’re thrilled to partner with It’s Friday who will play a pivotal role in our brand revitalisation journey. We have been impressed by the immediate impact the It’s Friday team have already demonstrated on our business, as they bring some of the smartest strategic and creative minds in the creative and digital space.”

Pete Bosilkovski, CEO of It’s Friday, commented, “We’re excited to be working with Kate Jones and the team at ELMO who are an outstanding and passionate bunch of marketers with big and audacious growth plans for the brand. We are super energised by the opportunity that lies ahead in our partnership to help realise those growth plans.’’

In November, the agency launched a creative campaign for investment provider Colonial First State (CFS), encouraging audiences to rethink their financial plans coming into the new year. 

Sydney, Australia – Full-service independent agency Enigma has announced the promotion of Matt Dawe to creative director. In the new role, he will be reporting directly to the agency’s Executive Creative Director Tim Brown.

Dawe joined Enigma in 2012 as a copywriter and has been an integral part of driving Enigma’s creative output across all disciplines, producing notable campaigns for Newcastle Permanent, UniSC, Kennards, SunRice, UON, SYD Airport, NEXT Group, and Newcastle Knight. 

He’s also had his work recognised at the AWARD Awards, Sirens and the Effies, as well as being recognised as a Top 20 Creative by the industry. Prior to joining Enigma, Dawe earned his creative stripes at Droga5 and Peach.

Commenting on his appointment, Dawe said, “When I told my mum, she thought I’d been demoted. And it’s fair enough. My old title sounded way more impressive. I’ve loved being part of Enigma as we’ve grown into a truly national business. Being based in Newcastle, the greatest city in the world, I’ve always believed that great work can happen anywhere.”

He added, “Getting the chance to step into the CD role here is massively exciting. We’ve got some huge things in the works and I can’t wait to rip in.”

Brown also commented, “Matt is truly a unique person in our industry, not only does he have a brilliant creative mind he is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and truly cares for people and his client’s business problems.”

Brown added, “He doesn’t rest until he finds the smartest, actionable solution to any problem and we are thankful he is on our team. This is a well-deserved promotion for a damn fine creative and I’m looking forward to him playing a big role taking the agency’s creative offering to the next level.”

After spending the last two years as Associate Creative Director, Dawe says he is excited to take the training wheels off and play a lead role in taking the agency to new creative heights.

Recently, Enigma has also appointed Dean van der Merwe as design director and Bianca Holtsbaum as the new senior business manager for its specialist property marketing division, Property & Place (P&P).

Australia – Following a competitive pitch process, Tennis Australia has appointed BMF as its lead creative and strategic agency of record, with the aim of continuing the growth of tennis in Australia as one of the top participated sports. 

As part of the new partnership, BMF will lead Tennis Australia’s marketing strategy and creative for both key sporting events, including the Australian Open and United Cup, as well as drive participation via Tennis Australia’s key products.

“Tennis is one of the most iconic sports not just across the globe, but particularly in Australia. With a strong presence in both culture and the sporting community, we’re incredibly excited to continue to build tennis participation and connect the brand with audiences both locally and globally,” said Steve McArdle, CEO of BMF.

Meanwhile, Tennis Australia’s Chief Commercial Officer Cedric Cornelis commented, “We are delighted to announce our new partnership with BMF and we look forward to working together to further enhance the appeal of tennis which is ingrained into the Australian way of life.”

He added, “Whether it’s picking up a racquet, buying a ticket to an event or engaging with tennis online, we look forward to building even deeper connections to our audiences in ways that are innovative and memorable.”

Last year, BMF also won the creative mandate of global car-sharing marketplace Turo to handle its creative account for its launch in the Australian market.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – M&C Saatchi Kuala Lumpur has been appointed as the lead creative agency for the upcoming launch of the Toyota Vios 2023 car model in the country. The remit includes above-the-line (ABL) and below-the-line (BTL), digital, and experiential advertising.

The ‘Defy Expectations’ campaign for the Toyota Vois kicked off recently this March 20, with a media launch followed by film, print, digital and OOH presence.

Nisha Devina Roy, managing director of M&C Saatchi KL, said, “The Vios legacy meant we had to ‘defy expectations’ as the new agency in the Toyota roster. But truth be told, we were fuelled by the passion of the clients themselves. It was a truly collaborative partnership in every sense.”

Meanwhile, Nicky Lim, UMW Toyota General Manager of Marketing, commented, “M&C defied the brief and challenged us constructively. We expect our partners to continue to challenge us so that brand Toyota will be the eventual beneficiary. It’s the kind of proactive relationship we wanted.”

The new remit win comes on top of M&C Saatchi’s recent agency updates, including new additions to the management team and new offerings that led to a string of wins including Sime Darby Property, Hong Leong Bank and Sephora, to name a few.

Sydney, Australia Creative technology agency whiteGREY has appointed Reeshma Bhanji as its executive creative director. The appointment is targeted at significantly boosting the agency’s design and creative offering.

In the new role, Bhanji’s immediate focus is to lead the Scentre Group (Westfield) business with an additional responsibility to develop and deepen whiteGREY’s creative offering to drive business transformation for clients.

She also brings with her a wealth of experience from both agency and client-side to whiteGREY. Her expansive retail experience is garnered from working across brands such as Freedom, Rebel Sport, Aesop, and Glasshouse Fragrances, where she created award-winning campaigns and led strategy and creative thinking to create in-store spatial design experiences.

Prior to joining whiteGREY, Bhanji was previously with The General Store as its creative director and was also the founder of Flying Fish Designs. 

On her new appointment, Bhanji said, “While design thinking is a critical component of the creative process, my true passion lies in collaborating with my team and our clients to identify solutions that can genuinely foster the growth of their business. This human-centric approach is what drives great creative and design, and I’m thrilled to bring this perspective to both whiteGREY and its clients.”

Chad Mackenzie, whiteGREY’s national CCO also said that Bhanji’s appointment was a game-changer for whiteGREY supporting the agency’s ongoing investment in outstanding talent. He added that Bhanji will likewise provide a new perspective for clients and expands the agency’s brand design offering.

“With a career built on a strong foundation of visual arts and design, Reeshma leans heavily into design, strategy and creativity to discover what will work for her clients’ brands to make their business better. Reeshma helps see the world differently, creating powerful as well as beautiful client solutions using design thinking to grow her client’s businesses,” said Mackenzie.

He added, “She is well known to challenge conventions to create breakthrough brand experiences and her unique way of blending design, strategy and creativity is an exciting proposition to bring to market and is the next step in the evolution of whiteGREY’s already strong creative offering.”

Bhanji’s appointment is effective immediately. She will also be based in Sydney for the new role.

Singapore Creative agency BLKJ Havas has announced the promotion of Guilherme Machado as its executive creative director to strengthen the agency’s creative offering whilst pursuing more clients and campaigns on a pan-regional level.

In his new role, Machado will work closely with the leadership team to further drive the creative work by combining advertising with authentic storytelling and unique perspectives.

In 2021, Machado joined BLKJ Havas as an associate creative director where he was able to deliver critically acclaimed works for the agency. Before joining BLKJ Havas, he also worked as an associate creative director at agency McCann Australia.

Rowena Bhagchandani, CEO and co-founder at BLKJ Havas said that as the agency expands its regional remit with clients, it will continue to strengthen its position as the APAC Havas creative flagship of the region.

Meanwhile, Machado added, “Creating work that doesn’t look like traditional advertisements has been a key motivator since I started my career, and I can’t think of a better place to continue pushing myself creatively and nurture a team with shared ideals.”

BLKJ Havas is a creative agency that works with brands in culture, entertainment, and media.

Singapore – Marriott Bonvoy, the loyalty program of hospitality company Marriott International, has appointed Grey Group Singapore as its social media agency for Asia-Pacific, excluding China.

Through the social media mandate, Grey Singapore will promote Marriott Bonvoy’s brand promise through engaging social content, while offering strategic counsel and guidance on brand strategy. 

The account will be led by Shawn Low, head of social at Grey Singapore. Low has deep knowledge in the travel sector, having previously worked for global travel brand Lonely Planet. He also co-founded a London-based travel tech company

Speaking on this new agency win, he said, “Marriott Bonvoy is one of the world’s best travel loyalty programs that covers an impressive portfolio of 30 brands across the globe. With nearly 8,300 properties in its portfolio and countless bars and restaurants, the brand literally has something for almost every traveller. We are passionate about making Marriott’s presence on social media felt through innovative and captivating content.”

Meanwhile, Nick Barger, senior director of media for APEC at Marriott International said, “As travel stages its triumphant return in 2023, travellers are reignited to deepen their experiences and explore more destinations. With 30 extraordinary hotel brands and endless experiences, Marriott Bonvoy’s mission on social media is to share the stories of good travel through inspiring and engaging content.” 

He added, “Grey’s strong vision in elevating Marriott Bonvoy through innovative and impactful content stood out and fit perfectly with our creative approach. We are excited for this partnership to further strengthen our storytelling to inspire travel in APEC and beyond.”

The new agency win comes after the recent merger of Grey Singapore and Grey Malaysia in 2022.

Irene Wong, CEO of Grey Group Singapore and Malaysia, said, “We’re excited to embark on this journey with Marriott Bonvoy. As restrictions loosen and travel resumes, we are committed to fulfilling Marriott’s purpose of connecting people through the power of travel. This win also further reaffirms Grey’s belief in the importance of creativity in connecting a brand to its audience.”

Kuala Lumpur – Creative agency FCB Shout has been appointed as the creative agency of record for Offspring Inc Sdn Bhd, a premium babycare brand specialising in sustainable and eco-friendly preventive healthcare products.

The recent win adds to FCB Shout’s portfolio of FMCG clientele, which already features marquee packaged goods brands like Spritzer, Darlie, Pepsi, McCain and Twinings. 

“We have been in hyper-growth mode in recent years, having penetrated approximately 26 new foreign markets in the past two years. We are looking to build an eco-friendly brand that enables sustainability beyond solely Malaysian shores, thereby providing mums all over the world with the safest baby products and allowing them to play a part in saving the environment,” said Roslan Ismail, chief executive officer of Offspring Inc.

On why the agency was chosen, John Teoh, Offspring Inc.’s chief marketing officer, said that FCB Shout has a proven reputation as brand-builders and their solid FMCG experience and storytelling capabilities were evident in their proposal. 

“Coupled with a challenger attitude that we also share and their growing cross-border capabilities, we are confident that they will be the ones to take our brand to the next level,” Teoh added.

Shaun Tay, co-owner and chief executive officer of The Shout Group and FCB Shout, likewise added that the agency wanted to align with brands that are forces for good, hence the partnership with Offspring. 

“The brand has a clear purpose, and for many of us who are parents, it’s one that we appreciate and resonate with. Inspiring consumers who have the means to make sustainable, eco-friendly purchase decisions that are not just good for the planet but also good for us is a little change that cumulatively will go a long way,” Tay added. 

Last year, FCB Shout has also won eight businesses over the course of eight months, which included several high-profile Malaysian, regional and global brands.

Singapore – Global public relations agency Golin has launched an AI incubator called ‘SPARK’ in order to help the agency conceptualise creative content using AI platforms. Said incubator is designed to diversify ideation, elevate storytelling, and mobilise content delivery for the agency across APAC.

Initiated by Golin’s Creative Intelligence Unit in Singapore, SPARK explores artificial intelligence platforms including ChatGPT, Midjourney, and Dall.E as a starting point for strategic planning and creative ideation.

The team is also working with custom artificial intelligence (AI) platform developers in Asia to explore the potential of this technology for the communications industry.

With prior experience harnessing AI for sentiment analysis and predictive analytics, the Creative Intelligence Unit’s newest initiative expands the role of AI technology across three core areas namely ideation diversification, storytelling elevation, and content delivery mobilisation.

The Creative Intelligence Unit is composed of data storytellers and creative technologists across Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei that work closely with client teams and integrated media teams.

Shouvik Prasanna Mukherjee, who was appointed as chief creative officer for Asia-Pacific at Golin, and heads the agency’s Creative Intelligence Unit, said, “Artificial Intelligence is the latest tool that’ll frame the next chapter of our evolution and how we utilise it will define our future. When stones or ideas collide, there is a spark that ignites the drive for change. SPARK will shape our ‘future of work’ in creative intelligence that is both hi-tech and high-touch.”

Meanwhile, Darren Burns, president for Asia-Pacific at Golin, commented, “SPARK unlocks impact for us as an agency but also for our clients, people and the industry. Brands come to us wanting to create change that makes an impact, and that’s exactly what SPARK stands for – being on the front line of innovation around AI.”

Singapore – Wunderman Thompson has announced the expansion of Magpie, its own peer-to-peer mentoring app for women, across Asia-Pacific. This follows after the launch of said app in the United Kingdom during International Women’s Day.

Said app aims to empower and connect women across the business using a matchmaking style app based on each individual mentor’s expertise and knowledge. 

Complimenting longer-term mentoring schemes available in the industry, Magpie connects women for peer mentorship on specific/individual needs, featuring 15 themes ranging from maternity and motherhood, leadership, building your personal brand, and managing stress.

Originally launched in the UK on International Women’s Day in 2022, the app was created by RISE, Wunderman Thompson UK’s women’s network, and was born from a desire to create a self-serve platform to form connections and support Wunderman Thompson’s women who account for half of the agency’s workforce.

After a successful pilot scheme across the agency’s APAC offices, Magpie will launch the app across the region’s talent on 8th March, supporting their women’s network Ladybirds, which aims to strengthen representation and gender parity across the region through networking, mentoring, events. and knowledge sharing. 

Lindsay Shirley, chief people officer for Wunderman Thompson APAC, said, “As senior leaders, we have an obligation to mentor and support women to build their careers and thrive at Wunderman Thompson. Many women have wanted a mentor but not known where to find one, Magpie has helped us bridge that gap and we’re thankful to RISE UK for it.” 

Meanwhile, Supria Dutta, head of talent for Wunderman Thompson APAC and Ladybirds member, commented, “We are excited to bring Magpie to our region on International Women’s Day. This unique peer mentorship app has the potential to build bridges between women on all levels and potentially open doors for active sponsorship.”