Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

dentsu’s Sanjay Bhasin adds Thailand CEO role to existing position

Bangkok, Thailand – Global media and digital marketing communications company dentsu in Asia-Pacific has announced that Sanjay Bhasin, current CEO of dentsu in Vietnam and Myanmar, has now added the role of CEO for dentsu Thailand to his leadership position. He commences his new role on 1 January 2022.

Said appointment is central to dentsu Asia-Pacific’s strategy to strengthen the market clusters and bring Thailand into its next phase of growth.

Bhasin returns to Thailand, having spent nine years running Y&R Southeast Asia out of Thailand before joining dentsu in 2018. He will be splitting his time equally between Thailand and Vietnam. 

This appointment follows after the retirement of Khun Amornsak Sakpuaram, CEO at dentsu Thailand and executive chairman at dentsu MB Thailand. Having been with the dentsu network for 37 years, Khun Amornsak will assume an advisory role from 1 January 2022 until the end of Q1 2022.

Speaking about his appointment, Bhasin said, “I am excited to be returning to Thailand to lead the dentsu business. Khun Amornsak leaves the organization in an excellent position to build growth from, and I am looking forward to working with him over the coming months. Thailand is a fast-paced and dynamic market. We have a first-class team with a clear vision and market acumen to ensure we deliver the best and most integrated experiences for consumers on our client’s behalf. I can’t wait to get started.”

Meanwhile, Sakpuaram commented, “I have enjoyed every moment of my 37 years at dentsu Thailand. I never expected to still be here when I walked through the doors in 1984, but it is testament to the nature of this incredible business that I have stayed so long. We have achieved a huge amount together as a network.”

He added, “We have never stopped innovating or delivering distinctiveness to enhance capabilities in the business ecosystem, enabling the growth of our client’s brands. Given his extensive experience in the market, Sanjay is the natural choice to lead the Thailand business and I wish Sanjay, and all my colleagues at dentsu international Thailand and further afield, the very best for the future.” 

Wendy Clark, global CEO, dentsu international said, “Sanjay Bhasin is a familiar and trusted industry veteran and the right leader for our next phase of growth. Under Sanjay’s leadership, our Vietnam business has built a formidable reputation as the most successful integrated agency in the market. We are confident in the continued success of dentsu Thailand under Sanjay’s leadership. Khun Amornsak has been the driving force behind dentsu Thailand’s growth. We thank him for his years of dedication and service and wish him a long and happy retirement.”

Marketing Featured East Asia

dentsu international’s CXM firm Merkle launches in Taiwan

Singapore – Dentsu International’s customer experience management (CXM) company Merkle is expanding its APAC presence with the launch of its services in Taiwan. Merkle’s 30 years of global experience in data, digital transformation, and worldwide talent connections will now be adopted by the new team.

Carrie Tsai, who is iProspect Taiwan’s CEO, has been appointed by dentsu Taiwan to also become Merkle Taiwan’s CEO. Joining Tsai to head the new team is Boice Lin, former SVP of Global partnerships/Global business development at Appier, who has been appointed as general manager of Merkle Taiwan.

The agency said that the new Taiwan team will work closely with martech, adtech, cloud, and tech providers to integrate commerce design consultancy. The CXM transformation offerings that will be provided by Merkle Taiwan include data transformation as in focusing on data science and data engineering, including cloud service consulting, data management consulting, and data analysis, which will also include personalization, commerce consulting, CRM, and loyalty program consulting. Most of all, Merkle will be helping brands in CXM Transformation such as customer experience transformation strategy, planning, and technology consultancy.

Remarking on today’s market, Jennifer Tang, CEO of dentsu Taiwan, said that brands have entered into a new era in which everything is all about data and that to meet the evolving market and technology demand, such as the cookieless future, brands need to consider connecting with customers through consumer experience, finding more value from data, and extending business applications.

“With Merkle joining dentsu Taiwan, we are able to immediately respond to the market and clients’ demands, and also further consolidate our industry leadership in creative, media and CXM, making dentsu the only marcom group in Taiwan that truly provides idea-led, data-driven, and tech-enabled end-to-end solutions,” said Tang. 

Meanwhile, President of Merkle Asia Pacific Zhengda “Z” Shen, added, “Asia Pacific is a key global growth driver for Merkle, and we’re very enthused with the rapid growth and maturity of digital commerce, data management and customer experience in Taiwan. Putting together this superstar team has been years in the making. We’re excited to now launch in market and work with the most innovative marketers and technologists.”

New CEO Tsai further stated that Merkle is a well-known global brand for its delivery and proofing capability.

“We have built a team of global talents who hold entrepreneur experience. It is the winning strategy to bring the brand’s vision to life through customer experience transformation. Our vision for Merkle Taiwan will be to focus on data transformation, digital transformation and CXM transformation, and it will integrate with dentsu’s other offerings and change the value chain,” said Tsai.

Meanwhile, new GM Lin highlighted that launching Merkle Taiwan indicates dentsu’s dedication to enabling end-to-end marcom solutions, “Only considering both data application and commerce insights can help brands rebuild their model post COVID-19. It is crucial for our clients to take action and work closely with a full-service consultancy. We are confident to be the best transformation partner.”

Last August, dentsu APAC has also launched Merkle in Indonesia.

Premium Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 Stories for November: A Disney veteran joins local Filipino live streaming platform

The penultimate year-end is not backing off on a lighter note. In its own right, the month of November ends with a bang with new marketing leaders inducted in the digital space, a launch of an industry-first partnership, and a massive contest marketing from an e-commerce brand.

In Singapore, a top e-commerce has unveiled its biggest giveaway yet for its campaign on 11.11. Meanwhile, in APAC, a communications firm has revealed in one fell swoop its new digital leaders for its different markets in the region. This month, a media giant’s creative agency has also announced its new MD for APAC. 

Still region-wide, a creative and communications network has specially partnered with TikTok to specifically build capabilities for brands to conquer audiences on the platform. 

Most interestingly, we have seen, this month, a veteran from the world’s favorite content creator joining a fast-growing live streaming platform in the Philippines.

Get to know more the top-read stories this month.

Top 5: Lazada launches massive 11.11 giveaway: An SG$1m-worth condo unit


Regional e-commerce platform Lazada in Singapore, in a bid to further encourage 11.11 sales, has launched one of its biggest giveaways yet: a S$1m-worth condominium unit at the Normanton Park. The initiative, co-sponsored by real estate company PropNex, has concluded with a 70-year-old retiree as the winner, who interestingly just entered the contest with S$3.41 for Aloe Vera Gel and a digital voucher for a Nasi Lemak as investments. 

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Wook Kwon, chief marketing officer at Lazada Singapore, said that through these giveaways, they aim to reel in more customers to go back to their platform.

“The world of e-commerce can bring on an array of possibilities. So in this way, the latest giveaway, we strive to keep our customers going back to our platform, keep them engaged to go back to our sellers on the platform,” Kwon stated.

A major part of the campaign is gamification, where eligibility to enter and win is through collecting ‘golden keys’ on various missions in the Lazada app, and that more keys collected grant a higher chance of winning. 

Kwon added, “Gamification is important in customer experience. It’s the best experience that keeps our customers going back to our platform. Gamification is part of our ‘shoppertainment’ strategy to enhance the shopping experience.”

Top 4: Virtue appoints former MediaMonks’ Lesley John as managing director for APAC


Virtue, the creative agency under media company VICE, has appointed former head of client services at MediaMonks Singapore Lesley John, to be its managing director for the Asia-Pacific region. 

Through her new role, John will be overseeing Virtue’s business and teams across the region including offices in India, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan from its Singapore hub.

Regarding her view on the state of content creation within APAC, John told MARKETECH APAC that there is diversity shown across the region, amplified by global cultural phenomena such as K-pop and J-pop.

“If you were to look at streaming platforms like Netflix, they’re starting to surface more cross-cultural content pollination,” she stated.

John also noted various cultural tropes that make the region’s content consumption unique, such as the rise of anime and idol content in homegrown platforms like Bilibili, or how a universal theme such as humor can vary from region to region, just like how Thailand’s approach to humor is ‘deadpan’.

When asked what advice can be given to brands when creating content for APAC audiences, she shared that the first thing is always finding an ‘interesting story’, and then finding the most compelling way to deliver it.

“Don’t be afraid to tap into emerging themes or subcultures if they’re relevant to the theme [or] story you want to deliver. Be authentic, reward your audience intellectually. I guess there’s always a temptation about going to the lowest common denominator, [and] that results to very bland, inauthentic, doesn’t feel like it’s coming from a real point of view,” John concluded.

Top 3: Edelman announces new roster of digital hires


Global communications firm has unveiled the new executives that will be at the wheel of its digital business in APAC, namely the heads of digital for its India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, and Australia teams. 

Speaking with MARKETECH APAC, Matt Collette, Edelman’s APAC vice-chair for digital, shared that the new hires are the firm’s response to brands’ stronger commitment to deliver greater digital experiences over the pandemic. 

On the top challenge digital marketers are facing today, Collette specifically cited reduced ad targeting opportunities brought about by stricter privacy features from tech giants such as Apple.

“The implications for that…had been on the quality of data that companies are receiving with respect to how people are engaging with ads specifically; [that] has deteriorated significantly. What we’ve seen [is an] increase in costs for performance campaigns,” said Collette. 

Collette said that, hence, this is a major area the communications firm is helping out clients on today – figuring out what other strategies and tactics they can deploy to effectively build first-party data. 

“We want to make sure that we have digital teams across all of our markets in Asia-Pacific that are able to engage with the clients in a way that demonstrates deep expertise and knowledge of the digital space,” said Collette. 

Top 2: dentsu APAC, TikTok partner to help brands win on the short-video platform

Creative and communications network dentsu in APAC has unveiled in October a partnership that will see the network building commerce and media capabilities to effectively elevate brands’ presence in TikTok. 

Interestingly, within the tie-up is a program called ‘Test with TikTok’ which brings together the performance team from dentsu and product team from TikTok to test several performance and commerce hypotheses on the platform.

In an interview with Sunil Naryani, dentsu APAC’s president for product, commercials & partnerships, he shared that oftentimes, testings within the market ecosystem do not yield in valuable results and insights for reasons such as failure to establish a clear hypothesis on what must be tested and at times, tests’ misalignment to a brand or media’s objective. 

“This is what we’re trying to solve with ‘Test with TikTok’. It is essentially a structured way in which we are testing various TikTok products and solutions so we could unlock the full potential of the platform for our clients,” Naryani said. 

Naryani further shared that most of all, the whole objective of the partnership is to deliver differentiated value to brands. 

“The key discussion that takes place is what is important for our [clients] and we’re looking at the full funnel. At this stage, there is a lot of focus on the mid and the bottom funnel,” added Naryani.

Top 1: Former Disney exec Anand Roy joins kumu as SVP of strategy, international

Anand Roy Kumu

And our top story for the month of November is none other than live streaming platform kumu in the Philippines, with its recent appointment of Anand Roy, former regional director of music and live entertainment for SEA at Disney, to be its new senior vice president for strategy and international.

According to Roy, he first heard about the kumu platform from Open Space Ventures, one of the company’s investors, and at that time, was feeling quite unhappy with the state of social media generally. 

In a MARKETECH APAC interview, Roy shared what themes of online content will be the next big thing among audiences.

“One big seismic change which has happened in consumers’ lives for the past two years has been the realization that both work and study can happen online. This is a fact which has been brought to the surface because of the realities around the pandemic, and it promises to be an absolutely monumental change in the way people work,” he said.

Roy believes that over the next period, people will try to find balance between online image and research projection and offline detox and offline unwind.

Regarding his new role, Roy also shared the international plans of the proudly Philippine-made live streaming platform.

“The international strategy will be built on the authenticity of the platform. kumu stands for optimism, hope, positivity, and community; these are values which translate across the planet,” said Roy.

He added, “My endeavor would be to ensure that these fundamental principles get translated in every market we go to, and these guiding principles become the bedrock on which the platform is built.”

Rankings‌ ‌are‌ ‌based‌ ‌on‌ ‌Google‌ ‌Analytics‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌period‌ ‌of‌ ‌16th‌ ‌October to 15th‌ ‌November.

Watch our exclusive interviews with the brands themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, now live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

Marketing Featured ANZ

[email protected] names Matt Benning as new head of digital & performance

Sydney, Australia – [email protected], dentsu’s dedicated agency for Australian supermarket giant Woolworths, has announced today the appointment of Matt Benning, formerly of AKQA Media, as its new head of digital & performance.

Most recently at AKQA Media, Benning was the Sydney team’s head of digital. He spent close to 15 years at WPP with notable roles over this period as media lead on Vodafone for Wavemaker. He previously worked with MEC in the UK as global digital director on Vodafone and Visa Europe. In this position, he led the digital strategy for Visa across Europe, activating their Olympics and Football World Cup sponsorships.

Barbara Messitt, the agency’s managing director, commented, “I am so pleased that Matt is joining our team. With his wealth of experience and passion for all things digital, I am certain he will further drive our digital transformation journey with the brands. The team here are all very excited to start working with him.”

Gayle While, chief digital officer of dentsu Media, added, “We’re delighted to be welcoming Matt into the Woolworths team. He’s a passionate and highly respected digital leader whose expertise will be invaluable in supporting our clients to respond to today’s fast changing market with effective strategies and innovative solutions.”

Benning will be based in Sydney and the agency said his new role will include working with some of Australia’s leading brands in retail amid the growth in today’s digital, data, and technology solutions.

“I am thrilled to be joining the talented Woolworths team and to work alongside some of Australia’s most trusted brands. I am excited to continue the development of our digital capabilities as we navigate the evolving digital landscape,” commented Benning.

Benning will officially join the agency on 29 November.

Technology Featured APAC

Krishnan Menon appointed as CCO for Merkle, dentsu CXM in APAC

Singapore – Krishnan Menon, formerly the chief client and growth officer for APAC at Wunderman Thompson, has been appointed by dentsu International as the new chief client officer for the network’s customer experience management (CXM) company Merkle and integrated customer experience management arm dentsu CXM, both for Asia-Pacific.

Tasked with elevating Merkle’s integrated client management approach and delivering the full value of dentsu’s CXM capabilities, Menon will also work across the dentsu network to expand on existing Merkle/CXM client relationships within the creative and media service lines.

Furthermore, Menon will nurture and grow client relationships at Merkle across the region with a focus on helping brands deliver customer experiences that are meaningful and valuable to people everywhere.

His appointment is effective by 20 December, 2021, where he will be reporting to Z Shen, president at Merkle APAC.

“As clients across the region make rapid strides towards being customer-centric and purpose driven, I will focus on bringing them the best that Merkle and dentsu have to offer. Together with the outstanding talent at Merkle across the APAC markets, I’m confident that we’ll bring added value and growth to our clients’ businesses,” Menon said regarding his appointment.

During his time at Wunderman Thompson, he focused on the top clients across the APAC region and on building client-centric teams and practices. Menon has spent almost twenty-five years at WPP across Ogilvy India, Kinetic, Wunderman, and Wunderman Thompson.

“Krishnan is the perfect leader to guide Merkle’s growth and maturity, as we evolve our client services in lock-step with the big investments in capabilities and specialization we’re bringing to markets like Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Singapore and others. Merkle has the talent perfectly suited to accelerating our entire industry and Menon will ensure our clients get the best of us,” Shen stated.

Marketing Featured APAC

dentsu APAC, TikTok inks tie-up to help brands win on the short-video platform

Singapore – Creative and communications network dentsu in Asia-Pacific and leading short-video platform TikTok has newly forged a regional partnership, aimed at driving media and commerce excellence for clients. The partnership, which has already been kickstarted in SEA, will enable dentsu clients to leverage TikTok’s strengths as a platform to deliver best-in-class capabilities across commerce, creativity, and creator marketing to drive brand outcomes at scale.

A key aspect of the partnership is the ‘Test with TikTok’ program which brings together leading performance specialists from dentsu and product innovators from TikTok to test several performance and commerce hypotheses on the platform.

With a fixed set of exclusive clients on the pipeline, dentsu clients will enjoy access to new features and best practice optimization opportunities on TikTok to uncover new learnings. The agency said that efforts around this initiative are already underway where select dentsu clients are currently participating in an exclusive hypothesis test around the effectiveness of different audience strategies on the platform.

Delilah Chan, head of channel revenue partnerships for SEA at TikTok, shared that through the collaboration, dentsu’s clients will be getting custom product testing opportunities, giving them actionable insights that present advantage when developing growth strategies on the TikTok platform.

“We are delighted to partner with dentsu as by complementing the strengths of our two organizations – TikTok’s product and platform capabilities with dentsu’s world-class performance and commerce capabilities, we can truly put the needs of the clients at the heart of our partnership,” said Chan.

Sunil Naryani, dentsu APAC’s president for product, commercials & partnerships, further shared that more than 10 client tests are already in the works and the longer-term objective is for these tests and best practices to culminate into client-centric commerce and performance strategies on the TikTok platform. 

“Genuine commitment between dentsu and TikTok has allowed us to expand our partnership beyond standard training programs into progressive and tangible areas of product testing for performance and commerce outcomes. We appreciate the strong collaboration from TikTok with dentsu advertisers for exclusive hypothesis testing and generating actionable insights on their platform through the ‘Test with TikTok’ program,” said Naryani.

The APAC division of dentsu has also recently announced a new integrated solution focused on gaming. The new ‘dentsu gaming’ aims to bring together the extensive gaming heritage and expertise of the dentsu Japan network with the global scale and specialist capabilities within dentsu international. 

Marketing Featured APAC

Ad spend in APAC expected to grow by 5.9% this 2021: report

Singapore – Ad spend in Asia Pacific, home to 60% of the world’s population, is expected to grow by 5.9% this 2021,, new report from global advertising agency dentsu shows.

According to the recent report, the pandemic has accelerated a clear shift to digital in terms of ad spend in 2020 versus 2019. The growth is led by China where digital ad spend for the year accounted for US$64.7B, up from 64.3% in 2019.

Meanwhile, digital ad spend in Hong Kong accounted for 72.3% in the region, a 9% increase from 2019. In Singapore ad spend garnered 39.8% of the whole region, up 14.4% from 2019. Japan, meanwhile, also saw an increase, at 47.3%, a growth of 7.1% from last year. South Korea also showed significant growth with 55.1% digital ad spend, an increase by 11% versus last year, while in India as spend was at 27.9%, an increase by 7.9%. For Indonesia, digital ad spend was at 29.6%, a jump of 5.5% versus the same period in 2019.

For Ashish Bhasin, CEO of dentsu APAC, the recent rise in digital ad expenditure can be attributed to the accessibility of next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, and the current global state, affected by the global pandemic.

Dentsu APAC_Ashish Bhasin's Headshot_Feb'21
Ashish Bhasin, CEO of dentsu APAC

“Now that we are unrestrained by physical space, we are at liberty to reimagine what a concert, conference, shopping experience, buying property, cars, attending a class should and can be. As contactless technologies make stores less human, online commerce has become more social and more personal, marking the rise of Social Commerce, powered by next generation live streaming platforms,” Bhasin stated.

Most of the digital ad expenses are credited to the rise of online video consumption in APAC, as statistics show that a 4% growth in consumption was recorded last year and is forecasted to grow again by 3.9% in 2021. Such rise in digital ad expenses are evident country-wise, as Malaysia’s spend for online video jumped from US$61M in 2019 to US$108M in 2020, and Singapore from US$16M in 2019 to US$62M in 2020 – both indicating an incline for this medium in these two smaller, yet dynamic SEA markets.

“People who have jobs based around using a screen will be able to work from home far more easily. As a result, many new consumer segments will emerge and brand marketers will need to work with their media and marketing agency partners even more closely, to tap into this opportunity. Brand marketers need to show a high level of empathy at these difficult times, to help customers and employees adjust as smoothly as possible.” Bhasin added.

Despite the large presence of online media, traditional media is still relevant publicly, yet it is worth noting that television’s share of media was at a historical low of 28% across the APAC region, and is forecasted to continue declining into 2022. 

Southeast Asian markets showed varied average shares in traditional media: Vietnam (77%), Thailand (60.6%), Philippines (65%), Indonesia (56%) and also in India (41.1%), Japan (32.6%), and Taiwan (37%).

“Conspicuous consumption has been replaced by anxiety and sheltering, with many cautious about doing things that used to be ‘normal’, including shopping, using public transport, and being in crowded spaces. By the summer of 2020, one third of the world’s population had been in some form of lockdown, huddling close to the safety of our homes, as our lives shifted online, resulting in considerable increase in the use of at-home media such as Netflix, Zoom, and Twitch,” Bhasin concluded.

Marketing Featured APAC

dentsu APAC appoints new CXM chief growth officer

Singapore – Global advertising and public relations company dentsu has recently appointed Rachel Ooi as the company’s new chief growth officer for customer experience management (CXM) for Asia Pacific.

Through the new appointment, Ooi will be responsible for bolstering CXM’s regional footprint through new business and organic growth, working closely with Media and Creative leads on integrated opportunities. She will also lead the regional roll-out and implementation of the sales platform across all sales and account management functions. She will report to Zhengda Shen, CEO of CXM at dentsu APAC, and Owen McCorry, global CXM chief growth officer.

“dentsu has world-class capabilities in CXM through Merkle and huge growth potential in APAC. I am excited to join the team at such a pivotal time for the business, especially when this growth opportunity collides with a seismic shift in changing consumer and business habits seen globally in the past year,” Ooi commented regarding her appointment.

Prior to joining dentsu, Ooi has worked for professional services company Accenture as managing director for Industry X.0 lead (growth markets), and for multinational conglomerate Electric (GE) as general manager for the ASEAN enterprise sales, as well as leading GE’s Ecosystem Alliance for the APAC region.

“Rachel has an impressive track record, is results-driven and skilled in leading high-performance teams and projects across various sectors, especially Tech Innovation and Digital. Her background and experience will ensure we continue to lead in this space,” Shen said.

Meanwhile, Owen commented, “We believe focusing our business capabilities around customer experience is the greatest advantage we can give our clients. Hence, we need someone like Rachel, who has proven strategic vision growing businesses and challenging the status quo. Most importantly, she will deliver client centricity across APAC markets, bridging cultural nuances, which is fundamental to success in this dynamic, fast-paced region.”

Rachel Ooi’s appointment comes with a greater need in digitalization of businesses. For her, there are opportunities to drive business outcomes for clients amidst transformations and convergence,  which she describes as the “era of digital genesis”, centered around a “digital-first, cloud-scaled, and AI-enabled circular economy”.

“CXM is the weakest link today in many organizations that are in transition, where there is an urgent need for creativity working with digital innovation and human-centric engagements for continual customer intimacy and business success. I look forward to working with the team to make a fundamental impact and deliver value for our clients,” Ooi concluded.

Marketing Featured APAC

Prerna Mehrotra takes helm of ‘Media’ at Dentsu APAC

Singapore – Dentsu International APAC welcomes the new year with a bang by unveiling its new CEO for its media relations, Prerna Mehrotra.

Mehrotra is currently the managing director of the network’s Media Group at Singapore and will be taking on the new role alongside her existing position.

Prerna will be responsible for driving Dentsu’s global media strategy and delivery in APAC, ensuring its alignment and relevance in the market with “client-centricity at the core,” to develop an integrated portfolio of tools and capabilities aimed at maximizing the effectiveness, relevance, and performance of clients’ media.

For the new role, she will be reporting to Ashish Bhasin, CEO of Dentsu APAC, and Peter Huijboom, global CEO of Media & Global Clients.

Bhasin shared in a press release that Mehrotra was a clear candidate for the role, having joined the business in 2016.

“She has gone from strength to strength excelling in roles across investment and media. This integrated view across our media portfolio and her acumen of over 20 years set her apart from the rest,” he said.

Meanwhile, Huijboom commented, “I am delighted to have Prerna join my leadership team and drive Dentsu’s media strategy in this critical region. Her experience in key markets including India and China and her long-standing client relationships will ensure we continue to drive value, and excellence in everything we do.”

On her appointment, Mehrotra said, “The media landscape in this region has never been more complex. Over the past eight months, consumers’ expectations of what brands produce and how they behave have changed rapidly, and it will only continue. I am excited to be working with top talents from across our markets to create growth opportunities and long-term value for our clients.”