Technology Featured APAC

Why digital accessibility and a more inclusive web matter to APAC brands

The online world is here to stay and our time online will continue to grow. From shopping for necessities to staying connected with loved ones, how we shop, communicate, learn and make decisions has been irreversibly changed by the internet. Bain & Co found that since the pandemic began, Southeast Asia has added 60 million new digital consumers, of which 20 million joined in the first half of 2021. 

With the increase in digital consumption, we are seeing an increase in digital accessibility issues. In the Asia Pacific, over 650 million people live with a disability and this number is likely to increase as a result of the region’s ageing population. This means that one in six people in the region has some type of impairment that affects their ability to consume digital content. 

Addressing the gap 

It is expected that an increasing number of people with disabilities will require more accessible environments and services to remain mobile and engaged in society. 

However, digital inclusion remains under-addressed. Much of the internet remains inaccessible, despite existing policies to make websites more accessible. A report by Contentsquare shares some troubling numbers – 70% of digital content is not accessible, two-thirds of e-commerce sites are not accessible, and 70% of public services are not accessible.

Without ensuring digital accessibility for all, we are limiting a large group of people from accessing even the most basic services and information on the internet. There is a need to enhance the spotlight on digital accessibility, and brands catering to the audience of this highly diverse region must take action now to offer inclusive online experiences to secure a digital future for all. 

Digital accessibility is good for business

The argument for digital accessibility extends way beyond the moral obligation of building websites for all; it has huge financial and commercial implications too. Accessibility is not only good for ensuring equal access to everyone on an ethical level, but it’s also good for business. 

As the numbers tell us, the potential audience is huge and having the website inaccessible to this group is a missed opportunity. 

Ben Pintos-Oliver, general manager of digital systems at Telstra, spoke about this at a recent industry event for CX by Contentsquare. 

Ben shared that within Telstra, Australia’s largest mobile network, 50% of their base is over 55 years old.

“We know there’s a large portion of that population (around 50%) that [may have] a disability. We also know that we have an ageing population in Australia and that a 20% increase in over 65s will happen by 2030,” Ben said. 

Accessibility is not just important for disabled people – it benefits a wider audience, from people using smartphones to Asia’s ageing population to those situated in areas with low Internet connectivity. Human-centred and accessible design naturally comes with fewer points of friction and frustration.

A brand that demonstrates a commitment to accessibility for all can enjoy a strengthened brand presence and an increase in positive sentiment and word-of-mouth recommendations. And with those come significant improvements in customer experience and loyalty.

Make digital inclusion a key organisation-wide priority

Adoption of accessibility across the organisation is critical to its success, starting from leadership support. Accessibility as a mandate can’t be limited to developers and UX teams.

According to Telstra’s Ben, accessibility uptake is a joint effort and needs to cut across different functions across the organisation to be truly successful.

“From HR to corporate relations, to your digital team; more voices create more noise so make sure you get people from across the company on board as soon as you can. Seeking out people company-wide who support your initiative will help ensure a smoother buy-in from C-level too,” shared Ben.

The accessibility agenda needs to be woven into as many elements of the business as possible. For Ben, it is important for the team to align accessibility with ethical, brand and product agendas that are already on people’s roadmaps. 

“There needs to be a collective and conscious effort to support promoting accessibility for everyone, from your company values to your commitment to doing business responsibly,” said Ben.

Building a more inclusive web together: digital a11y by design

Building a more inclusive web to make a real difference in the lives of billions is a mammoth undertaking, and the more brands who commit to accessibility, the better. 

Brands need to ensure accessibility is embedded into their digital experience from the start, and not bolted on as an afterthought. Building a great website first and then reversing to make it accessible afterwards is a sure-fire recipe for a poor experience for your users. 

Brands like Telstra who prioritise accessibility from the very start will begin to cultivate an organisation-wide accessible-first mindset and contribute towards a better, kinder, and more inclusive digital environment.

This article is written by Albert Nel, senior vice president for Asia Pacific & Japan at Contentsquare.

Platforms Featured APAC

The ‘everyday creator’: Let’s talk about the creator economy

Who said you can’t earn money from following your passion? Thanks to today’s digital world, it’s now possible for anybody to monetise their hobbies and passions – not just full-time professionals – such as influencers and content creators. 

From purchase reviews to how-to videos to self-help discussions, digital platforms make it easier than ever for people to enter the creator economy and earn revenue through the content they create around their interests. Nearly any topic or subject has monetisation potential, providing equal opportunities for everyone to access and create alternative income streams. 

The advent of the ‘everyday creator’

Technological advances, evolving definitions of work and our transition to a digital-first world have led to the rise of the creator economy – an inclusive, accessible ecosystem where independent creatives can earn revenue from their creations.

With devices such as mobile phones becoming increasingly sophisticated, as well as the prevalence and accessibility of feature-rich social media platforms, people no longer need a sophisticated setup or professional production team to produce content in their spare time.

Such ‘everyday creators’ can spend as much (or as little) time and effort as they want to create content, often with just a smartphone in hand. This provides them with a significant amount of flexibility and freedom in creating – particularly with regards to monetisation opportunities and content genres. 

Monetisation opportunities for all

Previously, traditional monetisation channels mainly allowed digital content creators to earn money through ad revenues and brand sponsorships. However, this required them to have amassed a significant following or achieving partner status on digital platforms – a difficult task for casual creators to undertake without significant effort. 

Today, however, there are many levels of monetisation for all levels of content creators – especially earning revenue directly from the audience. For instance, the creation of cash-convertible in-app currencies on apps allows audiences to support creators through virtual gifting.

Instead of having to chase a minimum number of postings or followers, content creators are now free to create and post their content as they like, while generating income. This means that they do not have to constantly source for corporate sponsorships or post excessively to maintain their partner status; both of which could dilute content quality and require an outsized amount of effort. 

Additionally, if their content gains popularity over time, creators can make the seamless transition from a hobby that occasionally earns money to a full-time career providing a main income stream.

Built-in support facilitates passionate creation

Monetisation aside, the tell-tale sign of a successful content creator is their ability to engage with audiences and build a following around their content. Half of this battle is already won due to the multitude of supporting mechanisms present within content platforms. 

For instance, through community detection algorithms that are based on commonalities among audiences such as their interests or location, creators can identify, segment and reach their intended viewers automatically. Furthermore, the real-time nature of content such as livestreaming enables impactful and personalised social interactivity between creator and consumer, further building their following. 

For the ‘everyday creator’, these systems are key to achieving greater discoverability and reachability. It means that they only have to focus on creating the content they want instead of basing their creative efforts on content that will attract the most eyeballs.

This means that there are now endless varieties of content and themes that creators can choose to make and monetise. For instance, while a significant amount of content is entertainment-based, such as funny videos or trend responses, many creators may also choose to create educational and helpful content. These may revolve around issues and subjects that they have some expertise or experience in, such as in fields like parenting, self-help, cooking and wellness.

Social media provides a platform for and amplifies relevant content based on audience interests and needs, enabling the content to reach the people who need it. This is further enhanced by the creator’s natural charisma and relatability, as well as the social community that forms around the creator as a result of the content produced. Aside from the audience’s interest in the content, creators’ inherent charisma and relatability can further gel the community. 

Platforms like Instagram, Whatsapp and even Bigo Live have recently launched features that enable creators to build communities to connect users of similar interests and act as a cradle for the sharing of ideas. These virtual communities foster a sense of belonging while motivating creators to actively produce content.

The future of content is inclusive

Inclusive growth has been the model of economic development in modern times, and the creator economy has evolved into a sterling example of inclusivity and accessibility. It has removed the high time and effort investment barrier that previously separated revenue-generating creators from pure hobbyists, allowing everyone to translate their passions into monetary benefits.

Anybody with access to the internet can participate in this burgeoning economy; the only prerequisite is their love of producing content. With content platforms now enabling round-the-clock monetisation and engagement, it is also more feasible and seamless than ever for an ‘everyday creator’ to go full-time if they wish. Given this freedom and flexibility, we look forward to seeing the creator economy expand and flourish even more in the future – for everyone.

This article is written by Mike Ong, VP of BIGO Technology.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Mental health partner Safe Space ties anew with FWD for digital content on mental health

Singapore – Southeast Asia’s digital mental health ecosystem provider, Safe Space, has partnered with FWD Insurance (FWD), a pan-Asian life insurance company, to re-imagine mental well-being techniques on a digital platform. 

Officially launched as a pilot programme in September 2021, the partnership with FWD has evolved to become part of Safe Space’s bigger initiatives in providing support for individuals regardless of their mental health background. Focusing on accessibility and affordability, mental health content and features supported by Safe Space’s expertise will be made available on FWD’s digital platform. 

Through this partnership, Safe Space is also leveraging its strategic insights from a research association with FWD to facilitate a goal-based user journey centred around a holistic concept of well-being. With a large potential for learning and scope for innovation and exploratory solutions, this association supports Safe Space’s endeavours to drive value and positive outcomes through social impact.

Lynette Seow, Safe Space’s co-founder and COO, noted that through this partnership with FWD, they are rethinking user engagement with regard to mental health education and access. 

“Having done extensive research across multiple markets, we are able to understand both the shared issues of key demographics across Asia as well as the local nuances and mental health challenges faced in individual countries. Armed with this knowledge, we can now develop new ways to address the issues that are important to users, for the most impact,” said Seow.

Platforms Featured South Asia

SHAREit Group to bolster business in Bangladesh market

Dhaka, Bangladesh – SHAREit Group, the global internet technology company, mainly dedicated to mobile internet application development and digital services, is set to bolster its business in the Bangladesh market to fulfill the diverse demands of the people in the country.

According to a report by Dhaka Tribune, the number of internet users in Bangladesh has increased by 19%, totaling 7.7 million between 2020 and 2021. In January 2021, there were 47.61 million internet users and the Internet penetration in the country stood at 28.8%.

SHAREit, which owns the flagship product, SHAREit app, aims to double down on the highly engaged digital audience in the country. The company said that while there is a vastly increasing number of internet users in Bangladesh, the development of internet channels and resources is rather slow, and therefore opening up the need for a rapid and reliable internet application.

The SHAREit app offers opportunities for users to access a platform that enables online streaming videos, file transfer facilities, as well as applications aimed at gaming, entertainment, and personalized digital content. 

Starting mainly from offering a file transfer app, SHAREit group has since branched out to offering brand marketing, digital advertising, and entertainment solutions. SHAREit offers a wide inventory for advertisers and has also performance advertising solutions to drive installs for brands and gaming apps. In addition, SHAREit offers in-game advertising and payment solutions. 

“Over the years, our growth as a platform for marketing and entertainment as well as the meteoric rise of total users has been phenomenal. Now that we have many users in Bangladesh, we want to strengthen our business in this country to partner with local and global apps and serve our users in more enhanced ways,” said Karam Malhotra, partner and global vice president of SHAREit

The SHAREit group has mapped out plans to cater to the digital entertainment, brand marketing, and advertising solution needs of the country. This is expected to benefit the users in multi-faceted ways as it comes as an alternative channel for brand marketing as well. 

According to SHAREit, its presence is now at 200 countries and is available in 45 languages. Currently, SHAREit Group has its offices in various regions in the world, including Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates, among others. 

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Cambodia’s ABA Bank reels in Forest Interactive as digital content partner

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Local-based ABA Bank has announced that it has signed in scalable mobile platform provider Forest Interactive as its digital content partner for the bank’s mobile banking app, ABA Mobile.

Through the partnership, ABA Bank will bring ABA Mobile users options to pay for digital vouchers by popular online entertainment and stores, including premium services like Amazon, Google Play Store, iTunes Store, Netflix, Spotify, Mobile Legends Diamonds, Rules of Survival, Roblox, and many more.

Said partnership, according to Soknang To, country manager at Forest Interactive Cambodia, coincides with the current state of Cambodia in regards to digital content consumption, where the country is growing as an emerging market for the digital content audience with over 21 million mobile connections as of January 2021.

“With these vouchers available on the ABA Mobile app, customers can purchase in-game credits and digital gift cards right from their mobile banking app. We are excited to plug in another connection with ABA Bank to make premium content services easily and securely available for Cambodians, thus boosting the Kingdom’s digital financial inclusion effort,” To stated.

Meanwhile, Zokhir Rasulov, chief digital officer at ABA Bank, commented that the partnership with Forest Interactive brings great value to ABA Mobile users, making payments for a variety of the world’s popular services just a few taps away.

“This is the result of how ABA closely monitors and listens to the needs of its clients. We will continue working hard to bring more useful features and services and make the financial life of Cambodians more convenient,” Rasulov said.

Forest Interactive’s Digital Voucher Platform (DVP) comes to the fore as a comprehensive, one-stop portal for vouchers on digital goods to cater to today’s growing smartphone users that prefer online purchases of goods and services. With DVP, users can enjoy a wide array of premium digital content services through simplified and secured payment processes.

Forest Interactive’s endeavor for content subscription strategies has been evident globally, as they announced its expansion to eight countries last year, namely Myanmar, Switzerland, Austria, Kuwait, and Kenya as well as Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia.

Technology Featured South Asia

OTTera names director of business development for India

Los Angeles – OTTera, global white label OTT service, has announced the appointment of its director of business development for India operations, seasoned media and communications Sumit Rastogi

The appointment comes at a time when on-demand and live stream videos are at their peak demand with audiences looking for digital channels of entertainment in the middle of lockdowns. 

Headquartered in Los Angeles, OTTera provides an all-in-one platform for content developers with solutions for cross-platform development, distribution, and monetization. It allows companies to launch highly customized OTT services at speed, one that would normally take several years and a massive investment to build. According to the company, it currently manages over 70 linear channels and more than 50 OTT services globally.

Stephen Hodge, co-CEO and chairman of OTTera, said that the appointment of Rastogi, who has built a broad leadership and network within the country, will help the company accelerate its growth and tap the many opportunities in the Indian sub-continent.

Rastogi boasts of over 18 years of experience in the area of media sales, content acquisition, and content syndication, and most importantly, in partnerships and affiliate business. Prior to joining OTTera, he was general manager at U2opia Mobile and has also worked for Times of India, Locovida Digital Solutions, and 9.9 Media & Dainik Jagran.

For his new role, Rastogi is charged to grow OTTera’s client base and operations in India. He will be exploring business opportunities from Indian content creators to showcase their content diaspora on leading connected TV and OTT channels and platforms globally.

Rastogi commented that the OTT viewership in India is at an all-time high now and has become the primary mode of entertainment for consumers across Tier II and III cities.

“Regional content, gaming sports, fitness, education will be key drivers in India’s OTT growth and I realize that I have a big opportunity to introduce OTTera services to all the OTT players [and] linear channels and content creators in India. I’m thrilled about working with the talented & experienced OTTera team,” he said. 

Main Feature Platforms Southeast Asia

The power of social media in a pandemic

The precarious Covid-19 hit the Indonesian islands in mid-March 2020 and has been creating havoc since then. The rampant pandemic brought social and economic consequences disturbing the entire economy. Out of the many policies implemented by the government such as PSBB or the country’s large-scale social restrictions, affected the socio-economic daily lifestyle of Indonesians in infinite ways. The fury of the virus hasn’t spared anyone and sadly, Indonesia is no exception.

In troublesome times like these, passing on vital information and keeping the commoner well-aware of the situation becomes imperative. When there is mayhem and uncertainty, the need for building social solidarity among people comes to the fore. That’s when social media comes into the picture. It is indeed a driving force behind the emergence of mass social solidarity.

This digital cohesion is created through various means on different social network sites (SNSs), including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. With the virus that is spreading at lightning speed, reliable information also needs to spread like wildfire. When masses have to be educated about the do’s and don’ts of staying vigilant, social media emerges as a clear winner that delivers every piece of information to your smartphone.

Digital cohesion 

Netizens help educate and impart psychological support in reducing panic through experiences, statistics, photos, and current updates and live coverages conducted by journalists. As per a survey conducted by Universitas Airlangga, 67.5% of the Indonesians who took the survey confirmed that social media has helped them stay informed during the pandemic. Meanwhile, 34.5% said that news and information on social media helped influence their behavior regarding precautions or safety against the virus.

If we talk of Twitter, it has been instrumental in helping people find reliable information, connect with others and follow what’s happening in real-time. By adding a new tab in explore titled ‘Covid-19’, it has helped netizens find help instantly and post a medical or financial requirement. Health experts and doctors also are banking upon the power of Twitter to pass on verified information for the benefit of people. Global Twitter insights reveal that there was a 45% increase in the curated events page for Covid-19 and a 30% increase in direct messages with respect to the virus information.

Besides spreading awareness, it gives rise to volunteerism through donation drives, online concerts, and interactive activities conducted by social agents, celebrities, and influencers who have a mass appeal. These are impactful and solve existing problems by raising large sums of monetary support.

Indonesians have benefitted from medical and financial aid received through amplification on social media, making it a particular savior of uncertain times. A clear example of successful volunteerism would be the fundraising campaigns conducted by Kompas TV and Narasi TV, which have shown tangible evidence in alleviating and assisting covid relief.

As per research conducted by GoPay Digital Donation Outlook 2020, the acquisition of digital donations increased by 72% due to covid. It’s a win-win situation when the community comes together to help each other achieve the end goal and fight their common enemy together.

Spreading digital literacy

Digital solidarity in the Covid times has also led to the strengthening of digital literacy as people realized the tremendous power and significant benefits of social media. As per reports, the number of social media users in Indonesia increased by 10 million in 2020-21, amounting to 170 million users. Facebook has the highest user base, with 57.33% of people using the platform as of April 2021 compared to 49.73% of Facebook users in April 2020.

Penetration of social media in Indonesia has been experiencing an all-time high since the breakout of the pandemic. Many regional celebrities and pivotal figures of the globe have a social presence that navigates through various levels of society. Both government and non-government entities accurately use social media to address and respond to the existing economic impact. It is remarkable how a medium of shared awareness has successfully turned into a joint action of sorts. It will not be wrong to say that when the world stands divided by social distancing, it is social media that unites.

This article is written by Devinder Sharma, Twitter partner director at Httpool Indonesia.

Httpool is an Aleph Holding company, representing leading digital media platforms across Europe and Asia. It supports their growth as well as drives business results for traditional and native advertisers across more than 30 markets.
Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Unilever PH breaks gender stereotype on grooming with new beauty content hub for men

Singapore – Consumer brands behemoth Unilever, with a vast portfolio of beauty and wellness products, has just unveiled the great strides it has recently taken for its communications and advocacy. 

Unilever has always been dedicated to its global commitment to positive beauty, and its Philippine leg has just launched its contribution to the advocacy – one that not just aims to innovate its engagement to consumers but one that seeks to uplift common beauty standards. 

The new MANifesto.PH is Unilever Philippines’ online publication that focuses on men’s care, providing practical tips and advice on grooming, wellness, and other male concerns. The digital destination aims to encourage men to take better care of their skin, hair, and overall health. While beauty and everything related to the concept and practice of it is oftentimes anchored to women, the new platform is serving as a great step towards making grooming and wellness more inclusive. 


The new content hub was created with content marketing agency Green Park Content (GPC). Francis Almirante, Unilever Philippines’ digital transformation manager for beauty and personal care, comments on GPC’s work, “GPC is a thought leader in SEO and content – they have a keen understanding of how search intent can dictate strategic paths for our brands to influence consumer behavior.

MANifesto.PH is part of the overall latest online publication by the Philippine arm, BeautyHub.PH. The main online portal is likewise developed by GPC. 


With a dedicated goal to push the inclusivity of beauty forward, BeautyHub.PH is positioned to become a one-stop destination for all beauty advice and inspiration for people of all colors, shapes, and sizes. It eyes to champion equal representation with content to shine light on every skin tone, age group, hair needs, and body type, and amplifying the conversation on physical appearances that are continued to be stigmatized, such as stretch marks and dark skin.    

“We’re proud to have this incredible opportunity to produce Unilever Philippines’ brand-new content platform. BeautyHub.PH will bridge between Unilever’s products and its audiences through insightful storytelling that delivers value and promotes inclusivity and diversity,” said GPC Asia Managing Director Marcelo Bittencourt.

GPC, a global agency that opened its first office in the region in 2017, worked on BeautyHub.PH and MANifesto.PH for over a year, with the scope of work including strategy, branding, UX and UI design, content strategy, SEO, and editorial content creation. 

Creative & Brand Strategy Director for GPC APAC, Fe Husaint, said, “GPC is privileged to help Unilever deliver this purposeful project to shape a world that champions inclusivity & diversity. So we are proud to work on the brand identity and communication strategy for BeautyHub.PH.”

BeautyHub.PH and MANifesto.PH represents a move by Unilever towards brand publishing, using SEO-driven editorial and content. Both hubs aim to help customers in their search journey, making Unilever personal care brands have greater discoverability using the power of search. In true magazine and brand publishing style, all content is intent-led, with the brands woven seamlessly into the narrative.

Marketing Featured South Asia

India’s Ad Standards Council releases draft guidelines on influencer ads

Mumbai, India – The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has released Monday, draft guidelines for influencer advertising on digital media.

The guidelines were established by the regulatory body in response to the surging influencer marketing in the country, and the tendencies following naturally of influencers and marketers to insufficiently identify and distinguish that a digital content is promotional.

According to digital marketing agency AdLift, India’s influencer market is estimated at US$75M to US$150M a year as compared to the global market of $1.75B, and ASCI foresees that such medium is poised to increase further in practice as more Indians go online.

ASCI said that when influencers fail to properly identify promotional content, the non-disclosure is misleading, and therefore a disservice to consumers.

The council’s draft guidelines consist of 10 pointers. The direction mainly guides influencers and marketers on how a disclosure label should rightly appear, and where it must be properly placed within a content to achieve the transparency for audiences and consumers. 

ASCI said that branded and promotional content must be obviously distinguishable by the average consumer from editorial and independent user-generated content. It is not enough that advertisers label the content but that disclosure labels must be from the approved specifications. 

The reason for this is that some consumers may not be familiarized by the creative ways influencers and advertisers choose to deliver disclosure labels, and therefore labels that are not able to follow the approved specifics will not be considered adequate. Examples of these advertisements are paid music promotion in a video or a promotion of a store or a brand through a post on the influencers’ media handle. 

ASCI said the disclosure label must be upfront, such that it should be within the first two lines of accompanying copy in any given platform, not needing to click ‘see more’ or scroll further to see details. It should also be prominently placed, appropriate for the channel, and suitable for all potential devices, meaning the label is visible regardless of what channel, platform, and device is used. 

The disclosure label must also be in English or translated into the language of the ad in a way that will be well understood by the average consumer who is viewing the ad. ASCI also said that blanket disclosures, those that are put in the profile, ‘bio’ and ‘about’ sections of brands and influencers’ social media accounts will not be considered adequate. 

The council has also specified that in instances where an ad is only a posted image such as in Instagram stories or Snapchat, the label needs to be superimposed over the picture and that it must be seen clearly by an average viewer. The same goes with videos, where in cases that the promotional video content does not carry any text, the disclosure label should be superimposed. 

In regards to the video’s length, ASCI has also given a direction. For example, for videos that last 15 seconds or lesser, the disclosure label must stay for a minimum of 2 seconds, while for those that are longer than 15 seconds, but less than 2 minutes, the disclosure label must stay for one-third the length of the video. Meanwhile, for videos that are 2 minutes or longer, the disclosure label must stay for the entire duration of the section in which the promoted brand or its features and benefits are mentioned. 

With audio media, on the other hand, the statement must be clearly announced both at the beginning and at the end of the audio. In addition for social media ads, the council also prohibits filters applied to these types of ads, especially if they exaggerate the effect of the claim that the brand is making, such as shinier hair or whiter teeth. 

It is also expected that the influencer must do their due diligence about any technical or performance claims made by them such as ‘twice as better’, or ‘effect lasts for 1 month’, or the ‘fastest speed’, among others. Due diligence can be verified through correspondence with the advertiser or brand owner confirming that the specific claim made in the ad is with scientific substantiation. 

With the said guidelines, ASCI recommends that the contractual agreement between advertiser and influencer carry such presented clauses pertaining to the disclosure label, use of filters as well as due diligence. 

The guidelines will be available for all stakeholders, including industry, digital influencers as well as consumers for feedback until 8 March, 2021. Based on the feedback and inputs, the final guidelines will be issued by ASCI by 31 March, 2021, and will be applicable to all promotional posts that are published on or after 15th April 2021.

Subhash Kamath, Chairman of ASCI, said that Digital is no longer a niche and that consumers have the right to easily recognize promotional content. 

“The guidelines will help consumers identify promotional content and also guide digital influencers. We look forward to feedback from industry stakeholders, including more influencers, which would help us make the digital space more responsible for all,” said Kamath. 

The guidelines were a collaborative effort with influencers. ASCI teamed up with BigBang.Social, a marketplace for social storytelling, to get India’s leading digital influencers’ views on board.

Dhruv Chitgopekar, CEO of BigBang.Social, said, “We realized the need for a responsible advertising ecosystem in place for influencers; promoting ethical practices, fair & transparent expression. These guidelines will benefit consumers and digital influencers. We firmly believe it is essential for digital advertising platforms too. We are delighted to partner with a self-regulatory body that wants to be inclusive of all stakeholders.”

ASCI’s draft guideines on influencer ads also provides a ready reckoner on disclosure lables for each specific social media platform.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Cruise operator Hurtigruten taps Aussie creative agency to debut ‘immersive’ digital magazine

Sydney, Australia – Norwegian sustainable cruise operator Hurtigruten has tapped the creative talents of Australia-based publishing agency Grin Creative in launching its first-ever ‘immersive’ digital magazine, initially set to roll out in Australia.

Hurtigruten is known for their cruise routes locally in Norway and through the Arctic region, such as Svalbard, Alaska, Iceland, as well as Antarctica, the Carribean, the British Isles and parts of Europe and North America. Hurtigruten Magazine is its first foray into publishing.

The new ‘immersive’ digital magazine will make full use of immersive videos and sound, the first issue of the magazine allows readers to tour Norway’s coastal kitchen with Danish food and travel blogger Anders Husa, embark on a visual journey to Antarctica with award-winning Australian travel photographer Dan Avila, and follow in the footsteps of Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen.

Hurtigruten’s digital magazine will also feature the cruise line’s mission for sustainability, showcasing stories about the first all-women team to overwinter in the Arctic, and discover how ice samples in Greenland are helping scientists to predict the future.

“Much like our hybrid ships, we’re embracing new technologies to keep our audiences’ travel dreams alive through an interactive and immersive experience that goes beyond brochures,” said Damian Perry, managing director of Hurtigruten Asia Pacific.

The digital magazine will be published quarterly and will be optimized for mobile phones, tablets and desktops.The creation of the digital magazine was spearheaded by Joel Victoria, head of marketing for Hurtigruten Asia Pacific, who believes that the magazine will serve as a ‘temporary escape’ and an inspiration for travel in future, still restricted by the ongoing global pandemic.

“We’re finding that cruises exploring remote destinations are performing exceptionally well at the moment for forward bookings; nearly 80% of bookings in the last quarter of 2020 were for Antarctica, fuelled by an ‘All-Inclusive’ marketing campaign. Svalbard, in the Norwegian Arctic, has also proven popular with Aussies,” Victoria stated.

After its initial release in Australia, the printed edition of the magazine will roll out in the UK with translated editions also available in France, Germany and Norway and soon to roll out in Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark.