Technology Featured East Asia

Online event service provider Vootprint launches new tech solutions to unlock event intelligence

Hong Kong – Online event service provider Vootprint has launched its new technology suite to support the global B2B event industry in accelerating digitalisation. The technology suite comprised of SaaS Virtual Event Builder, ‘Expo GENie’ data analytics console, and GlobalExpo-Net (GEN) B2B event portal.

The new solutions each cater to different needs and address various pain points in the digital transformation of B2B events. It adopts a build-host-analyse (BHA) model, blending the competencies of SaaS Virtual Event Builder (build), GlobalExpo-Net (host), and ‘Expo GENie’ (analyse) into a customisable solution. 

In addition, the suite truly caters for the individual needs of virtual event organisers, solving stakeholders’ pain points such as inexperience in building online events, lack of technical, in-house support, and incompetencies in data integration and analytics. The BHA ecosystem also facilitates event organisers to design data-driven, sustainable event strategies and solutions for materialising digital transformation.

Dr. Jacky Ting, Vootprint’s chief digital officer, said, “We integrate Big Data, Al and SaaS into Vootprint’s technology suite for creating holistic virtual event experience, providing cutting-edge marketing technology support, and offering a seamless access to the metaverse.”

Powered by a proprietary SaaS solution, the technology suite now allows organisers to customise their events from a dozen of exhibition features and modules. The business matching feature, which is powered by AI, requires no additional technical knowledge to set up. With just 10 minutes, organisers can effortlessly build a virtual event that supports 3D scenes and enables metaverse connection. Compatible with the majority of live streaming and online conferencing solutions, the suite also supports game and reward functions for enhancing user interaction and engagement. 

Meanwhile, through ‘Expo GENie’, event organisers will be able to access big data of their B2B events and receive automated, real-time data analytics to make better decisions and optimise the event experience. Based on individual users’ profiles, event interests and preferences, event participants can receive regular B2B industry updates and personalised suggestions from the one-stop GlobalExpo-Net event information portal.

Vootprint said it is now setting its sights on developing new features for embracing the immense market opportunities of Web3 and metaverse.

Marketing Featured East Asia

7-Eleven’s coffee brand 7CAFÉ now total to 600 stores in HK

Hong Kong – As 7-Eleven’s coffee brand 7CAFÉ reaches its major milestone of 600 stores in Hong Kong last April, the coffee brand has launched its new lucky draw game, ‘Make Your Own Good Coffee’.

The new lucky draw game will last for six consecutive days from 11 to 16 May 2022, with an unprecedented 600 free cups of coffee up for grabs every hour. In the game, customers will be able to step into the shoes of a 7CAFÉ barista and experience the fun of making their own cup of freshly brewed 100% Arabica coffee according to the golden ratio. 

At the start, the game will be selecting a popular 7CAFÉ coffee drink – a café latte, cappuccino, or flat white – for the player to make. Coffee and fresh Australian milk will start flowing from the 7CAFÉ coffee machine, and players then need to use their skill to tap the coffee and milk buttons on the left and right of the screen at just the right time to stop the flow to make the perfect cup. After successfully preparing the cup, customers can then enter a lucky draw for a chance to win a 7CAFÉ free drink e-coupon, which can be redeemed in the nearest 7CAFÉ store.

Moreover, 7CAFÉ has also introduced its two new limited-edition Ginger flavour drinks, Ginger Latte and Ginger Flavoured Milk, which were inspired by the familiar flavours of Hong Kong-style dessert Ginger Milk Curd. The brand is also giving its coffee cups a makeover with an exclusive 600 Stores limited-time design, featuring Gullu Gullu coffee bean characters.

7CAFÉ said that customers can use an e-coupon to try the drinks at a special price of HK$10 until 17 May 2022.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Standard Chartered HK forays into metaverse via The Sandbox tie-up

Hong Kong – Banking institution Standard Chartered in Hong Kong has partnered with The Sandbox, a decentralised gaming virtual world, to create innovative experiences for its clients and community.

Standard Chartered Hong Kong deems to be the first bank to acquire virtual land at The Sandbox metaverse’s Mega City district, a culture hub based on or inspired by the country’s talents. Led by SC Ventures, an innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm under Standard Chartered Group, Standard Chartered Hong Kong will be actively engaging its clients, partners, staff, and the tech community, to explore co-creation opportunities in this new and exciting space, with the goal of experimenting and building new experiences for clients, as well as bringing the local sports and art communities into the metaverse.

Mary Huen, Standard Chartered’s chief executive for Hong Kong, noted that their involvement in the metaverse allows them to reimagine their relationship with existing and potential clients on this new platform and their approach to enhancing client journeys. 

“Having acquired virtual land in Mega City, a natural choice for the Bank given its distinctive Hong Kong theme perfectly fits with our promise of strengthening our continued presence in Hong Kong, whether physical or virtual,” said Huen.

Meanwhile, Alex Manson, Standard Chartered’s head of SC Ventures, said that for the past few years, they have been building business models in crypto and digital assets, and see the rise of the metaverse as a critical milestone in the Web 3.0 evolution. 

“We are excited for this opportunity to explore and innovate in partnership with The Sandbox, but also with our clients and partners who will play a crucial role in how this space develops,” added Manson.

The bank said that its SC Ventures has been investing in disruptive financial technology and exploring alternative business models, and the innovation arm will continue to drive Standard Chartered Hong Kong’s entrance into the metaverse and exploration of future Web 3.0 opportunities.

Marketing Featured East Asia

The Coca-Cola Company, Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong to relaunch sustainable glass bottle beverages

Hong Kong – The Coca-Cola Company, the global beverage company that owns the world-famous beverage brands Coca-Cola and Sprite, and its bottling partner Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong, have announced the return of its glass bottle beverage, with a new design and a refreshed look.

The relaunch of the new glass bottle is in line with the commitment of The Coca-Cola Company and Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong’s vision of sustainability. By adopting more environmentally friendly new technology to facilitate the development strategy for recycling and reuse, they joined hands to move towards Coca-Cola’s goal of ‘World Without Waste’.

Coca-Cola comes back with the classic contour bottle design and meets consumers with its familiar look. At the same time, other brands under Coca-Cola, including Sprite, Fanta, Schweppes, and Kochakaden are also coming with another bottle design. Both designs are adopting transparent bottles and make the appearance sleeker and cleaner. It is more convenient for consumers to return them after usage for the bottling plant to clean, disinfect and refill them. After adding the labels, they will be relaunched in the market, which is more efficient in protecting the environment.

The company said that the bottle comprises 60% recycled glass materials, with a weight loss of one-third compared to the previous bottles, making it easier to hold. Each box also now contains 24 bottles instead of 12 for easier transportation and storage.

Connie Yeung, Swire Coca-Cola’s general manager for Hong Kong, said, “Swire Coca-Cola HK has been the authorised bottler of The Coca-Cola Company since 1965. To realize the company’s vision in sustainable development, we have been actively enhancing packaging designs with more environmentally friendly elements throughout the years so that consumers, while enjoying the great taste, can have more options in recyclable packaging.”

Meanwhile, Marella Canepa Risso, The Coca-Cola Company’s franchise director for Hong Kong and Macau, shared that the new returnable glass bottle will allow their consumers to dive into a unique meal occasion experience uplifted by the refreshing taste brought by Coca-Cola.

“By increasing the use of returnable packaging, we promote a circular economy as our return to reuse bottles have high levels of collection and are low-carbon-footprint beverage containers because the bottles collection is built into our beverage direct delivery model,” said Risso.

The brand new glass bottle Coca-Cola brand is now rolling out in the market, while an extensive campaign will also soon be rolled out.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Animoca Brands, Planet Hollywood to launch new JV MetaHollywood

Hong Kong – Game software and venture capital company Animoca Brands and consumer brand developer Planet Hollywood Group have launched a new joint venture called the ‘MetaHollywood’.

MetaHollywood seeks to transform the awe-inspiring Hollywood experience into a Web3 metaverse that benefits and reaches more supporters, studios, and creators globally within a virtual environment for the creation, ownership, interaction, distribution, and sharing of digital collectibles, movies, clips, and other assets as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), including NFTs based on some of Planet Hollywood’s most iconic physical assets including photography, movie posters, and memorabilia.

Moreover, the joint venture will be providing a community for collectors to own uniquely famous pieces of film history in the form of NFTs as well as to share, interact with, and experience the digital assets in a purpose-built metaverse fueled by the utility of its native token. This will include the tokenisation of over 60,000 of Planet Hollywood’s iconic motion picture memorabilia encompassing all popular film genres, providing the community with exclusive benefits and offerings. These collectible props have been used by movie stars from every era including Arnold Schwarznegger, Tobey Maguire, and Michael J. Fox, as well as Jim Carrey, amongst many others, representing classic, pop culture, and modern Hollywood.

Robert Earl, Planet Hollywood’s founder, commented that he is thrilled to partner with Animoca Brands as they launch Planet Hollywood into the metaverse.

“Through MetaHollywood, we will offer utility and functionality that is unrivalled in this burgeoning sector, and I cannot wait to see what our users create using the power of their imagination,” said Earl.

Meanwhile, Yat Siu, Animoca Brands’ co-founder and executive chairman, shared that they are very excited to partner with Robert Earl and Planet Hollywood to bring this iconic brand into the rapidly growing world of Web3. 

“The MetaHollywood joint venture will create tremendous opportunities by leveraging Planet Hollywood’s vast network of celebrities and IPs and combining them with our industry expertise and our broad portfolio of products and companies,” said Siu.

Just recently, Animoca Brands has acquired Darewise Entertainment, a game developer founded by veterans of the AAA games industry that is currently developing a high-quality blockchain MMO game ‘Life Beyond’. Through the buyout, Animoca Brands will be assisting Darewise Entertainment to fast-track development and publishing in the Web3 space.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Levi Strauss announces new commercial endeavours in East Asia

Hong Kong – Global apparel brand Levi Strauss has announced a slew of commercial endeavours centred around its East Asia presence, including launching new stores and rolling out existing store refreshes and new in-store services throughout the region.

Nuholt Huisamen, managing director and senior vice president at Levi Strauss, said, “We are committed to the future success of our business at every level and are reimagining what we do and how we win in today’s marketplace. At the same time, we are embracing the technologies of tomorrow to power innovation and better serve our customers and deliver greater value to stakeholders. We will do this by placing people at the heart of our business and through responsible practices because being a force for positive change is integral to being the world’s best apparel brand.”

In addition, the company will leverage digital, data and AI to stay ahead of trends, drive efficiency and innovation in the product creation process, deliver omni-channel offerings, claim its space in the direct-to-consumer (DTC) sphere, and ultimately enhance the consumer experience.

Furthermore, among the new stores to be launched this year are Levi’s® stores in countries including Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Levi Strauss & Co. will refurbish a number of retail stores and shop-in-shops into NextGen Indigo stores, offering an elevated store experience that uses digital tools to streamline the consumer journey, including installing LED portal entry archways and LED screens for marketing content. 

Select stores in the region will also introduce in-store tailoring services to offer greater personalisation.

Technology Featured East Asia

SCMP Magazines integrates IAS’ Publisher Optimisation Solutions

Hong Kong – Hong Kong’s magazine publisher SCMP Magazines has integrated global digital adtech Integral Ad Science’s (IAS) Publisher Optimisation Solution, aimed at delivering quality impressions for its advertisers.

By activating the IAS Publisher Optimisation solution, SCMP Magazines aims to directly improve its ad inventory’s viewability and match its advertisers’ brand risk threshold by avoiding risky content. The partnership entails measurement and optimisation toward low IVT rates in real-time to ensuring its traffic is worth the investment and to reduce the redundancies of manual campaign optimisations.

Jennifer Tsang, SCMP Magazines’ VP of digital, shared that their goal has always been to uphold high standards of MRC viewability and brand safety for advertiser campaigns running on Cosmopolitan, Harper’s BAZAAR, ELLE, and Esquire Hong Kong websites. 

“IAS’ Publisher Optimisation Solutions allows us to do so effectively through intelligent ad inventory management and optimisation,” said Tsang.

Meanwhile, Laura Quigley, IAS’ SVP for APAC, said that their Publisher Optimisation solution seamlessly integrates publishers’ ad servers and powers inventory to automatically optimise ad delivery down to the placement level for direct and programmatic deals. 

“We’re very excited to partner with SCMP magazines to help advertisers ensure that they continue to invest in digital safely and efficiently,” added Quigley.

Technology Featured East Asia

Hivestack, SparkX Marketing partner to bolster DSP business in China

Shanghai, China – Global independent programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) adtech company, Hivestack, has partnered with SparkX Marketing, a Chinese cross-border martech company.

The partnership will see SparkX leveraging Hivestack’s DSP to bring global automation and performance measurement to its clients’ campaigns in DOOH for the first time. Through this, clients of SparkX will be able to access Hivestack’s full suite of tools within the Hivestack DSP, including the ability to build custom audiences, set up live geo-location targeting, plan, buy and deliver programmatic DOOH campaigns globally.

Aileen Ku, Hivestack’s general manager for China, shared that as enthusiasm builds for programmatic DOOH around the world, they are thrilled to partner with SparkX Marketing to continue to drive forward the adoption of the channel. 

“Our unique position as a global, independent ad tech company provides crucial opportunities for local advertisers to plan and deliver contextualised, targeted and measurable campaigns around the world via our global network of DOOH inventory,” said Ku.

Meanwhile, Jun Yuan, SparkX Marketing’s founder, commented that this is a very exciting partnership for their business and will allow their clients to scale their business via programmatic DOOH outside of China for the first time. 

“We look forward to collaborating with our new partner at Hivestack to leverage their market-leading programmatic technology and global network of DOOH inventory to offer our clients a way to precisely engage worldwide audiences outside of the home,” said Yuan.

Just recently, Hivestack has partnered with BlueFocus Media, to enable Chinese brands to plan, activate, and measure DOOH campaigns programmatically via the Hivestack demand-side platform (DSP) from within China to outside China and all over the world.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

HK beauty retailer Sa Sa enters foodpanda mall

Hong Kong – Hong Kong-based beauty retailer Sa Sa has partnered with foodpanda mall in Hong Kong, the online grocery and goods shopping mall under foodpanda, to accelerate its online-merge-offline (OMO) functions. 

It would be remembered that in June of 2021, the HK retailer announced the closing of a number of its physical stores with the goal to build a stronger O2O business.

With the new partnership via foodpanda mall’s round-the-clock delivery service, Sa Sa will be opening up for local customers a more convenient way of shopping to enhance customer experience. It will also be offering about 700 selected products on foodpanda mall, including anti-epidemic products for which Hong Kong citizens have an urgent need, and popular products such as cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, haircare, and body care products, as well as health supplements. 

After customers have placed orders at the online supermarket, foodpanda’s couriers will collect the goods at Sa Sa’s physical stores and deliver them to the customers in as fast as 10 minutes. Customers can thus quickly obtain the products without going out, especially meeting their urgent needs for anti-epidemic products and their favourite items within the cosmetic and personal care categories. This service will initially be piloted at 20 of Sa Sa’s stores and will be rolled out at more stores in the future.

Following the launch of the ‘click-and-collect’ service, Sa Sa’s partnership with foodpanda mall will further enhance the OMO development of the Group’s physical stores and its online business in Hong Kong. It also provides customers with one more customer-centric and convenient channel for online shopping, complementing Sa Sa’s shopping website.

Moreover, the partnership will allow Sa Sa and foodpanda mall to manifest their respective advantages and generate synergy. Sa Sa will be enriching foodpanda mall’s product assortment with its cosmetics, health supplements, and anti-epidemic products. Both foodpanda and Sa Sa have large customer bases, which can enable mutual conversion and thus enlarge their respective target customer bases. Sa Sa can also strengthen and expand its own base of young customers by serving foodpanda members who are used to quick commerce.

Simon Kwok, Sa Sa’s chairman and CEO, shared that online shopping trend is especially more pronounced amidst the raging pandemic as more consumers would rather stay at home than go out to protect themselves against the disease, and they believe that foodpanda’s quick delivery meets their customers’ increasing demand for convenient, fast online shopping service.

“In the light of the urgent demand for anti-epidemic products, we are offering them at foodpanda mall in the hope of providing citizens one more convenient shopping channel to help fight the pandemic. We also hope to enhance the OMO function at Sa Sa’s operation through the partnership with foodpanda mall so as to provide customers with a more seamless and convenient shopping experience,” said Kwok.

Meanwhile, Ryan Lai, foodpanda’s managing director for Hong Kong, said that they are extremely pleased to have Sa Sa as a foodpanda mall retail partner, benefiting from complementary strengths in advancing each other’s OMO business strategy, and elevating customers’ shopping experience for personal care, health and beauty products, amongst others. 

“This partnership also expands and diversifies foodpanda mall’s product offerings, to better satisfy the wants and needs of our customers,” added Lai.

To celebrate its partnership with Sa Sa, foodpanda mall launches promotional offers from 15 March to 30 April, where customers will enjoy a HK$50 discount upon spending of HK$400 or above with their first purchase at Sa Sa on foodpanda mall by entering the promotional offer code ‘SASA’.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Tomoko Akizawa joins Publicis Groupe Japan as new business director, new MD of MSL Japan

Tokyo, Japan – Global communications network Publicis Groupe has appointed Tomoko Akizawa, former executive vice president and client growth leader at global communications company Edelman, to be its new managing director of MSL Japan and new business director of Publicis Groupe Japan.

In her new roles, Akizawa will further develop and deepen MSL’s presence in Japan. She will also lead the MSL team in strengthening its service capabilities to drive greater impact for their clients under the Publicis Groupe’s Power of One offering, which is a frictionless collaboration between all of Publicis Groupe agencies that are able to better service their clients and people. 

Akizawa brings with her 20 years of experience in communications. Aside from her most recent roles at Edelman Japan, she has also held the director of technology and digital practices role.

Commenting on her appointment, Akizawa said that she is excited to join MSL especially as it looks to strengthen its positioning in both corporate and integrated communications in the Japan market.

“Given how MSL is so closely connected to the different solutions under the Publicis Groupe, I strongly believe that MSL is uniquely positioned to contribute and deliver integrated communications solutions as part of the Power of One partnership,” she added.

Meanwhile, Gareth Mulryan, the CEO of Publicis Groupe Japan, believes that Akizawa’s senior appointment will enable them to offer a stronger suite of communications services to their clients via the Publicis Groupe’s service offering of Power of One. 

“I look forward to working with her as part of the Publicis Japan executive team and am confident that she will help to continue our growth in Japan,” said Mulryan.

Margaret Key, MSL’s CEO for APAC and AMA, commented, “With her extensive experience in public relations and integrated communications, MSL Japan will have greater prowess in delivering impact and influence for our clients. I look forward to working closely with Tomoko to scale MSL business in this key growth market.”