Marketing Featured APAC

TBWA\MAL, Apple’s agency, names Kenny Blumenschein as ECD for APAC

Singapore – TBWA\Media Arts Lab, the Los Angeles-headquartered creative agency solely dedicated to Apple, has named a new executive creative director for the Asia-Pacific region, Kenny Blumenschein. Blumenschein was most recently from advertising agency Energy BBDO, and before that, worked for Facebook as its creative strategist for the Greater China Region for almost three years.

TBWA\Media Arts Lab currently operates in 25 markets globally, with five regional hubs outside its HQ—London, Miami, Singapore, Shanghai, and Tokyo. The agency solely creates work for the tech and smartphone giant Apple.

As the new ECD for APAC, Blumenschein will be based out of the Singapore hub and will be partnering with Managing Director, Michaela Futcher and reporting into Global Chief Creative Officer, Brent Anderson.

At Energy BBDO, Blumenschein held the same role of ECD alongside being the agency’s senior vice president. During his time there, he notably worked on the award-winning Wrigley’s ‘For when it’s time’ campaign. Meanwhile, at Facebook, he assisted global brands in crafting their stories and reaching business objectives through Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, according to his LinkedIn.

Blumenschein said that joining Media Arts Lab is a no-brainer as he always had a ‘crush’ on the agency.

“It’s a very rare opportunity to work on such an iconic brand with the smartest and nicest people in our industry. To do this in APAC, which is one of the most diverse, fastest-growing, and exciting regions is a further privilege,” he said.

Blumenschein is of Thai and German descent. He has amassed experience across multiple continents, including Europe, North America, and Asia, bringing with him valuable global perspective to his work. Aside from his most recent roles at Energy BBDO and Facebook, he also previously held posts at Ogilvy as ECD Digital & Content, and as head of creative at VMLY&R. Back in Germany, Kenny has also spent time at BBDO and Isobar.

In the new role, he will be working with teams stretching across the APAC, from India to Australia, to develop business building and culture-defining work for one of the world’s most recognizable global brands.

Futcher commented, “This part of the world couldn’t be more important to us, and ensuring that we have the creative firepower to deliver on our ambitions has been a critical focus. I’m so excited to have found someone of Kenny’s creative caliber, humanity, and experience to help us do that. His background as a ‘cultural chameleon’ is critical to us unlocking the diverse opportunities across a region as vast as APAC.”

Meanwhile, Anderson said, “Kenny is a strategic, innovative, and artful creative leader with great instincts and taste. He’s led dynamic, modern teams across agencies both in Asia and North America. He’s spearheaded cultural, integrated work that breaks through for challenging clients. Kenny is a creative soul with a reputation of mentoring, building atmospheres wherein creativity thrives and protecting great ideas.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

Business Council of Australia brings Aussies ‘one shot closer’ to return to normal life in new campaign

Australia – Business Council of Australia, the association of business leaders that gathers and engages in professional, intellectual, and leadership development, has launched a new campaign, aimed at bringing together employers of all sizes from across the economy to boost vaccination rates in the country.

Titled ‘One Shot Closer’, the campaign, which was created in collaboration with creative agency M&C Saatchi and supported by Facebook, seeks to reach at least 80% of Australians and give every business in the country access to a toolkit of messages and assets to let them speak with a united voice. 

The Business Council’s CEO, Jennifer Westacott, shared that the campaign is carefully researched and geared to complement existing state and federal advertising with messages that remind Australians that safe and effective vaccines are their path back.

“This is critical to the economy and the mental health and well-being of all Australians, as businesses across the country are pulling out all stops to reach our vaccination targets and put Australia on track to reopen. We have shown we can bounce back if we plan now to safely reopen, but that all depends on our ability to get Australians vaccinated,” said Westacott.

Meanwhile, Will Easton, Facebook’s managing director for AUNZ, noted that they have supported Aussie businesses and the community in staying connected during these challenging times.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer our support to the ‘One Shot Closer’ campaign and help the Business Council of Australia amplify this important message on our platforms,” said Easton.

Alexi Boyd, the CEO of Council of Small Business Organizations, believes that without a clear roadmap out of COVID restrictions small businesses will struggle to reopen and stay open.

“This initiative will help small businesses by encouraging more Australians to get jabbed, get our communities flourishing again and support Australian businesses,” said Boyd.

The campaign comes as more than 160 businesses employing millions of Australians sign the Business Council’s joint letter backing the National Plan, which is to help the residents to be freed from the pandemic lockdown.

SME Featured APAC

APAC’s Plug and Play unveils new programs to accelerate startup, SME growth

Singapore – Global innovation platform Plug and Play has recently concluded its APAC-centric summit last 1 to 2 June, in which the firm introduced three new programs for startups and SMEs. 

The three new programs are the ‘Sustainability Program’, ‘Business Solutions Accelerator by Facebook’, and its ‘GK – Plug and Play Program’. 

In the virtual event, it was announced that the ‘Sustainability Program’ seeks to provide the tools and network for startups with disruptive technologies that will allow them to empower big corporations to meet their green initiatives.

Part of the solutions instated include equipping SMEs forward thinking into creating sustainable supply chains, implementation of digital technologies for sustainable production, training and advisory for sustainable practices, and compliance or certification of sustainable practices. 

Jupe Tan, managing partner at Plug and Play APAC, commented, “This year we celebrate our 15th anniversary with a global team of almost 600 across 35 cities around the world. We will look to actively invest in technologies that focus on enhancing our living environment and address our resource constraints in a sustainable manner that reduces emissions and efficiently uses natural resources.” 

Meanwhile, the ‘Business Solutions Accelerator by Facebook’ will be made possible by Facebook and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to which Tan describes as an innovation catered to looking into areas such as cleantech and clean energy, sustainable agriculture, inclusive fintech as well as inclusive healthcare.

Through the accelerator, Facebook is looking forward to nurturing and collaborating with technology partners that share Facebook’s commitment to improving the merchant experience for businesses across the Facebook family of apps. Program benefits include product education, dedicated Facebook mentors for guidance on product development and business growth, networking with fellow startups and ecosystem enablers, insights into industry and innovation trends.

Lastly, the ‘GK Plug and Play’ aims to make innovation within reach for enterprising groups and individuals. Plug and Play aims to build a smart future by connecting innovation to the brightest minds, as well as building a unique ecosystem as their mission that connects change-makers and leading organizations. So far, the accelerator program has run 8 batches and accelerated 123 startups giving them enhanced access to mentors, investors, and corporations.

On the program with Facebook and ADB, Tan said, “I am proud to announce that we have embarked on a regional partnership with the Asian Development Bank through ADB Ventures, the new venture arm of the ADB. Together with ADB Ventures, we hope to source for and invest in bold technology startups that are working to solve Asia Pacific’s biggest unsolved problems. 

Technology Featured Global

DoubleVerify partners with Facebook to launch expanded brand safety, suitability integration

Singapore – DoubleVerify (DV), the global software platform for digital media measurement, data, and analytics, has partnered with Facebook, to expand brand safety and suitability integration.

DV provides advertisers with comprehensive brand safety and suitability controls, category options, and languages. The platform’s brand safety technology protects a brand’s equity and reputation across all media environments and is built for the modern brand suitability era.

The partnership aims to extend verification to new premium inventory channels such as Facebook In-Stream Reserve, which is Facebook’s invite-only program that gives certain, high-quality ‘video pages’ access to premium advertising opportunities, while providing new tools to boost control and efficiency. With the expansion, DV will now offer comprehensive brand measurement solutions on Facebook and Instagram, optimizing campaign quality.

Through the partnership, the advertisers on Facebook using DV can now manage brand safety and suitability settings with precision and accuracy using 53 content avoidance categories and 39 supported languages, as well as to create ‘Allow Lists’ for Facebook In-Stream Video inventory, supporting brand and content suitability and alignment. Furthermore, the advertisers can create ‘Block Lists’ that work across In-Stream Reserve, In-Stream Video, and Instant Articles, as well as Facebook Audience Network. And lastly, they can improve operational efficiency with automated Allow and Block List updates and delivery.

In addition to its brand safety and suitability capabilities, DV has partnered with Facebook for fraud protection and viewability measurement across their inventory. The platform enables advertisers to leverage a single viewability metric to measure performance across Facebook, Instagram, other large platforms, and publishers, as well as open exchanges. With DV, brands gain a holistic view of viewability performance across platforms and can use those learnings to validate their media plan and adjust budget allocation.

“We are excited to enter this phase in our work with Facebook. We are expanding our partnership to ensure an even more brand-safe and brand-suitable advertising environment for the global brands we serve across the Facebook ecosystem,” said Mark Zagorski, the CEO of DoubleVerify.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Google, Facebook Ad Networks still key for market retention in SEA: report

Singapore – Southeast Asia brands still see ad networks Google Ads and Facebook Ad Networks holding significant relevance in achieving retention among target consumers as well as in applying remarketing, a new report from mobile marketing analytics company AppsFlyer showed.

According to the report, Google Ads ranked number one when it comes to retention in Southeast Asia (SEA), while Facebook Ads fare better when delivering high-quality users from remarketing campaigns across Asia Pacific (APAC).

Google extended its lead over Facebook at the top of the index report, claiming first spot in all gaming and non-gaming categories, especially finance-based apps. Indonesia’s financial consultant app, Pendanaan Teknologi ranks third place in the overall finance-based apps in SEA, followed by Cashcash and Akulaku. 

Meanwhile, in all lifestyle non-gaming categories such as shopping, life, and culture, as well as social, Facebook ranked first in SEA, followed by Google Ads and Apple Search. 

As the report stated on the high index ranks of finance-based apps and well-known gaming apps, share of non-organic installs (NOI) on iOS dropped 17% in the second half of 2020 in Southeast Asia compared to the first half of the year, while NOI on Android saw the opposite effect — increasing by 9% in the same period. This is especially relevant in Southeast Asia, where AppsFlyer’s data from July to December 202 shows that Android users contribute 84% of organic installs, versus just 13% for iOS.

“2021 is going to be significantly different to previous years for marketers with end users enabling Limited Ad Tracking (LAT), and growing attention around user privacy alongside Apple’s privacy changes. iOS reliant networks and advertisers using them need to start thinking of active solutions to limit impact now,” said Beverly Chen, marketing director for APAC at AppsFlyer.

AppsFlyer also noted a 30% jump in the cost per install (CPI) on iOS in July to December 2020 which was a key factor behind the significant drop (Android cost increased by only 10%). As a result, mobile app marketers generated fewer installs for the same budget. The rise in media cost for iOS users was driven by two main elements: an increase in demand due to accelerated digital transformation caused by Covid-19, and a decrease in supply due to a 40% rise in the share of users who enabled Limited Ad Tracking (LAT). 

Other key insights noted in the report are TikTok Ads’ significant growth on iOS (+52% in its share of the pie). From 2019 to 2020, TikTok Ads recorded 82% more NOIs in APAC, climbing five spots in the global iOS gaming power ranking to reach an impressive 9 position from 14. Meanwhile, Unity Ads is still establishing its dominance in the gaming battleground, specifically in hypercasual gaming.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Facebook India releases second film for ‘More Together’ campaign series

India – Facebook in India has launched the second film ‘Dhara’ as part of the platform’s ongoing ‘More Together’ campaign series, done in collaboration with dentsu international’s creative agency Taproot Dentsu India.

The ‘More Together’ campaign intends to celebrate the first anniversary of Facebook’s consumer marketing journey in the country. The campaign series showcases the platform’s power of connections and communities through inspirational stories.

The previously released film focuses on the life of ‘Richen’, a female football coach in Ladakh – a region in northern India, who shares her players’ videos on the social media platform. It highlights how the power of connections not only creates a fan-following for her team but also drives her and the team’s career forward.

The sequel, meanwhile, focuses on the life of Dhara, a book lover who rescues books from being consigned to the bin and that with the help of Facebook, finds homes for many of her rescued books.

The story continues to explain how people can do more together and that there are endless possibilities one can achieve through the power of Facebook.

According to Neeraj Kanitkar, senior creative director of Taproot Dentsu, the film is a sweet and simple demonstration of Facebook’s inherent power which is to supercharge the efforts of one person when the community gets behind it. 

“It is quite rare to be in the advertising business without having some love for the written word. So when Gauri Burma – the most passionate book lover amongst us – came up with the idea, we knew we simply had to make it happen. We hope that it inspires people to consider using Facebook to give a new lease of life to old, forgotten, and about-to-be-turned-into-pulp books,” said Kanitkar.

Platforms Featured Global

Instagram doubles down on live streaming, upgrades feature to now accommodate four streamers

California, USA Instagram launched a new streaming feature for creators, ‘Live Rooms’, which has been upgraded to now enable up to four streamers to run a broadcast session. 

With the update, Instagram aims to provide more creative opportunities for the users, such as starting a talk show, hosting a jam session or co-creating with other artists, or to simply hang out with friends. 

Furthermore, the platform’s Live Room was also recently enhanced to give creators more means to build a business and earn money, as viewers can now purchase badges of their favorite creators and use other interactive features like Shopping and Live Fundraisers. Instagram said that in the coming months, users can expect more interactive tools, such as offering moderator controls and audio features.

To start a Live Room, hosts will have to swipe left and pick the Live Camera option. Afterward, they must add a title and tap the Rooms icon to add the guests. People who have requested to go live with the host will appear. While the hosts can also search for guests to add. Guests’ followers can also be notified to increase the live stream’s reach.

Instagram also assures that the new update was designed with safety in mind. Users that are blocked by any participants in the Live Room will not be able to join the live stream, as well as guests who have had their live access revoked because of violations of the Community Guidelines.

The current available features for Live Room hosts include the ability to report and block comments and apply comment filters.

Instagram said the updated Live Rooms will soon be available globally.

Platforms Featured ANZ

Facebook, Australia mend ties as amendments applied to Media Bargaining Code

Australia – Facebook has decided to restore news provision for Australian users on its platform after the country’s government announced its latest amendments to the news media bargaining code.

On 17 February, Facebook broke the announcement that it will be restricting the users in the country from sharing and viewing Australian and international news content on its platform in response to the nation’s proposed media bargaining law, which obliges technology platform giants that operate in Australia to pay local news publishers for the news content made available on their platforms.

Following the platform’s statement, the Morrison Government of Australia has decided to introduce further amendments to the law to ensure news media businesses are fairly remunerated, and to address the concerns of Facebook and other digital platforms such as Google.

The new law will now take into consideration a digital platform’s significant contribution to the sustainability of the Australian news industry before deciding to put it under the law, and this will be based on the commercial agreements it has reached with news media businesses.

In line with this, the changes to the law also state that a digital platform will be notified of the government’s intention to designate it under the law before any final decision, where confirmation will be no sooner than one month from the date of the flag. 

The refreshed law also states that non-differentiation provisions will not be triggered for reasons of commercial agreements resulting in different remuneration amounts or commercial outcomes in the course of usual business practices

Furthermore, within the new law, final offer arbitration will be the last resort with unsettled commercial deals requiring mediation, which implies that if a deal could not be reached, both parties would present their commercial deals to a fair mediator, picking one that would become binding under law.

The Australian government believes that these amendments will strengthen the hand of regional and small publishers in obtaining appropriate remuneration for the use of their content by the digital platforms. Also, these amendments can further add purpose for parties to engage in commercial negotiations outside the law, a central feature of the framework that aims to promote more sustainable public interest journalism in Australia.

Facebook said that they are pleased to have been able to reach an agreement with the Australian government and appreciate the constructive discussions they’ve had with Treasurer Frydenberg and Minister Fletcher. 

“We have consistently supported a framework that would encourage innovation and collaboration between online platforms and publishers. After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them,” Facebook stated. 

The platform also said that within the agreement, the government has clarified that it will retain its ability to decide if news appears on Facebook so it won’t automatically be subject to a forced negotiation. 

As a result of the changes, aside from restoring access to news content, Facebook has now decided to resume further working on its investment in public interest journalism in the country. 

“It’s always been our intention to support journalism in Australia and around the world, and we’ll continue to invest in the news globally and resist efforts by media conglomerates to advance regulatory frameworks that do not take account of the true value exchange between publishers and platforms like Facebook,” said Facebook.

Platforms Featured ANZ

Facebook bans Australia from viewing, sharing both local, international news

Australia – In a statement Wednesday, Facebook has announced that it has decided to restrict publishers and users in Australia from sharing and viewing Australian and international news content on its platform. This is in response to the country’s proposed media bargaining law.

What this means is, aside from limited viewing, people and news organizations in Australia are now restricted from posting news links and sharing Australian and international news content on Facebook. Globally, posting and sharing news links from Australian publishers is also restricted.

The media bargaining law which was announced in December last year by Australia, requires both Google and Facebook to share a portion of their revenues with news publishers through a mandatory code of agreement.

Facebook said that the proposed law “fundamentally misunderstands” the relationship between the platform and publishers who use it to share news content. 

“It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia, ” wrote Managing Director of Facebook’s Australia and New Zealand William Easton in a blog post 

Facebook has chosen the latter, which he said the platform had done it with a “heavy heart.” 

The platform further shared that it has made clear to the Australian government for many months, that the value exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favor of the publisher. Last year, Facebook said it generated approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated A$407M.

Facebook News was ready to be launched in Australia with the platform having significantly increased its investments with local publishers, however, it resulted in a suspension, with Facebook saying it was only prepared to do it with the “right rules in place.” 

“We’ve long worked toward rules that would encourage innovation and collaboration between digital platforms and news organizations. Unfortunately, this legislation does not do that. Instead, it seeks to penalize Facebook for content it didn’t take or ask for,” Easton further wrote. 

In the announcement, Facebook gave an itemized list of the features of the restriction:

For Australian publishers:
• Restriction from sharing or posting any content on Facebook Pages
• Admins will still be able to access other features from their Facebook Page, including Page insights and Creator Studio
• Facebook will continue to provide access to all other standard Facebook services, including data tools and CrowdTangle

For international publishers:
• Publishers can continue to publish news content on Facebook, but links and posts can’t be viewed or shared by Australian audiences

For our Australian community:
• Australians cannot view or share local or international news content on Facebook or content from local and international news Pages

For our international community:
• Viewing or sharing of Australian news content on Facebook or content from Australian News Pages is prohibited

Amid the restriction, Facebook reassured that the changes affecting news content will not halt its products and services in Australia, as it will continue to assist users to connect with friends and family, grow their businesses, and join groups to help support their local communities. Also, Facebook will remain committed to its third-party fact-checking program, Agence France-Presse, and will continue to invest and support the important work of the Australian Associated Press.

Platforms Featured East Asia

New stats show Hongkongers spend an additional hour online compared to last year

Hong Kong – Hong Kong internet users spent on average almost a whole hour more online each day in 2020 compared to the previous year, a new report from creative agency We Are Social and social media management Hootsuite shows.


According to the report, time spent on the internet daily has increased from 6 hours and 16 minutes a year ago to 7 hours and 15 minutes today, following a year of COVID-19 related lockdowns, which curtailed many normal activities. This means Hong Kong’s internet users devote over a day more per month to being online versus a year ago.


In terms of demographics, users aged 16-64 spend an average of an hour and 57 minutes a day on social media, making it the second most popular online activity for Hong Kongers after watching television. YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook are the most used networks but Snapchat is growing in popularity as parent company Snap reports its advertising reach in Hong Kong rose by 13% over the previous quarter.


Of the same demographic, social media is mostly used for brand research with 44% of internet users, higher than for most countries, while 34% use voice commands in searches. 

The increase in time on the internet also shone a light on ad spend which the report revealed is in tandem with such leap. A year-on-year increase of 7% was seen in the amount brands spent on advertising on social media against a 4% rise in overall digital ad spend for 2020.