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Marketing Featured South Asia

New campaign from McDonald’s India celebrates ‘leapling birthdays’

Mumbai, India – As February concludes in a non-leap year, McDonald’s India has taken the liberty to celebrate the so-called ‘leapling’ birthdays, and give them the celebration they deserve through its new marketing campaign.

The Indian arm of the popular fast-food chain has initially released a short film, conceptualized by advertising agency DDB Mudra Group. The film depicts quirky highlights on what do people jest about celebrating the birthday on February 29. From their ‘actual age’ jokes to calling their birthday a holiday, the film concludes with a curated meal for these birthday celebrants to enjoy.

“Everyone loves their birthday. It’s the day the world makes you feel special. But for some, this happy day appears on the calendar only once in 4 years. And as a brand that believes that happiness is for everyone, we thought McDonald’s could make it special for these leaplings,” said Rahul Mathew, chief creative officer at DDB Mudra Group.

The promo meal called ‘Surprise Leap Meal’, offers leapling birthday celebrants an exclusive meal which includes vegetarian and non-vegetarian burgers, as well as desserts and shakes.

DDB-Mudras-Group-McDonald's-India
(Left) Rahul Mathew, Chief Creative Officer, DDB Mudra Group; (Right) Arvind RP, director – marketing and communications, McDonald’s India (West and South)

“McDonald’s has always aimed to create special moments for one and all. Unlike all others, the leaplings have to wait for 3 long years to celebrate their actual birthday. With this campaign, we hope to add some extra cheer to our leapling customers’ birthday week and make them feel special,” according to Arvind RP, director for marketing and communications at McDonald’s India, in West and South.

The ‘Surprise Leap Meal’ was initially rolled out last February 27, and will run until March 7, 2021. The exclusive meal is also only open to customers at select McDonald’s outlets in West and South.

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SME Featured South Asia

Amazon India to host ‘Smbhav’ virtual summit this April

Bangalore, India – The Indian arm of e-commerce giant Amazon is once again hosting for the second time its ‘Amazon Smbhav’ summit on April 15 to 18, 2021, aimed at leveraging digital strategies and innovations to Indian customers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.

‘Smbhav 2021’ aims to bring together important industry and thought leaders for invigorating discussions on the way ahead towards creating an ‘AatmaNirbharBharat’, the vision by the Indian government to be self-sufficient, by unlocking possibilities for businesses and entrepreneurs through partnership with Amazon.

Centered around the theme ‘Unlocking Infinite Possibilities for India’, the four-day summit will tackle various industries, ranging from manufacturing, retail, logistics, IT/ITeS, content creators, start-ups, brands, and entrepreneurs across India. Over 30,000 participants are expected to participate at Amazon Smbhav, learning about best practices and industry trends from over 70 speakers.

For Manish Tiwary, vice president for Amazon India, ‘Smbhav 2021’ showcases Amazon India’s commitment to “being a strong partner in making the 21st century the Indian century.”

“As we continue to work with a gamut of Indian businesses and entrepreneurs, we are committed to bringing to them tools, technology, and innovation that empower the Indian economy, help create jobs at scale, and unleash entrepreneurial agility in companies of all kinds and sizes. Smbhav 2021 will therefore be a unique platform offering opportunities to unlock these possibilities towards an ‘AatmaNirbharBharat’,” Tiwary said.

During the last Smbhav 2020, Amazon pledged to invest an additional US$1B to digitize 10 million MSMEs, to generate US$10B in cumulated exports from India, and create an additional 1 million jobs in India by 2025.

The summit will primarily focus on four key pillars – Innovation, Skilling & Job Creation, Digitization, Exports & Startup Enablement. The summit will bring together diverse perspectives from eminent business leaders, policymakers, solution providers, and Amazon leadership on areas that are most relevant for India’s growth. 

Other summit events that will be included are ‘Amazon Smbhav Awards’ that recognizes businesses, innovators, and individuals that have contributed to the concept of ‘self-reliant India’, and the ‘Amazon Smbhav Startup Pitch Competition’, where participants must pitch feasible startup pitches and get a chance to win Amazon-related cash prizes and mentorships. 

The event will also be conducting an ‘Amazon Smbhav Hackathon’ that will provide an opportunity for individuals and startups to present breakthrough ideas that have the potential to solve real-world problems in the areas of business innovation, sustainability & healthcare.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

PHD appoints new CEO for India

Mumbai, India – Omnicom Media Group-owned media agency PHD has roped in communications veteran Monaz Todywalla as its new chief executive officer for India. 

Todywalla comes with close to two decades of extensive experience in the field of media and marketing and communications. She served as vice president of growth & strategy at media planning agency Wavemaker India for 11 years, and prior to that, she was deputy general manager and later on, senior vice president of communications agency Madison Communications from the year 2003 – 2014.

Talking about her new role, Monaz said, “I am excited about working with the talented and diverse team at PHD India, fostering creativity and inclusiveness in a space that is already abuzz with innovative thought. Coupled with a solution-oriented and richly-curious ethos at PHD, I am looking forward to leveraging my experience and helping our clients make the leap in a rapidly changing business landscape.”

CEO of PHD APAC James Hawkins believes that with Todywalla, PHD could not have asked for a more experienced, skilled and innovative thinker to lead the India team.

“With Monaz’s strong emphasis on cross-functional, multi-disciplinary work, and her focus on creating an inclusive work environment, I am absolutely confident that Monaz will lead PHD India to greater heights,” said Hawkins.

PHD is a global communications planning and media buying agency network. Its operations expand North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific.

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Technology South Asia

DoubleVerify expands to India, taps former LinkedIn executive, Nachiket Deole

Mumbai, India — DoubleVerify continues its growth with the appointment of digital media veteran, Nachiket Deole (pictured), to lead business operations in India.

Deole is charged with setting up DV’s operations in India and will lead efforts to establish strategic relationships with brands and agencies to help them maximize their digital investments.

A 15-year digital media veteran, Deole was previously an Agency Relationship Lead at LinkedIn, where he played an instrumental role in developing successful partnerships between LinkedIn and key communications agency partners in India. Prior to LinkedIn, Deole served as the Partner for Digital at Mindshare, where he spearheaded the digital business for Mindshare’s West India region. Previously, he held senior leadership roles at IPG’s premier media agency, Lintas Media Group.

India has seen an exponential rise in digital media consumption over the past few years – a trend that is predicted to accelerate.

Nachiket Deole, Head of Sales, DoubleVerify India

“With the changing business landscape, digital marketing adoption is bound to grow. A lot of brands are already investing significant budgets across digital media and the need for independent media quality and performance measurement is growing in tandem. I’m excited to join DV at this pivotal time, and look forward to advancing the company’s industry-leading verification solutions in the India market.” said Deole.

“Launching operations in India represents a significant milestone for DoubleVerify, and we’re excited to welcome Nachiket to the team,” said Jordan Khoo, APAC Managing Director, DoubleVerify. “The issues of brand safety, ad fraud and viewability have only become more critical and complex across the digital advertising ecosystem worldwide. DV’s expansion into India will allow us to bring much-needed transparency to global brands placing their digital investments in the region – helping them safeguard brand reputation and maximize campaign performance.”

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Main Feature Marketing South Asia

Guardian GNC urges people to ‘Live Well’ through #IamPositive campaign

Mumbai, India  — The global pandemic has pushed everyone inside the four walls of their home, making people rethink their movements and actions. Guardian Healthcare, the master franchisee of GNC, has launched a new campaign #IamPositive to encourage people to stay optimistic while adapting to the new normal.

The campaign, conceptualized and executed by Gozoop, starts with a video where John Abraham talks about how one has been forced to live this life for their own good due to the pandemic. The campaign, which rolled out on social media, also highlights how this situation has helped everyone reflect on life and what it would mean to Live Well.

I am Positive ft. John Abraham by Guardian GNC

Elaborating on the campaign message, John Abraham says,

“COVID-19 has pushed all of us into fear and negativity. Through this video, we have attempted to showcase the optimism life has shown even in these trying times. The lockdown has connected us to our true purpose as human beings. Once things get back to normal, we should take this opportunity to continue living the right way, while preserving nature, and everything else around us that we have re-discovered. That, to me, is the real meaning of Live Well. Guardian GNC’s new campaign attempts to inspire all towards the true idea of Live Well.”

Shadab Khan – CEO of Guardian GNC India added,

“Optimism and positivity are the fundamentals of one’s healthy well-being. At Guardian GNC, we believe in a positive way of living life and our core purpose is to help people Live Well. As we prepare ourselves for the new normal, we all need to nurture our mind and body well, through a good balance of the right exercise, nutrition, meditation and rest.”

Talking about the campaign strategy, Prashant Sarwade – Head of Marketing, Guardian GNC in India said, “We all need that extra optimism to bounce back and adapt to a new normal. We felt there is no better way to get inspired than by reflecting on the positive changes in our own lives. We wanted to reach out and connect to the community with our story of optimism, inspired by these little positive changes we all have experienced in the lockdown phase.”

According to Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO & Co-Founder, Gozoop, “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you start experiencing positive results. This isn’t just a campaign for us. It is an expression of our belief on how we can win in the new world.”

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Main Feature SME South Asia

IBM unveils ‘SkillsBuild Reignite’ for job seekers and business owners in India

Bangalore, India  — In an effort to address the current skills gap in the country, IBM has unveiled ‘SkillsBuild Reignite’ to provide job seekers and entrepreneurs with access to free online coursework and mentoring support, designed to help them reinvent their careers and businesses.

According to the India Skill Report (2019), only 45.6% of the youth graduating from educational institutions are employable. This reflects the massive shortage of skilled workforce in the country. Job seekers, business owners, entrepreneurs and any individual with learning aspirations can now tap into a host of industry-relevant content, including Artificial intelligence, Cloud, Data analytics and security to reskill and upskill themselves, at no cost.

In November 2019, IBM India, in partnership with Directorate General of Training (DGT), Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, and its implementation partners, made the SkillsBuild online learning platform available to Indian students. Digital classrooms on this platform are being made available from the Industrial Training Institutes, ITI and technical education ecosystem in India.

Currently, the platform has benefited 14,135 learners who have completed 40,000 courses and 77,000 hours of e-learning. SkillsBuild is rated as one of India’s Top 10 online learning platforms by the National Skills Network.

Beginning today, SkillsBuild Reignite will include more coursework and personalized coaching for entrepreneurs seeking advice to help establish or restart their small businesses as they focus on recovering from the COVID 19 pandemic. Courses include financial management, business strategy, digital strategy, legal support and more.

Working with NGOs such as Edunet and Unnati Foundation amongst other new IBM partners will play a key role in addressing local needs. For example, entrepreneurs looking to create detailed plans to re-launch their business can work with mentors to refine market research, learn about tapping into economic development assistance or improve digital marketing.

Congratulating DGT and IBM India for their collaborative efforts to bridge the skills gap in the country through this initiative, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship said, “Today, we mark a significant milestone in supporting Centre’s efforts in accelerating Indian economy’s revival from the adverse effects of COVID with the launch of SkillsBuild Reignite and Innovation Camp, in collaboration with IBM India. In line with our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s Skill India Mission and New Digital India, the Ministry has been working relentlessly to strengthen the skilling ecosystem and leverage the rise in demand for new-age skills by expanding industry cross-collaboration and creating learning pathways through digital learning platforms.

IBM’s expertise in providing multifaceted digital skill training in the area of Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will strengthen our efforts in the recovery of local workforces, communities and economies by supporting job seekers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.”

“There is a need to shift the needle and focus on new technologies and changing skill requirements to bridge the skill gap. It’s important that we align the workforce to industry needs and technology shifts. The SkillsBuild Reignite platform helps equip job seekers with digital, professional skills and relevant training to re-enter the workforce. Not only does this platform provides career reinvention opportunities but also innovative ways of working and individualized support for relaunching business strategies,” said Sandip Patel, General Manager, IBM India/South Asia.

IBM also announced the SkillsBuild Innovation camp today. The ten-week camp is open to learners who are interested in gaining hands-on project experience to enhance learning and who are intent on building their network to increase employability. Participants in the camp will get an opportunity to work as part of a diverse team on real-world challenges and learn new skills along the way. With the aid of expert facilitators, students will be guided through the design thinking process and learn strategic methods to craft their problem statement, ideate creatively, solve complex problems and tell compelling stories. The camp concludes with a pitch to stakeholders and potential employers or investors.

Image Article Credit: SkillsBuild