Marketing Featured ANZ

Brands continue to leverage influencer marketing campaigns amid lockdowns

Sydney, Australia – Despite ongoing lockdowns in Australia for the past few months, the local influencer marketing scene remains unfazed, as more and more brands have tapped online influencers via sponsored activity, according to data from AI analytics platform HypeAuditor.

From data collected from 1 to 28 of October, there were 3,179 sponsored posts from 1,651 influencers, categorized as those with an authentic following of more than 1000, with the hashtag #ad and/or #sponsored, slightly down from 3,722 sponsored social media posts in September when both Sydney and Melbourne were in lockdown.

While the brands’ influencer marketing campaigns were running as usual during lockdowns, influencers were quick to embrace #freedomday on their social media platforms. Between October 1st and October 25th, 794 influencers shared 1,037 posts using the hashtag #freedomday, reaching 2.5 million people. 

The hashtag #freedomday refers to the sweep of restrictions lifting across Greater Sydney, with 213 posts by influencers peaking by 11 October. 

On October 22, when Melbourne’s lockdown ended, influencers posted less than half as much, with just 95 posts. Considering it was Melbourne’s sixth lockdown in 2021, the novelty of #freedomday has clearly worn off.

“Australian brands and marketers understand that influencer marketing is a foolproof strategy within their overall marketing plans. A significant by-product of city-wide lockdowns was people being on their devices and on social media more than ever, seeking new forms of entertainment. Influencer marketing proved to be one of the best ways to reach consumers during a lockdown, and keep the marketing lights on when people are not out and about,” said Alexander Frolov, CEO and co-founder at HypeAuditor.

He added, “#freedomday for influencers means more creative freedom to create paid content for brands, as they are no longer restricted to the confinement of their homes. Over the next few months, we can expect to see a spike in travel-related content from influencers as interstate as well as international borders reopen and travel brands come back in full force after the devastating effects the border closures had on the industry.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Ikano Centres welcomes back shoppers with herd of ‘charismatic’ llama influencers

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia’s Ikano Centres, the IKEA-anchored shopping destination, is welcoming Malaysians back to their malls after the easing of extensive movement control orders (MCO) with a heart-warming campaign featuring a herd of charismatic and incredibly social Llama influencers.

Developed together with creative agency TBWA\Malaysia, the campaign plays off the warm phrase ‘lama tak jumpa’, a greeting commonly used when there has been a very long absence between catch-ups.

Natasha Aziz, head of customer experience and digital at Ikano Centres, said, “We have certainly missed our visitors. After such a long time, it feels so right to be welcoming them back with ‘Iama tak jumpa’. ‘Lama tak jumpa’ oozes warmth, excitement, and optimism as we move ahead. We are looking forward to safely welcoming back our communities to our shopping centres as restrictions start to ease.”

The campaign went live on 1 November, and each Llama influencer, whose personalities were made to radiate warmth and confidence, represents one of the four Malaysian Ikano Centres’ malls dotted across the country:

The fun and friendly LIPPIE represents the IPC Shopping Centre, while the always on-trend and stylish LLAMY is the llama of MyTOWN Shopping Centre.

Meanwhile, TIA, the active skateboard-riding llama represents Toppen Shopping Centre, with the artsy graffiti-spraying BEEKA llama is for Ikano Centre’s offering in Batu Kawan, Penang.

The campaign draws on experiences visitors had forgotten they were missing at Ikano Centres’ shopping centres such as the thrill of trying on new clothes, playing with gadgets to the smell and taste of cinema popcorn, and the general overall buzz of an environment filled with people once again. 

Social media content from the campaign

In addition to an animated music video, eye-catching social media content was developed to capture these memories and sensory experiences. As the malls open, shoppers will have the opportunity to collect the herd of vibrant Llama influencers during their shopping visits.

Yee Hui Tsin, TBWA\Malaysia’s CEO, said, “Our partnership with the Ikano Centre’s portfolio of malls in Malaysia is an exciting challenge as we work to ensure efforts are capturing a sense of freedom of movement and excitement, while also helping Malaysia’s assimilate into a ‘normal’ endemic lifestyle.”

Yee Hui Tsin adds, “The changing face of retail and shifts in consumer behavior has been extraordinary. However, retail remains the anchor of the Malaysia economy, evidenced by a distinct parallel between the strength of the economy and how well retail is fairing.”

On awarding the business to TBWA, Aziz said, “TBWA’s insight to our re-opening was spot on; they aptly captured the emotion around everything people were missing from visiting our shopping centres; the sounds, smells and shared experiences and how together we can create endless possibilities for when people come together.”

TBWA\Malaysia said it was awarded the business after a competitive pitch in August. TBWA\Singapore manages the IKEA brand across Singapore and Malaysia.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Live commerce network Shoppertainment Live opens seven new ‘Livestyle’ studios

Philippines – Amid the rise in adoption of live commerce both from brands and consumers, the Philippines ’ first livestream shopping network, Shoppertainment Live, opens seven diverse and fully functional studio sets which it calls ‘Livestyle’ studios to bolster its virtual activation.

The ‘Livestyle’ studios will be catering to different categories of fashion and beauty, with kitchen studios for cooking and home appliances, lifestyle studios for talk shows and homecare, as well as technology studios for mobile and gadgets, and music studios and recreation studios for entertainment.

The kitchen ‘Livestyle’ studio

Shopepertainment CEO Hiyasmin Neri-Soyao, who was a former host of local shopping channel O Shopping, shared that the types of the studios were based on the product categories they have identified to be on the rise and in demand. 

Shoppertainment is a tech-enabled network for e-commerce and social media, enabling advertising agencies, companies, and e-commerce platforms Lazada and Shopee to properly sell their products in an online broadcast setup. These are produced at the said studios inside their Quezon City headquarters, with in-house presenters from their talent pool.

“With more studios, we expect more action for the market. The team’s confidence stems from handling the smallest local businesses to the biggest global brands as part of our roster of clients. Shoppertainment Live’s strength is making products sellable, handling diverse products such as cosmetics, clothing, electronics, and everything in between,” Neri-Soyao said.

The live e-commerce network has also launched a new incubation program for livestream presenters through its Shoppertainment Academy. The Academy is a company initiative that aims to educate and equip Shoppertainment Live presenters with skills to be sale-centric, entertaining, and engaging to the market.

Grooming the next generation of marketers, which it uniquely calls ‘influensales’, is within the network’s goal to make its Livestyle activation effective in the virtual realm.

Neri-Soyao said, “Not all presenters can produce the same numbers for every lifestyle. That is why Shoppertainment Live brought together a diverse group of presenters whom we trained to do Influensales™ as opposed to simply producing buzz and engagement for the brand. This follows the company’s philosophy wherein we believe that content is king but they like it better when the cash register rings.” 

Along with new developments, the company has also revealed that it eyes to spread its roots nationally and to also expand internationally. The company aims to install regional offices in three years’ time to open up the opportunity for regional speakers to sell in their own language. 

Internationally, the network is also working on its Southeast Asia and global expansion plans, citing the potential of Filipino livestream presenters because of their strong communication skills and infectious enthusiasm. 

Platforms Featured East Asia

Twitter is proving itself to be the critical tool for K-pop growth globally

Seoul, South Korea – As more and more K-pop groups are debuting in South Korea, social media has proved to be a driving force for these groups to be widely known by the general populace. This in turn gives the opportunity for these K-pop groups to be noticed by non-Korean fans globally, and hopefully build a global fanbase.

Such is the case for Twitter, which recently released findings of the platform usage by various K-pop groups, ranging from the so-called ‘Second-Generation’ groups such as Super Junior to Girls’ Generation to ‘Fourth-Generation’ groups such as ENHYPEN, ITZY, and Stray Kids.

The ‘Second-Generation’ groups were the first to build an online fanbase, including circles in Twitter, which is fueled by their strategic entry into other Asian markets and exploring global opportunities since 2009. Meanwhile, the ‘Third-Generation’ groups, which include BTS, BLACKPINK, TWICE, and Red Velvet expanded their global fan base through open platforms like YouTube, which gave birth to the globalization of the genre. Lastly, the ‘Fourth-Generation’ group are born from the proactive discussion of other K-pop groups globally before their official debut, fueled by online events as an alternative due to COVID-19 restrictions.

According to the data collected, K-pop stars averaged 1.2 tweets per day by second-generation stars, 3.5 tweets per day by third-generation stars, and seven tweets per day by fourth-generation stars. Fourth-generation stars also tweeted 5.8 times more than second-generation stars, and two times more than third-generation stars.


In terms of tweeting after the debut of their respective groups, second-generation stars tweeted for the first time 1,154 days after their debut, third-generation artists tweeted for the first time 132 days after their debut, and fourth-generation artists tweeted for the first time 116 days before their debut.


Analyzing the amount of tweets for a year following artists’ debuts reveals other differences between the generations as well. Most second and third-generation artists did not post tweets before their debut, and slowly increased their amount of tweets after their debut. However, a notable exception is BTS: BTS opened its Twitter account in December 2012, six months ahead of its debut, and actively communicated with fans globally. Currently, BTS has 36 million followers on Twitter.


Meanwhile, Fourth-generation artists, such as ATEEZ, THE BOYZ, ENHYPEN, Stray Kids, TOMORROW X TOGETHER, and TREASURE, communicated with their fans after opening their Twitter accounts, months ahead of their respective debuts. On average, fourth-generation artists tweeted an overwhelming amount before their debuts compared to second and third-generations, with each artist uploading an average of 323 tweets, and accumulating 562,377 followers even before debuting.


For YeonJeong Kim, head of global K-pop and K-Contents partnerships at Twitter, direct communication with global fans through Twitter has now become a success formula for K-pop artists, adding that such activity demonstrates that digital-based communication has a significant impact on growing their fandom.

“When BTS, a 3rd generation K-pop group, had intimate real-time conversations with its global ARMY, it set an example for the 4th generation to make this a feature of their engagement with fans. Fourth-generation artists like THE BOYZ, Stray Kids, ATEEZ, TOMORROW X TOGETHER, GIDLE, ITZY, TREASURE, ENHYPEN, and aespa, who have been using Twitter as an active communication channel even before their debut, are advancing to the global stages faster than the previous generations,” Kim stated.

Marketing Featured East Asia

AnyMind Group partners with Japan-based UUUM, sets to create ‘largest’ influencer network in Japan

Singapore – Technology company AnyMind Group has announced that it will be forming a strategic partnership with Japan-based multi-channel network (MCN) UUUM with an objective of rebuilding the creator and influencer industry in Japan through mutual utilization of the resources from UUUM and AnyMind Group’s technology and data for influencer marketing and direct-to-consumer (D2C) offerings.

As an initial part of the partnership, both parties are looking at creating the largest influencer network in Japan for marketers, with a launch date set for the second quarter of this year. This network will enable marketers and agencies in Japan to tap on the largest-combined pool of content creators available, combining UUUM’s creators, expertise, and reach with AnyMind Group’s proprietary software, along with creators from AnyMind Group-owned GROVE.

In addition, UUUM will look to launch influencer D2C brands by tapping on AnyMind Group’s tools including AnyFactory (for cloud manufacturing) and AnyShop (for e-commerce), with further details to be announced later this year. 

For Kosuke Sogo, CEO and co-founder of AnyMind Group, their partnership with UUUM is all about “creating the infrastructure for next-generation businesses in Japan.”

“AnyMind Group has been creating intrinsic value for individuals and businesses across 13 markets around the world, with a focus on developing and providing technology and data-driven platforms, along with supporting businesses in the D2C domain. [This] will become a core foundation for rebuilding the creator and influencer industry in Japan and the world. We will continue to create synergies with UUUM and provide even more value for influencers and brands,” Sogo stated.

Meanwhile, Kazuki Kamada, CEO of UUUM said, “We are convinced that this partnership will enable us to realize a completely new influencer marketing across industries and to propose an evolved marketing plan by promoting data utilization. Together with AnyMind Group, we will open up a creator-influencer-driven future.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Content platform TrueID brings fresh lineup ft. famous vloggers, celebrities

Manila, Philippines – Last August, Thailand-headquartered tech company True Digital Group (TDG) launched its entertainment platform TrueID in the Philippines which offered free curated content, and since then, its content lineup has grown to include originally produced shows featuring famous Filipino vloggers and celebrities. 

During its pilot launch, the platform’s roster of shows included those licensed from leading local broadcast networks GMA and Cignal, and now, TDG in the Philippines announced that a fresh lineup is slated for users from both social media and TV personalities such as TikToker and dancer AC Bonifacio, former “housemate” in reality TV show Pinoy Big Brother and vlogger Baninay Bautista, and social media influencer and content creator Kimpoy Feliciano. 

In the past week, AC has already premiered her Style Must-Haves vlog on TrueID. AC started to grow her name in the country when she won the local TV dance competition “Dance Kids” in 2016. TDG said she is also set to premiere more videos on the platform having been signed on as a TrueID Ambassador.

Meanwhile, Baninay and Kimpoy are also slated to premiere their videos on TrueID in the coming weeks. Both personalities will be publishing their daily life vlogs on the platform giving their fans a chance to see more of them on the web.

Filipino social media personalities Baninay Bautista and Kimpoy Feliciano.

TDG said the three social media personalities are only the beginning of what’s to come on TrueID Philippines. 28 Squared Studios, a digital studio owned by another TrueID Ambassador, Philippines-based Chinese model and host Richard Juan, is set to bring in more video content from celebrities and influencers as well as originally-produced content, including a show with Miss World 2013 Megan Young, as revealed on its Instagram.

Richard Juan Megan Young
28squaredstudios’ announcement on Richard Juan and Megan Young’s show.

Other well-known Filipino personalities are expected to premiere their content on the platform soon. This includes lifestyle content creator Erwan Heussaff, actor Enrique Gil, and singer Jinho Bae.

“The vision here is that all Filipino Creators would be creating content not only for TrueID Philippines but also for TrueID Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand. That is what’s exciting about this,” said Dindo Marzan, managing director for True Digital Philippines, Inc.