Marketing Featured ANZ

Initiative retains media business remit of energy firm Jemena

Sydney, Australia After a hotly contested pitch, media agency Initiative has retained its media business remit for energy networks owner Jemena Limited, extending a 10-year relationship with the brand. The win also comes with Mediabrands Content Studio (MBCS), a media-fueled content practice of Mediabrands, expanding its creative remit for the same brand.

Initiative will be responsible for all national and local broadcast media buying, print, outdoor, radio, cinema, digital, search, social and addressable, and other media buying such as strategic and communication design responsibilities. Meanwhile, MBCS will handle all creative and production services and executions.

Melissa Fein, CEO of Initiative said that she is thrilled in re-signing a valued long-term partner. She also added that her team is energised in increasing Jemena’s customer base as it expands the network across regional and urban centres throughout New South Wales.

Fein added, “Jemena walks our talk; they are passionate about their customers, ambitious in their plans to decarbonise their networks and totally committed to a sustainable future, all traits Initiative values deeply. And our relationship has just got better with MBCS now on board, they’re an incredibly talented team and our cross-agency collaboration will help us continue to elevate the outstanding work we do on Jemena.”

Retaining its creative remit, Olivia Warren, managing director of MBCS expressed, “Jemena is a fascinating business with so much creative potential. Potential that is greater unlocked by having creative and media harmoniously working together under one roof. It makes collaboration easier, encourages new and gutsy perspectives and ultimately produces world class results for our clients. We can’t wait to get started.”

Meanwhile, Sandra Centofanti, head of strategy & marketing at Jemena Networks added, “Year-on-year Initiative brings fresh, exciting media thinking to the table; they understand our business intimately and deliver consistently strong results. We’re pleased to expand this relationship and onboard MBCS as our creative partners. Their connected approach to creativity and energy for our business was magnetic and we look forward to creating big things together.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

Mediabrands Australia names Geoff Clarke as COO

Sydney, Australia Global media and marketing solutions group IPG Mediabrands has appointed Geoff Clarke as its chief operating officer for Australia. Clarke will retain his chief operating officer role and business growth development responsibilities for Initiative, a global media agency that is also under Mediabrands.

In his expanded role, Clarke will be responsible for driving operational and organisational improvements across the entire group. He will also continue to lead IPG’s transformation agenda throughout APAC while leading the operational integration and working system of Australian businesses. Clarke will also collaborate across the company’s entire client portfolio.

Mark Coad, CEO of Mediabrands Australia said that the expanded leadership role is a timely and well-deserved recognition for Geoff who has successfully led the Group’s transformational agenda.

Coad added, “Geoff is an outstanding leader. While still keeping his fingers 100 percent on the pulse at Initiative, he successfully positioned Mediabrands as an industry leader in the use of automation and BOTs considerably reducing repetitive and menial work and significantly improving the way we work across the entire group.”

In his three-decade media industry career, Clarke has established a background in investment, planning, and media buying. He worked for various agencies in London and eventually obtained a managing director position in Australia in 2013.

In 2015, Clarke started his role in Initiative as a client partner and later on promoted to chief operating officer. He has been instrumental in the agency’s growth and development in Australia.

For his new responsibilities, Clarke commented, “I am going to be busy, but it is an exciting time to be in the industry. My goal is for our clients to engage Mediabrands’ agencies knowing the unique business solutions we offer are fully effective and designed for ambitious growth.  This can only happen when the best operational and procedural innovations are in place and the most talented teams are available to service clients.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Maya names Initiative PH as media agency of record

Manila, Philippines – Maya, the newly rebranded and one of the leading financial superapps in the Philippines, has named IPG Mediabrands’ media agency Initiative as its media agency of record. The win followed a multi-agency pitch in October 2022. 

Initiative Philippines will be heading Maya’s integrated media mandate. This includes business analytics, audience understanding, media strategy, planning, offline, and full-funnel digital performance activation for the consumer and business segments of the total Maya portfolio.

“2022 was a tremendous year of brand and business growth as we relaunched from PayMaya to Maya, but the work has only just begun. With even greater ambitions in 2023, we must ensure that all our capabilities across the board are on the cutting edge,” said Pepe Torres, chief marketing officer of Maya.

He also added that Initiative proved to be the right media partner for Maya for being just as invested in its success as they are and being philosophically aligned with their “cultural velocity proposition.”

Paul Atienza, managing partner at Initiative Philippines also said, “Maya is a bold tech maverick that continues to stretch the limits and defy conventions in helping Filipinos make bolder financial choices. We could not be more thrilled to partner with them, driving Cultural Velocity to further protract growth for the Maya brand in years to come.”

Melody Laogan, managing partner at Initiative Philippines added, “This win is a testament to Initiative’s culturally driven and outcome-focused approach to integrated strategic planning. We share the same values with Maya, of being fearless, bold, and progressive. We are excited to raise the bar together.”

Initiative Philippines’ appointment is effective January 2023.

Last May, Paymaya rebranded as Maya with the aim to be known as an all-in-one finance platform for individuals and enterprises. 

Maya Bank’s parent firm Voyager Innovations has also previously boosted its total valuation to unicorn plus status.

Marketing Featured APAC

Niranjan Singh appointed as Initiative’s new head of communications in APAC

Singapore – Initiative, the media agency under IPG Mediabrands, has appointed Niranjan Singh as its new head of communications in Asia-Pacific. In his new role, he will champion the application of best-practice approaches, techniques and solutions for modern experience design.

In addition, he will drive the connected communications design practice across key clients and sectors for Initiative APAC.

Singh will report to James Smyllie, president of Initiative APAC and is currently based in Mumbai, India prior to transitioning to the Initiative APAC regional headquarters in Singapore. His appointment is effective immediately. 

He has more than 16 years industry experience in strategic media planning and buying, and was previously the head of AOR at Mediacom Indonesia, leading the P&G business for three years.

Prior to that, he spent six years at GroupM, working across leading brands such as Colgate Palmolive, GSK and FrieslandCampina in India and Vietnam.

Speaking on his appointment, Singh said, “I’m thrilled to join Initiative APAC. Initiative’s unique proposition of achieving Cultural Velocity™ in the media-fragmented world to deliver real business growth and success for brands, was the big pull factor for me. I’m super excited to become a part of the team that has been winning Global businesses back-to-back.”

Meanwhile, Smyllie commented, “We are delighted to be attracting talent like Niran to Initiative. This hire reinforces our key focus on enhancing our Craft capabilities across APAC, and driving a consistently world class product throughout the region.”

The new Initiative appointment follows a slew of appointments made by agencies under the IPG Mediabrands company in APAC, namely the appointment of MBCS’ Olivia Warren to its Australia executive team, as well as of Sarah O’Leary and Tom Cumberworth for Initiative’s Rufus, the dedicated media and communications for Amazon.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Initiative’s Rufus announces key senior leadership appointments

Sydney, Australia – Rufus, the dedicated media and communications agency by Initiative for Amazon’s range of services, has announced new senior leadership appointments namely Sarah O’Leary as managing director and Tom Cumberworth as head of partnerships.

O’Leary has a strong media investment background garnered from 15-years in senior management and director roles both agency and marketing-side. 

Previously with Atomic 212 as Head of Client Service and Planning, O’Leary’s strengths lie in her leadership qualities and deep understanding of how media agencies operate within the ANZ landscape.

Meanwhile, with nearly 15-years of global and local experience, Cumberworth was previously group trading director at OMD Sydney where he led the Suncorp Group business, overseeing the investment strategy and decisioning for the entire portfolio across all media. 

Previously he was with Mindshare and MEC in the UK commencing in 2008 as a TV buyer and moving to an account director role working on clients such as Nike, News Corp, 3 Mobile and Kimberly Clark to name a few.

Melissa Fein, CEO at Initiative Australia said after a robust search and selection process she was delighted to welcome both Sarah and Tom to Rufus, who together bring specialist skills to the table and are charged with delivering high performance outcomes for Amazon.

“Sarah has a proven track record of leading senior stakeholder relationships and delivering business growth in today’s complex and fast-moving market. We’re delighted she has accepted the opportunity to lead Rufus at a pivotal time in the agency’s growth and momentum,” she said.

Fein added, “Tom is an outstanding team leader with a raft of global and local experience managing and leading specialist buying teams across all media platforms, inclusive of TV, VOD, OOH, Radio and more. He will play a leading role in Rufus, Amazon and our media partners’ future successes.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Grab MY searches for everyday superhero in annual ‘Grab Lejen’ initiative

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia – As the saying goes, not all superheroes wear capes, and this holds true for this year’s superhero search by Grab Malaysia. This annual initiative called ‘Grab Lejen’ looks to honour and reward exceptional driver and delivery partners who have gone above and beyond their call of duty to serve Malaysians. 

In conjunction with Grab’s 10-year anniversary, the initiative seeks to find an everyday superhero amongst its community of partners that will be entirely crowdsourced, which means that Grab users will be able to submit their heartwarming stories of choice as nominations.

Until 30 September 2022, Grab users will be able to submit their heartwarming stories of choice as nominations at They will then be able to vote for their favourite ‘lejens’ who won the hearts of Malaysians beginning 15 October until 15 November 2022.

Rashid Shukor, director of country operations and mobility at Grab Malaysia, shared that since its inauguration last year, they’ve seen incredible acts of kindness from their driver and delivery partners, and heartwarming and compassionate stories like these are a breath of fresh air and a true testament to the incredible selfless nature of their partners, who despite enduring hardships in their everyday lives, still find it in themselves to be unselfishly kind to those around them. 

“As a homegrown company striving for positive social impact, we are encouraged by our partners and want to continue to recognise and further enable these exemplary acts of service for many more years to come,” said Shukor.

Grab Lejen is part of Grab’s commitment to positive social impact. In addition to honouring exemplary partners who have shown extraordinary acts of service, Grab continuously finds ways to help all partners to save and grow through the platform with the GrabBenefits programme. GrabBenefits is a programme aimed at enriching the lives of Grab’s partners through three main categories; protection, savings, and academy. Together, these benefits such as petrol rebates, vehicle maintenance discounts, insurance coverage, and upskilling programmes allow them to save on everyday expenses, get the necessary protection and equip themselves with knowledge while they earn. 

Shukor added. “For the past 10 years, our community of partners has been the heart of everything Grab does and we are committed to continue supporting them as they persevere to earn on the Grab platform. GrabBenefits is one of our ways of supporting our dedicated partners and empowering them with resources to hopefully make their lives a little easier. And through Grab Lejen, we aim to honour the real-life superheroes that deserve recognition. We hope to continue building a healthy partner community that touches the lives of people around them, and by doing so, empower them to become an enabler of positive social impact. This is truly how legends are made.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

foodpanda marks 10th year with new Singapore HQ, digitalisation initiative

Singapore – To celebrate foodpanda’s 10 years of operations in Asia, the q-commerce platform has launched its new regional headquarters in Singapore. This new headquarters houses 1,200 employees from its regional and local operational teams, plus the company’s global tech hub.

foodpanda said that Singapore has always been a base and test market for innovation and new product development. Amongst the features beta-launched in Singapore were foodpanda’s cloud store network pandamart and on-demand retail marketplace foodpanda shops – leading Asia’s push into q-commerce, as early as 2019. Singapore was also the first market to roll out proof-of-concept drone deliveries in partnership with ST Engineering, as well as foodpanda’s Logistics-as-a-Service feature, pandago in 2020, offering express doorstep deliveries to customers.

Moreover, the platform has launched its ‘PowerUp! Tech Academy’, which aims to enable the next decade of growth, building up a strong tech core. Unlike a localised R&D facility, the foodpanda PowerUp! Tech Academy will use Delivery Hero’s global knowledge base in Singapore to power the tech and innovation ecosystem. It comprises programmes and partnerships to grow the local tech talent pool, upskill riders, and help merchants digitalise.

foodpanda, together with its parent company Delivery Hero’s Delivery Hero Ventures, has also invested more than SG$120m in Singapore-based regional tech start-ups including Toku, Flash Coffee, and Omnistream.

Jakob Angele, CEO of foodpanda, said that Singapore has proven to be a dynamic hub for foodpanda’s operations in the region, and they expect to see more innovations to be launched from Singapore into the regional markets.

“Initiatives like our foodpanda PowerUp! Tech Academy is essential to our long-term plans, as we nurture more of Asia’s tech talent, build the ecosystem and grow Asia’s digital economy,” added Angele.

Platforms Featured APAC

foodpanda launches new meal donation feature in Asia

Singapore – As part of foodpanda’s efforts in supporting the fight against global hunger, the delivery platform has launched its new meal donation initiative in Asia. With a new micro-donation feature built into the foodpanda app, customers can now easily donate to those in need by selecting the ‘Donate’ button after checking out orders.

The feature will go live in Malaysia and Singapore this week, ahead of World Hunger Day on 28 May 2022. Beneficiaries of foodpanda’s meal donation initiative will vary by market. In Malaysia, foodpanda and ShareTheMeal have been working closely together to make it easy for customers to give back to their communities. ShareTheMeal is a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) initiative and app through which people are encouraged to make meal donations to help feed hungry families around the world. 

The donation function integrated into the foodpanda app allows for a seamless donation process for customers. All donations via the foodpanda app will be channelled to WFP’s food assistance projects and emergency programmes across SEA. Malaysians now have the option to donate between RM2.50 to RM17.50 to feed a child for up to seven days.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, foodpanda will collaborate with The Food Bank Singapore (FBSG). Customers in Singapore can choose to donate one, two, or three meals – at a rate of SG$2 per meal – that will go towards funding meals for FBSG beneficiaries. 

For interested users, The ‘Donate a Meal/ Share the Meal’ tab will be displayed on the order tracking page, and upon clicking it, they will be shown the donation options available. Once a user selects their donation, they will be directed to the payment page, and when the donation is confirmed, the user will be returned to the order tracking page.

foodpanda said that this meal donation initiative is an extension of the global partnership launched by parent company Delivery Hero SE with the WFP in September 2020, with the goal for Delivery Hero to donate 10 million meals globally by the end of 2022. 

Jakob Sebastian Angele, foodpanda’s CEO, said, “Food and groceries are at the core of our business, so we need to make food accessible to as many people as possible. By integrating meal donations onto our platform, we are encouraging our riders, merchants and customers to give back to society through using everyday technologies.” 

Elsewhere in Asia, foodpanda is also an active participant in programmes that address hunger and tackle food insecurity and wastage. In Singapore, foodpanda partners with OLIO to redistribute surplus food from pandamarts, while in Bangladesh, foodpanda partners with the Bidyanodo Foundation, donating unsold fresh produce from pandamarts and food from cancelled orders to vulnerable communities. Moreover, in Hong Kong, foodpanda has introduced a ‘Less Rice/Noodles’ option to decrease food waste.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Akash Digital TV launches product that would ward off pesky mosquitoes during TV time

Dhaka, Bangladesh – As Bangladesh has been hit by a dengue epidemic within a pandemic, Akash Digital TV, the country’s direct-to-home (DTH) service provider, has launched a new unique mosquito repellent curtain called ‘MosBlock’, aimed at providing uninterrupted entertainment in a safe and healthy environment.

Several reasons why the number of dengue victims is rising are that low-income people living in slum communities partake extensively in communal social practices, as well as many mosquito repellents are not approved by the health board, and their ingredients can pose a severe health threat. Therefore the only safe defence is a mosquito net which is often impractical as you need to stay indoors throughout the day. 

According to research done by the Aichi Agricultural Research Center, it has been found that in the animal planet, Zebras get less attacked by mosquitoes because of their black and white pattern. The pattern creates an illusion in the compound of the eyes of mosquitos, which derails their landing. Mosquitoes avoid journeying in the direction of this unique pattern.

With this insight, an initiative was started as a pilot project in Dhaka’s largest slum – korail slum. The program began with an awareness and activation campaign throughout the slums, followed by the distribution of MosBlock curtains amongst households- all free of cost. The curtains were put on the doors and windows of homes as well as on the boundary walls – thereby deterring mosquitoes from this area.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Initiative boosts leadership team with two new partnership heads

Sydney, Australia – Media agency Initiative has appointed Daniela Rocchi to the new role of head of partnership for the Sydney team, and Justin ArIt to the new role of head of partnership for the Melbourne team. The move comes after Initiative restructured its partnerships department, aimed at bolstering its leadership team.

Rocchi’s immediate remit in Initiative is to lead the investment and partnerships across the Sydney market, bringing a genuine passion for investment to deliver the best results for clients. Having spent a decade at Initiative, Rocchi has been a stalwart in the agency’s transformation diving into every aspect of the business and proving herself to be a brilliant client adviser and an important partner to media vendors.

Meanwhile, Arlt brings his leadership skills to the Melbourne business. Up to date, he has been intimately involved in numerous Melbourne pitch wins and instrumental in rolling out several key internal processes.

Both will report directly to Simon Reid, Initiative’s national head of partnerships.

Commenting on her new role, Rocchi said, “I could not be happier to be moving into a role that I am extremely passionate about. What I love most about this role is that I will be building my industry relationships into strong partnerships and training our workforce whilst keeping the Initiative culture at the forefront of everything I do.”

Meanwhile, Arlt also commented: “I’m particularly excited to be working through the next evolution of our partnerships learning and development program which will help our teams build stronger relationships with our partners to deliver more meaningful results for our clients.”

Reid shared that given Initiative’s current rapid growth rate, now is the perfect time to restructure their partnerships team, providing huge benefits to their existing clients and allowing for continued agency growth.

“I am extremely proud of both Daniela and Justin and the fact we can promote within is a testament to the tremendous talent we have at Initiative. Both are masters of their craft, high-level negotiators, have built strong senior relationships in their respective markets and have been delivering year on year results for our clients. They both have extensive experience on a broad range of categories and will build formidable teams to benefit our clients,” he said.