Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

VMLY&R Malaysia appoints Didi Pirinyuang as chief creative officer

Malaysia – Global brand experience agency VMLY&R Malaysia has appointed Didi Pirinyuang as its new chief creative officer. She will be reporting to Kenni Loh, chief executive officer at VMLY&R Malaysia.

In her new role, Pirinyuang will lead the agency’s creative team in delivering best-in-class solutions for its clients, sharpening its creative culture, and driving its strategy to boost the agency’s creative service offerings.

Pirinyuang brings with her extensive experience spanning a wide range of consumer segments and is expected to further strengthen VMLY&R’s regional operation. She also has an impressive client portfolio such as Pizza Hut, PUMA, and PETRONAS.

Prior to joining VMLY&R, she was executive creative director for Ensemble Global Malaysia and previously for MBCS Malaysia, for which she was a founding member, having played a key role in the growth of the business since 2017. 

Commenting on her appointment, Pirinyuang said, “Over the last two years, I have been closely following VMLY&R, and have been wowed by some of the campaigns – especially work like ‘Mengukir Malaysia’ – a fantastic campaign they did for Telekom Malaysia.”

She added, “It’s an honour and a privilege to join an agency as well-established as VMLY&R. The agency has entered a new era of creativity and I’m excited to be a part of this journey and upward trajectory. The sky will pose no limit as we combine our common ambitions of bringing creative commerce and creative excellence to the next level.” 

Loh also commented, “We are delighted to welcome Didi into the VMLY&R family in Malaysia. Her creative prowess preceded her, and with her input, we look forward to scaling our creative offering further, using brand and customer experience to deliver the most engaging and culturally relevant creative commerce experiences for our clients.”

Previously, the agency has also appointed Saurabh Saksena as its CEO for its India office.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Julie’s Biscuits changes logo to the likeness of Michelle Yeoh following recent Oscar win

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Local biscuits brand Julie’s Biscuits has paid a tribute to Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh by tweaking its logo to resemble the likeness of Yeoh. This follows Yeoh’s recent win at the recently-concluded Oscars 2023 ceremony. 

The newest campaign is made in partnership with GOVT Singapore, the appointed creative agency of Julie’s Biscuits.

Yeoh won an Oscar for the ‘Best Actress’ category; the first Asian to win said award, and the first ever Malaysian to bag an Oscar. Said recognition was for her role as Evelyn Wang in the 2022 film ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’.

According to Julie’s Biscuits, aside from bringing such pride to her roots, Yeoh also undoubtedly embodies the brand’s values – humility, openness, fearlessness and a slight hint of cheeky irreverence. They add that her inspirational journey reminds all to hold our heads up high and be inspired to work hard for their dreams.

Sai Tzy Horng, director of Julie’s Biscuits, said, “I am incredibly proud of Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh. She is truly an international icon and a pride and joy to all fellow Malaysians. As a Malaysian household biscuit icon, we want to congratulate her by paying tribute to her remarkable achievement in her Oscar nomination amongst many other impressive milestones in her illustrious career. She has proven time and again that she is one of Malaysia’s most revered national treasures.”

Meanwhile, Jimmy Neo, group creative director of GOVT Singapore, commented, “When we knew that Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh was nominated, we thought that a simple, sincere tribute would be appropriate, to honour all her achievements over the years. She’s an inspiration to all.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Lion & Lion rebranded as Lion & Lioness for entire duration of Women’s Month

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – With its commitment to promoting gender equity, digital-first agency Lion & Lion has rebranded itself to be called ‘Lion & Lioness’ for the entire duration of international women’s month. This is to celebrate the said designated period of honouring women, with the brief name change also coming with an empowering tagline, ‘Roaring for Equity’; and a new logo to boot showing a lion and lioness.

With a team that is currently consisting of 60% female, Lion & Lion emphasised that the agency is taking meaningful steps to establish a network that values and recognises the contributions of its female staff whilst creating a more effective team that can better serve the clients.

Some of these efforts include introducing two initiatives for the support of female employees such as creating a ‘priority room’ in the Kuala Lumpur office to give a comfortable space for upcoming mothers who need a private area to breastfeed or rest and an alarm keychain that can be used in times of danger.

This Women’s Month, Lion & Lion also gives a spotlight to its female leaders or ‘lioness’ from the different departments of people & culture (HR), traffic, media planning, and in-house marketing & communication team who play significant roles in operating internal processes and client servicing. 

These female executives include regional head of people & culture Mawar Mustaffa; client services manager Julia Michelle Boudville; media lead Rafeah Siron; and senior marketing manager Menuka Vejasegaran.

The special rebranding comes with an on-ground celebration at the Kuala Lumpur office on 8 March where all employees, regardless of gender, can enjoy the team building and engaging activities.

As an agency that aims integrate data and creativity, Lion & Lion continues to drive efforts in providing impactful solutions for clients. Earlier this year, it expanded its offerings by launching a film production studio to connect its integrated creative, social, and digital experience solutions.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Trapper releases first-ever ‘playbook’ eyed at helping Malaysian brands thrive this Ramadan, Raya

Malaysia – Trapper, an integrated media agency headquartered in Malaysia, has released its first-ever communications playbook, which targets bringing strategic marketing insights into the upcoming festive seasons of Ramadan and Raya. Titled, ‘Thrive During Ramadan and Raya 2023: A Trapper Malay Segmentation Playbook’, the resource informs brands on their marketing efforts in line with these special commemorations

The agency said that as it is inspired by the common phrase ‘there is more to someone than meets the eye’, the inaugural playbook has been developed to focus on decoding the Malay market. The ultimate goal is to help brands coordinate their marketing efforts that would foster meaningful connections with the said audience—before, during, and even after the month of Ramadan and Raya.

“Typically, brands will strive to retrofit their campaigns and brand identities to convey togetherness and familial bonding during this period. Brands with deeper pockets may pull it off through quality production and powerful storylines, while pressure mounts for smaller brands as they vie for their own piece of the Malay market pie,” said Trapper. 

The Trapper playbook ultimately seeks to update largely antiquated assumptions on the Malaysian market. The agency said that the population has been generally pigeonholed into three main segments — the semi-affluent-Bangsar bubble group, the working mid-M40 Millennials, and the ‘Malay Grassroots’.

Through the ‘Thrive During Ramadan and Raya 2023: A Trapper Malay Segmentation Playbook’, it provides a renewed perspective into the present Malay market by introducing six different segments which are “not only easily recognisable and relatable, but also significant and addressable in media.”

With this, Trapper is confident that marketers and brands would be able to gain insight into how they can grow their base of quality consumers and achieve incremental revenue growth. Additionally, methods of crafting a full-funnel communications approach respective to key persona profiles have been clearly illustrated in the guidebook to reflect today’s ever-changing media landscape.

Sue-Anne Lim, CEO of Trapper Group, commented, “It is easy to take knowledge about Malay consumers for granted because we could be one of them, be friends with them, or have lived as their neighbours for a lifetime. It is natural to have distorted views due to personal bias and long-held assumptions. So here we are, taking a step back to gain fresh new perspectives on the largest consumer group in Malaysia – what has changed over the years and equally importantly, what has NOT changed.”

Meanwhile, Strategy Director Teo Chin Wern, who led the project, commented further on some of the emerging changes in the marketing landscape. 

“Media is becoming a socio-economic connector, augmented by technology. The convergence of the latest technologies with post-pandemic digital norms has resulted in a paradigm shift for the Malay market, even as they remain anchored in traditional culture. Brands need to be more in tune with these evolutions in order to win over Malaysia’s largest consumer market during the biggest festive shopping occasion of the year,” said Teo. 

Those who are interested to obtain a copy of the playbook can email Trapper Group. 

The Trapper Group of companies houses several marketing and creative agencies including the flagship Trapper, Trapper Interactive, Adwork, and Trapper Consulting, amongst others. 

In November last year, Trapper has announced a partnership with data and business intelligence agency Ikano Insight to launch consultancy and advanced analytics services for environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-centric transformation practices.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Juliana Chua named as new head of brand, strategy, and creative of Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Malaysia Airlines has appointed Juliana Chua as its new head of brand, strategy, and creative. Chua shared the announcement on a personal LinkedIn update.

Chua brings with her more than 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising, working with media, creative, and event agencies. In her last stint, she was with mattress company Sonno as head of marketing.

In addition, she also headed the brand and marketing of technology solutions provider Vettons. She has also worked with Kuala Lumpur Pavilion as its general manager of brand and marketing. Moreover, she also assumed the general manager position of branding agency Ignite.

Her other notable roles include being the business director and head of activation at advertising agency TBWA Kuala Lumpur, brand manager and planning director at media agency Zenith Media, and senior account manager at media investment company GroupM.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Eyes here, everybunny! Here are the top 10 CNY ads on YouTube from Malaysia for 2023

Malaysia  It’s the year of the rabbit, folks! As we all know, rabbits love to hop from one place to another. Just like them, people also love to hop on their journeys in life – from being at the lowest point to coming out on top in the aim of achieving success.

To commemorate Chinese New Year this 2023, Malaysian brands from various industries featured different stories – ranging from heartfelt scenarios and inspiring life stories to catchy music choreographies – to showcase the beauty and strength of the human spirit.

YouTube Malaysia has recently presented the top 10 Chinese New Year Ads from the market in this 2023. The most engaging ads included in the list were sized up through the platform’s rubric that factors in total views, organic views, and audience retention. 

Arranged in alphabetical order, here are the top CNY ads in Malaysia:

  1. Affin Bank: Affin CNY 2023: Qiao Hao’s Fa Gao

For this year’s CNY ad, Affin Bank tells a story of a man who was raised by a single mother and eventually turned the tables around to give back to her when he succeeded in life.

  1. Etiqa: Etiqa CNY 2023: Pretty Little Things

Malaysian life insurance company Etiqa highlighted its commitment to sustainability through a short film, reminding its viewers to find beauty in little things.

  1. Hong Leong Bank: HLB CNY 2023 – A Life of Kaya #itsaboutyou

Hong Leong Bank’s ad features a man who helped his mother improve her business despite the competition they endured.

  1. JinYeYe: Music video feature for CNY 2023 

This music video showcased lively sounds and dance steps to interpret the true essence of reunion, joy, happiness and gift-giving during this festive season.

  1. Maybank: Maybank “Papa’s Lunchbox” (Chinese New Year 2023)

Maybank encourages its audiences to celebrate life to the fullest by sharing a story of a father who lost interest in his passion for cooking, and through the help of his daughter, brought it back to life. Eventually, the father got back to his feet, and turned the passion into a business.

  1. PETRONAS: PETRONAS CNY 2023: The Negotiation

Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas highlighted the importance of heritage and culture through its short film for CNY. 

  1. McDonald’s Malaysia: Golden Taste, Grand Celebration

Through a short ad, McDonald’s featured their CNY-themed ‘golden prosperity burger’, which can be shared with family while celebrating ‘golden’ moments.

  1. RHB: RHB Chinese New Year 2023: A Clean Start

RHB Bank features a true-to-life story of Lex Low, a hairstylist who gives free haircuts to homeless people. Amids this, Low meets a homeless man who is in search of his mother. The hairstylist successfully helps to reunite the man and his mother, emphasising that kindness can help in achieving progress and new beginnings.

  1. Taylor’s University: Torn | CNY 2023

Educational institution Taylor’s University features a girl who’s having problems with her studies and is resented by her mother for it. Little did the mother know that the daughter’s time is occupied by tending to her disabled younger brother, helping him to learn despite his condition.

  1. Watsons Malaysia: Watsons CNY 2023 – Happy Beautiful Year! 

Health care and beauty chain store Watsons showcased a mixture of short skits and musical drama that encourages the viewers to bring out their most beautiful selves. It ends with a note saying, “when your heart is filled with love, good things will come your way.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Grab’s ten-year veteran Adelene Foo appointed as managing director for Malaysia

Malaysia – Leading superapp Grab has appointed its ten-year veteran Adelene Foo as its new managing director in Malaysia. In her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing the business strategies and operations of Grab’s businesses in the country. 

Foo brings with her a strong background in launching and scaling regional Grab businesses. Transferring to Grab in 2012 right after her consultant stint in Accenture Management Consulting, she first assumed the country head position of the super app for over 2 years through 2014. After this, she held a regional launcher position in 2013 and became the country head of Grab Indonesia in 2014. 

After leading the Indonesia team for a year, Foo started her regional roles for the superapp, being the head of Grab’s 2 wheels business, grab express, and grab merchant for over six years through 2021.

Russell Cohen, group managing director of operations at Grab, said, “Adelene’s proven credentials and entrepreneurial spirit in scaling and growing Grab across Southeast Asia fits perfectly for this next phase of growth for Grab in Malaysia and I’m so excited to welcome her back to the country leadership team.” 

Meanwhile, commenting on her new role, Foo said, “Grab is committed to the long-term development of Malaysia. I look forward to working with the team to focus on introducing more affordable access to the best of our platform, create more earning opportunities for our partners, help more micro-entrepreneurs digitise and grow, and train more talent to support Malaysia’s growth in the digital economy.”

Aside from new her role at Grab, Foo will continue to lead the Malaysian upscale supermarket chain Jaya Grocer as its chief executive officer.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Kantar makes new senior appointments for Singapore, Malaysia teams

Singapore – Marketing data and analytics company Kantar has appointed Jane Ng and Paromeeta Mathur Banerjee as general managers of insights. Ng will be leading the team in Singapore, while Banerjee will be steering the Malaysia team.

In the new role, Ng will be bringing her 18 years of experience in the insights industry in Kantar Singapore and the Philippines, as well as with brandssuch as the Coca-Cola Company. She will also be developing brand and communication plans and strategic business plans for the company. 

Speaking on her appointment, Ng said, “I am delighted to lead the team and partner with world leading brands in Singapore and the region to develop data-driven marketing strategies and find growth opportunities.”

Meanwhile, Banerjee is expected to leverage her 20 years of experience in the insights industry across India and Malaysia. Prior to the new role, she was chief client officer for Kantar’s Insights division in Malaysia. 

She is also a well-known industry leader and is currently president of the Marketing Research Society of Malaysia (MRSM).

“I’m very excited to lead our team in Malaysia to help clients find new opportunities among changing consumer behaviours in the region. Whether it’s through current workflows or mining the wealth of data they already have through a different lens, this is a significant turning point for our region,” Banerjee commented. 

Katie McClintock, managing director for Southeast Asia at Kantar also shared her excitement over the new appointments.

“Jane’s and Paro’s leadership and experience will be crucial in fulfilling the ambition that we have for Kantar in the region as we set ourselves up for growth. I am so pleased to add two outstanding leaders to the SEA team in a dynamic region with enormous potential,” said McClintock.

Both Ng and Banerjee’s appointments are effective immediately.

Last February, Kantar Australia also appointed Straford Rodrigues as its head of media and marketing effectiveness and Lee Catlin as its senior director of customer experience.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Petronas highlights the importance of culture & heritage in CNY film

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – In celebration of the Chinese New Year, Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas has released a new film that gives importance to culture and heritage that serve as the ‘roots’ of every individual. The theme is anchored to the Petronas festive theme of the year, ‘Roots of Our Future’ which highlights and embeds the richness of heritage, customs and culture into all the festive films of 2023.

Titled ‘Yǐ Hé Wéi Guì’ or ‘The Negotiation’, it features a community of shopkeepers who received a devastating news that they need to leave their places on the eve of Chinese New Year because businesses will be developed in their area. They are convinced that they will benefit from the plan due to the job opportunities. However, the group didn’t want to leave because the place brought joy and memories to them.

The film ends with the residents staying in the community, celebrating the festive together, in a unified effort to save their history, heritage, home and way of life. It was also shown that the community was also preserved by fixing the roads and buildings.

This film is created in collaboration with Ensemble Worldwide, the creative unit of Mediabrands Content Studio (MBCS), the media-fueled creative content practice within the IPG Mediabrands network. It was directed by multi-awarded director P Prem Anand Pillai, in collaboration with Reserve Tank as the production house.

Ahmad Nazril Ibrahim, group creative director at MBCS explained that the film highlights how it feels to be a Malaysian. He also said that upon the modern development of society, it is important to understand the cultural heritage which serves as the roots that shapes an individual’s identity in a significant way.

Ibrahim added, “We’re excited to be embarking on this new journey of films with Petronas for the year, and hope all Malaysians are excited to journey with us in celebration of our rich culture and heritage.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Lion & Lion launches film production studio

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Southeast Asian agency network Lion & Lion will be expanding its offerings through the launch of a Film Production Studio, which will connect its integrated creative, social and digital experience solutions. Through the new studio, the agency charges its capacity forward on brand remits that require full creative to digital-film content production solutions, including but not limited to full-service video production, 2D and 3D animation, motion graphics, and music creation capabilities.

The studio will be led by Johnson Ling as head of production. Ling brings with him a decade of experience in production houses and in-house creative teams and most recently served as the Video Team Lead at AirAsia. 

“I believe that a holistic approach to production is essential to create truly jaw-dropping visuals. This entails seamlessly blending creativity, technical competence and social relevance to create content that not only satisfies client goals, but also elevates the brand via captivating narrative – when all of this is in sync, magic happens,” said Ling.

Asher Cheelip Ong, the agency’s regional chief creative officer, describes the new studio as a ‘natural next step’ for the business. 

“My past three years have been about driving transformative growth for our organisation and clients through innovative digital and creative solutions; building our cast of talents. A natural next step for us to expand our creative service offerings is to launch a Film Production Studio, that can help our clients meet the demand for entertaining film content across diversified platforms in today’s digital-centric world,” he said. 

Johnson will report directly to Ong and will be supported by a skilled, expanding team comprising Rachel Lian, Senior Producer, and Mohamad Khairul Shafit, Videographer, alongside a team of motion graphic designers.

“I am thrilled to join Lion & Lion and work with some of the top creative minds in the industry,” says Johnson. “I believe that a holistic approach to production is essential to create truly jaw-dropping visuals. This entails seamlessly blending creativity, technical competence and social relevance to create content that not only satisfies client goals, but also elevates the brand via captivating narrative – when all of this is in sync, magic happens.”

Ong added, “I cast my net far and wide, interviewing multiple film directors and talents before selecting Johnson for the role. He is experienced and dedicated; has a great sense of cinematography and visual storytelling, with a deep understanding of every stage in the film and video production process. I look forward to seeing the department flourish and grow under his direction, and hopefully, pick up a few film awards along the way, too.”

In 2022, Lion & Lion has also launched an in-house content production studio in Kuala Lumpur to expand its integrated creative offerings for brands that also require full creative to digital-film content production services.