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Marketing Featured ANZ

Four Pillars Gin taps Slingshot for media strategy duties

Sydney, Australia – Following a competitive pitch, media strategy specialist Slingshot has acquired the media strategy, planning and buying duties of Australian gin brand, Four Pillars Gin. 

The Yarra Valley-based distillery was established in 2013. Four Pillars Gin has been named ‘International Gin Producer of the Year’ for two consecutive years, the latest in 2020’s International Wine and Spirits Competition.

This win for Slingshot comes hot on the heels of other client wins including Masterpet, Endeavour Consumer Health, and Ayam. 

Slingshot CIO and Partner Simon Corbett said winning the Four Pillars Gin business is a dream come true. 

“Our agency aspires to work with brands and individuals who stretch and challenge us, so we are loving working with the Four Pillars team. A world-leading brand and a collection of super smart individuals is a great cocktail for us,” Corbett said.

Jemma Blanch, director of marketing, events and activations at Four Pillars, added, “We intuitively have a strong sense of who our customers are but we wanted an agency that would question our assumptions and get us thinking in some fresh ways, Slingshot [has] definitely done that and we have really welcomed their creative thinking. We are excited about our upcoming summer campaign.”

The appointment by the gin producer is with immediate effect.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

How a biased media planning practice made this CEO set own agency straight

Let me start with an anecdote.

10 years ago, when I was working for a big network agency and leading some big accounts, my boss came to see me and asked me to put an important media platform on the plans. I wasn’t really sure why he was asking me to include this specific media platform on my campaigns’ media plans whereas, the target audiences on any of my campaigns, were not consuming this specific media platform.

This didn’t make any sense from a media planning perspective.

It was early December and annual deals between media owners and agencies were about to close. It means that agencies committed to spend annually a certain amount of budget with each media owners, in exchange for rebates, cash, impressions, clicks that will be given exclusively to the agencies, and we were not close to the amount my agency promised to this specific media platform. Now it made all sense but it started to trigger lots of questions.

Just for the story I had to put this specific media platform on the plans and convince the clients that it was a good idea. I played team work but this changed me.

This is when I realized that the Media Planning in agencies was not neutral anymore, actually it was influenced by extra revenues that agencies could make through deals with media owners and would keep for themselves in order to increase their overall revenues.

Today, nothing has changed, these deals still exist and actually they are even more present than 10 years ago.

As an agency we witness it regularly when new media owners present to us their platform and at the end of the meeting, they inform us how much additional money we could make thanks to the referrals we would receive. This is an extra push to convince agencies to put a platform on the plan. And the more an agency invest in a platform, the more the referrals become.

Are media owners to blame for offering this extra source of revenue? No, I do not think so. It is more those who say yes to it that are fueling this.

Now, let me ask this question: Is it not the role of agencies to recommend to their clients the best media platforms to put on a plan based on certain criteria, like target audience’s media consumption, media objectives and performance?

How can this be achieved if agencies are recommending the ‘best’ platforms based on the extra revenues they are going to make? Media planning neutrality is gone!

Agencies must recommend the best plan and stay unbiased but this is far from reality nowadays. Agencies have lost their media planning neutrality.

One of the reasons for these ‘deals’ to flourish nowadays is that agencies’ remunerations have reduced across the years and they are trying to keep with the same level of revenues thanks to the referrals, free impressions, free clicks given by media owners at the end of the year. However, agencies should not walk this path and should stick to what makes them media agencies: expert at planning the best channels to deliver against campaigns’ objectives.

Now that I have founded my own digital media agency, JOLT Digital in Singapore, I make it a point that our system welcomes all referrals, rebates, and free clicks and free impressions we can receive by media owners, so we can pass them to clients. With rebates, we pass a hundred percent to them.

We do this so we can maintain planning that is neutral, free from influences in media recommendations. With JOLT Digital, where we live by the vision of ‘Game-changing is in our DNA’, I aim to direct my team in implementing disruptive practices, which are not just meant to be innovative, but most especially, beneficial with the client’s best interest at heart.

It is essential that as media and marketing professionals that we retain our integrity. What must reign supreme at all times is the campaign results to be delivered. We are ex-clients and we can truly put ourselves into the clients’ shoes, putting faith in media partners, trusting we will all together deliver to the objectives with full commitment and passion.

The author is Sebastien Lepez, CEO and founder of JOLT Digital.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Online art marketplace RtistiQ hands media planning, buying duties to JOLT Digital

Singapore – RtistiQ, a new online marketplace in Singapore dedicated to art and collectibles, has chosen digital media agency, JOLT Digital, to handle its media planning and buying across all digital channels. These include paid Social, SEM, and SEO, as well as programmatic, among channels. 

Through RtistiQ, artists are given the opportunity to promote their creations to an international audience. RtistiQ uses blockchain technology to allow artists to authenticate and mark ownership of their creations, aimed at formalizing and making art transactions more transparent.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Co-founder and CEO of RtistiQ, Jothi Menon, shared that after releasing the beta version of the platform to onboard artists, they were on the lookout for a partner to support its marketing initiatives. He said the company found JOLT Digital to be the rightful agency, providing 360-degree coverage across all digital mediums with a very quick turnaround. 

“It has been a perfect partnership with both JOLT and [RtistiQ’s] belief in using latest technologies to deal with existing problems in the industries we operate in. More importantly, we both have been working with the sense of offering better transparency to our customers and technology is a key enabler for that to happen,” Menon said. 

Meanwhile, Seb Lepez, JOLT Digital’s CEO and founder, echoes the same sentiment, believing that both of the parties’ vision to disrupt traditional methods is a great foundation for the new partnership. 

“RtistiQ is trying to change the way art is sold from the authentication to the tracking via blockchain and then sold to the consumer. This is in a way very similar to JOLT Digital where both companies want to change an industry through the usage of unique technologies so end consumers and customers can benefit from it. I can see that we are both on a mission to game-change outdated industries,” he said. 

Just recently, JOLT digital has also bagged another account, Singapore telecom, TPG Telecom.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Thai programmatic consultancy Bidmath launches academy to train skills on Google’s DV360 platform

Bangkok, Thailand – Bidmath, a global programmatic consultancy, has opened an academy for the special training of Display & Video 360 (DV360), Google’s unified platform for programmatic buying.

DV360 is an end-to-end campaign management tool, which aside from media planning and buying, enables advertisers to manage creative development and run measurement for campaigns across display, video, TV, and audio.

The training academy was put up with an aim to increase the adoption of programmatic industry knowledge in the country. According to Bidmath, despite the substantial growth of programmatic advertising in Thailand, there is a lack of deep technical knowledge.

A study by ad tech firm Rubicon Project reflects such observation, having found that 43% of advertisers in Asia are either extremely or somewhat hesitant to switch from the traditional way of media buying through an insertion order (IO) to the more automated mode of programmatic buying. The study also suggested that the single biggest challenge hindering further growth of programmatic advertising budgets is a lack of understanding and appropriate skills to effectively plan and execute programmatic ad campaigns.

Three courses will be initially offered, with each focusing on a specific topic within DV360: private marketplace buying, optimization best practices, and the fundamentals. Courses will be offered in Thai, Vietnamese, and English, and will be available both virtually and in-person.

Director of Bidmath Asia KK Sharma said that the lack of understanding and technical skills are slowing advertisers down when considering the adoption of programmatic guaranteed spends and the potential upside for local publishers such as Viu for example.

“By introducing courses in local languages, we hope to see increased adoption of programmatic advertising across Asia, but there is still a long way to go. Courses in Thai and Vietnamese were launched to accelerate growth and reach,” Sharma said.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

OMD bags F&B Danone media business for Malaysia, Thailand

Singapore – Following a multi-agency pitch, Omnicom Media Group-owned agency OMD has successfully won F&B company Danone’s account, officially becoming its media agency for the Malaysia and Thailand business. 

The appointment is inked to span a three-year partnership. OMD will be charged with overseeing the media planning and buying duties for the company across traditional and digital channels. 

Both OMD’s Thailand and Malaysia leg will be handling the company’s Growing up milk brands such as Dumex and Hi-Q. Anca Everts, marketing director of Danone Malaysia said, “When we partner with a media agency, we look out for that one team who can work as an extension of our own to naturally co-build winning campaigns for our Growing up milk brands in Malaysia.”

OMD believes that their display of a strategic approach via digital and data-led expertise is what ultimately led them to clinching the account. Marketing Director of Danone Thailand Korakot Vuthihirunthamrong said that they were impressed by the agency’s level of commitment and enthusiasm which the Thailand team had demonstrated throughout the pitch process.

OMD APAC CEO Stephen Li commented, “When coupled with our demonstrated commitment to Danone, strategic and data-driven solutions forge a cutting-edge partnership that make every media dollar work harder, resulting in better business outcomes.”