Santa Monica, California – Global media, marketing, and technology company Entravision Communications has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire MediaDonuts, a digital marketing performance and branding company with operations across seven countries in the Asia Pacific region. 

Entravision serves clients throughout the United States and in more than 20 countries across Latin America, Europe, and Asia, and according to Entravision, its acquisition of MediaDonuts is the next key step in the company’s plan to become a leading marketing technology service provider in the world’s highest growth economies. 

Entravision said that Southeast Asia represents a company milestone, as it will be tapping into a new consumer market that represents nearly 700 million people, where according to the company, 400 million of which are digitally connected. MediaDonuts’ presence in the region spans five markets – in Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand aside from its HQ in the Lion City. 

MediaDonuts was founded in 2010 and offers extensive digital advertising capabilities through its strategic partnerships with major global media and technology platforms. 

Walter Ulloa, chairman and CEO of Entravision, said that the acquisition is a natural fit with the overall digital and global transformation strategy of Entravision’s business. Ulloa continued that the company has always focused on providing advertising solutions in high-growth markets and partnering with the strongest media and technology platforms in the world. 

“We believe that the incorporation of MediaDonuts into the Entravision platform adds leadership, sales operations, and digital offerings that will further propel our digital efforts,” said Ulloa

Pieter-Jan de Kroon, co-founder and CEO of MediaDonuts, said that when the company was founded, the agency aimed to build a digital marketing and performance service enterprise that could seamlessly connect advertisers and agencies with their target audiences. Through the years, de Kroon said they are confident that by crafting an ideal mix of partnerships, including some of the world’s largest social and entertainment networks, it has done just that and more. 

“With our business positioned for success, we are excited to now have the opportunity to join the global digital platform Entravision has built over the past decade. I am confident in the many commercial, technological, and product development synergies our business will achieve going forward as a combined entity,” said de Kroon. 

Meanwhile, Entravision’s Chief Digital, Strategy and Accountability Officer, Juan Saldívar, commented, “We are very excited to welcome Pieter-Jan and the entire MediaDonuts team to the Entravision family. With a global digital platform now poised to reach and serve clients in 32 countries, we are confident the addition of MediaDonuts will further enhance our service offerings and help drive our continued global growth.” 

The acquisition is anticipated to close around 1 July 2021. Upon the completion of the transaction, all MediaDonuts employees will remain with the company, and de Kroon will continue to serve as CEO of the business based out of its headquarters in Singapore. 

This month of March, we’re looking at a diverse list of the top 5 stories. The rise of digital experiences and online e-commerce amid this unprecedented period in the lives of both businesses and consumers is evidently shown in the stories that nabbed the highest readership for the month. As you will see in the rundown, brands, and organizations that took the top spots are those that launched new partnerships and announced new initiatives that are a response to surging online activity and adoption. 

This month, a Hong Kong-headquartered fintech has just partnered with a new Buy Now Pay Later payment channel. A global adtech has also expanded its services to Vietnam, while a Singapore-based agency hires a new UX director. 

Meanwhile two rising consumer ecosystems – esports and influencer marketing – grace this month’s list with a content platform launching a new community for parent influencers and a Philippines-based gaming league mounting a virtual event that engages music fans.

Take a look at the top stories. Stories were sourced from Google Analytics from the period of 16 February to 15 March. 

Top 5: Singapore-based Bray Leino Splash names new UX Director

As the number of brands adopting digital experiences increases at a faster rate amid the pandemic, Singapore-based DX agency Bray Leino Splash’s appointment of a new UX director comes at a rightful time. 

The newly named Jaffry Jalal has previously worked with TBWA\Singapore and Havas as its UX design lead and was most recently a lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic. He has previously worked with brands such as Singapore Airlines, MasterCard, and Michelin to help them create digital products and immersive experiences. 

Jalal shared to MARKETECH APAC that as he takes the helm at the agency, he looks to start with the basics – straightening out and unifying the language of ‘design’ for the whole agency – in order to serve clients better and deliver an excellent UX.

“[I’m looking at] broadening the definition of design within the agency. That it is about moving something from its current state to a better-preferred state, whatever it is that we are doing. In creating that mentality internally, I hope we can transform where the whole agency becomes the design team for the client,” said Jalal. 

Jalal also shared what he believes to be one of the most important metrics of a good UX, and that is when people “talk less” about the UX, which means the agency has done its job in creating a seamless experience. 

“That’s the strange thing about UX design is that you won’t really notice good UX when it’s designed well. It’s transparent and invisible. The most effective experiences help the customers get the job done and they get on with their life; they come to a website or an app, they get what they need, and it helps them then they move on,” shared Jalal.

“This pandemic, as an agency, [we focus on] how we can help [clients] move from a current state to a preferred state [of digitization]; and [when] the whole agency can speak the language of design, then we can spot opportunities for our clients,” added Jalal. 

Top 4: theAsianparent launches VIP parents platform for parent influencers

Influencer marketing, with its relatable appeal to consumers as well as being a less cumbersome strategy for brands, has been all the rage with more brands and used-to-be consumers jumping into the ecosystem. Products and services targeted at parents are no different and this is what parenting-focused content platform aims to leverage with the VIP parents platform

In the platform, proactive parents are given the opportunity to step into the limelight and use their influence and voice for brands which also becomes an avenue for them to earn. 

Officially launched in 2020, the platform has already garnered a base of over 40,000 moms and dads. For brands, the platform serves as a channel to easily tap parents to implement engagement and brand amplification activities such as participating in surveys or polls, creating original and meaningful content, and even have parents review products and attend brand events. 

MARKETECH APAC spoke with the two Co-Founders of VIPP Heena Lulla Singh and Jessica Tremel to know more about the platform. Singh said that the parents on the platform are different from the broad influencer groups with their genuine experience and knowledge as their top edge. 

“What truly differentiates these parents from broad influencer groups is their parenting journeys, their experiences, and know-how, which actually enable them to provide authentic amplifications for consumer brands,” said Singh. 

Tremel said that VIP Parents is not just an influencer marketing platform, where the community also takes branded campaigns from posting on social media, reviews and reviews platforms, attending events, and downloading apps, and many more activities that parents can do for brands.

“Through our platform, these everyday parents to micro-influencers, have been able to deliver better engagement rates through the genuine feedback that captures audiences which leads to higher client conversion rates,” said Tremel. 

Top 3: Adtech Criteo partners with Vietnam-based MediaDonuts  

Digital advertisers in Southeast Asia country Vietnam are set to see a new solution provider in the market for their marketing and advertising strategies as adtech Criteo partners with Vietnam-based advertising and technology company MediaDonuts.

Criteo is a global advertising platform that provides a full-funnel marketing solution for online advertisers, retailers, brands, and agencies to serve relevant online advertisements. The partnership with MediaDonuts will take in the form of the Ad Sales Partner Program, which provides brands with performance marketing solutions aimed at driving profits and sales.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Mark Gubbels, head of commercial for SEA at Criteo, said that the company specifically chose Vietnam for the expansion being one of the fastest-growing markets in online advertising. 

“We see a great opportunity, especially in the performance-based marketing to work with local businesses in Vietnam and evolve their advertising and marketing strategies to gain a competitive advantage in the market,” said Gubbels. 

Gubbels also shared that part of Criteo’s offering to brands will be education and training on performance marketing. 

“While we are seeing great potential for market adoption within Vietnam’s industry, we still [see] that there’s a lot of room for growth, mainly in terms of education around performance marketing. As more Vietnamese consumers turn to e-commerce and seek an online channel experience, we really need to establish strong relationships with their customers both offline and online,” said Gubbels. 

The training and certification layer aims to provide and equip teams with practical courses to harness data effectively and to gain actionable insights to effectively manage and measure campaigns.

Top 2: Hong Kong-based AsiaPay adds Singapore’s Atome as Buy Now Pay Later partner

Hong Kong-headquartered Asiapay has announced a new partnership with Singapore-based Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) platform Atome, adding it to its current BNPL payment partners, to enable seamless, flexible installment payment options to online and offline retail businesses across the APAC region.

AsiaPay is a digital payment solution and technology vendor in Asia aiming to bring advanced and cost-effective electronic payment processing solutions and services to banks, corporate and e-Businesses in the worldwide market. Meanwhile, Atome partners online and offline retailers to increase conversions and grow average orders and customer segments.

Through the team-up, both companies intend to remove the complexity for merchants and retailers of all sizes, to benefit from greater BNPL payment convenience.

Atome has partnered with over 2,000 online and offline retailers in six markets such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong with key merchant partners and e-commerce platforms in a wide range of verticals including Sephora, Agoda, Zara, and Marks & Spencer, and JD.ID and Sendo. Meanwhile, AsiaPay’s platform connects over 100 banks and a broad roster of alternative payment methods in 11 country locations. 

MARKETECH APAC spoke with Ernest Lo, AsiaPay’s executive director for AsiaPay, and he shared that the decision to tie up with Atome is due to the parallels between their business landscapes, such as being able to serve the same markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. aside from Singapore. 

“We see how Atome works in Singapore, [and] we want to work with a partner that’s aggressive with whom we can work out something together; we hope that our merchants in different countries can enjoy this BNPL product,” said Lo. 

Top 1: Philippine Pro Gaming League engaged music fans roping in MNL48 for a virtual match

For our top story this month, we have esports league Philippine Pro Gaming League in the Philippines. For a one-time event last 8 March, the Philippines Pro Gaming League (PPGL) managed by esports organization Mineski Philippines, hosted a virtual match, where it roped in Philippine pop idol group MNL48 to engage and play with fans for the popular mobile game League of Legends: Wild Rift. 

PPGL is the largest multi-game esports in the country, and has been running for about 3 years in partnership with Globe telecom. Before the pandemic, the league seasonally conducts its massive onsite grand finals where it directly engages with players, teams, and the gaming community, at the same time, serves as an opportunity to promote gaming to a larger audience. Come the pandemic, Mineski was finding a way to bring the same engagement and experience, and thus, launched the virtual ‘PPGL Takeover’, where it invites personalities, esports influencers and streamers, and TV personalities to connect with gamers and fans. 

Nadine Nora, campaign manager at Mineski Philippines, shared that it has been partnering with people from the music industry and that when it approached MNL48, the collaboration was a perfect match, with the all-girl group being gamers themselves. 

MNL48 is a Filipino idol group, originally established in 2018, known to be a part of the larger J-pop genre scene based on its mother group AKB48. They have since released a total of six singles, including ‘Pag-Ibig Fortune Cookie’, ‘High Tension’, and more recently ‘River’. The quintet comprises Cole Somera, Abby Trinidad, Sheki Arzaga, Gabb Skribikin, and Coleen Trinidad.

“MNL48 was very excited with the event as it is an added avenue for them to interact with their fans. [MNL48 and PPGL] just have the same mindset, we were both striving in engaging the community, and everything just fell into place perfectly,” shared Nora.

Watch our live interviews with the newsmakers themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

Singapore – Adtech Criteo has announced a strategic partnership with advertising and technology company MediaDonuts to expand its market in Vietnam through providing performance marketing solutions among Vietnamese brands.

Through the partnership, Criteo is expanding its services in the country through the Ad Sales Partner Program within MediaDonuts. The said program provides brands with performance marketing solutions which include funnel marketing solutions, aimed at driving profits and sales for retailers and brands. By connecting shoppers to products and services that appeal to them, it delivers performance at scale while working with its Ad Sales Partners. Furthermore, the partnership provides Criteo a unique platform to cover broader market segments in this fast-growing country. 

“This exclusive partnership will help us to expand our coverage in Vietnam. For Criteo, Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing markets in SEA. And shoppers in Vietnam have a variety of choices when it comes to e-commerce platforms, millions of products and services to choose from, and multiple devices to engage with and discover,” said Taranjeet Singh, managing director of Criteo SEA and India.

Pieter-Jan de Kroon, managing partner at MediaDonuts, noted that the Vietnamese internet economy has reached USD14B in gross merchandise value (GMV), and is expected to grow to USD52B by 2025.

“The digital media landscape is evolving fast in Vietnam and we’re seeing a very interesting opportunity, especially in the performance space. Therefore this partnership will be a game-changer for all companies eager to exceed their media and business objectives by implementing sophisticated campaign strategies through the world-class technology developed by Criteo,” de Kroon stated.

Singapore – MediaDonuts has appointed Luc Mandret as Country Head for Vietnam.

Luc Mandret joins from MSL where he was General Manager of MSL, the PR and digital agency of Publicis Group, in Vietnam.

Previously, Luc Mandret held leadership roles with Elan-Edelman then Publicis agencies in France where he was Head of the Digital and Social Media business unit, before being relocated to Southeast Asia in 2017.

Luc Mandret was also a blogger, media professional, and lecturer at Paris La Sorbonne university. He is the vice president of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam (CCIFV) as well.

Luc Mandret has worked on corporate, communication, and marketing strategy bringing innovative solutions for a variety of brands, including both international and Vietnamese companies.

Pieter-Jan de Kroon, Managing Partner, MediaDonuts said: “We’re thrilled to have Luc on board to lead our fast-growing activities in Vietnam. Luc has an international background across both digital and marketing domains. His international experience with some of the biggest communication and marketing agencies will surely benefit our clients, our partners, and our teams.”

On this appointment, Luc Mandret, Country Head Vietnam, MediaDonuts said: “I am very excited to join MediaDonuts, we have here an awesome team to helps advertisers and agencies, we can help them to achieve the best performance and branding goals across digital media channels. We’re seeing very strong opportunities for MediaDonuts in Vietnam from our media representation business which includes partners such as Twitter, GrabAds, Criteo, Byte Dance (TikTok), Spotify, Activision Blizzard Media (Candy Crush), MatchMedia (Tinder), etc. as well as from our digital programmatic technology.”