Singapore – Global food company Mondelez International has announced the appointment of Hemant Rupani as its new president of its Southeast Asia business unit. He was previously the managing director of Mondelez Kinh Do Vietnam, and replaces Glenn Caton who has moved to a global role.

In his new role, Rupani will be responsible for the SEA cluster of markets including the exports business in the broader Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region, leading growth and end-to-end business.

Rupani is an accomplished leader with over 20 years of experience working in India, US and Vietnam covering various industries including food and beverage (F&B), telecommunications, and consulting. Prior to joining Mondelez International in 2016, he worked with several leading organisations including PepsiCo, Vodafone, Britannia, and Infosys Technologies.

Speaking about his appointment, Hemant said, “The SEA business has been on an accelerated growth path driven by increasing consumption, digital penetration, talented population, and cultural diversity in the region.”

He added, “We have built a reign as category leaders across segments with our portfolio of iconic global brands and local jewels. Combining our solid team, local-first strategy, and robust investments, we are in a strong position to lead the future of snacking and drive sustainable growth forward.”

Malaysia – In celebration of Merdeka, the Independence Day of Malaysia, Mondelēz International’s chocolate brand Cadbury has launched a touching tribute to the founding of Malaysia. Called ‘Merdeka Unseen’, the campaign uses technology to take audiences on a sentimental journey through history.

Created in collaboration with creative agency Ogilvy Malaysia, the film features Johan, a gentleman that was present during that iconic Merdeka Day in 1957 and brought him back to the stadium to relive that experience. real-time, as he walked through the stadium, memories were projected onto the seats where those moments happened. 

Through Johan’s memories of Merdeka, the film serves as a reminder that generosity has always been at the heart of the Malaysian spirit and when people all take the time to look, they can find goodness everywhere around everyone.

Cadbury said that Merdeka is equivalent to ‘The Superbowl’ in Malaysia. Big and small brands all celebrate this momentous occasion with salutations and tributes. While it is a popular season, the sea of sameness has been prevalent: messages of unity, breaking down cultural barriers and differences, coming together, and resolving differences. But as a brand that has been in Malaysia for over 100 years, Cadbury wanted to show a side of Merdeka that’s never been seen before. 

For 65 years, the topic of Merdeka has centred around the iconic speech of Tunku Abdul Rahman. It’s been studied in schools and plastered across advertising campaigns nationwide. But Merdeka is more than just that speech. Through the use of technology, the film brought to life the many symbolic moments that happened that same day, defining the spirit of what it means to be Malaysian. Instead of centring the narrative around one man’s speech, Cadbury centred the campaign around the millions who watched that speech and more.

Nikhil Nicholas, SEA marketing lead for chocolates at Mondelēz International, said, “Cadbury Dairy Milk has always strived to shine a spotlight on the generous instinct that exists in all of us and found the perfect opportunity here to do just that this Merdeka, by recreating Johan’s memories of the everyday goodness that he witnessed all around him on that momentous day.” 

Meanwhile, Nizwani Shahar, Ogilvy’s chief executive for Malaysia, shared that Cadbury Dairy Milk is an iconic global brand, and they are proud to be part of a winning team that continues to drive brand impact and business growth in a modern landscape. 

“We hold the Cadbury flag high having worked on this business for so long and the ability to keep pushing out impactful, powerful work is a true testament to a solid partnership with clients who give us permission to play and push boundaries,” said Shahar.

Adrian Miller, Ogilvy’s chief creative officer for Malaysia, noted that the truth of today is that no one wants to spend any second of their day watching any form of advertising, especially during an occasion like Merdeka where the same stories have been rinsed and repeated. 

“But what people do want to watch is a powerful story that they haven’t seen before. A story that intrigues them and adds value to their day. That’s what we aspire to do with every piece of work and that’s a shared ambition we have with our partners at Mondelēz,” said Miller.