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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Baskin-Robbins to permanently shut down PH stores

The Philippines – American ice cream brand Baskin-Robbins has announced through a Facebook post that they will permanently close down their stores in the Philippines this coming 31 December.

“To our dear customers, it’s been an incredible journey over the last 8 years, but unfortunately we will be permanently closing our doors on Dec 31, 2022,” the post read.

The post, however, did not indicate a specific reason for the closure. 

To thank their patrons, Baskin-Robbins offered a range of promos available until closure. “As a gesture of our thanks for your valued patronage over the years, we are pleased to offer a range of promos from November 26 – December 31, 2022,” the post stated.

The offers are as follows: getting a free scoop with any junior/value scoop purchase; a Buy 1 Take 1 deal on all pints, quarts and half gallons; and getting a tub of 86 scoops for only ₱3,500.

“Once again, thank you very much for everything. It’s been an honor to be of service to all of you,” Baskin-Robbins concluded.

Baskin-Robbins was officially launched in the Philippines in 2014, with its first local store established at Central Square in Bonifacio Global City. 

The local stores’ closure follows Baskin-Robbins’ global rebrand, which unveiled the brand’s new logo, packaging, and tagline.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Home Credit to sell Philippine, Indonesian operations worth €‎615m

Manila, Philippines – Global consumer finance provider Home Credit has announced that it is selling its Philippine and Indonesian operations, with a valuation of €‎615m. The transaction is expected to be completed in H2 2023.

The transaction has been reached with a consortium with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), led by Thai bank Krungsri Bank, Japanese bank MUFG Bank, Indonesian credit facility Adira Finance, and an undisclosed local Indonesian investor.

Details of the transaction include Krungsri and MUFG Bank purchasing 75% and 25% respectively of Home Credit Philippines for a valuation of €406m; while Krungsri, Adira and a local Indonesian investor will purchase 75%, 10%, and 15%, respectively of Home Credit Indonesia for a valuation of €209m.

Jean-Pascal Duvieusart, CEO of Home Credit Group, said, “Home Credit launched around ten years ago in both the Philippines and Indonesia. In that time, they have flourished into market leading tech-based financial services companies. The success is down to our strong omnichannel network, highly regarded brand and robust customer base.”

He added, “It is now the right time for us to pass the baton onto new shareholders who can accelerate growth for these two exciting businesses as they approach this new phase. Both of these markets have played key roles in Home Credit and we will be watching their future with pride and interest.”

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

PH digital economy to reach $20b by end of 2022: report

Manila, Philippines – The trio Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company has finally released its overview of the SEA region’s digital economy for 2022. Titled ‘Through the waves, towards a sea of opportunity,’ the latest iteration of the annual e-Conomy SEA report projects that the Philippine digital economy is on track to hit $20b Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) by the end of the year. This is a $3b growth from last year’s $17b projected value. 

It is also projected to reach $35b GMV by 2025 and $100b to $150b GMV by 2030.

Despite the partial resumption of in-store shopping, e-commerce accounted for 70% of the overall Philippine digital economy. It is expected to reach $14b GMV by 2022 with a 17% growth from last year and is expected to amount to $22b GMV by 2025 as it continues to steer the local digital economy.

Aside from e-commerce, food delivery and video-on-demand round up the top three digital activities of Filipinos, showing an adoption rate of 88%, 69%, and 58% respectively amongst digital urban users.

Moreover, projections include transport and food delivery reaching $1.9b GMV, travel growing at $1b GMV, online media reaching $3.1b GMV, and digital financial services such as lending and remittance hitting $6b this year.

The report also stated that the Philippines will attract more investors across sectors in the years to come, as its digital investment sector grew 63% from last year. Digital financial services in the country continue to attract investor interest, garnering 56% of total investor funding in 2022. 

“The Philippine digital economy remains resilient despite headwinds and continues to provide boundless opportunities as it is projected to reach $20 billion GMV by end of year. This year’s e-Conomy SEA report also suggests that the country will be a leading investment destination with over 70% of investors expecting deal activity to increase in the period of 2025 to 2030,” said Bernadette Nacario, country director at Google Philippines.

Willy Chang, associate partner at Bain & Company, also said “The Philippines’ digital economy is one of the more attractive investment hubs in the region. Across internet sectors there remains tremendous whitespace for growth as the ecosystem drives greater digital inclusion in the country, particularly outside of metro areas.”

“The seventh edition of the e-Conomy SEA report shows that the digital future of the Philippines is bright as it has the fastest growing digital investments sector this year in the region,” said Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual.

e-Conomy SEA is an annual research programme that combines Google Trends, Temasek, and Bain & Company’s insights and analyses of the digital economies of six countries in SEA: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PHD Philippines appoints Jam de Guzman as managing director

Manila, Philippines – Media and marketing communications agency PHD has appointed Jam de Guzman as its managing director in the Philippines. In his new role, de Guzman will elevate business growth, strengthen network partnerships, and enhance client servicing operations.

With more than two decades of media and advertising experience, de Guzman has previously taken on senior leadership roles in Publicis Media, Dentsu International, and IPG Mediabrands. During his time in the agencies, he has built a reputation for producing innovative capabilities, delivering commercial growth, and driving transformative solutions for clients.

In addition to his industry portfolio, Jam has played a key role in shaping the advertising and communications landscape. Currently, he serves as the President of Media Specialists Association of the Philippines (MSAP) and the Board Secretary of the Ad Standards Council (ASC).

He will be reporting to Mary Buenaventura, CEO of Omnicom Media Group Philippines.

Speaking on the appointment, Buenaventura said, “Jam is a visionary leader with a strong track record of driving transformative growth for clients. His expertise in delivering value across a spectrum of media services and his strategic business sense are assets to our team. I am delighted to welcome Jam to the PHD family, and I am confident that Jam will continue to build on what PHD Philippines has already achieved and move the agency forward in its next era of growth.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PR agency Brandcomm Asia appoints Paulus Soriano as managing director

Manila, Philippines – Local Manila-based public relations agency Brandcomm Asia has appointed Paulus Soriano as its new managing director. The agency has been focused on providing PR services for startups, SMEs, and other new business ventures in the Philippines.

In his new role, Soriano will be responsible for the successful leadership and management of the business, supervising and stirring the company’s operations, people, and ventures in order to maintain its growth. 

His vision for the company is to help build the next giants of the industry by sharing his PR and media expertise to support the marketing and communications needs of venture-backed start-ups, SMEs, and underserved brands in the Philippines. 

Soriano is a seasoned, motivated, and solutions-driven public relations professional with more than ten years of industry experience. Since 2012, he has worked with local and global brands in the industries of consumer and enterprise technology, finance, travel and tourism, FMCG, and a lot of other sectors, including government agencies. 

Speaking on his vision for Brandcomm Asia, he said, “We strongly believe that startups and SMEs in the Philippines, especially those that are homegrown, are globally competitive but lacks the opportunity to be noticed and heard. If they could only be given a chance to tell their story of innovation and passion, there is no doubt that they would have a lot of potential to succeed and become the next giants of their industries.”

He added, “As a company, we consider ourselves a startup, too, and we understand the challenges of fellow entrepreneurs. BrandComm Asia aims to help their business grow and grab the attention of more mentors and investors through strategic and creative storytelling. We are committed to our mission of helping promote these startups to their industries and target audiences, in the best way possible, to both local and international markets.”

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

SME merchant platform yufin ties with Gigacover to bring insurance to small businesses in PH

Philippines – Global merchant platform for SME, yufin, has partnered with Singapore-based insurance provider, Gigacover, to enable Filipino small businesses on the platform to access Gigacover health insurance products tailored to their needs at the touch of a button.

Under the partnership, the small businesses will also be able to access business protection and offer customised insurance products such as family and health insurance to their customers.

The platform said that the announcement comes as it has exceeded 15,000 merchant sign-ups since launching in Davao City, in the Philippines end of May 2022.

Shubhrendu Khoche, chief strategy and product officer at yufin, said, “Small businesses are the lifeblood of Southeast Asian economies and communities but many are underserved. Our partnership with Gigacover helps us bring insurance to last-mile merchants to give them peace of mind and to help them offer their customers much-needed access to insurance protection.”

Meanwhile, Chesca Figueroa, country manager and partnerships lead at Gigacover Philippines, noted, “With this partnership, we aim to further support yufin’s efforts in financial education, planning, and protection to their respective small merchants.”

Gerald Chua, head of merchant acquiring at yufin Philippines, commented, “We are delighted and humbled by the welcome yufin has received so far from our community merchant partners. We help small businesses manage their transactions through a suite of tools, products and services that help them grow and prosper.”

Liz Servañez, head of business development and partnerships at yufin, noted, “With partnerships such as our partnership with Gigacover, much-needed financial services products, like insurance protection can also be sacheted to make them accessible and affordable for the yufin merchant network and their customers.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

YouTube Works Awards names best campaigns of 2022 in the Philippines

Manila, Philippines – YouTube has announced the winners of its 2022 YouTube Works Awards in the Philippines, celebrating the ingenuity and impactful storytelling of brands on the platform.

The awards ceremony of the Philippines was held on October 25 and was the first on-ground YouTube Brandcast event in two years.

There are seven recognitions in total including The Best Personalization award, which remains unclaimed for two years in a row. The said award recognizes the brand that is able to demonstrate creative ways in customising its message to the audience. 

The Grand Prix, which is the highest recognition given to a campaign that is “not only effective,” but also creative, innovative, and data-driven, was won by Accenture’s ‘StoriesofAccenture Vertical Film Festival: Gravity’. The same campaign also bagged the Force For Good award which honours campaigns that best demonstrate brand values and proven impact on social issues. 

Using an immersive rotating screen experience, the poignant video highlighted the character’s inner turmoil. The chaotic scenes simultaneously highlighted the importance of having a workplace that provides a dynamic environment while providing emotional support for its workers to thrive and get through life’s challenges.

Meanwhile, the Best Collaboration award, which celebrates the best strategic and creative collaboration between brands and YouTube Creators, was given to Orocan’s Ms. Hurt campaign. This features host and drag queen Paolo Ballesteros as the titular Ms. Hurt, bringing her audience to a vlog-style tour of her house and bags including the Orocan Ice Box.

The Best Storytelling award, which as the name suggests, lauds brands that are able to deliver a compelling story through their campaign, was snared by Union Bank of the Philippines’ Heaven. The bank featured a commercial where a man named Dante enters the underworld of inadequate bank practices, showcases all of Union Bank’s solutions, and creates a better banking experience for consumers. 

Jollibee’s much-talked-about Now Showing: Love for a Perfect Pair took home the Brand as Creator award, which is given to a campaign that best demonstrates brands as creators and strategically uses YouTube formats to tap into consumer trends and growing communities. 

The 36-minute short film was, in fact, a triumph for the beloved world-class Filipino fast-food chain as it heralded the return of the well-renowned love team, Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz. 

Last but not the least, rounding up this year’s awards is Diskartech’s Carabao which won The Challenger award, given to SME brands that were able “to do more with less.” The Carabao showed how easy it is to get loans from Diskartech by presenting it in a fantastical and humorous way via a person popping out of the backside of a carabao.

This year’s winners were determined by an esteemed jury composed of marketers, digital experts, directors, creatives, and content creators from all over the country.

Gabby Roxas, country marketing manager for Google Philippines and South Asia Frontier Markets, said, “This year’s YouTube Works journey showed us how brands took their storytelling a notch higher to engage with consumers as we move from the shadow of the pandemic.”

He added, “In addition, the return of YouTube Brandcast as an on-ground event after two long years feels great! We get to award each brand in-person and showcase YouTube Works as a celebration of what brands and agencies in the country can achieve with YouTube as their video platform.”

Meanwhile, Golda Roldan, CEO of Wunderman Thompson Philippines and head of the 2022 YouTube Works Awards jury, commented, “I believe that brand campaigns can always make a difference beyond business results. This year’s YouTube Works winners strategically used the platform in crafting creative, effective, and meaningful campaigns that will inspire the next generation of brand storytelling on YouTube,” 

To name a few, the jury included Angie Tijam-Tohid, executive creative director at Havas Ortega Group; Dan Villegas, director for TV and film; Digs Dimagiba, CMO and head of the Analytics, Brand, Communications & Marketing Technology (ABCMT) Group of Metrobank Philippine; and Dave Drilon, chief digital officer of total Publicis Groupe PH.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Investree PH expands to Visayas, Mindanao to reach more underserved SMEs

Manila, Philippines – SME-centric financial platform Investree in the Philippines has announced that it will be extending its reach beyond Luzon, expanding recently to Central and Western Visayas and Davao Region in Mindanao. 

The move seeks to serve and empower SMEs in the said regions by providing accessible and affordable financing solutions that can help their businesses thrive as the economy reopens. With its expansion in the Visayas and Mindanao, which began this September, Investree Philippines is now fully equipped to support enterprises in the regions’ various industries, including manpower, security services, F&B, school supplies, pharmaceuticals, and medical sectors.

Investree Philippines optimises data and technology to connect businesses with institutional investors that share the same mission of supporting SMEs. Its SME clients, including new ones in the Visayas and Mindanao, can now fulfil larger order volumes, deploy and train manpower, develop their business to cater to new target markets, and implement geographical expansion. They can likewise look to fast-tracking business growth in terms of product and/or service development.

“Our mission since day one has been to support SMEs through accessible and secure financing solutions and, in so doing, contribute to the country’s growth one SME at a time. We are broadening our reach outside of Luzon and are now building relationships with more entrepreneurs in Visayas and Mindanao to help more businesses across the country keep up with the changing times. We at Investree Philippines are here to work and grow with them,” said Kok Chuan Lim, Investree’s co-founder and CEO.

In addition, the company said it has aggressive growth plans for the near future, to further penetrate other regions in the country.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Filipino actress Yassi Pressman launches influencer marketing platform, BrandNation.io

Manila, Philippines – Following Filipino actress Yassi Pressman‘s launch of a play-to-earn (P2E) platform, ‘Players Elite Guild’ (PEG), the actress has jumped next to influencer marketing, unveiling a platform in the space called BrandNation.io. The latest venture of Pressman is said to be backed by a ‘dream team’ of top investors and technologists.

BrandNation.io connects influencers, brands, and their fans all on a single platform that will serve as the hub for promotion, exposure, partnerships, and revenue-generating activities in the space. The features were said to be made robust and advanced for each stakeholder.

For example, brands will be able to automate the campaign creation process for influencer marketing in just a few clicks, gain access to real-time data about each campaign, and achieve mainstream adoption through collaborations with even A-list celebrities, including Pressman herself.

According to Pressman, influencers and celebrities will be drawn to BrandNation.io because it will be a channel to work in a future pillar of the economy, the Web3.

“There’s a lot of noise in the web3 space, so it’s difficult for influencers and celebrities to find legitimate brands to work with. Some in other markets mistakenly endorsed projects that were later proven untrustworthy. BrandNation.io eliminates this problem: We connect with only the best, most trusted brands in the industry,” said Pressman, who added that the core mission of BrandNation.io is to be a bridge into Web3.

BrandNation.io will be offering multiple features that benefit all stakeholders, such as complete integration with all social media platforms, such as Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter, as well as real-time rewards and payments via PEG Token, the native token of Players Elite Guild.

This PEG Token is notably backed by BLX, the native token of BLOX, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) registered in Wyoming, United States.

“Every country has its flagship startup. I think BrandNation.io can really represent Filipinos well on the global stage, as it plays to our strengths: Our country, after all, is the social media capital of the world. It’s about time that we show the world how brands, influencers, and consumers can more efficiently perform our influencer marketing,” added Pressman.

BrandNation.io is set to start in the Philippines during its phase one launch this fourth quarter of 2022, and expand into Asia Pacific as part of phase two.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Disney+ coming to the Philippines on November 17

Manila, Philippines – Disney+, the subscription video on-demand over-the-top streaming service under The Walt Disney Company, is finally coming to the Philippines on November 17.

Disney+ coming to the Philippines comes after a year of the platform announcing its added expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.

The platform first appeared in APAC through its ANZ launch in November 2019, followed by the Indian launch in April 2020 through Disney Star’s Indian SOV Hotstar. It then launched in Japan via a deal with NTT Docomo in June 2020, in Indonesia in September 2020.

In 2021, Disney+ launched in Singapore (February 2021), Malaysia and Thailand (June 2021), as well as the countries of South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in November 2021. Meanwhile, launch in Vietnam is slated for early 2023.

The Philippine launch also comes months after Disney+ has announced an adtech deal with The Trade Desk in its move to offer ad-supported plans for its subscriptions in the future.