SME Featured South Asia

Sequoia India-backed Pencil launches video ad system for SMEs

New Delhi, India – Creative AI company Pencil, which has been supported by venture capital Sequoia India’s rapid scale-up funding Surge, has recently launched its latest video ad system catered to serve small businesses, as well as startups looking to gain access to the same ‘Machine Generated Creative’ (MGC) platform as larger brands, for the first time, to level the playing field. 

Pencil’s new service allows small businesses struggling to compete in an increasingly online world dominated by larger brands’ slick video ads and optimized ad spend. Pencil learns from historic ad performance to generate new video ads that help brands systematically improve Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS). This is done through Pencil’s ‘Generate’ feature, which utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to generate new video ad ideas.

Pencil is one of the first companies to launch a commercial tool using OpenAI’s GPT-3 to generate playful, effective ad copy that, combined with Pencil’s language model, enables MGC to generate entirely new narratives around a brand or product.

For context, the GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. This then allows the AI model to create texts that are indistinguishable from those of human writing and thought.

Will Hanschell, co-founder and CEO at Pencil explains that the launch of the AI ad system corresponds to the dilemma of cash-strapped businesses with limited creative resources and ad budgets, who face long odds competing for consumer mindshare against larger, more established brands.

“Pencil evens the odds with Machine Generated Creative that enables marketers to take existing copy, imagery, and video assets and automatically generate batches of video ads that learn to perform week-on-week,” Hanschell stated.

Based on its proven performance, the company was recently accepted into Facebook Marketing Partners, a program that connects businesses to an ecosystem of specialists.

Alongside the launch, there are three tiers that advertisers can subscribe to based on their ad needs namely ‘Generate’ which creates copy and video ad ideas for startups and small businesses to test 10 ads a month for a single brand, the ‘Generate+ Learn’ plan which includes a patented machine learning loop that predicts outcomes and optimizes performance, and the ‘Enterprise’ plan which provides custom pricing, integrations, and features for large agencies and creative teams. Rate per ad ranges from US$25 to US$50 per ad. 

Marketing Featured Global

‘Confidence and progress’ is the centerpiece of AXA’s latest global campaign

Hong Kong – Insurance company AXA has announced the rollout of its new global brand campaign aimed at creating inspiration for confidence and progress.

Embodying the brand’s ‘Know You Can’ brand signature, the new brand campaign centers on the purpose of “act for human progress by protecting what matters.” This means evolving the meaning of the brand’s promise from empowering an individual’s self-belief towards being an enabler of progress through collective and connected confidence. In doing so, it seeks to make the brand a trusted and reliable beacon for its stakeholders.

In addition, the campaign is directly inspired by what most need nowadays: optimism. With the global pandemic having a massive impact on the physical and mental health of people around the world, the brand campaign’s message can be summed as “when you feel confident you can go far. When you feel protected by AXA you can go further.”

“This new brand campaign underscores AXA’s continuous commitment to being a true partner for our customers and helping them to achieve their goals. We hope to inspire people with this impactful campaign to embrace the future with confidence and build a better world together,” said Sally Wan, chief executive officer at AXA Hong Kong and Macau.

The new AXA brand campaign will first roll out in the Asia Pacific, particularly in Hong Kong, where the campaign will be promoted across TV, digital and social media, and on outdoor billboards at strategic locations.

One of the initial parts of the campaign is a short film produced by AXA, which focuses on a young girl’s dream to become a soccer player. Throughout the storyline, the young girl faces a lot of obstacles, from being bullied in school to having seen a riot in their local area. Despite the adversities, she manages to emerge victorious as she plays for a large crowd. 

Overall, the brand’s campaign is a focus point for AXA’s commitment to supporting its customers, small-to-medium enterprises and the wider community, giving them the confidence to move forward.

“We are proud and delighted to be the first Asian market to launch this powerful brand campaign. To further reinforce our brand promise ‘Know You Can’ among Hong Kong citizens and build up the impact of this meaningful brand campaign, we will also introduce a series of local inspiring true stories surrounding the themes of Climate Change, BetterMe and Health throughout this year,” said Andrea Wong, chief marketing and customer officer of AXA Hong Kong and Macau.

Marketing Featured East Asia

McDonald’s India personifies coke, burger, fries in new #MatchedByYou campaign

New Delhi, India – As part of the fast-food chain’s commitment to bringing their in-house meals at a ‘great value’, the Indian arm of McDonald’s has launched a new combo offer called #MatchedByYou, where customers are able to add Coke or Fries at @ Rs. 45 with select McDonald’s menu items. The promo is for a limited time for branches in North and East India.

With this, the fast-food brand has launched a new mini-series, conceptualized together with advertising company DDB Mudra Group, where it humanizes the combo offer through a story about a love triangle between the Burger (aka Buggy), the Fries (aka Freya), and the Coke (aka Kiara), and viewers would have to decide which combo wins the popular vote. 

“We know that many of today’s customers are looking for value for money options for the food they crave. The #MatchedByYou offer is the latest way we want our customers to enjoy their favorite meal served hot and fresh at an affordable price,” said Robert Hunghanfoo, head of Connaught Plaza Restaurants, which operates McDonald’s franchises in North and East India.

(Left) Robert Hunghanfoo, head of Connaught Plaza Restaurants, (Right) Ashutosh Sawhney, managing partner for North India at DDB Mudra Group

Speaking about the mini-series concept, Ashutosh Sawhney, managing partner for North India at DDB Mudra Group, said, “In a first of its kind sales-driven mini-series, McDonald’s is giving the remote to its consumers so they can play match-makers. #MatchedByYou is a unique campaign where people show their love for the sides they prefer and end up completing the burger’s love story. Backed by sales and consumer preference, the story will move forward to reveal what happens next in this love affair.”

Technology Featured ANZ

Adtech Cartelux pilots new marketing solution with Kia Australia

Sydney, Australia – Australian-based adtech company Cartelux has launched its centralized marketing solution, and it has decided to pilot it to the Australian arm of global automotive brand Kia, specifically in its dealer’s network.

Through the solution, Cartelux’s technology will assist Kia in driving local innovation by simplifying and automating ad creation, approval, and media buying process. This then enables dynamic personalization of creative assets by each dealer, while delivering a consistent brand campaign for Kia. 

For Nikolas Souliotis, digital marketing manager at Kia Australia, their partnership with Cartelux means achieving success in the digital age between the brand itself and its numerous dealers nationwide.

“The Cartelux platform offers an entirely new playground allowing better marketing alignment across national and local tiers through scalable video and data consolidation. This enables us to see consumers through the same lens and drive better results and greater efficiencies – it’s the future of performance-driven retail marketing,” Souliotis said.

Meanwhile, Randy Han, global lead for Kia at Google noted that Kia’s partnership with Cartelux means creating more engaging video content for the automotive brand, as Kia has been looking for simple ways to create dealer ad content at scale.

Patrick Doble, global general manager at Cartelux, commented, “Kia is one of the world’s most innovative and fastest growing brands. The program for Kia will commence with providing digital video advertising, which geo-targets campaigns based on the dealers primary marketing area.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Tiger Beer unveils new campaign, packaging centered on ‘opportunity amid adversity’

Singapore – “Turning adversity into opportunity” is the latest stunt of Tiger Beer’s newest campaign and packaging that launches globally next year.

The campaign, titled “Yet Here I Am” narrates the story of how the Tiger Beer brand established its brand presence in Asia, despite difficulties in growing key ingredients such as barley and hops. 

The ad campaign, titled “Yet Here I Am” is a narrative of striving against adversities over time. (Video Courtesy of Tiger Beer)

“The world has never been so volatile, and the future so fluid. Tiger is a brand born against all odds as 88 years ago, it was inconceivable that we could brew beer in a tropical climate. And yet, here we are. The video captures the spirit of resilience that the world needs so much of today,” said Sean O’Donnell, global brand director for Tiger

O’Donnell added, “In April, we turned that spirit into action with our #SupportOurStreets initiative, which helped F&B businesses in Southeast Asia cope with the stay-home measures. Together, we showed the world that despite unforeseen hurdles, yet here we are, remaining resilient and full of hope.”

The new packaging unveiled by Tiger Beer, slated for widespread release for next year (Courtesy of Tiger Beer)

Meanwhile with the new packaging, an initial release is slated in Vietnam this year. 

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

WATCH: CIMB Bank PH’s new video ad shows the stark reality of breadwinners

Manila, Philippines – Digital bank CIMB in the Philippines has recently posted a new Christmas-themed video advertisement, focusing on the theme of family breadwinners.

Aptly titled “Breadwinner”, the video centers between an interaction of a mother and her “breadwinner” son. The mother opens up the conversation, asking the son as to when his 13th month pay will arrive, as it will be used to spend on Christmas essentials.

However, the question was responded with silence, as the “breadwinner” son refuses to open up to her mother on what’s bothering him. Finally, after a long silence, the son breaks up and says that he was removed from the job, and that the plans for Christmas won’t be feasible anymore.

Her mother breaks a smile, and leaves for a minute. When she returned, she showed the bank’s app and saying “Nakapagtabi ako” (I have saved some).

The video concludes with the mother and son enjoying time together by dancing, and with a message: “This year has been a challenge like we’ve never seen before, but we will rise and get through this together”.

The “Breadwinner” video advertisement is produced by GIGIL, a local-based advertising agency.

Marketing Featured Global

WATCH: Disney’s newest video ad speaks to the ‘spirit of Filipino Christmas’

United Kingdom – In celebration of the company’s 40th partnership anniversary with children charity foundation Make A Wish, Disney EMEA launches its “From Our Family To Yours” campaign, and features an animated video advertisement centered on the spirit of Filipino Christmas.

Featuring two characters, a grandmother (Lola) and her granddaughter, the video shows notable Filipino Christmas traditions, specifically parol making, or making of Christmas lanterns.

The video starts off in a Philippine location in the 1940s where the grandmother in his childhood days strolls around in a plaza or a public quadrangle and meets up with her father. He then gestures a mano, a Filipino honorific way of showing respect to the elders (0:15 video timestamp). She is then given by her father a Mickey Mouse doll as a Christmas gift.

Fast forward to 2005, and the grandmother and her granddaughter live under the same roof, and bond over making parols, a Christmas version of Filipino lanterns made from bamboo stilts and colored paper (0:50 video timestamp). However, as time passed by, the granddaughter lost interest in lantern making, evident in the granddaughter’s shift to other teenage things.

One particular scene provokes Lola’s sadness, as her granddaughter leaves the house, leaving her alone and the old Mickey Mouse doll she has been holding on for decades, an ear ripped off.

However, the video concludes with the daughter realizing that the Mickey Mouse was a memento of her Lola and decides to surprise her grandmother with a plethora of Christmas lanterns around the house and gifting her a fixed Mickey Mouse doll. Both are brought back to their cherished memories, and hug each other at the end.

The video’s official soundtrack is titled “Love Is A Compass” performed by UK artist Griff. Digital download purchases of the track and a limited edition vintage Mickey Mouse soft doll are eligible to support the Make a Wish Foundation, as 100% and 25% of the item sales respectively are donated to the said foundation.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Lay’s PH’s newest yuletide ad brings modern twist to “Christmas in our Hearts”

Philippines – International chips brand Lay’s Chips, which has established a market in the country, has released a Christmas-themed video advertisement and puts a modern twist to the beloved Filipino Christmas lullaby “Christmas in our Hearts.”

Titled “Remix In Our Hearts,” the advertisement features the song’s original performerJose Mari Chan, and Nico Bolzico, the husband of actress Solenn Heusaff and a well-known online celebrity.

The video starts with Bolzico sitting down on a couch and eating chips. As he is listening to a Christmas melody, he comes across a ‘meme’ of Jose Mari Chan saying “Do Jose What I See?”, a play on Jose Mari Chan’s name.

As Bolzico dreams of a ‘wish duet’, Chan appears in the scene, and both perform the jingle ‘Remix in our Hearts’. The scene changes from the house setting, to a suit-and-tie performance and finally to a hip hop vibe.

The recent campaign promotes a “Double the Holiday Flavor” message, which is shown in the advertisement featuring Lay’s Chips Classic Flavor and Lay’s Chips Sour Cream & Onion.

Marketing Featured South Asia

India’s Godrej HIT’s Diwali-themed video ad centered on ‘festive anticipation’

Mumbai, India – As the country nears its annual festival of lights, Indian consumer brand Godrej HIT recently uploaded a Diwali-themed advertisement, with focus on the brand’s LAL HIT insecticide product.

The video is centered on the aspect of Diwali Safai or the general cleaning of the house before the actual Diwali festival. In the video, a lady’s perspective narrates how family members have high hopes and anticipation for this year’s festivities. Starting from her father-in-law changing into a more festive attire, the video then shifts to the lady’s brother-in-law, using the featured insecticide brand to spray into the kitchen sink and other house corners as a sign of focus on hygiene and cleanliness. Lastly, the video pans to the mother-in-law laying down with a treat of face mask. With the subtle brand hit within the last minutes of the advertisement, the ad concludes that this year’s Diwali is going to be a #SuperHITdiwali.

With the upcoming festival hampered by the country’s restrictions on festivities and large gatherings, Sunil Kataria, CEO of  Godrej Consumer Products for India & SAARC (GCPL) comments that the said advertisement is a way of showing that despite hindrances, this year’s Diwali will capture the same anticipation and festive fervor like past festivities.

“2020 will witness an inherently ‘indoor’ festive season, but that will in no way dampen the festive spirits. We want to remind everyone how even though this year’s festivities will be on a smaller-scale with our immediate family, we will enjoy it in our own unique yet endearing way,” Kataria stated.

Meanwhile, Amar Singh, regional creative officer for Lowe Lintas, the Indian wing of marketing communications company MullenLowe commented, “”Diwali 2020 is unlike any that we have experienced or are likely to experience in our lifetimes. And after everything we have been through in this trying period, each one of us deserves to celebrate it. Conceived by Rajat Dawar and Vishal Bagade, this film aims to capture this sentiment. And is a wish for all of us to have a Super HIT Diwali from a brand that ensures we are always safe and protected in our homes.”