Brisbane, Australia – Brand and customer experience agency at VMLY&R has announced the launch of its VMLY&R Commerce offering in Brisbane, Australia–and encompasses retail strategy, shopper marketing, e-commerce, social commerce, and experiential marketing.

The agency will have an on-the-ground presence for VMLY&R Commerce in Brisbane and leverage both Sydney and Melbourne offices for delivery, as well as the global network. Globally, VMLY&R Commerce has 5,000 team-members in 44 countries.

Adam Kennedy, managing director at VMLY&R Brisbane, said, “We’ve always been strong in retail generally in this market. But this takes it to a whole new level, and it’s something our clients have been asking for. It also means that we can fulfil a truly end-to-end experience. At VMLY&R, we exist to ‘Create Connected Brands’. The purpose of VMLY&R Commerce is to ‘Convert Connected Brands’. Clients need both.”

Meanwhile, Kate Warren-Smith, managing director for Australia at VMLY&R Commerce, commented, “We are in a new era. To be truly effective today, Commerce has to build brands as well as build baskets – consumers and shoppers expect a seamless transaction, but they want a great interaction with a brand too. That’s the essence of ‘Creative Commerce’ – inspiring conversion. And that’s what we do best.”

Lastly, Jon Cook, global CEO at VMLY&R, said, “Commerce is one of the fastest-growing capabilities for VMLY&R globally. It’s exploded, because these days Commerce can take so many shapes and forms – it can be gamified, socialised, livestreamed or experienced with all the senses, across every channel at any moment in the consumer journey.”

Malaysia – End-to-end creative commerce agency VMLY&R COMMERCE in Malaysia has announced the appointment of two new senior hires to solidify its end-to-end capabilities. The appointees are Voon Tai, the new head of commerce/strategy, effective June 2022, and Victoria Chu, the new head of client engagement, effective July 2022. Both will report directly to Kenni Loh, CEO of VMLY&R COMMERCE Malaysia.

The move will see Tai driving connected commerce, closing the loop of brand experience (BX) and customer experience (CX) to deliver effective growth results, while Chu will be looking at business growth and injecting her experience in media and digital marketing within the connection strategy and applying them to the agency’s proprietary planning tool – the infinity loop.

Tai, who is the former channel strategy and commerce director at VMLY&R COMMERCE Indonesia, will also be leading this region’s shopper and experiential hub. She is a specialist in identifying insights across a wider set of disciplines (retail or trade, channels, shoppers, and B2B), weaving O2O planning and matching with data to elevate the agency’s new offerings.

Meanwhile, former general manager at Invictusblue Group, which was previously known as Zenith Media, Chu will be co-managing, building, strengthening, and growing existing and new businesses. She is also tasked with strengthening end-to-end creative commerce strategy by applying her deep knowledge of the media channel connection strategy. This in turn provides an enriched integrated perspective to the agency’s work.

Commenting on the appointment, Tai said, “The Malaysia office has always done great work for VMLY&R COMMERCE in the region. The people, energy and agency are in a constant state of innovation. I am very much looking forward to working with our clients and our extraordinary team to deliver meaningful experiences to both consumers and brands.”

Chu also commented, “I am excited with this opportunity as it allows me to contribute my knowledge & experience to a dynamic agency such as VMLY&R COMMERCE. Being part of this diverse team of specialists will help me grow my capabilities and together I look forward to enhancing the products and services we can offer to our clients.”

Meanwhile, Loh shared that they are excited to be welcoming the two talents to their ever-growing commerce operation, as Tai’s eager nature to explore marketing innovations and creativity will elevate their unique creative commerce positioning, while Chu is a well-rounded breed with strong capabilities in both media and digital marketing.

“Specifically, we need like-minded talents to constantly push for innovation and technology to level up ideas that drive commercial growth. Everything we do now is to feed, build and strengthen the end-to-end offering of our ‘infinity loop’ of BX and, CX with Commerce in the heart. We are at the stage of not just being able to complete the loop offering but also to provide extra enrichment and value such as Media strategy, BX and CX capabilities elevating from local to regional coverage. Not forgetting our hyper localised intel and data generated from our Intel lab and Muslim intel lab,” said Loh.

These new roles at VMLY&R COMMERCE Malaysia are strategically aligned with the appointment earlier this year of Nick Pan, the new chief commerce and strategy officer at VMLY&R Asia. He now leads VMLY&R Asia’s strategic thrust in combining commerce and strategy, leveraging BX and CX to drive business growth and commercial outcomes for brands, in a customer-centric world that is challenged by fragmented channels and touchpoints.

KualaLumpur, Malaysia — Subway Malaysia is celebrating family and togetherness this Ramadan with the launch of its 1-foot closer or ‘Satu Kaki Lebih Mesra’ campaign.

Conceptualised and executed by VMLY&R Commerce, the brand’s lead creative agency, Subway highlights the importance of sharing and kindness in the community, in a series of heartwarming videos, featuring people from different walks of life. One video features conflicts and dynamics in the workplace that can be overcome with patience.

Meanwhile, another set of short films showcases families and couples practising forgiveness, in time for a peaceful and fulfilling Ramadan.

In this video, a couple overcomes their differences and chooses love and forgiveness; a branching theme in the campaign.

Samad Mohd Shariff, country director for Subway SouthEast Asia said that their mission is simple—they want to bring family and friends together this Ramadan and now with the lifting of the restrictions, Shariff said they can.

“Ramadan is a season of celebration, family, and togetherness. We are excited to amplify this message through the Satu Kaki Lebih Mesra campaign in the local community, and through our seasonal value offerings, which are perfect for sharing, caring and spending time with our loved ones,” Shariff said.

On the project, Phoecus Lee, executive creative director of VMLY&R Commerce, shared, “We believe that creating great work requires brave clients, and we’re truly blessed to have supported clients who give us the trust to execute bold campaigns. We collaborated closely with Subway every step of the way and was able to further humanize the campaign with more relatable elements that spoke to Malaysians. More than just a meal, Subway to us, is a brand experience that brings people together this Ramadan.”

Hang Ee Laine, head of marketing of Subway Southeast Asia,
commented, “The partnership with local Malaysian artist Ernest Ng this year is a key milestone for us in our efforts to bring Subway closer to Malaysians, just in time for us to celebrate this Ramadan with our Malaysian community.”

With Satu Kaki Lebih Mesra, Subway Malaysia also introduced to the world their new mascot: the lovable, relatable Sabweh character. A beautiful brainchild of social media art sensation Ernest Ng, known for his ‘Don’t like that la bro’ comic series, Sabweh has made his debut across Malaysia, on limited-edition Raya packets, available for guests to redeem in-restaurant with any purchase.

In conjunction with this campaign, Subway restaurants in Malaysia introduced seasonal offerings for the whole family, including the Italian B.M.T., Roast Chicken, Steak & Cheese, and more at only RM19.00 for a footlong, starting from April 12 2022.

Malaysia – Used car e-commerce platform Carsome in Malaysia has launched its new Chinese New Year campaign titled ‘Carsome New Year: Love Is The Greatest Prosperity’, a bold two-page print wrap that seeks to dominate Malaysia’s top five biggest English and Chinese-language daily newspapers.

The campaign, which was created with creative commerce agency VMLY&R COMMERCE Malaysia, features irreverent headlines like ‘This Chinese New Year, give your mother the boot’ and ‘Stop buying your brother new things! He doesn’t deserve it’, followed by heart-warming handwritten notes. These go on to express the love that family members have for each other and wish readers a ‘Happy Carsome New Year.’

VMLY&R COMMERCE said that the campaign elevates awareness of Carsome, illustrating that everyone is loved by their families and that a pre-loved car is a perfect present. It also moves away from seeing prosperity purely as financial wealth, redefining it as love given and received.

Moreover, the choice of medium moves away from the conventional ‘family-love’ short films usually produced for Chinese New Year, as print newspapers are still a popular and pre-loved medium in Malaysia, especially amongst the primary target audience of older readers. The declarations of familial love were crowd-sourced, then literally handwritten and illustrated by local artist, SshownC in her unique style.

Derek Tan, Carsome’s chief brand officer, commented that they are fortunate to have partners who understand Carsome’s take and voice of what is meaningful for their loved ones, the people they cherish and how they can move forward with them this Chinese New Year. 

“We are happy that the VMLY&R team rose with us to the occasion with this heart-felt campaign which sends a message that used cars need not be a compromise,” said Tan.

Meanwhile, Woei Hern Chan, VMLY&R’s executive creative director for Malaysia and SEA, shared that the brief and strategy from the clients were very clear, as a pre-loved car brings just as much value and sometimes even more than a brand new one, and that inspired them to think of individuals. 

“And as we celebrate the idea of prosperity, maybe it’s an opportunity to look at where we are, and how prosperity is all around us in the form of our loved ones. What if we were ‘pre-loved’ year after year by our families to get to where we are? This is, literally a love letter to each and every one of our family. And how Carsome can help you be part of their narrative for a change,” said Chan.

Singapore – In the lead-up to the Alibaba 11:11 Global Shopping Festival this coming 11 November, the e-commerce giant has partnered with global creative commerce company VMLY&R Commerce and strategic consultancy WPP BAV, to launch an online learning series for brands, retailers, and marketers, in understanding the global retail space.

The event, which will stream online in WPP BAV Alibaba Command Center Studios on 8 to 11 November 2021 from 7 am to 1 pm SGT, will be hosted by various experts from APAC’s biggest brands and marketplaces, including Dhiren Amin, the chief marketing officer of Kraft Heinz APAC, Chris Tung, the chief marketing officer of Alibaba, and Maggie Zhou, the managing director of Alibaba Group ANZ, as well as James Chang, the chief business officer of Lazada.

The attendees of the event can participate in a no holds barred Q&A and will have the opportunity to ask questions on topics covered during the day’s sessions to a group of experts, namely Arvind Singh, Aleph-Labs’s founder and CEO, Tim Devine, AKQA’s executive innovation director, and Katie Rigg-Smith, Mindshare’s CEO for ANZ. This will be hosted by Rose Herceg, WPP’s chief of strategy for ANZ.

Some of the topics in the program are ‘The state of global retail and the opportunities and challenges for the next twenty-four months’, which will be on 8 November from 11:45 am to 12:15 pm SGT, ‘5 Big 11:11 Commerce Trends You Need to Know Now’, which will stream on 9 November from 12:15 am to 12:40 am SGT, and ‘The online/offline debate’, which will happen on 10 November from 11:30 am to 12:00 pm SGT, as well as ‘Digital commerce’, which will be live on 11 November from 11:00 am to 11:30 am SGT.

Hari Ramanathan, VMLY&R’s chief strategy and transformation officer for Asia, who will be in conversation with Amin, shared that while conventional retail festivals such as Chinese New Year or Christmas sales are tied to culture and emotion, 11.11 is markedly more transactional. 

“Sales volumes can be immense, and my conversation with Dhiren will highlight some unique insights into why brands should participate, what their focus should be and how to maximize profitability during the day,” said Ramanathan.

Meanwhile, Lazada’s CBO Chang, speaking of his session, noted that e-commerce in SEA has come a long way from its nascent roots just less than 10 years ago. 

“When Lazada started in 2012, the e-commerce landscape was one where shoppers would go to a site, browse and make a call to place an order, before arranging to meet somewhere to hand over cash and collect the purchase,” said Chang.

Mumbai, India – The Mumbai-headquartered fast-moving consumer goods company, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), has just recently launched its first-ever ‘Smart Fill’ machine, an in-store vending model for its Home Care products, playing on the popular sustainability mantra of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ with their own version ‘Reuse, Refill, and Reward.’ 

HUL is a subsidiary of Unilever that offers several consumer goods, including food, beverages, and cleaning agents, as well as personal care products, and water purifiers, among others. 

The initiative, which is created in collaboration with global creative commerce company VMLY&R Commerce, aims to offer consumers an innovative option to reuse their plastic bottles by refilling products from HUL’s flagship brands, including Surf Excel, Comfort, and Vim.

As part of the pilot program, the new ‘Smart Fill’ machines have already been rolled out, seeking to expand across prominent retailers and modern trade outlets across the country. To access products from the machine, consumers can either use their old empty bottles or purchase a ‘Smart Fill’ bottle from the store at a nominal price. As an incentive, consumers will be offered a discount on the regular retail price if they bring their own bottles.

Prabha Narasimhan, the executive director for Home Care at Hindustan Unilever and vice president for Home Care at Unilever South Asia, shared that today’s consumers are conscious of the values that their favorite brands hold, and shop accordingly, so not only are they able to make a real impact on the amount of wasted plastic but the consumers are reacting in an extremely positive way. 

“VMLY&R Commerce has helped us take a problem that was truly impacting our customers and solution it into something that helps both the environment and our business,” said Narasimhan. 

Meanwhile, VMLY&R Commerce’s Chief Operating Officer, Shankar Shinde, commented that they are thrilled to partner with HUL on a creative solution that helps combat single-use plastic.

“We’re proud to work with a partner who is taking a stand against industry norms in packaging and offering sustainable solutions. With the aim of making the world a less polluted place for tomorrow’s generation, we are working with HUL to make this an open-source initiative all key retail players are able to offer their consumers,” said Shinde.

Malaysia – Global creative commerce company VMLY&R Commerce has recently unveiled its innovative data unit – the ‘Muslim Intel Lab’ – an insights hub catered to helping brands understand the needs and behaviors of Muslim consumers particularly in the Southeast Asia region – the Malaysia and Indonesia markets. 

The agency has officially shared one of the first campaigns it developed leveraging the agency of the Muslim Intel Lab; a campaign that is none other than for leading car e-commerce and Malaysia-headquartered Carsome, and for no less, the Hari Raya celebration. 

The end of Ramadan was celebrated by Muslims around the world last May, and the campaign for Carsome is a short comic that asserts both the values of Raya as well as Carsome’s brand promise. This also comes on the back of the agency being officially appointed as the company’s agency of record for Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. 

Carsome_Muslim lab

With the film titled ‘Setelus Raya Carsome’ or when translated, ‘Make It A Transparent/Honest Raya with Carsome’, the agency brought a humorous tongue-in-cheek narrative to reinforce Carsome’s proposition of being a ‘hassle free’ partner, providing a service based on ‘honesty,’ ‘trust’ and ‘transparency’.

The story revolves around women in the family boasting and competing which among them has a more glamorous and luxurious delivery, showing off to each other whenever a new item arrives for them. In the end, the elder woman in the family ‘wins’ revealing that the delivery she had is none other than a big-purchase car, brought at her doorstep by Carsome. 

The creative is one of the first projects the agency undertook using the capabilities of its new Muslim Intel Lab which aims to give brands an authentic as well as an accurate representation of the culture of Muslims by bringing to light nuances among members’ practices and beliefs.

Chan Woei Hern, VMLY&R’s ECD for Malaysia and Southeast Asia, shared that a central theme that emerged was around the importance of transparency.

“That was the connection with Carsome’s purpose of transforming the used car industry, an industry traditionally marred by distrust. Add in a little dose of good old Raya family rivalry, and we have Setelus Raya Carsome!” Chan Woei Hern said. 

Meanwhile, Derek Tan, chief brand officer at Carsome, commented, “We are delighted to be working with the team at VMLY&R Commerce, who have succeeded in bringing the Carsome ethos to light in a way that is fun, relevant, meaningful, and authentic to the true meaning of Raya.”

The digital brand campaign spans film and radio, along with a full social media campaign, engaging influencers across Instagram and Facebook, along with the creation of digital ads for Grab, Facebook and Carousel to spread the message. 

Malaysia – End-to-end creative commerce agency VMLY&R Commerce has recently launched ‘Muslim Lab’, a new data and insights hub that aims to help brands explore and understand the needs, aspirations, and behaviors of Muslim consumers.

Focused on Malaysia and Indonesia, the new ‘Muslim Lab’ seeks to provide brands in the region with a stronger understanding of the countries’ 250 million strong Islamic communities, across all market segments and Halal product categories.

The project will be unifying data from multiple sources and partners to uncover intelligence and insights across all cultural touchpoints, spanning values, lifestyle, and commerce, as well as media behaviors. With this, clients will gain invaluable access to building meaningful strategies in consideration of personal shopping habits, media channel consumption, and social and entertainment preferences, among others. 

VMLY&R Commerce Malaysia and Indonesia’s Chief Strategy Officer Filipe Lampreia shared that Muslims represent around 85% of Indonesia and 60% of Malaysia’s total population. 

“It’s fundamental that brands from different sectors can understand the culture, values, and behaviors of this segment if they want to connect and engage with audiences in ways that are relevant, meaningful, and timely. We believe this is key in building a more loved and efficient brand,” said Lampreia.

Meanwhile, Kenni Loh, the CEO at VMLY&R Commerce Malaysia and Indonesia, commented that in Malaysia and Indonesia alone, there is vast and sophisticated diversity of Muslims due to culture, geography, income, and urban/rural living. 

“With Muslim Lab, brands will be able to have quality data that lead to unique insights, and with unique insights come great opportunities for brands to better connect their messaging across their connected commerce channels,” said Loh.

Leveraging the findings from the new ‘Muslim Lab’, the agency has already piloted campaigns for brands including media entertainment group Astro and online used car platform Carsome.