Australia – Colgate has been championing the importance of inclusivity through its ‘Smile Strong’ brand platform, and today, we see its ANZ team bringing a stride to this mission for the belonging of athletes. Previously, the brand has partnered with Australia’s football league, the AFL, and a new project has come to the fore that involves an innovative sports equipment prototype. 

Called the ‘Hear Gear’, Colgate and agency VMLY&R have tied up with sports equipment maker Steeden to develop a headgear that is suitable for deaf and hard-of-hearing athletes. Traditional headgear is designed to sit flush against the head to protect the wearer, but this would also mean that for a player donning a hearing implant, not being able to maximise such assistance as the standard headpiece also absorbs the vibrations that carry sound to it.

Ideated by VMLY&R and designed, tested, and built by Steeden, the creation of ‘Hear Gear’ aims to help to create a more equitable environment for hearing-impaired athletes. It uses a new mould with redesigned padding that both accommodates and channels sound to the hearing implant. The lines external to ‘Hear Gear’ represent the sound that is now being channelled towards the ear. 

Anthony Crewes, marketing director of Colgate-Palmolive ANZ, said the ‘Hear Gear’ project is a truly meaningful expression of its ‘Smile Strong’ platform. He shared that it is mainly inspired by QAFLW athlete Jamie Howell’s real-life experience as a hard-hearing sports player, which in turn, could have wide-reaching effects in the whole of Australia. 

“Now, we have moved from telling stories to actively creating them!” remarked Crewes. 

Back in September 2022, we hear Howell’s story for the first time under the ‘Smile Strong’ campaign. For the present project, Colgate has unveiled a short film that shows the amazing design of ‘Hear Gear’ and Howell trying it out for herself. 

Colgate has funded the first production run of ‘Hear Gear’ via Steeden, which is the sole owner of the design, in order for AFL players to start having a more fulfilling and comfortable experience on the playing field. 

“We are so fortunate to work with a brand that doesn’t just talk about optimism, they do things in the real world to create it,” said Paul Nagy, CCO of VMLY&R AUNZ. “It’s a connected brand really having a positive impact. Hear Gear is a simple tool that gives more Australians the ability to enjoy sport just like everybody else, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.” 

Singapore – To strengthen its operation in Asia, global brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R has announced the appointment of Raymond Chin as its chief creative officer for the region. He will report to VMLY&R Asia CEO Yi-Chung Tay.

In his new role, Chin will enhance and develop the agency’s creative capabilities and service offerings across Asia whilst leading its teams in delivering world-class solutions for clients.

His appointment is also a part of agency’s strategy to attract the best industry talent and fulfill its mission of building connected brands.

Chin brings with him an experience in delivering high-impact creative, digital innovation and experience solutions for both agencies and tech consultancies. He has worked for brands including Ikea, Unilever, Nike, LVMH, Shiseido, Starbucks, Huawei, VW, and Ferrari, amongst others.

Before joining VMLY&R, Chin also worked as a chief creative officer at Wunderman Thompson based in Shanghai, China.

CEO Yi-Chung Tay said that Chin is one of the creative leaders who truly understands the importance of creativity for all dimensions of the brand experience, which is also needed in every touch point of customer journey. 

“The freedom to think bigger than many agencies are able, excites me greatly, and I look forward to adding my own blend of magic into the mix,” Chin added.

This month, VMLY&R has promoted Paul Nagy as its chief creative officer for Asia-Pacific region. 

Asia Pacific – Global brand experience agency VMLY&R has announced the promotion of Paul Nagy as its chief creative officer for Asia-Pacific region. He previously served as the chief creative officer for Australia and New Zealand.

In his new role, Nagy will be responsible for overseeing 21 offices across ten countries in Asia and ANZ whilst strengthening the agency’s client partnerships. He will also help in creating deeper connections between brands and their audiences through storytelling and creative innovation. 

Nagy brings with him experience working on creative campaigns. Before joining VMLY&R in 2018, he also assumed the chief creative officer position at Y&R Group Australia, one part of the merged latter. 

Yi-Chung Tay, CEO at VMLY&R Asia, said that they are excited to work with Nagy with his new role because they have seen his ability and consistency in bringing substantial impact to the agency.

Meanwhile, Thomas Tearle, CEO at VMLY&R ANZ, added, “Our momentum as a network is down in no small way to Paul’s energy. His unique perspective of combining creative excellence and innovation to solve client challenges coupled with his wonderfully infectious personality is such a great asset.”

Nagy commented, “My job is a simple one – support the amazing talent we have in our network and let them be the best they can be. I’m incredibly lucky to work with such a talented team across Australia and New Zealand, and I’m already impressed with the capability and firepower we have across the rest of Asia.”

VMLY&R’s recent appointments also include Didi Pirinyuang as its new chief creative officer for Malaysia. 

Previously, MARKETECH APAC got a chance to speak with Thomas Tearle, CEO of VMLY&R ANZ, as part of the Agency Leadership Decoded series. In it, Tearle shared how the agency creates success from within to achieve its mission of ‘creating connected brands.’

Malaysia – Global brand experience agency VMLY&R Malaysia has appointed Didi Pirinyuang as its new chief creative officer. She will be reporting to Kenni Loh, chief executive officer at VMLY&R Malaysia.

In her new role, Pirinyuang will lead the agency’s creative team in delivering best-in-class solutions for its clients, sharpening its creative culture, and driving its strategy to boost the agency’s creative service offerings.

Pirinyuang brings with her extensive experience spanning a wide range of consumer segments and is expected to further strengthen VMLY&R’s regional operation. She also has an impressive client portfolio such as Pizza Hut, PUMA, and PETRONAS.

Prior to joining VMLY&R, she was executive creative director for Ensemble Global Malaysia and previously for MBCS Malaysia, for which she was a founding member, having played a key role in the growth of the business since 2017. 

Commenting on her appointment, Pirinyuang said, “Over the last two years, I have been closely following VMLY&R, and have been wowed by some of the campaigns – especially work like ‘Mengukir Malaysia’ – a fantastic campaign they did for Telekom Malaysia.”

She added, “It’s an honour and a privilege to join an agency as well-established as VMLY&R. The agency has entered a new era of creativity and I’m excited to be a part of this journey and upward trajectory. The sky will pose no limit as we combine our common ambitions of bringing creative commerce and creative excellence to the next level.” 

Loh also commented, “We are delighted to welcome Didi into the VMLY&R family in Malaysia. Her creative prowess preceded her, and with her input, we look forward to scaling our creative offering further, using brand and customer experience to deliver the most engaging and culturally relevant creative commerce experiences for our clients.”

Previously, the agency has also appointed Saurabh Saksena as its CEO for its India office.

Victoria, Australia – Egg brand Honest Eggs Co. has launched its new product, FitChix, the first-ever fitness trackers designed for chickens. The new innovation comes with an integrated campaign made in collaboration with marketing agency VMLY&R, which is designed to show people how free and healthy the brands’ chickens really are.

For the campaign, VMLY&R collaborated with creative collective Airbag to create ergonomic, chicken-friendly fitness trackers that don’t impose on day-to-day life and behaviour. The new tool measures step counts, which are printed onto the eggs that Australians buy at the supermarket.

“Honest Eggs Co. is on a mission to change egg farming for the better. We launched FitChix to help monitor the health of our chooks and to continue to bring attention to why regenerative farming is better for the hens, the egg, the land, the farmer and the community,” said Honest Eggs Co. General Manager Roger Boyd.

Jake Barrow, group executive creative director of VMLY&R also commented, “Right through from product, to campaign, to transaction point, FitChix is an innovation that delivers irrefutable proof that the chickens at Honest Eggs farms live a free and healthy life. So, make sure your next carbonara is an Honest one!”

Charmaine Griffith, growth director VMLY&R, also said that Honest Eggs Co. aims to bring the promise of regenerative farming front and centre on supermarket shelves. “ As one of Australia’s foremost pioneers in this field, we’re proud to share their story,” she added.

FitChix will appear in OLV, OOH, Social and in-store to educate consumers on the importance of sustainable and regenerative farming practices.

Australia Military academy Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), an affiliate of military organisation Australian Defence Force, has launched a campaign titled ‘Where It All Begins’ to showcase the unique educational opportunities it offers for aspiring military students.

In partnership with WPP’s brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R, the 30-second campaign highlights the learning environment that students can experience, including university set-up and on-ground experiences with the defence’s professionals. It also presents the benefits of their program, including the funded degree and salary offered whilst studying.

Brigadier Duncan Hayward, director general at defence force recruiting, said that despite people’s claims of knowing ADFA, many are still unaware that ADFA is the academy that has produced Australian Defence Force’s ‘best and brightest’.

James Wills, creative director at VMLY&R, added, “There’s nowhere else like ADFA to study. You’ll combine a uni degree with military training. And get paid to do it. And have a guaranteed job when you graduate. For young Australians interested in a career in the Defence Force, ADFA really is where it all begins.”

Other works from the campaign will include an OOH series, digital banner placements and social media campaigns to feature more personal, authentic and in-depth stories.

In a recent leadership series by MARKETECH APAC, CEO of VMLY&R ANZ Thomas Thearle shared his leadership style for the agency, where he talked about how success is built from the inside out. 

“The initiatives we put in place to keep our team engaged and motivated through this process were firstly to get the right leadership team in place,” as shared by Thomas. 

Australia Global brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R has announced the appointment of Rachel Walker as the agency’s head of strategy for its Melbourne and Sydney teams. She will be responsible for connecting the client’s business growth with creative excellence across the Sydney and Melbourne client portfolios while strengthening and scaling the agency’s strategic offering.

Walker brings with her a strong background in client partnerships. During her stint in VCCP and fellow WPP agency Grey in London, she’s engaged various brands including, Britvic, P&G, Cathay Pacific, Kenco,, and Sixt rent a car.

Ali Tilling, chief strategy officer of VMLY&R ANZ said that she’s delighted to have Walker in their team. She added, “Her experience in developing strategy that drives creative and effective work is extremely strong, and she will be instrumental as we create deeper connections to deliver growth for our client partners.”

Meanwhile, Sarah Bailey, managing director of VMLY&R in Melbourne and Sydney, added, “Rach has already had such a positive impact since she joined our team and we’re loving the perspective she is bringing to the work. I am really excited about where she will take our already strong strategy smarts.”

Commenting on her appointment, Walker said, “I’m delighted to have relocated from London to join VMLY&R, working with the talented team here, and having the exciting opportunity to partner with clients such as the Australian Defence Force.”

Australia – Global brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R has announced the promotion of current client service director Vanessa Tout to the role of managing partner. In her new role, Tout will be responsible for the day-to-day leadership of the Melbourne-based team and will work closely with the client engagement team to deliver best-in-class work for the agency’s existing client partnerships and prospects.

Before joining VMLY&R, Tout has also led teams at Digitas UK, Isobar Australia, and Versa Agency.

Sarah Bailey, managing director of VMLY&R Melbourne & Sydney said that she loved working with Tout for the past 12 months. She also expressed that Tout’s character and experience connected the agency and the people across its global network.

Bailey added, “Her positive impact on our team and client partnerships such as Monash and Ford is evident and I’m really excited about working with Ness to drive further creativity and innovation in 2023 and watch her build on our strong offering in Melbourne.”

Speaking on her new role, Tout said, “I’m excited to be stepping into this new role to support the continued connection and growth of our culture, our team and our client partnerships.”

Tout added, “Since joining VMLY&R I have been so impressed by our team’s passion, talent and commitment to doing truly connected work. This really is the most connected global network I’ve been part of. Our proposition of Creating Connected Brands and the specialist capability we offer to deliver on that – brand experience, customer experience and commerce – is really resonating with our clients. It resulted in some excellent growth across our existing partnerships in 2022, as well as a number of brilliant new business wins.”

Singapore – Brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R has appointed Rhys Taylor as its new managing director for Singapore. He will be reporting to Hari Ramanathan, CEO of VMLY&R South and Southeast Asia and Japan.

In his new role, Taylor will be overseeing VMLY&R’s SG’s sales, account management, and revenue generation. 

Prior to joining VMLY&R, Taylor was managing director for Asia Pacific at marketing and advertising agency dentsu international. He also has 14 years of industry experience working in senior leadership roles at Wunderman and financial services company Saasu, amongst others.

Speaking on his appointment, Taylor said, “VMLY&R stood out because its culture is built around an attitude of innovation and connectedness; and I’m incredibly excited to get to know and work closely with everyone who has been a part of its success so far and look forward to building more with our clients in 2023.”

Meanwhile, Ramanathan also commented, “Rhys’ background in strategy and CX makes him the ideal leader to take Singapore to the next level, complementing our full suite of capability leaders, and helping us to build connected brands for our growing portfolio of clients via our cutting-edge Commerce, Experience, Technology and Creative offering,”

Taylor’s appointment is part of VMLY&R’s strategy to strengthen its regional flagship operation and emphasise its focus on commerce as the intersection point between business experience and customer experience. 

VMLY&R Singapore also launched its global commerce accelerator programme last September in partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board.

Thailand Tops, Thailand’s largest supermarket chain, has released its new Christmas advertisement that shows the value of gift-giving even with the most unassuming supermarket items.

The campaign was made in collaboration with global brand experience agency VMLY&R. The short film titled ‘The Underrated Gift’, portrays how people have the tendency to overthink the gifts they give during the holidays.

The story revolved around a woman worrying over her gift search. In the film, she overcame this worry as she discovered how simple supermarket items such as zip-lock bags, canned wild salmon, and a pack of salami can delight her loved ones.

“At Tops, we have always believed in providing premium products at affordable prices. With our motto #EveryDayDISCOVERY, we want to emphasize that the best gifts are the ones that receivers can enjoy and that value and happiness can be found from even the most underrated items,” said Chakkit Chatupanyachotikul, head of marketing, public relations and CSV at Central Food Retail Group (CFG).

Anuwat Nitipanont, chief creative officer at VMLY&R Thailand, further commented, “Joyful experiences should not be limited to expensive, one-of-a-kind gifts. We want to encourage everyone to see the value of seemingly ordinary things and become free from their own limitation of choices.”

He also added that the film showcases how these’‘underrated gifts’ triumph this holiday season and will get people to rethink their holiday shopping lists.

VMLY&R Thailand also previously collaborated with Thai home improvement retailer Boonthavorn for the latter’s rebranding campaign with the short film ‘Ummm..’