The week in review: Agencies draw fire for using causes for self promotion | Debt collectors move in on Alphabet Media | Mashable’s Asia ambitions | Singapore police invites citizens to re-enact crime | MediaCorp sheds jobs | Shell’s PR nightmare

Mumbrella Asia logoIn a week in which agencies drew fire for releasing a large number of campaigns for social causes, the head of sales at MediaCorp moved on after 17 years, The Economist launched its first non-English edition (in Chinese), Ikea’s follow-up to its Bookbook viral did not disappoint, neither did Tiger Beer’s unofficial history of Singapore mockumentary, Mashable revealed its plans for Southeast Asia and debt collectors moved in on Singapore publisher Alphabet Media.

Story of the week

Mashable logoSo Mashable is to launch in Singapore within the first half of the year. Recruiters will be busy hunting for sales and editorial staff to power the popular tech site, which already attracts around 2m unique visitors in Southeast Asia. On press freedom issues the site may face in the conservative citystate, the site’s chief strategy officer says “It is certainly something we’ll have to think about as we look to enter the market.”

Quotes of week

A commenter on Mumbrella calling themselves Landmine victims, Iodine deficient,sight impaired, autistic took issue with the large number of new campaigns from agencies promoting social causes over the last week:

A friend who works in a NGO told me that he’s been approached by many past and present creative people who hound them for a letterhead letter of approval once a year but cannot be reached when they need help in manning stalls at fundraisers or make time to visit the homes of their ‘social clients’ and support their outreach programmes.

You know who you are. And shame on you.
Stop using these causes to promote yourselves.
There are people who are seriously disadvantaged here.
Don’t make their suffering fodder for your gain.

A commenter on Mumbrella said of the new Tiger Beer campaign by BBDO Singapore:

Finally. A Tiger Beer spot I find funny and watchable.

Mashable chief strategy officer, in an interview with Mumbrella on the tech site’s ambitions for Asia (the site is to open an office in Singapore), said:

More than 50 per cent of our audience now has access to Mashable on a smartphone or mobile device and more than 50 per cent are coming in from a link they discovered on a social networking site and you’re seeing rapid growth in both those areas across Southeast Asia.

A comment on Reading Room CEO Margaret Manning‘s assertion that ad agencies are struggling to adapt to the digital age because of the traditional copywriter-art director model from the Mad Men era.

Technologists don’t necessarily know anything about persuasion or ideas the way an agency creative understands them. And the creatives don’t get what the technologists excel at either. The gulf between the two needs to go. Whoever cracks this will be onto something more viable.

A report by The Economist called The rise of the marketer, released this week, touched on the skills now needed by modern tech-savvy data-driven marketers:

Creative is still important (especially in B2C), but it is a legacy skill and no longer a focus of demand.

Best work

Ikea. The follow-up to the Bookbook iPhone parody by BBH.

Tiger Beer. The second instalment of BBDO Singapore’s mockumentary the unofficial history of Singapore features an explanation of where the Kallang wave came from.

Singapore Kindness Movement. A touching tribute to Singapore’s elderly poor.

Chupa Chups. “Stop sucking power” says the lollipop brand in a Facebook post to support Earth Hour in Myanmar.

Chupa Chups Earth Hour

Best-read story on Mumbrella

15 things I learned from 15 years running an agency in Singapore

Good week for…

Singapore’s content scene. Enter Milkmoney, one of the first content agencies in Australia to focus on branded entertainment. The firm is soon to announce a local boss. Mashable is also on a sales and editorial recruitment drive for its Singapore operation.

WPP, Ogilvy and India. Topped the annual rankings for wins at effectiveness awards show the Effies.

Bad week for…

Average or beautiful?Buzzfeed. The social news and entertainment site deleted a post critical of Dove’s ‘Beautiful or average’ campaign. Cynics believed it did so because it was pressured to do so by Unilever.

Sample re-enactmentSingapore Police Force. Just a few months after releasing a musical version of its ‘Shop theft is a crime’ posters, SPF ran a competition where it invited Singaporeans to re-enact scenes from its crime prevention posters, which featured muggings and molestation.

The Alchemy Partnership. The agency released a web film called ‘Ways to pick up girls with a car’ that opened with a scene in which a man waiting by his new Peugeot 308 picked up a bypassing girl and placed her into the trunk. The video was moved to YouTube’s private setting after questions were raised about the film.

MediaCorp. The Singapore media owner axed 33 jobs and reallocated a further 50 after a major restructure to keep up with changing times.

The people vs ShellShell. In a major assault on its image, one of the oil giant’s rigs was boarded by Greenpeace, which is protesting against drilling in the Arctic.

Alphabet Media. Debt collectors moved in on Singapore publisher of FutureGov, but were told the company – which this week held a major event at the Raffles Hotel – has no money. Meanwhile, Alphabet faces three court cases for outstanding payment mounting to more than $1 million.


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