The week in review: Dumb Ways did Valentine’s Day, Myanmar leapfrogged Singapore in free press rankings, Catholics condemned condom ads, looks became a recruitment strategy

Mumbrella Asia logoSo, it’s Valentine’s Day. Are you feeling loved?

This is the fifth in our series of round ups of stuff we’ve spotted – the good, the bad and the peculiar – in media and marketing in Asia Pacific over the past week.

In the last few days, Publicis Groupe announced record growth, an airline created a safety video that is impossible not to watch, Catholics pushed to ban condom ads in the Philippines, and we wondered if beauty is a recruitment strategy (a topic that may come up in Mumbrella Asia’s first Google Hangout on Monday of next week).

Story of the week

The big move in digital was former SingTel global advertising head Grant Watts rejoining Microsoft. It was also a good week for Watts’ home nation, Australia, which knocked the UK off second spot (behind the US) in the Gunn Report for the first time in 14 years, largely due to Dumb Ways to Die, the most awarded campaign in history.

Quotes of the week

Zenith Optimedia APAC boss Gerry Boyle, in an interview with Mumbrella, on how media agencies should be approaching social media.

The notion of having a social media division is redundant, because it is inherent in everything we do.

Mindshare’s emerging markets chairman Ashutosh Srivastava pays tribute to a lost son, Yasir Riaz, formerly a Mindshare Pakistan GM, now head of Starcom Indonesia, whom a rival suggested is dominating the Jakarta talent pool because of his good looks:

Not sure how hard the folks at Starcom are trying, but we still see the Mindshare streak of purple in Yasir continuing to shine through, including his natty purple shirt in this picture, taken during his Mindshare days!

He is a top man, who has always lived our core values and will gladly be welcomed back when he chooses to return!

Publicis Groupe chairman Maurice Lévy singles out the only disappointment from his company’s “record” annual results for 2013.

The only cloud on the horizon was our organic growth in the fourth quarter which was affected by campaigns being cancelled or postponed, particularly in the emerging markets.

The Catholic Church on condom commercials being allowed on TV in the Philippines.

They contribute to the corruption of values and minds of the youth.

A take on the experience of watching the Winter Olympics on TV, from a media executive (on Facebook).

The luge – I don’t get it. If you put a corpse on there and give it a shove it would reach the finish line within one or two seconds of the record.

Philosopher Alain de Botton, who has just launched a website he says is an intellectual version of the world’s most popular news site:

The most followed news website in the English language, by an enormous factor, is the Mail Online, purveyor of a stream of appalling ‘human interest’ stories of the lowest kind. The clear temptation is to withdraw into the bunker and lament the decadence of a ruined age.

Best ads

Metro Trains. The most awarded ad campaign in history got cute for Valentine’s Day.

Hatari. Typically, wonderfully Thai.

McDonald’s. Billy Joel’s ‘Just the way you are’, a loving tribute to the Double Cheese Burger.

Air New Zealand. Not really an ad as such. But the only plane safety procedure video that guarantees that passengers will watch it until the end.

XXL. Another brand, this time a Norwegian sportswear maker, joins the anti-homophobia crusade for the Sochi Olympics. “Whatever team you play for” intones the end line.

Gun Oil. Possibly not an ad that Vladimir Putin would appreciate.

Pfizer. Nice work from Italy.

Pfizer ad


Worst ad

Hong Kong’s Perfect Medical Centre. Awful and bizarre, but points for being different.

Best-read story on Mumbrella

Media agency boss sucking female recruits from Indonesia’s limited talent pool because of his good looks, complains rival CEO

Best media and marketing headlines

The Samuel L. Jackson video is worth watching, if you haven’t seen it. “You’re the entertainment reporter. And you don’t know the difference between me and Laurence Fishburne?” screams Jackson.

Most inane Stomp post

Woman loses fight over bus seat — so she sits on man’s lap

Good week for…  

Myanmar. Closed to outside world just a few years ago, Southeast Asia’s ‘final frontier’ climbed above Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines in the Reporters without Borders press freedom rankings. It now ranks 145th out of 180 countries.

McCann. Yet more recognition for Dumb Ways to Die.

LinkedIn. Passed the 50m member mark in Asia (24m of them are in India – five times more than Australia, LinkedIn’s second biggest market in APAC).

Bad week for…

Car brands in Australia. Toyota followed Ford and General Motors by closing its manufacturing plant in Australia, citing high costs and a strong Aussie dollar as reasons for pulling out.

Prediction for next week

Could another top executive to leave Samsung Asia be joining Google, we wonder?


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