The week in review: Malaysia Airlines’ reputational minefield | HSBC hip-hops for Hong Kong Sevens | Singapore army encouraging perving in gyms? | Australia ‘known for bad journalism’

Mumbrella Asia logoIn a week in which Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government struggled with the mother of all PR crises, SingTel was heckled over the pricing of its World Cup coverage, Malaysia and Australia traded insults over the quality of their journalism, Omnicom agencies won supermarket behemoth Carrefour in Indonesia, and Singapore’s army club drew flack for objectifying women.

Story of the week

Malaysia Airlines How Malaysia Airlines has managed its public image under the scrutiny of the world’s media will find its way into crisis management textbooks. For good reasons and for bad.

Quotes of the week

A piece about the crisis management situation for Malaysia Airlines in light of the missing MH370 plane.

A failure to act decisively and with leadership can result in inflaming outrage and blame. For Malaysia Airlines, that time is now up. It is now entering a reputational minefield.

A Malaysian journalist, the former managing editor of New Straits Times Datuk Nuraina Samad, was quoted in an article that attacked Aussie news analysis show A Current Affair for “bad journalism”. On the show, two Australian teenagers said they had spent time in the cockpit with one of the pilots of the missing MH370 Malaysia Airlines flight.

It made me cringe to see the way the girls told their story. It is bad journalism, but then again Australian media is known for such behaviour.

Heavy fucking speed users

Maxis ‘heavy fucking speed users’ ad

A comment beneath a story on Mumbrella about a rogue expletive that crept into an ad for Maxis has some sympathy for the Malaysian telco.

It’s 2014 and we are still crying over the use of the words fuck and shit?

A comment beneath a story a Mumbrella story about a horribly misleading headline on Channel NewsAsia that read ‘Defence Minister on missing flight MH370’:

We pray for Mr Ng En Heng’s safe return. From the studio.

Hiro Fujita, a planning director at McCann Japan and motor neurone disease sufferer, tells of his hopes for his future.

Stay alive, get cured and repay the love.

A comment beneath a story about a campaign for Singapore armed forces club SAFRA, that was deemed by some to be encouraging inappropriate behaviour towards women in gyms.

Agencies in Singapore seem intent on using low-brow/smutty humour(?) as a way to ‘connect’ with the grass roots… pathetic.

A Mumbrella reader took issue with the motives of McDonald’s for postponing their McMuffin give-away promotion in Malaysia in light of the MH370 tragedy.

How does not giving away free Egg McMuffins pay respect?

Best work

HSBC. Rugby players scrummage a giant-sized sushi roll to celebrate the coming of the Hong Kong Sevens.

Ikea. Meet Frank, the Singaporean Cosplayer.

McDonald’s. Expect a stampede outside McDonald’s restaurants across Asia on March 17 when, as part of a PR stunt it is calling National Breakfast Day, the burger chain gives away thousands of free Egg McMuffins. But not in Malaysia, where the promotion has been postponed in respect of the missing MAS plane.

Women’s Aid Organisation. The t-shirt is a much underestimated medium. Here, the WAO crusades to raise awareness of domestic abuse against women in Malaysia.

Women's Association t-shirt

Wren. The fashion brand’s video of people kissing for the first time had passed 36.5m views on YouTube at the time of writing.

Mother. The London ad agency did not waste any time coming up with a ‘First kiss’ parody. With dogs.

Lipton. Muppets love tea, to the theme tune of the classic film Midnight Cowboy.

Sony Experian. Featuring Michael Jackson’s ‘Slave to the rhythm’.

Duracell. A heater that can only be heated through human connection. How touching.

Worst ad

SAFRA. The Singapore Armed Forces Reservist Association kicked up a stink in social media in Singapore for appearing to suggest that men should go to gyms to oggle at women while they work out.


Best-read story on Mumbrella

Singapore politician and IPG Mediabrands executive Nicole Seah to move to Thailand.

Best media and marketing headlines

American Apparel

These Women’s Magazines Were Redesigned To Spotlight Violence Against Women

What’s new, pussycat? The growing economy of internet cat videos

‘Made in Bangladesh’: American Apparel releases controversial new ad starring topless former-Muslim model

KFC dumps Grey in Singapore

Alibaba to Buy 60% Stake in ChinaVision Media

Oral sex app will get tongues wagging, but gives no guide to the feminine south

Good week for…

Apes. A bunch of agencies signed a PETA petition to promise not to use chimps and other apes in their ad campaigns.

Asian ad execs. A list that includes the likes of Kentaro Kimura, ECD of Japan’s Hakuhodo Kettle and Grey India’s national creative director Malvika Mehra make up a strong Asian contingent on the Cannes Lions jury.

Hong Kong. As a place to live for media and marketing execs. The week after Singapore emerged as the world’s most expensive city, Hong Kong was named the most liveable in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit, despite its terrible air and high property prices. The only other Asia Pacific cities in the top ten were Sydney and Tokyo.

Dentsu. The Japanese agency retained the Marina Bay Sands media business, seeing off OMD and others in a pitch that dragged on since September.

Bad week for…

Malaysia Airlines. The tragic disappearance of the MH370 flight hammered Malaysia Airlines’ stock value and, inevitably, its brand value.

Prediction for next week

Starcom emerges as the most awarded media agency at the Festival of Media Asia.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing