The week in review: ‘Our ad ran once because Singapore is small’ | Crocs eats APAC marketing | Buzzfeed launches in India | Twitter’s video offering for brands | What makes a creative team work? | Make cupcakes not war

Mumbrella Asia logoIn a week in which plastic clogs brand Crocs restructured its APAC marketing operation, Buzzfeed launched in India, Twitter launched a video offering for brands, Strawberry frog lost the founding MD of its Singapore office and a bunch of expats press released their campaign to woo Singaporeans with cupcakes.

Story of the week

Fashionistas could have predicted the decline of the Crocs brand, but perhaps not in Asia where much of the company’s growth potential still lies. But news that Buzzfeed is launching in India as of this evening is a bigger story, and will not have escaped the notice of the country’s powerful newspaper publishers, which still enjoy huge sway in the media market.

Quotes of the week

A comment by ‘Hardworking scammer‘ commented beneath a story on Mumbrella about a Singapore campaign for Guinness that won at Cannes:

Creatives who don’t scam are usually lazy. Especially in Asia where clients tend to choose the safest, most boring options. Good luck winning with real work in Asia.

It appears that Mumbrella’s hangout with R/GA founder Bob Greenberg has gone global, with Campaign UK running an opinion piece written by Publicis Chemistry’s David Prideaux.

Even work that’s completely fake can be hard to spot. Cannes juries are international, so very often they’re judging work from countries they don’t know, making it harder to recognise invented brands or spot implausible executions. But this is still a dreadful admission.

 Oscars aren’t given to films that were never shown. Mercurys aren’t awarded to albums that were never released. And the Booker is never given to a novel that didn’t get published.

The outside world thinks we’re all charlatans as it is. If they thought we spent our time patting ourselves on the back for something we hadn’t really done, our standing would sink even lower.

Goh Shu FenShufen Goh, the president of the Institute of Advertising, Singapore, who gave the opening address ahead of the APPIES, provided a reality check about the increasing role of technology in marketing:

I haven’t come across a robot that can spit out good ideas… yet.

Manila-based PR man Tony Ahn posted on his Facebook page why he’s now boycotting Buzzfeed:

I just unfollowed Buzzfeed. Why? Because I’ve read at least 20 articles in the last two weeks and I can’t recall details of a single one. That means they add no value to my life. Unfollowing Buzzfeed will put at least an hour a week back into my life. That’s more than an extra week per year.

A journalist for Wired magazine liked everything that was presented to him on Facebook for two days as part of an experiment. He discovered that this happened:

After checking in and liking a bunch of stuff over the course of an hour, there were no human beings in my feed anymore. It became about brands and messaging, rather than humans with messages.

On why its ad for Guinness only ran once in a free listings magazine, BBDO told delegates at the APPIES:

Singapore is small. You can reach a lot of people with a single hit in a magazine like I-S.

Blogger Kirsten Han wrote about her feelings for Singapore’s National Day, the city-state’s annual celebration of independence:

People get very upset when one ventures the opinion that the National Day Parade might be nothing more than propaganda, the “FUCK YEAH WE ARE SINGAPORE” sentiment little more than a very successful PR campaign that has been stuffed down our throats for (almost) five decades, further legitimising and cementing the political capital and control of the ruling party. 

Shangri-La wolf


Ian Thubron, the president of TBWA\Greater China, couldn’t resist a pop at rival Ogilvy over its previous work for Shangri-La hotels, after praising its latest campaign.

I hope this great new Tibet campaign means that @Ogilvy and @ShangriLaHotels have retired those dreadful wolves.

Rajeev Goel, CEO of programmatic trading firm Pubmatic, gave his perspective on the issue of arbitrage (media agencies not disclosing to their clients how much money they make on online trades through programmatic buying):

If you go into McDonald’s, do you ask about the cost of the lettuce and the beef that goes into your burger? No. It costs five dollars and that’s the end of it. Agencies will win or lose based on how their trading affects their clients’ business.

Bruce Matchett and Andy GreenawayBruce Matchett, the regional creative director at Sapient Nitro, talked about his first creative partnership in a piece on Mumbrella about the secret to a long-lasting partnership:

I met the guy in a pub. He was English. After ordering a Quiche and an orange juice, he sat down and crossed his legs. Being Scottish, I’d never had a drink with a bloke who crossed his legs before. He wrote poetry and was a vegetarian. I was a heavy drinker then, not very well read and Scottish through and through. On paper it was a disaster.

Best work

Mercedes. BBDO Singapore’s new ‘experiments’ campaign.

Apple. After the death of Robin Williams, this ad for the iPad is even more poignant.

Southern Comfort. A Shark week inspired campaign for the syrupy liquor.

LG. For the release of LG’s new smartphone the LG G3, the brand tied up with Wong Fu Productions for a comical short film entitled, The best third wheel in the world.

Agent Provocateur. Trust the French. This one is possibly NSFW. Bottoms!

Worst ad

Hang Cheong Loon. An ad promoting sharks fin in Chinese medicine, running during international shark week.

Sharks fin ad

Best-read stories on Mumbrella

‘Burger King digitally raped my face,’ says model in controversial Singapore ‘blow job ad’

Good week for…

Buzzfeed. A $50 million funding injection in its bid to become the world’s top digital media brand.

MySquar. The Burmese social network launched the messaging app, MyChat.

Brands on Twitter. The micro-blogging site launched a video service for brands.

McCann. The agency took on the Coca-Cola account from Leo Burnett in China, Campaign is reporting.

Bad week for…

PRs V journosJournalism. Figures from the Pew Centre revealed that in the years from 2004 to 2013, the number of journalists in the US has shrunk by 17 per cent while the number of PRs has jumped by 22 per cent.

McDonald’s. A sales slump was blamed on the food scandal in China.

Press releases. A media statement was sent out to tell the world that some expats in Singapore had made some cupcakes to ease tensions between foreigners and locals.

Crocs. The plastic clogs brand is restructuring its marketing operations in Asia as the company struggles amid a large-scale global strategic rethink.

Edelman. The PR agency made a huge PR faux-pas by saying that the passing of Robin Williams was an “opportunity” in a blog post. The agency subsequently tweeted a grovelling apology.

Microsoft. The computing giant was on the receiving end of a beat-up piece by Reuters, then Wired wrote the following headline in a story about the state of the media business, BuzzFeed Is the Apple of Media, and Everyone Else Is Microsoft.

Radio DJs over the age of 35 working Kolkata’s AIR network. Presenters 35 and older must take a test to prove they don’t sound “too mature and boring” for India’s radio audience, according to Newsweek.

Prediction for next week

Could a WPP agency be hired to handle the advertising push for the launch of Ooredoo in Myanmar?


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