Opinion

The week in review: Twitter confirms Indonesia launch | Nicole Seah steps back from politics | Cathay Pacific promo swamped | SingTel commercial chief leaves Singapore | Graham Kelly quits Isobar | Kotex says Chinese men are less reliable than sanitary pads | Handy guide for awards scammers

Mumbrella Asia logoIn a week in which WPP’s regional talent honcho left to join McCann, Jean-Michel Wu left WPP for McCann, the South China Morning Post was flamed for dubbing a popular Cathay Pacific ticket promotion as a “scam”, Unilever dominated a mobile marketing awards shortlist,  and Kotex managed to demean the men, women and cats of China in two 30-second videos.

Story of the week

Earlier in the week news emerged that one of Singapore’s most senior marketers, SingTel’s chief commercial officer Michael Smith, is leaving Singapore. Can he do the same job remotely from Sydney? But today bigger stories broke. Twitter confirmed that it is to launch an office in Jakarta to serve its second biggest global market, and IPG Mediabrands Thailand executive Nicole Seah is to step back from political life, quitting Singapore opposition party, the NSP.

Quotes of the week

Kotex China adA view cast by a Mumbrella reader after watching Ogilvy China’s ads for Kotex, which Mumbrella wasn’t too keen on either:

About 5% of people employed in advertising are truly talented, these are the people who make you proud to work in advertising. About 75% of the people have no opinion on advertising….for them a good ad is whatever the client approves (if the client rejects the ad then its obviously a very bad ad). And then there are the balance 20% who actually come up with ideas that harm clients businesses and the image of advertising. These are the most dangerous people and I would say the team that created these terrible Kotex ads falls into this last category.

Alvin Wong, CEO of the Alchemy Partnership, said in an interview with Mumbrella about the treat IAN poses larger rivals:

We’re quite sure that all the talent we collectively have under one banner definitely would raise eyebrows.

Turns out not everyone is a fan of Buzzfeed. One commenter, named ‘Cruel but fair’, wrote beneath Mumbrella’s interview with Buzzfeed India editor Rega Jha that the social news and entertainment giant is a:

Tacky, mind numbing, unimaginative web trivia site that does nothing that can even be remotely construed as journalism.

Another poster, Suejata, was more kind to Buzzfeed, but pointed to a murkier issue that they suggest infects the Indian press.

I just hope that you don’t get carried away in the Indian culture of news reporting and are fair in your stories and articles, unlike many publishers in India who only publish stories where they are getting paid to cover.

Not everyone is a fan of the regional ECD role either. One poster commented on the news of Graham Kelly‘s departure from Isobar:

Methinks “regional ECD” is probably the most redundant and mindless expense for any agency network. These folks don’t bring anything valuable to the table. Harrassing ECDs for their scam campaigns months before Cannes is something a secretary could do. And have you noticed how tightly they always seem to clutch their phones in meetings? Praying they ring so they can rush off to avoid saying something intelligent. Publicist got rid of the position a couple of years ago and it didn’t do them any harm. The work is still as bad as ever.

Sam Balsara, pic: YouTube

India media agency boss Sam Balsara played down the suggestion that Indian market is being talked up too quickly after the recent election.

I am talking like this [positively about India] only now. I would not agree that Indians are not critical [of their own market].

CNN boss Jeff Zucker, after the company had informed its staff that it would be streamlining next year, caused a collective sigh among the media community when he said:

We are going to do less and have to do it with less

In answer to a question from Hong Kong-based photographer and anti-sharks fin campaigner Alex Hofford, he was apparently told by JCDecaux, who backed a campaign running on their billboards in Hong Kong that promotes sharks fin products recently:

We maintain a neutral position on controversial issues.

Sharks fin on the menu at Nha Trang InterContinental Hotel, Vietnam. Pic: Alex Hofford

Sharks fin on the menu at IHG

InterContinental Hotels Group told Mumbrella in a statement about their sharks fin policy (IHG are only of the only global hotel chains to still serve the dish):

Behaving responsibly is part of IHG’s DNA and is at the heart of everything we do. We constantly review all of our policies and procedures to ensure we maintain our high operational and ethical standards. We are in the final stages of a company wide review on the use of Sharks Fin as part of a broader sustainable seafood policy across our portfolio, which will be released in due course.

Best work

Adidas. Hip spot to promote its Original lifestyle line in China.

Sony Xperia Z1S. Rainy-oke anyone? A cross-dressing man promotes the waterproof features of Sony’s new phone.

Old Spice. The man you want your man to smell like does the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Samsung. Targeting “alphas” with a slick ad for the Galaxy Alpha phone.

Netflix. Ricky Gervais plays himself. Again.

WIN TV. A gentle put-down of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yet, from an Aussie TV presenter who brings the viral fight against ALS a dose of perspective.

Worst ad

Perhaps because the press release for this ad describe it as “superbly animated”, this spot for the Indian government gets our vote.

Best-read story on Mumbrella

Singapore blogger Xiaxue posts instructions from sponsor for how to write a picture caption

Good week for…

Cathay Pacific. The airline initially took a hammering in social media by disgruntled customers who were unable to take advantage of its HK$100 ticket promo. But the airline responded to the gripers swiftly on its Facebook page, and in the end it was the South China Morning Post that emerged worse from the incident as readers turned on the paper for unfairly describing the promo as a “scam” in its headline.

Ad awards scammers. There is now a helpful guide for how to create award-winning print and outdoor ads, courtesy of The Gunn Report.

Twitter's president, global revenue & partnerships, Adam Bain

Twitter president, revenue & partnerships, Adam Bain

Twitter. The microblogging site confirms speculation that it is to launch an office in Indonesia, its second biggest global market after the US.

Ooredoo. The Qatari telco announced its has already eclipsed one million customers in Myanmar just three weeks after launching in the country.

McCann. The ad agency recruited the talents of WPP’s regional talent honcho Jean-Michel Wu.

Paul Roebuck. The former Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore and Malaysia CEO landed a job in New York running the global Johnson & Johnson consumer account for BBDO.

Unilever. The FMCG giant completely dominated the shortlist for mobile marketing awards the Smarties.

OMD. The Omnicom network was named media agency of the year at the Singapore Media Awards.

Bad week for…

Malaysia AirlinesMalaysia Airlines. The troubled airline did not do itself any favours with an unfortunate choice of copy for a Facebook promotion (right).

Isobar. The digital agency was left without a regional ECD after it emerged that Graham Kelly would be moving on.

Uber. The taxi-booking app came up against stiff opposition from regulators in Malaysia.

WPP. Though APAC showed signs of improving for the owner of Ogilvy, JWT and GroupM, a strong pound “ravaged” the company’s profits.

Former CNN show host Piers Morgan. It emerged that the opinionated former tabloid editor is the most hated man on Twitter in the UK, while comedian Ricky Gervais was the most loved.

Prediction for next week

Sean Seamer, the former APAC business development chief for media agency MediaCom, who it emerged this week is to be succeeded by Darragh Hardy, gets promoted to a broader role at GroupM.

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