The week in review: The Occupy Central effect | Enter FireChat | UOB and Leo Burnett split | MasterCard: Brands that target poorly are spammers | Buying cheap online ads like ‘unprotected sex’ | SCMP drops paywall, crashes and is blocked by China

Mumbrella Asia logoIn a week in which retailers and adland worried about the fall-out from the Occupy Central pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, UOB parted ways with its agency of five years Leo Burnett Singapore, the South China Morning Post dropped its paywall for Occupy Central stories then crashed and was block by China, campaigns in Singapore and Hong Kong urged women to check themselves for breast cancer awareness month, and a CNN anchor used the phrase “anyway you slice it three times” in 10 seconds after a report on a beheading in Oklahoma.

Story of the week

Occupy Central. What impact will the pro-democracy movement have on Hong Kong’s media and advertising industries? Marketers have not starting pulling campaigns back yet, say industry experts, although if the unrest carries on for much longer, the impact could be as dramatic as SARS, the epidemic that hit Hong Kong more than a decade ago.

Quotes of the week

Spencer Wong SMS on TwitterSpencer Wong, the CEO and creative chief of McCann Worldgroup Hong Kong earned kudos in adland and the wider business community when he texted his staff saying it was okay by him if they attended the Occupy Central pro-democracy protests. He said:

The company will not blame or punish anyone who supports something more important for work.

United Overseas Bank gave a fair indication of how it sees its relationship with advertising agencies with the comment to Mumbrella about its agency review:

We do not comment on the relationships we have with our vendors and suppliers.

The CEO of Leo Burnett Singapore was philosophical about the departure of client UOB. Reflecting on the length of time Burnett had had the business, Josh Grace told Mumbrella:

Most would agree that in today’s realities, five years is a decent time frame for a review of the business.

Joji Jacob, the group ECD at DDB Singapore, responded to critics on Mumbrella’s comment thread that its campaign (featured in our ‘best work’ section below) for Singapore’s Breast Cancer Foundation was created with awards in mind.

I am very proud of the work and I personally hope that it wins everywhere.

In a post on Mumbrella about wearable technology, media agency executive turned entrepreneur Nic Hodges, said:

It’s easy to see how ad campaigns that use wearable data could quickly become creepy and unethical – evidenced by the fact that manufacturers are already thinking about what advertisers won’t be allowed to do.

The APAC lead market for MasterCard, Sam Ahmed, said after the launch of digital command system Priceless Engine, that consumer expectations of digital marketing are higher than what brands can deliver:

Consumers, especially millennials, are saying ‘you have my data, use it properly’. Brands which don’t do that are seen as spam.

Singapore content agency Click2View boss Neal Moore responded to an article on Marketing Interactive about an online video ad deal between snacks giant Mondelez and Google with the following on Twitter:

Fascinated to see how “high quality, low cost video content” looks.

In a guest post on Mumbrella, Peter Ostick, the founder and MD of TV, talked about his “Kodak moment” when he realised that the future of his space was programmatic trading, so a change in business model was needed:

We had a strong belief that the business model we were running would be dead within 12 months.

At Advertising Week in the US, John Montgomery, the COO of Group M in North America, reportedly gave his view on what buying cheap online ads is like:

It’s like having unprotected sex if you buy at the (cheap) end of the tail.

In an opinion piece by Tony Ahn that appealed to marketing conferences to teach him something, the PR agency owner said, in the style of the Book of Revelations from the Bible:

When the host introduced the fourth speaker, I looked, and behold, a pale horse; and he who sat on it had the name Hype; and the Demon of Exaggeration was following him. He spoke with a terrible voice, uttering the terms “game changing” and “disruptive” to describe his innovation. I sprained my other eyeball.

Best work

Breast Cancer Foundation. At the centre of the campaign was an appeal to social networks Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to change their logos for the month of October, which is breast cancer awareness month.

Breast Cancer Foundation ad

Hong Kong Cancer Fund. As part of its annual “Pink revolution” campaign to encourage the city’s women to check their breasts more regularly for signs of cancer, the charity portrayed breasts as fruit.

Nestlé. Your breasts are checked out everyday by the people you meet, so why don’t you check your own, Nestlé wonders with this Bra Cam stunt.

Toyota. The two sides of the Hybrid Harrier expressed as a romance movie.

McDonald’s. Playtime with dad in the Philippines.

TNT. A truck made out of people. Made in Europe, this ad is also breaking across Asia.

Best-read story on Mumbrella

South China Morning Post drops paywall for Occupy Central coverage, site crashes

Good week for…

Spencer Wong. The boss of McCann Hong Kong earned hero status when he told his staff that they did not have to show up for work if they wanted to attend the Occupy Central protests.

Wayne Arnold. The global CEO of Lowe Profero was named chair of the newly launched Southeast Asia chapter of The Marketing Society, a knowledge-sharing club for marketers.

FireChat. An app that enables users to send messages without mobile phone reception was used by protesters as it emerged that the Hong Kong government was blocking internet connectivity in Occupy Central demonstration areas.

Bad week for…

CNN. John Berman, host of This Hour, used the term “anyway you slice it” three times in 10 seconds while discussing a story about an Oklahoma man who beheaded his colleague.

Berman then apologised on Twitter, saying: “I wish I hadn’t. I feel horribly.” The typo in his apology prompted pun-related derision in social media. Among the comments were: “Don’t go losing your head about this John. Everyone makes mistakes”, “CNN is always on the cutting edge,” and “This guy is usually very sharp.”

Leo Burnett. The Singapore office of the Publicis Groupe agency lost one of its bigger accounts, United Overseas Bank.

Prediction for next week

After a close-run final round of pitching, UOB awards its Singapore creative account to Saatchi & Saatchi.


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