The week in review: SPH print revenues slide again | Panda-monium for CCTV | Sanitary pad selfies | Former Yahoo Asia digital chief to launch web TV channel | ‘Tossing the content salad’ | Maxus global CEO moves on | BBC blocked in China | Occupy ad break

Mumbrella Asia logoIn a week in which a PSA by China’s state TV broadcaster offended Chinese holidaymakers, an app launched to enable Chinese women to take selfies with a packet of sanitary pads, Singapore Press Holdings saw print ad and circulation revenue tumble, India lost a global media agency CEO, Ivy Wong announced plans to launch a multi-channel network for Hong Kong youngsters, and the BBC was blocked in China.

Story of the week

Panda peeing in publicPanda-monium. A PSA by state TV broadcaster CCTV that aimed to encourage Chinese holidaymakers to be better behaved while abroad backfired when it went online, with social media users slamming the video for depicting the 700,000 Chinese who visit Australia everyday as unsophisticated pandas who litter, graffiti and generally annoy locals. A director’s cut of the ad, which didn’t go on air, featured a panda urinating in public. Among the comments about the video in social media were: “How can CCTV call this a PSA? There are only a small amount of Chinese who behave inappropriately in public overseas. This PSA has made Chinese look very bad and I strongly want this rubbish ad to be deleted!”.

The agency behind the ad, DDB China, initially said that ad had been taken off air, with no reason given by the broadcaster. DDB’s regional HQ in Hong Kong later said that had been an error of communication, and the ad had simply come to the end of its run after the Golden Week. The ad has been removed from DDB’s website.

Quotes of the week

During a coffee break at the Social Matters conference in Hong Kong, an agency executive working in Southern China told Mumbrella what happened when he tried to watch a Hong Kong TV station for Occupy Central news.

The TVB news bulletin was just filled with ads. When the bulletin’s time slot was over, they cut to a commercial break. They even dug up some old classics not seen for years to replace the news.

One Hong Kong media agency executive on what Occupy Central has meant to the South China Morning Post:

This is their 9/11

Microsoft’s APAC comms chief Andrew Pickup advised brand owners to take content matters into their own hands, and not rely on journalists to tell their stories for them. He said at Social Matters:

More and more brands are chasing fewer and fewer journalists. That said, social media has created an opportunity for us to have direct conversations with customers. We want to tell our own stories.



Ken Hong, the GM of strategic marketing for social network giant Sina Weibo, had a few words of advise for how to market to Chinese consumers at Social Matters.

Don’t just tell a beautiful story. Show real rewards. It’s not enough to give Chinese consumers a great video. They have to know what is the benefit for me. They’re very practical in that sense.

Simon Kemp, the boss of We Are Social, helped contribute to Campaign magazine’s quest to find industry buzzwords on Twitter () with the following:

Tossing the content salad

Rob Campbell, the head of strategy at Wieden & Kennedy, commented on Mumbrella’s story about an idea by JWT for feminine hygeine brand Sofy, which created an app that enables cartoonised selfies to be created with the help of the back of a sanitary pad packet.

Just because someone hasn’t done something before, doesn’t mean it is something you should do. Maybe there’s a reason it’s been left alone. Maybe that reason is young girls don’t want to broadcast their period to the wider world. Maybe adland is only obsessed with “busting taboo’s” when it suits their purposes rather than genuinely wanting to help remove the confusion and concerns that deeply affect many young women at this time. What next, an American-Idol type show for people singing while on their period?

The head of social at Lenovo, former agency executive Rod Strother, responded to a question at TechConnect Singapore about why he needs an agency when he has a team of 22 people inhouse. The quote on Twitter:

Because we don’t know everything and they keep us honest.

One response to the launch of a social network for kids, GeckoLife, in Singapore one Mumbrella reader wrote:

As for having brands “sponsor” pieces of the site – not convinced I want that as a parent. In fact, I know I don’t. My kids are already exposed to so many commercial messages through other channels and I like the fact that there are restrictions of some types of advertising (fast food etc).

Best work

CC Lemon. Wonderfully bizarre. Wonderfully Japanese.

Infibeam. It’s not often that a newspaper will surrender its masthead to an advertiser. Kudos to agency DDB Mudra West.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 1.05.30 pm

MSIG. A very cute five year-old tells Singaporean adults how insurance works.

Chanel. Gisele surfing. Already more than one million views two days after posting on YouTube.

KitKat. Fifty-six years after a copywriter at JWT came up with the line, ‘Have a break. Have a KitKat, JWT’s London office has produced this…


Barncancerfonden. A clever twist by a cancer charity on the popular subway train outdoor innovation for a shampoo brand.

Best-read story on Mumbrella

StarHub TV Awards winners revealed

Good week for…

Young content makers in Hong Kong. Former TVB, Next Mobile and Yahoo! executive Ivy Wong revealed on stage at Social Matters that she has plans to launch a multi-channel network for young talent in Hong Kong.

Asian agencies. Three out of four agencies selected for this year’s Cannes Chimera, a competition to find ideas that “change the world”, were from Asia Pacific.

Virgin. The airline dropped SeaWorld from its airline rewards programme earning PR points with those who feel whales and dolphins should not be held in captivity to become trained entertainers.

Bad week for...

India. The country can no longer claim to be the powerbase for the only media agency global CEO based in Asia, as London-based Lindsay Pattison replaced Mumbai-based Vikram Sakhuja to lead the GroupM network. However, Sakhuja is moving on to another as yet unknown role within GroupM.

Apple Daily. Delivery of the pro-democracy newspaper was hampered by anti-Occupy Central protesters in Hong Kong.

Thai dramas. The rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl on a train in Thailand has focused national outrage on Thai popular culture, particularly TV soaps for trivialising rape.

CCTV. Its PSA depicting holidaymaking Chinese as unsophisticated pandas went viral and received a bewildered response from the international media.

Here’s the version that ran on national TV.

And here’s the director’s cut, with the peeing panda scene.

BBC. Blocked in China. The broadcaster’s global news director Peter Horrocks denounced the block was “deliberate censorship”. Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal reported that China is set to impose a limit on the number of foreign television shows that Chinese online video-streaming services can offer.

New York Times cover blooperThe New York Times. A story on the front page of the famous newspaper started mid-sentence, had no byline, subheader or dateline. Sub having an off day?

Press freedom in Cambodia. A journalist was murdered after investigating illegal logging activities.

Singapore Press Holdings. Ad revenue for the publisher of Straits Times, Business Times and The New Paper was down by S$51.3 million (US$40.3 million), or 6.8 per cent, while circulation revenue dropped by 4.9 per cent, or S$9.7 million, the company revealed in its year-end report.

Prediction for next week

Less than the originally touted monster pitch field of nine agencies are revealed to be taking part in the controversial advertising tender for Singapore shopping mall Paragon.


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