Opinion

The week in review: Apple Daily office firebombed | CIMB rethinks agency ties | More Thai Life Insurance ad gold | Cheil hires global creative chief | Change of guard at Ogilvy Japan | Vince Lui leaves XM | Marlboro cowboy dies

Mumbrella Asia logoIn a week in which the offices of Hong Kong’s only pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, were firebombed, CIMB restructured its relationship with agency Mangham Gaxiola, the creative and suit behind the world’s most awarded print ad found new jobs, Cheil Worldwide hired a global chief creative officer, and Thai Life Insurance once more reduced its audience to tears with another cracker from Ogilvy & Mather Bangkok.

Story of the week

Jimmy LaiEarlier this week, press freedom in Hong Kong took another serious blow in the form of petrol bombs hurled at the home and offices of Jimmy Lai, the maverick former publisher of Next Media and fierce critic of China’s government. The attack, and numerous other assaults on press freedom in Hong Kong in recent months, prompted free expression group PEN American Center to declare this afternoon: “Some of the most independent journalists and media outlets in Hong Kong are now operating in an increasingly unfriendly environment, constricting their ability to investigate and freely cover the news. The confluence of attacks—economic, physical, and cyber—on press and media outlets in Hong Kong, coinciding with a period of political turmoil, drives suspicion about the future of press freedom in this crucial media hub. While the forces behind these incidents are shadowy, the pattern of interference and intimidation is hard to mistake.”

Quotes of the week

Xinhua News Agency. China’s official state news outlet did not seem to on the side of press freedom in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting.

Sarcasm, insults and freedom of speech without limits and principles are not acceptable.

Trust Donald Trump, the American business tycoon and star of The Apprentice to wade in with this, ahem, sensitive tweet in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks:

If the morons who killed all of those people at Charlie Hebdo would have just waited, the magazine would have folded – no money, no success!

An ad for Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam flew in the face of so many agencies these days who claim to be thinking laterally about hiring new people in advertising.

We’re looking for #copywriters – not novelists, journalists, speechwriters or songwriters, just great copywriters.

Roy NgerngAustralian journalist Mark Colvin could resist making an observation about the huge court fees facing Singaporean blogger Roy Ngerng, who is being sued by the prime minister for defamation.

In Singapore, the Govt doesn’t jail you for free speech. It sues you for vast sums, then jails you for non-payment.

A paragraph from Hong Kong blog The Big Lychee (“Watching the sun set, little by little, on Asia’s greatest city”) reflected on the state of press freedom in the territory.

Most other media groups in Hong Kong are now controlled by tycoons eager to appease the Chinese government – as any of us would be if much of our family wealth was invested in the high-growth-but-vindictive-government Mainland. And traditional newspapers have a hard enough time competing with the Internet without having to serve owners’ needs to shoe-shine the Chinese Communist Party. A 2013 Bloomberg story noted that since Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok bought the South China Morning Post in 1993, the share price had declined 69% and the paper had been through 11 editors in 19 years. There must be cheaper, and less headache-inducing, ways to pay tribute to the emperor, but unlike Lai the loyalists don’t seem to have a choice.

Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said about the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks:

We must demonstrate our solidarity with Charlie Hebdo without forgetting all the world’s other Charlies. It would be unacceptable if representatives of countries that silence journalists were to take advantage of the current outpouring of emotion to try to improve their international image and then continue their repressive policies when they return home. We must not let predators of press freedom spit on the graves of Charlie Hebdo.

The Singapore satirical news site New Nation suggested that the Straits Times is in no danger of attack because of its tame reporting.

A police spokesperson, Zuo Jing Char, said: “We will not be securing the Singapore Press Holdings building in Toa Payoh with additional police presence. There appears to be no immediate threat or danger to the reporters there as there hasn’t been much pushing of boundaries in years in terms of reporting.”

Best work

Thai Life Insurance. Another sure-fire award-winner for Asia’s most emotive advertiser by Ogilvy & Mather Bangkok.

FlavorStone. Funny, cute but probably massively sexist, here is a long line of Japanese maids chain-cooking a pancake for their master. Only in Japan.

Harper Collins India. A nice tweet from the Indian branch of bookseller Harper Collins, which joined this week’s #FiveWordsToRuinADate hashtag.

I hardly read any books

Melco Crown. Two of Hollywood’s biggest actors, Robert Di Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, have been brought together on screen for the first time in a commercial for a Macau casino.

Philippine National Union of Journalists. A commemoration of the 32 journalists killed in an ambush in 2009 in the form of figures crafted from newspapers.

Ampatuan Massacre

Berlei. Now Serena Williams controls what bounces around here.

SumOfUs. Doritos – may contain traces of rainforest.

Oreo. Bit of a stretch, but this ad somehow convinces that thin biscuits can be associated with high fashion

Sport England. “I jiggle therefore I am.” Encouraging England’s women to be more active.

Best-read story on Mumbrella

Lack of free press saves 

Good week for…

Mandate Communications. The Singapore independent agency retained one of its oldest and biggest clients, the Singapore Army, according to Marketing.

Aki Kubo

Aki Kubo

Aki Kubo. He replaced Kent Wertime as chairman of Ogilvy Japan after a solid two and a half years as president.

Cheil Worldwide. The Korean agency hired a global chief creative officer. Malcolm Poynton from Sapient Nitro.

Joe Braithwaite and Ronald Ng. Two of the men behind the world’s most successful print ad campaign found themselves news jobs. Braithwaite, formerly client services director, was promoted to GM at BBDO Singapore, while the agency’s former chief creative officer Ng emerged as CCO at DigitasLBi in New Year.

Bad week for…

Burberry. The British luxury brand blamed slow sales on the Occupy Central pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong that lasted 79 days.

Marlboro manLeo Burnett. One of the original Marlboro men discovered by the agency in the 1960s died. His cause of death is unknown, although four other Marlboro men have died of smoking-related illnesses in recent years.

McDonald’s. In Asia, where the burger chain makes one quarter of its revenues, health scares have hit the brand hard, most recently in Japan, where plastic and a tooth was discovered in food, reported The Economist.

Mangham Gaxiola. The Singapore indie saw its relationship with its founding client, CIMB, move from a retainer to a project basis.

XM. Not long after losing its CEO, Paul Soon, the digital agency parted ways with another long servant, Vince Lui.

Prediction for next week

Vince Lui joins Paul Soon in a new startup digital agency venture.

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