The week in review: Local-foreigner debate resurfaces in Singapore | Venus Navalta’s homecoming | Ogilvy in Effies pole position | Josh Grace joins Burnett client | DDB’s IPG alliance

Mumbrella Asia logoIn a week in which Venus Navalta came out of retirement to return to the company she worked for for 17 years, India was named the world’s top country for strategy, Josh Grace joined Leo Burnett client Abbott, a British newspaper thought that Malaysia and Indonesia were the same country, and another British newspaper, the Financial Times, seemed to be writing a pre-death obituary with the headline Singapore after Lee Kuan Yew: The legacy of its founder looms large.

Story of the week

DDB, IPG and DM9. A curious alliance in the Philippines saw DDB Philippines’ media arm, Touch DDB, become Touch BPM after a deal was done with an IPG media agency. Questions were raised as to why the media agencies belonging to DDB’s parent company Omnicom, OMD and PHD, weren’t part of the venture, until we were reminded that Omnicom owns just three per cent of DDB Philippines Group. Its management team majority-owners are free to shop around. It also emerged that there had been a play by Dentsu to gain control of one of Asia’s hottest creative shops, DM9 JaymeSyfu, which is currently affiliated with DDB. But a deal did not materialise and DM9 is to stay within the DDB Philippines Group. President and CEO Gil Chua said: “DM9 is a DDB brand and will continue to stay with DDB.”

Quotes of the week

Deputy PM Tharman Shanmugaratnam's budget speech

Singapore’s budget speech

Priya Bala, regional director of recruitment firm Font, may have ruffled some features in her summation of the impact of Singapore’s budget announcement on the local creative industries:

Any encouragement and support to boost home-grown creative talent is crucial for the industry, in a society that traditionally produces less creative talent than their Western counterparts.

Non Sequitum Carne‘ commented on the story, in which Bala suggested it was getting more difficult to find top talent:

“In a tight labour market, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find and acquire creative talent.” Nonsense. Don’t know where they are looking. She should change that quote to: “In a tight labour market, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find and acquire creative talent – that will will work for shit money, so we have to get foreigners who don’t mind sharing a flat with 5 other guys from their country.

To which Mark Tan responded:

Or we stop hiring expensive foreign talents with no real creative insights and ideas for the market they are supposed to do work on, so they scam all the time? And who has let money go to their head and refuses to have a normal lifestyle with the normal citizens of the market he is hired for? That leaves more money to invest in local talent.

A comment on Mumbrella from ‘Michael’ next to Mark Yeow‘s opinion piece that wondered whether content marketing has become too myopic:

It is in popular culture and the huge number of stories we encounter everyday that content marketing needs to be benchmarking itself. It is also within popular culture where much content marketing and brand publishing can learn lessons in how to engage with audiences on a long-term, sustainable basis.

Time to ditch the marketing jargon and frames of reference and start looking at why audiences engage with certain stories (and indeed what formulas and techniques are used by the authors of such stories, and whether they can be replicated in brand content).

Best work

AIDS Concern. Interesting stunt by TBWA\Hong Kong to tackle the stigma of how HIV is spread.

Hyundai. Old cars destined for scrap heap turned into ‘Brilliant memories’ for nostalgic owners.

Nissan. Pizza delivered by snowboarders.

ASICS. “It’s a big world. Go run it.” Fairly epic, CGI-tastic.

Worst ad

Huawei. They might have overthought this one..

Huawei ad

Best-read story on Mumbrella Asia

Singapore clones prime minister

Good week for…

Venus Navalta


Interpublic Group. The company made a welcome return to Venus Navalta, a McCann veteran of 17 years who re-joined IPG as technical advisor.

Publicis Groupe. The holding company emerged on top of R3’s merger and acquisitions rankings, ahead of WPP.

Ogilvy. The agency emerged with the most finalists for the APAC Effies Awards.

Bing. Microsoft’s search engine got 84 per cent of its Oscar predictions right. The only ones it got wrong were best original screenplay, best animated feature, best original score, and best film editing.

Greenpeace. The green group brought banking group Santander to the negotiation table over the company’s bankrolling of deforestation activities by Singapore-headquartered pulp and paper firm APRIL. This unsettling video helped get more than 120,000 signatures of support.

Hindustan Lever. The company was awarded yet again for its idea to bring a mobile radio station to media dark parts of India, coming top of Warc’s top 100 ranking for the most awarded campaigns for strategy and effectiveness.

Bad week for…

The Independent. The British newspaper used Malaysia and Indonesia interchangeably in the same article about a backlash in Indonesia against Australian prime minister Tony Abbott. The paper seemed not to know the difference between the two countries. Meanwhile, the Financial Times may have come over as insensitive in Singapore with the headline: Singapore after Lee Kuan Yew: The legacy of its founder looms large as the former prime minister lies in intensive care suffering from pneumonia.

Leo Burnett. Another major departure, this time in Hong Kong. Connie Lo left the agency after 15 years.

Reuters journalist found deadReuters. The news organisation’s bureau chief for Pakistan and Afghanisation, Maria Golovnina, was found dead.

OCBC. The bank did not do much for its reputation for supporting local sport after pulling its sponsorship of Singapore’s Continental Cycling Team.

Prediction for next week

Could yet another independent agency be closing in Singapore?


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing