The week in review: Singapore falls below Russia in press freedom index | Dave McCaughan leaves McCann after 28 years | Omnicom results outshine Publicis Groupe | Matt Harty joins The Trade Desk | Reuters TV goes live | Stuff Singapore cuts print frequency

Mumbrella Asia logoIn a week in which most Asian countries tumbled in a global press freedom ranking, Leo Burnett Singapore parted ways with its MD but brought back a former creative director, a brewer put the world’s first virtual wine store in a Hong Kong train station, a public service announcement in Singapore warned of bad behaviour being exposed on social media, and McCann parted ways with Dave McCaughan after 28 years of service.

Stories of the week

A lot of change at Leo Burnett’s Singapore office. Chris Chiu, the creative director who quit three years ago to do his own thing is coming back to steady a creative department that has seen three creative directors come and go in as many years, and the MD, Josh Grace, who joined just over two year ago is leaving.

Dave McCaughanIt was an end of era at McCann, which parted ways with Hong Kong managing director and regional head of research Dave McCaughan after three decades of service. His departure comes a few weeks after McCann Hong Kong was rebranded to McCann & Spencer to reflect the importance of outspoken CEO and creative chief Spencer Wong.

And Reporters without Borders released it annual press freedom rankings. It was a horrible period for APAC, with fourteen countries falling and only seven climbing the table. Unsurprisingly, Singapore’s Straits Times has not published the ranking in which the citystate falls below Russia into 153rd spot, and has not responded to Mumbrella’s questions on whether it will. But did run a press release about a ranking of the countries in Asia that say ‘I love you’ the most on Twitter. Singapore ranked second in the McCann study.

Quotes of the week



Pitch doctor Darren Woolley tweeted an article on Skift this week that featured an interview with the CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group. Mumbrella picked on a line from the Q&A where Richard Solomons said: “as a supplier you have to be very clear what your brand stands for,” as the hotel chain is one of the few major groups that continues to court negative PR by serving sharks fin. Woolley responded:

Know your audience segment and stay true to the brand attributes that keep them coming back – even if it means species genocide.

Parry Singh, one of the regional heads of Twitter, was modest in his appraisal of his employer’s role in the world at Campaign Asia’s Media360 conference in Hong Kong.

We are creating the biggest archive of human thought ever made by mankind.

In a piece on Mumbrella about the brands that Asia would vote for if they could for election, Tue Nguyen, the boss of Bates CHI & Partners Vietnam, chose Vingroup. But he also picked out its weak points:

Tries to do everything in-house. It’s not particularly transparent and there are rumours of dubious underground connections – but then this is not unusual in Vietnam.

Best work

Lifebuoy. BBH made red packet envelopes from anti-bacterial soap.

BBH red packets

Singapore Kindness Movement. The latest series of Awkward Ah Seng, featuring the hapless but well meaning protagonist in a fresh push to encourage Singaporeans to be better behaved.

Cellarmaster Wines. The world’s first virtual pop-up wine store in a train station, apparently. In Hong Kong’s busy shopping district Tsim Sha Tsui.

Cellarmaster Wines

Bank Simpanan Nasional. Ad agency Lowe created a series of print ads that can be made into goat-themed origami money boxes to encourage Malaysians to save their money around Chinese New Year.

Malaysian bank

The Economist. A nice time for famous newspaper to run this caption competition on its Instagram page, as Fifty Shades of Grey is about to debut in cinemas globally.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 10.40.48 pm

Worst ad

SMRT. As someone mentioned on Twitter on Monday, this is what can happen when a media owner doesn’t use an ad agency.


Best-read story on Mumbrella Asia:

KFC moves Singapore creative from Ren Partnership to Ogilvy

Good week for…

James Hawkins. The highly rated boss of Dentsu Mobius was given responsibility for Dentsu Aegis Network’s digital agencies in South and Southeast Asia, a move the agency denied was happening at the end of last year.

Matt Harty. The well liked Australian ad tech specialist landed a role as APAC SVP at The Trade Desk, moving on from Experian after a brief stint.

AP. Launched a service to offer publishers simultaneous streaming of news events.

Omnicom and Publicis Groupe. Both groups, which came close to a merger last year, posted sound results – but Omnicom’s were better. Net income passed the $1 billion mark, up 11 per cent to $1.1 billion in the latest figures. Publicis Groupe grew by 3.2 per cent.

Publicis Groupe earnings by geography

Publicis Groupe earnings by geography

Thompson Reuters. Reuter TV went live. One of the main features is that the length of a news show can be varied, from five to 30 minutes.

Leo Burnett Singapore. It emerged that Chris Chiu, a long serving Leo Burnett creative who left the agency to do his own thing three years ago, would be coming back. MD Josh Grace is to leave the agency, which has been going through a rough patch.

The Economist chartBrand India. In the tussle of the elephant and the dragon, India looks the stronger future bet with China, according to figures from The Economist.

Bad week for…

Press freedom in Asia. The region slide as a whole in the Reporters without Borders rankings; 14 countries fell, only seven rose and four did not move. Hong Kong, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and Nepal fell heavily in a period in which press freedom is in “drastic decline”.

Haymarket. The publisher cut the frequency of gadgets magazine Stuff Singapore from monthly to bi-monthly.

Malaysia's newspapersBrand Malaysia. After a torrid 12 months, with two planes crashing and one being shot down, the decision to throw an opposition leader in jail on sodomy charges did not look good on the front pages of Malaysia’s pro-government newspapers.

Singapore Airlines. The once seemingly invincible airline’s balance sheet was flattered revenue from the Tiger Airways acquisition. SIA posted an $88 million loss and a five per cent drop in profit.

Prediction for next week

A pitch for a luxury car brand is revealed in Singapore.


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