Opinion

The week in review: Stephen Li joins OMD | Singapore anti-gambling viral wins another gong | Media agency hunts for Asia’s top startups | Straits Times accused of misrepresenting Amos Yee’s mother | 3 great Indian TV ads | Singapore blog slapped with sedition charges

Mumbrella Asia’s weekly round up of the top stories, the best work, the most memorable quotes, who had a good week, and who had a week to forget.

Story of the week

Stephen LiStephen Li leaves MEC to join OMD. After four years running GroupM agency MEC, Li was tempted to move to Omnicom rival OMD – in the same week that news emerged that MEC’s flagship client Singapore Airlines is calling a global media review. OMD’s incumbent boss Steve Blakeman, a strategist by trade, is returning home to the UK after a decade in the region to a role in London running a global client. Blakeman’s departure comes two years to the month that another Brit, Barry Cupples, the former APAC CEO of Omnicom Media Group, moved back to the UK to global investment role in London for OMG.

Quotes of the week

Steve Blakeman looked back at a decade in Asia as he prepares to leave his role as APAC CEO of OMD to move back to the UK:

I’ve seen China grow into a communications power house, Australia take on the world in terms of creativity and APAC as a whole begin to lead conversations rather than simply follow them.

In a Q&A interview with Mumbrella, A. K. Han, the boss of Haw Par Corporation, which makes Tiger Balm, was asked if he often gets asked if there are real tigers in the famous ‘Works where it hurts’ ointment. He said yes, and that he always answers:

If we did use tigers, you could not afford it.

In a Q&A on how agencies should tackle sexual harassment at work, Lowe India’s HR director Michelle Suradkar warned of a possible consequences of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act.

Companies will need to ensure that a fear of this law does not make managers resistant to hiring women.

In an opinion piece on Amazon’s Dash Button – a wi-fi enabled ordering device for a selected set of Amazon partners – Eaon Pritchard wrote:

People will never love their soap powder brand, but will be inclined to repeat purchase out of habit providing nothing else gets in the way.

In the comment thread on Pritchard’s Dash Button piece, Rob Campbell commented:

I think brands will eventually see it [Dash Button] far more as a brilliant way to drive distribution efficiencies and protect marketshare than necessarily creating – or growing – brand appeal or value. Mind you, as a marketing tool for Amazon – it’s bloody brilliant and could well be the idea of the decade. But then I heard people say that about QR codes.

Best work

Amazon India. The online retailer Amazon playfully touched on the increasing demands of the Indian consumer.

McDonald’s India. Put down your mobile phones and get into a McDonald’s restaurant.

HSBC. Hong Kong’s captains of industry feature in a 150th birthday commercial for the banking giant.

Levi’s. Hong Kong actor Shawn Yue and Chinese pop star Ai Fei tell China to “Look hot, keep cool” this summer.

Indian Head Injury Foundation. What Gods wear before they ride

Hyundai. The Korean carmaker Hyundai entered the Guinness Book of Records by creating a message that can be seen from space, crafted in the desert sand by a fleet of 11 Hyundai Genesis sedans.

Joy Malaysia. As the dishwashing brand cleans “in just one wash” it gives consumers more time for the thing that matter most in life.


Strip. More than 2,000 razors were inserted into a billboard to help a waxing parlour show that, unlike some of its rivals, it never uses the same razor twice.

Strip campaign

Best-read story on Mumbrella

Singaporeans invited to re-enact molestation, mugging and caning in Singapore Police social media photo contest

Good week for…

DDB. The agency that founded the Singapore Effies more than a decade ago, and has dominated the ad effectiveness show ever since, looks likely to be named agency of the year yet again after picking up eight finalist nominations. The next most shortlisted agency had half as many finalists.

Vizeum. The media agency launched a search for the best startups in Asia to help meet the business challenges of it clients

IPG Mediabrands. The media agency unveiled Valli Lakshmanan as its APAC head of digital.

I hope Germany will winNational Council on Problem Gambling. The creator of ‘I hope Germany will win’ viral was named Singapore’s favourite TV ad.

Fremantle Media. The production company signed a deal with Shanghai Media Group to produce television formats for the Chinese and global markets.

Bad week for…

MEC. The media agency faces a global review for its Singapore Airlines account.

The Straits Times. Independent news website The Online Citizen called out the ST for suggesting that the mother of Amos Yee, the YouTube blogger detained for posting a video critical of late prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, filed a police report to have him arrested. Yee’s mother told TOC that she had been taken out of context.

The Real Singapore. The couple behind the socio-political website were arrested for publishing articles deemed to be seditious.

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