The week in review: Why Ogilvy’s ‘Mums and maids’ campaign isn’t ‘everyone’s cup of tea’ | Lim Sau Hoong steps back from Bates | Winner of Paragon pitch ‘farce’ | Indies shine on Mumbrella Asia Awards shortlist | Madison swoops for ex-Maxus global CEO | Fairprice shortlist shoot-out

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

lim sau hongBates CHI & Partners loosened ties with the creative hot shop it acquired seven years ago, Singapore’s 10AM Communications, which Sir Martin Sorrell described in 2008 as a “creative jewell”. 10AM’s founder Lim Sau Hoong, one of Singapore’s most prominent creative figures, is to step back from the Bates relationship with the rest of her team. Bates boss David Mayo said: “We have been discussing together for some time that in line with our current plan, we have decided to pull back our operations at 10am as a regular communications company as it evolves into a different, project-led business model, focussed on a select few clients and projects.”

Quotes of the week

The spiciest comments of the week came around Ogilvy‘s campaign for a charity that encourages Singaporeans with domestic helpers to give them the day off.

Poster ‘Shame on us all’ said:

The only objective here is to win an award. Worthy as it is, giving maids their day off is just the cause of the moment. If it wins, there will be more such entries. If not, it’s back to land mines, Japanese war crimes and mental illness… If the agency is so passionate about giving maids their day off, how about practising it and let their staff take theirs instead of making them churn out award entries even on weekends.

‘Liz’ wrote:

Patronising, disrespectful ad that shames mothers, conveniently leaves out the fathers from parental responsibility and worst of all, has no real insight at all into root cause of domestic workers’ issues.
This isn’t just “not everyone’s cup of tea”, Ogilvy. It is downright offensive.

But ‘Michael’ was more philosophical.

Of course Ogilvy are approaching this from a cynical (i.e. awards season) but that is nothing new for Ogilvy (see last year’s migrant workers and Coke video). Let’s face it, that is what agencies do. No-one ever joined an ad agency to make the world a better place.

Another wrote, in defence of Ogilvy:

I don’t see any shaming here. Don’t be overly sensitive. And don’t be such jealous pricks to shoot down a good idea.

Best work

Quiksilver. How to encourage Japan’s overworked men to play more? Why, make a suit that can be worn surfing, of course.

Ben & Jerry’s. The Unilever-owned ice cream maker parodies the classic 1984 ad for Apple.

Best-read story on Mumbrella

Ogilvy Singapore’s ‘Mums and maids’ campaign criticised for ‘shaming women’ and using social issue for PR

Good week for…

Havas. The French agency group’s ad and media agency brands got through to the final round of a pitch for NTUC Fairprice. Havas first won the business in 2008, then again in 2013.

Coconuts. Having only launched in 2013, the fast-growing city news site has set its sights on India and inked a deal with Rightster to monetise its video content on Coconuts TV.

Neighbor. The local agency won one of the most controversial pitches of last year in Singapore. It was appointed to handle rebranding work for Singapore Press Holdings-owned luxury mall Paragon after a pitch that is understood to have involved nine agencies.

Madison World. One of India’s most successful media agencies swooped for the former global CEO of Maxus, Vikram Sakhuja, who joined as group CEO.

Independent agencies. Indies shone on the Mumbrella Asia Awards shortlist.

Lewis PR. The public relations agency raised $27m through a HSBC bank loan that it plans to use to expand in India and China. The agency says it wants to buy a digital agency in Asia.

Richard Curtis. The Australia boss of FutureBrand was handed an expanded role running Southeast Asia too.

Subbaraju Alluri. The Singapore boss of ad agency Grey was promoted to lead both the Singapore and Thai offices as area director and CEO.

Accelerate Advertising. The German agency was re-appointed to handle regional marketing for Porsche.

Bad week for…

Singtel. Its network went down in Singapore. When the telco took to social media to inform its customers, it prompted outrage from people wondering how they were supposed to keep informed through social media without access to the internet.

Ogilvy. The agency’s campaign for charity IGiveADayOff.org drew attention to an important issue – maids in Singapore often not given a day off entitled to them by law. But the agency was accused of shaming women and using a social issue to get recognition.

Ikea Singapore. One of the city-state’s most creative advertisers did not enjoy a good week on the PR front after a gay rights group attacked its support of a pastor’s magic show. Ikea’s membership programme, Ikea Family, is one of the supporters of pastor-magician Lawrence Khong, who is known for his homophobic views.


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