The week in review: Are universities failing the marketing industry? | Singtel shifts media | Mean Mother’s Day stunt backfires | Ad scam finds new home in Singapore | PETA slams Indian ad for violence against fake shark | True Move’s tear-jerker ad

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

David TangThe biggest piece of news was probably Havas Media winning a media pitch for one of Singapore’s largest advertisers, Singtel, from MEC – an agency not enjoying the best of times. But the most talked about was the calibre of students that are being fed by universities into the marketing industry in Singapore. “Frankly, the guys running the curriculum are out of touch with practitioners in this industry,” said David Tang, the vice chair of DDB Asia and the boss of DDB Singapore said at Mumbrella Question Time. Tang’s views, echoed by his fellow panelists, polarised opinion in the comment thread of Mumbrella’s story. “No agency today takes the time to mentor new entrants in any discipline whatsoever,” wrote one reader. “They just get thrown in to the deep end and issued orders.”

Quotes of the week

A tongue-in-cheek version of Singtel’s advertising slogan emerged after the biggest media pitch of the year:

Let’s make everymedium cheaper

Persil ad in Tabla! magazine

A debate emerged on scam ads – work created purely to win awards – after Mumbrella suggested that a community magazine for Indian expats had become the new home for awards work in Singapore.

You have no idea just how much pressure the local creatives, CDs, ECDs and CCOs are under to win awards. The regional and global heads just assign targets for each office to win, from the security of their highly paid positions. If the local underlings don’t win in 2015, there’s no 2016 for them. Once it was an ego thing. Now its survival.

Another reader, called ‘Be kind to dumb animals‘, also waded in on the scam debate:

Spinal atrophy isn’t restricted to creatives. It’s fairly distributed across all departments in most network agencies. Planners who knowingly fudge numbers to make case studies sound legit and post rationalise objectives to fit the work. Producers who beg and lie to production houses to produce scam ads and make entry videos. Suits who sell their principles to get clients to ‘approve’ the scams. Media folks who find cheap and free media.
Agency heads who pretend all this isn’t happening under their roof. It’s amazing any real work is done between March to June.

Sonya Madeira, boss of PR agency Rice Communications, said during a session at Mumbrella Question Time on ethnicity bias in the industry:

Sometimes we hear subtle hints from the client side, which are more ethnicity related. They say: ‘It might be better to have a Chinese person on this account.’

Michael Chu, marketing boss of the South China Morning Post, on why the Hong Kong English-language broadsheet launched an international edition:

What we had to ask ourselves was, do you want to continue investing heavily in our local readership and local coverage to compete against our local competitors – all 13 of them.

Best work

True Move. Another beautifully emotive ad from Thailand. Giving is the best form of communication.

Samsung. Clever idea to help people with Alzheimer’s recognise their loved ones by BBDO Thailand, released just in time for Cannes.

Lipton. Lipton’s 3-in-1 instant tea is compared to Teh Tarik, the hot milk tea served in kopi tiams in Malaysia.

Pink Dot SG. This year’s video to support the upcoming LGBT rights rally in Singapore.

B Natural. A stoic, emotionless palace guard is inspired to smile for the first time after tasting the juice drink.

Best-read story on Mumbrella

Marketers to Singapore’s universities: Your teachers are out of touch with the real world

Good week for…

Press freedom in Hong Kong. Tom Grundy, one of the most high profile journalists who covered the Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong, announced the launch of Hong Kong Free Press, an independent online news service that promises to counteract the decline in press freedom in the territory. The site is promoted as the only news outlet in Hong Kong with an encrypted channel for whistle-blowers.

MySQUAR. Myanmar’s homegrown social network is to float on the London Stock Exchange as it looks to raise more capital for expansion. MySQUAR’s chat app MyChat has raced to 655,000 users.

Digital agencies in Southeast Asia. Korean digital group Yello Digital Marketing announced plans to open an office in Singapore this year, and says it plans to acquire at least 20 marketing companies in APAC in the coming 12 months.

Michael Lisboa. The American, left Dentsu Mobius after a short stint last year, emerged at a new digital venture launched by Havas Worldwide.

Google. The internet giant is twice the size of the second largest media owner in the world by media revenue, according a study by Zenith Optimedia.

TV. A study by the owner of Cartoon Network found that kids in Southeast Asia still prefer television over any other form of medium.

Bad week for…

Amos Yee. The 16 year-old blogger who posted a video critical of the late Lee Kuan Yew, was found guilt of making offensive remarks about Christians and for circulating “obscene imagery”. He has taken down the post.

Amos Yee

Malaysia Airlines. After calling a pitch and involving 15 agencies in the process, the 4As asked the troubled airline to pay competing agencies a pitch fee, according to a report by Marketing.

The Methodology Works. The three year-old Singapore-based agency closed the doors of its Hong Kong operation and let all of its staff go.

Rupa Knitwear. Animal rights group PETA complained that this ad featuring Ranveer Singh was outrageous for depicting violence towards a fake shark.

MYTV. The Cambodian TV station caused uproar in social media when it played a Mother’s Day prank on teen singer Autumn Allen. Instead of reuniting the teenager with her mother on live television, as it had said it would, MYTV brought on to stage a man dressed in women’s clothing. The reveal comes nine minutes into this video.


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