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JWT-aligned Always acquires Malaysian brand activation agency ePromode

L-rl: Cai Hua, CEO Always Marketing, Jess Kwan, MD, ePromode, Lee Tse Liang, regional MD Always Marketing, Patrick Goh, COO ePromode

L-rl: Cai Hua, CEO Always, Jess Kwan, MD, ePromode, Lee Tse Liang, regional MD Always, Patrick Goh, COO ePromode

JWT-owned China marketing agency Always has acquired Malaysian brand activation agency ePromode, a 16 year-old company with clients including Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, Sony Mobile and Yeo’s.

The acquisition comes some months after Always set up a regional HQ in Singapore.

The announcement from WPP:

KUALA LUMPUR, June 6, 2016_ Always Marketing Services has agreed to acquire ePromode Sdn Bhd., one of Malaysia’s largest brand activation agencies.

ePromode specializes in on-the- ground brand activations, both in and out of store, as well as events and product roadshows. The company, which was founded in 2000 by industry veteran Jess Kwan, has 14 offices nationwide and works with over 2,000 in-store promoters. Clients include Nestle, Permanis (ETIKA), Johnson & Johnson, Sony Mobile, Campbell, Reckitt Benckiser and Yeo’s.

Always, which is majority-owned by J. Walter Thompson and headquartered in Shanghai, offers strategy and execution expertise in the Shopper, Retail, Field and Channel Marketing space. Services include merchandiser management and retail audit; retail marketing, including promoter management, in-store activation and retail environment designs; as well as shopper marketing, including point of sale design, events and road shows. Always, which acquired Shanghai e-Gift in 2014, also offers gift and premium design and production.

“I am very pleased to have Malaysia’s leading field activation agency, ePromode, joining the Always Group. We will continue to expand our field marketing and activation solutions to our clients across Asia, ”said Cai Hua, Founder and Chairman of Always Group.

Always set up a regional hub in Singapore in 2015. The acquisition of ePromode will establish Always’ presence in Malaysia, and mark a new milestone in the company’s Southeast Asia expansion plan.

“With ePromode joining the Always family, we are now able to offer our global clients best-in- class activation and execution capabilities in Malaysia,” said Lee Tse Liang, Always Regional Managing Director, Southeast Asia.

Kwan, together with ePromode partner and shareholder Patrick Goh, will stay on as co-Managing Directors of the company, which will be renamed Always ePromode.

“ePromode does more than getting consumers to notice product – we turn shoppers into consumers. Our company combines the latest retail technologies with in-store marketing services that help the brands and business partners we work with make truly personal contact with consumers,” said Ms. Kwan. “We look forward to bringing our services to the next level in partnership with Always and the J. Walter Thompson network.”

“As Always spreads its footprint across Southeast Asia, the synergies between JWT and ePromode are fundamental in a market like Malaysia.   This is a market where companies really value integration of ideas and on-the- ground execution. We are thrilled to have ePromode join the J. Walter Thompson group,” said J. Walter Thompson Asia Pacific CEO Tom Doctoroff.

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