The year in review: Mumbrella Asia’s best opinion pieces of 2017

From programmatic advertising to sexist ads to influencer marketing, it was another year of robust debate in the industry. Here, Mumbrella selects some of the best opinion pieces of 2017

The industry has lost its way: It’s time all of us in adland stood up for what is right


From producing sub-standard work to ad fraud to staff exploitation, ad land is in a poor state, argued Tobias Wilson, the chairman of IAB and CEO of APD.

“We’re fuelled by a quick win, blinded by shortsightedness, driven by money and we’re screaming towards the end of our business as we know it, happily. WTF happened to us?”

Tobias Wilson Mumbrella Asia Travel Marketing Summit

Let’s be honest and admit that most of us marketers are Model T Ford drivers in a 747 cockpit

Radium One APAC marketing boss Jodie Koning discussed her transition from brand marketing to the martech industry – and candidly admitted ‘traditional’ marketers, herself included, just haven’t kept up with the rapid pace of change.

From agency, to ad exchange, to publisher – every link in the programmatic chain is broken

Dodgy ads, baffled clients, impoverished publishers and an industry-wide existential crisis. Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes painted a grim picture and argued the promise of programmatic advertising is dead.

PR industry short of talent because interns are ‘exploited by agencies’ rather than nurtured

Many Singapore agencies treat young talent as a cost-saving measure rather than the industry leaders of tomorrow, according to Joseph Barratt, chief executive of Singapore public relations agency Mutant Communications.

“It’s strange, isn’t it?”, he wrote. “Our industry is constantly complaining that good talent is hard to find, yet we seem to have no problem treating potential talent like shit and scaring away would-be superstars in droves.”

Global CEOs and ECDs should all be based in Asia, not the West

Asia is the land of opportunity at a time when things are stagnating in the West, yet brands and agencies are just not seeing it, argued MullenLowe Profero’s Wayne Arnold.

It’s time to put an end to Singapore’s sexist and cringeworthy ads

Meera Jane Navaratnam, the co-leader of creative women’s network SheSays Singapore, said the state should follow the UK and clamp down on sexist ads.

“As a Singaporean, I fail to understand why the advertising that permeates this country fails to address the changing needs and beliefs of the local audience,” she argued.

Face it: Consumers are not interested in engaging with brands on social media

In one of several entertaining and frank opinions penned by shrinking violet Bob Hoffman during 2017, he said the idea that social media chatter is the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of consumer interest in brands is yet another marketing delusion.

Advertising has become bland, designed only to please the client

Whether it’s a car, a perfume, a washing powder or a beer – all advertising ends up looking like all other advertising, suggested another shy and retiring type, Dave Trott.

He argued the industry has trained a generation of experts in making everything bland.

The dysfunctional influencer bubble: No transparency and no authenticity

Mumbrella Asia editor Eleanor Dickinson took influencers to task with a scathing examination of the marketing channel and concluded that brands still clinging to the medium are sadly deluding themselves.

There are too many agencies in Singapore – and clients are exploiting them

Happy Marketer’s Prantik Mazumdar took issue with the pitch process, and explained how clients are taking advantage of the sheer number of agencies in Singapore.

Far from the oft-cited analogy that client-agency relationships are like a marriage, he wrote the market is myopic, promiscuous and polygamous.


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