Mumbrella Asia is six: Our best year yet

Mumbrella Asia is now celebrating its sixth birthday, so with that in mind general manager Dean Carroll looks back at the many highs and a few lows of the last 12 months – in what has, seen in the round, been the brand’s best year yet

The 2018 Mumbrella Asia Awards


Well, where to start? This week marks Mumbrella’s sixth year in Asia. For a challenger brand (in this part of the world at least) intent on doing things differently, that sort of birthday is no mean feat.

Of course, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing in the last year. We lost a young editor in Eleanor Dickinson when her employment pass wasn’t renewed in Singapore and she subsequently moved to Australia. However, we then found a very experienced editor in Ravi Balakrishnan. He joined us after deciding to leave the editor’s seat at Brand Equity over in India.

At the same time, we have adjusted to life under new owners. Mumbrella was acquired by Diversified Communications at the end of 2017. To be fair, it has been a painless transition and gives us the critical mass and stability to continue on our growth path here in Singapore. So all is well.

Talking of growth, the last 12 months has produced some major triumphs. For starters, we won two awards at the Asia Pacific Publishing Awards in Singapore – for ‘News Media of the Year’ and ‘Trade Media of the Year’.

Meanwhile, our newsletter database has grown from 15,000 to 23,000. On top of that, our website traffic has also seen a significant shot in the arm with the number of pageviews growing by nearly 20% year-on-year and the number of unique users jumping by 15%. This meant we scored more than 2.16 million pageviews, up from 1.8 million in the previous 12 months.


The most-read stories of the year included the unfortunate incident of senior creative Stuart Mills being involved in a fracas with a security guard and our analysis on the Trump-Kim Summit looking at the media boost the Lion City received.

There too was Nick Foley’s excellent opinion piece on Singapore Airlines missing the branding opportunity of a lifetime by not featuring in the blockbuster movie Crazy Rich Asians. And the criticism of influencers by Facebook’s Neil Stewart, at our Travel Marketing Summit, also got a well-deserved traffic spike.

Big-name interviews with the likes of adland legend Sir John Hegarty and Ogilvy global CEO John Seifert drew favourable traffic and comments too, proving that Mumbrella is right to mix long-form content in with the daily news, opinion pieces and Dr Mumbo columns.

Indeed, Dr M’s satirical piece on the fired Ogilvy chief creative officer Tham Khai Meng also attracted a lot of eyeballs and comments, even though it wasn’t exactly a textbook Mumbo.

But that’s not all. Our annual Mumbrella Asia Awards saw 40% growth in terms of the number of entries. It was gratifying to see. Industry leaders are finally starting to recognise the value in our robust live-judging process – where those shortlisted present live to the jurors and take questions about the work – and large esteemed jury across the 30 categories (nearly 200 mainly client-side marketers).

Almost exactly a year ago, as mentioned earlier, we hosted our first Travel Marketing Summit in Singapore. It was a big success, achieving all four pillars that I look for when we host an event. They are: great content; a large and credible audience; great sponsors; profitability.

In fact, so happy were we with the results that we are doing it all again in two weeks time with this year’s Travel Marketing Summit – so do buy your tickets here and come along.

The final piece of the jigsaw that we addressed over the last 12 months though was the comment thread. We now take a zero tolerance approach to moderation, so wherever our community guidelines are not met you should see the redacted text appearing as “[Edited under Mumbrella’s community guidelines]”. It may not be popular with everyone, but it has for sure elevated the debate.

One man’s troll may well be another man’s truth teller, but we have to enforce the fundamentals of moderation so that Mumbrella is not weaponised by those with ulterior motives beyond reasoned discussion. Sorry to the readers that disagree out there and call it censorship, but that’s the way it has to be.

On a more positive note though, seen in the round, the last 12 months has most definitely been our best year yet.

You can also read about our progress in previous years in the annual health checks below:

Mumbrella’s first birthday: how are we doing?

Mumbrella Asia turns two. We’ve doubled our audience and are still growing

Mumbrella Asia is three. We’ve told you what we’re against; Now we’ll tell you what we’re for

Mumbrella Asia is four: Momentum, mobility and our next mountain

Mumbrella Asia is five: A hell of a year

And so to scanning the year ahead for us. As well as travel in May, we will be doing another one-day marketing summit in August (the vertical in question will be announced soon) plus our annual awards show again in November.

Actually, the awards ceremony will be in the same week (November 5 to 7) as our large-scale Mumbrella360 Asia conference. With its five streams, 70 sessions and 150 speakers across three days it will be the centre of gravity for us in the coming months.

Last time we ran 360 back in November 2017, we got some great submissions. So with the ‘call for sessions’ now open, please put forward your ideas for sessions and speakers. You can do so through the event portal here until July 2.

Finally, at this juncture, it’s worth looking at the state of the industry. So much changes in the space of 12 months it appears, including our gaze and priorities. A year ago, the Cambridge Analytica scandal and GDPR were on people’s minds. As were the topics of Sir Martin Sorrell’s successor at WPP and the many brands holding global account reviews.

For the year ahead, it seems that much of the focus will be on the new agency model post the Accenture Interactive buy up of Droga5 and the launch of Sorrell’s alternative to the holding companies in S4 Capital.

Then there is the privacy and advertising surveillance issue to investigate further, not to mention the debate on the future of brand-building and the rise of Chinese ecommerce platforms with the likes of Lazada coming to the fore.

One thing you can be sure of is that Mumbrella will be there to document it all for you and, hopefully, offer some compelling news and views along the way.

So here’s to more of the same and a great year ahead for us all. To be continued – 12 months from now. Thanks in advance for your support as we go into the next decade.


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