Mumbrella360 Asia ‘Tech Stage’ sessions revealed – iflix, Dentsu X, Wunderman Thompson and more

A session at Mumbrella360 Asia in 2017

Technology trends including ad-based streaming platforms, conversational AI, the next phase for programmatic, a new model for the internet and maximising your mobile advertising will be among the topics discussed at the Mumbrella360 Asia conference in Singapore this November.

The three-day media and marketing conference will return on November 5 to 7 at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre. Following the industry ‘call for submissions’, a number of key themes have emerged and the third stream of content to be revealed is the ‘Tech Stage’.

First up is the session titled ‘TV is dead. Long live TV. Ad-based Video on Demand and the case of iflix’. Linear television might be dead, but TV via streaming platforms is on a rapid rise. But how do you generate revenue from TV in this new landscape?

For the emerging markets-focused platform iflix, the answer is not viewer subscriptions in isolation, but also advertising via a ‘freemium’ model. The company says that, in fact, the data-rich nature of streaming has made it possible to personalise ads and run successful native campaigns. 

In this session, you will hear from the iflix co-founder and group CEO himself – one Mark Britt. He started the company back in 2014 and prior to that worked for the likes of Microsoft and Nine. 

He is now based at the firm’s headquarters in Malaysia, but has also worked in his native Australia. 

Britt believes in ad-funded streaming platforms

Next up is the session titled ‘Strategies to Beat Shady Programmatic Practices’. Some estimates suggest that programmatic ad buying in the Asia-Pacific region will grow from 19% of total digital spend in 2017, to more than 36% in 2020 – going past the $7 billion mark. 

But while programmatic is an efficient way to buy ad inventory, it is also plagued by fraud and fakery. Indeed, critics say that not only is there a lack of transparency and a risk of brand safety issues, but there are also hidden fees, excessive intermediaries and a number of shady practices. 

These include auction manipulation and inventory reselling. Then there are inefficiencies in dealing with multiple platforms, clunky workflows and zombie deals.

As programmatic continues its unstoppable growth, these issues need to be addressed. So how do you beat the shady practices and deliver programmatic that is targeted, brand safe and transparent?

Here to give you the answers will be an expert panel. Onboard are Singapore Media Exchange CEO Hari Shankar – who runs the programmatic joint marketplace for Singapore Press Holdings and Mediacorp and prior to that worked for Havas, Mindshare and PayPal – and AnyMind Group director of strategic initiatives Vivek Misra. He previously held roles with Accenture, DBS and Nokia – and is a programmatic committee member at the IAB South East Asia + India.

Also joining them will be Integral Ad Science Asia-Pacific marketing director Felicia Li-Gaillard – someone who has worked in France, China and Singapore with companies including Publicis and Jack Morton Worldwide – plus SpotX Asia managing director Gavin Buxton. He has previously worked for LinkedIn, Microsoft and Time Warner.

Li-Gaillard from IAS will tell you how to do programmatic better

Completing the panel will be Iponweb APAC general manager Ryan Pestano, who also worked for Microsoft previously as well as Amobee and WPP.

Moderating this session will be the Mumbrella Asia editor Ravi Balakrishnan. He has covered the marketing, advertising and media industry for over two decades and was previously at Brand Equity in India before joining Mumbrella in 2018.

This is followed by the session titled ‘Martech: White Canvas or Black Mirror?’ Technology can be both hero and villain. It can be a white canvas for creativity or a black mirror creating dysfunction and dystopia in equal measure.

What does this paradox means for the world of marketing? Is technology too dominant? Can technology ever become creative? Will the human mind always trump tech when it comes to imagination?

In the context of data, programmatic, innovation and creativity – this session will see Dentsu X Singapore executive creative director João Flores map out his vision of where things are and where they are going next. Don’t miss his unique view on the industry.

Flores of Dentsu X will contemplate the black mirror

Then we have the session titled ‘Internet 5.0 – Moving beyond the Ad-Funded Internet’. Some commentators have suggested that we will soon move beyond an ad-funded internet to a new model entirely defined by ‘big tech’ players such as Google and Facebook.

To date, the Western ad-funded model for the internet has seen the consumer as the product – bombarded with advertising based on their data and habits in exchange for free access to content. This has led to click-bait and filter bubbles. 

The alternative model, which seems to be coming to the fore in the East – particularly in China, is one where consumers pay for content behind centralised paywalls. It is the consumer-funded internet.

Can either model exist on its own? Do we risk creating a world in which ads become a tax on those people too poor to pay for the services they need?

Answering these questions and more will be Wunderman Thompson Asia-Pacific chief strategy and transformation officer Justin Peyton. He was previously with Digitas and Pangea Pictures.

Then there is a session titled ‘Conversational Artificial Intelligence – The next Big Thing?’ Some say artificial intelligence is overhyped, others say we are on the verge of an AI-ruled media and marketing landscape. 

In this session, you will learn what AI and machine learning can achieve at its transformational best. Hong-Kong based Prophet partner Jacqueline Alexis Thng will explore how intelligent tech has the capacity to change almost everything we do as industry professionals and what benefits brands can enjoy from this brave new world. 

Thng will get into conversational AI

Joining her to highlight a specific brand case study will be AXA chief marketing and customer officer for Hong Kong Andrea Wong. The pair will take the audience through the insurance company’s journey in the AI space.

Thng has more than 20 years of experience and has worked with top brands including Coke, Malaysia Airlines, Shangri-La Hotels and Procter & Gamble. 

Wong, meanwhile, has been with AXA since 2002. Before that she worked for KPMG and CitiBank.

The final session of the day on the Tech Stage is titled ‘The ‘First Second’ – Mobile Ad Strategies’. The session will explore the Mobile Marketing Association’s Cognition Neuroscience Research Project, which was conducted to understand how consumers process information in a mobile environment.

Evidence from the study has revealed that the human brain needs only 400 milliseconds to engage with mobile advertising and trigger an imprint – either positive or negative. Essentially, by the time a consumer blinks, his or her brain has already seen and processed a mobile ad.

How does this fit with the traditional marketer’s mindset, which has been trained to think that 30-second creative is the answer to consumer engagement? In short, it doesn’t. Therefore, brands and agencies need to develop a ‘first second’ strategy.

Find out how from the Mobile Marketing Association Asia-Pacific managing director Rohit Dadwal. He has been with the MMA for more than 10 years. Prior to joining, he worked for Microsoft.

Dadwal says ads have less than a second

Over on the ‘Evolution Stage’, there will be a session on ‘Mental Health – The Marketing Industry’s Undiscussable Problem’. Marketing is said to be one of the most stressful industries there is, with staff under immense pressure – due to the long hours, tight deadlines and pressure to deliver for clients.

Therefore, mental health and depression is a very real issue that never gets discussed. This is an opportunity for that discussion to take place.

In this candid panel discussion you will hear from those with strong views on the issue.

Among them are the Wunderman Thompson Asia-Pacific CEO Annette Male – formerly of Digitas, TBWA and Mars. Joining her will be the Philippines CEO at Havas Jos Ortega, as well as Publicis Sapient APAC managing director Emma Scales and Edelman’s Australia chief client and operations officer Kate Ferguson.

Ferguson is part of the ‘Mentally Healthy Change Group’, a collection of leaders from across the Australian media, marketing and creative industries focused on smashing the stigma of mental health.

Dr Yang of Mind What Matters

Clinical psychologist Dr Joel Yang will also join the panel. He works as part of the Mind What Matters consultancy practice in Singapore. He completed his training in Australia and is a full member of the Singapore Psychological Society. He has practised in both hospital and community-based mental health settings in Sydney, Queensland, and in Singapore since 2006.

Moderating this session will be the Mumbrella co-founder and content director Tim Burrowes. He has written about media and marketing in Australia, the Middle East and the United Kingdom.

Male wants to discuss the undiscussable – mental health

Finally, over on the Brand Stage there will be a session titled ‘The NBA: Bringing the American sport of Basketball to an Asian Audience’.

It ranks among one of the most popular sports in the world, but basketball is truly American in flavour. So just how do you market a United States-centric pastime to the Asia market? 

National Basketball Association head of marketing and communications for Asia Sheila Rasu will provide the answer to that question and many more in this unique deep-dive into the NBA, and its growing popularity in this region. 

Rasu has been with the NBA since 2011

In China, for example, basketball has now become the most popular sport – thanks in part to social networks and the internet. In fact, the whole of South East Asia has caught NBA fever. In the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and Australia the sport has a devoted following.

Hong-Kong based Rasu has been with the NBA since 2011 and prior to that she worked in agency land for Fleishman-Hillard among others. She has worked across international markets in Hong Kong, Singapore and China – as well as studying in the US and the University of Southern California.


It is the second time the conference will be held. Back in 2017 the first event saw more than 1,100 delegates attend 70 sessions with 150 speakers across five streams – over the three days.

Some of the industry’s most prominent speakers from across Asia and the rest of the world will feature on the programme. The format also includes one-to-one networking, a large exhibition zone and masterclass workshops as well as the four main content stages.

The annual Mumbrella Asia Awards ceremony will also take place during the same week as Mumbrella360 Asia – November 5 to 7 – meaning that those coming from outside Singapore only need to make one trip to attend both events at the Marina Bay Sands convention centre.

This year, earlybird tickets can also be purchased on the event website for delegates wanting to benefit from the discounted price by buying early. If you are booking a three-day all access pass, for example, you can do so until September 3 and save $400 on ticket prices – paying just $799 instead of $1,199.

The conference is targeted at client-side marketers, ad agencies, media owners, adtech players, consultancy firms and related segments like recruitment and executive education.

“This year, Mumbrella360 Asia is going to be even bigger and better than 2017,” Mumbrella’s Asia general manager Dean Carroll said previously.

“It is about the industry telling us what is interesting and should be on stage at the conference. It comes from the grassroots up with our industry-owned curated sessions. 

“Without a doubt, this is again going to be the region’s best media and marketing conference this year. And for those delegates wanting the cheapest ticket price possible, now is the time to buy while the earlybird offer is on.”

More speakers will be announced in the coming weeks and months so stay tuned for updates. Already onboard as sponsors are Bonsey Jaden (headline), IPG Mediabrands, Omnicom Media Group, Getty Images, Unruly, Brave Bison and The Code Co. Singapore Tourism Board is also supporting the event financially.

For further information on the conference and to buy tickets go to the Mumbrella360 Asia website here

In addition, for information on the remaining sponsorship and exhibition opportunities at the event contact the partnerships manager Wilfred Wong on – and for content inquiries you can reach out to the Mumbrella Asia general manager Dean Carroll on


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing