Daily Breaking News

Shukor takes on Big role

Now CEO of Big Tree

Redberry shares “Sound That You Can See”

Package announced at Thank You Night 

How to hack customers like a Russian spy

Influencing American consumers better than top advertisers in the world 

Malaysia and Indonesia has renewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2000, to jointly promote MICE (meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition) tour packages.

During the midst of yesterday Inauguration celebration, many of us could be forgiven if we temporarily overlooked the announcement by Googlethat it is ending its two-year-old program to help the newspaper industry sell print advertising.

The effort will wind down as of February 28, and will effectively end Google’s partnership with around 800 newspapers.

We’ve heard relatively little about this program since its launch in November 2006, but it always seemed predicated on a questionable premise. Selling print ads is a labor-intense business, with creative and sales team that spend a lot of sweat equity securing

KUALA LUMPUR - Sime Darby, the Malaysian conglomerate with interests in the plantation, property, motors, utilities and industrial sectors, has called a three-way pitch involving Publicis, Dentsu and McCann Erickson.

It is reportedly looking for an agency to handle three projects.
Towards the end of 2008, PULSE Group and MARKETING magazine joined forces to establish a first ever study to measure the most memorable brands based on TVCs produced throughout 2008. The study involved interviewing
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has retained Mindshare as its agency-of-record after an internal review last month.

The airline has, however, not renewed its contract with Ogilvy & Mather, which has been working on the account for the last two years. The airline’s creative and media account was up for a statutory review in December 2008.
Indira Nair, senior general manager of communications at Malaysia Airlines, told Media: “Our approach this year is to work with creative agencies on a project basis and we currently do not have any creative agencies on a retainer. When Ogilvy's contract
ING, the global financial services group, has released data from the quarterly ING Investment Dashboard Survey which showed Asian investors expect the negative impact of the credit crunch and deterioration of the US economy on their economy and personal financial situation to continue in 2009.

Key Highlights of the Malaysian Quarterly ING Investor Dashboard Survey:

• 63% Malaysian investors say they will maintain a balanced investment strategy and look for medium to long-term growth with stable returns

• 57% of Malaysian investors plan to invest less and reserve their cash in the coming year to ride out the economic downturn

• 54% favour property; 42% look to mutual/managed funds and unit trusts, and 34% prefer cash/deposits as investment tools to beat inflation in Q4 2008

• 29% of Malaysian investors indicated an interest in investing in global resources ie, oil, gas, metals, water, etc., in Q4 2008, up from a mere 4% in Q3 2008

More Malaysian investors (62%) claimed they will invest in Shariah-compliant investment products. Consistent but average performance followed by fund manager’s investment management experience are the top two important factors for investing in Shariah-compliant products. There is higher preference for managers with global experience.
Amidst the global economic slowdown Malaysians will still invest to grow their wealth. To beat inflation, Malaysian investors will consider property and mutual funds as likely investment tools. They will also consider investing in global resources in Q1 2009. There is an increased interest in global resources. 29% of investors revealed that they would invest in global commodities such as oil & gas, metals compared to 4% in Q3 2008.  On the other hand 57% of Malaysian investors are likely to invest less and hold cash while another 30% have not decided what they will do next.  

“Due to the prevailing poor sentiments investors preference is to put their monies in bank deposits. However the low interest rate environment does not offer any real return to the investors considering that inflation is still amongst our midst. As such, investors looking for better returns would still have to look at alternative investment vehicles such as unit trust to generate higher returns. Across the globe equity markets are trading at huge discounts thereby offering attractive investment opportunities” said Steve Ong, Chief Executive Officer for ING Funds Berhad.

He added, “The interest in Shariah-compliant investment products is due to the fact that Shariah investment products do not invest in conventional financial sector which has been the main cause of the current financial crisis. As such Shariah investment products are less impacted due to the non-exposure to the conventional financial sector.”  

Malaysian investors expect the impact of the credit crunch and the deterioration of the US economy on local economy to continue. The credit crunch and deterioration of the US economy continue to weigh on investors as they move into 2009.  The survey shows an increase in the number of Malaysian investors who say that the economy and their personal and household financial situations had deteriorated in Q4 2008 compared with the quarter before.

Moving into Q1 2009, Malaysian investors expect both the US economy and credit crunch to continue to affect their investment decisions albeit they are of the view that the US economy will improve in Q1 2009; a view that is shared by their Hong Kong, Indonesian and Korean counterparts. While remaining pessimistic about the Malaysian economy and the stock market, more Malaysian investors expect the impact on their personal and household financial situations to continue. However, unlike investors in other markets, Malaysian investors expect inflation to go up and look to various investment tools, especially property and mutual funds, to beat inflation.

Commenting on the results, Mr Ong said: “Given Malaysia’s export-based economy, it is not surprising that investor sentiment in Malaysia has been dampened by the global economic slowdown.  And with the US being Malaysia’s second largest export destination, it is not surprising that the US economic downturn has affected, and will continue to have an impact, on investment decisions.

“We expect Malaysian investors to continue to take their cue from developments in the global financial markets and economies so we expect they will continue to tread cautiously when making investment decisions in the coming year.   

“Overall though, we expect to see the region in a much better shape than the US or Europe this year as the large domestic economies here still help to offset some of the negative impact from the economic slowdown elsewhere.”

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The Investor Sentiment Score gauges the confidence of private investors in investment across 13 Asia Pacific markets.
Zuraida Mohamad General Manager Group Marketing at TM Berhad is poised to take on a new challenge as Director of Marketing at The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad. Zu effectively replaces Pat Wahid
Charles Darwin once said: “It’s not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
“Change” is about adapting to our environment and coming out alive and stronger than before. It is a vital evolutionary skill that Life has been blessed with. A prime example is the Coelacanth, one of the oldest species of fish in the world. There are fossils of this fish dating back to the Cretaceous period, yet in 1938, a fisherman actually caught a live specimen off the coast of South Africa. Against all odds, the Coelacanth survived.
If you don’t adapt, you die. It is simple as that. 
28 January 2009
Peter redefines the ‘spin doctor’ image of PR…
“PR is not a science. Neither is marketing or advertising. It’s about telling a story to the consumer – keeping it simple, powerful and with no lies. Humour helps.”
Launchpad has been appointed to handle a branding project for Eco+, a Malaysian company. The project encompasses four phases from the initial audit to the implementation of the marketing and communications plan. Work
For more that 15 years, Peter Anthony Das has had much difficulty playing down his nickname as Mr Perodua. The man who helped make Malaysia’s second national car brand a market leader is now the new General Manager for Marketing and Branding at Proton’s Corporate Office. His appointment is effective February 2.

LONDON - Carrefour, the world's second largest retailer, has appointed Publicis Groupe without a pitch to handle its $1bn (£729m) global advertising account.

In addition to Carrefour's home market of France the advertising brief will include Asia and South America. Previously much of the business was held by Havas agency Euro RSCG. 

As a result of the global nature of the win, Publicis is expected to form a separate agency that will be totally dedicated to the account.

Admax Network has announced a new partnership with Sinchew-i.com, one of the most visited Chinese websites in Malaysia to deliver online advertisement in Malaysia and the Southeast Asia region.

Singapore (Syndacast) January 26, 2009 -- Admax Network, Southeast Asia's leading website representation and digital advertising network of premier local and international sites, has announced a partnership with Sinchew-i.com to extend its reach into Malaysia market. The new partnership is set to strengthen the network as a leading advertising platform in the Southeast Asia region.
LONDON: Sir Martin Sorrell (pictured) last week took pause from walking on water to share with lesser mortals his vision for the future of WPP Group.

Addressing an International Advertising Association lunch, he outlined plans to steer WPP toward a more strategic, insight-led approach to advertising. 

In justification he cited recent research from the Internet Advertising Bureau, which probed the reasons why clients value agencies and found that 87% of the sample favoured shops with "strategic consumer insight".
NEW YORK: Chairman emeritus of Interpublic GroupPhilip Geier (pictured) knows how to rescue the US economy and – by extension – that of planet Earth. Moreover, he's dug deep into his own pocket to reveal how, taking a full-page ad in the NewYork Times.

His rationale? "We've got a new government; they're looking for fresh ideas and this is the way to communicate it quickly".

Geier's ad takes the form of an open letter to Times readers. It posits a three-tier, across-the-board tax cut, sent to consumers as government-certificate checks.
POS Malaysia’s advertising account review began with an initial round of credential presentations in November, afterwhich 16 agencies were selected to share and present their ideas and strategies this month.
LONDON - WPP, the global communication group, is set to significantly shift its competitive profile away from traditional media and advertising operations to become a more strategic, insight-led organisation, according to chief executive Martin Sorrell.

Speaking at an International Advertising Association luncheon today, the leader behind the parent group of MediaCom, Mindshare and Mediaedge:cia, noted that following last year's TNS deal, WPP revenues stand at about £15bn, £4bn of which is generated by consumer insight.

The chief executive believes the group's shift in emphasis stands to move WPP away from the likes of historic rivals Omnicom, IPG and Publicis, towards Nielsen, IPSOS, GfK and even Thomson-Reuters and Bloomberg.

LONDON - Saatchi & Saatchi has scooped a brief to promote the enduring positive effects of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The agency won the account, which has been termed a "legacy brief", following a pitch against undisclosed agencies.

The process was handled by Charles Allen, the chairman of the Nations and Regions Group, a collection of representatives from UK business and sporting networks that was set up to guarantee the benefits of the Olympics.

KUALA LUMPUR: Paring the pounds seems to be the perennial favourite New Year resolution for our nation of weight watchers, a recent survey on Malaysians’ eating and exercising habits by global information and media firm, The Nielsen Company revealed. Close to half (46%) of the 500 Malaysians interviewed thinks they are overweight and 58 percent are on a mission to lose weight. The local scenario mirrors the global appetite for dieting and exercising to improve health with 50 percent of the 28,000 people surveyed in 52 countries saying that they are tipping the scales and want to start shedding the pounds.

LONDON - Manchester United has begun a search for a new shirt sponsor to replace global insurance company AIG when its £19m per year deal runs out at the end of next season and has approached a number of firms including an Indian firm.

One of the companies its commercial director Richard Arnold has written to is Sahara Group, an Indian conglomerate active in finance and media among other sectors.

2008 was deemed a challenging year for many people from various walks of life, and several industries were left reeling from the recent global credit crunch. Locally, there has been an upsurge of economic uncertainty and naturally Malaysians, being part of the world economy, were somewhat affected. This may be a sign of a more subdued Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration in 2009, but Carlsberg sees things differently. By adopting a positive attitude, one can still enjoy the finer moments in life with family and friends.

Alliance Financial Group (AFG)has appointed PHD Media (M) Sdn Bhd (PHD Media) as the media agency for the Group.
Innovative Approach Secures Win, TBWA to be Creative Force for Panasonic
KUALA LUMPUR: TBWA-ISC\Malaysia (TBWA) has successfully pitched for and won the Panasonic Viera account. The agency triumphed in a highly competitive pitch for the award because of its daring creative and execution
In light of the Spikes being hosted as the inaugural Asian Cannes this year and its scoring of Gold, Silver and Bronze plus a host of other good reasons, Campaign Brief (CB) Asia has announced that Spike winners will now carry the same weightage in CB Asia’s Creative Rankings table as AdFest winners.
Call me what you will, but there must be better ways to get attention than to call your website www.whoppervirgins.com/. Some creative genius at award-winning agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky has also kept the agency’s winning streak alive with not only a great idea for their client Burger King but also a great name for the site that goes with the taste-test concept.
KUALA LUMPUR: Advertising Age (AdAge) magazine today announced that it has named TBWA Worldwide as its 2008 Global Agency of the Year, recognized TBWA's President and CEO Tom Carroll as Executive of the Year
Telkomsel, one of Indonesia’s top five advertising spenders in Indonesia are reviewing their creative and media agencies.
KUALA LUMPUR - Coca-Cola needs to raise its local relevance following a wave of boycotts in Malaysia over US support for Israel's attacks on Gaza.

The brand, say industry sources, has not done enough to present itself as a local operation. Ismael Ibnoulouafi, CEO of The Brand Union’s Southeast Asia Hub, said Coke required a longer-term approach than it has so far adopted, pointing to action taken by McDonald’s including partnering with schools and other CSR activity. “As evident from this episode, brands these days have to do more to be a part of a country’s social, cultural and economic climate.”

BOTH are components of the commercial real estate business and neither will escape the pressures of the economic slowdown, but the performance of office space and retail space in the coming months will also depend on a few factors unique to each segment.

For one thing, office space may not do well if many companies opt to stay put instead of shifting to larger and better premises. In retail, occupancy depends significantly on the growth strategies of the business operators, and the kind of products and service they sell.

MARKETERS face various temptations during an economic downturn. One is to cut the advertising and promotion budget. That will lead to the need to spend the available money more efficiently, which may bring on another temptation: to go for the cheapest options available.

Buying cheap, as we all know, is not always a wise idea.

Advertising agencies and media specialists (agencies that buy and plan media space/airtime) will do their best to attract business, and some may resort to slashing their commission rate or fee.

I’ve been told by quite a few people in the industry that commission rates are now so low that there’s no way they can go any lower. I don’t know whether this is factual or just people being hopeful, but I won’t underestimate the “creativity” of people in advertising to lower rates in cash or kind.

BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Procter & Gamble Co. has shifted creative duties for its $200 million-plus Crest account in North America and Europe to Publicis Worldwide from Publicis Groupe sibling Saatchi & Saatchi in a move to consolidate all of its oral-care business with a single agency.

Much of the Crest account team from Saatchi will move to Publicis as part of the shift, which a P&G spokeswoman characterized as the latest step in a series of moves by the company to create single-point "brand agency leaders" to oversee brands' entire marketing efforts.

Dentsu, the largest marketing services group in Japan, has written £64 million (Yen10,117m) off the value of its investments and expects this to impact on its financial results for the year to 31 March 2009 unless share prices improve significantly in the meantime.  The write-off is equivalent to nearly 28% of Dentsu's post-tax profits for the year to 31 March 2008.

Dentsu said the provision did not take into account the fall in the share price of Publicis Groupe in which it has a 15% shareholding.   Shares in Publicis had fallen by 26% in the nine months since the start of Dentsu's financial year last April.  Today they stood at €17.12 compared with €30.5 when acquired in September 2002.

Several top Asian ad agencies feature near the top of the 6th Annual Bestadsontv.com Rankings, including BBDO Bangkok (#12), Saatchi & Saatchi Malaysia (#17) and Lowe Bangkok (#36).
By logical deduction, Posterscope Malaysia now becomes the biggest ‘ out of home’ media specialist in the country with TM’s advertising budget for this category being awarded to them after a four way pitch recently. Other bidders for this business were incumbent Kinetic, Media Pertiwi and Executor.

LONDON - Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder, is taking six months leave from the company after admitting his health problems are "more complex" than he claimed ten days ago.

Jobs is handing the day-to-day running of the business to Apple's chief operating officer Tim Cook but said he will remain involved in "major strategic decisions" during his rest.

There are a few things to know about Yahoo's new CEO, Carol Bartz. For one, in her 14 years as CEO of Autodesk, a firm that creates specialized software for the architectural and manufacturing industries, she grew it from a $300 million company to a $1.5 billion one. For another, she doesn't actually have any media and advertising background -- or real strong internet credentials. And she's not worried about that. Third, she's moving into a company that hasn't really had a
15 January 2009
Creating differentiation through consumption

Marketing thought has strongly advocated differentiation of products and services as a means of achieving competitive advantage. But, lifting of trade barriers between countries, integration of many emerging economies into the mainstream global economy, globalisation, fragmentation of media, explosion of the Internet, and advancement of database collection technologies are some of the dominant factors that have rendered differentiation as it
15 January 2009
First of all, Doo-Doo. Gotta be an American expression.  So allow me to decipher.  Doo-Doo is, plainly speaking, excrement.  Prefaced by “Big”, it clearly means a lot of it.  And deciphered, we are in it, up to our eyeballs.
15 January 2009
At the end of the day, when people complain about how much of digital marketing and advertising is lame, whether it’s a banner campaign, microsite, full-on Website, mobile coupon, or whatever, what they’re really saying is that the Creative Director failed. As a CD, I almost protested myself to say, “Hey, if the suits would only give us a useful brief, and if the planners had any insights, and the clients understood what about their company sets it apart from their competition and gives it a reason to exist, we’d always give you stellar results.” But that’s just a cop out.
15 January 2009
Alt Media, the new media arm of Media Prima Berhad embarks on new media technologies for consumers to enjoy content anytime, anywhere.

Alfred Juan Anthony, a simple, down to earth guy, is indeed a man made for the media industry. There is no doubt about his capabilities when he radically changed the radio industry, from the way air time was sold to the way partnerships with clients were forged.
15 January 2009
The results from the most significant advertising awards from around the world is out!
Ten years brought so much difference! And it means so much more for the Gunn Report. It must be noted that that the most interesting listings on it are now in the digital/interactive arena. We are presented with the latest
Paul Grézoux has been appointed as Creative Director to Momentum, a part of McCann Worldgroup. This appointment dovetails last month’s announcement of the launch of the full-service Momentum operation in Singapore by McCann Worldgroup’s Region Director, Southeast Asia, Mark Ingrouille and underscores the group’s ongoing commitment towards putting together a stellar team to bolster its overall offering.
Heineken ‘Walk-in Fridge’ TV Commercial

You just moved house, the refurbishments have finally been finished after four months and today is the big day that you can proudly show off your new castle to your family and friends.

But no matter how spacious and stylish your new living room is, no matter how jealous people will be of your new designer kitchen, there’s one place in the house that, at least for women, transcends all earthly wonderment: the walk-in closet. It’s the place where an ordinary closet is transformed into a showroom.

Being able to build your wife the princess room of her dreams obviously gives you the ultimate sense of satisfaction as a man. You were able to make her the happiest woman on earth. And over the past four months, while you were sawing and hammering away while enjoying a beer, you may well have thought of a nice little closet of your own…

Heineken Walk in Fridge was released on Dutch TV at the 1st of January. It was an immediate hit on the Internet with more then a million hits after only five days.

The concept is by TBWA Amsterdam’s Jorn Kruijsen, Cor den Boer and Jeroen van de Sande.

Art-director: Cor den Boer & Jorn Kruijsen
Copywriter: Jeroen van de Sande
Agency producer: Wietske Hovingh
Production company: Czar NL
Director: Bart Timmer
Set design: Jellier & Schaaf
Set art-director: Genaro Rosato
D.O.P.: Alex Melman
Edit: Annelien van Wijnbergen @ the ambassadors
Sound design & music: Rens Pluym @ the ambassadors
Online: Ton Habraken @ the ambassadors
Colorist: Olivier Ogneux
Account: Machteld van Woensel Kooy & Johan Jongkind
Client: Heineken Netherlands’ Floris Cobelens & Ilona van Wegen

James Koh, Aquent’s Singapore Director will move out of his current country management role to lead the charge in the global staffing firm’s dominance in the advertising and media sectors across Asia.
The advent of DVR technology struck fear in the hearts of advertisers worldwide. Suddenly, viewers were able to fast-forward through TV commercials! A sad truth quickly emerged: when given the option, consumers love to hit that FF button. Now, let's (ahem) fast-forward to today. Are we witnessing the demise of the TV ad? Well, not necessarily. New research is showing that, with the right kind of ad, fast-forwarding can actually enhance your
Entry deadline January 16, 2009 for professionals, January 30, 2009 for students.

NEW YORK: The Art Directors Club (www.adcglobal.org), the premier organization for integrated media and the first global creative collective of its kind with membership in advertising, design and visual communications, today announced the complete international juries consisting of leading designers and creatives for the ADC Design Sphere and Design categories of the ADC 88th Annual Awards program for 2009. 
According to a recent survey by global market research company Synovate, over three quarters of Malaysians said they intend to use the same brand of consumer products with little or no desire to switch to cheaper alternatives in light of the present economic situation.
LONDON - GlaxoSmithKline is launching a TV campaign in which viewers are treated to the daily life of a woman from the point of view of her vagina to drive sales of its female hygiene brand Lactacyd.

The campaign, which will run in the Netherlands, was created by WPP Group's Grey Amsterdam.

The ad is aimed at overcoming the perception among women in the Netherlands that Lacatacyd is for problems only, in an attempt to encourage women to adopt the brand in their daily routine.

As we all know, the stock prices of media firms have been trending into the gutter, since the economic crisis. It's a rough climate all around. Steve Jobs took a $1 salary. The top executives at numerous financial institutions have also waived their bonuses.

Omnicom has already announced recently that they will be laying off 3500 workers this January. And yet, John Wren, CEO of the Omnicom Group, received a grant of 1 million options on Dec. 29 with an exercise price of $25.48 each, which implies a face value of $25M. A Black Scholes report that an analyst kindly ran for us showed that the value of these options is around $4M. It gets kind of tricky in here. Suggest you click on the link or kindly ask your newly unemployed stock
In its premier study of the world's leading luxury brands, Interbrand examines how brands in the complex luxury sector are building brand value. "Until recently it seemed that luxury brands remained stable through economic downturns. However, it is clear today, as we plunge forward into the challenges of global recession that no industry will remain insulated," says Jez Frampton, Group Chief Executive of Interbrand.
The porn industry in the United States is asking Congress for a US$5 billion bailout on the grounds that sales in the adult entertainment industry have been drooping.

Burger King wanted to prove that consumers will go the extra mile in order to get hold of the fast food chain’s flame-broiled ‘Whopper’ hamburger.

Most members of social networking site Facebook will admit that they have a few random online friends who they never spoke to at school or who they didn’t recognise at the time of friendship acceptance. But what about 10? If not, which friends would they cull in order
Malaysia is ranked the 58th freest economy in the world, according to the 2009 “Index of Economic Freedom”, published annually by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation.

Malaysia scored 64.6 for its economic freedom, 0.7 point better than last year due to its slightly better trade and business freedom.

The country is also ranked ninth out of 41 countries in the Asia Pacific region. The 2009 index has expanded its country coverage significantly to 183 economies.

The levels of economic freedom in 10 categories were rated on a scale of 0 to 100, and the higher the score, the lower the level of government interference in the marketplace.

The 10 freedoms measured are business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labour freedom.

Publicis Regional boss Matthew Godfrey has announced that Dean Bramham, ex-MD of Indonesia head and recently head of Leo Burnett North China Operations as new CEO of Publicis Malaysia replacing outgoing CEO Shukri Rifaie.
McCann Healthcare Worldwide, a part of McCann Worldgroup, announced today the appointment of Dr. Virna Gamalinda-Balingit to the Complete Medical Group (CMG), the medical communications division of McCann Healthcare Worldwide as Account Director.
This week, Michael Phelps signed a deal worth more than $1 million to advertise Mazda in China. Jerry Seinfeld earned a reported $10 million to appear in Microsoft’s recent television campaign.

But the person who may be the biggest celebrity pitchman in the world is not earning a penny for his work.

President-elect Barack Obama has repeatedly said how much his BlackBerry means to him and how he is dreading the prospect of being forced to give it up, because of legal and security concerns, once he takes office.

“I’m still clinging to my BlackBerry,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday in an interview with CNBC and The New York Times. “They’re going to pry it out of my hands.”
Red Lounge, the integrated agency that created Coca-Cola China’s Beijing Olympic work has just completed its new post-Olympic campaign – the First Coke of the Year - to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Knock yourself out at the advertising industry's biggest festival on the planet. You can register now at www.canneslions.com.  TheSun newspaper is the Cannes Official rep for Malaysia.

This year is the 200th birthday of the grandson of Josiah Wedgwood. That's the good news. The bad news is that his company has filed for bankruptcy. It's sad.

When I first wrote about Wedgwood in Meatball Sundae, I was stunned that one man could have created so many innovations so long ago. The Times piece repeats much of what I wrote, but doesn't go far enough. I hope you'll check out the book if you haven't had a chance.

Media specialist Universal McCann is poised to clinch the media business for Telekom Malaysia (TM), Malaysia’s largest and Southeast Asia's second largest telecommunication company, replacing Zenith Media in the process.
The economic crisis may reshape Asian media, says Media Partners Asia (MPA) Executive Director Vivek Couto. Companies will focus on cost savings, improved business models and, potentially, new acquisitions as asset prices fall.

The fragility of an American economy means it is getting harder to predict when Asia's media economies will return to better health following this year's downturn. As a result, these remain volatile times. Globally, the cost of capital has become high while economic growth continues to fall. At the same time, investors remain risk averse and credit continues to tighten. This is leading to further erosion in public market valuations for Asia media and limited funding options for both private and publicly-held media concerns.
Leo Burnett’s Petronas National Day advertisement,  “Tan Hon Ming” has added yet another prestigious award to its already very impressive collection of industry accolades. The latest win for the lovable TV commercial has bagged the Gold award for the CLIO People’s Choice Awards, the world’s most recognized awards competition for advertising, design and interactive.
Agency recognized by ADWEEK as World’s Finest
KUALA LUMPUR: TBWA Worldwide has been named the 2008 Global Agency of the Year by Adweek magazine. In its selection of TBWA Worldwide, the Adweek article noted the Network’s “…deep client relationships, strong growth, great work and successfully embracing digital, plus a seamless leadership transition at the top”.
Leo Burnett Malaysia’s “Tan Hong Ming In Love” commercial has been elected 2008’s favorite CLIO commercial at the 35th Annual People’s Choice Awards.

CBS Television aired the announcement following online polls in November.

The ad was chosen out of five other Gold CLIO winners. Other nominees were Cadbury's Dairy Milk, Guinness, Sony Bravia, and Sony Walkman.

“CLIO Awards congratulates Leo Burnett Malaysia for winning the People’s Choice Award for Favorite CLIO Commercial.” said Wayne Youkhana, Director, CLIO Awards. ”Our international jury awarded this work a Gold CLIO back in May 2008 and we are thrilled that the public also loved it. Leo Burnett Malaysia was in a group of very worthy contenders, but this spot just captured the hearts of all who saw it”

PUTRAJAYA: The economic focus this year will be on domestic growth and the national economy, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad.

"Last year, we faced a food crisis. The prices of rice, flour and other goods were high and we needed to shell out a lot on subsidies to keep inflation in check

"But, now, the prices of raw materials have come down so we may not have to spend as much on subsidies. Now we have to work on increasing domestic demand and spurring growth from within."

While the pundits may be singing a similar tune when it comes to digital advertising's immediate future, here are a few points they may not have considered. 

It's the first full work week of the New Year, and already I'm tired of the constant vacillation in moods concerning the health of internet marketing.

Depending on whom you believe, digital marketing will either follow newspapers into oblivion in 2009, or it will be hit hard but not quite as hard as other media. Hardly any of the pundits give it a positive outlook. And that's a shame, with self-fulfilling prophecies and all
JWT Thailand has won most of the Thai Airways account, following an intensive four part pitch. Lowe and Dentsu will also be supporting other advertising requirements for Thai Airways.
08 January 2009
Last month I mentioned in this column about how difficult it is at times to listen to the painful ideas above-the-line creatives have for what they consider to be effective digital concepts. I suggested roping in craft experts from whom they can learn, rather than jumping into virtual unknown waters. Unfortunately, I’ve just encountered something from Ogilvy Athens you may have already seen for yourself as it makes its way around the world, agency-after-agency, in the vein of the most excruciating sort of wildfire… that can burn out one’s retinas.
08 January 2009
How Creatives Can Lend Their Ears To A Web Of Ideas
There has been much said about the world wide web as a channel to savour knowledge of whatever kind .  I will not attempt to elaborate or further justify that. But would like to connect the part of this web of knowledge that is relevant to agency creatives.
Adlina Borhan, a highly- experienced hotel and travel industry personality with international work background in Europe and Asia now leads a Paris-based marketing and communications agency specializing in lifestyle, leisure, niche, business travel and MICE for the Europe market under the brand ‘Adlina’.

In our yearly forecast from the AAAAs, RAB, TVB, CAB, IAB, NAA, SNTA and OAAA, RBR/TVBR asked major industry organization heads for their 2009 outlook, insights, solutions and ideas.

2009 promises to be a busy year for these organizations. The mantra is most ad categories will be difficult, as economists expect any recovery will not materialize until Q3 at the earliest. The focus is to improve efficiency and to develop products and services (particularly online) for those advertisers that they have not traditionally reached. And as with last year, local will be the fruit-bearing tree vs. national: cultivate, cultivate, cultivate.

It’s the kind of skirmish that brings back memories of the heydays of the cola wars. Airtel Digital launches a teaser campaign on TV; virtually overnight Reliance BIG hijacks the creative concept and counters Airtel with a TV campaign of its own.

Tata Sky lines up plans to announce its intention of offering its platform for ad sales; Dish TV quickly puts together a press conference and makes public its ad sales pitch. And in a throwback to the fierce telecom battles, everyone’s already started playing an aggressive price war — even though most players will say that direct-to-home (DTH) is a growing pie and there’s plenty of room for everyone.
Ogilvy University represents the agency’s tradition of providing training for its employees.

Training programmes offered include the agency’s existing programmes – Hot House, Trailblazers and Sparks – as well as new training and talent development programmes.

"Our programmes cater to different development needs, from foundation and leadership programmes to sessions on ideas and creativity," said Ogilvy Malaysia group managing director Zayn Khan.

The agency plans to introduce this year the Ogilvy Fellowship Programme, which is aimed at attracting top university graduates who are motivated and interested in building a career with the company.
Euro RSCG Singapore has announced a new senior management team at the agency, promoting Charlie Blower and Victor Ng to MD and ECD, respectively. Blower and Ng will continue
Local agency Advantage Advertising has won Gudang Garam International, the flagship brand from PT. Gudang Garam, one of Indonesia’s top cigarette manufacturers
The MACtac’s Worldwide Awards 2008 Prize Book is now available and presents the winners for each of the regions covered in the event.These Awards were established to recognize and reward creative and high impact
“visual communication” work using MACtac self-adhesive materials.
Where does defense stop and aggression begin? Where is the line between proportionate retaliation and collective punishment? Is the media telling you what you need to know?
I have Palestinian friends. As an American, this fact places me squarely in the minority. It gives me a touchstone that the average citizen in this country doesn’t have. The average American doesn’t hear firsthand accounts of how frightening, humiliating and miserable life in the West Bank and Gaza can be. Perhaps that’s why the average American is rarely outraged by media coverage of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. Let me make one thing clear – by average I don’t mean people of average intelligence or average cultural sensitivity. I don’t

Walking around in a black T-shirt and jeans at a beach resort near Athens, Sir Martin Sorrell looks impatient. Then again, this is no vacation. The chief executive of London advertising and marketing giant WPP (WPPGY) has gathered 250 staffers and other "smart people" together in Greece to brainstorm about the future.

Right now, a select group is huddled in a room listening to an executive from Britain's Guardian newspaper give a presentation entitled "Oh My God, the Internet Ate My Business!" There's an orchestra conductor and juggler on
Malaysia has emerged as the top 10 media consuming nation out of 52 countries surveyed by The Nielsen Company to unearth the entertainment technology ownership and usage habits of global citizens.
07 January 2009
One quiet evening last week, I decided to re-watch one of my favourite animated movies on DVD, the Disney/Pixar instant classic, Finding Nemo.
For the two of you who missed out on the movie, here’s what it’s about in a nutshell: When his son Nemo is captured by a scuba diver and taken to live in a dentist office's fish tank, Marlin
Taken from www.mmail.com.my.
Australian scientists have determined that eating kangaroos and wild camels could save the planet by sharply reducing global warming.
Michael De Kretser is the first PR professional in Malaysia who has been inducted to receive the 2009 Edition of the International Who’s Who Historical Society Honour. Members are selected following an in-depth interview and biographical review. 
Pride and passion are adjectives that define Prashant Kumar's work ethics. Although many in Malaysia think Universal McCann is a part of McCann Erickson, one of Malaysia's leading creative agencies, Kumar is quick to clarify that the media specialist agency is fully independent of its creative sister.
W+K's Portland shop has launched their very own radio station today. Dan Wieden once hosted his own radio talk show in Portland before he became an advertising god, so really, this is a return to their roots. The station's mission is to:

"The radio extension exists to inspire creativity through provocative conversations, interviews and artistic expressions relating to arts, culture, media, and music. We're starting small with minimal programming hours, with a goal to eventually share an equal amount of programming between our seven different offices and their communities worldwide."
Ogilvy, JWT, Lynx Films meraih kemenangan kelas dunia!
Sungguh malam yang sangat kontras dan penuh kejutan. Sekitar 800 orang berusaha mencari cara yang elegan untuk melewati sederatan cermin abstrak di Grand Ballroom Hotel Mulia, Senayan  yang tersusun layaknya refleksi tema AAA tahun ini: “Who Do You See in You?”.
The vast majority of consumer brands fall into the small to mid-sized category. Far too often, however, they try to “act big,” following the same marketing formula as mega brands with many times their budgets.

Moderately sized brands are lured into mass media awareness campaigns because they’ve been told that higher share of voice equals higher sales. However, they’re then competing with all media advertisers, where only the biggest brands succeed in mass and all others have little to show for their effort and expenditure.

A brand’s real opportunity for growth is through deeper connections with narrower groups of highly-engaged customers. Target (or niche) marketing, of course, is not a new idea. But new tools and techniques triggered by advances in customizable technology

It was, as everyone grimly acknowledged, hardly a vintage year for British advertising. So looking back at the best ads of 2008 is not the most inspirational way to welcome in 2009, I admit it. The small group of contenders speaks more of adland's mediocrity last year than of the heady heights to which the offerings of the coming 12 months must aspire.

Oh, there are excuses. Risk-averse clients, the economic crisis, media fragmentation, the internet, advertising regulations. Take your pick and mix it with a dose of weary cynicism, which after all has much to answer for here.

One of Nicolas Sarkozy's most visible, and most controversial, attempts to transform the French way of life will take effect from 8pm tonight. Advertising will vanish from prime-time on all state-owned television channels as part of an attempt by the President to create, in his own words, a public television service to "rival the quality of the BBC".

The abolition of prime-time commercials – part of a much bigger revolution in the French broadcast landscape – has provoked strikes by television journalists and a torrent of insults and allegations which transcend the usual political boundaries of right and left.

Believe it or not, but Bank Negara has put together a Money Sense booklet on how you can be wise with your money in this presumably difficult year. To download
Let’s not overdo this. It wasn’t as though I had rung a stranger to break the news that a loved one had died. But the conversation with Lord Puttnam, film producer and Labour peer, definitely had echoes of the language you might use and the sentiments you might express if someone had. He paused and searched for the right, obituary-esque tone of voice.
Apart from being one of the biggest films of all times GHAJINI seems to be scoring on the front of merchandizing as well. While Shah Rukh Khan did not publicize the manner in which he had acquired his six-pack abs as a merchandize, Aamir Khan's GHAJINI has gone ahead and done it.
For months after I first moved to Nashville, a billboard by the westbound I-40 advertised an alcohol addiction recovery program. But what caught my eye was the billboard's photograph: the coldest, frothiest, most delicious-looking pint of beer that has ever been poured. I never wanted a beer more than I did when I drove past that billboard. And I am not an alcoholic.
It sounds like a cross between “Mad Men” and “Weird Science”: using magnetic resonance imaging to study brain waves and determine why people respond to some advertisements but not others. For a 20-year-old junior at Yale, the new field known as neuromarketing is the stuff not of sci-fi mash-ups but a potential career.
Celcom CEO Datuk Seri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly exudes a passion that makes him stand out in Corporate Malaysia. Yet he is also a simple man who likes to hang out at mamak shops and watch football. He fields your 10 Questions this week.
SINGAPORE: Malaysia is stepping up its efforts to attract more tourists from Singapore. Yesterday, its tourism minister launched a Tourism Malaysia advertising campaign, called Zoom Malaysia, at the Malaysian High Commission here.

Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said's ministry has approved a 100 per cent increase in the budget for advertisements, amounting to RM15 million, to tap the Singapore market this year.

"We will focus more on Singapore as its people have been the most frequent visitors to Malaysia. They make up about 50 per cent of tourist arrivals."

Azalina said Singaporeans would be introduced to a wider range of products, especially local events that were ignored in past promotions. The advertisements will appear in the republic's public transport sector, such as taxis, buses and Mass Rapid Transit trains.
Breaking News story FRIENDSTER NOW AVAILABLE IN MALAY scored the highest readership on ADOI magazine’s website with over 7,000 page views last year. This was followed by MALAYSIA WINS FIRST CANNES LIONS GOLD IN FILM WITH TAN HONG MING TVC! which was definitely one of the biggest stories of the year.

by Sledgehammer - What do advertisers think about ad agencies? Recently, Marketing magazine with the help of TNS Malaysia and advised by R3 Asia Pacific did an Agency Perception survey called the CREAM Report - Client Relationships and Experiences of Ad agencies in Malaysia.

CREAM took three months to complete and had never been attempted before in Malaysia, with results based on nearly 200 questionnaire responses from decision makers of agency services whose companies feature among the top 100 advertisers in the country.

A great servicing team registered the highest performance in the agency client relationship: ratings for the servicing personnel helped in the overall relationship index standing at 44.

Apostles or ‘ambassadors’ for ad agencies accounted for less than a quarter; nearly a fifth were satisfied but not really committed to their agency and a small 5% are hostages, or tied down to the agency by global contracts and alignment. Plus 55% are what TNS calls ‘terrorists’: neither satisfied nor loyal with their agency.

This lack of commitment stems from three areas:

Account Orientation. Agencies are falling short on providing advice or creative ideas based on consumer insight. They also score low on value consciousness: justifying the need to spend and being focused on ROI and are somewhat unwilling to work on ROI-based KPI's.

Strategic Planning. Agencies are seen to be saying things the client already knows. This coupled with average ratings for enhancing client’s thinking not just replicating it, and not having an independent view of the clients business goals, suggest a focus on keeping the business as opposed to standing up for what's right. The whole area of strategic planning whether it is dynamic understanding of the brand, distinguishing between information and insight, devising plans based on sound research and analytics are all rated average.

Creative. While this should have the high leverage on the relationship, the ratings are average for ideas, balancing between creativity and business objectives and creating ads relevant to strategy. The agencies are rated lowest on the ability to understand the different purposes of advertising and in creating ads in line with the creative brief. While agencies are rated positively on coming up with ideas that win awards (their own), this is not really a key driver for the relationship.

After sharing these research findings with leading Malaysian advertisers I gathered more interesting feedback…

Khoo Kar Khoon - Communications Director, Nestlé Products Sdn Bhd:
“As far as relationships go, I know some marketing companies are finding it rewarding to deal with Production Houses or third party suppliers directly when getting work done. A lot of work is being siphoned away from agencies this way, and the trend will continue to grow. Agencies will suffer when they do not get their agency fee for overseeing such work. In this case, the agency has to demonstrate to the client how they can add value to their business, not just costs.”

Noel Lorenzana – until recently, Chairman of Unilever Malaysia:
“Funny how award giving bodies give out separate awards for ‘best creative’ and ‘best market performance’ as if they exist in different planes. We have been approached many times by our ad agencies to allow them to do an edit of the main ad that can compete in the ‘best in creative’ awards. In the end we can evaluate what we are doing by writing down on a piece of paper what we want our legacy to be many years from now, is it creativity that sells or creativity that sells itself?”

Allan Khoo - GM, Branding & MarComm, Maxis Communications Bhd:
“Agencies need to understand that clarity is important to help clients 'sell-in' creative ideas to their field marketing staff, so the campaign can roll out effectively into the marketplace. A disconnect in this chain is disastrous.”

Indira Nair - Senior GM, Communications Division, Malaysia Airlines:
“If award-winning ads are all about earning stripes amongst your peers, and do not necessarily drive sales or the right positioning for clients, do they matter? I recently asked one of the agencies I work with why our campaign which drove sales by 400% was not submitted. And they answered: Not award-winning lah!”

Harmandar Singh believes when ad agencies get it right with clients, their  role for 2009 should encompass not only the economy, but also the ecosphere!

All eyes were on Manny Pacquiao, Philippines’ best pound-for-pound boxer, as he took on a heavier and more experienced boxer in Oscar De La Hoya in the biggest boxing match of the year on December 6th 2008 in Las Vegas.
Come 5th January, Aznil Hj Nawawi and Din Beramboi will start their new roles helming the morning show on ERA, Malaysia’s No. 1 radio station. Two outstanding personalities in one show, they are set to take on the airwaves by storm! And so
So you’ve just got US$4 billion in bailout money. What do you do? Do you immediately get to trying to turn your company around, cut costs, boost sales, etc? Well no. Not if you’re Bob Nardelli and the bunch of monkeys working under him.

One of their first moves are to blow several hundreds of thousands, perhaps even up to a million US dollars on full-page ads in mainstream American newspapers, including USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.
LOS ANGELES—In an impassioned 1,900-word open letter published in Monday's Washington Post, actor-director Sean Penn urged the unknown person who registered the e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to "come forward immediately, rather than wallowing in the shame and ignominy of fraud."

The paid full-page advertisement, addressed to "a certain inconsiderate asshole," continued: "Every American—indeed, every human being, regardless of nationality—deserves to be rightfully and accurately represented on the World Wide Web—the communication gateway
Advertising is like a mirror. It reflects the present. As companies grapple with the current economic situation of slowdown and liquidity crunch, a recent ING Group television commercial by McCann captures the emotions attached with money and its relevance in our lives.

With marketers tightening their belts, McCann has changed its positioning from a supplier of creative ideas to a partner that provides business solutions. The agency does not consider itself a fair-weather friend and wants its clients to partner with it through the highs and lows. Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman, McCann Worldgroup India, and regional creative director, McCann Asia Pacific, updates Sapna Agarwalon the metamorphosis from an idea provider to a business solutions provider. Edited excerpts:
Recognised for its effort to build resilient brands, the Summit Emerging Media Award of US acknowledged Malaysia-based agency group Thinkscape with its top title recently.

It earned the award via an interactive branding work for a client in Doha, Qatar.

Thinkscape's effort in helping clients build resilient brands through creating innovative ways of communicating has earned it the award’s coveted Leader title through their work with Qatar-based property developer, Al Wa’ab City. Thinkscape developed an interactive digital visitor experience for the developer’s sales gallery at its Customer Relationship Centre.

“Thinkscape designs a brand from end to end – from conceptualising the core essence of its existence, to delivering the manifest of its messages and experiences. To do this, we constantly push ourselves to develop better means of enabling active customer engagement, both in conventional and cutting edge platforms,” said Thinkscape group MD and founder, John Jong.


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