Adwork – Reimagining media buying like none other before

adwork kv raihan hadi cover story marketing weekender 326 kumaresh

“Adwork – Reimagining media buying like none other before” was the cover story for MARKETING WEEKENDER Issue 326

by Raihan Hadi

I’m about to take you all back to the future.

Nope, not talking about the film franchise, rather the journey of a visionary.

If you’re the owner of an SME brand, any SME brand – please stay, you’re going to love this!

I’m sure you all shop for stuff online on a regular basis, can you tell me why you don’t run to the shop instead? I mean lockdowns are over right?

So why do you buy from online marketplaces? Because it’s convenient? Because there’s a lot more variety to pick from? Because it’s just freakin’ easy?

What if I told you that now you can do the same when you’re looking to buy spots for ads on multiple media platforms – yes with just a few clicks.


That’s why I’m here 🙂

When you hear the name Adwork, the first thing you decide is that this is the moniker of an ad agency. You’d be wrong, same as I was.

Adwork, the first of its kind in the world, is a global marketplace for advertisers to buy advertising media space in Malaysia.

The visionary tech startup which is a sister concern of multiple award winning media agency Trapper, turned a new leaf in my book of imagination when I sat down for a chat with its CEO Kumaresh Visvanathan.

Are you ready?

adwork media type raihan hadi marketing weekender

I’m still trying to get my head around what Adwork does, care to explain?

So you probably know how online marketplaces like Shopee or Lazada work right? You go to the platform, choose what you like, add to cart and pay.

With Adwork, our vision has been as simple as that – to create a marketplace where advertisers from around the world can purchase media slots in Malaysia with a few simple clicks.

So if I go to your platform right now and want to buy an ad space on some billboard in Bangsar, can I just do that right away?

Of course! That’s precisely what Adwork enables you to do as a media buyer. You can give it a go right now!

Wow that was easy! Can you tell me how you made it look so easy?

Haha, yes. But it wasn’t easy.There are of course the regular big scale advertisers in the market who are always pouring money into the pockets of media owners and having their ads go live anywhere, anytime.

And that’s all good. What we wanted to do is address the needs of those who either don’t ever consider putting so much money into advertising, or don’t have the means to.

I’m talking about the SMEs, who according to the numbers (98% of Malaysian companies are SMEs) create the largest blue ocean of ad media buyers in the country. Yet you don’t see any billboards by SMEs out there, or you didn’t until we came into play.

adwork ceo kumaresh visvanathan raihan hadi marketing weekender interview

You must also know that the estimated total market size for SME advertising in the region is approximately 3 Billion US Dollars – quite the chunk. They love having their ads show up between the slots taken up by the big brands, and this service that we are providing means a lot for them.

Our mothership being the media industry, we’ve already built a solid network of media owners over the last 2 decades. What we needed was to build a platform that can list all the different types of media owned by the various media owners, and sell smaller slots for affordable rates to the SMEs.

Our research showed that SMEs here are very active purchasers on online marketplaces, and this was our idea! All we had to do was link our database of media owners with the platform where registered users can buy advertising slots in just a few clicks like you just tried to, and that’s it!

Do SMEs get any added support from Adwork?

We expected they might. So we’ve been adding a few add-on services to our offerings.

The first one is the creative work solution. You can’t expect all SMEs to have in-house creative expertise and for a 10-15 seconds slot, they might need the support to have something created quickly.

We have a handful of creatives working as freelancers and can support any of our clients with a quick fix for a very cheap rate.

Amazing! Anything that helps them with financing?

Good question! And yes we do have a solution for that.

We have a collaboration with Aspirasi by Axiata, which provides SMEs with micro-financing for advertising purposes. Their service model follows an “Advertise Now, Pay Later” model, and is a first-in-the-world program to offer loans for advertising which is expected to benefit more than 5 million SMEs in the region.

In addition to that, we’ve worked out a collaboration with Selangkah by providing an advertising platform for micro entrepreneurs and businesses on SelangkahBiz and recipients of grants and financial facilities from the Selangor State Government.

You were saying something about tapping into the regional market right?

Oh yes! We’ve already partnered with SPH Media Limited in Singapore to offer our first cross-border advertising offerings. Because of this partnership, our customers can now purchase media slots in Singapore as well.

We have plans to gradually expand to Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, Vietnam and the Philippines by December 2026.

Is there anything you haven’t done?

There are a few more interesting offerings we are working on at the moment, but they’re still under the wraps.

We will be launching Adwork 2.0 later this year, just keep an eye on our site and you’ll find out when it happens.

And that’s!

how to buy advertising media online raihan hadi marketing weekender

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