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Didn’t anyone miss Universal McCann last Friday?

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It have been almost a week since the glitzy Malaysian Media Awards (MMA), organized by the Malaysian Media Specialists Association, was held at the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. There were 12 categories to compete in, however MMA incorporated a new rule which limited the number of submissions per agency to 36, to encourage wider and fairer agency participation. 

Over 800 guests and participants brought their best futuristic looks out to play as the night was themed ‘Back to the Future’. While everyone dived headlong into the future they can be forgiven for not looking at what happened in the past. 

Because I couldn’t help but notice that top media agency Universal McCann was missing. And they are the big cahuna, the ruler of the roost, the Don of Malaysia media as it were. 

Who can forget that Universal McCann (UM) won MMA Agency of the Year five times in a row, right up to last year. And their clients chosen Advertiser of the Year for 4 years since 2010. They are also ranked the No. 1 Agency in the World twice in a row by RECMA in 2014 and 2015! 

For the uninitiated, RECMA stands for Research Company Evaluating the Media Agency industry. Established in 1991 in France, RECMA is a unique independent privately owned Research Institute benchmarking the global media and digital industries. It produces more than 100 reports a year, benchmarking over 800 media agencies across more than 5 countries and some 400 digital agencies. Its research remains the most credible barometer for quality within the global media industry.

So I asked around why this globally awarded agency in Malaysia did not win anything this year at MMA…. 

Apart from everyone being tight lipped, it is only fair to say they rather buy me lunch instead! 

But from what I could gather, UM submitted a lot of entries this year but decided to pull out later. 

I do not know if this was done before or after the judging and more importantly, why.

But instead of guessing what happened, and not wanting to miss out on some expensive lunches, I’ll just quote what Prashant Kumar, CEO of UM Malaysia and President of IPG Mediabrands World Markets Asia texted me: 

”We are happy for the winners of this year’s Malaysian Media Awards.” 

I’m off to Cannes Lions shortly. Maybe I’ll find out more there. 

But hey, isn’t Prashant also the only one from Malaysia who has ever been part of a Cannes Lions media jury? 

Watch this space!

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