How would you like your advertising done?

We are not talking about grilling steaks here. Even though the metaphor is not lost on Darren Yuen, the CEO of Initiative Malaysia. He spent more than year as a grill man for a diner in the US, so he is more than medium rare on that score.

Initiative is a full service global media agency built to grow brands through culture. They have a name for it: Cultural Velocity.

Over the last three years, the agency has been laying the foundations to become business consultancy partners with the introduction of new services to allow greater immersion and holistic services in line with the changing agency environment.

These services focus on Brand Consultancy, MarTech, AdTech and Business Analytics, all of which complement the agency’s core foundational service of exceptional media planning.

Darren Yuen CEO -Initiative Malaysia

The race to the bottom on price was never going to be sustainable.

Darren talks about how the agency pivoted from a traditional media agency to becoming business consultancy partners to help brands achieve complete business solutions and carry them through tough times.

“2022 was a dream come true for Initiative – winning new clients and projects, and surpassing growth in an otherwise challenging market. In a year of COVID-emergence, this agency did more than just savvy business transformation, laying the foundations to break the barriers of expectations with talent and inclusivity programmes.”

True to his passion for Paintball, Initiative introduced its Breaking Barriers CSR programme to bring about greater awareness and garner support for persons with disabilities with a Paintball Day.

“Everything was a learning experience – from how we conducted the briefing (with sign language), to the game play (strategising and accommodating the differently abled), it was very special.”


What was your first impression of advertising?

It is a very interesting platform to understand people. Coming from a family of advertising people (father & brother), I always had the industry in my household.

Who influenced you to join the industry?

My father discouraged me from joining but I guess being the rebellious one, I decided to pursue it.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Funnily enough, as I much as I rebelled against his advice to join the industry, and tried my best to not be in his shadow, he has been my biggest inspiration.

What do you do in your free time?

Paintball, Tennis, Golf and keeping my daughter entertained.

Initiative took home the Bronze award as Southeast Asia’s Consultancy of the Year at the Campaign Agency of the Year awards 2022.

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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

Campaign entries must have run between June 2023 to May 2024

Submissions Deadline
30th June 2024

APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
11th – 12th July 2024 (Malaysia)


Download Event PDF
Submit Entries Here

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