Monday, April 13, 2009

Creative turn for local industry?

The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has launched its 2009 campaign ‘Funeral’, an uncomfortable topic as many would find it. The TVC moves the audience with beautifully crafted script and music and leaves their eyes glassy.

The previous one ‘Family’, too, showed a night worker, living in a rented HDB flat, financially constrained finding it hard to make ends meet. Not something you would expect coming out of the government, which is known to be particularly particular about how Singapore is portrayed in TVCs.

Needless to say, both campaigns have received acceptance and appreciation from Singaporeans. Both have been directed by Yasmin Ahmad, who is well-known for her creativity and directorial brilliance in Malaysia as well as Singapore.

Does this then reflect a change in the government’s mindset, a move towards embracing the not-so-rosy reality and finally putting the message in the campaign ahead of superfluous details like what the protagonist is wearing or where is it shown to be living?

Singapore’s creativity standards has long been under question when compared to neighbours like Malaysia and Thailand and this need not necessarily translate into any sort of finger-raising on the creative agencies but certain tacit parameters that have to be followed.

Industry insiders too have agreed that advertising in Singapore misses the local flavour and culture. Well then, if everything is global in this country, do these campaigns make a mark in their own little way? Does the industry think that it could well be the beginning of a new trend that gives Singapore a significantly higher creative standing?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Social networking is a big differentiator

Facebook, Twitter and the entire social media revolution differentiates this recession from others and is the best time to build relationship with consumers, says Guy Abrahams of ZenithOptimedia.

Abrahams was speaking at the media agency’s event “Maximise Market ROI in a Slowdown”. Here is what he had to say.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Hef eyes up NZ mansion

An advertising agency in New Zealand pulled a decent April Fool’s Day prank last week, publishing full page ‘articles’ and a PR kit announcing that Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner was converting part of the Rotorua Museum into his new Playboy holiday mansion – a ploy to deflect some recent and highly publicised criticism from an Australian blogger.

The idea from Auckland’s KingSt Advertising initially sprang when reports were published on recent research which discovered a link between hydrogen sulphide - the gas that gives Rotorua its infamous rotten egg smell - and male sexual arousal.

The research had come by way of Italy’s University of Naples and it was published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The news stories reported that Hefner had brokered a deal with the Rotorua Trust to convert the final stage of the Museum into his new mansion.

"At my age it's great to get up in the morning without relying on any form of medication," the press release quoted Hefner as saying.

The fictitious story was partly set up to deflect criticism from an Australian blogger who had bagged the smell of Rotorua on his site. The blog quickly made national news and caused an outcry from patriotic Kiwis.

The media release claimed Hefner was bound for Rotorua as soon as he heard the sex claims.

"While I thought the research findings would attract a lot of international interest from men looking to improve their sexual performance, I never expected a call from the man responsible for the sexual revolution of the sixties," Lyall Thurston from Rotorua Centennial Trust said in the release.

This doctored interview with Hefner was produced and put up on the website.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009



Cricket, politics and Bollywood together are known as the three religions in India and get Indians going like nothing else. The new TVC for IPL Season 2 shows best what cricket does to this massive nation.

The campaign, by TBWA Mumbai, truly reflects that cricket is a great unifier, beautifully interweaving elements of unity in mundane activites with that of the brand proposition of MAX "Deewana Bana De", meaning “makes you crazy”.

The campaign also strikes a chord in its mere conception which chooses to leave behind grave issues of boundaries, nationality and religion, all of which were an integral part of the previous campaign, to show simple habitual similarities across the nation. (It is relatively easier to build a campaign on the idea of religion in India I think!)

Its natural to revel in the simple yet brilliant execution of the campaign while watching the TVC, but it makes me think how much of the brand IPL will suffer due to its temporary relocation to South Africa?

Indians also love watching soap operas but nothing caught their attention more than the news of general elections and security issues compelling IPL to move out of the country, a move definitely not the best for brand IPL and brand India. With the attacks on Mumbai and those on the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan recently, brand cricket is facing some large challenges.

According to reports from newswire PTI (Press Trust of India), Pawan Munjal Managing Director and CEO Hero Honda Motors, one of the main sponsors of Indian Premier League (IPL), said shifting of the cricket extravaganza to abroad will affect the business opportunities of the firm.
"The IPL moving out of India this year is likely to restrict opportunities to leverage our brand association," he said.

Will the IPL in effect now become the South African Premier League? Will some brands be reluctant to partner up with the tournament because of its move to Africa?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Ultimate future is death, digital is the present

It began with banner ads, went onto interactive ads, applications and then the entire wave of search and social networking swamped the digital marketing space.

We heard agencies convince marketers on why they should go digital and marketers defending their standpoint based on their apprehensions. One of the most frequently stated reasons for an evasive tendency like this was “My boss is not online!”

While this is a valid reason and must have hold true for a while Sane, who is chief digital officer of Starcom for North and South Asia, says it isn’t the case any longer. In his presentation Sane said: “The top management is fully digitized, for the simple fact that your 45 plus year old boss has teenage kids who are online and to connect with them, they have to keep up with the latest trends in the online space.”

With ample of evidence of digital’s prowess and success, marketers cannot escape the reality and Sane adds that no longer can we say the digital is the future, it’s now and it is the present.

“The ultimate future is death, nothing else,” he says.

Drawing a parallel with a rear view approach, Sane said this attitude of marketers makes them see competition at much greater distance than it actually is. “The need therefore is to realise the difference between interruption and interaction. We have only scratched the surface in terms of leveraging on digital,” he says.