Campaign Asia-Pacific is presenting a new top-5 list every day until we send our last daily bulletin of the year on December 19. We've had fun pulling this annual review together, and we hope you'll enjoy it too.
Please follow along as we spotlight the year's highlights and lowlights. And if you think we've screwed up—either by inclusion or omission—please let us hear about it in the comments and/or on Twitter @CampaignAsia using the hashtag #CampaignBestOf2014.
Without further ado, here are the...
Note: This list has been upgraded from 5 to 10. Also, we have not ranked the items, as the list contains a mix of agency, brand, product and media launches.
The scramble for emerging markets continued this year, with Publicis becoming the latest major network to enter Myanmar, following the likes of Ogilvy, Dentsu, JWT and ADK. The French agency signed an affiliation with local shop Mandalay Advertising in April after the joint win of Nestlé, forming Mandalay Advertising-Publicis. It claimed a desire to support the growth of the local advertising industry, which Myanmar definitely needs. Things have been quiet since, but adspend there is expected to reach a respectable US$230 million this year.
In September, Y&R became the first majority-owned international agency in Mongolia with a stake in MCS Holding. MCS was set up in 2009 and runs the gamut from advertising to consumer research. It is also one of the country’s largest conglomerates with interests in energy, infrastructure, IT, food and beverage, apparel, wholesale, retail, real estate and mining, all of which is decidedly good news for Y&R. The agency now has access to a market that, despite having received lots of interest a few years ago, has proved relatively difficult for international brands to crack.
Programmatic land grab
Programmatic buying is procuring a growing chunk of the APAC digital landscape. RTB, DSP, DMP and SSP are new regulars in Campaign Asia-Pacific’s lexicon and names like Turn, Xaxis and Mediamath have quickly become standard mentions. The latter opened an office in Japan and Singapore this year and Xaxis launched new operations in Indonesia and the Philippines. IPG Mediabrands Asia also launched a new DMP called Sixth Sense and AppNexus expanded its Singapore operations to handle growing programmatic demand in the region.
Having had a big hand in Tokyo’s winning Olympic bid for 2020, Seven46 is in the process of setting up a concrete presence in the market. The company was set up by Nick Varley, a former journalist who has shown himself to be a master of cross-cultural communication. Seven46 (named after the exact time London was named as the host city for the 2012 Olympics) currently operates within Havas, with which it has a global partnership. Led by Emiri Tokunaga (pictured), the agency aims to grow local business off the back of its work for the Tokyo Olympics bid committee, initially concentrating on sports but not necessarily limiting itself to that arena in the long-term.
LinkedIn launched a beta Chinese social site in simplified Chinese in February this year. The move set LinkedIn apart from other online platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter—all of which are blocked by mainland China’s strict internet censorship system. LinkedIn expects the China-dedicated site to bring 140 million new professionals to the network. As the service previously had only 4 million Chinese citizens using the English-language site, an additional hundred-plus million Chinese users would be a significant increase on LinkedIn’s 332 million users. Since launching the China site, however, the number of Chinese citizens has only grown by 2 million.
Unilever’s real-time command centre
Inspired by ‘Dove real beauty sketches’, the most viral campaign of 2013, Unilever wanted to create a repeatable model to maximise views, talkability, and ensure campaigns are more targeted. Setting up a ‘command centre’ with content discovery suites, social listening trackers and syndicated and proprietary research in place with updated information and metrics appearing on large screens, seemed to be the way forward. The hub is used by Unilever’s brand managers, digital, creative, and PR and media agencies. The tools were developed in conjunction with Mindshare, Google, Unruly Media, Millward Brown, and Microsoft.
Tesla in China and Australia
One of the most talked-about brands of the year, Tesla made its presence felt in Asia with launches in China, Australia and Japan. China came first, with the introduction of a commercial site at the end of 2013. In October, it began selling its Model S on Alibaba. Given China’s pollution and growing desire for understated prestige, the outlook is good. However, logistics are a challenge: Tesla recently announced plans to install 400 charging stations across 120 cities. The company also introduced the Model S to Japan, and made its Australia debut in November in characteristic low-profile: all its marketing is driven through digital and social media, and it reportedly has no plans to work with any agencies for media or creative work.
No longer overly concerned with the culturally degrading effects of game consoles, China lifted its 14-year ban on the home entertainment system and Xbox One was the first to crack the market. Microsoft finagled to have Shanghai’s iconic skyline glowing in signature Xbox green on launch night, rather than the usual LED rainbow. The company claims the product can be bought in 4,000 locations in 37 cities across the country. Reports say the Chinese Government approved sales of up to 5 million units. (image source: news.xbox.com)
China American Football League
Plans to bring the American game to China have been in the offing since 2012, but things became real this year. The China American Football League (CAFL) announced itself to the world with a series of university-level competitions and will hold its first pro games in 2015. According to Gary R. Morris, CEO of the CAFL, the league is the first commercially-backed sports organisation in China and is open for sponsorship.
The Marketing Society
With the aim of providing peer connections and inspiration for the region’s marketers for “bolder marketing leadership”, the Marketing Society launched in Hong Kong in April and Singapore in October. The society plans to sign up the region’s 100 most senior marketers to start with and in the future the aim is that 70 per cent of the members will be from the client side. By 2017, the association plans to have branches in 10 cities around the world. Beyond cocktail parties and dinners, the Marketing Society would like build the most influential network of marketers.