Staff Reporters
Dec 5, 2014

Best of 2014: Top 5 controversies

Our annual year-in-review series continues with the year's top 5 controversies.

Best of 2014: Top 5 controversies

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.

<< See all 2014 year-in-review top-5 lists >>

Without further ado, here are the...


Edelman China

In August, it was reported that Steven Cao, CEO of Edelman China, had been missing for two weeks following the arrest of CCTV anchor, Rui Chenggang by the Chinese government following accusations of spying. Cao reappeared in October and is understood to have been detained by the government during his absence. Little else is known.

Cadbury Malaysia’s ‘Jihad’

After a mysterious lab report claiming to have discovered porcine DNA in Cadbury Malaysia chocolate bars surfaced on social media, the situation rapidly snowballed for the poor brand. Within three days of the brand’s voluntary recall of the reportedly tainted batches, 20 Muslim groups in Malaysia had called for a boycott and declared a holy war (Jihad) on the brand. The brand was declared free of pork DNA in June.

Telkomsel Indonesia’s Pitch

Indonesia’s leading telco’s media pitch in May was tainted by accusations of an ‘e-auction’ situation in the final round. OMD eventually won the business, worth US$40 million. Telkomsel has stepped forward to acknowledge the e-auction process, but denied that the agency with the lowest rates won. “The agency with lowest commercial proposal did not necessarily win out as the overall scoring was determined and contributed more by their technical fluency,” said the brand’s general manager of media channel management, Rizky Muhammad.

POG no more

Of course, the roundup wouldn’t be complete without including the dissolution of the biggest merger advertising has ever (not) seen. After nearly a year of wrangling, Publicis and Omnicom called off the wedding in May. A statement from the companies said the decision was a “mutual agreement, in view of difficulties in completing the transaction within a reasonable timeframe”. Rivals purported to mourn the death of a process that had taken so long it was reportedly costing both groups clients and money.

Nikon and animal rights

A billboard by Nikon featuring animals both stuffed and alive drew complaints from advertising, photography and animal rights groups. But the question remains: were any animal rights violated, or has Nikon’s ad been used to champion a cause? Whatever the reason, Nikon’s refusal to respond to or acknowledge these problems has done little to resolve the issue.


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