As 2015 nears its end, Campaign Asia-Pacific is reviewing the year by featuring one best-of (or worst-of) list each day. We've got 12 days' worth of the biggest PR disasters, deals, pitches, exits, launches and people moves; the best and not-best campaigns; and the oddest stories and quotes we've heard. Click here for all our year-in-review features from not only 2015 but also past years.
Today, the year's most significant APAC launches.
BBC is turning Japanese
Buzzfeed and Yahoo announced a Japanese joint-venture for roll-out in 2016, but it was the BBC that was the first out of the blocks when it launched its first fully commercially-funded, non-English news website in Japanese.
The BBC.jp site features business, entertainment and technology stories from BBC.com and translated into Japanese, with advertising formats including leaderboards and MPU. Pre-roll, however, is available only on BBC’s English language site. The broadcaster said it wanted to offer advertisers the chance to reach readers in the “business elite” category in their own language.
Unruly turns to Tokyo
Video ad tech firm Unruly was another company with Japan in its sights after opening its Tokyo office in October.
Led by former Facebook Japan sales director Haruyo Kagawa as county manager, the firm now has a physical presence in the country where it has served the likes of Unilever, Panasonic and Samsung remotely since 2009.
Further clients upon launch include Toyota, Adidas and Diageo with more FMCG/CPG deals in 2016.
According to company, Japan is the world’s third largest advertising market, with a value of US$41.2bn. However, only 3 per cent of digital ad spend last year went on online video.
GroupM launches ESP properties
GroupM built on its US$250 million investment in global sports marketing firm Bruin Sports Capital by launching a new global agency brand ESP.
It launched in May with more than 150 staff in Singapore, New York, London, Sao Paolo and Dubai, among others.
That number has since been bolstered by new hires under global leader Jon Kristick and APAC head JinWei Toh. Despite being under the GroupM banner, it remains independent of its media buying operations.
It is largely focused on rights holders and working with them to commercialize their sports and entertainments properties across the globe.
Unilever fires up The Foundry
The Unilever Foundry, a global initiative to connect Unilever brands with the startup community, turned up the heat in Asia after announcing three new project briefs.
They called on fledgling firms to develop consumer engagement solutions for its Clear, Lux and Lifebuoy brands, with successful pitches rewarded with US$50,000 and the opportunity to pilot their technology.
Up to that point, the initiative had largely focused on Europe and the US, with more than US$3 million being invested by a number of Unilever brands.
Sonar sees the Daylight
Ruder Finn launch its social media crisis simulation platform SONAR, billed as an Asia-specific solution to the rising number of digital disasters experienced by firms in region.
Built in partnership with Hong Kong-based Daylight Partnership, SONAR allows client teams to experience a fast-developing social-media issue or crisis in real-time. It has the capability to operate in any language, including Chinese (simplified and traditional), Hindi, Bahasa, Korean, Japanese and English, and simulates all the leading social media channels, with the precise portfolio being market-dependent.
Weber Shandwick was the first out of the blocks with social media simulation, launching Firebell in 2010. An Asia version was unveiled in late 2011 before an updated platform was introduced last year, featuring Weibo and WeChat.