Staff Reporters
Dec 17, 2015

Best of 2015: Dear diary, you won't believe what happened

The year's 10 top tittle-tattle tidbits, plus our all-in-fun selection of industry figures who may have been 'separated at birth' from better-known twins.

Best of 2015: Dear diary, you won't believe what happened

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 disastersdealspitches, launches, market exits 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 we present, in chronological order, 10 odd bits of gossip and ephemera that made their way into our reporter's notebooks this year. Plus, we include a few industry insiders who, we couldn't help but notice, bear more than passing resemblance to somewhat better-known lookalikes.

1. Drop Cheuk like he's hot

February: Rap fans will no doubt be familiar with the legend that has Suge Knight dangling Vanilla Ice over a hotel balcony high above Los Angeles by his ankles. As the tale goes, the former Death Row Records CEO was trying to intimidate Ice into signing over the publishing rights of a song. It appears Cheuk Chiang recently found himself in a similar predicament. Here we see him being roughed up and shaken down by one of Snoop Dogg’s bodyguards. Apparently Big Snoop joined the media men on stage at an OMG event in Vegas—but it was the heavies who provided the real entertainment.

2. Pride goeth before the fall

March: Life can be so cruel sometimes. You make it to the top, they rename an agency office after you—say McCann & Spencer, for example—and just as you’re ready to bask in it, you trip and faceplant right in front of your global bosses. 

Separated at birth?

Left: Nanda Ivens, Asia Pacific CEO and regional director, Mirum
Right: Barack Obama, US president 

3. Flow it, show it, long as God can grow it

April: We knew the GroupM Confest in Bali was a thinly veiled excuse to have inordinate amounts of fun but we were still mightily impressed with John Steedman’s get up as a folk hero. We also hear ‘No Direction’ made an appearance. (We're sure this is not related, but Steedman later stepped down from his post.)

4. Busy hands: Odd but acceptable edition

April: Hangovers are tough, but even tougher are corporate leaders who brave interviews after a night on the town. While one recent interviewee managed the situation with panache, another hung on to his head throughout a lengthy chat. He may have also neglected to have gotten changed from the night out as we hear his T-shirt was a tad grubby and a little bit holey near the navel.

Separated at birth?

Left: Reed Collins, CCO, Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong 
Right: Tim Curry, actor

5. Busy hands: Unacceptable edition

June: To all the amazing ladies in our 2015 Women to Watch feature, an apology is in order on behalf of one industry fellow who, in commenting on our website, felt compelled to congratulate people on their looks rather than their achievements. It’s a pity that attitudes like this persist, and we congratulate those featured again—for the right reasons. Speaking of sexism, we hear some cad roaming around the Goodstuph SG 05 party decided to grab a handful here and there. Not. Acceptable. Look if you must, but keep your paws to yourself.

Separated at birth?

Left: Sunshine Farzan, vice president and head of marketing, MetLife
Right: Britney Spears, singer and actor

6. When teenage boys write job requirements

June: And as for you, Alibaba. Advertising for someone with ‘pornstar looks’ to ‘encourage your programmers’ is really not on. Women are not an office perk. They are not an incentive. And they certainly do not exist to “compliment” or “wake up” programmers. Why the job ad requires a taste for spicy food is a speculation we will not venture to make.  

7. In which we hear three stories about a three-storey pencil

July: Leo Burnett alerted us to something that seemed quite curious, even by China standards. The Shanghai office allegedly awoke to find that its three-storey high black pencil—an enduring symbol of the agency—had vanished. Industry gossip initially had the disappearance down as a publicity stunt for the agency’s relocation, but Leo Burnett assured us someone had apparently made off with the giant implement. We know 'Anything is possible' in China (as former client Li Ning once said), but we weren't too surprised to find later that we'd been mis-leadthe caper was in fact a publicity stunt for the agency's office move.

8. The 'Iceman' cometh up missing

July: To promote its Extra Cold product in Tokyo, Heineken flew the ‘Iceman’ Wim Hof—who boasts the world record for time spent in a bath of ice, among other startling achievements—over from the Netherlands for an event. No sooner had he touched down than he vanished without trace. Heineken, we heard, hired a pair of penguins from a local zoo to stand in for him. Penguins might not be good at scaling mountains dressed only in shorts, but at least you know they’ll never turn down the chance of a free beer.

Separated at birth?

Left: Wain Choi, global vice president and ECD, Cheil Worldwide
Right: Daniel Dae Kim, actor

9. Run, baby, run

September: There are ‘tiger moms’, and there are Tiger Moms. Yahoo’s head of marketing in Hong Kong, Tania Lau, gets a special mention for telling Top 1000 Brands briefing delegates that she signed her three-year-old up for a 2km ‘marathon’. Wow.

Separated at birth?

Left: Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO and founder, WE Communications  
Right: Amy Farrah Fowler, character on The Big Bang Theory, played by Mayim Bialik

10. D'ya tech I'm sexy

September: We were left unsatisfied by an oddly bland video from Okamoto about the female orgasm that barely warranted a ‘NSFW’ tag. Much more encouraging was Richard Leong of Pizza Hut Hong Kong, who at our Asia’s Top 1000 Brands breakfast briefing, urged marketers and IT people to “sleep together if you have to” in order to build understanding of technology. We're pretty sure that's not how it works, but equally certain plenty of people would be willing to try.

Separated at birth?

Left: Natalie Bennet, head of strategic marketing and communications, Asia-Pacific, Credit-Suisse)  
Right: Lacey Chabert, actor

11. Bonus 'This top-10 list goes to 11' item

December: We can't help but include the video below, in which MEC's newly appointed Asia CEO, Peter Vogel, does his utmost to channel Mariah Carey while valiantly lip-syncing his way through ‘All I want for Christmas’ in an internal festive competition. Start as you mean to go on, we always say. In any case, Vogel is a lip-sync savant compared to his global bosses (Oh, the humanity). Meanwhile, McCann Shanghai welcomed Christmas in a more subdued way: with a Christmas tree fashioned from post-it notes. We’re not really sure what to say about that.



See all year-in-review features


Campaign Asia

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