Emily Tan
Feb 6, 2015

Wrapup: Robovac causes an international incident, and 8 more things you need to know

It's not often an ugly and poorly designed poster ad goes viral and leads to international saber rattling and justice-hacking, so Robovac Malaysia should be proud of itself. Or not.

Wrapup: Robovac causes an international incident, and 8 more things you need to know

In the ad, Robovac urged members of the Malaysian public to buy its robotic vacuum cleaners (of course) and fire their Indonesian maids.

The ad has led to a flood of outrage on social media, coverage by the global press, and a formal complaint by the Indonesian government denouncing the as "utterly insensitive".

Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla has demanded an apology.




This morning the vendor's website (now down) was hacked by vigilantes to display:

Please be nice to our sisters, they have family, they have kids, all need for her to be fed up. Don’t forget we are Indonesian people will protect them. Your advertisement is not very funny at all. You drop our people dignity at your feet. Thank you. :)
“Salam, C*N* B*N 2014.

The people running Robovac's headquarters seem to have battened down the hatches as calls to the office and to mobile-phone numbers have gone unanswered. 

2. Acquisitions

This week, Dentsu Aegis Network bought BWM Group, and Publicis completed its takeover of Sapient Nitro. DAN appears to be on a serious shopping spree. Last week the network bought a majority stake in Indian digital and social media agency, WATConsult. 

3. Shipping out

P&G has been quietly shifting leadership of key brands in its skin, cosmetics and personal-care unit out of Singapore, resulting in the elimination of some roles. The process has been going on for quite awhile, ever since June last year, it seems. 

4. Twitter

The social network has been branching out. First, syndicating its Promoted Tweets to Yahoo Japan and Flipboard. Then, striking a deal with Google that will surface its Tweets in search results. 

5. Marketers not getting strategy

In conjunction with the launch of Campaign Asia-Pacific's annual Marketers' Outlook survey (it's out in our eMag, go read!) the Marketing Society hosted a panel discussion with Ruth Rowan, CMO at BT, and Paul Groves, former CMO of AIA Group, who shared their insight on agency-client challenges. One of the conclusions from the talk is the constant demand for strategy from marketers, without most of them understanding the concept. 

6. Awards, lists and the like

It's that time of the year again. The PRWeek Awards Asia is open for entries; the Asian Marketing Effectiveness  and Strategy Awards has named its judges for its Effectiveness and Digital Strategy categories (and is also open for entries); and the Digital A-List China wants your nominations now!

7. Buzzfeed - Snapchat

WSJ found out why Buzzfeed isn't in Snapchat's discover feature when the two seemed to go together so well. 

8. Retail "clusterfuck"

Not our word, but it seems appropriate when Topshop shuts down in Japan, Kate Spade closes its newly launched Saturday line, Target liquidates in Canada and Gap walks away from Piperlime. 

9. Gawker turned Coke into a pro-Hitler marketing machine

Mean? Genius? We're not sure which. But Gawker made a very salient point to Coke that turning hate speech into cute cartoon ASCII characters helps no one, and that automating such things can be very, very dangerous. The campaign has been suspended, so I'm guessing pouring Cola on the servers didn't help this time. 


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