Jessica Goodfellow
May 27, 2019

'The energy was infectious': MediaWorks 2019 concludes

A team mentored by a former participant won, and Grab was inspired by the quality, rigour and energy on display at MediaWorks 2019.

The 2019 edition of MediaWorks drew to a close in Bangkok on Saturday following an impressive selection of presentations that have the potential to inspire Grab's future campaigns.

Now in its 14th year, the four-day intensive training scheme for young media professionals was attended this year by 101 delegates from across Asia-Pacific.

They were split into nine ‘agency’ groups which were each allocated a seasoned industry mentor to help them develop their communications plan. 

The delegates were challenged by super-app Grab to develop a strategy that could grow awareness of its mobile wallet, GrabPay, across Southeast Asia.

The event kicked off on Wednesday afternoon with some team-building exercises to help the groups build a rapport before the client brief was revealed. A competition to design a team flag was won by Team Turquoise, who were treated to Thai massages on Thursday evening to relieve some stress in the throes of strategising.

The teams had just under 40 hours to craft a 20-minute presentation, to be in with the chance of winning the pitch.

The brief was focused on growing usage of GrabPay during offline (P2M) transactions, when a user pays for a transaction in a restaurant, store or shop using the mobile wallet.

Grab Financial Group head of marketing Oliver Lo issued the brief to delegates, joined by Mindy Yap (regional head of brand marketing) and Brenda Bey (regional head of country marketing), who were on hand for the client Q&A and presentation judging.

They asked the delegates to consider how to overcome education challenges, with Grab most commonly affiliated with ride-hailing and food delivery, the psychological challenge of convincing a cash-prevailing market to switch to mobile payments, while also standing out from fierce competition.

The delegates were judged on strategy (40 points), insight (25 points), ideas (25 points) and presentation (10 points).

Training sessions on the four elements were held across the first two days, led by industry experts and mentors Alexander Oakden (head of strategy APAC at iProspect), Haruna McWilliams (SVP of strategy APAC at Essence), Charlie Newbury (chief media officer APAC at Digitas) and Rajni Menon (chief executive at Carat India).

Menon actually attended MediaWorks in 2006 as a delegate, and 13 years later mentored the winning team.

Sponsor representatives Neil Stewart (head of agency for APAC at Facebook), Matt Harty (SVP Asia at The Trade Desk), John Williams (vice president of advertising sales for South and Southeast Asia at BBC Global News) all lent advice to the attendees on what goes into crafting a successful pitch.

The event was chaired for the seventh straight year and 13th time overall by Torie Henderson (most recently CEO of Southeast Asia and India at Omnicom Media Group), who said it was a “privilege and honour” to lead the event.

Campaign Asia-Pacific thanks all the mentors who gave of their time, expertise and enthusiasm this year:

  • Torie Henderson, former chief executive Southeast Asia and India, Omnicom Media Group (chair)
  • Charlie Newbery, APAC head of media, Digitas
  • Rajni Menon, CEO, Carat India
  • Haruna McWilliams, SVP strategy APAC, Essene
  • Alexander Oakden, head of strategy APAC, iProspect
  • Steve Garton, principal, Steve Garton Consulting
  • Paddy Crawshaw, chief product officer, Kin
  • Ajay Gupte, MD, Wavemaker Indonesia
  • Sarah Musgrave, chief development officer APAC, Carat
  • Andreas Vogiatzakis, CEO, Havas Media Group Malaysia

Team Brown took the winner’s crown for its pitch centred on how GrabPay saves you time with every transaction, giving you more time to spend with your family and friends.

Led by team mentor Menon, the group was praised for its pragmatic approach. Lo said the winning team took the concept of saving time with GrabPay and “made it tangible”.

“They focused on the role the wallet played with that idea [of saving time] and built out the campaign from there,” Lo said.

“The winning idea is something we can potentially take and run,” Yap added.

The members of the winning team were:

  • Yi Yang, IPG- Cadreon
  • Karamjeet Singh Gidda, iProspect India
  • Bora Jang, Havas Korea
  • Winkie Chan, Mediacom
  • Sagar Patil, Carat India
  • Benjarat Orankitvanit, Dentsu X
  • Kanyanat Piticharoen, Facebook
  • Tsz Yan Siu, Mindshare Hong Kong
  • Dimitrios Tsakiris, Starcom
  • Natassa Gunarso, Wavemaker Indonesia

The time-saving concept was at the centre of two of the three finalists. Another common theme that emerged was how GrabPay could help consumers ‘do good’ with the concept of rounding up payments to either donate to charity or put towards investments.

But Grab said the idea wasn’t the best one for growing adoption and frequency.

“We are trying to get people to change their behaviour, and fundamentally humans are selfish, which begs the question what is in it for me?” Bey said.

Overall, the three clients were very impressed with the quality and rigour of the pitches.

“I have never seen as much rigour, analysis, the constant questioning, testing,” Yap said. “The amount of collaboration, energy, passion, conviction of ideas was inspiring.”

“The level of energy and enthusiasm despite a very tough brief was encouraging and infectious,” Bey added.

The major agency groups all sent delegates, including Dentsu Aegis, GroupM, Havas, Omnicom Media Group, and Publicis, while a range of media brands and independent agencies were also represented. This year 68% of the delegates were female versus 32% male.

The highest number of delegates came from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand, with the remaining originating from Australia, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

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