Matthew Miller
Nov 1, 2013

Weekly wrapup: Petronas' latest winner; Unilever's whitening shame

ASIA-PACIFIC - Petronas warms hearts once again with its latest Deepavali film, while Unilever's Citra gets blood boiling with a shameful online video. Plus, why you shouldn't link to the Urban Dictionary, the week's top stories and some distractions to make your Friday afternoon go faster.

FTW or fail

Each week we select one campaign or piece of work that we agree is 'FTW' (for the win) and one that...isn't.

FTW: Petronas' latest Deepavali film, by DNA Communications and Reservoir (above).

Honourable mentions:

  • White Ribbon Australia and Archibald Williams, for subverting the tropes of tourism ads to deliver a domestic violence message.
  • Chevrolet, for a great example of a corporation responding to social-media signals. The brand had planned a stunt where crowd members at one of the World Series baseball games between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox last week would hold up placards to spell out the phrase 'Silverado strong'. The brand has been using the catchphrase for one of its trucks. However, people in Boston had adopted a variant of the phrase—'Boston strong'—after the Marathon-day bombing earlier this year. So suffice to say, it's emotionally loaded. A photo of a rehearsal of the stunt made its way onto Reddit and sparked an uproar. The brand noticed and wisely canceled the plan. (Via Jalopnik.)

Fail: The 'winner' this week, without question, is the video for Unilever's Citra that led to our article, "Skin-whitening products should embrace the chance to empower women". Read it and weep.

Dishonourable mentions:

  • W Hotels Hong Kong, for linking to the website Urban Dictionary in a press release yesterday. Note to marketers and everyone else: Urban Dictionary is a vulgar cesspool—not at all a brand-friendly place. We include the link here for the record, but, trust us, you are better off not following it.
  • Prime Credit, a Hong Kong loan company whose ads are not that bad (even though they feature creepy nightmare fuel in the form of strange hand-headed figures). The problem is the ads play so frequently on buses that they drive the captive citizenry nuts.
  • Starbucks, for providing yet another example of overzealous trademark protection by suing a street-side coffee stall in Bangkok.


Top stories

The most-read items on for the week of 25 through 31 October.

1. Aegis Media appoints new China CEO, confirms KF Lee promotion
2. Zoomlion case exposes 'black PR' as BlueFocus denies accusations
3. Skin-whitening products should embrace the chance to empower women
4. McCann's Vince Viola to depart Cathay Pacific role
5. Mediabrands names new Hong Kong MD as Chris Skinner relocates
6. SingTel awards creative, digital account to Ogilvy & Mather
7. Coca-Cola makes another product shift with hot carbonated beverage
8. Six rules to boost your marketing ROI with video content
9. Instagram moves to monetise: Ad format of the future?
10. Starbucks in battle with street-side coffee stall in Bangkok



1. Halloween-themed ads.

2. We enjoyed this animation of Orson Welles' infamous frozen pea rant—a recording of an advertising voiceover session where the legendary director is driven to distraction by people possessing considerably less intellectual might than himself. Seeing that one reminded our Emily Tan of this fabulous version featuring Pinky and the Brain:


3. "Lenovo Names Ashton Kutcher Its Newest Product Engineer." Wait, what? The guy who just starred in a film portraying Steve Jobs? Makes perfect sense.


4. Cindy Gallop sent us this clip from UK comedy-sketch show "That Mitchell and Webb Look" after our Racheal Lee conversed with her for this week's story on skin-whitening products. The clip dates to 2009, but sadly remains just as accurate in 2013. Come to think, it would have been accurate in 1953, 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993.... Sigh.


5. A couple of us are devoted followers of Randall Munroe's xkcd webcomic and his 'What if' site, where he entertainingly answers bizarre questions in ludicrous detail. Yesterday, he posted a 'What if' item that was both media-related and appropriate for Halloween. The question: "When, if ever, will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than of living ones?".


That's it for this week. Thanks for reading Campaign Asia-Pacific.

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