In-depth

Patagonia gives away company: Is this real brand purpose?

The apparel-maker made news this week for giving away its US$3 billion company towards climate-change efforts. We ask comms pros if this should set an example for other corporations.

Furry and fabulous: Why brands shouldn't overlook pet influencers

The evergreen appeal of a cute animal can easily translate to ad deals, lucrative brand partnerships, and hundreds of thousands of followers. Here's why pet influencers are a goldmine for brands.

Adland speaks out on quiet quitting

Beyond being just another social-media buzzword, ‘quiet quitting’ is having a real impact across adland. We ask industry leaders in the region how they are responding.

Why Pepsi is focusing on food in its largest Asia-wide campaign this year

The F&B giant’s brand marketers explain how their latest multi-phased campaign reinforces a global brand locally, attempts to help Covid-hit communities and reaches GenZ all at the same time.

WFH or back to office: Where does creativity thrive?

Keeping in mind pandemic learnings, we ask agencies their preferred working model going forward when it comes to fostering creativity.

Why talent is moving from agencies to tech platforms and startups

While pay is a big draw, other compensation such as stock options and bonuses are a key attraction too.

Does adland overemphasise awards when hiring creatives?

Creative leaders in the region question whether the industry should prioritise awards tallies when looking for creative candidates.

Uneven regulation, tight deadlines catalyse spike in plagiarism

While content creators have been flooded with work recently, they've also had to contend with a flood of copycats. But lax legislation and hesitancy for creators to take action remain pending issues.

Provide privacy or perish: WE study

Consumer understanding of data privacy is more sophisticated than ever, and brands should step up their game on protection, according to WE’s Brands in Motion study.

Freelancers are busier than ever, but old headaches persist

As agencies and marketing teams increasingly outsource their core offerings, freelancers are being inundated with requests. But issues such as reskilling, timely payments, and burnout are prevalent.

Unilever's Samir Singh: Sustainability shouldn't burden consumers with guilt or expense

In his first interview since becoming Unilever's global personal care CMO, he details how the consumer goods giant is evolving hygiene products into wellness products and is embedding sustainability in its brands while facing growing local competition.

Should all brands rush to enter the metaverse?

As more and more brands are keen to get their foot in the door, we explore if it makes sense for all sectors to enter the metaverse and whether brands are clear about what they want to achieve in the space.

How the world's first virtual influencer with Down syndrome was created

To drive home the idea that the metaverse is for everyone, Forsman & Bodenfors launches Kami, a confident young woman who wants to smash barriers in the digital space. Go behind the process of creating her.

Rumi, an image of a virtual influencer

Is creating a virtual influencer worth the trouble for brands?

We dive into what does it takes to create a virtual influencer from scratch and consider the efforts vs rewards for brands.

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How are agencies managing the expat talent exodus?

Amid record numbers of foreign talent leaving traditionally expat-heavy markets like Hong Kong and Singapore, we explore the repercussions for agencies.

Where are the women in creative PR roles?

A dearth of women in creative roles can greatly affect communications and narratives being pushed out, according to PR leaders.

KPIs for communications shift with the times

A new report shows that securing coverage is no longer the end-all for PR clients as the move towards activity-based KPIs and real-time social data becomes evident.

A still from Netflix's 'Inventing Anna', which depicts the use of personal branding to deceive people.

Is personal branding more important than qualifications?

A strong online presence is important to boost visibility and ‘sell’ your skills—but should it supersede meritocracy?

Clockwise from left: Kaoru Nakagawa, Rikki Jones, Will Collie, Emma Smith

Healthcare PR teams are facing a critical talent crunch

Can healthcare comms be sexy? To crack a serious talent shortage, agency leaders are finding creative ways to make the field more attractive for prospective talent—and looking beyond traditional PR to shop for talent.

A demonstration march against climate change in Glasgow during the UN COP26 climate conference (Shutterstock)

Are social platforms complicit in climate-change misinformation?

Online platforms continue to rely on fossil-fuel companies for paid advertising, even as they roll out policies against climate-change misinformation. Where should the line be drawn?

Parental leave policies leave inequities of maternity leave behind

Agencies that have evolved their offerings in this area say they’re reaping the benefits along with their people. If only such policies were more widespread across APAC.

Marc Pritchard: ‘Philanthropy is wonderful, but we’re a business’

Reiterating that brands must be a force for both growth and good, P&G’s chief brand officer tells the Spikes Asia x Campaign audience that creativity is central to making that happen.

L-R: Yuchenxuan He & Xin Chen

Running a charity is expensive. This winning Young Spikes team came up with a vivid reminder

Would you go halves on running a charity the way you would a restaurant bill? That simple, clever idea from a promising duo at BBDO Shanghai won gold at the Young Spikes PR competition.

93% of APAC youth say pandemic changed their lifestyle forever

Results from an APAC-wide study by Vice Media, revealed here exclusively, underscore the need for brands to re-examine everything they think they know about the way young people view family, money, time, mental health and work.

‘Too many meetings’ and ‘non-urgent work’ causes of overtime: PRHK

The PR industry in Hong Kong is clear about the causes and consequences of overtime, yet a majority of them are not communicating their frustrations to their managers, according to a survey.

Agency talent willing to leave agencies that work with fossil-fuel clients

If research shows that people are hesitant to work with clients that don’t align with their values, how are agencies managing differing moral choices among employees?

An ad by Australian Gas Networks promoting its green tech (Comms Declare)

Why do so many agencies continue to work with fossil-fuel companies?

The devastating impact of fossil fuels to our planet is undeniable—yet a majority of agencies continue to promote and sustain the ‘dirty energy’ sector with no immediate sign of backing away.

‘We can’t just copy-paste elements from the West’: Chair of PRCA’s DEI committee

Chair of the newly launched DEI committee Charu Srivastava discusses localising the DEI agenda, the importance of holistic change beyond policy, and why inclusive agencies can be a magnet for talent.

Are brands communicating to shareholders the value of aligning with a purpose?

Following a major shareholder's criticism that Unilever is focusing too much on purposeful communications rather than its business performance, APAC marketing experts discuss whether there is a disconnect between the goals of brands and those of their shareholders.

What will define corporate PR in 2022?

Experts in the region express what communicators and corporate leaders should prioritise this year amid an increasingly fractured business and social environment.

Son Heung-Min kicks off multi-market Tiger Beer campaign

The beer's global brand director explains why the Korean-born Tottenham Hotspur football star is the perfect ambassador for the ambitious 'Year of Your Tiger' campaign.

Clockwise from top: Amy Watson & Scott Thomson, Forge Communications; Tarun Deo, Progressive Communications; Serina Tan, Brewer Consulting

6 APAC agencies to watch out for in 2022

These agencies mirror the growing need for personalised and thoughtful communications that centre around purpose, inclusivity, and sustainability.

Clockwise from top left: Charu Srivastava, Serina Tan, Jonathan Tan, Corbin Hsieh, Adeline Goh

The best purpose campaigns of 2021

PRWeek asked five APAC industry pros to pick the best purpose-driven work they saw during the year.

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How brands are failing to connect with millennial mothers

Millennial mothers in Asia are voicing their needs, accomplishments and worries unlike any previous generation. Yet brands are not sensibly tapping into this group.

Employees at Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, the logistics affiliate of Alibaba, packaging orders ahead of the 11/11 shopping festival. (Getty Images)

Why Tmall’s messaging around 11/11 became ‘less about the discounts’

The platform’s annual shopping festival is straying away from shouting about its seasonal prices from the rooftops and is instead centring a vision that upholds sustainability and long-term goals.

Tatler’s new formula for success in the luxury space

Chairman and CEO Michel Lamunière speaks to us about how an evolution of the luxury-focused media company's approach is coming to fruition.

Mark Read: 'We were actually back at number one and ahead of Publicis'

Mark Read on proving WPP doubters ‘wrong’ and battling Publicis to be biggest agency group

Q3 results showed resilience of agency sector, CEO says.

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Why corporate affairs firms are hiring senior talent from outside the industry

Law, banking, policy, and journalism are just some areas that corporate affairs agencies are looking towards to poach senior advisors. Major firms in the region tell us why.

‘Leadership communications is paramount, now more than ever’: PMI internal comms lead

The head of global internal communications at Philip Morris International on managing comms for a 77,000-strong workforce and keeping employees engaged throughout the pandemic.

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Singapore more aware than global peers on ESG: SEC Newgate

According to new research, Singaporeans are willing to pay more for brands and services that offer a better-perceived ESG performance.

Timah Whiskey

These recent PR crises show why language matters

What’s in a word? Plenty, according to these social media rows that have managed to spark national debates.

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Nearly half of PR pros in APAC record worsened mental health: PRCA

On average, PR pros are working an equivalent of an extra day each week versus their contracted hours.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou speaks to the media following her extradition hearing in Canada. (Getty Images)

Transparency key for Huawei following CFO release: former Huawei PR leaders

For years, the tech company has been used as political tool in US-China relations. We ask former Huawei PR leaders on advice for the brand moving forward.

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Why does workplace harassment often go unreported?

Reports show that a significant number of harassment victim-survivors hesitate to officially lodge reports against their perpetrators. We explore the multiple systemic factors that contribute to the issue.

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Influencer marketing shifts gear to home-based verticals, product marketing, and Twitter

Instagram remains the dominant platform for influencer marketing campaigns in the region, but its growth is plateauing while that of Twitter is ramping up, according to a report from AnyMind Group.

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Consumers in APAC increasingly concerned about purpose-washing: study

Consumers in the region are expressing scepticism about brands promoting their purpose-driven agendas to sell products, according to WE’s new study.

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Covid changed news consumption habits of business leaders: survey

A BBC study shows that leaders in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia have become increasingly conscious about trustworthiness and misinformation when sharing news.

Why Gen Z symbols are different in China

In China, consumers gain emotional or physical self-actualisation from brands and for the country's youth, symbols are both a continuum of ideas and history as well as being completely of the now.

Why companies should embrace employees’ use of social media

Companies may fear or police employee activism on social media, but employees can be a company’s biggest influencer.

Why Pfizer/BioNTech should throw away the marketing playbook for Comirnaty

Vaccine makers should align around convincing the world to get more and more people vaccinated, even if it’s not their own vaccine, says one prominent ad exec.

Image of Kabul, Afghanistan (picture via Upsplash)

'It’s hard to communicate in soundbites' - comms challenges facing aid groups in Afghanistan

What are the main communications challenges for aid bodies and charities working in Afghanistan following the Taliban's seizure of power last week, and what kind of messages have the biggest impact? We hear from three organisations.

IPCC climate report: What are the implications for corporate ESG?

PR pros express urgency for companies to act on and measure their ESG activities in a more transparent way, following the bombshell global report released earlier this week.

Tokyo Olympics coverage shines a light on politics, mental health: BBC reporter

News presenter Mariko Oi speaks to us about reporting in Tokyo during the Games and news themes that have emerged on the fringe of the sporting action.

Scent marketing: The sweet smell of (brand) success

With more brands applying multi-sensory strategies, marketers are leveraging our sense of smell to tap into memories and aspirations. But there’s much more to scent branding than simply perfuming a physical space.

Foodpanda’s botched comms strategy amid Thailand crisis

Following boycott calls sparked by a social media comment, Bangkok-based PR pros offer advice on where the food delivery company went wrong in its response, and what it should have done to appease stakeholders.

Is the value of earned media diminishing?

Two PR leaders discuss the consequences of incentivising publishers and journalists, and the unique challenges PR pros face when seeking earned coverage.

Consumers more likely to ‘forgive’ purposeful brands: study

A new APAC study from Zeno Group shows that purpose is here to stay—so long as brands are authentic in their messaging.

The moon is (soon to be) open for business

Ispace, a commercial venture that counts Dentsu among its strategic partners, announced it's one step closer to putting a lander on the lunar surface next year—with brand sponsors along for the ride.

End-to-end PR app aims to streamline agency offerings

We speak to the founder of Supernewsroom about democratising PR functions through an app and the platform’s curious ‘guaranteed coverage’ feature.

Why does agency talent move in-house?

Shifts to in-house roles have caused a dearth of mid-level talent in PR agencies. We ask three in-house staffers about the lures of the ‘other side’.

Vitasoy caught in politically charged PR crisis

The Hong Kong beverage company is under intense scrutiny among Chinese consumers amid an incident that questioned mainland China-Hong Kong diplomacy.

Is India’s luxury surge mirroring China’s?

India has a fast-growing elite and aspirational classes — and their insatiable appetite for luxury reminds global brands of China.

How can APAC representation be improved at Cannes Lions?

Award-winning campaigns at major awards are often disproportionately skewed towards the West; we ask APAC-based leaders how that can be rectified.

Alibaba lights Olympic marketing campaign

Alibaba CMO Chris Tung on the company’s marketing campaign, as well as its technological support for the Tokyo games and the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.

Plenty of room for creativity in ‘traditional PR’

Two regional creative leaders argue that the industry needs to move away from the perception that corporate PR and creative-led PR exist in siloes.

Foodpanda's marketing VP on the many rewards of in-housing

Idan Haim, APAC VP of growth and marketing, talks to us about the content, cost, and talent efficiencies of in-housing and how it’s led to resounding success for the brand.

Tipped for Lions glory: 'Womb Stories' for Essity (left) with 'Mouldy Whopper' for Burger King (top right) and Mastercard 'True Name' (bottom right)

Less cynicism, more humour… more weirdness? What to expect from (virtual) Cannes Lions

The International Festival of Creativity is almost upon us. Creative PRs share their thoughts on the new virtual format, and discuss what themes and campaigns they expect to dominate.

Are you ready to work with LGBTQIA+ influencers?

While many agencies and brands may be keen to work with diverse spokespersons, they must adapt PR strategies carefully for each market and be aware of the perils of 'pridewashing'.

APAC creatives on making Pride Month beyond a PR exercise

How can brands celebrate Pride Month with authenticity and compassion? Three APAC creatives and members of the LGBTQIA+ community give their advice.

BTS campaign in Asia has been ‘phenomenal’: McDonald’s Asia marketer

Regional marketing director Eugene Lee on the challenges of scaling and localising a mammoth global campaign.

Prasarana displayed 'lack of empathy' after Malaysia train crash

A lesson in how not to address the public and press following a nationwide crisis.

When the competition poaches your staff

Well-trained talent is an issue among Australian agencies; but is poaching the right answer?

How Giant gives the people what they want: $16 million in savings

Dairy Farm’s Southeast Asia marketing chief on the radical idea of permanently lowering prices and going against hype- and promotions-driven marketing.

Timeline of a movement: Sexual harassment in Malaysian schools

How one TikTok video uploaded by a teenage student sparked a nationwide debate and shed light on an institutional failure in crisis management.

PR pros in Asia optimistic about Clubhouse

We ask leaders in the region about the app’s use as a marketing tool, an ‘alternative’ media outlet, and opportunities for commerce.

APAC Top Consultancies 2021: WFH and flexible working don’t affect efficiency

The pandemic may have permanently changed the ways agencies are maintaining and attracting talent. Agency leaders discuss navigating new workplace processes.

APAC Top Consultancies 2021: BlueFocus towers over the region, large networks decline

The pandemic had a noticeable impact on agencies’ financial results, but the China market showed to be have bounced back with little effect.

‘Brands can’t be too transparent’: Singapore Gen Zs

A new survey of Gen Z consumers by Devries Global Singapore showed that while transparency in comms is important, going 'too far' might reveal a falseness in intent.

Edelman Trust Barometer: Trust in Malaysia rises despite political turmoil

However, trust is built on fragile foundations such as a need for better healthcare and education.

The slippery slope of consumer activism

PRWeek Connect: Are consumers increasingly voting with their dollars? When should brands wade into a polarising issue? Leaders in the region discuss.

C-suites in Singapore expected to go beyond donations and CSR: report

A new study of C-suites by WE Communications shows that stakeholders are expecting leaders in Singapore to engage with a broad array of issues and lead by example.

‘A renaissance of classic corporate comms’, and other trends during Covid

PRWeek Connect: Golin’s Darren Burns and Dow’s Linda Lim on redistributing resources during the pandemic, the necessity of ESG, virtual pitching, and more.

How can marketers make better Ramadan ads?

Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr marketing in the region are often made up of damaging tropes and lazy narratives. Experts from Virtue and Vice offer suggestions on breaking clichés and evolving culture along the way.

Why influencer marketing should be part of brands’ integrated plans

To mark the launch of an influencer marketing playbook by Nuffnang and PHD in Malaysia, leaders of the project tell us why brands shouldn’t silo influencer marketing as a lone top-of-the-funnel strategy.

What's the future for BBC World News?

The head of news at BBC's international English-language TV network discusses the longevity of 24-hour rolling news, permanent shifts caused by Covid, and the impact of misinformation.

From in-house to freelance: Is self-employment sustainable in PR?

More senior in-house professionals are leaving the corporate world and moving towards self-employment. The benefits are endless, they say.

SK-II’s marketing head on choosing purpose over short-term sales

The P&G skincare brand, known for making headway in purpose-driven campaigns, is steadfast about choosing long-term messaging over the quick route to direct sales.

Edelman Trust Barometer: Mistrust of media and misinformation heighten in Singapore

An ‘information bankruptcy’ rages in Singapore as trust in traditional and owned media fall to near-record lows and information hygiene plummets.

How a PR agency is getting Thailand to open its borders to tourists

The #OpenThailandSafely campaign, which aims to open Thai borders to international tourists by July 1, is gaining ground through lobbying and plenty of earned media.

Period leave: A privilege or a basic right?

Three marketing agencies in the region make the case for period leave as equitable staff policy. But the effects of period leave, we learn, play a bigger role in destigmatising conversations around menstruation and women’s health.

What is the role of male PR leaders in elevating women?

We ask women leaders in the industry what they hope to see from male leaders, and how men can position themselves as allies beyond lip service.

Q&A with Singapore’s top virtual influencer

A virtual influencer ‘sits down’ with us to talk about authenticity, AI-powered marketing collaborations, and automated communications.

APAC consumers concerned about worsening inequalities and don't want brands to sell dreams

Asia-Pacific consumers chart higher than the global average when it comes to financial and racism concerns caused by the pandemic, and brands should respond accordingly, study finds.

Interest in brand purpose heightened during pandemic and social unrest

As consumers seek stability in their lives, they are gravitating toward brands and companies that can provide not just instant gratification with their products and services, but also longer-term value in their lives.

96% of Hong Kong PR pros don’t receive compensation for overtime: HKPRU

A new survey shows that unpaid overtime hours is still very much an issue, and a possible loophole in the national employment policy could put higher-paid senior staff at risk.

Mark Read's WPP growth plan includes greater focus on Asia and agency integration

In a wide-ranging interview at Spikes Asia, the WPP boss discusses the future structure of the network, the challenge of losing talent to tech platforms, and of course, is quizzed about Sir Martin Sorrell.

Marketers risk losing their credibility and seat at the table: Mastercard CMO

Dozens of new technologies are disrupting the art of marketing in unprecedented ways, bringing about an inflection point where some will adapt, and some will not, Raja Rajamannar told attendees at Spikes Asia.

Myanmar military coup: How are agencies and businesses reacting?

Two agency leaders in Myanmar—who have been vocal against the military takeover this week—talk about the futility of sanctions, the rise of consumer activism, and the radical power of social media.

What do Chinese New Year marketing trends look like amid a pandemic?

PR pros across the region weigh in on consumer behaviour and new strategies during an unusual festive period of weariness and homesickness.