The Asia-Pacific region, with all its cultures and colours, produced a multitude of inspiring, heartbreaking, and hilarious marketing campaigns in 2016.
The mediums may change, but the objectives are always the same: to create an emotional connection with the audience.
This year, surprisingly, industries not typically renowned for emotion are now dominating the art of storytelling. From financial services to telecommunications, 2016 proved that if your message is personally touching, you can engage with your audience--regardless of what you’re trying to sell.
Wrapping up the year of the Rooster, we present five award-winning APAC brands and how they struck gold in 2016.
Malaysia: Maxis’ Rojak 360
Crafting a message for a population of more than 30 million using 137 different languages is an intimidating prospect, but Malaysian telecommunications provider Maxis found a way.
Under the banner of cultural diversity and national unity, Maxis released Malaysia’s first 360-degree film series, “Rojak 360.” The campaign employed local YouTube phenomenon The Ming Thing, film director Junad Mohd Nor, and others, using the YouTube 360-degree service to show “Malaysia from all angles” on its national day. The campaign promoted Maxis’ new 4G video-streaming service through mass mobile accessibility, while simultaneously tapping into the nation’s collective pride.
In accepting the award for “Brand of the Year” at the 2016 Malaysia Effie Awards, Sulin Lau, Maxis’ head of marketing services, offered this advice for campaign success in 2017: “Stop adapting assets or audience targeting originally meant for TV or desktop. By designing our films for mobile screens, not TVs or cinemas, we were able to tell richer, more participative stories to millions of Malaysians simultaneously.”
South Korea: KB Kookmin Bank’s Father, The Most Reliable Person On Earth
Recognising the best in marketing excellence across 22 countries, Stevie Awards judges were surprised that Korea’s KB Kookmin Bank received 2.5 million views for its campaign on the first day.
“It is not what you would expect to see in a marketing campaign from a bank,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.
Looking to strengthen its image of “reliability,” KB tied its services to the person many rely on the most: Dad. The bank filmed new fathers and their children talking about their love for each other. The resulting campaign won the 2016 Stevie Award for Marketing Campaign of the Year in the category of Financial Cards, Products & Services.
“The judges were impressed by the emotional appeal created by a large financial institution,” Gallagher told CMO.com.
Gallagher’s advice for marketers in 2017? Integrate an element of utility into your marketing campaigns. “Marketers who provide some useful tool or information as part of their campaigns are successfully having an impact,” he said.
India: OLX Daastaan’s Reuniting Memories From 1947
The partition of India and Pakistan is a story told by many brands, but none as honestly as the campaign created by agency Leo Burnett for used-goods bartering platform OLX. Titled “Reuniting Memories From 1947,” the campaign showcased people who used the OLX platform to find family heirlooms and other memories left behind after the largest migration in the region’s history.
Raj Deepak Das, Leo Burnett’s chief creative officer, spoke to CMO.com about the campaign’s inspiration. “More than just the 1947 story, it was about the brand’s story. OLX is known for used goods, like scrap products, that don’t have value. We needed a human story for this to be more purposeful to the brand,” he said.
“Reuniting Memories From 1947” was the sole Asia-Pacific campaign to pick up a 2016 EPICA Award, the only creative prize for agencies awarded by journalists from the trade press around the world. According to Das, boldness will drive success in 2017. “I hope more agencies and brands will come forward with brave ideas, fight for them, and make them happen,” he said. “Brave ideas are the need of the hour.”
Australia: MLA’s Operation Boomerang
Australia Day has become synonymous with barbeques, beaches, and the latest TV advertisement from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA). Over a decade’s worth of towel-whipping humour and social reflection has turned MLA’s annual lamb ad into public expectation.
MLA took this year’s “TV Ad of the Year” at the Australian Mumbrella Awards for its “Operation Boomerang” campaign–a hilarious video of overseas Aussies on Australia Day with no lambchop in sight being evacuated to an emergency barbeque. The campaign video gained 5.5 million views and generated a 36.9% sales increase over two weeks.
So how do you raise demand for an entire product category across a nation? Grab people’s attention with messages outside the norm, and don’t be afraid to offend, said Andrew Howie, MLA’s group marketing manager.
“The only way you can disrupt people from just doing the same stuff is to make them feel a bit uncomfortable or do something that’s out of the ordinary,” he explained. “That can be in the form of controversy or saying something that people don't normally say, or showing them something they don’t normally see.”
China: Huawei Crowned Favourite Consumer Electronics Brand
Not many brands can top Apple in the IT category, but Huawei has taken first place as China’s favourite consumer electronics brand. According to Asian brand strategist Martin Roll, it’s no surprise the smartphone manufacturer has taken the crown in its homeland.
“As a Chinese B2C and B2B company, with up to one-fifth of the world’s population in its own borders, it’s easy to see how Huawei could grow into a major technology player while still remaining rather unknown,” Roll told CMO.com. “With competitive pricing, it made sense to serve other emerging markets in Asia first, home to roughly 60% of the world’s population and many of the world’s fastest-growing economies.”
The Serviceplan Group, Europe’s largest independent communications agency, awarded Huawei “China’s Best Consumer Electronics Brand” based on emotional and behavioral dimensions. A unique design, competitive pricing, and superior benefits has turned Huawei’s new P9 and P9 Plus smartphones into serious objects of desire.