The Reception


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CEOs in Asia

When I arrived in Singapore to lead MullenLowe Profero from Asia Pacific four years ago, there was with a huge sense of opportunity permeating the region. The markets in Asia were being talked about as the new business frontiers of the world, and with the unstoppable rise of China, having a global chief executive on the ground seemed to be a natural and logical step. However, as I sit here today, there are only two global agency CEOs in the region: myself and Ruth Stubbs of iProspects. What happened? When did all this optimism just fizzle out? It seems strange because the growth and opportunity in the region is extraordinary and APAC has continued to outgrow other regions. In the first quarter of 2017, India experienced a 7 per cent growth in gross domestic product, China 6.9 per cent and Singapore 2.5 per cent. Meanwhile, the United States only experienced a 0.7 per cent growth in GDP and the United Kingdom a meagre 0.3 per cent.

Votes for girls

This month, Singaporeans have been casting their ballots.  I’m not talking about the snap general election that happened on September 11th (the ruling party won, you won’t be surprised to hear). I’m talking about the Alamak! Awards, which asks the general public to vote for their ‘favourite sexists’ of 2015.  The Alamak! Awards are an annual initiative driven by women’s group AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research). The candidates usually include politicians, business leaders and of course brand advertisers. The winners will be announced on 7th November.  This year the contenders for this dubious honour include an array of mind-bogglingly bigoted comments from various politicians during the General Election; a tasteless ‘bust enhancement’ ad, a burger stall called ‘Jack the Ripper’ that has named all of its burgers after murdered prostitutes, and a TVC by Ogilvy & Mather. 

Sounds of Singapore

The agency uploaded a video to promote the idea to YouTube today. The video invites Singaporeans to send in the sounds that they feel characterise the city to the website via an audio file of by sending the clip to the Whatsapp number +65 84011617. A soundtrack compilation of the sounds of Singapore is to be released on Thursday of this week. 'The Sound of Singapore is an initiative in celebration of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee; it allows people to showcase their impression of what Singapore sounds like. It’s an incredible achievement that a final soundtrack will be produced and it will allow people to reminisce about Singapore and its one-of-a-kind sounds,' said Ali Shabaz, Grey Singapore’s CCO. Grey has partnered with local music act Jack and Rai, radio station Gold 90.5 FM and stock footage firm Lensy for the initiative. Credits:

Letter from... Singapore

Last month The Economist published a feature-length piece on the glum future of men in the modern world. It seems ‘the weaker sex’ are struggling to adapt to a changing world that increasingly values brains over brawn. In Asia, however, new men seem to be coping very well with the changing world, thank you very much, and are making themselves right at home. There’s no crisis of masculinity here. And nothing illustrates that point better than the stratospheric rise of Asia’s male grooming trend. According to Kantar Worldpanel, male grooming products are outperforming women’s beauty products in terms of growth in almost every Asian market. 63% of men in Korea use a facial toner for crying out loud!

SEA launch: Lord Puttnam

This event offered Founding Members and their guests the rare opportunity to hear from Lord Puttnam, an Oscar-winning film producer, digital champion and educator, in conversation with Linda Yueh, chief business correspondent, BBC News & Presenter of Talking Business with Linda Yueh. Here were some key learning we took away from the evening: Today's youth doesn't crave 'traditional' jobs; they want to be creative and innovative, not bankers or lawyers Resilience is the backbone of driving forward successfully Rule of engagement: Allow the audience to identify with something that is true to their lives. Don't look at averages; look at how you can be the best. Don't let mediocre stats mislead you. Find out more about our expansion into Asia in our Clubroom.

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