Given the growing importance of Black Friday, the stakes are too high for retailers to sit on their laurels when it comes to safeguarding their online infrastructure.

"A great insight and a simple idea make for a powerful campaign." Kitty Tang, the creative director at Reprise Hong Kong praises a feminist gem and questions a clustered mess.

AD WATCH features marketing industry figures providing their opinions on what they think is some of the most inspiring and disappointing work they’ve seen. As long as it’s not their own!

On this edition:

Kitty Tang

Creative director

Reprise Hong Kong

HOT: Stayfree India - Project Free Period ✰✰✰✰

A great insight and a simple idea make for a powerful campaign. Stayfree Project Free Period leverages an insight that all women share, and then mirrors it to a serious truth in India. This campaign had a tremendous impact on me. It is always a positive thing to see commercial brands taking on social responsibility projects, but we often see brands struggle to find relevant insights to make a case to play in that space.

In this example, Stayfree cleverly demonstrates what’s relevant. They have taken their brand belief and applied it to a real-life crisis, successfully bringing mass awareness to a massively taboo reality, and then taken it a step further to help effect a change. I hope they continue with the program, and that it successfully brings about long-term results to help more women in need in India and around the world.

NOT:  Shopee Singapore 9.9 Super Shopping Day ✰

This ad immediately grabbed my attention, the reason? Well, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo of course, so as a football fan, I clicked and jumped right into it… but it left me with a bunch of question marks.

Personally, this ad does not work for me because of its overuse of elements and executions, and a complete lack of any real context or idea. I know that a great idea might not always be the key element to a great ad. A great ad can be memorable because of its outstanding art direction, or a surprising twist in storytelling. Shopee Singapore 9.9 Super Shopping Day has none of that, its a mash-up of bits of everything which in my opinion makes it quite difficult to comprehend.

However, perhaps because it does have a bit of everything - a world-class celebrity athlete, kicking a football, doing a random dance, and of course ‘baby shark’ - it could be a successful ad. Who knows? But just not a great one!

This article was produced for the September issue of  esb电竞数据投注电脑版 Magazine Hong Kong . For more features and other magazine-exclusive content from this and upcoming issues, you can subscribe to receive your free monthly print copy  here  or you can read the digital version in its entirety  here .

Innovation is one of the keys to success. Carlsberg Group still keeps up with the times by constantly pursuing better beers, including optimising its products. Carlsberg Asia’s marketing and sales vice-president Matteo Fantacchiotti believes premiumisation is the future for the Danish brewing company.

In 1847, Danish industrialist and philanthropist Jacob Christian Jacobsen founded Carlsberg on the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark. Now, the group is one of the most prominent brewers in the world, while it also takes prides in its long history and rich heritage

As a company with more than 170 years of history, Carlsberg Group has its fingers on the pulse to maintain its leading status in the industry – and one of the strategies is to premiumise its products.

“Our growth is coming from selling higher-priced products to people who are a bit more curious about the beer they are drinking,” Fantacchiotti says. “We will continue to sell premium brands and there is a big opportunity to sell more super-premium and specialty brands.”

Premiumisation creates the bridge between the desirability of luxury and the function and necessity of the mass market. Meanwhile, the economic growth in some Asian countries is one of the driving forces of Carlsberg’s business.

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According to Euromonitor International’s research over beer consumption, China accounts for about 27% of global consumption.

In addition to China, Japan, Vietnam, India and South Korea are also big markets in Asia. These markets account for more than one-third of beer consumption in the world.

Economic growth in Asian countries means Carlsberg can offer diversified premium products.

“The increase in the population of the middle class offers opportunities for us to roll out premiumised products,” he says. “Urbanisation in some Asian countries such as Nepal, India and Myanmar also opens up opportunities to offer premium beer.”

Localisation is also a key concept among marketers and Carlsberg is no exception.

For example, Wind Flower Snow Moon Specialty is originally a local brand in the Yunnan Province in China. Relaunched in China in February 2019 in the super-premium segment, it is priced even higher than some international premium brands in bars and restaurants in China. The company believes that other than its flavour, its Chinese name with cultural nuances is also the key factor in the product’s success.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Carlsberg, in partnership with Brooklyn Brewery from the US, has launched Yau – a premium craft beer brewed in Hong Kong already.

In Laos, Carlsberg has launched three Beerlao craft line variants, including Beerlao White, Beerlao Amber, and Beerlao Hoppy. These new products aim to solidify its reputation as a vibrant, yet innovative brand, while they also allow Beerlao to appeal to and stay relevant to the younger generation.

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While upgrading the quality of products is crucial to the Carlsberg Group’s business, it also rejuvenates the image of its flagship Carlsberg brand by adopting a new design and packaging.

The new design and packaging are one of the latest examples showing how Carlsberg Group has been constantly substantiating its “Probably the Best” in a meaningful way. The improvement includes a redesigned packaging of bottled beer, and a new bottle cap to siphon excess oxygen from the bottle, which can preserve the taste of the beer better. It has also switched to a greener green ink on its bottle labels for better recycling.

Meanwhile, the public is now pursuing a healthier lifestyle and looking for sugar-free or alcohol-free beverages. Fantacchiotti agrees that the number of drinking occasions is now rising in Asia, and Carlsberg can play a more active role in offering diversified beverages.

“Alcohol-free beer could be an alternative,” he says. “In Europe, it’s common to consume alcohol-free beer, but the popularity of it in Asia is still incomparable to Europe.”

Carlsberg will launch a range of alcohol-free brews next year in Hong Kong to catch up with the trend. In fact, the alcohol-free Carlsberg 0.0% has already been available in Hong Kong and has seen warm consumer reception. Fantacchiotti also says that Hong Kong people are willing to explore new items.

“We will keep exploring more possibilities in our research laboratory. To help drive the growth of our business, we will continue to premiumise core products, both the Carlsberg beer and localised offerings.”

Trust has always played an important role in brand purchase, but today trust is essential; across geographies, across every category, across all ages and across income brackets.  On par with the usual product attributes of quality, value, convenience, and ingredients, four out of five people say a major consideration for brand purchase is, “I can trust the brand to do what is right”.  A Trust Barometer study from January 2019 showed that two-thirds of people agree that a good reputation may get them to try a product, but will soon stop buying it unless they trust the company behind the brand. 

The challenge for marketers is building trust in their brands when consumers are steering clear of their marketing efforts.  This year, with 74% of people saying they are actively avoiding advertising, my advice is to consider not only what your brand stands for, but the voices you use to tell that story.  The top three most trusted spokespeople for a brand message are experts, company employees, and people like me – or influencers – voices that are authentic, interesting and relatable.

Influencer marketing isn’t new but is growing fast – and the numbers are staggering.  Instagram has become the strongest medium with users ‘liking’ 4.2 billion posts per day,  China’s influencer economy alone is estimated at $116 billion and rising. Furthermore, in this region, 80% of influencers are micro-influencers, proving anyone with a camera phone and a point of view can build an audience.

An online influencer survey of 18-34 year-olds found that 63% trust what influencers say about a brand more than what the brand says about itself, and size really doesn’t matter.  Only 18% say they are attracted to influencers for their huge followings, cementing my belief that consumers will only continue to follow influencers as sources of information and inspiration if they feel trust is part of the value proposition.

It’s not all good news

With a lack of marketing regulation in this space, I’m increasingly concerned that we collectively find a way to protect consumers, influencers and brands.   After a few months of posting my life dining, hiking, and exploring Hong Kong I received a sales message on Instagram: Did I want to buy followers, likes and views for a low price? 10K followers: 70$, 5K Likes: 40$, 20K views: 40$.  All 100% guaranteed.

From bots, fake followers, fake engagement, and fake comments, to fraud and missteps of well-known influencers, brand reputation and consumer trust is at stake.

Influencers partnering with brands must be transparent and use #ad in their posts.  Trusted influence – the thing that inspires taking action – is built on real relationships.

It’s not just the relationships between consumers and influencers, but between influencers and brands

35% of the consumers in that influencer study said they pay attention to and trust what influencers say because they share their values. When used effectively, trusted influencers earn sales and build advocacy. In fact, because of an influencer, over half bought a new product, a third talked about a brand and 40% said they trusted a brand.

An influencer marketing strategy needs crafting with care. For when brands and influencers align, they have the potential not only to amplify influence and engage targeted audiences, but also to co-create cultural relevance for the brands they partner with.

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Annouchka Behrmann is head of brand at Edelman Hong Kong, an agency member of PRHK, Hong Kong’s association for PR and communications professionals

The field of marketing automation is growing at an astonishing rate. According to a recent study , this market will generate up to HK$60.57 billion revenue by 2025, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 9.26%.
Statistics also show that 80% of marketing automation users experienced an increase in numbers of leads, while 77% saw their conversion rates were optimised.

There is an increasing number of businesses investing in some type of marketing automation for repetitive marketing activities, in an attempt to increase productivity, and consequently revenue. Yet, there are still some challenges this technology fails to address: 95% of marketing automation users struggle to personalise, segment, or respond to customer needs in time.

Thanks to technological advancements, AI has arrived and tasks that would normally require a massive commitment by multiple team members are now being performed by technologies that simulate human intelligence.

In other words, when combining marketing automation tools and AI, businesses can cut down on risks created by inadequate segmentation approaches, and non-relevant marketing messages, while improving response times.

Here are five ways AI can maximise your marketing automation efforts.


1. Conversion rate optimisation

By incorporating AI into your web design, it’s possible to analyse data and gain actual insights into customer behaviour, to ultimately help with customer segmentation. With that information, personalising messages and customising offers to meet exact demand is possible, and thus optimise conversion rates.


2. High potential leads acquisition

When segmenting using AI technology, a business can also group leads based on purchase intention. Additionally, these tools also identify determining factors that would affect the buying decision and provide real-time, well-suited recommendations to boost plans to acquire leads.


3. Quality content creation

Thanks to the technological evolutions in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Generation (NLG), businesses can now easily create personalised content to drive engagement at a fast rate.


4. Relevant visual elements collection

AI-powered automation tools can quickly gather the most relevant visual elements required — such as images or videos — while detecting potentially inappropriate content, strictly following a business’s visual identity and marketing messages.


5. User experience maximisation

By personalising messages across channels using AI-powered agents — such as chatbots or virtual assistants — it’s possible to provide customers with a 1-on-1 experience at the early stages of conversation, to anticipate their needs and seamlessly solve basic problems.


Linh Dinh is an artificial intelligence and business automation enthusiast who often writes about technology-related topics on Market Inspector, where she works as a communication assistant.

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