Arun Sudhaman

Working the angles around media, comms and marketing.

Archive for the ‘Media Asia’ Category

The next episode

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Next week I leave Haymarket, where I have spent six and a half remarkable years in three countries, to become partner & managing editor at The Holmes Report.

At this point I think I’m supposed to regale you all with some spiritual tales about how life is a journey, not a destination etc… But I’ll spare you that stuff for now. Suffice it to say that this is an interesting opportunity to help build an internationally respected brand across markets and disciplines that I am rather passionate about.

I will still be blogging here for the foreseeable future, although that may change once the Holmes Report website is relaunched. Funnily enough, this blog has certainly helped my efforts to cover the global PR industry over the past year, so I’d like to thank each and every one of my readers for being involved.


Written by Arun Sudhaman

May 13, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Apco under fire in Malaysia

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Last year, corporate/public affairs heavyweight Apco Worldwide scaled back its Indonesian presence in favour of a new office in Malaysia.

At the time, Apco ducked the question of whether it was exiting Indonesia, as demonstrated in this article by Anita Davis at Media Asia.

Either way, it is unlikely the agency expected tougher political conditions in Malaysia. If it did, then those hopes have been well and truly dashed.

Apco has now found itself at the centre of an explosive political confrontation, the likes of which should serve as a salutary lesson for any agency taking on government advocacy work in Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Arun Sudhaman

March 31, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Beijing hires H&K

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So Beijing has hired Hill & Knowlton to handle its global comms account.

It reminds of the run-up to last year’s Olympics, when a Government brief aimed at tackling China’s global image problems was doing the rounds. That never materialised into anything, and it appears unlikely to be related to this – given that the H&K win seems squarely focused on the city of Beijing.

It is a little ironic that H&K appears to have secured this account on the back of it’s work handling global PR for last year’s Olympics. For those with short memories, China suffered a number of reputation issues in the run-up to the games. One year before the Games, this story concluded that H&K was ‘hardly empowered’.

Anyway, by the time the Games ended, the country had presented a reasonably credible account of itself – although things would soon change once the milk scandal surfaced. Still, this is a smart move by Beijing as long as both client and agency are serious about addressing the full range of perceptions and opinions they are likely to encounter.

And, no doubt, this is exactly kind of nice follow-up business H&K would have been hoping for when it won the Olympics brief in the first place.

Written by Arun Sudhaman

September 25, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Where are China’s global brands?

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Tom Doctoroff has an interesting article in AdAge, where he argues that a Chinese brand going truly global is still years away. It has already attracted some criticism on the comments, but will elicit little surprise from people familiar with this territory.

Doctoroff expands on many of the points he made in this feature I wrote for Media Asia earlier this year, which effectively concluded that – while the recession bodes well for Chinese brands – it would be a mistake to assume that they are ready to emulate the success that Japanese names like Toyota and Sony have had around the world.

For all of the reasons, check the stories above. Perhaps the best insight I received was from Larry Rinaldi, an adman who spent a tumultous few months as global CMO for Haier – widely cited as the most successful international Chinese business. Rinaldi was a little bitter, and understandably so, but he made some very important points about the structure, priorities and – crucially – budgets of big Chinese companies: Read the rest of this entry »

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August 17, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Japan: Politics as usual

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Very interesting story from my main man David Blecken at Media Asia on Japanese political parties’ attempts to embrace digital communication as part of the general election campaign.

The moves seem more hesitant than full-fledged, given Twitter use is outlawed during the official 12-day election period. And most of the programmes appear relatively simple attempts to shift campaigning into an online arena. There does not, for example, to be much use of digital media to organise and mobilise supporters or raise funds.

The best bit must be the attack ad that the ruling LDP party is running on its website. Check it after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 14, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Let’s talk about scam

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Campaign is running an analysis I have written of scam advertising here. It follows this year’s Cannes where scam looked a little less prevalent than previous years. Then again, an agency called FP7 was disqualified from the Dubai Lynx earlier this year for a string of fake ads – like the one opposite for Samsung.

This is a sensitive issue, though, especially for anyone who has spent any length of time in Asia. I think it is sometimes unfair to view scam as a purely Asian phenomenon; there is plenty of evidence to point the finger at Western markets too. But there’s no denying that many agencies in places like Singapore have built strong awards machines that revolve around work of uncertain parentage. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 9, 2009 at 10:45 am

Can a country launch a charm offensive?

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Surely some enterprising soul should have set up a country branding practice by now and describe it as the future of integrated marketing in the 21st century?

I ask because, in short order, an array of countries have called in comms counsel to try and repair reputations that have frayed badly. Iceland has picked FD, South Africa has enlisted Dow Jones Insight, and MS&L. And Dubai can’t seem to get too much agency advice, perhaps unsurprising when you read some of the articles that take delight in skewering the Emirate, like this one.

Then there is China which, one year after seeking comms counsel to deal with its PR in the run-up to the Olympics, has decided to go ahead with a much-delayed advertising drive that will try to convince overseas audiences its products are safe. China has been particularly active; it is also looking to expand some its domestic news channels to try and present a different image of the country overseas.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Arun Sudhaman

July 25, 2009 at 10:20 pm