6000 consumers choose their favourite brands

Maybank, Malaysia’s leading bankwith the widest network, winsthe Putra Brand of The Yearaward.

(Marketingmagazine.com.my) –

More than 6,000 respondents voted for their favourite brands across 24 categories in a nationwide survey with Maybank, Malaysia’s leading bank with the widest network, voted the Putra Brand of the Year at this year’s Putra Brand Awards held at the Majestic Hotel.

The Putra Brand of the Year award is given to the brand that best exemplifies continuous product innovation with a commitment to brand building via marketing communications and exhibits a strong sense of corporate social responsibility. For Maybank, this translates to humanising financial services and maintaining scrutiny over its five core brand values.

Maybank also won the Gold award in the Banking, Investment and Insurance category, giving the banking giant its sixth consecutive Gold win. CIMB also won a Gold award in this category.

Altogether, 41 Gold awards, 45 Silver awards, and 40 Bronze awards and five special awards were presented at the sixth edition of the Putra Brand Awards.

DSC 8177 300 3people

[from left to right] Andrew Lee,OrganisingChairman of Putra Brand Awards 2015,  Michael Foong, Group Chief Strategy Officer of Maybank Group, and Dato’ Johnny Mun, President of the 4As.

“Strong brands consistently demonstrate their true value, as attested by consumers confidence, in any economic environment,” noted Dato Johnny Mun, President of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As). “Brands that deliver on their brand promise and earn the trust of consumers not only survive, but also grow in strength and profitability.”

Other leading Gold award winners included Poh Kong, Shell, Carlsberg, Milo, Celcom, Maxis, Gardenia, Taylor’s University, Vitagen, Dettol, Spritzer, Samsung, KFC, Panasonic, Heineken, and IKEA.

Six new brands that consistently won Gold awards in the past four years – Toyota, Shell, Heineken, Milo, Panasonic, and Samsung – join a host of some of Malaysia’s leading brands as Putra Brand Icons.

Other Special awards were presented to Sen Heng for Putra Most Enterprising Brand of the Year, Gardenia’s marketing team for Putra Malaysian Marketer of the Year, and Pensonic’s founder Dato’ Seri Chew Weng Khak for Putra Personality of the Year. The latter award is a new entry which recognises the imagination, industriousness, innovation and achievements of business owners and operators who have built successful brands or companies.

In congratulating this year’s Putra Brand Award winners, Organising Chairman Andrew Lee observed that more brands today were making a concerted effort to make meaningful connections with consumers. “Brand trust cannot work in isolation,” he said. “Brands that work harder to bond with consumers through multiple touch points stood a stronger chance in leading the pack.”

The Putra Brand Awards is organised by the 4As and endorsed by the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).

DSC 8135 565

Putra Brand Icons and Putra Brand of The Year. 

Putra Brand Awards 2015 Results:

CATEGORY GOLD SILVER BRONZE
Apparel and Accessories Levi’s,
Poh Kong
Rolex,
Uniqlo,
Omega
Habib Jewels
Bonia
Automotive Toyota BMW,
Honda,
Perodua
Nissan,
Volkswagen
Automotive Fuel & Lubricants Shell,
Petronas
Caltex,
Petron
BH Petrol
Beverage – Alcoholic Heineken,
Carlsberg
Tiger Beer Somersby
Beverage – Non alcoholic Milo,
Nescafe,
Spritzer
Coca-Cola,
Tropicana Twister
100 Plus
Marigold
Beverage – Dairy Vitagen Anlene,
Dutch Lady
Marigold
Camera Sony Panasonic,
Samsung
Canon
Communication Devices Apple,
Samsung
Sony No winners
Communication Networks Celcom,
Maxis
TM Digi,
Umobile
Education & Learning Taylor’s University Segi University,
Universiti Terbuka Malaysia
Unitar Int University,
KDU University College
Banking, Investment & Insurance Maybank,
CIMB
Public Bank Amanah Saham Nasional
Foodstuff Gardenia Nestle Breakfast Cereals,
Wall’s,
Massimo
Maggi,
Munchy’s
Health Dettol,
Panadol
Scott’s,
Eu Yan Sang,
Hurix’s
Brand’s,
D’Herbs
IT and Office & Business Equipment Samsung Microsoft Canon
Household Product Dynamo Soflan,
Downy
Febreze
Home Improvement IKEA Nippon Paint,
Sen Heng
Harvey Norman
Media Network Astro,
TV3,
Era
MalaysiaKini,
Hitz FM,
The Star,
ntv7,
Malaysian Insider
Entertainment GSC,
TGV
Sunway Lagoon Legoland Resort Malaysia
Petronas Galeri
Personal, Household
& Outdoor Appliances
Samsung,
Panasonic
Toshiba Sharp,
LG,
Electrolux
Personal Care Colgate,
Lifebouy
No winners Darlie
Property Development Sime Darby,
Sunway
EcoWorld,
SP Setia
Tropicana Corporation,
IJM Land
Retail AEON,
Ikea
Tesco,
7-Eleven,
Guardian
Parkson,
Watsons,
Giant
Restaurants & Fast Food Outlets KFC McDonalds,
Subway,
Domino’s
Pizza Hut,
Kenny Rogers Roasters
Transportation, Travel & Tourism AirAsia,
Malaysia Airlines
Singapore Airlines,
Resort World Genting
Tourism Penang,
Tourism Malaysia
Special Awards
Putra Most Enterprising Brands of the Year Senheng
Putra Malaysian Marketer of the Year Marketing Team of Gardenia
Putra Brand of the Year Maybank
Putra Personality of the year Founder Of Pensonic
Putra Brand Icon – New inductees in 2015 Toyota,
Shell,
Heineken,
Samsung,
Panasonic
Milo
Putra Brand Icons Air Asia,
Aeon
Astro,
Carlsberg,
Colgate,
Dynamo
Gardenia,
Maxis,
Maybank,
McDonald’s,
Nike,
Petronas,
Sime Darby Property,
Taylor’s University

Source : MarketingMagazine.com.my

Posted in Uncategorized

4A’s Promotes commercial creativity in Penang

The Northern Chapter of the 4As is organising a “creative workshop” designed to demystify the role of advertising agencies as nothing more than mere designers and storytellers on 15 August at the Cinnamon Restaurant, Hotel Penaga.
The 4As Penang Creative Workshop, targeting employees of 4As member and non-member agencies, and tertiary students specialising in Advertising, Graphics, and Multimedia Design, is a full-day event conducted by award-winning advertising professional Yeoh Oon Hoong and MD Shaidik.

The advertising industry today is rarely appreciated for its High Value Ideas that propagate a brand’s appeal, growth and value with the rapid advances in digital technology.

“In the current environment, advertising is largely misrepresented as being expensive and irrelevant,” says Keah Yu Kee, the workshop’s organising chairman. “Clients often fail to see us as creative provocateurs armed with professional expertise and skills to generate creative ideas valuable to a brand’s growth.”

The workshop, notes Keah, aims to address such concerns by educating and inculcating a culture that drives ideas and creativity among advertising practitioners, particularly in the Northern region, so that we are recognised and valued by clients.”

The day-long program covers presentations, case studies, exercises, and interactive discussions on topics ranging from the pitch process, devising strategic plans, and their successful implementation. Participants will have an opportunity to work on creative briefs and present their ideas for feedback.

Yeoh, the Creative Director of McCann Erickson Malaysia, has worked with clients such as Petronas Motorsports and Mitsubishi Motors. He previously bagged several Kancil Awards, The One Show, and the Time Asia Pacific Award.

Shaidik, the Creative Director of iflix Malaysia, is a specialist in Brand Development, Creative Direction, andCreative and Digital Strategy. He has worked with numerous international advertising agencies and won multiple Kancil Awards, the New York Festival Award, Asia Interactive Award, and the Telly Award,

Keah adds that there are plans to organise a series of workshops targeting advertising agencies, clients and marketers to foster a better understanding of the advertising industry, its role, and the values it provides in building brands and its business prospects.

The workshop, limited to 20 participants, is priced at RM300 (inclusive of 6% GST) for 4As, members, and RM500 (inclusive of 6% GST) for non-members. The concession price for tertiary students is RM 150 (inclusive of 6% GST). 4As members who attend the workshop are eligible to claim Boomerang points.

Those interested in registering for the workshop can email
kee@jump.com.my for details.

4A’s appoints Khairudin Rahim as CEO while Kenneth Wong retires

Wednesday, 15 July 2015 10:39
The Association of Accredited Advertising Agents of Malaysia (4As) has appointed advertising industry advocate Khairudin Rahim as its CEO effective 1 July.

Khairudin, in the newly created role as CEO, is tasked with developing the strategy and long term plan for the 4As to remain relevant in the changing advertising industry landscape. His remit also includes rebuilding the 4As value and forging local and international partnerships with the end-goal of creating a future generation of professionals.

The CEO position effectively replaces the Executive Director’s position, previously held by the outgoing Kenneth Wong.

“It’s rare to find industry veterans like Kenneth whose vast experience and contributions during his tenure were immeasurable,” says Dato Johnny Mun, 4As President. “We are fortunate to have Khairudin continue the legacy and serve the industry to help drive its ambitions and vision for the future development of the creative industry.”

Khairudin started his career with McCann-Erickson in 1975 before moving to Lowe (previously known as Lintas) where he spent more than 30 years building brands. His career included postings to Sydney and Manila. His last position was as Chairman, Lowe Malaysia.

“My primary role is to provide the vision, strategy and support on matters relating to governance, objectives, programmes, services, and operations of the 4As,” notes Khairudin. “While the President is responsible for the overall formation of plans and programmes with the aim of enriching the 4As members, my job is to ensure that this vision materialises to directly benefit the members and their professional well-being and profitability.”

The 4As, founded in 1971, represents advertising agencies in the marketing communications industry to advertisers, media, Government, and the public. More than 100 home-grown and international agencies are members in the association.

Apart from growing the members’ business and nurturing individual careers through the provision of professional development courses, industry awards, advocacy and support, the 4As also seeks to conceptualise the association’s entry into new areas of endeavour and revenue streams.

Khairudin served on the Board of Governors for the annual Putra Brand Awards and Malaysia’s Most Valuable Brands organised by the 4As. He was also a Jury Leader for the Effie Awards. Khairudin was the originator and prime mover of the Mandatory Pitch Fees for which he drafted and finalised the rationale, by-laws, and advisory letters to advertisers for the 4As Council’s adoption and final approval by then President Tan Sri Vincent Lee.

He was bestowed the Chairman’s Award by the 4As for his cumulative contributions and influence in shaping the Malaysian advertising industry. Khairudin is a graduate from the Mara Institute of Technology and the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK).

We will miss the man who drove our industry

Last night the former President of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents of Malaysia (4As), Dato Tony Lee, passed away peacefully. He served as President for 6 years (three terms), from 1995 till 2001.

Known to many in the industry for his casual and humble manner, he was also a former President of the International Advertising Association (IAA)
Malaysia, Vice-Chairman of Institute Advertising Comunications Training (IACT) and Founding Chairman of Communications & Multimedia Content Forum (CMCF).

For 18 years Tony was Managing Director of Batey Ads Malaysia (where he had a commanding stake). Tony’s work was varied and his Mild Seven campaigns were significant. In 2005, WPP bought Batey and the once iconic agency which handled the Singapore Airlines business for over 34 years lost its footing as founder Ian Batey parted ways with WPP. Batey Malaysia also closed soon after and Tony started the Innovate Solutions Group where he remained as its Advisor for nine years.

Professor Tony Lee (Swinburne University of Technology) was the first Chairman of the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (CMCF) and served for six years till 2007, during which time he launched the Content Code in 2004 which he later shared was a full-time labour of love for more than two years. He said then, “The journey has been long and not always smooth. The Content Code is a living document. It must choose to keep pace with the technology that is delivering content. The Forum must be continually vigilant and the code must be reviewed from time to time to make it relevant at any point of time.”

Tony Lee was Adjunct Professor for the School of Design and Multimedia Communications Swinburne University of Technology from 2004 to 2006.

In recent years, Dato Tony Lee spent a lot of him time travelling through the monasteries of Thailand, helping the poor and underprivileged wherever he could.

His wake starts today at 2pm at No. 12 Damansara Endah, Damansara Heights, KL (near ECM Libra building). The wake is on till Wednesday.

Source: Marketing Magazine

Strengthening the creative industry

4As presidential candidate wants to boost its appeal to young talents

DENTSU Aegis Network chief operating officer Nicky Lim, who is running for president at the upcoming Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia’s (4As) biennial general meeting (BGM), wants to make big changes to the association.

Lim, together with M&C Saatchi managing director Datin Sharifah Menyalara Hussein (better known as Lara to her peers) who is running for vice-president, believe there is more that the advertising industry can offer.

Lim and Lara have come out with an “eight-point manifesto” they feel can help promote the industry further.

Firstly, they believe that it has the potential to contribute significantly to the Malaysian economy.

“The creative industry contributed around 1.2% to Malaysia’s gross domestic product in 2012,” says Lim, who is the current vice-president of the 4As.

“However, it’s still significantly lower compared with other countries. In the United Kingdom (UK), the creative industry contributed 6.4% and in Singapore, it’s around 5.6%. So, it’s important for us to increase the contribution to the economy,” he adds.

According to reports last month, current president Datuk Johnny Mun did not volunteer for nomination at the BGM on March 27.

However, it is understood that other than Lim, three other individuals have been nominated for the position of 4As president.

Lim and Lara, who have 40 years’ experience within the industry between the two of them, say they want to help make the creative industry “sexy for the younger generation to be a part of.”

“Compared to a lot of other sectors, it’s not seen as a lucrative industry by a lot of talents today,” Lara says.

“It’s nice to be able to say that you’re in the medical or legal profession. But if you were to say to your mom ‘I’m working in the advertising industry,’ she would go ‘Whaat?’”

Lara says there needs to be more training programmes within the local creative industry to help nurture and retain talents.

Because acquiring and retaining good talents within the industry is difficult, many creative agencies are forced to work with whatever they can, she says.

“We’re so desperate to hire that we take in almost anyone!”

Apart from local talents, Lara says the 4As also wants to be able to tap Malaysian talents abroad.

“We would like to work with the United Kingdom & Eire Council of Malaysian Students (UKEC) and even Talent Corp to help tap them. We truly want the best talents for our industry.”

Lim concurs: “If we put in talents that are not suitable for the job, it will affect the agencies’ work.”

Going forward, he says the 4As would like to work closely with foreign universities to tap foreign talents as well.

“I think it would be good for the industry. We want to be able to attract talents, say, from the UK and have them work here. I think it would be good for our agencies to be exposed to them as well.

“We want to become a funnel for talent and leadership development.”

Lim says there is also a need to upskill local and bumiputra agencies in the country.

“We need to be able to reach out to these agencies.

“The profit pie is big enough for all. However, there is a huge gap in terms of capabilities for local talents. For bumiputra agencies, there are procurement issues when it comes to securing big clients.”

Additionally, Lim says, it is imperative for the 4As to engage with various external stakeholders.

“We want to engage bodies such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the National Film Corp Malaysia and even small and medium enterprises.

“By engaging these parties, we can become part of the conversation… the policy making.”

Lim says there is an important need to foster better co-existence between the creative, media and digital agencies for the benefit of members and the industry.

“About a decade ago, everyone went their separate ways. We need the co-existence of all three to be able to have a stronger voice,” he says.

Source: The Star

New vibrant faces vying for 4A’s leadership!

(Marketingmagazine.com.my) – The 4As or the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents of Malaysia is holding its Biennual General Meeting soon and a new wave is sweeping the industry leadership as Nicky Lim and Datin Sharifah Menyalara Syed Hussein today announced their candidacies for President and Vice President respectively.pop1

Nicky Lim is joining Dentsu Aegis Network as Chief Operating Officer soon having spent 20 years in advertising making him an alumnus of McCann and Grey among others, and most recently the Southeast Asia Director for Geometry Global. His new role consists of overseeing 340 people working across nine brands in the Malaysian network including Carat, Vizeum, Posterscope, Isobar and iProspect.pop2

Papers need to keep up with the times, say publishers

KUALA LUMPUR: Newspaper publishers have to evolve in order to keep up with market trends and audience interest.

This was the message that was conveyed at the 2015 Malaysian Newspaper Publishers Association (MNPA) Forum here. The panel consisted of The Star Media Group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, Kumpulan Media Karangkraf chief operations officer Syamil Fahim Mohamed Fahim, Crush Communications managing director, 4As council member and Audit Bureau of Circulations chairman Karthi Palanisamy, Malaysian Advertisers Association special adviser and Nestle Products Malaysia communications director Khoo Kar Khoon and AirAsia Bhd head of commercial Spencer Lee Teck Leong.

The MNPA, chaired by News Straits Times Press (M) Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Mohammad Azlan Abdullah, has 17 members with 31 titles and publications under it.

“Although we have moved on from being a newspaper producer to being a media group, we do recognise that it is print that pays the bills and it is good money,” said Wong, adding that the revenue drop in 2014, which was said to be a difficult year, was only 1%.

“That said, the way to move forward is to develop strategic partnerships.

“Ultimately, media players need to reinvent themselves as a group. Newspapers and online portals are challenged and scrutinised every day. Furthermore, the public’s interest has changed. Therefore, we journalists need to change how we work,” Wong said.

Among challenges of print media that were discussed were monetising content in a time where free content was rampant.

Addressing the challenging media landscape moving forward, Azlan urged publishers who have yet to enrol to join forces to address issues together.

“We have quite a few we need to tackle together,” said Azlan.

“For the past many years, the MNPA has only been addressing the issue of anti-dumping but it has now been lifted by the authorities. Our recent achievement was to get the newspaper to be a zero-rated item under the goods and services tax (GST).”

He urged other publishers to join the MNPA to collectively address issues in distribution, logistics as well as vendor and partner matters rather than handle them company by company.

Azlan said the MNPA’s priority this year would be to reorganise its exco committee in an effort to reposition MNPA so as to be more proactive in educating the public on various issues such as the impending GST.

Source: The Star

Adex contracts 5% in Jan to RM1bil

PETALING JAYA: Cautious sentiment among advertisers saw advertising expenditure (adex) contracts 5.4% year-on-year in January to RM1.05bil from RM1.11bil in the previous corresponding period.

The slump in oil price and weakening ringgit against the US dollar had had an impact on sentiment, said Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As) president Datuk Johnny Mun.

“The spiralling fuel prices can have a chain reaction affecting everything else,” he said.

In terms of advertising medium, only in-store media registered year-on-year growth, according to data by Nielsen.

Mun reckoned that marketers had been putting more money into trade to-push-merchandise.

Pay-television, newspapers and free-to-air television commanded the bulk of ad spend in January.

Going forward, Mun believed that adex would pick up ahead of the impending goods and services tax (GST) on April 1.

“All else being equal there should not be a contraction as more may want to push their goods ahead of the GST.”

According to Nielsen, advertisers spent RM14.06bil last year on domestic media space/airtime (excluding Internet and outdoor media).

Cinema advertising rebounded from a low single-digit growth in 2013 to record the highest percentage growth among all monitored media last year (see table).

Two categories – radio and magazines – saw a decline in ad revenue.

While digital adex is not monitored, it is widely believed that digital was among the media enjoying double-digit adex growth in 2014.

Fast-moving consumer goods companies were the four biggest advertisers of the year: Unilever, Nestle, Procter & Gamble, and Colgate Palmolive.

Two ministries made it to the top 10 biggest advertisers list. They are the Communication and Multimedia Ministry (ninth spot compared with 113th in 2013) and Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (eight place from 15th in 2013).

In terms of product/service categories, local government institutions retained the No.1 spot.

It was followed by women facial care, mobile line services, hair shampoo and conditioner, and growing-up milk for children.

Categories that had been in the top 10 in 2013 but dropped out last year were airlines and phone and accessories. Replacing them were cinema/movie advertising and cleaning agent (laundry).

Source: The Star

The CSI approach to advertising

Saturday, 28 February 2015 13:44
DATUK Johnny Mun, a fan of the crime drama series CSI, may not be Gil Grissom, but he also sees his job as a profiler. A brand profiler, that is.

“In the old days, people said advertising is an art and I still think it is so. But the business side has evolved to be a science,” he says.

“The ideation starts from the company itself before the creative comes in. CSI is about forensics – more than what meets the eye. I want to specialise in ‘forensics’. I want to go to the (client’s) company and see what are the things that it does well or doesn’t, and then see how we can harness the best from it.”

Mun’s new agency Oxygen Advertising, where he is the CEO, wants to breathe life into a brand.

“We want to care even for something as mundane in your company as the training programme for technicians. Maybe we can make the technicians prouder and when they become proud, wouldn’t they carry your brand better? Those are the little touches that we want to look at.”

He says everything boils down to the brand at the end of the day, from the staff to the company’s modus operandi. “If you go in and dissect the various aspects of the company, you can find many more business opportunities than what you can imagine.”

“We have to set certain standards for different areas so everything converges to become the brand. We profile brands just as you (a reporter) profiles people. We dissect brands because every piece of work that you do, whether it’s a small wobbler on the shelf or a big creative campaign, is a canvas of your work on the brand.”

Oxygen Advertising opened its doors in October last year, employing some core people from Mun’s previous agency Krakatua Sdn Bhd and serving Krakatua’s clients, including Gardenia, Olympus, Fisherman’s Friend, Loacker, MST Golf/SportsDirect and Grundfost.

While Krakatua had grown into a reputable mid-sized advertising agency, Mun and his three partners decided to go their separate ways.

“Over the last nine months, two of the partners decided to do something else so we decided to split up and come up with our own brands. Hence the birth of Oxygen,” says Mun.

“Krakatua still exists but it is not as active as before. Krakatua owns shares in other business interests so we have to slowly resolve these things.”

Oxygen is a boutique agency with a staff of 13. He says the new firm is on “a frantic hiring spree” for account service and creative people.

Oxygen has been invited by ICOM, the world’s largest network of independent advertising and marketing agencies, to be its member. (Krakatua has been an ICOM member.)

Asked where he wants to take Oxygen, Mun, who was once chief operating officer of Batey Ads in Kuala Lumpur, says: “It’s not about making huge bucks. (Batey Ads founder) Ian Batey’s philosophy was very simple; he wanted to do great work for his clients but along the way, if he could train and create some good managers, that would be a dream come true.

“Oxygen also wants in the long run to build great brands, let the people have fun doing it, and create some good managers so that this industry will not just grow but thrive.” – By M. Hafidz Mahpar

To run or not to run?

NEXT month the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As) will elect a new council, and a news portal has reported that Datuk Johnny Mun will not run as president.

StarBizWeek meets up with Mun to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

From the interview, Mun seems willing to make way for new blood, but he also says he may consider running if nominated.

“I’ve served on the council for about 10 years (the last two as president). If there are suitable candidates to take over the helm, why not? I think we should always be open to new ideas and new leadership,” Mun says.

Last week Marketing magazine’s portal reported that Mun would be calling it a day at the upcoming biennial general meeting (BGM) after one term. It said vice-president Nicky Lim was poised to succeed him.

So, does Mun plan to run again? He replies: “It depends on the members. If they think I’ve done a reasonable job and request that I continue, I will see what the situation is like.”

Mun, however, has not volunteered for nomination. The 4As will hold its BGM on March 27, and members have until next week to nominate candidates.

“If somebody nominates me, then I will consider. That is a different perspective altogether. If no one nominates me, then we’ll go with the flow,” he says.

Mun says that being president is a huge responsibility because the association is looking after the whole industry. “It can take a lot of toll on one’s business and time. As you know, it’s a voluntary assignment. While it looks good, it’s not an enviable position as it is really a full-time appointment.”

Even if he does not remain president, Mun says he is volunteering his services to the new council in any area they would find him useful.

Mun set up a new ad agency a few months ago (see story below) but he denies that the decision on whether to remain president has anything to do with it.

On his proudest achievements during his presidency, Mun cites two milestones in relation to improving education and professionalism in the industry.

The first milestone was the 4As council getting the prestigious Berlin School of Creative Leadership to hold its courses, which are normally conducted on campus, in Malaysia. “Not only that, but they have also tailored the programmes for our needs,” he says.

The 4As has also invited the Berlin School to use Kuala Lumpur as an “education hub” whereby the 4As would market its programmes across the South-East Asian region or even Asia. “They’ve come back with the suggestions on how to do it. We will try to modify it to fit our needs in Malaysia. We’ll look at our needs first, and any balance of the space available will be marketed to others in the region.”

In the last two years, people from Hong Kong and Singapore were among the participants at the programmes conducted by the Berlin School in Malaysia.

“Over time, the 4As hopes to engage the Government to help us so that we can conduct courses throughout the year rather than just once a year,” he says.

The second milestone is making the advertising agencies and their clients more aware of the need to protect intellectual property (IP). “With the introduction of the pitch fee in 2011, we have managed to educate clients as well as agencies of the importance of safeguarding IP. Clients can select agencies based on credentials or track record, but when they ask agencies to put ideas on paper for them to see, I think it is critical for them to help defray the agencies’ administrative costs,” Mun says, adding that clients must treat 4As agencies with some degree of professionalism.

Among the efforts to boost the industry’s professionalism was the introduction of the Boomerang Membership Accreditation Programme in 2009, whereby 4As members are required to accumulate a certain number of points annually through, among others, training their staff.

Mun reveals that the 4As is now looking to introduce a certification programme – a kind of proficiency test – for those seeking a promotion within the industry, such as from account executive to account manager.

“We are working with the IPA (Institute of Practioners in Advertising) in London to come up with this. We hope to roll it out by the middle of the year,” he says.

“With certification, we know that our people are properly trained. In the years gone by, people moved through the ranks by virtue of the shortage of people in the industry; and some were promoted to posts beyond their capabilities. What would the clients think of you if you’re not able to deal with certain situations?

“While we want people to be promoted so that they can earn more, they must be properly equipped to do so. After all, we are advisers and brand guardians to our clients.”

Mun assures that the cost of sitting for the proficiency test will be low and that it is not compulsory. “However, after we introduce the test, I think more and more employers will be looking at certified candidates. This will at least give us a yardstick to measure a candidate’s capabilities besides just hearing the candidates’ own claims and maybe recommendations from somebody. If he’s so good, why didn’t the person making the recommendations hire him?”

Source: The Star