3 ways media agencies can cope with today’s challenges

This post is sponsored by Talkwalker.

2020 has forced businesses around the world to implement drastic measures to stay afloat, mainly surrounding cost-cutting measures and digital innovation. What does this mean for media agencies in the region? Data from MAGNA Global shows that advertising expenditure in Asia Pacific will drop 8.5% year over year in 2020 because of the pandemic. On top of that, rapidly evolving consumer behaviour presents an additional challenge for agencies to adjust and innovate in order to get through these challenging times together with their clients.

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The conversation cluster of the topics surrounding agencies

One of the interesting trends that has been brought to the forefront this year is social consciousness, among businesses and consumers alike. Due to the economic repercussions of the pandemic, some groups of people in society have been hit harder than others, highlighting the social fault lines in the community. This has driven conversations surrounding income inequality, xenophobia, the plight of migrant workers, and others. As brands are being looked to as mouthpieces for societal change, it is more important than ever for agencies to stay on top of the conversations surrounding such issues, and utilise their creative expertise to create a positive change through their work.

Social consciousness

In April, Foodpanda Malaysia, together with Dentsu Aegis Network, launched the “hanyakeranamu” campaign to thank food delivery riders for their valuable service during the Movement Control Order in Malaysia. This was especially meaningful during a time when many people who were financially affected by the pandemic, turned to the gig economy to make ends meet. On top of releasing the 60-second video, the campaign provided a platform for all Malaysians to show their appreciation for the food front-liners, by calling upon people to upload content and messages of gratitude on social media with the hashtag #HanyaKeranamu.

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At a time of such great uncertainty, consumer insights and data becomes a key reliable tool in painting a clear picture of the audience. By leveraging social listening, agencies can know their market inside-out, and hence, create the maximum value for their clients. Especially while businesses implement numerous cost-cutting measures, having a data-backed strategy puts agencies in a better position to establish a strong relationship with clients. It also ensures the budget is optimised, and that money is being channelled to the right initiatives and campaigns in order to boost the brand’s share of voice, which can set the brand up for success during the recovery period.

Effective brand collaborations

When consumer sentiment was generally negative during lockdown earlier this year, a campaign that effectively helped consumers find a lighter side of the lockdown was a brand collaboration between Pizza Hut and IKEA, together with Ogilvy Hong Kong.

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The collaboration saw the creation of a full-sized version of the pizza box table that is typically used to avoid a pizza being touched by the pizza box. The limited edition table was sold by IKEA Hong Kong and had the Pizza Hut logo stamped in the middle of it, and was packaged in a giant pizza box. On its side of the collaboration, Pizza Hut launched a Swedish meatball-flavoured pizza.


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 Virality map of a social media post regarding the campaign.


Innovative digital campaign

Another example of how the challenges of today prompted an agency to work together with a brand to produce an innovative campaign can be seen in how Thai Airways, together with Wunderman Thompson Thailand, rewarded people for staying at home with free airline miles. To take part in the campaign, users just needed to have an active frequent flyer membership with the airline, and download the “Stay Home Miles Exchange” app on their device to determine whether or not the user stayed home.

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This campaign ensured that Thai Airways remained relevant and continues maintaining a significant share of voice despite the lack of travel during this period of time. On top of that, with the accumulated airline miles, participants of the campaign used the opportunity to plan their post-COVID-19 travels.

The examples shared above clearly demonstrate how a data-driven strategy, backed by concrete and timely social data, can prompt innovative campaigns that turn the challenges of today into opportunities. As the business landscape continues changing, it is important that agencies regularly look to data in order to drive the best initiatives, relevant to the current times.


Download the Talkwalker 2020 Agency Industry Report for more insights on how top agencies around the world have leveraged data to make strategic decisions in the current times.