Top 10 marketing and PR stories in 2018 that got your attention

This year has been an interesting one for not only the team but also our readers in the marketing space. Some of the top moments this year involved not only controversial issues and influencers, but also the skills that companies were looking out for in 2018.

Here's a list of stories most enjoyed by our readers.

1. From receptionist to CEO: Meet DDB’s first female global CEO Wendy Clark

Coming in at number this year was Marketing's interview with DDB's global CEO Wendy Clark, which touched on her journey from a receptionist to the first female global CEO of the Omnicom creative network. Never beyond taking on any role big or small, Clark says it is her persistence and love for a challenge that has pushed her thus far. Leaving the client-side role as Coca-Cola North America’s president of sparkling brands and strategic marketing in late 2015, she has since been instrumental in turning around the DDB North America business.

In addition to leading her around 2,000-plus team across 17 offices, she launched “DDB Flex” – an operating model that creates bespoke, cross-agency and integrated teams based on clients’ businesses. “If you would have told me back when I first started that one day I’d be global CEO of a network, I’d have never believed it! You could have knocked me over with a feather if you told me this back then,” she said.

2. Tiffany & Co. partners Tiong Bahru Bakery to make Breakfast at Tiffany’s a reality

Tiffany & Co. attracted online chatter this year when it tied up with Tiong Bahru Bakery in Singapore to roll out a booth outside ION Orchard, which served free coffee and croissants. This was provided visitors posted a pictured of the coffee cart with hashtags such as #tiffanypaperflowers and #tiongbahrubakery.

Consumers were given the chance to recreate their own iconic Audrey Hepburn moment in the movieBreakfast at Tiffany’s by having breakfast while peering into a Tiffany’s boutique. In addition, the campaign also saw Tiffany & Co. taking over Tiong Bahru Bakery’s flagship outlet in Eng Hoon Street, painting the outlet in its signature Robin egg blue colour. iris Singapore was involved in the campaign.

3. Sony Singapore and Uniqlo issue statements over Daryl Aiden Yow saga

The fiasco created by influencer-photographer Daryl Aiden Yow made headlines this year, unwillingly involving Sony and Uniqlo which had to issue statements over the debacle where Yow claimed that stock images and other people’s work were his own.

In a statement to Marketing, a Sony Singapore spokesperson confirmed that the brand had work with Yow. “We are surprised and disappointed with what has been reported and are currently looking into this matter. Sony strongly encourages the art of creativity, however we do not condone any action such as plagiarism and take a serious stance on it,” a Sony Singapore spokesperson said. Meanwhile, Uniqlo confirmed it worked with Yow last year for its travel campaign, comprising a one-off engagement where he talked about his travels at Uniqlo’s Orchard Central store.

4. Tony Fernandes’ explicit political stance runs AirAsia brand into turbulence

AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes is known for being one of the most PR savvy CEOs in the region. Unfortunately, in May this year, leading up to the 14th Malaysian General Election, Fernandes copped flak for openly showing his support for politics on a professional level. An article on the New Straits Times quoted Fernandes saying in a video that the company “owes its success to the government” led by the former PM Najib Razak. This led to netizens calling for the boycott of AirAsia, calling Fernandes a “disappointment” and “disgrace” for supporting a the former PM’s party.

This led to Fernandes later releasing a heartfelt video post apologising for what came across as support for politics at a professional level. Fernandes, who was previously quoted to owing the company’s success “to the government” led by the former PM Najib Razak, and having an AirAsia aircraft sport the livery “Hebatkan Negaraku” (Make My Country Greater),  said the steps were done so under pressure, forcing him to cave.

5. Singaporean global creative chief at Ogilvy Tham Khai Meng fired for misconduct

Earlier this year, Ogilvy worldwide chief creative officer and fellow Singaporean Tham Khai Meng was let go from the role after the company conducted several internal investigations. In an internal memo seen by Marketing, Ogilvy worldwide chief executive John Seifert added that the complaints were major enough to employ legal counsel for investigation. After reviewing the findings of said investigation, Seifert and agency partners found Tham’s behaviour to be “a clear breach of [its] company values and code of conduct”. Earlier this month, Ogilvy appointed chairman of India, Piyush Pandey, to replace him in the role. Pandey has been with Ogilvy for over 39 years, rising through the ranks of the organisation and becoming executive chairman and creative director of Ogilvy South Asia.

6. Neelofa under fire (again) for launching hijab collection at Zouk

Malaysian actress and social media influencer Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor came under fire for launching her new Naelofar Hijab collection at the Zouk Malaysia club. A video showed a few ladies donned in hijabs dancing in a night club with Naelofar Hijab’s logo in the background. Netizens voiced their disapproval of her launching something as religious as the hijab, in a night club. Some even said that the lost respect for Neelofa and encouraged others to boycott her brand. Not long after, Neelofa apologised for the controversy, adding that all cultural and religious sensitivities will be considered for future events, according to the New Straits Times.

7. Most wanted skills in 2018: Hard skills in marketing and data

Hard skills in marketing and data were listed as skills most need by companies this year, according to a report by LinkedIn. Meanwhile, soft skills such as communication were also required. Jobs related to marketing made several appearances, with SEO/SEM marketing taking the eighth spot, followed by marketing campaign management taking 11th spot which put roles such as online marketing manager, digital marketing specialist, digital marketing manager in the spotlight. Mobile development also took the ninth spot, featuring jobs such as mobile engineer, mobile application developer being in demand. The report also highlighted the demand of some hard skills relating to data management and analysis making several appearances in the ranking, with roles such as data scientists and data analyst being in demand.

8. STB disappointed with Crazy Rich Asians mishap, acknowledges Warner’s apology

Crazy Rich Asians took Singapore and the world by storm earlier this year. Riding on the great publicity was the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) – but not without a tiny little booboo. As part of its partnership with Warner Bros (WB), STB was given onsite recognition at the Hollywood red carpet and premiere, an event organised and set up by WB. Prior to the official start of the event, STB had inspected and ensured the accuracy of the Passion Made Possible logo on the numerous event backdrop panels.

Unfortunately, due to extreme heat that day, some of the lettering on the red carpet wall melted after the event commenced and, in some photography, “Singapore” appeared to be misspelled.  Graciously, STB said that while it was disappointed with the recent episode of the spelling mishaps of “Singapore” and “Passion Made Possible” during the movie premiere of Crazy Rich Asians held in Los Angeles, it acknowledges WB's apology.

9. Influencer caught in public spat with local jewellery brand owner

Influencers, don’t we just love reading about them? In April this year, a local jewellery brand known as “By Invite Only” was caught in a public spat with an influencer it was looking to work with. This has resulted in other brand owners siding with By Invite Only, sharing their working experiences with the influencer named Elaine Heng (known as Elaine Jasmine online).

The saga unfolded when Trixie Khong, owner of online jewellery store By Invite Only, posted a series of screenshots detailing her experience working with Heng. Heng was called out for not delivering a social media post promoting Khong’s brand after multiple alleged chases, and eventually asked for a refund, which also faced delays. Heng decided to also publicly address the matter in an Instagram Live story and Instagram post to give her side of the story. Along with explaining what led to the delays, Heng also revealed that the products sent to her were also of “poor quality” and was not something she wanted to share with her followers.

Since the story unfolded, multiple brand owners have also come out with their own screenshots which detail similar working experiences with Heng.

10. LANEIGE reveals new face for brand as Song Hye Kyo moves to Sulwhasoo

LANEIGE stunned fans when it selected South Korean actress You-Jung Kim as its new brand ambassador, as hallyu star Song Hye Kyo moved on to become the next ambassador of Sulwhasoo.

Song was well-known for her role in Korean drama series “Descendants of the Sun”, where she played the female lead role. In 2016, Song and LANEIGE garnered media attention after makeup worn by Song during one of the show’s episodes sold out and became a bestseller during the March period.

Meanwhile, LANEIGE's spokesperson told A+M that Kim's image fits well with the brand's vision to “unleash the sparkling beauty within every young woman”. She also joined Korean actress Lee Sung Kyung in modelling for the beauty brand.

Which of these were your favourites? Email me at