Mar 08

Unlocking Emotions with Experiential Marketing

Article co-written by Digital Content Writers: Amber Seow, Embren Batrisyia, Serene Yap

In the 19th century, Defiance, a powdered milk company, struggled to penetrate a heavily saturated market. Despite advertising efforts, sales were just not picking up.

Their ads did however spark consumer inquiries on infant care. Unheard of in its time, the company founder hired a nurse to respond to each inquiry with a handwritten letter. Soon, hundreds more questions came flowing in. As public interest in Defiance’s products grew, so did its sales¹.

What can the modern marketer learn from Defiance’s story?

In one of the earliest manifestations of experiential marketing, Defiance has shown us a great example of how unique brand experiences can support a brand’s goals—by attracting new customers and anchoring user loyalty.

Defining Experiential Marketing

The essence of experiential marketing lies in forging an authentic emotional connection² between the consumer and the brand. These unique experiences allow the consumer to engage with the brand through some, if not all, of the five basic senses—touch, taste, sound, smell, and sight.

Today, experiential marketing takes on various forms including guerrilla³ and interactive campaigns.

The former often rely on the element of surprise, emotions, and provocativeness. Examples of strategies employed in guerilla marketing are large-scale flash mobs, quirky publicity stunts, and street art installations.

On the other hand, interactive campaigns focus on building direct connections with customers. Through games, interactive pop-up stores, or providing real-time product personalisation (eg. merchandise engraving), brands create opportunities for customer interaction.

With exceptional leaps in technology, brands have also jumped on the virtual bandwagon with their interactive campaigns. These range from immersive microsite experiences to impressive augmented reality (AR) showrooms.

Experiential Marketing In Action

Brimming with unparalleled creativity, here are a few noteworthy campaigns that demonstrate the far-reaching impact of experiential marketing done right.

1) Social Swipe Campaign, MISEREOR (2020)

What is it about?
In an awareness campaign, MISEREOR6 installed digital displays at multiple airports depicting visual representations of social issues the NGO was trying to combat—a loaf of bread for world hunger, or wrists tied with rope for wrongful imprisonment. The screens were equipped with digital card readers, inviting audiences to make a donation of €2.

Upon donation, the images came to life: the bread sliced, or the hands freed. The imagery had a visceral effect, showing participants that their small donation made a real difference.

Why does it work?
The nature of the campaign gave participants the feeling that they were part of something bigger—that their small act of kindness had a tangible effect. The campaign expertly leveraged technology⁷ to immerse viewers in its story.

The interaction didn’t stop there6. Participants would later receive a thank-you note in their bank statements, with a link to turn their one-time donation into a monthly one. While the connection was forged during the experience, this follow-up action furthered it.

2) Stratos Campaign, Red Bull (2012)

What is it about?
Red Bull has always been associated with over-the-top marketing stunts. The brand raised the bar when they sent an Austrian sky-diver to the edge of the atmosphere, intending to break the world record for the highest altitude jump.⁹ With eight million people watching the event live¹⁰, the campaign made a massive leap in becoming one of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time¹¹.

Why does it work?
Although there wasn’t a tangible element to the campaign in which consumers could partake in, such feats take them vicariously into self-realisation that the human race is extraordinary.

Red Bull gained two million new subscribers in the span of 15 days¹². The key takeaway from this campaign is that brands can move beyond ROI and instead focus on generating emotional impact, as humans are intrinsically emotional creatures.

3) Speakeasy Café, Wonda Coffee (2020)

What is it about?
Closer to home, Wonda Coffee launched a mobile café¹³ camouflaged as an abandoned bus. To access the café and enjoy a free cup of coffee, consumers participated in a mini-mission to obtain a secret code. Clues were posted on Wonda Coffee’s social pages, and the café’s location was disclosed through Waze location pins. This made the immersive experience all the more exciting for consumers while increasing traffic to their socials.

Why does it work?
A recurring theme throughout all the campaigns is emotional pull. The brand understood that consumers want to break free from the humdrum of 9-5 life, and so they transformed a mundane coffee run into a fun adventure.

The shareability of the café’s interior played a role too. By creating a trendy and Instagrammable atmosphere inside a cafe accessible only to those who solve the puzzle, the brand instilled a fear of missing out among consumers. The result? Wonda Coffee gained a stellar 25% growth in sales¹⁴ over the campaign period alone.


Back to the notion put forth at the beginning of this article: humans are emotional by nature. We prize the idea of feeling like we matter, or that we are part of something bigger than us. Good experiential marketing understands this well.

As the world grows more connected than ever, multifaceted digital and social media strategies are fundamental in amplifying the impact your experiential marketing campaign creates. Give your campaign a leg up by getting the word out through digital advertising or generate greater buzz on social media—before, during, and even after your event.

Not sure where to start? Get in touch today to elevate your next campaign with an all-around approach to both digital and social media.

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Jan 09

5 key consumer trends to look out for in 2023

Waving goodbye to yet another fruitful year, let us set our sights on 2023 as we predict the upcoming trends this year.

There are lots of exciting developments in the digital landscape that will undoubtedly influence consumers’ behaviour that will in turn impact marketing strategies for brands across the world.

What can we expect in the brand new year? Read on to know more about the hottest 2023 consumer trends in the digital sphere.

Web3 continues to make a splash

Based on blockchain technology, the idea of Web31 is to decentralise the web2, returning ownership to the users and builders. Instead of having large data controlled by tech giants and governments, Web3 hopes to gradually shift the internet to a consumer-driven space. Some examples of Web3 applications include Bitcoin3, OpenSea4, Google Cloud5, and even Apple Siri.

Source: Coca-Cola

Cryptographic assets based on blockchain technology such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs)6 have been all the rage the past few years. Huge brands such as Coca-Cola7, Adidas8, and Clinique9 have been quick to create their own, leading the way of the future.

Various sectors from media and entertainment, retail and e-commerce, healthcare, and energy are expected to adopt Web3’s blockchain technology10 in their operations. It’ll definitely keep being part of the conversation in the coming years, way beyond 2023.

Influencer marketing still reigns supreme

Proven to be an effectively rewarding strategy for brands, influencer marketing needs no introduction. Statistics show that 30% of consumers prefer influencers’ recommendations11 over their friends and families’, putting their trust in the products and services recommended by their favourite content creators.

Moreover, according to studies, 33% of Malaysian buyers12 tend to gravitate towards popular influencer content such as reviews, vlogs, and unboxing videos. Consumers would seek inspiration and pick up DIY hacks plus tips and tricks by watching them.

Repurposing influencers’ content13 can effectively attract eyeballs and help stretch your marketing budget, making the most of these paid partnerships by building a lasting brand impression. They can be promoted and amplified across platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, leading to higher conversion rates and customer stickiness.14

Furthermore, long-term partnerships with influencers15 will help create a consistent flow of content for your brand, retaining your audience’s attention and keeping them intrigued.

Social media as the starting point of buyer’s journey

As business owners, having a strong social media presence is one of the fundamental ways to increase brand awareness among potential customers. Social platforms provide consumers an opportunity to interact with brands while researching products or services before purchasing.

At the very beginning of the buyer’s journey, your potential customer is seeking a fix to their problem.16 This stage is where educational social content comes into play. In order to create effective awareness content, brands should research extensively about their target audience and consider the pain points of their customers17, then present their product or service as the solution.

User-generated content is the key to building brand trust

Compared to brand-generated content, consumers find user-generated content (UGC) more reliable and trustworthy, as the message isn’t coming directly from the brand itself. Thanks to social media, getting your loyal customer base to create content for your brand isn’t a far-fetched idea.

Wondering how you can get started? Use a call-to-action to encourage your followers to create content featuring your brand. Then check your socials regularly and actively be on the lookout to repost any UGCs available, it’s a great way to ensure a continuous stream of content for your brand as well.

For instance, Nutox’s ‘1 Serum, 100% Loyal Users Programme’18 repurposed consumers’ testimonials for their social content, where they managed to garner a whooping 18,551 unique sign-ups and increase social media video views by 199%.

Utilising branded hashtags19 is also an easy way to encourage contribution and collect user-generated content on social platforms. It can be shared along with a “call to create” action, where your brand can tap into, earn consumers’ trust, and grow.

Customer experience matters

In the coming year, building meaningful and lasting relationships with their customer base will be crucial for businesses. The modern consumers increasingly crave for their interactions with brands to be more noteworthy and memorable. To stay relevant in the field, brands must turn customer journeys into thoughtful and memorable experiences.

For instance, by going the extra mile of offering personalised products and services20, it’ll make your customers feel special, and even attract new customers. A research by Deloitte found that customers are often willing to pay a 20% premium for customised or personalised products.

Brands can leverage cost-efficient creative automation tools such as our proprietary system, Digital Creative Automation (DCA)21, to effortlessly achieve hyper-personalisation while maintaining brand consistency.

Are you ready for what’s coming next in 2023? Together, let’s embrace change and growth to manifest new heights and break records.

Get in touch to see how we can help elevate your brand’s digital presence this year.

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Nov 24

How brands can use nostalgia marketing to create magic this CNY

Ahh, nostalgia! It’s a blast from the past that allows us to re-experience the sentimental good ol’ days. A throwback in the form of a heart-warming embrace filled with all your favourite memories.

Research has shown that nostalgia serves an existential function1 by giving our lives a sense of meaning as we grow older. Especially during uncertain and challenging times in our lives, we tend to cling to familiar things that bring us comfort.

This is evidently seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, where nostalgia marketing was all the rage. Using Nike’s You Can’t Stop Us Campaign2 as an example, it served as a blissful escape from loneliness, boredom, and anxiety during the looming lockdowns.

Let’s dive into the power of nostalgia and take a walk down memory lane with a few case studies.

What is nostalgia marketing?

Nostalgia marketing is a strategy that taps into familiar and endearing concepts, appealing to our collective longing for a much-coveted past.

It’s the secret ingredient that adds a spark to contemporary campaigns to generate interest and ultimately build consumer trust. It strategically associates your brand with something your audience are already fond of, thus encouraging an emotional connection.

This popular marketing tactic is taking over the world by storm. Big brands from Apple, McDonald’s to Lego are capitalising and maximising on nostalgia marketing, actively targeting millennials in the process to enjoy exceptional returns.

Why does it work well for brands?

The 30-year cycle

Also known as the nostalgia pendulum, the 30-year cycle is when the consumers grow into adulthood and start shaping the cultural landscape as creators.3

According to Patrick Metzger4, “After about 30 years, you’ve got a real market of people with disposable income who are nostalgic for their childhoods. So artists working in popular mediums are rewarded for making art that appeals to this audience”.

This also explains why the 90s is the era that’s most fondly remembered by the millennials, as 30 years have passed since then.

Emotional attachment

Nostalgia-centric marketing forges meaningful connections between the past and present, creating a strong emotional hook.5 The key is to leverage on nostalgia while also offering something new, making it a perfect symphony of the past and present.

Nostalgia lets the consumers take refuge in happy memories from the past, giving them a sense of comfort in times of chaos.

Brand authenticity

With consumer scepticism rising and brand trust being at an all-time low, injecting nostalgic elements will help present your brand in a more authentic light6 and regain consumers’ trust.

Nostalgia-themed campaigns show that your brand isn’t afraid to experiment and have a little fun from time to time. This built sense of trust7 will then lead to conversions, as scientific studies8 found that nostalgic feelings weaken people’s desire for money and increased their willingness to purchase. This makes it a surefire way to boost sales, making your campaign a smashing hit.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Below are some great examples showcasing how the past and present can come together to form a campaign that will elevate the consumers’ brand experience.

Example #1: The Success of Pokémon GO

As the most searched item online in 2016, Pokémon Go, a location-based mobile gaming app that merges our physical and digital world, was a roaring hit globally. It saw consumers clock in 8.7 billion kilometres9 when playing the game.

The New York Times called it millennials’ “first mass-consumption nostalgia product”, as it allowed them to relive the joys of their youth by capturing Pokémon characters through augmented reality.10

Example #2: Pac-Man X Pizza Hut

Order a pizza and play Pac-Man on its box? This fun, retro collaboration11 lets you do just that.

As part of Pizza Hut’s ‘Newstalgia’ campaign, it’s bringing back dine-in favourites with a modern touch. The limited-edition pizza boxes will feature QR codes that allow users to play an Augmented Reality version of the game.

Example #3: F&N’s Classic Taste Throughout the Years for CNY

Our yearly lunar new year celebrations aren’t complete without a fizzy drink or two. F&N has been a familiar and popular choice of beverage after hearty meals during the festivities.

Understanding this, F&N’s 2021 Chinese New Year advertisement takes the audience on a trip back in time, showing how the brand has accompanied families throughout the years during the annual celebrations with a time jump from 1987 to 2021.

Example #4: Silkygirl’s Brand Journey

To celebrate the brand’s sweet 16 back in 2021, Silkygirl produced a storytelling-style video that showcased how the brand started, a timeline of its product launches, to the brand’s latest updates.

This little throwback is a fun, quirky way to let your audience learn more about the initiation of your brand. It helps build brand loyalty while encouraging engagement within your brand community.


Are you ready to take your audience on a journey through time? With Chinese New Year coming up, this is a great chance for your brand to leverage nostalgic feelings and kickstart the conversation with a fond festive memory.

Get in touch to see how we can help you incorporate nostalgic elements into your CNY campaign.

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Oct 06

5 mistakes to avoid in content marketing

Quality content is the building blocks of a successful brand strategy, which is why investing in content marketing is key for businesses. It creates a strong online presence while bringing in traffic and leads that allow your brand to go further.

Despite the fierce competition for consumers’ attention1 in the digital sphere, with the right approach in content marketing, you can still maximise every piece of content you publish.

To produce optimum results for your brand, avoid these 5 mistakes when it comes to content marketing.

Not defining your target audience

As a brand, you might be inclined to target everyone and anyone in hopes of getting more revenue for your business. But the mass marketing approach of trying to reach everyone will result in you getting very little quality leads.

Appeal to everyone and you’ll appeal to no one2, this is especially true for digital marketing. Brands should be breaking down their mass potential consumers into segments based on different characteristics, such as their age, gender, cultural backgrounds, educational level, etc.

This segmentation method will definitely help your business with developing effective marketing communication strategies. More specificity in targeting3 allows you to reach your target audience and generate quality leads.

Setting up primary and secondary audience groups with different objectives will also help to create more relatable personas for the brand. For instance, brand campaigns usually target a wider audience, while social media content marketing requires a more niche target audience to engage with the brand.

Lack of marketing goals for your content

To keep track of your brand’s engagement and growth online, set an objective for every content you publish. Do you want them to know about your latest offers or sign up for your newsletter?

Having a clear objective provides a comprehensive vision of what you’re hoping to achieve for an ongoing campaign or individual ads. Once you have set clear intentions with every piece of content, it’s easier to map out a digital marketing strategy.

An example would be to utilise Facebook’s ad objective4 and label your content whether they’re meant for brand awareness, reach, traffic, or engagement, then boost them accordingly to reach more of your target audience.

The one-and-done approach to content creation

It’s no secret that content creation requires a ton of brain juices and time to execute. This is why the one-and-done approach to creating content isn’t a great long-term plan.

Make sure you plan properly ahead of execution with the intention to reuse and repurpose your content across different platforms to make the most of them.

For instance, shooting and producing video content is a costly and time-consuming task. It helps to be able to reuse that content more than once, so you can cut costs and maximise your returns5 with every piece of content.

Pro tip: Keep an eye out and get inspiration for your content by staying up to date with the latest trends. It’s a surefire way to garner attention and boost engagement online.

When the whole world was obsessed with Netflix’s Squid Game back in September 2021, Munchy’s was quick to hop on the trend to appeal to fans of the show.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Munchy’s Malaysia (

In a similar manner, KyoChon Malaysia also followed suit when Popcat went viral last year to promote their SalSal Poppers to the hungry masses.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by KyoChon Malaysia (@mykyochon)

Neglecting user-generated content

Commonly utilised by skincare and makeup brands, user-generated content (UGC) is any form of unsponsored content shared online featuring a product or service. They’re equivalent to the modern-day word of mouth in the digital era.

They are excellent for encouraging two-way engagement with your audience online. This helps build credibility6 and brand loyalty among your customers while fostering a sense of community for your brand.7

“79 percent of people say user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions, while only 13 percent say content from a brand is impactful.”

This means that brands could leverage UGC for their social media instead of churning out branded content all the time. The best part is that they require minimal effort and resources8, with the potential to encourage conversions for your business.

New to UGC? It’s not too late to start using them to boost your presence online. Just use a simple CTA that urges your followers to tag your brand in their stories or posts, then re-share their content to your brand’s social platforms.

However, before repurposing any UGC content9 for your social media, be sure to seek permission from the original content creator and remember to credit them when you re-share their content.

Not using data to support your content strategy

Blindly churning out ideas for your monthly content? You might be missing golden windows of opportunities that will help you reach your audience more efficiently.

Set up a monthly meeting with your team to go over the stats and reflect on what’s working and what’s not. Look into the likes, reach, and engagement rates from both the page level and post level to evaluate the monthly performance of your content.

The next step is to come up with an improved strategy that turns these precious data into actionable insights10 for your brand. The key is to always stay on your toes and constantly adapt to the best practices for improved performance.


Content marketing is a life-long marathon for your brand, so slow and steady wins the race. Get the most out of your content and increase your return on investment (ROI)11 when you avoid these marketing pet peeves.

Get in touch to see how we can help you.

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Sep 12

Human insights, the key to building brand trust and emotional resonance

Consumer cynicism is at an all-time high1, and with it, a drop in brand trust. A statistic from Havas 2021 Meaningful Brands Report shows that less than half of brands are seen as trustworthy (47%), with numbers in East Asia being as low as 24%.2

This presents yet another challenge marketers must tackle. But how? A loss of trust can’t be made up for with more ads—as it is, consumers see 4000 to 10,000 ads a day3—or more data. Data-driven efforts like personalisation or programmatic media buy are only as effective as the ad itself, and in an increasingly digitalised world, data privacy is yet another factor that can erode consumers’ trust.

Rather than looking to these tools to enhance the ad experience, brands should turn to and focus on human insights.

These insights paint a picture of what matters to consumers and guide us to forging an emotional connection and later, building trust. Ultimately, trust impacts sales as a major value driver, both in the short-term and in the long-term.4 It can’t be ignored.

So, what are human insights exactly, and how can brands leverage them?

What are human insights?

Human insights are the “why”. While data offers numbers and measures quantitative metrics, human insights ask, “what happened” and “why it happened”. These insights are typically difficult to quantify and are highly subjective. They are rooted in observation and unfortunately, in today’s data-driven world, overlooked.

Our Head of Strategy, Edmund Lou, adds:

“Observations are key to any communication strategy. You don’t always find great big ideas from data. Rather, it’s the legwork of getting on the ground to observe and experience it all together.”

He goes on to say, “Observations are almost like a lost art. Brands tend to sway towards data because it “looks more credible”.” In reality, data and observations go together. For example, “One way to make observations appear more “credible” is to turn [them] into a survey, which will result in “data”.”

Why human insights are so important

You can tell when an ad or piece of content is utterly engaging. It hooks you in and has a certain je ne sais quoi—a quality that cannot be described or named easily, that retains your attention. As an audience member, you may feel moved or excited, or even inspired.

This is what happens when human insights are used strategically. They resonate.

Edmund explains, “[Consumers] will feel that a brand knows and understands them. The right use of such insights bridges the gap between brand and consumer. By closing [this] gap, brands can build stronger, lasting relationships with consumers.”

So, what might they look like? We’ve curated several case studies below.

Example #1: Kärcher Malaysia tugs heart strings

Big idea: Oddly Satisfying

Human insight: House cleaning is seen as a chore to many. But the positive takeout is that cleaning is somehow oddly satisfying.

Kärcher Malaysia has used this big idea since we won the pitch in 2020. The concept goes beyond what the brand and its product offerings do, but rather what emotional benefit a consumer derives from using their product. In this case, it’s about that tingle of satisfaction from cleaning, which to many, is oddly satisfying.

While one-off campaigns leverage different insights, this big idea will always be the foundation for future campaign ideas.

For instance, our Raya campaign for the brand. Titled “Rumahku, Memoriku”, the campaign ties nostalgia to the odd satisfaction that comes with cleaning. It draws on this additional insight: families may bond when they come together and spruce their homes up for Raya, but such memories can be side-lined and even forgotten.5

Example #2: Nissan leans into family dynamics

Big idea: My One Better Than Your One

Human insight: Sibling rivalry is real and it’s more obvious during Chinese New Year (CNY).

During the celebrated, annual festivities, Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) and NISSAN sought a way to build brand affinity and relevance, while promoting their vehicle models.

To do so, they produced a film in collaboration with us and Clic Production. The film is set during CNY when two brothers—and their families—arrive at their parents’ home for a reunion lunch. Over lunch, casual chatter escalates into sibling rivalry. The two brothers and their wives battle it out, comparing their cars, lifestyles, and accomplishments. This eventually reads futile when the siblings’ parents teach them a valuable life lesson.6

The sibling rivalry in this scene, according to the brand, is common in Chinese families and especially so during the festive period. Leveraging this insight, ETCM and NISSAN took the opportunity to share this message with Malaysians: quality time with loved ones outweighs comparing achievements.

Example #3: KFC and the enduring tagline

To cap off these campaigns, Edmund shares his breakdown of KFC’s tagline and how it connects back to human insights.

Source: Business Insider

Tagline: Finger Lickin’ Good

Human insight: Consumers tend to eat fried chicken with their hands. And when they are done, they lick their fingers in satisfaction.

It’s an insight based upon observation. Data will likely never show the exact percentage of people who eat fried chicken with their hands, nor how they end a satisfying meal by licking their fingers clean.

But this true statement shows us why KFC’s long-time tagline still connects with us Malaysians and people all over the world.


Human insights are powerful and can impact bottom-line metrics even if they don’t always have the data behind them. And this is because these insights speak to experiences we have. That is what makes them relatable and emotionally compelling. Without it, to the consumer, an ad is just an ad. People would not care if 75% of brands disappeared1 because there is no meaningful connection.

Instead of seeking out more digital tools, focus on human insights. Find the nuances that connect us as humans and infuse them into your marketing strategies. Tell stories that your consumers can’t help but resonate with and associate that emotional engagement with your brand.

To humanise your brand and build meaningful relationships with your consumers, get in touch.

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Aug 12

Differences between
Digital Creative Automation and Dynamic Creative Optimisation

The ad landscape is saturated with digital assets—photos, music, videos, animations, and interactive ads—all intended to capture the consumer’s attention.1 From a boosted social post to multi-channel ad delivery, the question we often ask is, “Is this ad reaching the right audience?”

In today’s content-rich world, there’s no avoiding it. You’ve got to make sure your ads are relevant to your buyer persona, that they’re quality-controlled, and you’ve also got to scale these efforts. You’d eventually wonder how many more ads you need to serve and if you can optimise and save costs.

All without creative teams burning out.

The best way to keep up? Eliminate the manual creative process. Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) and Digital Creative Automation (DCA) are two types of automation tools worth considering. Though they sound similar, their uses are fairly different.

So, what are the differences between DCO and DCA?

DCO: A complex tool that fuses programmatic media buy with creative automation

As the name suggests, there are two parts to it 2:

  • Dynamic Creative allows ad components to be swapped in real-time to build new creatives automatically.
  • Dynamic Creative Optimisation uses “artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to create and serves the most effective combination of creative elements for each viewer” 3, informed by real-time data, testing, and live analytics.

“This technique enables you to create multiple iterations at speed. By combining the dynamic elements with analytics, it becomes easier to resonate with your audience and optimise creatives for an increase in relevance and ad performance.”4

In short, DCO is a useful tool that enables visual asset creation on the fly. However, what is DCO’s most unique feature is also its biggest limitation.

Challenges to know include:

  • The complex features of DCO have a steeper learning curve.
  • The platforms that offer DCO require integration and these could be limited to one platform rather than multiple DSPs.
  • Most DCO platforms only produce HTML5 banners, not other formats, such as video.
  • Existing templates on these platforms cannot accommodate different kinds of content.
  • Only simpler elements can be swapped in and out, hence there are limitations on editing, revising, or adjusting layouts for different ad versions.

Though DCO is powerful, its creative flexibility is a limitation worth considering, particularly if that’s a workflow you find important. In this case, it’s worth trying a hyper-focused asset-creation tool: DCA.

DCA: A managed service that speeds up personalised creative production

Unlike DCO, Digital Creative Automation (DCA) focuses entirely on removing manual adjustments to creative assets through automation.

Why would this matter?

Imagine taking a single creative asset and localising it for multiple markets, in different regions, with different languages.

“Most creative teams spend between 30-50% of their time managing the manual process of design adaptation, forming a creative bottleneck that ultimately compromises the agility of a marketing agency or team.” 2

DCA helps you eliminate these manual workflows and creates space for your team to work on what impacts ROI: creativity.6

By optimising the creation of better, more relevant visuals, you can keep up with the sheer amount of creative assets needed for your ad campaigns and you can maximise each asset’s visual impact.

Why DCA?

There are 3 reasons why DCA is ideal for those who are seeking creative automation solutions and need flexible content production.

1. DCA is platform agnostic

Our biggest flex is how integrative DCA is. It’s not tied to a specific DSP or media platform, so it’s flexible enough to produce various types of ad assets for any server. This saves you time and costs, especially if you’re new to adding an automated component to your workflows.

2. DCA is flexible across multiple types of creative production

With DCA smart template, you can adapt any type of content—think static visual, video animation, HTML5 Banners etc.—to your needs. DCA lets you churn out creative assets across multiple channels, modify languages for different countries, and target varying audience segments.

3. DCA helps you better understand your consumers through personalised creative

Having personalised ad variations lets you test and gather consumer insights. This helps you understand how your consumers respond to different types of creative content and what resonates with them. Focusing on what works then leads to overall improved campaign performance and better ROI.


These creative automation solutions are ideal for different situations, so which tool should you go for? We recommend first examining your needs and what automation can do for you.

If you already have a robust media buy workflow in place, are looking to understand what content speaks to your audience, or you’re looking to try out automation, DCA is our recommended option. It’s the solution to root out inefficiency, create resonant and engaging ads, and help you capture consumer attention.

See how we’ve helped Grab save 80% in man-hour costs.

If you’re ready to launch a personalised ad campaign with DCA, get in touch to schedule a demo.

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Jul 26

Not just for Gen-Z, it’s time to elevate consumer experiences with AR & VR

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) aren’t for the future. They’ve been around and they’re only becoming more prevalent. Though they’re associated with Gen-Z platforms like Snapchat and Roblox, they’ve also crept into the mainstream consumer’s daily life.

This was most evident during COVID-19 restrictions when majority were confined to their homes. Consumers drastically shifted to the digital-scape and businesses followed suit. To bridge the physical-virtual gap, businesses used AR and VR to ease consumers’ purchasing journey and emulate the traditional, in-store experience. Consumers could visit virtual pop-up stores, try-on products from their couch, and interact with brands in ways that weren’t available before. Brands that pivoted and catered to consumers’ needs during this period remained top-of-mind and boosted sales.

Very quickly, imagination, immersive interaction, and ultra-convenience came to characterise this period of online shopping. Though we have emerged into hybrid living, consumer expectations have been raised permanently. Failing to meet these expectations will result in consumers losing interest. AR and VR present a unique solution to meet and even elevate these expectations.

Brands that integrated AR and VR into their marketing strategies discovered two main benefits:

1. Improving brand recall + recognition

Source: Pocket Lint

VR promises a fun, immersive experience1 that eliminates the need for ad-blockers and invites the consumer to interact voluntarily. During a VR in-game advertising study, YuMe Research discovered that:

  • 74% found VR ads less intrusive than digital advertising
  • 69% said the ad was well-integrated
  • 26% of respondents felt that seeing a brand in a virtual world was more memorable than a digital video ad

This erases two common marketing gripes—ad avoidance and the lack of ad recall. YuMe research lead Mireya Arteaga says, “[The] study indicates that VR advertising is highly memorable in any format.” Notably, video ads do deliver the highest rate of ad recall in the VR world.2

This kind of branded messaging goes beyond interactivity and engagement, it also offers consumers the opportunity to own their ad experience,2 further shifting the brand-consumer dynamic.

Naturally, there are challenges that come with crafting highly immersive ads. For example, while advertising in multiplayer VR games enables the transference of high emotional engagement to an advertised brand—and is an opportunity to deliver an ad with high recall—crafting a noticeable ad unit within an engaging game is a challenge in itself.2

Source: Games Radar

Fortnite X Travis Scott

When done right, in-game VR advertising yields astronomical results. Take Travis Scott’s Astronomical concert in Fortnite. The game involved players as early as during the virtual stage’s construction, showcasing the changes in what promised to be an exciting event.3

Fortnite followed these pre-launch tactics with a clever in-game launch, offering players a new level and features in conjunction with the concert event. Interested players could also complete tasks to win digital merchandise, such as a Travis Scott avatar skin.3

This concert was a success. 12 million people joined the Astronomical concert, proving that Fortnite wasn’t just a game, but a virtual universe. Players could shop, fight, and attend events. This showed that community spaces with engaged users offer opportunities to building brand presence.3

2. Increasing buyer confidence

Shopping with VR or making use of telepresence—participating in events virtually where users feel the “sensation of being elsewhere beyond their immediate environment”—positively impacts consumer perceptions of a product.

Consumers can interact with the product, thereby eliminating the need for physical prototypes or samples virtually.4 This increases consumer product knowledge, attitude, and purchasing intention.4 Of note, telepresence reduces consumer beliefs regarding product risk more effectively compared to print, video, or online ads.4 With VR, businesses can better serve customers and help them navigate their shopping journeys by mitigating frictions caused by a lack of physical product interaction.4

Similar to VR, AR creates an engaging shopping environment by helping consumers “try-on” products before purchasing. Consumers are more likely to recognise the brand, remember product details,5 and feel more confident. Shopping becomes more rewarding with less risk 5 and consumers are less likely to encounter post-buy disappointment or decide to return the product. A 2020 study by Deloitte showed AR in action, helping several home-goods companies lower returns and increase their conversion rates.6

Source: Makeup AR filter developed by us for LANEIGE

Purchasing online comes with some degree of uncertainty, particularly in beauty. Product photography may not reflect reality and the risk of buying the wrong product may put a consumer off online purchases. AR, or virtual try-ons, are meant to eliminate those worries.

L’Oréal & Modiface

An example of AR reducing barrier-to-purchase is L’Oréal’s project with Modiface, enabling lipstick try-ons via a selfie or a mobile phone’s front camera.7 Global Chief Digital Officer, Rochet, shares, “…Virtual makeup [try-ons] [are] the base of any experience. At the end of the day, the only barrier to buying [a product] is wondering what it will look like.”8

L’Oréal’s AR addition helped reduce that barrier. Consumers double their engagement time and tripled conversion whenever this AR feature was available on one of L’Oréal’s brands’ websites or apps. Shopping is intended to be an enjoyable experience and this AR feature contributes to that. Instead of navigating a makeup counter, people can, and are “…trying 42 looks because it’s fun and entertaining.” Rochet further adds, “People are really playing with it and are really starting to spend time with the brand.” 8


Consumers in the aftermath of the pandemic are tech-savvy and aware of how immersive and ultra-convenient online shopping can be. Their expectations are higher than ever. Integrated AR and VR marketing strategies can help brands navigate, meet, and surpass these expectations.

The question is, are brands in Asia ready to integrate AR and VR as part of their digital marketing strategy to better engage with the consumer?

Talk to us if you need help strengthening your digital presence.

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Jul 07

This is why people don’t skip TikTok ads

Audiences don’t like ads. In fact, 42.7% of people worldwide use an ad blocker1 just to escape the flood of advertisements. That is, until TikTok.

This video app flipped the idea that ads are unenjoyable. At a glance, stats show:

  • 72% of TikTok users consider ads on the platform inspiring2
  • 45% of users feel more connected to brands that offer value on TikTok 2
  • 49% of users said TikTok helped them make purchase decisions 2

These numbers indicate that brand discovery and ads are symbiotic with the short-video platform. The question is, why?

Well, TikTok is highly user-centric. When users engage with the app, TikTok rewards them by showing them content they want to see.3 Their engagement leads to video entertainment (including ads!) tailored to their preferences. Hence, you get an invested audience that responds favourably to ad content. With the right ads, “the average TikTok campaign ROAS was 2X the median campaign performance benchmark in commissioned studies.”4

So how can brands reach an audience like this? To answer that, we need to deconstruct what makes TikTok ads so engaging.

3 reasons why we watch TikTok ads

They are non-disruptive and engaging

TikTok ads are the antithesis of traditional ads.

Anne Hunter, VP of consumer insights platform Disqo, explains: TikTok’s ad variety, and their integration into the content in a way that’s less interruptive than traditional ads, seem to contribute to their appeal to users.5

She goes on to say, “Display ads don’t have the same emotional resonance as we’re seeing with TikTok formats in an environment where having fun and being playful is part of the raison d’être to be on the platform.”

Take a look at this KFC ad where the brand leans into TikTok’s playful environment. The copy is delivered impactfully with a funny, recognisable character. Though it is clearly an ad, the entertaining concept helped KFC rack up 1.1 million views and 55.9k organic shares.

@kentuckyfriedchicken Get ready. @lilihayes is launching the new KFC Sandwich. (Cuz we paid her to!) #TryTheKFCSandwich #ad ♬ original sound – KFC

Source: TikTok @kentuckyfriedchicken

They are authentic — and the community expects that

TikTok is a place for original content. Audiences expect authenticity and naturally, ad content should accommodate that.

Creator @ola_nowak shares, “Brands should not only care about showcasing their products but should also care about building an engaged audience around their brand.”6

One example of how brands can be seen as authentic is to collaborate with creators. Palmer’s worked with @tonyyounmd, a creator known for his real, no-holds-barred reactions. The brand leveraged his existing persona, leading to an ad that feels organic and invited active engagement.

They are un-produced

56% of users and 67% of creators feel closer to brands on TikTok, especially when they publish human, unpolished videos.2

Un-produced videos are like regular, organic content: entertaining, easy to consume, and most importantly, relatable. Brands don’t take themselves too seriously. They lean into what works on TikTok and put their brand’s unique spin on it. This often means:

  • Trying on-trend audio
  • Jumping on new transitions and filters
  • Using closed captions and text overlay

Of note is leveraging trending audio. The right audio makes the ad relevant. 73% of TikTok users said they would stop scrolling and watch ads with audio7, increasing watch time and overall engagement. This influences if the ad is shown on the home feed, boosts discoverability, and aids brand awareness.

So, what does an un-produced ad look like? Here’s a campaign that perfectly embodies that.

Case Study: SleepTown Singapore


  • 360K+ Reach
  • 2.6M + Video Views
  • 1.7K+ New Followers

Who are they and what did they need?8

  • SleepTown is a direct-to-consumer mattress brand targeting the Singaporean market.
  • They wanted to raise awareness of their Cooling Mattress products during 11.11 and 12.12 Mega Sales and drive traffic to their merchant sites.

What did they do?8

  • To highlight their product’s USP, they took advantage of trending period dramas and created a series of ads set in the ancient Chinese palace featuring classic characters, storylines, and scenes their audiences are familiar with.
  • They localised the ad by incorporating Singlish, keeping the overall content informal, relatable, and above all, hilarious.
  • They utilised a TikTok native ad format, Spark Ads, to boost organic brand posts as if they were the usual in-feed content.

The brand garnered record highs in sales and thanks to their humorous storytelling, spread through word-of-mouth as viewers tagged and shared the videos amongst their social circles. 8


The most successful TikTok ads embody this piece of advice: “Don’t make ads, make TikToks.”6 They are user-centric and prioritise what audiences want out of their TikTok experience. When users enjoy the ad content on TikTok, they feel connected to the brand. And this then translates into tangible business results

To learn more about what ticks on TikTok, check out these articles:

If you’re ready to get your brand on TikTok, see how we can help you. Get in touch.

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Jun 02

Creative automation enables brand trust & loyalty

As the ad landscape continues to grow, advertisements will become more prevalent and customer attention will decline. Marketing and creative teams will have less time to focus on creativity as they grapple with increasing demand for content. Yet, creativity remains the number one factor driving business ROI. 1

The answer? Creative automation. While it does not automate the genius that is creativity, it creates space for that magic to happen. Automating repetitive tasks helps teams scale personalisation without worrying about maintaining brand consistency. 2

Why scaling personalisation matters

Every customer is different, so your ads need to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time. Messages without personalisation are generic. Worse, they fail to convey the value of your brand and why it should interest your consumer.

Personalisation corrects that. It gives your ads a personal touch by tailoring variables to your customer. These could be language, copywriting elements like CTAs, ad formats, locations, and visuals (including video).

Now imagine modifying these variables day-in-day-out for multiple audience segments, across dozens of ad variations. It’s repetitive, slows down lead time, and burns out creatives.

With creative automation, your team can focus on what matters. They’ll be able to keep up with content churn, get to market faster, and produce impactful assets. In turn, this improves ad performance and creates a better customer experience.

How creative automation helps with brand consistency

As you increase your personalisation efforts, it’s paramount to maintain brand consistency. Each touchpoint is an opportunity to remind customers why your brand is familiar and trustworthy. This is done by consistently delivering messaging that is aligned with the brand’s “core values, brand promise, and brand identity elements.”3

These could be visual elements such as typeface and colour palette, or something more abstract like language and brand voice. Regardless, consistency helps your brand stay cohesive and recognisable across marketing channels, thus building brand familiarity.

Creative automation ensures brand consistency at every touchpoint by:

  • Keeping to the brand guidelines regardless of versions and formats
  • Maintaining quality control even with a high volume of creative production under time constraints.
  • Reducing potential human errors during repetitive creative tasks

Is personalisation worth investing in?

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalised experiences. – Epsilon 4
  • 86% of marketers have seen a measurable lift in business results from their personalisation campaigns. – Evergage 5
  • 55% of marketers say the top benefit of personalisation is increased visitor engagement and improved customer experience. – Evergage5

Using creative automation to reduce tedium means more time to focus on what matters. Your brand can gather feedback on what elements and combinations work best for your audience and campaign.

Our proprietary Digital Creative Automation (DCA) system does all the above cost-effectively. Best of all, this system is platform agnostic — meaning digital creative assets produced will be compatible with any platform or media you’re targeting. Our clients like Grab have used DCA and seen up to 80% savings in resources while improving campaign performance.


A word of caution, creative automation is not the end-all-be-all. Without something great to automate, what would the result be like? The point of creative automation is to make way for what impacts business ROI: creativity.

“By empowering marketers to scale content creation and distribution independently and in line with brand guidelines, creatives can concentrate on what they do best: creating original, memorable campaigns that strengthen brand identity and inspire trust.” 1

Looking to personalise your ads? Or maybe you want to take creative production to the next level?
Schedule a demo to see how DCA can help you. Get in touch.

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May 18

Should brands be using virtual influencers?

With the excitement that comes with Metaverse, we cannot NOT talk about virtual influencers. Whether they’re animated or an uncanny mimicry of a real-life human being, these CGI characters are capable of influencing purchasing behaviour and have amassed followers of their own.

You might think virtual influencers began with the Metaverse, but the culture behind this type of influence dates back to 1980s Japan. Japanese anime and idol culture existed long before we had the technology to generate CGI humans.1

In fact, though tech advancements now enable production teams to create human-like virtual influencers—complete with a custom personality2 —animated virtual influencers are still popular. For this reason, we’ll use the term “virtual influencer” to cover both human-like and animated influencers in this article.

Are virtual influencers legit?

In a thesis by W.E.M Wolff, titled A Trend or is the Future of Influencer Marketing Virtual?3 , virtual influencers were noted to be successful at two things.

  1. Impacting purchase intention
    It was found that virtual influencers can generate social responses and behavioural change, and this is due to their ability to “create rapport with consumers and being perceived as authentic social beings.”4
  2. Gaining engagement
    It was discovered that virtual influencers have 3x more engagement than real life, social media influencers.5

These findings further support a recent online survey by The Influencer Marketing Factory. They found:

“Virtual influencers can convince others to spend their own money… [with] 35% of the survey’s respondents [saying] they’ve bought a product or service promoted by a virtual influencer.”6

In a nutshell, virtual influencers bring plenty to the table. So much so that they’ve been leveraged to different degrees of success by different brands. Majority of which are recognisable names.

How have brands used virtual influencers?

Brands as early innovators have used virtual influencers to inject freshness into their marketing. From VTubers to vocaloids, to the hyper-real influencers, different brands and industries have found effective ways to partner up and market with them.

1. Luo Tianyi & NESCAFÉ Smoovlatté

Source: Vocaloid News

Luo Tianyi (洛天依) is a vocaloid and as of right now, China’s biggest virtual pop star. She was created independent of a specific brand and takes on campaigns and collaborations much like a regular influencer would. A recent collaboration involved the bottled coffee brand, NESCAFÉ.

The campaign7:

  • Aimed to gain ground with younger audiences who are uninterested in bottled coffee through a demonstration of innovation and an understanding of youth culture.
  • Targeted Tianyi’s fans through Bilibili, China’s biggest youth culture website; Nescafe teased the campaign during 11.11 by airing a customised video featuring the virtual influencer.
  • Leveraged Tianyi to provide a personalised experience that involved scanning the Smoovlatté bottle via mobile phone in order to offer the consumer one-to-one interaction with Tianyi. Users could then play micro-games to unlock a personal voice message, entirely customised to them based on location, weather, and time of day.
  • Users could share these greetings on WeChat, spurring posts and discussions with friends.

2. Lil Miquela & Samsung #TeamGalaxy

Lil Miquela is an independent virtual influencer with a realistic appearance. A big part of her branding comes from how authentic or real she seems. She’s portrayed as an effortless, cool, and self-aware character with values that align with today’s Gen-Z. From carefully constructed social posts depicting a “messy” real life to her witty bio stating, “19-year-old Robot living in LA”, she’s an embodiment of the term authentic.

The campaign8:

  • Samsung launched the 2019 #TeamGalaxy campaign with four members—Steve Aoki, Millie Bobby Brown, Ninja, and Lil Miquela—meant to embody their tagline, #DoWhatYouCan’t.
  • #DoWhatYouCan’t is an extension of Samsung’s philosophy—to defy barriers, to do what inspires you, and to confront your limits. Miquela as a reflection of technology trends, innovation, and authenticity, aligns neatly with Samsung on both their tech and philosophical fronts.
  • Samsung also linked the Galaxy phone’s limitless possibilities with Miquela’s own infinite potential as a virtual influencer, singer, and activist.8

To work with virtual influencers, or not?

Source: DMEXCO 

Virtual influencer services largely fall into two categories. The first, working with a virtual influencer the way you would with a real life one. The second is to create a virtual influencer from scratch for a brand. Either way, both offer a host of creative opportunities and experiences.9

The benefits of leveraging virtual influencers include:

  • Lower costs per follower
    Do you know, the price of working with a virtual influencer is much more affordable compared to an influencer with the same number of followers?
  • Full control over behaviour and messaging
    There is more room to prevent unwanted messaging or perceptions to be shown to the audience without compromising the unique personality of the virtual influencers.
  • Brand-aligned personalisation
    If creating a virtual influencer from scratch, they can be modelled to reflect a brand’s persona and values. This means the virtual influencer will be one-of-a-kind.
  • Giving the brand a good impression
    Utilising virtual influencers can help a brand appear as if it’s fresh and in line with the young, tech-enthusiastic generation’s interests.

However, potential cons of utilising virtual influencers are:

  • A lack of authenticity
    A virtual influencer might come across as “not-human” and lack the genuine quality, as they are ultimately fictional characters. Hence, unable to connect or develop trust with customers.
  • Discomfort and backlash
    Consumers unfamiliar with virtual influencers or with preconceived perceptions may not react well to a campaign utilising them.
  • High development and production costs
    If deciding to create a virtual influencer from scratch, this will require high production costs.

The big question with virtual influencers often is, do they replace real life influencers? Though it is tempting to consider this, Didi Pirinyuang, Executive Creative Director at Ensemble Worldwide, shares an interesting perspective.

“The rise of virtual influencers is not an indication that they are human replacements, but rather, a form of escapism and fantasy that provides audiences with a canvas to project their voices, interests, and personalities.”2 In other words, knowing the influencer is a virtual rendition, or a fake, doesn’t matter. What matters is how consumers relate to these virtual influencers.

All in all, as people still value the human touch, virtual influencers won’t be replacing real life influencers just yet. But they present interesting new ways to relate to customers and for brands to expand into the soon-to-come metaverse.

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