VLT Malaysia merger; IPG Mediabrands buys Interactive Avenues in India; and agency hires.
Malaysia-based digital agencies VLT (formerly known as Integricity Interactive) and BPC have joined forces. It claims to be the largest independent digital agency in the country with more than 50 employees. Warren Tan, CEO of VLT, says the agency is making significant investments in tech incubation, innovation, and start-up acceleration. "For us, we believe this shift will dramatically change the outdated agency revenue model and create opportunities like never before," he adds. VLT's combined client portfolio includes Astro, Hilton, Kimberly-Clark, Skittles, and Hong Leong Bank. BPC will fold into VLT, with managing director Adrian Lim taking on the role of director of client services. The merger will enable VLT to scale with plans to open offices in Singapore and Jakarta in the near future. Financial details of the merger were not disclosed.
In India, IPG Mediabrands has acquired Interactive Avenues, which is said to be the country's largest independent full service digital agency. Interactive Avenues has close to 200 employees and offices in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. Founded in 2006, it specializes in creative and digital content production. IPG's acquisition is part of a strategic move to roll out Mediabrands Audience Platform (MAP) suite of data-driven services from search, display, mobile, social, video, apps to e-commerce in India. Amar Deep Singh, co-founder of Interactive Avenues, is now CEO for MAP India. He's tasked to develop and roll out Cadreon, Spring Creek Group, and Ansible in the country. According to IPG Mediabrands, Interactive Avenues will continue to operate independently under MAP. Reprise Media has been present in India since 2011.
Doris Kuok has joined UM as global managing partner for Cathay Pacific Airway's account. She replaces Melissa Gilles and is responsible for research and analytics as well as strategic media planning and integrated marketing communications for the airline across 27 markets globally. Kuok reports to Prashant Kumar, UM president for World Markets Asia and Vince Viola, MD for McCann Erickson's Cathay Pacific Central Team. Before UM, she was general manager and North Asia regional director at Starcom Mediavest.
Havas Media has hired Tonia Au, former JWT digital business director, as director of client services. Her new role involves working with key clients Shangri-La hotel, Samsung Electronic and Mobile, as well as supporting new business development and mobile marketing unit Mobext based in Hong Kong. Before JWT, she also worked at Omnicom Media Group, The Hyperfactory, Digitas, and DDB.
Meanwhile, Dentsu's subsidiary, Aegis Media has appointed Rob Hughes as CEO for North Asia. He replaces David Holtham and is tasked to lead the group across Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea. Based in Hong Kong, Hughes joins Aegis from Mindshare where he spent three years as global managing partner.
Isobar Taiwan hired Liberty Hsu as ECD (executive creative director). Responsible for creative quality across brands, she will work closely with Peter Shen, chief creative officer for wwwins Isobar China/Taiwan. Hsu reports to Freda Shao, MD of the agency.
Graham Kelly joined Isobar Asia Pacific as regional ECD early this month. He oversees creativity across the agency's 21 offices and 13 markets in the region as well as work on key multinational accounts and new business development. Kelly was previously CEO and co-founder of creative tech start-up GKIM with 20 years experience at Ogilvy & Mather, BBH, Leo Burnett, and TBWA across Asia.
Over in Australia, Christian Behrendt relocates from New York to join Amnesia Razorfish as ECD. He is also co-founder of PaywithaTweet.com, a social media payment system where consumers pay based on the value of their social networks. Behrendt has previously worked at R/GA and Crispin, Porter+Bogusky.
Mindshare promoted Katie Rigg-Smith and Sharb Farjami to CEO and COO of Australasia respectively. Rigg-Smith was previously chief strategy officer and has been with the media agency for 14 years. Farjami who joined Mindshare from Viacom two years ago as chief exchange officer will retain his trading responsibilities.
Vision Critical, a tech provider for insight communities, has named Dentsu Marketing Insight as its first certified market research partner in Japan. Shigeru Kishikawa, MD for Vision Critical Japan, says the partnership will enable brands to integrate actionable business decisions through its online customer community platform in the country.
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