Firstpost elevates Munaf Merchant to National Head - Sales, Firstpost News Cluster

Munaf Merchant has been associated with Firstpost for over five years now

MunafMerchant

Firstpost has announced the elevation of Munaf Merchant to National Head - Sales, Firstpost News Cluster, at Network18 Digital. Merchant will be responsible for developing effective marketing strategies and leading the team towards achieving a high-performance sales environment for Firstpost and Tech2. 

Having been associated with Firstpost for over five years now, Merchant possesses an experience of close to 10 years in marketing and sales. 

Merchant’s expertise has garnered client appreciation and has resulted in renewal of business deals repeatedly. In addition to this, he has a proven track record in building and growing properties from scratch, such as Firstpost’s 9 Months – the ground-breaking show on parenting and childcare which is now in its third season, the company said in a statement. 

Talking about the appointment, Azim Lalani, Business Head, English General News cluster, Network18 Digital said, “Firstpost has consistently led the way in offering innovative and path-breaking content for its readers across segments like politics, sports, business, technology and entertainment. Having grown significantly since its inception, we are creating a stronger digital presence in the sphere of original content with shows like 9 Months, WhatTheApp and Social Media Star. Munaf has brought to the table excellent marketing capabilities in the last few years and we are sure that he will apply the same level of perseverance and determination in his new responsibility of undertaking the national portfolio in sales for Firstpost and Tech2.” 

Prior to joining Firstpost, Munaf worked with India Today in Marketing & Sales where he was responsible for generating revenues for India Today megabrand magazines, which included India Today English, India Today Hindi and India Today Tamil among others. 

Commenting on his elevation Merchant said, “I am delighted to be entrusted with the new position. It is the perfect platform to further channelize the abilities and creativity of the team and ensure delivering excellent offerings to all our readers and clients. With the digital sphere growing rapidly, we plan to strategically strive and lead the online news space with effective partnerships that benefit all our stakeholders, including our consumers, at large.”
 

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Google News Initiative launches training series for journalists ahead of elections

The Initiative will offer training on online verification and fact-checking, journalist digital safety and security, YouTube for elections coverage and data visualization for elections

Google

Ahead of the Lok Sabha Election 2019, Google News Initiative, in partnership with DataLeads and Internews, announced the launch of a training series (PollCheck: Covering India’s Election) to support journalists covering India’s election. Google News Initiative will host training sessions in 30 cities between February 26 - April 6, 2019, across the country in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Bangla, Kannada, Gujarati, Odia, Tamil, Telugu, and Marathi.

The Initiative will offer training on online verification and fact-checking, journalist digital safety and security, YouTube for elections coverage and data visualization for elections.

Speaking about the initiative, Irene Jay Liu, Google News Lab Lead, Asia-Pacific said, “The Google News Initiative is proud to be supporting journalists in India as they prepare to cover the upcoming elections. Our partners DataLeads and Internews will offer training on online verification and fact-checking and other courses, in 30 cities in 10 languages. Since 2016, Google has trained more than 13,000 journalists in India, across 200+ newsrooms, and in 40 cities."

Registration for the program is now open and it’s free. Working journalists and freelancers can apply from today and slots will be given on first come, first served basis. The workshop will also be open to journalism students. Since 2016, Google has trained more than 13,000 journalists in India, across 200+ newsrooms and in 40 cities under the newslab program.

Last year, to support trusted and authoritative journalism, Google had launched the Google News Initiative India Training Network, focused on online verification and fact-checking. In six months, the Network onboarded 241 trainers in seven languages, who have so far trained 5260 journalists across 40+ cities in India, benefitting 200+ newsrooms and universities. For 2019, Google plans to train another 10,000 journalists in India under this program.

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Naspers appoints Anirban Mukherjee as CEO of PayU India

Mukherjee joins PayU from Jio where he served as the Co-CEO of Reliance Payments Solution Ltd

Anirban

Naspers-owned PayU has announced the appointment of Anirban Mukherjee as Chief Executive Officer of PayU India, reporting to Laurent Le Moal, CEO, PayU Global.

 

Mukherjee joins PayU’s global leadership team to support its ambitious plans to unlock innovative credit and financial services for underserved populations in high-growth markets.

 

Mukherjee brings to PayU two decades of experience in global payments, credit, and digital banking gained in the US, India, and broader Asia-Pacific region. He has long been at the forefront of a changing financial services landscape and understands the opportunities exceptionally well. In his new role, Mukherjee will be responsible for all the operations and business lines of PayU India. In addition, he will identify investment opportunities to build out Naspers’ fintech ambitions, helping these companies scale by leveraging existing assets and infrastructure. Anirban will also lead PayU into new fintech product categories that are aligned with PayU’s global strategy, such as remittances and credit.

 

Talking about the appointment, Laurent Le Moal, CEO, PayU Global, said, “Attracting someone of Anirban’s calibre into the business is a great endorsement of our strategy and ambition. We are very pleased to have Anirban on board as a part of PayU's Global Leadership team and I look forward to us benefitting from his wealth of knowledge and experience as we push through our next phase of innovation, focused on payments, credit, and fintech investments.”

 

“The business and regulatory environment in India creates great opportunities for PayU to further build on its strong position in payments and launch innovative new products and services, including offline solutions and credit. Anirban’s impressive track record, business leadership, and broad international experience will be of tremendous benefit to the company to capitalise on the enormous growth opportunities we see in both India and beyond. I am confident that under Anirbans’s leadership, our business will grow from strength to strength,” he added.

 

Talking about his new role, Anirban Mukherjee said, “PayU has a great global culture, amazing market capability and a strategy that has led the company to become one of the most exciting companies in the fintech industry. The pace of change in today’s global fintech market is exceptional. I am thrilled to join PayU’s global leadership team during such an extraordinary growth period of the fintech industry, in general, and the company in particular. I can't wait to lead PayU India into our next phase of growth, where we will combine business and product innovation to unlock future growth opportunities and build a robust credit ecosystem in India”.

 

Most recently, Mukherjee was part of the leadership team at Jio, where he drove payments, merchant services, and digital financial services, serving as the Co-CEO of Reliance Payments Solution Ltd. Prior to Jio, he worked with Standard Chartered Bank in India and APAC and with CapitalOne as a senior executive leader in the US. He has an MBA degree from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and is an alumnus of IIT, Kharagpur.

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Dentsu Aegis Network SEA acquires digital marketing agency Happy Marketer

Happy Marketer’s India offerings will be integrated with Merkle Asia Pacific and help widen the base for the brand in India

DAN Happy Marketer

Dentsu Aegis Network SEA has announced the acquisition of the Happy Marketer Group, Southeast Asia’s leading data-driven digital marketing agency headquartered in Singapore. Post-acquisition, it will be rebranded as Happy Marketer, a Merkle Company. Established in 2009, Happy Marketer has digital marketing delivery centers in Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Mumbai in India with over 40 employees. Some of Happy Marketer’s leading clients in India include Practo, Urban Ladder, Standard Chartered Bank, and Amity University.

Happy Marketer provides data, analytics, CRM, performance marketing, and marketing technology to power data-driven customer experience solutions for its clients, extending Merkle’s full breadth of services across Southeast Asia. It will enable the agency to deliver people-based marketing at scale across the region.

Happy Marketer is also Google’s go-to provider for Google Analytics in the region and of advanced analytics services to many leading organizations across Southeast Asia. It also has strong marketing technology capability, with significant experience across leading marketing technology platforms such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud and HubSpot, among others.

Speaking about the acquisition, Phil Teeman, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Southeast Asia and Singapore, said, “Southeast Asia is a critical growth driver for Merkle’s expansion. With this acquisition, the delivery and management of data analytics and customer experience marketing, which are Happy Marketer’s key competencies, will take the front seat, helping Dentsu Aegis Network reinforce itself as a key player. This also translates into greater opportunities to penetrate new and existing clients’ ecosystems in the Indian subcontinent.”

Adding to this,  Zhengda Shen, President, Merkle Asia Pacific, said, “Bringing Happy Marketer into the Merkle family is critical to our Asia-Pacific expansion strategy. The acquisition will significantly accelerate Merkle’s ability to bring its full suite of services to the Southeast Asian market. Happy Marketer has positive brand recognition and a strong reputation. Its data-driven and customer experience enablement approach, strong core service offerings, and dynamic culture align closely with Merkle.”

Joining the leadership team from India are Happy Marketer Managing Partner, Prantik Mazumdar, and Founder and CEO Rachit Dayal, who will report to Ted Bray, Managing Director and Chief Growth Officer of Merkle Asia Pacific.

Commenting on the development, Rachit Dayal, Founder & CEO at Happy Marketer, and Prantik Mazumdar, Managing Partner of Happy Marketer said, “Our business has rapidly scaled in the last 10 years, and it’s been an absolute blast forming a #HappyTribe of clients and employees who look forward to mastering the next disruption. And as we look on to the next 10 years, we are excited to partner with Merkle and Dentsu Aegis Network to help more businesses drive into the future. We intend to work closely to create a winning playbook to capture market share through our data-driven, technology-led, people-based marketing solutions.

“Merkle’s incredible story of passion for technology, and Dentsu Aegis’s global presence with Asian values are a huge source of inspiration for us. We feel an instant cultural fit and look forward to being part of their transformation journey. This is one of the best gifts we could have imagined as part of our 10-year celebration,” they added.

The agency has won numerous marketing awards at Marketing’s Agency of the Year, MARKies, as well as Asian Marketing Effectiveness & Strategy Conference, including Agency of the Year for Best Digital Agency, Best Search Agency, Best B2B Agency, Best Specialist Agency, Best Content Agency, Best CRM Agency, Best Programmatic, Best Market Research Agency, and Best Social Agency.

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Tribes appoints Reachig's Indraneel Ganguli as CMO

Ganguli is the founder and director of consultancy firm Reachig, which he still continues to run

Indraneel Ganguli

According to media reports, Indraneel Ganguli has joined Tribes as Chief Marketing Officer effective March 1, 2019. 

“Indraneel will lead our strategic and marketing direction and provide the platform and structure for the group's integrated marketing services and make us future ready,” said Gour Gupto, Founder and MD, Tribes.

Ganguli is the founder and director of consultancy firm Reachig, which he still continues to run. He specialises in brand building, direct marketing, media relations, event themes, digital marketing, and customer loyalty.

He has over 28 years of experience in advertising and marketing. In his early career days he worked with agencies like Clarion, Lintas and Percept. In 2000, he joined Bharti Airtel as Head of Marketing, where he worked for four years before shifting to Satyam in 2004 as their Global Head of Corporate Communications.

In 2007, Ganguli joined Tata Technologies, where he worked for a year as chief marketing officer, before moving to Tech Mahindra, as the Global Head of Brand and Business, where he worked for 10 years.

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WPP and Waze collaborate to open up in-car driver market

The partnership will see WPP collaborate with Waze on new ad formats aimed at helping drive retail footfall

WPPWaze

WPP and Waze have announced a new collaboration making it simpler for retail brands to run campaigns on Waze, the global social navigation app owned by Google, which has over 100 million monthly active drivers. The partnership, designed to direct drivers to retail locations through en route messaging, will launch in Canada, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.

WPP will work with Waze to make it easier for WPP’s clients to advertise on Google and directly reach and target drivers via the in-car platform, driving store footfall and product sales.

Waze is the only app used by drivers that deliver distraction-free advertising which is contextual and corresponds with a driver’s journey. The platform also gives insight into how, when and where people are engaging with brands during their drive, providing further value to clients.

Speaking about the partnership, Stephan Pretorius, Chief Technology Officer at WPP said, “WPP already brings the most creative, technology-led ideas to our clients to generate growth. Through our innovative partnership with Google, we’re now able to give clients exclusive access to Waze software that puts them in the driving seat to influence the shopping habits of the future.”

Commenting on the association, Samuel Keret, Global Director of Waze Ads said, “We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate closely with WPP and its global client base, sharing best practice and creating optimal solutions to drive in-store foot traffic for WPP’s many consumer product clients. This is the first collaborative relationship Waze has undertaken with agency partners to explore and identify shopper marketing-specific creative solution needs.”

The initiative was developed following a Google and WPP SWARM session. SWARM is a series of regular hackathons that bring together a varied network of creative thinkers, answering client challenges with innovative solutions powered by WPP expertise and Google engineering.

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Sir Martin Sorrell to announce the India CEO of S4 Capital soon

Sorrell spoke to exchange4media at the IAA World Congress at Kochi

Martin Sorrell

Sir Martin Sorrell, founder of S4 Capital and WPP,  has zeroed in on an India CEO for his new company S4 Capital, and is all set to announce it by next week, ahead of launching the company in India. 

Talking to exchange4media on the sidelines of the IAA World Congress at Kochi, Sorrell said, "Yes, I have plans to launch S4 Capital in India, and have found a CEO already. In a few days you will have the announcement."

Sorrell refused to divulge the name of the person. 

The 74-year-old founder of WPP had stepped down as the CEO of the group in the month of April last year. Following which, in six weeks, Sorrell made a comeback to the marketing business with his new venture S4 Capital. He invested £40 million of his own money into Derriston Capital, with institutional investors pledging an additional £150 million to buy marketing companies.

In December last year, Sorrell’s S4 Capital bought San Francisco ad tech company MightyHive. It was his second acquisition since leaving WPP and setting up S4 Capital. He made his first acquisition in July with a €300m deal to buy Dutch company MediaMonks. 

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Social Kinnect bags social media mandate for Radio Mirchi

The mandate was won following a multi-agency pitch, and will be operated out of the Social Kinnect Mumbai office

SocialKinnect

Social Kinnect has been awarded the social media mandate for Radio Mirchi. Under the mandate, Social Kinnect will be responsible for carving a social media roadmap for the brand across creative, media and ORM-led services. The mandate was won following a multi-agency pitch, and will be operated out of the Social Kinnect Mumbai office.

Social Kinnect will be responsible for strategic positioning, content creation, and re-packaging the brand on digital platforms. The agency will also be involved in digital innovations, brand building, and online advertising to engage with the digital consumers.

Radio Mirchi is owned by the Entertainment Network India Ltd (ENIL) and boasts of approximately 29 million listeners. It reaches more than 50 million monthly active users across multiple digital platforms.

Commenting on the appointment of the new agency, Rahul Balyan, CDO, Radio Mirchi, said, “Radio Mirchi is transforming into a digital and content centric organization. Our digital footprint has already doubled the overall reach of Radio Mirchi. We are known as an exciting brand on FM, and we look forward to creating the same level of excitement and engagement online through our partnership with Social Kinnect.”

Commenting on the win, Rohan Mehta, CEO, Social Kinnect, said, “We are thrilled to be a part of Radio Mirchi’s progressive journey on digital. With this mandate, we look forward to helping Radio Mirchi in engaging with the digital-first audience. Radio Mirchi is a brand for the millennials, and we look forward to helping them build a brand voice that engages this audience. Radio and digital go hand-in-hand, and we will cement this partnership even further.”

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DViO Digital wins creative & digital mandate for Theobroma

The account has been won following a multi-agency pitch

DVIO

Theobroma, a pan India chain of patisseries, has chosen DViO Digital as their creative and digital marketing partner. 

The account was won following a multi-agency pitch. DViO’s mandate is to provide strategic and creative recommendations along with building a strong communication and digital touch-point strategy to drive business results and visibility for Theobroma.

Talking about the association, Sowmya Iyer-CEO & Founder, DViO Digital, said, “This is an exciting opportunity for us, as working with a brand like Theobroma opens up multiple avenues for us as a creative agency. A good digital strategy doesn’t eliminate brick and motor – it helps increase the value of your store by power positioning it, and that is what we aim to do for Theobroma.”

On appointing DViO Digital as their creative and digital marketing partner, Nihal Harchandrai, Head-Finance & Strategy at Theobroma, said, “We are looking forward to working with an agency as talented as DViO is. We’re excited to see where this partnership takes Theobroma.”

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Adarsh Munjal joins Buzzinga Digital as Creative Director

Munjal, popularly known as The Big Bhookad on the web, in his last role was the Creative Director at MSL Group India

adarsh munjal

Buzzinga Digital announces the appointment of Adarsh Munjal to the role of Creative Director. 

Munjal, popularly known as The Big Bhookad on the web, brings with him extensive experience in creativity, digital media and advertising. His experience spans across The Glitch, Zapak Digital Entertainment Limited and Zomato. In his last role, he was Creative Director at MSL Group India and during his tenure at MSL, he was responsible for leading a diverse team comprising of copywriters, visualizers and designers for integrated delivery and execution across different kinds of traditional as well as digital media.

Commenting on the joining, Munjal said, “I have always worked under the role that can be defined as a thinker or writer or conceptualiser in my career. I am looking forward to working with the team at Buzzinga Digital and give form to their ideation processes that elevate the agency’s identity in the near future. I am both honored and excited to be a part of Buzzinga Digital and look forward to raising the bar further on overall creative excellence.”

Welcoming Munjal to Buzzinga, Yashraj Vakil, CEO, Buzzinga Digital said, “We are thrilled to welcome Adarsh to Buzzinga Digital. He will provide the creative focus we need to support our rapid growth. He is a digital native and brings exactly the kind of creative leadership that brands need in this ever-changing digital landscape. I strongly believe his experience and expertise will also help nurture the team at Buzzinga in to thinking bigger and doing larger things.”

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Criteo appoints Kenneth Pao as Executive Managing Director for APAC 

Pao will provide strategic direction and further accelerate the growth of Criteo’s business in the Asia-Pacific region

kenneth pao

Criteo, the advertising platform for the open internet, has announced the appointment of Kenneth Pao, Executive Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, to lead one of the fastest-growing regions for the company. 

Pao will provide strategic direction and further accelerate the growth of Criteo’s business in the Asia-Pacific region, whose current portfolio of customers include Yahoo! JAPAN, Coupang, LFmall, THE ICONIC, The Good Guys, ZALORA, TIKI, Sendo.vn, Tata CLIQ and NYKAA. 

Based in Tokyo, Pao will oversee Criteo’s key operations in Australia, China, Japan, India, Singapore and South Korea. He will work closely with his regional leadership team to drive new business development and strengthen Criteo’s existing advertiser and partner relationships. 
Criteo also has customers in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. 

“With his proven track record in the Asia-Pacific region, specifically Japan and Greater China, Kenneth brings more than nine years of leadership experience within the retail and advertising technology industry,” said Gregory Gazagne, Executive Vice President, Global Revenue & Operations, Criteo. 

On his appointment, Pao said: “The artificial intelligence market is set to grow to $136 billion by 2025 in Asia-Pacific1. Omni-channel customers in the region generate 27 per cent of sales despite only representing 7 per cent of all customers. These trends are transforming how digital businesses operate and engage with end-users across AsiaPacific. We continue to see untapped growth potential. Thus, our goal is to provide retailers, brands, and publishers of all sizes with the data and technology they need to best serve their customers. Through its commitment to R&D and laser-focus on developing high-performance solutions, Criteo can spearhead new developments in this space. I look forward to working with some of the best talents in the industry,” said Pao. 

He joins Criteo after almost seven years at Videology Group, a software provider for digital video and TV advertising. He was the APAC Managing Director and then the Chief Revenue and Operations Officer, where he drove business growth by building new revenue streams and value propositions for new and existing clients. 

Prior to Videology, Pao was also a Co-Founder and Board Member at Willem-Aidan and Co-CEO of Retail and Direct Distribution at Esquel Group. 

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