Mandalay Advertising ups ante in digital age

U Kyaw Zay Ya, founder of media agency Mandalay Advertising in Yangon, is determined to adapt to changing customer demands in order to stay relevant.

Driven by new digital technology and the internet, clients are demanding much more than just a simple advertisement on TV or in the newspaper. These days, advertising involves a new digital aspect, and that has changed the way Mandalay Advertising is doing business.

Mandalay Advertising helps clients strategise and communicate their brand or message through clever advertising and media campaigns. The company specialises in gathering local insight and monitoring trends to produce relevant ads for clients.

It is getting more complex as consumers evolve from watching TV and reading the paper to digesting content on the internet and social media. These days, a rising segment of the population is consuming content on their mobile phones and laptops, which is forcing U Kyaw Zay Ya and his team to innovate and become more creative with their ad offerings.

“Most advertisers are going in the direction of digital to capture viewers. In the past, it was very simple; if you want to penetrate a market, just put an ad on TV. But, it is not like that now. Before, there was one path, but now it has become two paths. More focus is on the digital path,” U Kyaw Zay Ya said in an interview.

Also, customers on traditional media such as TV and radio are getting more demanding as they try to retain their audiences in the digital age. With the option to stream videos and music on the internet, traditional TV and radio stations are being faced with little choice but to offer more entertainment and advertising options, for much less revenue.

“These are challenging times, but we welcome the new challenges,” said U Kyaw Zay Ya.

With a love and passion for the media industry’s potential to inspire change, he has worked as an explorer and a creator in the field since the mid 1990’s.

After high school, he began his career with a prestigious company called MMRD-Mandalay Directory from 1995 to 1997. He graduated with a physics major in 2002 from the University of Mandalay. He started his journey in the field as a co-founder of Zomia Media in 1997. However, he yearned for wider exposure, knowledge and insight to lead the vast market, so he enrolled in the mass communications programme at the University of Management Development Institute of Singapore in 2006.

For a long time, he envisioned that media advertising would make it possible to connect globally through new and exciting ways. He kept a close eye on Myanmar’s media landscape and continued to assist at Zomia from afar. After finishing his studies, he continued working with Zomia before launching Mandalay Advertising in 2009.

In 2010, he expanded and launched Pintale’ Marketing. In 2014, in affiliation with Publicis Worldwide, he established Mandalay Publicis. In 2018, Pintale’ Marketing and 360 Innovative, one of the leading digital agencies in Thailand, teamed up to launch 360 Pintale’, a full service communications agency specialising in public relations and digital advertising.

Below are excerpts of the interview with U Kyaw Zeya on how his advertising company plans to stay ahead in today’s rapidly changing digital landscape:

How are clients’ demands changing compared to three years ago?

Mainly, they want more services. Though the budget is cut, they want the best services. For example, TV media was simple in the past. But now, clients say what they want – to what extent they want to go – in great detail. They understand everything. In the past, what they wanted was just an A4 page, but now it is about 4 pages. I welcome it. Only when we know what they want in detail can we provide better services.

What is the reason for the change?

We took every customer as consumers in the past, but now there are target audiences, like from age 18 to 30 and gender-specific. Some would target university students. Clients know more about their targets and goals, I think.

How can the industry keep up with these changes?

We have to provide a lot of training and, if necessary, send our staff overseas. The youths here have to go through staff changes once or twice every year. They have to attend client meetings and work in Bangkok. They have to get new experiences and learn about the international demand there.

What will be the demands of advertisers in the future and how will you meet them?

I think they will demand more. They will move to digital. For example: if they use digital, they will want to know how it will help them, and they will ask for more details about how people respond to social marketing and to what extent, I think. We are prepared to tell them how we can offer detailed services.

There are two points I want to make. We have to understand the technology and we also need to access information such as what projects or campaigns clients are conducting in other countries. We must keep up with the changing technology.

What is the most popular among Myanmar people, and which platforms do they like most?

Young people prefer creativity. They have a lot of energy. They want to try new things, but they don’t know how, where to start or how to communicate for success. It would be more interesting for them if more talk shows could be arranged for them.

How can media and marketing agencies take advantage of the increasing use of mobile phones?

We can get more benefit from the increasing use of mobile phones by making sure that our online content reaches consumers more often. They can see our messages on their mobiles, TVs and personal computers. When they go out, they can see our adverts on the sides of buses and billboards. If we advertise in many different ways, more messages will get to consumers in a shorter time. This will benefit our agencies.


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