Grenville I Francis chats with Muma’s managing partners about Adfest’s Independent Agency of the Year this year.
Work harder. Be agile. Get closer to clients.
Simple enough to imagine. A heck of a lot more difficult to implement. But that’s exactly what Muma has done. Taken what was in their hearts and in their heads, and pushed their bodies and souls to create a hotshot ad agency that is producing some really exciting work for a just-as-exciting set of clients.
Founded in 2018 by Pang Li Li and Choo Chee Wee, it acquired some major clients in it’s very first year alone – namely Celcom, Hong Leong Bank, Spritzer, Haier and Vinda. Multi international award-winning Donevan Chew joined a couple of years later as Creative Partner and the rest is, dare we say it: “Muma Mia!” (Dare we also say ABBA would indeed be excited as well? We dare!)
Daring is definitely in Muma’s DNA, helping the agency with an expansion that has been and continues to be well… exciting! As Pang tells us Muma “has consistently gained double digit revenue growth in every financial year since they started.” Yes, even during the worst of the COVID years.
“In fact, COVID has somewhat shifted the mindset of some clients,” he says. “They are more open to working with boutique agencies. Spending their money on the brains behind the work, rather than the brand on the door.”
Being small, agile and hungry where the management team is very hands-on in making sure the work delivered is work they’re happy with has allowed Muma to be true to themselves and present what they believe in, according to Choo. “We do stuff that we trust will work to solve the business task at hand,” he says.
“We strive to maintain the art in marketing communications in an environment where we are so dependent on the science of data. Creativity and craft are the stuff that weave magic into all that logic.”
Blessed with some clients who demand awesomeness, “this allows us to create better work, push the creative envelope… do what’s right for the brand, rather than work that pleases the client,” he adds.
But they do please clients as evidenced by invitations to new-business pitches with recommendations from Muma’s very own existing clients. It goes without saying, the agency pleases award judges as well.
Muma debuted on Campaign Brief Asia’s 2021 Creative Rankings for Malaysia’s hottest agencies in 6th place. It has gone on to win Spikes Asia 2022 Grand Prix in Healthcare, Spikes Asia Agency of the Year (Malaysia) 2022, Spikes Asia Independent Agency of the Year #3 and Adfest Independent Agency of the Year 2022.
Chew is proud to tell us about some of their creations. “The Libresse V-Kebaya work which won a Spikes Asia Grand Prix in Healthcare shows how amazing things can be when a bold client trusts the agency to do its best work for the brand,” says Chew. “We really pulled out all the stops to make this campaign happen.”
He also talks about the Red Bull campaign that energised Malaysia and inspired its people to strive on stronger despite the hard times and Muma’s Mitsubishi work that showed “local content need not look and feel the same.”
Chew concludes, excitedly we must add: “Winning Independent Agency of the Year at Adfest and Malaysia’s Agency of the Year at Spikes Asia are definitely the most recent highlights.
“It made us believe that we can achieve greatness as a team.”