Home Insider Expat Insider Interview with Thomas Hayward Founder and Executive Creative Director of Multiverse Advertising

Interview with Thomas Hayward Founder and Executive Creative Director of Multiverse Advertising

Name : Thaomas Hayward

Position : Founder and Executive Creative Director of Multiverse Advertising

Thomas Hayward is the Founder and Executive Creative Director of Multiverse Advertising, an independent full service Yangon-based marketing agency specialising in branding, integrated marketing, advertising, PR & activations, and website & app development with a global footprint and offices in Singapore, San Francisco and New York. Thomas has done branding and advertising work for Apple, Bellagio, American Express, Victoria’s Secret, OPPO, Heineken and many others.


Could you talk a little about how the marketing and communications landscape in Myanmar has shifted since you began operating here? What have been the biggest shifts? Did any surprise you?

When I first moved here, three years ago, all of my clients were international clients because they value marketing, strategy and brand. The biggest change has happened in last year or so more or more clients that are coming to us are Myanmar-based companies because the things they have being doing no longer work and so they are looking for a new strategy. And I wouldn’t say the shifts surprise me, it’s more of the market evolving.

What is special about your brand of integrated marketing?

I think the biggest thing that separate us from the others is we’re taking integrated marketing that we have been doing in New York and San Francisco and integrated it into Myanmar culture and to what evolves in the market here. We work from the strategical point of view with integrated marketing. We don’t work from the tactical point of view.

What is the most important aspect to successfully implementing integrated marketing? Are there special conditions for doing this in Myanmar?

I think, as I was saying, the most important part is to be strategic, to have a strategic approach and not be just tactical. Many of the companies here have been doing things that have worked in the past, very traditional above the line stuff. You have billboard, you have TV, you have radio and they are continually doing the same thing. But they are not getting good results any longer because of the increased competition. It’s not so much in terms of conditions. What is really important is to understand the market and to have the insight and to bring international strategy into the market. What happens very often is, a lot of companies look at this is what called an adopted market, so they are taking campaigns from other places and simply just changing it and offering it here Myanmar. It is a very unique market here and just because it worked in Singapore, Hong Kong or other places does not mean it will be sucessful. That’s why a lot of campaigns failed because they actually haven’t come from Myanmar, they come from outside people who don’t understand the new essence of Myanmar culture. So, that’s why it’s very important to be here, to understand the market and to understand the culture.

Tell me about your biggest success here.

Biggest success is one of our new clients, Tuborg Myanmar, who came to us to help with their sponsoring of the Mingalarbar Festival. It was the biggest happening in Myanmar at the time and we worked to create an integrated marketing strategy over a three day period where we created experiential activities. We worked very much with social media and we also created content media. In fact, right now, from that, we worked and created a video which we put on our Facebook page which will probably, by tomorrow, have over a million views. What we did was we took the event they have and instead of  putting up a bunch of logos all over the place we created activities that complemented the event, created content that we were able to amplify through social media and it was incredibly successful, and they were extremely happy.

Have there been any ideas that failed? Could you tell me about them.

Not to sound arrogant, but no. We are very selective about who we work with because part of the challenge is that people want to keep doing things the same way and we know that that way doesn’t work, so we will not take on the client. We want to be part of the success and if we are not being strategic about our approach and we are just being tactical we feel that there will not be a level of success and then we will not partici – pate in the project.

Where do you see marketing and communication moving over the next few years in Myanmar?

Where do you hope to be when these changes come? I think, really, that’s what this work – shop is all about. Due to the economic and technological trends in Myanmar, the stage has been set for integrated marketing here. It increases local and international competition and the real trend is integrated marketing, it could not be more important and it will be over the next few years in Myanmar. It’s about delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time. That’s simple and that’s also com – plicated. To answer the second part, Myanmar is my home. We are a 100 per cent Myanmar-based agency. Our employees are Myanmar people. This is where I live, this is where my company is which is basically my family. And so, I plan on being right here experienc – ing this, helping Myanmar companies and international brands grow in this space.