Digital Marketing

TheSmartLocal Wins Media Brand Of The Year At The Mumbrella Asia Awards

2 months ago, we were contemplating submitting our first ever awards entry.  We had no intention or incentive to compete with agencies for awards (we want to help them win instead) and didn’t want our partners to get the wrong idea. But this new “Media Brand of the Year” category seemed distinct enough to avoid misunderstandings.

We were clueless about the format and how entries should be submitted. Hesitation crept in and we missed the first submission deadline. Thankfully, it was extended for everyone so our story doesn’t end here. A few weeks later, we received an EDM press release and to our surprise, we saw our logo among the highlighted brands that made it to the next round. We were one of five brands in our category, alongside media heavyweights like VICE, CNBC, SCMP and Tatler. We were thrilled just to be shortlisted.

Then came the live judging round which involved pitching to a panel of industry experts. I still get nervous speaking before an audience and given what was at stake, this round terrified me. A bit of Anthony Robbins in my car and I psyched myself because YOLO. I decided to present solo as I’ve been (trying) to practice not giving work to a colleague that I would not be prepared to do myself. Ahh dammit.

After introducing myself to the judges, my laptop failed to connect to the display. It eventually did after some assistance from their tech guy and a few tense minutes caused by me making everyone wait. And then when I played our introductory video, there wasn’t audio as the HDMI + VGA converter confused the projector. I improvised by playing the audio on my handphone, failing in spectacular fashion to sync the video with the sound coming from my phone.

The judges were extremely nice about everything. They were surprised I came by myself and joked that I was very brave. I just didn’t know the protocol. I left the room a bit disappointed at myself but fairly hopeful as I felt I answered their questions well. And there would be a Gold, Silver and Bronze award right? That’s how they do these award things. Our aim was to cross our toes and hope for a podium finish.

Then came the dilemma of how many tickets to get because ticket prices to award shows are comparable to a one-night-only BTS concert. But I thought it’ll be a good experience for our team even though we had a minuscule chance of winning. Fast-forward to event day. We’re sitting at the table and the first awards are announced. Oh there’s only one winner per category. I sink in my chair and my mood changes from fairly hopeful to “maybe 5 years later”.

I can’t remember exactly what happened after they announced us as winners. Or why they said they chose us apart from sentence fragments like “clarity of vision” and “business model”. There was some awkward standing around as we didn’t know which way to go, caught in a daze of euphoria and disbelief.

Thank you judges for believing in us and acknowledging the work we have done. Thank you Mumbrella for creating such a category to recognise media brands.

I’m really proud of how far the TSL team has come, but I also feel intense pride for how a homegrown local brand took the gold home for Singapore. This is not just a win for us, but a win for all the small local media brands hustling out there. When the tide comes in, all ships rise.

Singapore has some great content creators and I hope that one day our local brands make their mark out there, flying the Singapore flag high. Perhaps in a similar way to how we look up to many global media brands. But for now, we’re extremely honoured to be the Singapore representative and to have won the Media Brand Of The Year award at the 2018 Mumbrella Asia Awards.


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