A window into advertising, media and marketing


PETALING JAYA: It is not often that you get to read a book about advertising in Malaysia.

Long-time Star Billings columnist, Harmandar Singh or Ham, has just authored a timely book titled “Rainmaker – Making brands and people famous and furious for three decades.”

The book chronicles his life in advertising and more than 500 copies of this limited edition have been snapped up so far. He has also culled stories from his experiences working overseas over the years.

“This is a compilation of my selected writings across three markets – Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. I wrote this book to give those in advertising, media and marketing a window into how I see the industry work.

“Even the lay person can enjoy my adventures in this book and it is quite hilarious. I have shared many blunt truths and debunked common myths about the business,” said Ham.

The book also talks vividly about advertising legend Yasmin Ahmad, how ad people can survive anything, falsehoods about advertising, and also takes a stab at corruption in the industry and unscrupulous practices that have yet to be weeded out of the business.

Some thought-provoking chapters include “YouTube has come between me and God”, “What about the illegal outdoor sites?”, “Losses from 1MDB can buy us 30 islands the size of Penang” and “How I gatecrashed my way into advertising”.

“For every bully or gangster who thinks he is the king in the industry, there is even a bigger bully above that person,” added Ham.

“Humility, which is rare in the business, takes a back seat in a world where it is know-who instead of know-how. The competition is fierce and the game can be brutal.

“But I am perpetually confident that good work still triumphs over mediocrity, as consumer feedback can make or destroy a brand. So risk failure at your own peril,” he added.

Having spent most of his working life in the advertising industry, half of which as a creative lead for global ad network McCann-Erickson creating enough campaigns to last a lifetime, Ham has been the publisher of Marketing magazine to 30,000 readers for almost two decades.

“Life, like marketing, needs a script,” Ham shares. After bestowing almost 2,000 awards to deserving winners in the industry over the course of his life as a publisher, he is dubbed the “rainmaker” for many reasons. This book is just one of them.

Ham intends to publish a Bahasa Malaysia edition of the book early next year for distribution to public universities, libraries and upper secondary schools. He said this is his legacy for the next generation of thinkers.

“If I can inspire enough youngsters and students to get into the advertising and marketing business, I will have achieved my objective for doing a BM version,” he quipped.

The 280-page paperback is available at ruby@adoimagazine.com for RM37.50 a copy, while stocks last.

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