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Publicis One Teams with MSL to Strengthen Southeast Asia PR Offering

Advertising Agency
Paris, France
Rebrand operations plannned in Malaysia and Indonesia

Publicis One, in conjunction with MSL, announced the expansion of the MSL brand to Malaysia and Indonesia with the renaming of its existing PR units as MSL. The new additions will complete the alignment of Publicis One’s PR offering in Southeast Asia under MSL, Publicis Groupe’s flagship public relations and integrated communications network, one of the largest in the world.

The new Malaysia and Indonesia units will join other MSL offices in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in Southeast Asia, giving MSL the most complete and consistent network of wholly-owned and branded PR agencies in the region. 

MSL’s PR operations in Malaysia and Indonesia are both part of Publicis One, the global communications enterprise that unites all of Publicis Groupe agency brands’ capabilities and expertise under one roof in a number of markets around the world.


In Malaysia, effective today, Leo Burnett / Arc PR Worldwide has rebranded as MSL. The unit, with more than 20 professionals, half of whom are social media experts, is led by Director of PR, Sharmila Ramanath who reports to Kien Eng Tan, CEO of Publicis One Malaysia. The broad PR offering includes corporate and crisis communications, influencer marketing, digital/social media strategy and execution, internal communications, media relations, media training and advocacy. Alibaba Group, Samsung, Dutch Lady, Alcon, and YTL Land & Development are among the operation’s key clients.

Kien Eng Tan, commented, “With the creative heritage of Leo Burnett, the Arc PR team has been transforming to provide more integrated solutions to deliver positive impact on our clients’ business. Now powered by MSL, an award-winning industry leader in Asia, we are better positioned as an integrated communication powerhouse with all Publicis Groupe agencies together providing end-to-end, PR advisory and interdependent solutions to our clients.”


In Indonesia, Leo PR will rebrand to MSL on May 3. Industry veteran Eugene Laksono, Head of Public Relations, leads the PR unit in Jakarta, reporting to Brian Capel, CEO of Publicis One in Indonesia. MSL has a dozen staff members in Indonesia conducting consumer marketing, corporate reputation management, issues and crisis communications, and social activation work for the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Samsung, Lixil Water Technology, KraftHeinz ABC and L’Oreal, among others. 

Brian Capel said, “As the eighth agency brand under the Publicis One platform in Indonesia, MSL brings new depth to the comprehensive service offering with state-of-the-art global tools such as crisis simulation training, influencer and content creation and amplification, and MSL thought leadership initiatives, all of which will help us build influence and deliver impact for our clients.” 

Southeast Asia Growth

Glenn Osaki, President, MSL Asia-Pacific, explained the firm’s strong commitment to PR in the region. “Southeast Asia is the fastest growing region in the MSL global network, with more than 40 percent growth achieved in the last year alone. By investing in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, and adding them to our footprint, we are able to offer our clients the most complete coverage across ASEAN. This in turn will create scale, efficiency, best practice sharing, skills training, and access to the top talent.”

The 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations include several of the world’s fastest expanding economies and represent a consolidated growth rate of 5.3%. With a combined population of over 620 million (trailing only China and India) and an economy of $2.6 trillion, about the size of the UK’s, the World Economic Forum predicts the region will have the world’s fifth largest economy by 2020. The regional GDP has expanded “from a mere $37.6 billion in 1970.” (Source: Bloomberg)

In addition to its six offices in Southeast Asia, MSL also maintains a major presence in Greater China, India, Australia, Japan and Korea, rounding out an APAC network that is among the industry’s largest and most awarded.

The Power of One

As part of the Publicis Groupe structural transformation announced in late 2015, the PR operations in many countries (such as those in Publicis One markets) have been integrated into other local Publicis operations - to enhance collaboration in the Power of One spirit. By also tying these PR capabilities to MSL, the flagship PR network in Publicis Groupe, it is easier for local clients to tap into MSL’s vast global resources and access to the broader footprint. “In this sense, we have simplified the access of our clients to the resources they need through local integration and to all we have to offer as a top-notch global PR network,” said Guillaume Herbette, Global CEO, MSL.

Jarek Zienbinski, Global CEO, Publicis One said, “The Publicis One model is created in recognition of the demands of specialization and integration and strives to be the top integrator of best-in-class specialists. Partnering with MSL, a leading global PR network enables us to enhance and deliver on our specialization promise in the area of public relations, an important aspect of Publicis One’s offering.

In the last two years, MSL has worked closely with Publicis One to convert its existing operations around the world to the MSL brand including in the Philippines (June 2016), Thailand (Dec. 2016), and most recently, the Czech Republic (Nov. 2017). 

MSL conversions outside of Publicis One markets include Sri Lanka (Jan. 2016) and Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE in the Middle East (September 2016).

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