Litigation Communications and Class Action Lawsuits in Asia

Early this year Maverick was invited to join the select Crisis and Litigation Communications Alliance, a group of PR firms who specialize in crisis management and litigation PR. In October we all met in Amsterdam for our annual meeting and were briefed by experts on the trends in litigation and class action lawsuits worldwide.

Here, our Singapore colleague Lai Kwok Kin shares some of his views on litigation communications and class action lawsuits in Asia in an Oped piece in The Straits Times.

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Maverick admitted to international alliance of crisis and litigation specialists

Over the past 17 years Maverick has carved out a name for itself as the go-to firm for crisis management and high-profile litigation cases.

We are delighted to announce that from this month Maverick has been admitted to the select group of crisis and litigation communications specialists worldwide, the Crisis and Litigation Communicators Alliance.

We look forward to working with the CLC to further deepen out knowledge and sharpen our skills as well as providing clients with a worldwide network of specialists for the cross-border litigation issues.


UBS all hog-tied in China

This is an interesting case for crisis management aficionados.

We live in interesting times indeed when hypersensitivity meets the mob mentality on social media.

UBS Chief Economist Paul Donovan was commenting in his podcast on China’s economy and how there’s been some inflation caused by sick pigs in China. The country has recently had to cull 1.1 million pigs because of an outbreak of swine fever.

He tried to add a bit of color to his commentary instead of dishing out the usual cut-and-dried tone of economists: “Does this matter?” he asked. “It matters if you are a Chinese pig. It matters if you like eating pork in China.”

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GO-JEK: Going all in or getting away?

GO-JEK is known for shattering conventions and getting away with it. Did it just do this again in the company’s sort of Coming Out Day last week?

It was sort of because on October 11 it joined other companies operating in the more liberal parts of the world to celebrate Diversity, which also falls on LGBTQ Awareness Day. Only instead of going whole hog on it, GO-JEK only mounted an internal campaign among its staff. It put up a gallery in its office displaying the pictures and the stories of its employees who have bravely “embraced freedom, self-acceptance and tolerance”.

The title for this internal campaign was a brave “Going All In” and one of its posters talked about embracing differences, including in sexual orientation. Yet it stopped short of using the acronym “LGTBQ”.

Even so, the campaign seems rather brave and contrarian in Indonesia, which has seen the rise of a noisy, religious Right of late.

But being brave is one thing, being myopic is another.

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Public Relations lessons from Bell Pottinger collapse

As a young man cutting my teeth in journalism during the Thatcher years, I was in awe of the people behind the company, Bell Pottinger, that helped ensure her electoral victories. I remember they were touted as one of the first public relations firms to use behavioral psychology to good effect.

Now, after being in Public Relations for about 18 years and seeing the Bell Pottinger name reappear into prominence,and with it the man who founded the firm, I must say that it is a letdown. The man at the helm of that once powerful public relations firm turns out to be a doddering shadow of his former image in the interview below:

He was combative and defensive, he was in denial and he could not even switch off his mobile for an interview- twice.

What lessons can we PR people learn from this? Read More

Building and Maintaining Spokesperson Credibility

(For Indonesian, click here)

Mika Brzezinski, the host of MSNBC’s popular morning program ‘Morning Joe’, has announced earlier this week that Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to President Donald Trump, will be indefinitely blacklisted from appearing on their show due to her overall lack of credibility. Conway has been repeatedly giving statements at odds with the White House, which put her credibility in doubt.

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Membangun dan Mempertahankan Kredibilitas Narasumber

(Untuk versi Bahasa Inggris, klik di sini)

“Morning Joe”, acara talkshow populer di MSNBC minggu ini melalui hostnya, Mika Brzezinski mengumumkan memasukkan Kellyanne Conway ke dalam daftar hitam dan tidak akan mengundang lagi penasihat utama Donald Trump tersebut ke dalam acaranya karena tidak kredibel. Conway berkali-kali memberikan pernyataan yang bertentangan dengan Gedung Putih, yang membuat kredibilitasnya diragukan. Read More

Anies-Sandiaga’s billboard message seizes the attention


We begin a series of occassional posts about the goings on in the Indonesian social media scene by Ndoro Kakung, who’s joined Maverick as an advisor. Today’s post is about the controversial billboard put up by the Anies-Sandiaga camp that caused a kerfuffle on Twitter over the weekend.

By Ndorokakung


The gubernatorial election for Jakarta began last Friday (28/10/2016) and the candidates and their supporters have not wasted any time in getting their message across in the form of leaflets, posters, billboards, banners, photos, videos, and so on.

In this flurry of activity one of the candidate-pairs, Anies Baswedan and his deputy Sandiaga Uno, reaped perhaps more than their fair share of controversy when they put up billboards featuring a photo of both of them with a prominent slogan beneath that proclaimed “Jakarta Milik Kita, Mari Bung Kita Rebut Kembali!” (“Jakarta is Ours, Let’s Seize it Back!”)

The slogan, with its use of the aggressive verb “seize” immediately sparked questions from the Twitterverse as it reminds Indonesians of a couple of lines in the nationalistic song Halo Halo Bandung in which it calls on Indonesians to seize back Bandung (occupied by the Dutch) that is on fire.

Twitter user @jelantik5 questioned the billboard’s messaging: “Excuse me Pak @aniesbaswedan & Pak Sandiaga Uno, could you tell us who’s colonized Jakarta until it has to be seized back?”

Despite having their Twitter handles mentioned in the tweet, both Anies and Sandiaga did not respond to the question.

Their silence did not stop other Twitter users such as @AndiMartin_


and @Pinneng

from asking the same question. Still Anies and Sandiaga, as well as their campaign teams and supports, kept mum over the issue.

On Sunday, when many Indonesians have more spare time to check their social media accounts, the issue surfaced again after @AroonP asked @Pandji, (921,000 followers), a standup comedian as well as an official spokesperson for the Anies-Sandiaga ticket: “Masbro @pandji, any comment? Seize Jakarta from whom? ”

This time the questioners got some traction. Pandji replied on Twitter, “We” refers to us, the citizens, to seize the city from the developers and corporations who use Jakarta for their own advantage. Case in point: Reclamation.”

The conversation between @AroonP and Pandji also involved @ernestprakasa into the mix. The account that is believed to be owned by actor and stand up comedian, Ernest Prakasa currently has 389,000 followers. Ernest is also known as one the stand-up comedians like Pandji. They even had a role together in the movie Comic 8.

Pandji’s mention of the word “corporation” and “reclamation” hit a nerve with some of the Twitterati and raised more questions. Which is the corporation he meant? And what has the reclamation project got to do with anything?

Other Twitter users professed surprise by Pandji’s sudden anti-corporate stand because, they pointed out, Pandji has been the recipient of various sponsorships and engagements by corporations.

@hotradero (an account apprently owned by Poltak Hotradero), an employee of the Indonesia Stock Exchange who has more than 88,000 followers, asked “Do you have any opinion about the reclamation, Pandji? Have you already studied all data and documents? Isn’t Bluebird also considered as a corporation? The last remark was an apparent reference to some influencer work done for Blue Bird by Pandji.

Soon, the issue had escalated into a storm in the social media teacup, with other accounts such as @agussari and @imanbr joining into the fray.

Like so many other Twitwars that have flared in Indonesia, however, the billboard issue subsided after Pandji asked for time to discuss the matter first with Anies-Sandiaga.

There is a truce for now but the lesson that the politicians may pick up is that they need to manage issues that may crop up from anything they do or say, be it in billboards or rallies.

When such things become issues it is up to the team as a whole – the candidates, their social media administrators, as well as their spokespersons and surrogates to be responsive with a unified message or stand. In communications this is called getting your messaging right, aligning your messages and then maintaining message discipline among everyone that has exposure to the public at large. This is something that the politicians have yet to learn to do.