The marketing fraternity in Malaysia turned up to witness the internationally acclaimed Product of the Year (POY) group hold its inaugural Winners Ceremony on June 24 in Kuala Lumpur.

More than 200 marketers, media partners, and supporters saw 18 winners from as many categories grace the stage at the Sime Darby Convention Centre together with major media players in attendance.

Product of the Year Malaysia is the result of a partnership announced last year between Product of the Year International and Sledgehammer Communications’ MARKETING magazine, via POY Asia Sdn Bhd, with rights to run the same concept in Singapore and Indonesia too.

“For Malaysia, to win the rights to host Product of the Year in Malaysia, Singapore and India is a big achievement. The region’s excellence in product innovation will now be based in Malaysia,” says Harmandar Singh, Director of Product of the Year Asia Sdn Bhd.

The brainchild of French entrepreneur Christian Le Bret, the Product of the Year marketing concept was launched more than 26 years ago, with the awareness of the need for a robust mechanism to allow consumers to be well informed about new and innovative products.

This year, 18 category winners were voted by 2,000 consumers through an extensive survey conducted by Nielsen Malaysia across sectors including F&B, personal care products, household appliances, financial services, baby products, FMCG brands, and many more.

This was conducted after a highly distinguished panel of judges met to shortlist and streamline the entries into respective categories for research, with close regard to the innovation of the product/brand.

Starting July 2014, consumers nationwide will be able to shop through the overcrowded supermarket shelves and recognise the winners of innovation by looking for the honorary red “Product of the Year” seal, which will be on packaging, advertising, and in-store displays.

Founder and President-Director of Product of the Year International Christian Le Bret, who was also present at the winner ceremony, shared, “When I started the Product of the Year marketing concept in 1986, I didn’t expect it would expand to over 40 countries. Now 26 years later, I can assure you I have witnessed many brands profiting with their Product of the Year wins and continue to succeed in the marketplace.”

Christian was also recently appointed by the French Cabinet as a Foreign Trade Advisor to France working with official economic representatives for France on a global scale.

POY is in over 40 countries’ markets across the five continents.

Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia are the newest territories to be added to this list, following the thriving potential in Asia. Globally, Product of the Year is the largest consumer product award that rewards innovation and is voted on by consumers.

“Nielsen already partners across many countries to handle the robust Product of the Year consumer research every year. Now that we have been appointed to handle Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia is a great boost for our regional consumer research team,” adds Richard Hall, Managing Director of Nielsen Malaysia.

The Product of the Year concept is not about creativity, media, branding, campaigns, or marketing effectiveness. It has been around for over 26 years across 40 countries and celebrates new products and innovation.

All the major brand players in the world, from P&G and Unilever to Nestlé, GSK, Kimberly-Clark and Reckitt Benckiser, have been recognised with POY accolades and branding themselves using the universally acknowledged POY logo on their winning products at retail outlets around the world.

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