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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dove #washtocare advert focusing on cleansing. We’re so used to seeing Dove and have a strong beauty and softness association. But it is challenged in landing a cleanliness message. At least in comparison to other bar soaps. The coronavirus offered an opportunity for them to re-emphasise the cleaning aspect of the product with #washtocare.

One interesting aspect of this is that the ad doesn’t run to the 20+ seconds needed to comprehensively clean hands but a six-second format. Dove seem to have paired it with a paid influencer placement via a platform that pairs social media users with brands and gives the consumers a ‘challenge’ to complete. Unfortunately for a lot of the material, the Dove brand got lost in it, this post below was about the best one that I saw.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAcF1-PF9c6/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

I suspect so they can put the budget into landing and repeating the messaging. More FMCG related content here.

Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe shows were only of interest to me for the Adam Curtis films that he featured in the shows. This film about the growth of paranoia in society seems to be very in tune with the current zeitgeist.

Unlike many other magazines, Monocle does a good job of showing the ‘sausage factory’ of how their magazine is made. There is a huge amount of pride in the effort they go to get a quality product out the door. This isn’t just from a design and content point of view, but in the tactile magazine experience. I couldn’t think of any other publication that would do a feature film about why they were moving printing press, paper stock, design and content tweaks.

Wired US would have a bit of editorial comment when they have banged it out of the park on design and typography – something that tragically hasn’t happened in years.

All of these changes for Monocle’s print edition has happened in the midst of early coronavirus Europe. The design tweaks aren’t jarring for the experience, with just enough changes to keep things fresh.

The change seemed to be partly driven by Brexit, but also an apparent desire to get a quality step change that they didn’t seem to think would be possible with UK printers. Tyler Brûlé’s comments on the German apprentice system, for instance, shows that taking back control won’t change the perception of relative quality in UK manufacturing versus Europe.

Canvas8 tries to read the tea leaves on likely changes in consumer behaviour due to the coronavirus lock-in period. Tom Doctoroff was the guest speaker in this episode and wrote the great book ‘What Chinese Want‘ which I reviewed a number of years ago.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cathay Pacific merger hits roadblock from aviation regulator: report | Hong Kong Business – this makes sense as the ‘other shoe dropping’ following last years resignation of Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg due to Chinese government pressure amidst the Hong Kong protest movement. This appears to be all about squeezing Hong Kong business to kowtow further to Beijing’s authoritarian Han ethno-nationalist agenda. It could be also softening up Cathay Pacific for a bargain basement takeover by one of the Chinese state airlines as a fuck you to the Swire taipans and long suffering Hong Kong retail shareholders, instead lining the pockets of some mainland princelings

Samsung Chief Grilled over Succession Fiddle – The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition)each Samsung C&T stake was calculated as equal to just 0.35 Cheil Industries stakes in the merger, and prosecutors believe that Samsung intentionally inflated the value of Cheil Industries and understated the value of Samsung C&T, thereby causing damage to other shareholders. The second charge focuses on allegations of a W4.5-trillion accounting fraud involving Samsung Biologics, a key affiliate of Cheil Industries. Prosecutors suspect Samsung hid the debts of subsidiary Samsung Bioepis to inflate the value of Samsung Biologics – if the allegations are true the Lees were bilking retail and institutional investors about of many millions of dollars and the Korean government might stand to lose a substantial amount of inheritance tax. More on Samsung here

YouTube deletes comments critical of China’s Communist Party – apparently due to a software ‘flaw’ – all of this is going to feed into the grist mill for tighter control and regulation of social platforms in the US and other western markets. If it had been a hack, it would have been impressive

動森情報:【ANNA SUI加入《集合啦!動物森友會》!快搶2020年春夏季時裝!】 – 香港人遊香港 – fashion brand Anna Sui joins Animal Crossing including virtual versions of new seasons design. Overall the way that brands are using Animal Crossing reminds me a lot of work that I did back in the day with adidas when I was inhouse at Yahoo!. Branded clothing came to avatars. But with the amount of momentum behind Animal Crossing, I am expecting much more exciting developments. How could Nintendo monetise this better, without ruining gameplay?

E-Commerce Channels Dominant but Physical Stores are Equally Important – Nielsen – interesting how its geographic factors like Singapore where retailing is very convenient. I had seen similar claims made about US food retailing as well

New Research Spells Big Trouble For Movie Theatres | Brandwatch – ok you can query the validity of the data but its interesting

The Rise of ‘Affordable Premium’ in Korea’s Smartphone Market | Counterpoint Research – my hypothesis is that utility has topped out for Korean consumers on smartphones. So long as it runs Instagram and the Kakao suite of messaging and payment apps its fine

Facebook Executives Shut Down Efforts to Make the Site Less Divisive – WSJ – not terribly surprising (paywall)

The Quietus | The Many Faces Of Housekeeping: How Wealth & Privilege Are Distorting Underground Music – depressing but not terribly surprising. Looking back, a lot of the biggest rock artists went to ‘good’ schools, Tony Colston-Hayter and hangers on at Sunrise or the second generation criminal oligarch money that funded well-educated scions ventures up North. 1990s super clubs having the money to buy out venues and keep them shut; or buying up all the ad inventory in scene magazines like Mixmag – access to capital and connections make this inevitable. Unfortunately Housekeeping’s stuff is pretty mediocre as well

Rewatching *Dirty Harry* (no real spoilers) – Marginal REVOLUTIONas usual with San Francisco movies one can see the reach of NIMBY — the city doesn’t look much larger or busier today.  The subtext of the film is that law and order is collapsing, yet San Francisco was far cleaner back then and street harassment never is presented as a risk.  Even the red light district of 1971 seemed better kept than many of the nicer parts circa 2020 – reflecting the 1971 film, shot during the fallout of the summer of love

Fatalism, Beliefs, and Behaviors During the COVID-19 Pandemicthree main empirical findings. First, individuals dramatically overestimate the infectiousness of COVID-19 relative to expert opinion. Second, providing people with expert information partially corrects their beliefs about the virus. Third, the more infectious people believe that COVID-19 is, the less willing they are to take social distancing measures, a finding we dub the “fatalism effect”. We estimate that small changes in people’s beliefs can generate billions of dollars in mortality benefits

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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Fujitsu runs probably the world’s oldest working computer. I hear a lot of techies I respect like Grace Quek complain about the use of old languages like COBOL. Lord only knows what they’d make of this electromechanical computer operated and maintained by Fujitsu. I love it, it reminds me of the community of tinkerers and engineers that have kept vintage trucks, tractors, trains and steam pumps alive. More over at the Asahi Shimbun here on the technician responsible for running the world’s oldest working computer.

Via Fujitsu Japan

Large format high resolution displays are changing our environment and effects that would even astonish Blade Runner’s Rick Deckard. The COEX atrium in Seoul has a stunning installation by d’strict. A wave rolls around the screen. It offers an idea of the future potential of digital experiences in the real world.

Godspeed You Black Emperor is a 1976 16mm film following the adventures of a Japanese motorcycle gang, the Black Emperors. Groups like the Black Emperors went on to inspire Japanese streetwear designers like Neighborhood and WTAPS.

Gilbert Shelton’s stoner comic series, The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers is being adapted for television. Shelton satirised the establishment, drug culture and counterculture. Franklin, Freddy and Phineas are transported by the power of really far out weed from San Francisco in 1969, to the San Francisco of the present day.

The San Francisco of Google and Facebook is unrecognisable as the former world centre of counterculture. Cannabis is now legal, feminism has evolved so much as to become bewildering. Extreme gentrification has destroyed the San Francisco that they know and loved.

This pilot mini-episode has had a negative reaction, the wit isn’t as sharp as the books. But I am excited the brothers will be introduced to a new generation and hopefully inspire them to read the original books.