Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week:

A Japanese TV vignette from 1997 featuring the dons of Japanese streetwear Jun Watanabe and Nigo.

A classic example of progress not being better. Tobias Van Schneider revisited Dieter Rams ten principles of good design and bastardise it with current digital design practices

A half hour edit of George Michael’s Fast Love. It reminded me of the way DJs and producers used to make extended edits of disco records to keep the dance floors moving. That was the origin of the 12″ single. It’s truly epic check it out

Louis Vuitton have been on fire recently. Their Master collaboration with Jeff Koons pokes fun at classic art. And then there is the collab collection with Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Fragment Design

Really nice piece of augmented reality marketing with a virtual cosmetics app to sell make-up

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Nicky Siano on disco, drugs and DJing at Studio 54 | The Vinyl Factory

ESPN cuts familiar faces in major layoff – CNN – I wonder when this will trickle down to sports rights payments

Government ‘blocked’ from accessing Twitter data to help spot terrorist plots | Telegraph – Twitter pushed back against the surveillance state

Xiaomi phones won’t be heading towards the US anytime soon | Gizchina – not terribly surprising due to not having a patent fence to play rough with other vendors and the difficulties of adapting complex service offerings for US market from Chinese market

Andy Lau teams up with Tencent and Fox for Chinese financial drama | Marketing Interactive – interesting evolution of the Hong Kong TV and film industry

adidas and LPD Are Still Battling Over Failed Collaboration | The Fashion Law – this looks like an interesting collab gone bad

Why has the ubiquity of tech turned us all into divas? | Canvas8 – impatience, desire of immediate gratification

LVMH to Buy Christian Dior in $13 Billion Deal | BoF – raising the money through an expanded public offering….

China wants to restrict WTO rules on dumping, unfair subsidies | SCMP – I am sure they do, as they are most often on the receiving end of penalties

Now you can buy TV ads through Google’s DoubleClick | TechCrunch – this could sting agencies (cough cough WPP) who invested in an ad tech technology stack

Three kingdoms, two empires: China’s internet giants go global | The Economistwith the exception of political censorship, the internet sector in China is lightly regulated. Facebook, Apple and Google, in contrast, face increasing scrutiny. Chinese internet firms can achieve market domination of a sort that would attract close attention in other markets

Why is Foxconn Pushing Sharp back into the Smartphone Market so Aggressively? – Patently Apple – it would put a lot of pressure on Huawei

Barnzley Armitage and the bootleg Chanel tees – DisneyRollerGirl – snide t-shirts that accessorised the whole Buffalo feel of i-D magazine’s famous ‘Happy’ issue

Pathway into Cyber Crime | UK National Crime Agency Intelligence Assessment – more about kudos and moral / political issues (secrecy etc etc). Interesting that its being pulled into Prevent programme

Nothing new in UK Govt cyber security survey – Enterprise Timesin a blow for the government only 4% referred to Government and public sector sources. This is disappointing given the effort the UK Government has spent promoting cyber security

Barnzley Armitage and the Lost Art of Streetwear — the culture crush – great interview with the legendary stylist

I’ve been a bit quiet

I’ve been a bit quiet due to work and life intervening.  Alongside my work in looking at strategy through a data-centric lens I have also taken on a content strategy role on a project.  This isn’t about:

  • Coming up with a few social ideas
  • Editorial direction

But a much wider approach that takes a systems approach to content. What it is, where should it be and how it should be refreshed. With this in in mind I can thoroughly recommend The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right by Meghan Casey.

Meghan also provides a set of downloadable template to make your life even easier. I found the book relatively easy to digest but still have it about as a reference book on my current project.

I can also recommend the current British Museum exhibition: The American Dream – pop to the present. I really liked the works from the NASA art programme by Robert Rauschenberg that celebrated the Apollo programme.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

The evidence is piling up — Silicon Valley is being destroyed – Business Insider – go east young man, Shenzhen rather than San Jose

Adidas Just Lost One of its 3-Stripe Trademarks in the European Union | The Fashion Law – huge

ZTE Q1 profit surges on network, smartphone sales | total telecom – contrasts with Huawei’s performance

Microsoft’s Wunderlist successor, To-Do, hits public preview | ZDNet – gutted that Wunderlist is being sunset as part of a plan to upsell users to Office365

Big Bother Is Watching | The Baffler – an anti-Slack polemic

WSJ City – Back to the Chinese Boom Years in Luxury? Not Likely – new normal not boom times

Margarine sales: investors can’t believe they’re not better | The Economist – a few things: trans fats tend not to be in consumer margarines now, but otherwise interesting data

Ogilvy Celebrates ‘Real Moms’ for Dove Baby | AdWeek – interesting step into P&G territory by Unilever

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week

A barber shop quartet version of Sir Mix-A-Lot

(Space) Cats – Magic Fly

Monocle reported on Salon de Mobile 2017

A QRcode corridor in China

Mesmerising Chinese logistics robots

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Samsung Tops Smartphone Shipments Chart in Q1 due to Flooding the Market with Massive Low-End Model Shipments – Patently Apple – the growth is in low end devices

Apple Held Back Most Advanced Wireless Tech, Says Qualcomm – Tech Trader Daily – Apple has more influence in many countries than Qualcomm? I’m calling bullshit on that statement at least. Qualcomm meddles in lots of regulatory things including mobile carrier consolidation in markets around the world, they have a strong regulatory team

Jolla adds support for Sailfish OS on Sony Mobile’s XperiaTM devices – interesting that this didn’t cut through during GSMA

Not on my watch: Huawei CEO sees no future for wearable smart devices | SCMP – pretty much the same argument that people made against (low and mid market) watches used against smart watches. Wise words

Why that Pepsi ad isn’t as bad as you think it is – Mumbrella – if you don’t get it, you’re not the target audience

Daring Fireball: The Swiss Watch Industry Should Double Down on Mechanical Watches – there is a certain arrogance that Silicon Valley knows everything, but I also believe smart watches are a fad, a companion device not a watch replacement

“Ghost in the Shell” is a poem to Hong Kong as it faces the 20th anniversary of its handover to China – the original Ghost in the Shell animators drove around Hong Kong to get a feel of mixing old with new

Google and Facebook will take 70 per cent of all money spent on digital advertising by 2020 | The Sun – why is News Corp providing a compelling narrative to short their own stock in such an orchestrated way

The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI – MIT Technology Review – which challenges regulation

Apple tumbles down laptop brand survey after tepid reaction to new MacBooks | BGR  – Stop this size zero design bullshit and gimmickry

Apple’s New File System: Who Cares? | Monday Note – I do this is huge news

Bots are the newest form of new media — Quartz – interesting take. I see them as continuation of ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ type text adventures

WeChat Expands in Europe in Bid for Global Advertisers, Payments – Bloomberg – mostly about the Chinese diaspora

YouTube won’t show ads on channels with fewer than 10K views | siliconangle – huge for B2B own brand channels who will be free of ‘competitive spamming’

How China keeps gay people off TV | Dazed Digital – interesting insights into Chinese media law that content providers need to consider

Unilever to restructure and slash ad spend | Marketing Interactive – I suspect that this is misreading the picture. Unilever had been rolling out ZBB when I was there and were looking at the spreads business for even longer

Unilever Sets Up U.K.-Netherlands Clash in Search for New Home – Bloomberg – expect Shell to look at similar moves. Rotterdam makes more sense as from a real estate point of view 1 Victoria Embankment is too cramped. From the economics Rotterdam also makes more sense

Every Day Carry (EDC): the digital edition

Every Day Carry (EDC) is a movement that’s sprung out over the past few years. It fetishes the artefacts of everyday life and often features over-engineered products.

It covers a wide range of analogue real world items that people (usually men) bring with them when they leave the house (and it might include a bag). There is a whole other post on why its real world products, but thats for another time.

If the concept of every day carry was brought over to the smartphone what would it look like?

What would be the ten must have apps on your phone beyond the default installed apps?

Mine, in no particular order:

  • Accuweather – pinpoint weather information that’s a step up from BBC weather or the default weather app on the iPhone
  • Buffer – app for social media publishing
  • CamScanner + – a document scanner for your iPhone
  • Citymapper – better for getting around London than Google (or Apple) Maps
  • Newsblur – a subscription based RSS reader by Samuel Clay. It learns what you like over time
  • Pinner – a client for social bookmarking service
  • TravelWise Ireland – The Irish foreign ministry has an app providing background, safety information and emergency contact details for countries around the world


Links of the day | 在网上找到

SXSW Video: Nick Denton Is Getting Into Messaging | Special: SXSW – AdAge

Huawei mystery memo (and phone strategy) confirmed • The Register – not terribly surprised by this, guessing turning back on brand advertising and carrier subsidies with a focus on the SIM only market? The ad and marketing spend was very uncharacteristic of the brand. The problem is that the spend is needed in a mature consumer market category

Too much diversity? Disney’s Marvel (DIS) says that comics readers have had enough of relaunched titles like Ms. Marvel, Ironheart, and Spider-Man — Quartz – #comicgate just waiting to happen

GHOST IN THE SHELL : Ash Thorp – don’t bother watching Ghost in The Shell because it’s gutted the meaning out of the original and whitewashed the characters. Instead look at this to enjoy the high production values

Report: China to Overtake U.S. as Digital Market Leader for Luxury Watch Brands | Jing Daily – surprised that it hadn’t already

Samsung’s Android Replacement Is a Hacker’s Dream – Motherboard – But most of the vulnerabilities he found were actually in new code written specifically for Tizen within the last two years. Many of them are the kind of mistakes programmers were making twenty years ago, indicating that Samsung lacks basic code development and review practices to prevent and catch such flaws. – interesting that the faults aren’t in the Nokia and Intel originated code that Tizen builds on top of. This hits after the Note 7 debacle

【蘋果踢爆】眾籌走數咖啡機兄弟再爆醜聞 今次係智能多士爐! | 2017-04-01 | | 蘋果日報 – Hong Kong’s Apple Daily on serial Kickstarter scammers

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week:

I enjoyed listening to Richie Hawtin’s set for Calvin Klein. Raf Simons, the current creative director of Calvin Klein has known Richie Hawtin for a while.

Earning attention in the digital age

One of them marketing ideas which so makes sense when you see it. Toyota Australia have tricked out a Hi-Lux as a Tonka toy and are taking it around the country

Introducing the #HiluxTonka concept car – toughness is in its DNA. 💪

A post shared by Toyota Australia (@toyota_aus) on

Classic techno playlist from Magnetic magazine

GHOST IN THE SHELL : Ash Thorp – don’t bother watching Ghost in The Shell because it’s gutted the meaning out of the original and whitewashed the characters. Instead look at this to enjoy the high production values

Oprah Time: The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner

I had this book on my list of to read materials as it was a proto-cyberpunk novel, and finally got past my inertia when John Markoff recommended it.

The Shockwave Rider

Brunner was a British science fiction writer who did his best work in the 1960s and early 1970s in this book he reflects on a connected world not too far away from the one that we live in. Despite Brunner’s roots he manages to speak with a confident American voice in his writing; something that I don’t think is a bad thing, but caused friction with his contemporaries.

The main protagonist is a hacker who has used his skills to conjure new identities and ends up starting a revolution through the creation of computer viruses and worms. Brunner is credited with introducing the concept of the modern computer worm.

His work reflects a different society to our own where our identities can be broken (if you have the skill or the money) and a new one forged – a vision 180 degrees away from what governments, advertisers and social networks want. He is on to something with The Ear – a service that audiences can contact and will be listened to in privacy and without judgement. The secular confessional it represents feels like something the world needs as a counterweight to the cognitive dissonance and connectivity-as-social-value of social networks like Facebook and SnapChat.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Many young Hongkongers unable to control their smartphone addiction, new survey finds | SCMP – I am sure that the same thing would have been said about television in the past

News Corp ad campaign asks tough question on ad metrics | The Australian – Rupert being an arse again because he can’t get online advertising to work whereas Facebook and Google can

Richard Edelman is wrong, PR isn’t at a crossroads…

I recommend that readers check out Richard’s PR is at a Crossroads post. Edelman cites changes at PR agencies owned by marketing conglomerates as indicators. He thinks this due to a lack of confidence in the PR industry. There may be some truth in it; 2016 had the lowest annual growth in seven years for Edelman. As for the industry sitting at a crossroads, on the cusp of transformation. It is already being transformed.

Richard Edelman, head of Edelman PR

Public relations has already crossed the Rubicon. The Rubicon crossing happened years ago. Richard noticed the signs back in April 2011:

…as PR continues to expand, encompassing digital, research, media planning and content creation, should we consider rebranding ourselves as communications firms?

At the time the question was prompted from London colleagues. Richard disagreed with the premise.

By 2012 Edelman was in the AdAge Agency A-list in the US. In March 2015, Edelman’s boiler plate changed from:

Edelman is the world’s largest public relations firm…


Edelman is a leading global communications marketing firm

Edelman hasn’t been a PR agency for the past 2-5 years. The transformation in the industry has been going on for at least a decade.

Why this has happened is down to six factors:

  • Mature research and academic thinking on effective marketing
  • Technology-driven marketing strategy
  • CMO perspectives shaped by marketing thinking
  • Talent
  • Advertising changes
  • Media landscape changes


Mature research and academic thinking on effective marketing

Lets break things down a bit, some bits of PR are about the corporate parts of a company.
Corporate PR covers a large area including:

  • Public affairs
  • Educating investors
  • Shoring up shareholder confidence
  • Internal communications
  • Community affairs

Some corporate and social responsibility actitivities could fall under PR. When we’re talking about who is responsible for organisation moral purpose /meaning. This should come from the CEO down.

Thinking about marketing communications the situation changes a lot. It depends on the sector and the audience that you are communicating to. For consumer marketing; the role that PR plays as part is a subordinated part with the marketing mix. Byron Sharp’s works How Brands Grow (parts 1&2) outline PR’s small, but intricate role with clarity.

For mature consumer brands, engagement (and by extension PR) is less important. Instead the focus would be on efficient reach and frequency of repetition. Being top of mind is more important. The only way for marketing communications-orientated PR teams to grow their billings is service expansion.

Technology-driven marketing strategy

Many business-to-business marketers are using content marketing as a key channel. The content shaped by analysis from marketing automation software.

In marketing automation, strategy is outsourced. Rules embedded in the software platform dictate approach. PR becomes a source of content to feed the machine. The idea is to determine an effective approach. Then optimise to reduce the price of engagement over time. I could write a blog post or two about the problems with this approach, but it is tangental to PR. Content creation is an opportunity for PRs, all be it one with perpetually squeezed margins.

Mature research and academic thinking on effective marketing

In B2C marketing there are large research projects on what works. These include Ehrenberg-Bass Institute and the IPA. In marketing mature consumer brands, we know that reach, frequency and recency matters. Engagement is less important. Public relations then becomes an afterthought at best. Taking an integrated media planning led approach makes sense.

There isn’t a comparable set of research for the PR industry like IPA or Ehrenberg-Bass. Outside the US public relations generally doesn’t have budgets for tools and data. Clients tend to be more action-orientated. Media agencies tend to have the best insights – which aids planning and creative.

The benefits of an integrated advertising-led approach goes back decades. Edelman cites Y&R’s ‘whole egg’ concept. Dentsu’s ‘Cross Switch Marketing’ is similar with roots going back to the 1960s. The PR industry mistook integrated thinking for a primitive view of PR practice. The reality lies somewhere between communications myopia and macro marketing thinking.

From a CMO perspective

  • PR spend is a small part of their budget. It may not even sit in their budget if there is a CCO (chief communications officer) role in the company
  • PR isn’t supported by good quality secondary insights like the IPA or Ehrenberg-Bass
  • Advertising works
  • Advertising agencies foster high trust through visualisation of ideas backed by insights
  • Media relations is low cost, low efficiency but can be high engagement
  • Integrated simplifies the client/ agency dynamic (one ass to kick)
  • Successful integrated agency engagements. Examples include Red Fuse (Colgate), GTB (Ford, Purina) and TBWA Media Arts Lab (Apple)
  • The memory of Enfatico has disappeared


Edelman has done a better job than most agencies in getting digital and paid media talent. I’ve worked as an in-house marketer. I have worked as a PR person. I’ve also worked in PR agencies doing digital and paid media. I now work as a strategy director in a creative ad agency and the difference is huge.

For most specialists working in a PR agency can be thankless task:

  • PR agency leaders don’t get other disciplines. This is particularly true outside North America
  • I’ve worked with too many agency leaders who think digital is an infographic or a video
  • The briefing process in PR agencies is awful. ‘We’ve got a video, make it viral’ was the worst brief I had
  • Outside North America budgets are very tight
  • You can get better working conditions elsewhere. Tools, people you can learn from, research and ambience. Real conversation at a PR agency: “can you wear a shirt and suit?” “Why?” “We’d just like it” “Can I quadruple my day rate?” “No, why?” “That’s my inconvenience of wearing a suit fee”
  • PR agencies don’t win the awards that matter to us. PR publications wring their hands about the lack of PR wins at the Cannes Lions. This matters for your career

If you have capability built up in the ad agency, creative shop or media agency; use it. Publicis, WPP and Interpublic have deep expertise they can draw on. Publicis talks about this as ‘The Power of One’. It is much easier than recruiting more technical, creative and planning talent into a PR shop.

Advertising changes

As PR has changes so has advertising. There is a far greater understanding of what efficient and effective looks like. While I lament the the decline of advertising’s golden age; multichannel storytelling has improved. Advertising agencies have learned how to combine earned and paid media. Earned media is an incremental revenue increase.

By comparison creative represents a big budget bump for your PR agency. That causes the client to pause and think.

Media landscape changes

As advertising has changed so has the media landscape. The online environment is shaping out with two winners around the world. The pattern of online advertsing spend is clear. Everywhere outside China online advertising is static; only Facebook and Google see increases. In China, is is Tencent due to WeChat that wins. Sina benefits from Weibo. Baidu would have been an obvious winner due to it being a Google analogue. Instead Baidu’s earnings have been static.

This decline in media fortunes adversely affects editorial space. This impacts the efficiency of media relations. By some accounts in the UK there are now 3 PR people for every journalist. PR agencies need to expand beyond media relations. This means trying to get more involved in owned and paid media. The challenge is that advertising agencies are also in that space – extending their storytelling.

More information
PR not communications | 6am blog – yeah I called bullshit on this one. I could afford to be right; Richard had a global family business to defend
Whole Egg Theory Finally Fits The Bill For Y&R Clients: Global Agency Network Of The Year: Team Space System A Winner For Citibank, Others Set To Follow | AdvertisingAge
The Dentsu Way – a great book, right up there with Ogilvy on Advertising in my estimation

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Microsoft touts Microsoft-customized edition of Samsung Galaxy S8 | ZDNet – interesting that its now focused on apps for the Android eco-system for Microsoft phones (made by Samsung), it is a good enterprise story for Samsung though

Li & Fung misses estimates with 47pc decline in 2016 profit | SCMP – they’ve been declining for a while, but is this drop part of the (western market) retail apocalypse

How we made the typeface Comic Sans | The Guardian – interesting read – Microsoft Bob, which was designed to make computers more accessible to children. I booted it up and out walked this cartoon dog, talking with a speech bubble in Times New Roman. Dogs don’t talk in Times New Roman! Conceptually, it made no sense.

WATCH – Article 50: Professor Michael Dougan on Northern Ireland – University of Liverpool – really interesting analysis

More Ways to Share with the Facebook Camera | Facebook Newsroom – Facebook clones another Snapchat feature

Ruder Finn Launches App-Based Reputation Risk Management System | Holmes Report – I remember Zaheer Nooruddin showed me one of these years ago at B-M

Boris savages ‘disgusting’ Google | The Times & The Sunday Times – two things; one Google could be considered to be a straw man, a distraction from the big issues facing the government like Brexit. Two, since when has New Corp demonstrated the kind of social responsibility Boris talks about? Google and Facebook have issues, but the messenger lacks credibility

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

It had been a busy week with a couple of research projects becoming all consuming through the week. Here are the things that made my day this week:

BaselWorld left us with a plethora of new watches which belies the decline of the go-go days China luxury buying. Sales are down over 20 percent from what they were. This is actually back closer to a more normal market, but it fits in with technology journalists narrative that smart watches are going to eat the world.  The reality is more complex, even the most successful fitness bands have had financial problems.

It is too early to tell about Android and Tenzen powered efforts. Apple seems to be doing ok. The change does seem to have rattled Rolex a little – rather than moving at its own pace it seems to be listening more closely to fan demands such as this double red Sea-Dweller with a cyclops magnifier for the date shows.

Cheil London have cashed in on YouTube phenomenon ‘Korean Billy’ quite shrewdly

Kong Seong-Jae was a smart person to bring in in order to help with Cheil’s ‘Huawei-like’ branding for western audience and his appointment of Cheil London’s chief communications officer was a nice April 1, prank.

Really nice video by the local government promoting Hikone to domestic tourists in Japan.

Reebok China’s 80 year old ambassador Wang Deshun redefines aging, more about it on Dazed Digital.

Vintage Leeds club night have some of their best mixes up on Mixcloud, here’s one from Sasha