Ben Liebrand & things that caught my eye this week

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Ben Liebrand

Ben Liebrand has been a name for as long as I have been buying records. According to Discogs; he has remixes that have appeared on over 800 albums, compilations and singles. This tells you a lot about the quality and longevity of his remixes. Dutch YouTuber Twan scored an interview with Ben Liebrand where he talks about his career.

Lunar new year adverts

WPP showcased work that had been done across their network for Chinese new year 2021. There was a mix of work there, some of it felt like WPP was having to do the creative equivalent of looking under the sofa cushions for change. For instance, Superunion showcased a browser game that they had built as a corporate greetings card for lunar new year. WaveMaker did a transport media buy branding a train interior for a hard candy brand. This could have been executed better. Yes it makes sense to drive awareness in high footfall areas, but shopping for lunar new year presents is usually done before travelling. Secondly, COVID meant that travelling home was discouraged; what was WaveMaker’s plan B for this scenario. Finally, the dressing of the train could have been done more creatively and involved more of a festive feeling.

The highlight was a Mercedes Benz advert by Ogilvy shot by Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar wai – the film taps into the emotion that surrounds Chinese New Year. This mirrors the emotive brief that Mercedes Benz pursued in their US Christmas ad campaigns over the past few years.

Ogilvy’s work for KFC China taps into the increasing interest in winter sports that is driven by the forthcoming winter olympics in Beijing.

I was surprised that there was no Ogilvy work showcased from outside China, for instance Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan or Hong Kong.

Machine learning stagnation

Despite all the technology hype around deep learning, there is a lot of smoke and mirrors that conceals what innovation is happening in the field. The essay shows current machine learning development culture. The original essay is here and a video review of the Machine Learning Stagnation essay. Despite the title its a bit more uplifting than it implies.

Retro Japan footage

Yet more great stock footage from Japan in the 1980s. The first one is set to ambient music and shows everyday live in the town and country, alongside TV and film footage. Some of the footage seems to be near a US base. The significance of US cars in the footage is that they used to be popular with the yakuza – Japan’s native organised crime families.

Fremantle Media have Thames TV’s complete archives including this b-roll of Japanese signage. They claim its Tokyo but some of it looks more like Osaka. It is a symphony of neon that Japan still does the best. It is worthwhile going through Fremantle’s b-roll archive if you’re an art director because of the variety of material that they have.