Great mix by Andy Weatherall. It is interesting that for a considerable amount of time there was destination radio and a loyal taping culture. Some cassette decks featured timers similar to a video recorder. People would set them up before they left. Prior to digital formats becoming commonplace, I remember die-hard fans using VHS Hi-Fi audio recording to capture these shows in as high a quality as possible. More listening material here.
Targeting v context | Campaign Live – really interesting article by Dave Trott. I’d argue (like Dave has) targeting and context together is what matters, rather than targeting or context.
WSJ City | Victoria’s Secret goes private at $1.1 billion valuation – this is down from over $7 billion. This marks the end of an astonishing destruction of value. The company was also quick to get the power of online. Designers now think live-streaming their show is a matter of course. Back in 1999 I worked at an agency where we did their first live stream. They were also quick to get into e-commerce.
The power of niche | Campaign magazine – Dave Trott on GOOP – The New York Times said: “The weirder GOOP went, the more its readers rejoiced. Every time there was a negative story about her or her company all it did was bring more people to the site.” Paltrow told a class of Harvard students: “What I do is create a cultural firestorm, and I can monetise those eyeballs.” – cultural firestorm or memorable cultural industrial accident? I agree with Trott to a point. But I can’t work out if GOOP is doing ‘good’ outrage like Benetton managed to do with its ad campaigns, or ‘bad’ outrage like Michael O’Leary at Ryanair. Secondly, you might buy GOOP earrings but would you tell anyone where you bought them? Would they be judging you because you’re a GOOP customer. The problem GOOP has is that it’s not causing outrage with the old or conservative per se. It’s more likely to be customer’s peers thinking that as a GOOP customer you buy into bunkum of Palthrow. Brand neighbourhoods are still important and GOOP nestles comfortably in crank corner with David Icke and Uri Geller. More on beauty related stories here.
South Korea’s Government Explores Move From Windows To Linux Desktop | Slashdot – The reason for this is simple. It’s to reduce software licensing costs and the government’s reliance on Windows. As Choi Jang-hyuk, the head of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, said, “We will resolve our dependency on a single company while reducing the budget by introducing an open-source operating system.” – back in the day South Korean online security depended on support for ActiveX, how far things have moved on
Slick Inbox – interesting idea. BUT RSS, VIP section in mail.app are all competitors
How Your Laptop Ruined Your Life | The Atlantic – Earlier this week, a woman managed to find a seat next to me on the train, took out her laptop, and started plugging away at a spreadsheet. The sight filled me with dread, as it does every time I spot a fellow commuter writing code or finessing a PowerPoint while I listen to podcasts. I suddenly became much more aware of the hard, thin edge of my own work computer, digging into my thigh through my tote bag. – Whatever happened to thinking time?
What Happens When a High-Tech Apparel Brand Shares the Same Name as the Company that Backed the Controversial Iowa Caucus App? — The Fashion Law – Not nearly as under-the-radar as ACRONYM, the political organization, ACRONYM, the apparel company, is, nonetheless, situated more behind-the-scenes than the majority of its peers. As writer Adam Wray detailed in 2013, “You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about ACRONYM.” Despite having significant clout when it comes to technologically-advanced apparel and amassing a list of famous fans (think: Kanye West, John Mayer, Jason Statham, best-selling author William Gibson, and mixed martial arts champ Max Holloway, just to name a few), “the company never advertises and with no public relations strategy to speak of, its founders are tough to reach.” Hugh and his co-founder slash business partner Michaela Sachenbacher “prefer to let their designs” – which are heavy on the GORE-TEX technology and utilitarian-focused hacks, and too expensive for most – “speak for themselves.” Yet, “whether you know it or not, [ACRONYM has] been pacing the vanguard of technically-focused fashion for nearly two decades.” – having worked in an office with the unfortunate name of ISIS House, an acronym that it shared with a terrorist organisation I can understand some of the pain for Errolson Hugh and company
精進カップラーメン | zen-foods – vegan friendly instant noodles, I’d be surprised if these don’t start appearing in Whole Foods soon
‘A bit impersonal’: The rise of influencer marketing agencies rankles influencers – Digiday – “When I reach out to brands directly, they tell me to apply for their programs through their affiliated network, which means I lose whatever personal connections I might’ve had and the ability to negotiate,” Groffman said. A company he had worked with for years recently referred him to its influencer network, he added. “Influencer marketing has finally matured as an industry,” explained Kristy Sammis, executive director of the Influencer Marketing Association, in an email. “Brands are now willing to allocate significant budget to strategic influencer programs. This means they need scale, benchmarks, and guarantees. That’s simply not possible with one-on-one influencer relationships.” Currently, influencers lack a standardized set of rates, yet a myriad factors can go into setting a price. That said, a $10 cost per thousand impressions is a baseline for influencers working on Instagram and Instagram Stories, according to Village Marketing founder Vickie Segar. She added that for every 100,000 followers, that rate grants an influencer $1,000 a post. Plus, companies and influencers might additionally negotiate usage rights and exclusivity, which could increase the fee. Terms vary by company, but payment can take from 30 days to 120 days – it’s probably because brands don’t want to have to filter out chancers and assholes themselves. Secondly, algorithms mean influencers are no longer an effective form of reach
The Era of Antisocial Social Media | HBR – saying that after years spent constructing carefully curated online identities and accumulating heaps of online “friends,” they want to be themselves and make real friends based on shared interests. They’re also craving privacy, safety, and a respite from the throngs of people on social platforms — throngs that now usually include their parents. To reach these younger audiences on social, marketers are going to have to re-think their approach. The first step is to understand the distinct characteristics of these more closed, and often more private and interactive online spaces. Since I believe that naming a trend helps provide a framework for understanding it, I have dubbed these spaces “digital campfires.” – to misquote Satre Hell is other people. From a brand perspective digital campfires are more attractive than the digital dumpster fires that channels like Twitter and YouTube often descend into
When China’s Long Game Short Circuits | Echowall – many of the examples of long-term policymaking in China collapse under closer scrutiny, whether in the area of environmental protection, infrastructure or population policy. For example, China’s solar power growth has been driven by government subsidies, resulting in market distortion, huge debt and waste. In the construction of infrastructure, such as the high-speed rail system and local airports, there is lack of coordination and long-term planning – not terribly surprising
Inside Huawei’s first 5G phone: Teardown reveals rush to innovate – Nikkei Asian Review – interesting analysis of the design approach. The design is surprisingly messy. This implies a few things. Huawei had to rush as it was behind. The phone isn’t as ‘premium’ as Huawei would like to believe, its the smartphone equivalent of having Irish travellers tarmac your drive. Huawei is leaving money on the table by not optimising their designs.
German think-tank MERICS China Forecast 2020 is interesting watching if you can spare the time. It’s long, but some of the smartest content that I’ve seen recently, from a European perspective. The Americans seem to have done a better job on Sinology; for instance the likes of Bill Bishop or Kuo and Goldstein at Sinica. MERICS China Forecast 2020 was a collaboration between Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) and Handelsblatt. More China-focused content here.
Global Web Index have done an interesting analysis of Subway’s new product set aimed at tapping into the move towards plant-based diets. Subway – ‘Beyond Meatball Sub’ – GlobalWebIndex – was pitched at flexitarians rather than true vegans.
Iris put together this work Every name’s a story for Starbucks UK. It won the Channel 4 Diversity Award 2019. It taps into the challenge of gender and identity. But also the primeval power of a name. I thought of Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea which explored the power of names as it was seen by different cultures. Just five or ten years ago this ad would have brought out sufficient protests for the likes of Starbucks to shy away from. It illustrates the complexity of values in modern Britain: conservative nationalism and cosmopolitanism.
Kraft is running a promotional contest for its new Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Big Bowls that targets parents of young children on Valentine’s Day. It’s interesting how Kraft are interpreting their product as what Scott Galloway calls a ‘time machine’. A product or service that allows people to get time from an activity where it otherwise would have been wasted. For instance, the telemedicine aspects of the Babylon Health app.
IoT Trouble: The Sonos Example — And More – Monday Note – the recent Sonos issue is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, the basic IoT issue that older equipment on a network can block security updates to newer Sonos gear. The second aspect of this relates to consumer attitudes. Early Sonos sales positioned the equipment against traditional consumer electronics brown goods like Sony, Denon, Yamaha etc. As we can see from recent products, Sonos has moved away from hi-fi to convenience. This is probably why Sonos legal action against Alphabet’s Google Chromecast and Google Home became more important.
Nutella/Ferrero: nut fluster | Financial Times – In 2012 Ferrero agreed to set aside $3m to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by a California mother. She had been surprised and upset to learn Nutella was not a “healthy, nutritious” food. She was widely mocked – you could not make this up (paywall). More on FMCG as a topic here
WSJ City | Young Chinese Spending Creates Worrying Debt – looks like a credit bubble waiting to happen. Worrying debt in terms of personal credit doesn’t create economic value in the same way that government debt on infrastructure does. Chinese corporates also have worrying debt also has shades of bubble era Japan about it. Since consumer spending is driving China’s 6 percent growth, what would happen if the credit bubble burst?
Nicolas Roope: “A different design language is taking over” – The challenge is how brands can adapt their propositions. Architecture demonstrates the formality of this new direction: what is now a series of gestures and actions that may or may not be involved in the surface will be critical to the success of the project. How do these buildings respond to the urgent requirements of energy use reduction and waste reduction? How do they perform as stories in hyperconnected environments where reputations are established in social media? Think Instagrammable hotel rooms…
The Economist | China’s thin-skinned nationalists want to be loved and feared – Zoe hit the jackpot. Over a million netizens responded to her poll, posted on Weibo, the country’s largest microblog platform, asking what followers think of foreign brands that “insult China”. Her timing was impeccable. Her survey surfed waves of patriotic indignation crashing over the Chinese internet, heightened by puffs of windy outrage in the state media. To give you an idea of how ridiculous it can sometimes be: