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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 6 minutes

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.

Benetton USSR & USA ad
Benetton ad from the 1980s which contrasted with the Reagan-era Cold War sentiment of the Soviet ‘evil empire’

South Korea’s Government Explores Move From Windows To Linux Desktop | SlashdotThe 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 are all competitors

Thread by @thezedwards on speech recognition / natural language processing – interesting how it can be used (whether or not it is used is another matter) for marketing, surveillance etc

How Your Laptop Ruined Your Life | The AtlanticEarlier 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?

Sony as Automaker | Akihabara News – it will be interesting to see Sony go against Tesla

Trump’s immigration enforcement agents use cellphone location data to track individuals for detention – WSJ / Boing Boing – I’d be surprised if they weren’t doing this

What Happens When a High-Tech Apparel Brand Shares the Same Name as the Company that Backed the Controversial Iowa Caucus App? — The Fashion LawNot 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

FBI Says China ‘Biggest Threat’ to US Law Enforcement as Arrests Skyrocket in 2020 | RFA‘We believe that no country poses a greater threat than Communist China’ – but what are they going to do about it?

‘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 | HBRsaying 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

Barnes & Noble suspends reissues of classics with new images | AP News – criticised on social media as ‘literary’ black face

Mayfair robbery: Three men hunted after man stabbed for £115,000 watch | UK News | Sky News – events like this will reduce the UK’s attractiveness for luxury sales

Daring Fireball: My 2019 Apple Report Card – well worth reading, though I think Apple should have showed some backbone in Hong Kong – I have never been so disappointed in a brand

A mercenary army of the poor? Technological change and the demographic composition of the post-9/11 U.S. military: Journal of Strategic Studies: Vol 0, No 0the U.S. military no longer primarily recruits individuals from the most disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Technological, tactical, operational and doctrinal changes have led to a change in the demand for personnel. As a result, on different metrics such as family income and family wealth as well as cognitive abilities, military personnel are on average like the average American citizen or slightly better – there is also the aspect that military service runs in the family so previous generations may have been lifted into the middle class by the GI Bill

When China’s Long Game Short Circuits | Echowallmany 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

My daughter’s TikTok triumph and the fleeting nature of internet fame | Financial Times – just wait until the advertising algorithm crushes reach again

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.

UK mobile operators warned to deliver on rural ‘not spots’ | Financial Times – I’d laugh if mobile operators just walked away from it all

What the Hell Is China Doing on the Dark Side of the Moon? – projection of power and influence

创造力 | innovation | 독창성 化妆品行业 | beauty | 화장품 산업 商业 | business | 상업 媒体与艺术 | culture | 미디어와 예술 市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅 思想 | ideas | 생각 消费者行为 | consumer behaviour | 소비자 행동

Beauty trends

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Beauty trends is a bit tricky – there are generational and cultural aspects to beauty and standards. I’ve tried to tease out elements that will ripple around the world.

Digital Beauty

Chinese women use Meitu and other beauty apps to present the best versions of themselves with a virtual makeover. This goes from skin quality, skin tone and make-up to a full virtual plastic surgery style makeover.

Meitu has 63 apps and 2 mobile websites as it expands internationally.

Meitu beauty cam

Meitu has collaborated with over 100 make-up brands including L’Oreal, Guerlain, Lancôme, Estée Lauder, and Shiseido.

Meitu is only the tip of the spear. Smartphone manufacturer Huawei has provided a simple beauty mode in its default camera app. Chinese video streaming software provides a similar functionality for performers. Even Skype had trialed a digital make-up service in association with Shiseido.


There is a tension between the trends in authenticity and some of the developments that we’ve seen in beauty.

On the one hand there are the clean and effortless beauty movements that taped into a wider consumer trend around natural.

On the other hand you have the Korean ten-step beauty process popularised over the last decade and digital beauty apps – particularly from China and Korea.

In the case of digital beauty and instagram filters critics claim that a new form of dysmorphia seems to be emerging. Its the difference between what they see in the mirror and on their smartphones.

That dysmorphia is one of the things that has driven a move towards authenticity. In the West, wider moves around everything from trans rights to the body positive movement has redefined what make-up does.


Whilst most people think of punk and associate it with tourists taking pictures in Camden, the Sex Pistols and Vivienne Westwood. But the biggest impact of punk was the rise of independent media from fanzines to record labels. We’re seeing a similar DIY approach in the beauty industry. Big beauty companies are being challenged by independent companies with a narrow or even singular product focus. There are a number of perceived advantages to these independent brands:

  • Perception that niche brands spend less on advertising and more on research and development; these products can be considered more specialised and effective
  • Niche beauty brands can have greater social currency in terms of being an element of self expression and part of friend-to-friend recommendations

In China, you see a greater interest in these independent niche brands from men than female consumers.


Traditionally make-up has been an additive process to conceal and cover up blemishes, flaws and signs of ageing. Modern make up is about celebrating quirks and even flaws. This goes beyond beauty spots to female baldness and skin conditions. Effortless make-up is often an artfully constructed look where the person rolled straight out of bed.

Beauty from the inside

Beauty from the inside has a mix of socio-cultural aspects to it. In China it includes focusing on quality sleep to reflect in beauty regimes. The key thing for most brands is the ingestion of ingredients. Where are the lines drawn between make-up and the health-like claims of functional foods? Could we see licensed pharmaceutical products as cosmetic aids like currently happens in China? Here’s that the Hong Kong Trade and Development had to say about ‘cosmeceuticals’ in their report on China’s Cosmetics Market:

Cosmeceuticals, especially Chinese herbal cosmetics, are opening up a new territory in the cosmetics market. It is understood that more than 170 enterprises have tapped into China’s cosmeceuticals market to date, many of them renowned pharmaceutical companies in China, such as Tongrentang and Yunnan Baiyao. Cosmeceuticals only have a market share of about 20% in the mainland at present. In Europe, the US and Japan, cosmeceuticals have a 50-60% share. It is believed that China’s cosmeceuticals market has much room for development. As young consumers begin to concern themselves with the ingredients and quality of products, consumption of cosmeceuticals tends to start at increasingly early ages. While cosmeceuticals have medical properties, they are classified as cosmetics since there is still no official definition for the term ‘cosmeceuticals’ on the mainland.

China’s Cosmetics Market – HKTDC Research


Natural has affected the food industry and this has extended to beauty trends Younger consumers are interested in products that don’t contain ingredients that sound synthetic. The lack of artificial ingredients a key selling point. Instead they expect natural and botanical ingredients.

A natural output of this trend has been a rise in home manufactured cosmetics supported by an eco-system of how-to videos on YouTube.


The population of the developed world in both the west and east is aging. This means that gen-y and gen-z obsessed beauty marketers are having to adapt to an ageing audience. They have the disposable income and the demand for beauty products.

Brands are adapting their

  • Products and formulations
  • Packaging
  • Language – you know longer see ‘anti-aging’ used on many product descriptors, despite that being essentially what the products ‘do’

More information

Digital Watch: How Chinese Millennials & Gen Zers are Re-connecting with Their Elders | Jing Daily

App Annie data on Meitu

Shiseido’s New “TeleBeauty” App , A Virtual Makeup Solution for Online Meetings | Shiseido News Releases

China’s selfie obsession | The New Yorker

China’s Cosmetics Market – HKTDC Research

92% of Chinese males prefer niche beauty brands: report | Campaign Asia

The future of skincare – Spencer Schrage, Ogilvy Consulting

初 | hygiene | 기본 化妆品行业 | beauty | 화장품 산업 媒体与艺术 | culture | 미디어와 예술 한국 | korea | 韩国

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Reading Time: < 1 minuteMy friend Doug switched me on to the Infinite Jukebox – it goes all Danny Krivit on your favourite track giving you an endless edit

NoMBe vs Sonny Alven – California Girls (remix). Great song and a tripped out kaleidoscope video to go along with it

Kevin Beadle is famous for his jazz funk tinged DJ sets. He has compiled a number of great albums and even produced music. He is a peer of Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong and Giles Peterson. He did everything from put together Lou Donaldson compilation albums to commissioning Armand van Helden’s remix of the Sneaker Pimps – Spin, Spin Sugar. I can recommend the albums that he has compiled for BBE Records and there are more in the pipeline. However, it looks like this will be his last club DJ set (for a while). Enjoy!

Korean beauty brand Innisfree created a VR experience ‘Someday in Jeju’ featuring Korean star Lee Min Ho and then used a heart rate monitor to show the effect of the installation. If you want to convince a client to use a VR activation, this is probably a good case study to show them

Tangerine Dream cover the Stranger Things theme tune, which was created as a homage to their kraut rock synth-driven sound track heyday. As you’d expect it sounds epic

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Travel hacks & inspiration

Reading Time: < 1 minuteSome travel hacks:

  • Mytaxi – works for European cities, similar to Hailo or Uber
  • 3 Feel Like Home – not having to worry about roaming charges in a number of countries. There are a couple of things to be aware of:
  1. If you have a tethered broadband component to your phone tariff it won’t be part of Feel Like Home
  2. You will be on 3G networks rather than LTE back in the UK, your mileage may vary

More travel hacks here

The New Yorker has been producing some fantastic surreal content

The Suicide Squad movie was disjointed to say the least, but one good thing that came out of it was a collaboration between Action Bronson and Mark Ronson

Korean cosmetic brand Innisfree tapped into the aspirations of Korean and Chinese consumers with this fantasy VR bike ride to Jeju Island. The execution was canny, from a technical perspective it deals well with the motion / balance issues that VR projects sometimes have. Jeju Island is a famous for its pleasant weather and more relaxed lifestyle. Chinese investors have recently been driving up property prices there

Finally, man gets tattoo in shape of scar to support son after surgery.