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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Consumers don’t believe use of personal data leads to more relevant ads, report finds | Campaign AsiaThe report also found that consumers still trust TV ads over their digital counterparts. On average, consumers are twice as likely to say TV ads provide a more positive impression of brands than common digital formats. The top concern about digital platforms amongst those polled was fake news on social media (53 percent), followed by cyberbullying, online predators, child endangerment online and children’s data privacy. “While consumers embrace the technology, there remains a multitude of concerns regarding advertising on the technology. These concerns are a significant reason why TV actually still remains the medium most likely to provide a positive impression of brands,” Juhl said. – So why would you recommend digital for brand building activity??? Supports Gartner’s position that businesses will move away from personal data. More on personal data targeted online ads and ad blocking here.

Street Media
Television via Flickr account Naked Faris

People call for boycott of filmmaker Sam Morales after alleged catfishing of trans woman | Rappler – interesting online scandal in the Philippines at the moment with apparent complex catfishing of gay men and trans-women

Facebook eyes multibillion-dollar stake in Reliance Jio | Financial Times – if the board game Risk was about global telecoms infrastructure instead of military conquest, the truism ‘never fight a land war in Asia’ would change to ‘never buy a carrier in India’. I can’t see how Facebook is going to do any better with its holding than Vodafone etc

Singtel-backed OTT service Hooq enters liquidation | Advertising | Campaign Asia“Global and local content providers are increasingly going direct, the cost of content remains high, and emerging-market consumers’ willingness to pay has increased only gradually amid an increasing array of choices,” a Singtel statement said. “Because of these changes, a viable business model for an independent, OTT distribution platform has become increasingly challenged. As a result, HOOQ has not been able to grow sufficiently to provide sustainable returns nor cover escalating content costs and the continuous operating costs of an independent OTT distribution platform.” – it will be interesting to see how people like MUBI and NowTV do moving forwards

Recession pushes Hong Kong shoppers to sell their luxury goods | Financial Times – interesting article however the speculation on mainland Chinese trading in secondhand luxury might be impeded a bit. A mix of fakes and and a desire for new things. They would need to have strong trustworthy authentication. And might want to vent that market abroad as well as Japanese players like Brand-Off have managed

Inside China’s controversial mission to reinvent the internet | Financial Times – this sounds like a right mess. We’ll soon have a splinternet

How to Beat Science and Influence People: Policymakers and Propaganda in Epistemic Networks | The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science | Oxford Academicweak or subtle interventions are often most effective for the would-be propagandist. In particular, outright scientific fraud—intentional publication of incorrect, fabricated, or purposely misleading results—is not only unnecessary to influence public opinion on topics of scientific inquiry, it is also riskier and often less effective than other forms of manipulation. Biased production, which does not involve fabricating results, is a successful strategy for misleading the public. And in many cases, biased production is itself less effective than selective sharing – HT Ian Wood

What Does the Symmetry of Your Logo Say About Your Brand? – asymmetric conveys excitement. I was left with so many questions, like what about rotational symmetry in a logo?

Madison Avenue Insights | The Next Big Thing in Media & Advertising: Simplification – great read by Michael Farmer, but will they look with a clear eye at the current digital marketing being done from a brand marketing perspective?

“Krisenmarketing”: Warum Werbungtreibende nun ihre Etats nicht einfrieren sollten › Meedia – yes its in German but it comes out fine in Google Translate: Financial, insurance or telecommunications companies in particular should instead rely on customer-centered communication and pick people up instead. They would have to show existing customers that they are there for them during the crisis and offer solutions. For example, Deutsche Telekom is doing exemplary with its campaign “We connect Germany” and the specific services. Banks could also help with liquidity shortages.

London has the highest productivity levels in UK PwC – without productivity improvements levelling up isn’t going to work. Interesting that London performed this high, yet was lower on females in employment with a higher female unemployment rate

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Mark Ritson: Coronavirus won’t hurt Corona, it will actually boost salesdifferentiation, particularly at the symbolic level, was overstated. Any evidence that people perceived Brand A as vastly different from Brand B could be largely explained by its size and prior purchase experiences. Purchase caused brand image, not vice versa. Ergo building a brand image was waste of marketing effort. The big job of brand was to create salience, so a brand came to mind in buying situations.

Pandemic brands – Wunderman Thompson Intelligence – nice counter-cyclical brand building and CSR during the corona virus outbreak

Terabytes Of Stolen Adult Content From OnlyFans Have LeakedThere are communities on Reddit and Telegram dedicated to cracking performers’ accounts and sharing the content without their consent. Many of those videos eventually make their way to various tube sites. A similarly large, though different, OnlyFans leak was posted last Saturday to forums dedicated to cracking and leaking pirated content – that is one of the bleakest things that I’ve read in a good while

Nando’s-inspired sex slang used by girls as young as 10 | Technology | The Guardian – you’ve got to wonder about what other level of monitoring and censorship is going on. I find this monitoring of kids distasteful.

Second-hand clothes sales: fashion forward | Financial Times – vintage all over again

porsche to print giant fingerprints of customers onto hood of 911 sport cars | Designboom – not sure I think its smart to post a copy of a biometric data on the bonnet of your car. These are the kind of people rich enough to personal safes and secure rooms with finger print locks. I’ve got visions of hackers working out how to take advantage of this

IBM and Microsoft sign Vatican pledge for ethical AI | Financial Timesthe pledge, called the “Rome Call for AI Ethics”, will be presented on Friday morning to Pope Francis by Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, and John Kelly, IBM’s executive vice-president, as well as Vatican officials and Qu Dongyu, the Chinese director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation – so it wasn’t a Vatican driven initiative after all but a public affairs exercise

Baidu/tech groups: traffic warning | Financial TimesBut higher traffic does not equate to higher income for search platforms. The contrast is with gaming, where more time playing means surging in-game purchases. For Baidu, which makes about three-quarters of total revenue from advertising, that is bad news. Even before the outbreak, a slowdown in China had trimmed the advertising budgets of clients. Marketing campaigns have now been cut further. Cancelled events and concerts contribute to the malaise. Baidu’s biggest clients, which include online gaming companies, real estate developers and plastic surgery clinics, have little incentive to advertise. A surge in new sign-ups for online games means fewer game ads are needed. Demand for homes has plunged and some cities have banned home sales altogether. Plastic surgery clinics, a lucrative source of core ad revenues, are taking a hit.

Twitter is testing new ways to fight misinformation — including a community-based points system – sounds curiously like Cory Doctorow’s concept of whuffie

How to deliver the personalization consumers want while respecting the privacy they expect | Think with Google – I am not convinced by the focus on mass personalisation. What about brand, culture etc?

Ogilvy brings on global executive creative directors for Instagram | Campaign Asia – God help us

Volvo Trucks – The Tower By Forsman & Bodenfors, Sweden – THEINSPIRATION.COM – interesting that they got the head of their business directly involved

Did America Forget How to Make the H-Bomb? – Mother Jones – and things are probably worse with processes reliant on electronic records

Chinese navy accused of using laser on US military aircraft | Financial Times – This reads like something from a William Gibson novel

Otl Aicher: The Olympic Designer Who Shaped Your Journey To The Toilet – FlashbakLike a paperclip, we don’t think of Aicher’s pictograms as designed objects per se, but rather as the objects themselves. The chairs we own are someone’s take on a chair. That’s not the case with the average, everyday paperclip. It is what it is, a paperclip. That’s it. Objects at this level of comprehension are simply there. They feel as though they have always been there, and did so from the moment they were presented to the masses. In every country, in every city, they are simply there. In the case of Aicher’s icons they’ve become shorthand that everyone can understand, a set of simple shapes that successfully tells us where to go when we need to use a bathroom. – pretty much sums it up

Google tops Facebook, Instagram in e-commerce activity, study finds | Mobile Marketer – context wins, but guessing that this may vary by category

LinkedIn | Balenciaga Summer 2020 collection video – Jay Owens – This is a genius bit of media buying for a collection themed around power and power dressing. The catwalk show saw private equity associates, architects & engineers stalk an EU-blue stage set like a parliamentary building. Advertising on LinkedIn now is just 👌– nails context

Featured Customer – Oscar the Grouch – Squarespace – I used to hate writing case studies for technology companies at the start of my career, but I do like this one that Squarespace did for Oscar the Grouch

How Japan’s family businesses use sons-in-law to bring in new blood | Financial TimesFor hundreds of years, owners of Japanese companies have been adopting their sons-in-law as a way to recruit talent — a practice known as mukoyoshi — giving rise to the saying “You can’t choose your sons, but you can choose your sons-in-law”. The histories of zaibatsu (conglomerate) families such as Sumitomo, Mitsui and Iwasaki (of the Mitsubishi group) are studded with adopted relatives and sons-in-law

The Sun posts £68m loss as it pays out £27m in legal costs over phone-hacking scandalHowever, revenue at News Group Newspapers for the 52 weeks ending 30 June 2019 were up, with total turnover growing to £420m in 2019 from £401.4m in 2018. Circulation of The Sun was down to 1.38 million last year from 1.51 million in 2018, and fell to 1.16 million from 1.28 million for The Sun on Sunday. – so despite revenue increasing losses were up. You also have to wonder how sustainable revenue increases can be with a declining audience

Smartphone startups take on Google, Apple and put privacy first | DW – I just can’t see these taking off. Interesting data on Google and consumer attitudes

How Adidas is using WhatsApp as a direct marketing channel – DigidayThe most recent example of the strategy was the “100% Unfair Predator” campaign. Earlier this month, Adidas opened up a hotline on WhatsApp for people in need of a footballer to cover for unreliable teammates on their team. Adidas-sponsored players were made available for games last week once fans had shared some basic information with the hotline such as the game they need the player for. The company’s marketers would notify fans on the morning of their game if their request was successful. The rented players turned up dressed in Adidas’ new Predator20 Mutator footwear. “We know our audience use it to share fixture info, team selection — and team-mates messaging to find last-minute replacements,” said Coveney. “WhatsApp was perfect for the more functional elements of the ‘Rent-a-Pred’ hotline as it allowed consumers to share private information one-to-one with us for review, before being allocated a Predator player near them.”

Unilever kicks off strategic review of personal-care brands | Campaign Live – this could get interesting

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Regulating AI in health and care – NHS Digital – no privacy expert on this panel – which is a bit concerning given they are talking about the business opportunity and regulating AI. More machine learning related posts here.

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Dutch army Maj. Christiaan Hoff, left, and Royal Australian Navy Lt. Cmdr. John McHugh, right, perform oral surgery to remove a tumor from a Filipino woman aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) June 27, 2012, in Samar, Philippines

Coronavirus: Hong Kong restaurants install physical barriers between diners to allay contagion fears – interesting design hack by restauranteurs – I wonder what it will do to restaurant noise levels?

The ‘Alpha Female’ Look is Big in China. Brands Take Note. | BoF – good for Dr Martens (paywall)

Bulgari Is Pulling Out of Baselworld 2020 Because of the Coronavirus | Robb Report – I am surprised that Baselworld hasn’t been re-scheduled already

Kering Halts Spending in China on Coronavirus Fears | BoF – I’d have still done brand advertising to do contra-cyclical brand building but otherwise their approach makes sense

The Karakax list: how China targets Uighurs in Xinjiang | Financial Times – surprisingly manual process rather than machine learning driven. China has set up a research lap for technology in law – think pre-crime and done some of the first thinking about regulating AI

You Can Pay People to Style Your Houseplants – The New York Times – corporate florist now do homes as well (paywall)

“With the Beatles,” by Haruki Murakami | The New Yorker – great read

It’s time for global businesses to admit it: China isn’t a good investment – The Washington Post – right sentiment, but the wrong reasons. China is important but too prominent in the global supply chain and a source of weakness. Multiple sourcing makes more sense

With Harsh Words, China’s Military Denies It Hacked Equifax | New York Times – yeah right. I think its a totally gangster move, really smart work which is why they would do it (paywall)

Chinese retail is getting a nationalistic boost – Inkstone“The millennials are more faithful to Chinese brands which are capable of delivering equally good quality products like those from foreign powerhouses, if not better,” said Xue Ying, senior marketing manager of Dr Yu. Fashion brands no longer see Hong Kong as bridge to 1.4 billion consumers – Inkstone – an increasingly nationalistic youth

Coronavirus response benefits Watsons: YouGov | Campaign AsiaHong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing, who’s majority-ownership of the Watsons franchise is well-known, pledged HKD$100 million (US$13 million) to combat the coronavirus. All of these responses appear to have been met with popular approval for the brand. Since the start of the year, Watsons’ Current Customer score has risen from 20.2 to 29.0, a rise of +8.8 points. Its Recommend score has risen from 9.9 to 16.9 , an increase of +7 points. Finally, its score on YouGov’s Buzz index has jumped from 8.6 to 25.4, a significant increase of +16.8 points. – Li Ka Shing always comes out of a crisis better than he went in

Coronavirus Test Kits Sent to States Are Flawed, C.D.C. Says – The New York Times the failure of the kits means that states still have to depend on the C.D.C., which will mean several days’ delay in getting results. The C.D.C. announced last week that it had begun shipping about 200 kits to laboratories in the United States and roughly 200 more to labs in other countries. Each kit can test about 700 to 800 specimens from patients, the agency said. – this is frightening (paywall)

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Brand winter & how to cope

Reading Time: 7 minutes

I started thinking about ‘brand winter’ when I read about TBWA Hong Kong and their ‘Brave Bear Pack’ offering. Campaign Asia describes as a new product focusing on growth hacking and cost efficient tools for surviving the financial winter brought on by Hong Kong’s anti-ELAB protests.

I thought financial winter was an interesting metaphor to use in Hong Kong. I get the analogue of the ‘bear market’. But the winter in Hong Kong is very dry (rather than humid), cool and exceptionally pleasant for the most part.

They probably feel that the ‘Brave Bear Pack’ opportunity has been amplified by the late 2019 novel Corona Virus outbreak.

According to TBWA the services they are bundling in this are:

  • Demand mapping – which seems to be database / CRM / social marketing data. Looking at market size and going after niches or pockets of the market not previously addressed? A B2B analogue would be ABM (account based planning)
  • Acquisition System Architecture – seems to be marketing automation based on the descriptor
  • Efficient Content Production – presumably to provide the content for the Acquisition System Architecture?
  • Affordable Big Format Film Production – crowdsourced film a la Mofilm, with what I presume is a TBWA mark-up. Again I suspect that the primary role of this is to provide content for the Acquisition System Architecture?
  • Chatbot marketing (on Facebook and WeChat respectively) which is so two years ago
  • Crisis management – TBWA seem to be white labelling Ketchum to do planning and execution- pretty standard stuff in the PR world. A quick look at LinkedIn indicates that Ketchum’s Hong Kong office has a very small, junior team to handle any crisis that might come up

I found it a depressing read. The tactics focus on the bare minimum to harvest sales from existing brand equity and and realised that we’re entering a brand winter. This is down to two factors acting as a catalyst: technology and economic decline.

What do I mean by a brand winter? It’s a time when marketers focus on performance marketing exclusively. The most obvious influence in terminology was the financial winter analogue used in media coverage. I guess it also resonated past discussions I’d had about the circular funding cycle that artificial intelligence has gone through. Decades like now of massive investment, followed by funding droughts or ‘AI winters’.

Technology factors for a brand winter

During the last couple of economic recessions, after the dot com bust and the 2008 bank crisis new performance marketing platforms have come to the fore.

The dot com bust heralded the rise of Google’s search advertising. The 2008 bank crisis saw Facebook and YouTube shake up online display advertising.

What all of them had in common is their ability to drive an action (like a sale), but weren’t so good in building distinctive memorable brands.

The second aspect, was that they could be very targeted using data. The idea is that the more targeted the message and the audience that its shown to; the more effective that it would be. Sounds like common sense doesn’t it? The actual results are counterintuitive. TakeMahabis the slipper brand that tried to build itself just on online media went into administration. Uber has tried to build a brand on price and online growth hacking still hasn’t made a profit.

But this pivot has resulted in the creative side of the advertising industry being gutted.

1707 - ad industry

This presents four problems for marketers:

  • Effective marketing campaigns have found by research to consist of roughly 70 percent brand building and 30 percent performance marketing across both B2B and B2C marketing. Brand building’s full impact can be measured over decades or longer. According to qualitative research by Kings College London on China; Swiss and Japanese watch brands were sought after by post cultural revolution consumers. Brand equity endured despite the worst excesses of Chairman Mao and his red guards.
  • Digital marketing isn’t as effective as one would believe. Digital marketing is only as good as its data and its measures have been defined largely by the media platforms themselves. TV advertising is several orders of magnitude cheaper in terms of reach. Ad fraud is rampant and major brands pushed for better standards led by P&G and Unilever.
  • The plethora of channels has meant that many brands have spread their creative like a thin smear of peanut butter across toast. Again research indicates that this approach is counter-productive. Yet brands have adopted big production capability in-house to feed social channels and online advertising formats. This work is often done at the expense of creativity and ideas
  • Over targeting is counter productive according to research done by the Ehrensberg Bass Institute and captured in Sharp’s How Brands Grow. Instead the authors recommend a ‘smart mass approach’

Marketers have given digital a greater amount of latitude than it deserves due to C-suite level concerns about digital disruption, stoked by their management consultants. When economic head-winds are met shorttermist thinking fit nicely with this performance marketing bias despite the issues outlined.

Economic factors for a brand winter

I won’t go into the background of the 2019 Hong Kong protests as that has been well-documented elsewhere. What I am interested for this post in is the economic impact.

P1088698
Studio Incendo: P1088698

The 2019-2020 Hong Kong protests seemed to impact a number of sectors:

  • The FT talked about the serious downturn in life insurance policy sales. Life insurance policies are used by mainland Chinese to build up assets outside of China in dollar-denominated investments
  • Data released last year indicated that for the month of October 2019, retail sales were down 24%
  • Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group is looking to close 15 out of 91 stores in Hong Kong
  • Swiss watch sales in Hong Kong declined 4.6%
  • The leisure sector is down on earnings and Ocean Park is in serious financial trouble
  • Occupancy levels in Mandarin Oriental hotels went from 71% to 49%

Products and services that are aimed at the mainland Chinese market have taken the brunt of the damage.

Learning from the successes of the past

I wanted to draw lessons from two events.

  • The first was the Great Depression and how it profoundly affected FMCG brand marketing
  • The second event is the 1967 Hong Kong riots

The Great Depression

The Great Depression has slipped from popular consciousness as the silent generation that lived through it have left us. The Wall Street Crash, the New Deal and the Jarrow march are far away from our collective experience.

Dorothea Lange: Toward Los Angeles, California, 1937
Dorothea Lange: Toward Los Angeles, California

You may as well be talking about the Wild West or Victorian child labourers climbing up chimneys to clean them.

In reality the Great Depression lasted from 1929 until World War 2. Global GDP dropped by 15 percent. Many countries looked to austerity policies to see themselves through. It didn’t work out that well as it depressed demand. And it was a similar case for companies, they cut back on marketing and a demand drop followed.

By comparison Procter & Gamble (P&G) took a contrarian approach. P&G had been founded almost a century earlier. It hit its stride during the late 1850s as the American civil war raged. By 1911 its Crisco vegetable based shortening was launched. P&G were quick to realise the potential of the nescient radio stations springing up in the US and around the world.

They were instrumental in coming up with a new brand marketing format of sponsored programming based around a long running drama called soap operas. Consumers may have been struggling to make ends meet; but soap operas allowed them to develop increased brand affinity.

P&G also used the Great Depression to expand internationally by buying a UK-based soap maker. Because of this contra-cycle investment and spending in brand, P&G became one of the world’s largest companies with operations pretty much everywhere apart from Cuba and North Korea.

In a mirror of this strategy, P&G are now investing in creating content for streaming television services which have emerged over the past few years, in a similar manner to the way radio grew a century earlier.

The takeaway from P&G is that contra-cyclical investing for larger brands can pay dividends as the media landscape has less competition in terms of brand building communications. Secondly, adoption of technology makes sense IF the media can aid long term brand building activities.

1967 Hong Kong riots

In 1967, Hong Kong was a British colony on the edge of China. China had just entered the cultural revolution and ideological fervour was in full swing.

Hong Kong was a hodge podge of identities, and that’s not even including ethnic minorities (Nepalis, caucasian people of different nationalities and south Asians who came across the British Empire).

  • Native Hong Kongers
  • Middle class, business owners and entertainers who fled places Shanghai towards the end of the civil war
  • Former nationalist soldiers who settled in Hong Kong (like their compatriots who ended up in Taiwan and Burma)
  • Mainland Chinese who left China during the hardships and famine due to the Great Leap Forwards. They entered the territory illegally, often swimming across the Sham Chun river or even the Hau Hoi Wan estuary.
Hong Kong - Communists and Police
Roger W: Communists and Police, Hong Kong 1967.

Hong Kong was a tinder box. Work was plentiful but life was hard for the blue collar workers who struggled to make ends meet. What happened next depends on who you believe.

Trouble was brewing, there had been unrest across a number of sectors:

  • Shipping
  • Taxi drivers
  • Textiles
  • Building materials

The previous year there had been riots protesting a rise in ticket prices on the Star Ferry.

At the time Hong Kong was a centre of plastics production, textiles and light industry. Much of the light industry started off literally as cottage industries. Plastic flowers were assembled from parts at home and workers were paid by piece work. In the 1950s, the government got rid of these low rise low quality housing. They built high-rise public housing and multi-storey public factories that rented units to light industries.

The start of the riots was down to an industrial dispute at a plastic flower manufacturer based at the San Po Kong Factory Estate in Kowloon. The factory was owned by a local industrialist called Duncan Tong (唐鼎康). Tong had a number of manufacturing businesses including the Playart die cast car brand which competed with Hot Wheels and is still popular with collectors.

On May 6, picketing workers clashed with members of the management. It got sufficiently violent that the riot police were called. When the police arrived they were pelted with cans and glass bottles by picketing workers and their peers in other neighbouring factory units. The police arrested 21 demonstrators who were represented by the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU). The HKFTU is a Beijing-aligned group of trade unions.

Many more were injured in the violence. Local union officials went to the police stations to protest the arrests and ended up being arrested themselves.

Leftist protestors with strong sympathies towards Beijing protested in solidarity with the arrested workers the following day.

Over 100 protestors were arrested and a curfew was imposed by the authorities. This then sparked a low level insurgency. Over 1,100 bombs were planted, 51 people were killed, over 800 people were injured. Almost 5,000 people were arrested and over 1,900 of them were successfully prosecuted. It was only the intervention of the Chinese premier who finally put an end to the violence in December that year.

Business leaders like Li Ka-shing and Harilela invested in property when the 1967 riots depressed prices. They then went on to replace British taipans as the main drivers of Hong Kong commerce.

The takeaway is that chaos has consistently provided opportunities for businesses with enough capital to take advantage of them. But what’s needed more than money is the eye for opportunity.

What does the solution for a brand winter look like?

In the case of Hong Kong, if we look at FMCG brands, there has never been a better time to build a local brand. Advertising inventory in out of home spaces or on streaming media are going to be cheaper due to the lack of demand.

Both ‘yellow and blue’ orientated media offer opportunities if handled in an even handed way. Investing during the contra-cycle in brand offers businesses an opportunity to capture long term profits rather than short term sales.

More information

There didn’t seem to be anything on the TBWA Hong Kong website, but they had this post on their Facebook page.

TBWA HK offers service pack to help brands through the financial winter | Campaign Asia

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Eric ‘Vietnam’ Sadler interview – Folio Weekly – rare interview with Eric ‘Vietnam’ Sadler of the Bomb Squad production team

Public Enemy Papercraft
Public Enemy (without Eric ‘Vietnam’ Sadlerpaper craft figures via csalinas86

Venture capital investors should harpoon more whales | Financial Times – hard versus soft innovation – soft innovation is winning the money. More on innovation here.

Gen Z brand advisors – JWT Intelligence – because they are over millennials

和 Virgil 一同「压轴登场」的 Arc’Teryx,是怎样的户外品牌? – Chinese fashion show people trying to work out why Virgil Aboha wore Arc’Teryx goretex shell. Interesting that they don’t go to the obvious answer – technical outdoor wear is streetwear

Wristwatches (手表) | Mao Era in Objects – interesting read and gives a lot of food for thought on brand and perceived luxury products in the Chinese market

reut.rs | Trump executive order to clampdown on counterfeit and pirate goods sold at e-commerce – interesting as Amazon and eBay sure to suffer

FM音源伝説 | FM音源を愛するすべての人へ – cool game chip based synthesizers

Study: Men who own luxury cars are often jerkswhat types of people own these cars. Sure enough, he found that less cooperative, less kind, and less considerate men often drive high-status cars. “The same traits also explain why such people break traffic regulations more frequently than others,” says Lönnqvist. He found no connection between female self-centeredness and luxury cars. Before you start flashing the bird at passing luxury vehicles, know that not all classy car owners suck. In fact, some are quite dependable: The study also found that conscientious men and women—people who are organized, ambitious, respectable, and often high-performing—are also frequent owners of high-status cars, which Lönnqvist says likely reflects an appreciation for quality and an urge to present a self-image of classy reliability. – a bit more nuance to this than the title suggests

The rapid rise of ‘Buy now, pay later’ – BBC News – this isn’t new, its the Littlewoods catalogue model all over again wearing digital clothes

Bank of England drops productivity optimism and lowers expectations | Financial Times – not terribly surprising

ハタプロ – way too cute robot Google Home type device hybrid

Markera kraftigare mot Kinas försök att påverka pressfriheten | :UtgivarnaUtgivarna urges to mark more strongly against China‘s attempts to influence the freedom of the press. Swedish media pushes back against Chinese government and including the local ambassador and United Front cadre

Apple Hires Key Netflix Engineer in Bid to Boost Subscription Services – WSJRuslan Meshenberg, who helped build out Netflix’s platform and was involved in key initiatives to create a speedier, more consistent service for viewers, joined Apple’s internet-services organization this week

A new year marks a new phase of Hong Kong protests | Financial Timessome are calling on taxpayers to pay more. The aim of the so-called “$1 more” campaign is to cripple the tax authorities’ operations by forcing them to handle possibly millions of rebate payments, tying them up in bureaucracy and bringing the system to a grinding halt

‘Get Ready for Brexit’ was a £46m flop – so get ready for ‘Ready to Trade’ | MAA – this must be embarrassing for Engine Group

Apple TV+ ‘Immaterial’ to Services Revenue Amid One-Year Free Deal – Variety – loss leader

Apple FQ1 20 – Big battery. – Radio Free Mobile – back to basics with battery life being the key USP