Brands using politics as a trope. First up, Kelloggs Korea’s campaign for green onion flavour Chex breakfast cereal. They were allowing consumers to ‘vote’ for the president of Chex.
In 2004, Kellogg’s Korea decided to hold a cute little promotional contest online: an “election” to decide “the President of Chex.” The two candidates were the delicious chocolate “Chekkie,” and the hideously green “Chaka.” Chekkie promised that if they won, they would find a way to add even more chocolate to Chocolate Chex, while Chaka promised to imbue the cereal with stinky green onions. One thing the adults at Kellogg’s were sure of was that kids hate, hate, hate green onions, so Chaka would be an easy fall guy, Chekkie would emerge victorious, and Korean customers would be so excited about Chocolate Chex that they’d purchase millions of boxes.
A Boaty McBoatFace-type polling disaster ensued. And it inspired this tremendously trippy ad.
The second brands using politics trope example was for a grape candy brand by Mann Sales Co. I still can’t work out if its a hoax, but it was doing the rounds on a few ad planning groups. There was an interesting dichotomy. People in the ad planner groups didn’t like it because it fell down from being politically incorrect on so many levels. I personally thought that it went too close to the bone. But then I was was too conservative versus the general publics interpretation of Poundland’s naughty elf campaign. A small unscientific straw poll of friends in the US saw the funny side of it.
Of course none of this is quite as bad as a time when I was working with Chinese clients. American colleagues used campaign marketing in democratic elections as the ultimate brands using politics as marketing trope.
They cited the use of data by the first term Obama election campaign to show how their wonkish staff could aid the client’s marketing internationally and in China. It was all about how Chinese companies could learn from democracy.
It was only when they came out of the meeting that I got to tell them that Twitter was banned in China. It was super awkward.
On work doesn’t happen at work by Jason Fried. A key quote:
some people might say email is really distracting, I.M. is really distracting, and these other things are really distracting, but they’re distracting at a time of your own choice and your own choosing. You can quit the email app; you can’t quit your boss. You can quit I.M.; you can’t hide your manager. You can put these things away, and then you can be interrupted on your own schedule, at your own time, when you’re available, when you’re ready to go again.
Musique Strategies – oblique and practical strategies for music – what happens when modern music production meats Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies. This has been put together by Danny Taurus, one of the unsung heroes in UK dance music production. Back in the early 1990s he founded Dansa Records which put together some banging tunes. He’s revived the label and releasing new material from his new base in Los Angeles.
I am not too sure where Apple was going with this working from home ad, but I suspect it was empathy and brand awareness. If you’re working from home, you’ll have experienced all of these challenges by now and know who your technical partners are. It is an entertaining six minutes though and sometimes that’s enough.
Finally, this video is a two-minute work of love featuring the sites and sounds of Hokkaido. It reminds me of the way Sergio Leone’s camera work as tightly linked with the music. In this video the edits and footage both move along with local sounds from Hokkaido, Japan.
New York Times Will Move Part of Hong Kong Office to Seoul – The New York Times – a sweeping national security law passed by China in June — aimed at stymieing opposition and pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong — has unsettled news organizations and created uncertainty about the city’s prospects as a hub for journalism in Asia. Some Times employees in Hong Kong have faced challenges securing work permits, hurdles that are commonplace in China but were rarely an issue in the former colony. – The visa comments are interesting as we’ve previously only seen this with the FTjournalist Victor Mallet. In August 2018, Andy Chan (then of the Hong Kong National Party) gave a talk at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) and Victor Mallet was the chairperson for the event. Chan went on to be arrested numerous times. Victor Mallet had his work visa renewal rejected on October 2, 2018 – one day before his old visa ran out.
12 things I learned by switching from the 13-inch MacBook Pro to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro | Macworld – I really wanted it to work. A couple of weeks ago I closed my MacBook on a Friday afternoon with no plans to open it for a week. I wasn’t going on vacation—rather, I was testing the theory that the iPad could actually be “a computer….”Sadly, it didn’t work out. I spent more time fighting my iPad than loving it, and when push came to shove, it was just too difficult to get things done as quickly and efficiently as I do on my Mac. Some of it is muscle memory, of course, but there are still fundamental issues with the iPad that prevent it from being the work-first device Apple wants it to be. So I’m giving it up – not terribly surprised as they’re very different use cases
Why older people really avoid technology.| Slate – According to the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of people over 65 in the U.S. use the internet, up from 14 percent in 2000. The older the person, the less likely she is to embrace the internet, social media, or smartphones, but those who have adopted these technologies use them a lot and learn new skills to do so. Seniors are the fastest growing online demographic, though some remain holdouts. In many of those cases, the real barrier to entry isn’t technological—it’s personal – more on old people’s of technology
China will punish Britain for defying its will. We need allies to hold the line | The Guardian – whilst the historical facts in the op-ed are all true, what’s more interesting is the media tone against all aspects of UK society against China now. This indicates a failure in Chinese elite-focused influence campaigns in the UK to deliver soft power. What is more concerning is the lessons that China might take away from these defeats, will they double down on ‘victimhood’ and aggression, or will they try and broaden their ‘base’ of appeal
Understanding CCP Resilience: Surveying Chinese Public Opinion Through Time | Ash Center – since the start of the survey in 2003, Chinese citizen satisfaction with government has increased virtually across the board. From the impact of broad national policies to the conduct of local town officials, Chinese citizens rate the government as more capable and effective than ever before. Interestingly, more marginalized groups in poorer, inland regions are actually comparatively more likely to report increases in satisfaction. Second, the attitudes of Chinese citizens appear to respond (both positively and negatively) to real changes in their material well-being, which suggests that support could be undermined by the twin challenges of declining economic growth and a deteriorating natural environment. – Fascinating and mostly reassuring reading for the Chinese Communist Party
Why Consulum Isn’t Flinching About Promoting Hong Kong – good piece of analysis by Arun on Hong Kong’s selection of Consulum. Most of the budget is going into baseline mapping and research. That might come in haney for communications, or targeting extra-territorial prosecutions under the nascent National Security Law…
Vast majority of US research institute disclosure violations related to China | South China Morning Post – High profile cases include the June indictment of Charles Lieber, a former chair at Harvard University’s chemistry and chemical biology department who gave false statements regarding his involvement with the Thousand Talents programme to bring leading researchers to China. In May, Li Xiao-jiang, a former Emory University professor and participant in Thousand Talents, pled guilty to filing a false tax return that did not report foreign income from working overseas at Chinese universities. The Van Andel Research Institute in Michigan agreed last December to pay US$5.5 million to the US Department of Justice over allegations of not disclosing Chinese grants for two of its researchers. – The problem seems to be vain greedy senior academics who think they’re above it all
EXP TV – not quite sure how to describe it, its just tremendous. In there words “EXP TV’s daytime programming is called “Video Breaks”—a video collage series featuring wild, rare, unpredictable, and ever-changing archival clips touching on every subject imaginable. Similar to how golden era MTV played music videos all day, daytime EXP TV streams non-stop, deep cut video clips filtered through our own distinct POV. Our Nite Owl programming block features specialty themed video mixes and deep dives on everything under the sun: Bigfoot, underground 80s culture, Italo disco, cults, Halloween hijinks, pre-revolutionary Iranian pop culture, midnight movies, ‘ye ye’ promo films, Soviet sci-fi, reggae rarities, psychedelic animation and local news calamities. On any given night you could watch something like our Incredibly Strange Metal show followed by a conceptual video essay like Pixel Power—our exploration of early CGI art. Aside from our unique tone and deep crate of video materials, one thing that really sets us apart in 2020 is our format. We are *not* on demand, we are *not* interactive—just like old TV! You can tune in anytime and something cool will be on. That’s EXP TV in a nutshell. It’s funny, it’s art, it’s music, it’s infotainment, it’s free and it’s 24/7.” It reminded me a lot of the pioneering night time TV programming that used to run on British TV.
Gen Z wants brands to be ‘fun,’ ‘authentic’ and ‘good,’ study says | Marketing Dive – Gen Zers prefer brands that are authentic, with 82% saying they trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising, while 72% said they’re more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes. Product quality, positive ratings and reviews and customer service are the top three characteristics that establish trust in a brand among Gen Zers – really? I am sure if you asked any cohort through time of the same age that would have come out as the result. More on ‘generations‘ here
TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong – Axios – interesting how they got out ahead of Facebook, WhatsApp etc. TikTok might feel its mainland app Douyin can be swapped in. It is an interesting canary in the coal mine for Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp etc
Luckin Coffee investors oust founder | Financial Times – this looks very similar to WireGuard. The problem is that audited books can’t be trusted due to local law. And locally written analyst reports have to self-censor allowing this kind of thing to happen. China doesn’t seem to be moving to change its law in the same way that Germany is to try and protect shareholders
Facebook Suspending Review of Hong Kong Requests for User Data – WSJ – based on the Xi administration’s concerns about national security and cyber sovereignty; one can expect China to extend Great Firewall into Hong Kong with this. Which will then impact multinational companies who have traditionally used Hong Kong as an exit point for China operation VPNs. It will also affect Hong Kong’s position as a regional base. Firms would no longer want to use the data centres and backbone networks that Hong Kong has. More from the FT: Facebook and Twitter block Hong Kong authorities from accessing user data | Financial Times – WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram have all given the Chinese Communist Party the finger. They have a strong incentive to. Chinese drop shipping businesses like Shein or Wish will suffer more than Facebook. And it plays well in parliaments and distracts from the other troubles that they may have. China gets burnt because of its information warfare games on these platforms. Facebook et al provide Chinese marketing teams a gateway into markets around the world that WeChat and TikTok don’t – which dings the Chinese government’s economic goals
Philip K Dick’s Metz speech is mind blowing. It was done at an international science fiction festival in 1977, held in Metz, France.
Did China Steal Canada’s Edge in 5G From Nortel? – Bloomberg – short answer yes. Though it probably didn’t help that they had a management team that had failed to act when they were warned about infiltration, a infrastructure business reliance on the frame relay network market and partnered with Microsoft on a lot of enterprise technology. Some fantastic stuff in this article – Did a Chinese hack kill Canada’s greatest tech company? – BNN Bloomberg – in the late 1990s, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the country’s version of the CIA, became aware of “unusual traffic,” suggesting that hackers in China were stealing data and documents from Ottawa. “We went to Nortel in Ottawa, and we told the executives, ‘They’re sucking your intellectual property out,’ ” says Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who headed the agency’s Asia-Pacific unit at the time. “They didn’t do anything.” By 2004 the hackers had breached Nortel’s uppermost ranks. The person who sent the roughly 800 documents to China appeared to be none other than Frank Dunn, Nortel’s embattled chief executive officer. Four days before Dunn was fired — fallout from an accounting scandal on his watch that forced the company to restate its financial results — someone using his login had relayed the PowerPoints and other sensitive files to an IP address registered to Shanghai Faxian Corp. It appeared to be a front company with no known business dealings with Nortel. The thief wasn’t Dunn, of course. Hackers had stolen his password and those of six others from Nortel’s prized optical unit, in which the company had invested billions of dollars. Using a script called Il.browse, the intruders swept up entire categories from Nortel’s systems: Product Development, Research and Development, Design Documents & Minutes, and more. “They were taking the whole contents of a folder — it was like a vacuum cleaner approach,” says Brian Shields, who was then a senior adviser on systems security