Louis Vuitton, Supreme and the tangled relationship between streetwear and luxury brands

The recent collaboration between New York’s Supreme and Louis Vuitton seems like a natural fit.  The reality is that luxury and streetwear have been dancing around each other for a good while.

Snide started it all

Snide was slang in the 1980s for fake or counterfeit. Hip Hop and the Caribbean-influenced Buffalo movement in the UK each used counterfeit and real luxury in their own way.

Daniel Day, better known as Dapper Dan was a was a Harlem-based craftsman and business man who dressed a lot of New York based artists from the golden age of hip hop. Dan’s first hip hop client was LL Cool J back in 1985. Dan’s style was luxe, the finest silks and furs were standard issue – think Puff Daddy before Puff Daddy. They went for customised outfits with their branding on which Dan provided. As the scene took off Dan incorporated suit lining material (which replicated the likes of the Fendi, Bally  or MCM brands) and Gucci or Louis Vuitton branded vinyl to make one-off products.

He customised trainers, clothing and even car interiors. Dan’s own Jeep Wrangler had an interior retrimmed in MCM branded vinyl.

Much of the luxury branding Dan used was coming in from Korean factories which at that time supplied the fake trade. Now similar products would have come out of China. I took a trip to the South China City complex in 2010 where fabric suppliers would offer Louis Vuitton labels and Supreme tags side-by-side.  I can only imagine that the Korean suppliers of the 1980s  had similar markets in textile industry centres like Deagu. Outside of hip hop, Dan was the go-to tailor for all the hustlers in Harlem – so you can see how he could have got the hook-up into the counterfeit suppliers.

At the time hip hop culture was not in a relationship with brands who where concerned about how it might affect them. LL Cool J was the first artist to get a deal with Le Coq Sportif. Run DMC got a long term deal with Adidas after their single ‘My Adidas’ became successful. But these were the exceptions to the rule.  So with Dan’s help they co-opted the brands to try and demonstrate success.

Over in the UK, the Buffalo collective of stylists, artists and photographers including Ray Petri, Jamie Morgan, Barry Kamen (who modelled for Petri), Mark Lebon and Cameron McVey. Buffalo was known as an attitude, which threw contrasting styles together and filtered into fashion shoots and influenced the collections of major designers including Yohji Yamamoto, Jean Paul Gaultier and Comme des Garçons. Even if you didn’t know what Buffalo was, you would have recognised the aesthetic from the likes of i-D, Blitz, New Musical Express and Arena. 

Buffalo mixed Armani jackets with Doctor Martens work boots, or a Puma bobble hat. Petri used music to sound track his process and this was pretty similar to the kind of stuff that influenced street wear pioneer Shawn Stussy over in California. Motown and hip-hop to dub reggae was the sound which explains the Feeling Irie t-shirts created by the white surfboard maker.

If you thought Bros looked cool in their MA-1 bomber jackets and stone washed Levi’s 501 jeans – there was a direct stylistic line back to Buffalo – rehabilitating the items from their link to skinhead culture.

Buffalo permeated into the street style of the decade; influencing the likes of Soul II Soul. Meanwhile over in Bristol The Wild Bunch were yet to morph into Massive Attack. Two members headed to London; producer Nelle Hooper and Miles Johnson (aka DJ Milo who went on to work in New York and Japan). A shoot was organised by i-D magazine and they turned up wearing their street clothes alongside DJ Dave Dorrell and model / stylist Barnsley. At the time, it was considered to be ‘very Buffalo’ in feel, but Dave Dorrell admitted in an interview that they had just came as they were. Dorrell wore his t-shirt as ‘advertising’ for it.

buffalo

The Hermes t-shirt and belt were snide, the Chanel Number 5 t-shirt sported by Dave Dorrell were being knocked out by a group of friends. Young people in London co-opted brands just like the hip-hop artists heading to Dapper Dan’s in Harlem.

Homage

From 1980, surfer Shawn Stussy had been growing an clothing empire of what we would now recognise as streetwear. Stussy had originally came up with the t-shirts as an adjunct and advertisement of his main business – selling surfboards. But the clothing hit emerging culture: skating, punk, hip-hop and took on a life of its own. It went global through Stussy’s ‘tribe’ of friends that he made along the way.

Stussy is known for his eclectic influences and mixing media: old photographs alongside his own typography. In a way that was unheard of in brand circles at the time, Stussy manifested his brands in lots of different ways. The back to back SS logo inside a circle was a straight rip from Chanel; the repeating logo motif that appeared in other designs was a nod to MCM and Louis Vuitton.

All of this went into the cultural melting pot of world cities like Tokyo, New York, London and Los Angeles. Stussy went on to do collaborations from a specially designed party t-shirt for i-D magazine’s birthday party to the cover art of Malcolm Maclaren records. Collaboration with mundane and high-end brands is backed into streetwear’s DNA.

Coke Zero x Neighborhood limited edition cans

(Neighborhood x Coke Zero was something I was involved with during my time in Hong Kong.)

Japan with its engrained sense of quality and wabisabi took the Buffalo mix-and-match approach to the next level. Japan’s own streetwear labels like Visivim, Neighborhood, W-Taps, The Real McCoy and A Bathing Ape (BAPE) took streetwear product quality, exclusivity and price points into luxury brand territory. That didn’t stop BAPE from making a snide versions of various Rolex models under the ‘Bapex’ brand.

Bapex

Some two decades later Supreme came up in New York. The brand takes design appropriation and homage to a new level. Every piece Supreme seems to do is a reference to something else. The famous box logo rips from Barbara Kruger’s piece ‘I shop therefore I am’. From taking a snide swipe at consumerism to ending up in the belly of the beast took Supreme a relatively short time. This heritage of appropriation didn’t stop Supreme from using legal means against people it felt had appropriated its ‘look’.

In an ironic twist of fate, Supreme was sued by Louis Vuitton in 2000 and yet the 2017 collaboration looks exceptionally similar to the offending items…

The last time I shared this story the page was just at 2k followers. With the collaboration officially announced today- and the page having 40k more followers since then- I figure it’s time to re-share. The year was 2000, and a 6 year old Supreme took their hands at referencing a high fashion brand as they did early on (Burberry, Gucci,) this time with Louis Vuitton. Box Logo tees (and stickers), beanies, 5 panels, bucket hats, and skateboard decks all featured the Supreme Monogram logo (pictured right). Within two weeks, Vuitton sends in a cease and desist and apparently, ordered Supreme to burn the remaining available stock. Clearly, many of the products from 2000 are still in the resell market, circulating today. Now we arrive at today’s FW Louis Vuitton fashion show. As most everyone is aware by now, Supreme is in fact collaborating with the luxury brand for a July- into fall collection. I’ve seen quite a few pieces from the collaboration (20+, check @supreme__hustle @supreme_access and @supreme_leaks_news for more pics) and it’s panning out to be Supremes largest collaboration to date. It’s interesting to see the references of both brands within the collaboration- from old Dapper Dan bootleg Louis pieces, to authentic ones, to Supremes monogram box logo and skateboard desks (pictured left). 17 years later and @mrkimjones proves that time can mend all wounds (amongst other things). Excited to see what all will release alongside this legendary collaboration. #supremeforsale #supreme4sale

A photo posted by Supreme (@supreme_copies) on

The new customers

North East Asia’s fast growing economies had been borne out of learning from developed market expertise, state directed focus on exports and ruthless weeding out of weaker businesses. Intellectual property was cast aside at various points. Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and China went from making knock-off products to displacing Europe and the US as the leading luxury markets.

Asian luxury consumers, particularly those second generation rich in China were younger than the typical customer luxury brands cater too. These consumers bought product as they travelled taking in style influences as they went. First from nearby markets like Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore and then Korea. This drew from a melange of hip hop, streetwear, Buffalo styling and contemporary western designers like Vivienne Westwood – as well as the more matronly styles of the traditional European luxury houses.

The luxury brands had to adapt. They brought in new designers who themselves were drawing from similar influences.  These designers also collaborated with sportswear brands like Alexander McQueen and Puma or Jeremy Scott and Raf Simons for Adidas.

Luxury brands got seriously into new product categories making luxe versions of training shoes that could be charitably called a homage to the like of Nike’s Air Force 1.

Bringing things full circle

As the supreme_copies Instagram account notes the collaboration with Supreme and Louis Vuitton brings things full circle with the pieces having a nod to Dapper Dan’s custom work as well as Supreme’s own ‘homage’.  Luxury brand MCM (Michael Cromer München), which Dan borrowed from extensively in the 1980s was restructured in 1997 with shops and brand being sold separately. The brand was eventually acquired eight years later by the Korean Sungjoo Group. Korea now has its own fast developing luxury fashion and cosmetics brand industry. Textile city Deagu which was the likely source of Dapper Dan’s fabric is now a fashion and luxury business hub in its own right. The Korean entertainment industry is a trend setter throughout Asia. For instance, Hallyu drama My Love From A Star drove breakout sales for the Jimmy Choo ‘Abel’ shoe.

The only question I still have is why did a move like Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with Supreme take so long? The luxury brands spend a lot on customer insight, they were using social listening far longer than they had been on social media. They know that a customer wearing their jacket could have a Visivim backpack slung over the shoulder and a pair of Adidas Stan Smiths on their feet. Customers mix-and-match Buffalo style for all but the most formal occasions. For streetwear brands, collaboration is in their DNA and they get an additional leg-up in the quality stakes.

More information
Ray Petri
How Buffalo shaped the landscape of 80s fashion – Dazed
Dave Dorrell interview part one | Test Pressing
Dapper Dan
Barbara Kruger Responds to Supreme’s Lawsuit: ‘A Ridiculous Clusterf**k of Totally Uncool Jokers’ | Complex
Volume and wealth make Chinese millennials a lucrative target market: GfK | Luxury Daily
Just why are Louis Vuitton and other high-end retailers abandoning China? | South China Morning Post – although Chinese shoppers consumed 46 per cent of luxury goods around the world, their purchases in their home market accounted for only 10 per cent of global sales, falling from 11 per cent in 2012 and 13 per cent in 2013
How a Jimmy Choo Shoe Became a Global Best Seller – WSJ

The QRcode post

A few years ago, I was involved in a project that used QRcodes on OOH (out of home) activity for a retail launch. QRcode scanners varied in performance. In addition you had to think about:

  • Contrast – did the QRcode stand out?
  • Relative aspect – would it be too big or too small for the audience to scan?

In the UK, QRcodes are seen by marketers as old hat (but then they didn’t ‘get’ them in the same way that Asia did). Other people don’t really understand how to use them.
QRcode 101
Above is the picture of the local cafe around the corner from my office. The QRcode is too disjointed and blurred to read. I asked a member of staff about it and he told me that he thought it was some type of logo…

June 2016 online marketing and technology research slides

Here is a copy of the slides that I pull together (when I have the time) each month of publicly available data that would be of use.

This month I have some new data around search which came from disclosures at Google I/O in terms of search volumes. We talk about social as if search has gone out of style but its growth is still staggering, driven by mobile device penetration.
Google global search volume
Looking at global search revenue over time, Google’s monopoly position becomes immediately apparent.
Global Search Revenues
More details about me here.
Slide20
Full presentation available for download as a PDF on Slideshare

Out and about: Granny’s Got Talent | 헬머니

The Korean Cultural Centre has a fortnightly screening of films. The latest one that I went to was Granny’s Got Talent or 헬머니 (pronounced Helmeoni – a literal translation would be Hell Granny).

The premise is built around an old woman who is released from jail. She lost contact with her eldest son and tries to build that connection whilst living with her youngest son. The eldest son is a salary man with an over-bearing set of rich in-laws. The youngest son an inveterate gambler. To bail the youngest son out of trouble she participates in a Korean reality TV show based around cursing and chaos ensues. Veteran Korean actress carries off the role of Hell Granny with aplomb. I laughed so hard at some points I ended up crying.

The raucous bawdy humour works despite subtitles and has some amazing comedic set-pieces. But this rudeness is only the top layer in the story, where the viewer gets a glimpse at the hard life a strong woman had to live in a fast-developing South Korea.

The film works on a number of levels touching a number of distinctly  Korean themes including the obsession with hierarchy, its turbulent political past, the corrupt aspects of chaebols and the love of family (no matter how dysfunctional).

More Information
Movie page on Daum in Korean

MWC 2016 as a case study on talkability, brand mentions and brand performance

Mobile World Congress (or in industry parlance MWC 2016) is where the telecoms industry goes to set out its stand. It has gradually changed from being a conference where the big issues of the day are hashed out, to more of a trade show a la CES or CeBIT.

From a brand point of view, it was of interest to me for two reasons:

  • It offers largely culture neutral brand discussions, many of which occur online
  • I have an interest, having worked on a few mobile brands during my agency career (Palm, Ericsson, Verizon Wireless, Samsung, Qualcomm, Telenor Myanmar and Huawei)

I pulled this slide ware together for a talk I am giving at an internal event at an agency.

The first data that I have put together is looking at the amount of mentions that occurred regardless of the channel. It is a relatively easy data point to pull out of monitoring systems very quickly.

Obviously the value of mentions will depend on how many people view them, what is the context that the mention appears in. What was the content around it? Who said it, are they expert or trustworthy? So looking purely at the number of mentions would be crude, offering little value apart from nice PowerPoint slides.

Breaking the mentions down by platform gives an idea of relative marketing communications competencies of brands. So looking at Huawei and Xiaomi shows contrasting approach to building talkability and conversations. Huawei focuses on traditional media channels where as Xiaomi focuses on social.

By comparison LG and Samsung seem to have a more holistic approach.

I then moved on beyond the mention data to try and look at relative authority of whoever mentioned the brand and looking at the relative distribution by brand and channel.

I had done some initial analysis on the event in general here. These numbers showed how well brands had built high authority communities and the discussions around them.

What was quite surprising was the polarised authority of mainstream media sources. Newswire syndication had destroyed authority of many online traditional media channels. A second cross brand observation was the relatively low authority of the blogosphere.

These slides only start to delve into understanding talkability and are time consuming to create in comparison to looking at raw mention numbers, but offer superior strategic insight for both earned and paid media approaches for future launches.

I did some broad profiling of online conversations around MWC here.

Oprah time: China’s Coming War With Asia by Jonathan Holslag

Where do I start with a book title this inflammatory? I went to the trouble of reading the book twice before starting this review. In the end, the only conclusion I can come to is ‘Policy Faultlines in East Asia’ doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Untitled
Holsag marshals a huge range of facts and opinions within the book. If you want to have a basic understanding of modern Chinese state, the book is a good primer.

He provides insight into the Chinese Communist’s Party’s policy cornerstone of territory maximisation. They were happy to put off their agenda for tactical advantage, but never gave up on their goals. China’s neighbours have similar inflexible policy goals. There is is no win-win solution.

Time has brought increased pressures. A fight for resources to fuel further growth and water rights conflicts. Relative declines in economic growth also fuels nationalistic politics. In China, nationalistic sentiments in citizens grew with prosperity. It has become convenient for politicians to tap into nationalistic sentiments.

Holsag doesn’t attempt to provide a solution for de-escalation of these edges. His book only provides a macro-level understanding of the countries involved. For the reader who wants to understand Asia, Holsag’s book is an excellent primer.  More on China’s Coming War With Asia by Jonathan Holsag.

Edelman’s trust barometer 2016

Edelman’s Trust Barometer has become a kind of zeitgeist meter for the kind of people who go to the World Economic Forum at Davos.

This year Edelman talks about the Grand Illusion, that everyday people will follow the global elites. Income inequality and a growing realisation that the future won’t get better has gradually changed perceptions. It is yet another data point that signals the death of the American Dream and according to Citi the end of Pax Americana.

It is also worthwhile looking at BAV Consulting research on ‘the best countries in the world’ to see how country brand equity are now perceived.

More information
Prepare for the Post Pax-Americana era, says Citi – FT (paywall)
2016 Trust Barometer: Divide Opens Up Between Global Elite And Public | Holmes Report
U.S. News & World Report, WPP’s BAV Consulting & The Wharton School on best countries in the world | PR Newswire

On the sofa: No blood no tears

One of the best kept secrets in London is the free sessions put on by the Korean Cultural Centre just off Trafalgar Square. I caught the last film of the year to be shown at the centre. No blood No tears is a Korean heist story. Gyung-Sun is a former safe-cracker who has reformed and become a taxi driver.

Her husband is in the wind and left behind a lot of gambling debts that local loan sharks try to collect on. She doesn’t know where her child is and to cap it all Gyung-Sun has a difficult relationship with the police and her short temper.

A chance car accident brings her into contact with a petty gangsters moll and a plot ensues to rob the dog fighting arena where illegal gambling takes place. What ensues is a film that is part comedy, part Thelma & Louise and a healthy dose of ultra-violence that would be familiar to Hong Kong cinema and Tarantino fans.

Over the next few weeks I will be getting my fix of Korean cinema at the London Korean Film Festival. I can recommend from personal experience:

  • Raging Currents
  • The Man From Nowhere
  • The Classified File

Happy mid-autumn festival

Especially to my peeps in Hong Kong
Happy mid autumn festival

Jargon watch: app constellation

Fred Wilson talked about the concept of app constellations that he distilled down to:

mobile apps that share a single login and have app to app linking built in

He also added the proviso that ignored gaming apps, which generally purely use integration for identity and payment.

As Wilson points out this level of integration is interesting as one could find a complete suite of apps from the one company and rarely leave that eco-system.  This is partly been driven by context:

Putting a lot of features in a mobile application inevitably means burying them resulting in lots of clicks to get at something that you want. So on the design level it is very reminiscent of the design focus that drove the first generation of focused lean web 2.0 applications – though on a philosophical level they are world’s apart since app constellations are about creating a walled garden rather than open transportable data sets (within a walled garden of the mobile operating system).

The idea isn’t necessarily one that’s new. If one looks at someone like Google, this is the very rationale why they built Android – so that there were no blockages to providing it’s services.  Microsoft exercised control over the majority of desktop users and could make Google’s life difficult, especially through Internet Explorer, by comparison smartphones were a relatively open space to grow in.

I have attempted to compile a list of some of the the major app constellations. This has taken more time than I would like as I have had to hand code the tables below in order to get the HTML to work properly. Thankfully not having games in the definition of an app constellation made the work a little easier. For instance, Kakao Corp. is responsible for 9 out of the 10 best-selling mobile games in Korea at the moment and keeps churning out new games on a regular basis.

Secondly some of the companies here have more than one app constellation cluster, Tencent’s broadly break down into two clusters; those dominated by QQ and those dominated by WeChat, however there is also a connection between QQ and WeChat. This maybe partly down to the different development centres in China that they both come out of.

Microsoft and Google both have consumer, enterprise user and enterprise administrator app constellation clusters.

Daum is a Korean Internet company famous for its mobile search, news portal and social properties. No self-respecting Korean pop group used to be able to do without a well looked after Daum Cafe account. As I was part way through this Daum has announced that it is merging with Kakao Corp.

Name English equivalent What it does
다음, 뉴스, 브라우저, 프로야구 Daum: news, browser, KBO (Korean professional baseball) It’s a mobile portal of content
mypeople OTT messenger application that also includes stickers, VoIP and video calls; with support for a number of international languages. It can utilise a common Daum log-in
다음 지도, 길찾기, 지하철, 버스 Daum Maps, Directions, Subway and Bus A local version of the kind of application Google Maps provides tightly focused on the needs of Korean consumers
다음 사전 Daum Dictionary Kind of similar to Google Translate and Google Lens. Daum Dictionary allows you to ‘read’ a foreign language using your phones camera, it has a number of translation dictionaries. In addition, it has a flash card function to help Koreans increase their foreign language vocabulary
다음 카페 Daum Cafe Daum Cafe is a social network with a customisable profile page, a news stream type function called My Cafe, posts and comments – think your Facebook wall or Tumblr account, stickers, a mobile editor and push notifications
다음 클라우드 Daum Cloud Daum Cloud is similar in functionality to Dropbox and Carousel in terms of being cloud file storage and a way of sharing photos and files. Daum calls out that these can be shared across it’s mypeople social platform, Facebook and Twitter
다음 웹툰 Daum Webtoon (literally the name would be Daum Pick) Korea like Japan has a comic book culture. The most famous of these is probably Priest which was adapted for film and started Paul Bettany and Maggie Q. The country consumes web comics and Daum Webtoon mobilises that experience. Fans comment on strips, share strips amongst themselves via Daum Webtoon. A western equivalent might be comiXology (a recent Amazon acquisition); but that lacks the social aspects of Webtoon
mysticker for mypeople Augment photos with various avatar decorations like glasses or facial hair and use these pictures as stickers in OTT messenger app mypeople
SolGroup SolGroup is a private discussion group for up to 100 members. It allows you to share photos and links as well as doing a broadcast-style notice to group members
해피맘-육아맘 필수앱 (이웃맘 추천, 임신/출산 정보) Happy Mom A neighbourhood social network for Mums and Mums-to be. It’s a location-based network that tries to plug women into real-world networks, provide an online support network which can be a source of advice and provide local information. In Seoul there seems to be a consult your GP function. All up this seems to be a much more sophisticated version of Mumsnet
다음 루리웹 블러드 브라더스 공식 커뮤니티 Daum BloodBrothers Community An application that provides a community for players of Mobage’s BloodBrothers game
WITH A Flickr or 500px-type application that allows photographs to be organised into albums and easily explored
다음 TV 플레이 Daum TV Play Allows a smartphone to be used as a remote control where the smart TV has a Daum TV application
다음소셜쇼핑 – 소셜커머스 모음 Daum Social Shopping – social commerce collection The application features group shopping deals and coupons from a range of players including GroupOn. It also has an Apple Passbook-type function to organise any tickets required to redeem an offer
캠프 Camp Location-based mobile social network that looks to be around organising group activities; kind of similar in some respects to Foursquare’s Swarm
마이원 모바일 월렛 My One Mobile Wallet Mobile wallet application that also has some loyalty / rewards programme functionality built-in
마이원 모바일 월렛 Daum Kids Education app aimed at pre-schoolers, it covers much of the educational ground that Sesame Street may cover in other countries
Kardin A social business card application. It is a cross between LinkedIn’s CardMunch, Plaxo and LinkedIn

Dropbox

Product name What it does
Dropbox Cloud storage
Carousel Carousel is designed as a single home for all your photos and videos, automatically organized and always with you. It allows for the sharing photos and videos instantly in private conversations. It provides an automatic back up  of photos and videos to Dropbox as they are taken.
Mailbox Alternative mail application specially for iCloud and Gmail users. It offers a simplified user interface and deep app linking across Dropbox products (preventing an OS-level poaching of that functionality)

Facebook – social behemoth has a number of applications out there, half due to acquisitions the company has made

Product name What it does
Facebook Replicates much of the desktop experience of using Facebook in a mobile application
Messenger An OTT messenger that seems to be playing feature catch-up with many of the bigger players. Currently allows groups, video sharing and picture sharing. There are some stickers available and a free VoIP facility
Facebook Page Manager Mobile application for page admins to manage multiple pages easily from their own phone, even provides a view of Facebook Insights
Instagram Mobile photo application with built-in filters
Whatsapp Messenger Popular, relatively unsophisticated OTT messaging application acquired earlier this year

Google

Product name What it does
YouTube Native application video player
Google Native mobile application version of the Google search page, the key difference being the support of voice-enabled search
Google Maps Native application version of Google’s mapping service. It has voice turn-by-turn directions. It covers 220 countries and the public transport networks of over 15,000 towns and cities
Google Earth Explore the world virtually, hard to really describe Google Earth – I thought it was telling that it sits in Apple’s travel rather than navigation section
Google Chrome Alternative web browser, integration with desktop usage of Chrome browser and a reaction to non-Google search deals
Gmail Dedicated email client for the Gmail email service
Google Translate Native application interface for Google’s web translation web service
Google+ Native application that provides a simplified interface for the Google+ social network, some elements like Hangouts have been broken out into a dedicated application
Google Drive Native application that positions Google Drive as more of a cloud storage service than the productivity suite viewpoint that it provides in the desktop experience
YouTube Capture Shoot and upload video directly to a YouTube account
Hangouts A me-too OTT messenger with more of a video focus than other players
Chromecast Application to set up and change administrator-level settings for the Chromecast streaming video dongle
Google Docs Standalone of the Google Docs word processor experience which is integrated into the desktop version of Google Drive
Google Sheets Standalone of the Google Docs spreadsheet experience which is integrated into the desktop version of Google Drive
Blogger Native application to manage a Blogspot blog including creating and posting content
Google Play Books Google’s answer to Amazon’s Kindle app and Apple’s iBooks
Google Authenticator A RSA key-type second factor authentication for Google accounts. It has easy set-up with a QRcode and support for multiple accounts
Google Play Music A mix between the Apple iTunes music player app and Spotify based on Google’s Play content marketplace
Google Play Movies & TV Native application video player and marketplace for Google Play
Google Currents Flipboard-esque reader with a focus on mainstream media like The Huffington Post
Photowall for Chromecast Photowall for Chromecast is an application that lets people take pictures, edit them and collaborate with images on the TV – using phones or tablets. Anyone can take a picture and send it to a Photowall to instantly see it on the big screen.Once the collage is finished a YouTube video of your Photowall is automatically generated
Field Trip The bastard child of vintage Microsoft Office’s Clippy and a travel guide that surfaces information kind of similar to Foursquare’s exploration function. It will even use voice to deliver it’s random flag ups of interesting things near by. It is also notable for its use of skeuomorphic design in a Google product
Google Adsense Access to reports and key data from a Google advertising account over a mobile phone
Zagat Restaurant guide that Google acquired a number of years ago. In many respects Yelp before the internet. Now as a native mobile application
Google Admin Native mobile application providing an interface for sysadmins to manage enterprise usage of Google products – setting new email accounts up, shutting them down etc.
Google Coordinate Mobile application of a workforce management tool attached to Google enterprise account – ideal if you had a firm of plumbers, roofing contractors etc.
Helpouts Native application to get live video advice on a given subject matter.

Kakao Corp. is an OTT messaging application that has a higher user base than Facebook in Korea. It has a lot of hallyu content on there, stickers, in application payments and paid for enterprise accounts. Tencent, makers of WeChat have a stake in Kakao

Name English equivalent What it does
KakaoTalk messenger An OTT messenger with text, stickers, VoIP and a pitch shifter to make your voice sound cuter or play around with friends
KakaoStory A photo social network that is complementary to KakaoTalk. Think the moments function in WeChat or status updates on Facebook
KakaoGroup Extends beyond the chat room environment of KakaoTalk to private private group chat as a separate application
카카오아지트 KakaoAgit (a better translation might be KakaoHideout) Private group discussion and collaboration – sharing ideas or organising an event. Kakao Corp. promotes this particularly to self-organising groups of colleagues in a workplace
카카오 아지트 파트너 앱 Agit Partner Seems to be a group administrator tool of some sort
KakaoPlace Very similar to the recommendations functionality of Foursquare and the old Dopplr application

LINE (Naver Japan) – the Japanese subsidiary of Korean online media business Naver Corp. has a range of international and localised products for the Japanese marketplace

Name English equivalent What it does
LINE Messenger An OTT messaging application that has made a good business out of virtual stickers, popular throughout much of Asia from Taiwan to Thailand. It has been fighting a pitched battle for marketshare with WhatsAppk, WeChat, and KakaoTalk
LINE camera A photo app that integrates with LINE Messenger. It allows filters and affects to be used on pictures including a beauty filter effect. There are over 1,000 stamp effects that allow you to frame your picture, photo editing including a lasso-type function
LINE Brush and Brush lite An application similar to MacPaint of old but in a mobile device
LINE PLAY A social network that allows the user to build an avatar as an alter ego with the emphasis on cute and chat with other users
LINE Card Personalised e-card creator
pick A photography based social network similar to the social aspects of flickr
LINE Tools A mix of productivity features: conversation tables, flash light, sound meter and calculator
Ndrive Cloud storage similar to Dropbox
Naver Translate Translation software focused on Japanese speakers in partnership with Japanese dictionary publisher Kodensha
Naver Matome Reader Mobile magazine type application similar to the likes of Flipboard. Not quite a newsreader
無料 マンガ Webtoons Mobile comic reader rather like Daum’s Webtoon application. Naver Japan has also published the more popular comics as standalone applications
Kstyle Korean entertainment news magazine capitalising on the success of Korean pop music in particular in Japan. It also has some coverage of other hallyu content such as Korean dramas
LINE List Seems to be similar to KakaoGroup or the circles functionality in Google+. It pulls in contacts across social networks including LINE, KakaoTalk and Facebook

Microsoft

Product name What it does
XBox XBox One SmartGlass A companion application to the game console: it acts as a remote control for the media play side of the console and facilitates off-console social interaction with game mates
OneDrive The cloud storage service formerly known as Sky Drive, the application comes in both consumer and business versions.
Photosynth An application that creates panoramic views from a series of pictures that are stitched together. It also allows for these pictures to be shared with others online
Microsoft Office Mobile The traditional office suite of Word, PowerPoint and Excel for mobile devices. An Office 365 subscription is required
OWA for iPhone Native application version of Outlook Web Access that requires an Office 365 subscription
Microsoft OneNote Native application version of Microsoft OneNote, available as a free standalone application
Microsoft Remote Desktop Connect to and work on a remote Windows PC
bing search Native application with a number of bing services including bookmarks, maps and the search engine
Lync for iPhone Available in 2010 and 2013 editions Lync allows in-enterprise OTT messaging and web conferencing. Requires a licence for a Lync server
Office 365 admin Manage functions such as setting up a new email account from an iPhone
Xbox Music Spotify-style streaming application
Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint for iPad Microsoft separates out these apps on the iPad so each one has to be downloaded separately rather than getting one Office app bundle. An Office 365 subscription is required
Bing get me there Bing maps application specifically for London that incorporates live data on the Tube from TfL
SharePoint Newsfeed A newsreader specifically designed for company SharePoint sites
Microsoft Dynamics CRM for iPhone Native application for Microsoft’s CRM application
Microsoft Dynamics CRM for iPhone and Dynamics AX Native application for Microsoft’s CRM application. Dynamics AX allows for expenses to be filed and time sheets to be completed
HealthVault Patient access to their own and their families health records
My Apps Single sign-on to Azure cloud applications
Windows Intune Company Store Enterprise mobile and table app store
Socl Somewhere between Tumblr and Behance as visual content driven social networks
Microsoft Tech Companion for iPhone News application for Microsoft developers and certified professionals
RMS Sharing Allows the user to see rights restricted content when used with an Office 365 licence

Naver: LINE’s Korean parent is a large online media in its own right. Naver powers the majority of searches in Korea and has prominent blogging and mapping platforms.

Name English equivalent What it does
NAVER Native app version of the famous Korean search engine and web portal. It is particularly interesting the way Naver collates stories of interest to the reader. Koreans can subscribe to areas of interest and have the content delivered to them
네이버 지도 NAVER Maps Similar to Google Maps; the key differences being the focus on Korea and access to real time transport data. Naver also looks to cater to cyclists in major cities more than Google does with its mapping application
me2day A social network / blogging platform
네이버 웹툰 NAVER Webtoons Web comic reader application
네이버 블로그 NAVER Blog Mobile app that allows blog management and creation of posts on Korea’s most popular blogging platform. Blogs in Korea are bigger than in the UK by a considerable margin
네이버사전 NAVER Dictionary Korean language dictionary and also Korean to 16 other languages dictionary to aid in foreign language usage
네이버 북스 NAVER Books Korean answer to the Amazon Kindle app
네이버 메일 NAVER Mail Dedicated email client for the Naver Mail service. Special features include messenger style stickers and deep integration with NDrive cloud storage for file transfers
네이버 뮤직 NAVER Music A Spotify-esque music client with some special features. It can play your own MP3s directly from the NDrive cloud storage service and synchs with whatever content you have bought on your PC without having to side load the content with a cable
NAVER Camera Camera application that allows in-app editing of pictures and automatic synching to the NDrive cloud service
네이버 웍스 캘린더 NAVER Works Calendar Enterprise version of Naver Calendar which supports multiple languages and time zones
네이버 웍스 드라이브 NAVER Works Drive Enterprise version of Naver cloud storage service, which seems to operate similar to YouSendIt
네이버 웍스 메일 NAVER Works Mail Enterprise version of Naver email service with a dedicated client
네이버 웍스 주소록 NAVER Works Contacts Enterprise version of Naver address book with a dedicated client
그린팩토리 NHN greenfactory NAVER corporate group mobile app with some intranet and stored currency functionality for employees
네이버 글로벌회화 영중일 NAVER Global Phrase Book (plus paid for version as well) Phrase book supporting English, Chinese and Japanese for Korean speakers
네이버포스트 – 신개념 모바일 스토리북 NAVER Post-New Concept Mobile Story Book Encourages users to write stories optimised for mobile usage. It allows the stories to be shared across LINE and KakaoTalk and see where connections are on NAVER Maps in a similar kind of way to Google Latitude or Foursquare’s Swarm
네이버 지식iN NAVER Knowledge iN Mobile client that provides a way to ask and answer questions in a Yahoo! Answers type of service
쥬니어 네이버 NAVER Junior Naver Mobile app that provides a Yahooligans! type experience including games and video content
쥬니어 네이버 NAVER Calendar Dedicated calendar application based on NAVER’s consumer-orientated calendar service
네이버 중한사전 NAVER Chinese-Korean Dictionary The name tells you everything you need to know
네이버 메모 NAVER Memo Similar to the Notes functionality that is a core part of iCloud, on the Mac and as part of iOS
네이버 TV NAVER TV Streaming TV and movies application
네이버 N드라이브 NAVER N Drive Mobile application providing cloud storage access, the smart thing with NDrive is the deep integration with other NAVER services like NAVER Music
네이버 주소록 NAVER Contacts Contact book app service similar to Apple’s address book app which manifests on iCloud and in system default apps in iOS and OSX

Netease is a Chinese online media company most associated with online gaming. It’s 163.com forum is enormously influential for technology loving Chinese.

Name English equivalent What it does
网易新闻 NetEase News A news client that pulls from a wide range of content from sports to shopping and everything in between
有道 词典 本地 增强 版 Youdao Dictionary Professional Edition Chinese English dictionary with an installed user base over 150 million. The app won a prize in 2011 from Apple for the app. The app integrates with Tencent’s messenger service QQ
网易公开课 NetEase Open Class Chinese English dictionary with an installed user base over 150 million. The app won a prize in 2011 from Apple for the app. The app integrates with Tencent’s messenger service QQ
网易云阅读-杂志新闻书籍 NetEase cloud reading – Magazine News Books Analogous to the Kindle app with 100,000+ books, 3000+ top magazine, ‘massive’ internet information and an ‘exquisite’ picture album. The app also allows the user to subscribe to friends microblogging, blog, QQ space and other social platforms
网易应用中心 Netease Application Center Focuses mostly on games
有道翻译官 Youdao Translator Translates eight languages into Chinese, you can use the camera to ‘read’ foreign text
网易轻博客 LOFTER Mobile client for a light blogging platform more like Dayre.me than Tumblr
网易轻博客 NetEase fashion magazine An e-magazine that allow you to purchase new editions in-application from with Chinese, Hong Kong, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean, British and American fashion magazines
网易博客 NetEase blog Mobile application to create and publish blog posts on the Netease platform
网易将军令 NetEase General Order A two-factor authentication app similar to an RSA tag
饭饭 Jenna A personalised restaurant and dish recommendation service
游戏精灵-你的游戏伴侣 Game Wizard A mobile gaming magazine with reviews, tips and hacks
网易房产榜- 看网易房产榜,知楼市冷暖 NetEase property list Allows the user to see property sales or rental prices as well as background information on the area in terms of the amenities in the locality
网易即时通2013 Netease Messenger 2013 A self-described ‘enterprise class’ instant messenger platform that supports Windows, Mac and iOS
Vemento Allows you to shoot one-second videos similar to Vine, but stitches them together into a bigger, longer film. It has a very flat design and colour scheme that mirrors iOS7
口袋篮球 Pocket Basketball CBA basketball news, statistics, player profiles and game schedules
网易印像拍 NetEase Photo Album It is like Istagram and iPhoto blended into one an includes printing services
iEase Translator Pro Youdao Translator version complete with OCR technology designed for English speakers
惠惠折扣日报—网易出品电商折扣精选(惠惠购物助手手机版) Huihui discount Daily Mobile coupon / group buying application
网易联系人助手 NetEase Contact Assistant Syncing contacts from NetEase mail in a simple address book type application
网易家居杂志 易品家 EaseHome Home and lifestyle mobile magazine compiled from the home section of the NetEase website
网易汽车 NetEase Car News Car mobile magazine compiled from the autos section of the NetEase website
网易邮箱- 网易官方手机邮箱 NetEase official mobile email Dedicated email client
网易电视指南-看直播,刷微博 NetEase TV Guide Live mobile TV programming
网易电视指南-看直播,刷微博 iStyle Fashion-orientated community mobile app
网易微博(官方) NetEase Weibo client Micro-blogging platform in the shadow of Tencent and Sino versions of Weibo
花田-免费聊天,交友,婚恋 Hanada A free dating community that includes chat functionality
网易云相册- 相片备份专家 NetEase cloud album Cloud photo album

Tencent has two of the dominant social platforms in China: QQ and WeChat. It is also big in online games publishing and e-commerce. QQ and WeChat both have their own app constellations

Name English equivalent What it does
微生活POS Micro Life POS Mobile point of sale terminal application
腾讯彩票 Tencent Lottery Lottery news including winning numbers
微客多门店版 Tencent Shopping Guide help traditional retailers store employees to use mobile phones to provide customers with a shopping guide
搜搜问问 SoSo Ask a knowledge search type mobile application think Yahoo! Answers meets Quora and has integration with Tencent Weibo
Goal精彩中超 Goal! Latest match results, player details and football league positions from the CSL (Chinese Soccer League)
看房 Showings Mobile application to aid Chinese house hunters covering most of the major cities in China
QQ团购 QQ Buy Closely linked to QQ messenger allows for shopping and use of discount coupons
企业QQ QQ Enterprise version Business version of QQ instant messenger
QQ便民 QQ convenience Payment handling app covering pre-paid cards, monthly subscriptions and virtual currency balance – presumably for their games portfolio as well as real-world payments
腾讯路宝 Tencent Lob Google Maps-like turn-by-turn directions with Waze-like traffic information
腾讯路宝 QQ watch the show Mobile application with Ticketmaster-type features
QQ网购 QQ Online Shopping Mobile application of a desktop online shopping site, think an online shopping mall, though much less of an audience than Tmall
腾讯微漫 Tencent Micro-Comic Mobile comic reading platform, with free to read content including Naruto and Dragonball Z
腾讯充值 Tencent Recharge Especially designed to manage a Q coin virtual currency account used in paying for games and monthly subscription services
Ps Play Allows images from PhotoShop to be transferred easily to a phone and friends, can do a screen cast of how an effect was done as a walkthrough. Probably handy for sharing memes
Storycam for WeChat A kind of Instagram companion app for the WeChat OTT messenger – mixes photo frame type effects with an ability to tell people more about the picture
创意相机 Creative Camera Allows users to edit pictures often for comedic value or giving them a cute look and then share via the QQ messenger service
wyFire Easy sharing of pictures over a local network: wi-fi connected device to wi-fi connected device
wyFire Easy sharing of pictures over a local network: wi-fi connected device to wi-fi connected device
腾讯爱看 Tencent Watch Summarizes and presents content so that the reader no longer ‘reads’ it but watches it
QQ美食 QQ Cuisine It has location based elements similar to Foursquare and discount coupon offers and ability to share location on Tencent Weibo
QQ财付通(腾讯出品 QQ Tenpay PayPal like peer to peer payments attached to a QQ messenger ID
Pitu Picture beautification – to make women’s skin look younger or better
自选股 Zishuagu Real time stock price information from Shanghai, Hong Kong and US stock markets
QQ提醒 QQ alert An alarm clock with lost of different settings and alerts
腾讯看比赛 Tencent watch the game Sports news from Chinese and international leagues
SOSO慧眼 SOSO Eye Price comparison application, it scans bar codes and QRCodes but also uses image recognition to find matching book covers etc
QQ电影票 QQ Movie Mobile cinema ticket booking app
One Browser Alternative to the built in phone web browser for international audiences
QQ Browser Alternative to the built in phone web browser for Chinese, Taiwanese and international audiences
腾讯地图 Tencent Map Car and public transport navigation with turn-by-turn directions
腾讯朋友 Tencent friend China’s first ‘real name’ social network rather like Facebook in that respect
Qpik International version of picture beautification app Pitu
WeChat Voice Companion app to WeChat. Speak into the app, pick an avatar which has an animated mouth that lip-synches the message and send to contacts
微视-8秒短视频分享 Microscopic Vine-like service that shoots 8-second videos
QQ阅读 QQ Reading Multi-format e-book reader supporting formats like epub and PDF
QQ通讯录-最快最智能的通讯录 QQ Contacts An address book based around the QQ messaging eco-system
QQ安全中心 QQ Security Centre Helps with securing details, binding the phone identity to a particular QQ account, protects game settings and other
My Cam Camera application that has HDR capabilities and Instagram-type filters
腾讯手机管家(原QQ手机管家 Tencent mobile butler A utility app which helps enhance Wi-Fi security, measure download speed and other features
We Sync iCloud-like back-up of address book, it helps users to move from an old phone to their new phone. It also allows the address book to be easily erased from a phone. It seems to be aimed at an international audience
QQ邮箱 QQ Mailbox Dedicated email client similar to Gmail
QQ Instant messaging client that comes in both domestic market and international versions
腾讯微云 Weiyun Dropbox-like cloud service
Qzone A Facebook-like social network allowing check-ins, status, video sharing, picture sharing
腾讯新闻 Tencent News A news reader application – think mobile portal as app
微信 WeChat / Weixin One of the world’s leading OTT messenger made in both domestic and international versions. It has features (some of which where borrowed from QQ) and is nipping at the heels of Whatsapp in a number of markets

More information
Feature Friday: Checking In | A VC
App Constellations | A VC

The Tizen Post

BusinessInsider published an interesting article about Samsung, the Tizen mobile operating system and Apple. Some of the assertions in the article looked over certain facts about Tizen.

What is Tizen?
Tizen is a mobile operating system based on Linux, in this respect it shares common ground with Firefox OS, Ubuntu for smartphones and Google’s Android operating system. It has gone through a number of iterations to become what it is today. Tizen can trace its development back to Intel and Nokia’s separate efforts to develop a next generation Linux-based mobile operating system. Both companies had put their weight behind WiMax rather than LTE for fourth generation mobile networks so merging their offerings into one distribution could help move things along. The merged product became Meego. Samsung merged their LiMo mobile Linux effort with Meego to create Tizen. Tizen also gained components from Samsung’s Bada operating system.

BusinessInsider assumes that Tizen is a Samsung thing
Whilst Samsung is the lead in Tizen, and has some of the technology wrapped in onerous licences,  Tizen has attracted support from other vendors. The Tizen Association includes Fujitsu and Huawei as rival vendors. Huawei is one of the largest Chinese mobile phone vendors, so competition for Samsung at the low and mid-range of it’s market.

Tizen is a premium product
Tizen could be a premium product and it could be a source of differentiation based on the user experience and performance of the software with the hardware. At the moment however it may not look that way, Tizen on phones looks suspiciously like Android on a Samsung phone. Which is interesting given that a number of Samsung challengers like HTC, Huawei and Oppo are pushing the user experience differentiation further with varying degrees of success

Secondly, the code merged in from the Bada framework was not designed for premium handsets, however you could argue that it would perform better since it was leaner on high performance devices.

What I think is more interesting about Tizen is its apparent husbanding of computing resources; the Samsung Gear 2 watch has a battery life that is reported twice to three times as long as the original Samsung Galaxy Gear. Given the size of the device, an appreciable amount of this change must be due to optimisation work that Samsung did on the Tizen operating system running on the Gear 2 compared to what it had to work with in Android on the Galaxy Gear.

As Steve Jobs said back in 2005 when discussing Apple’s move from PowerPC to Intel processors, computing was moving from performance improvements to a more nuanced performance per Watt improvements. Battery technology, in particular power density and improved battery formulations does not move at a particularly fast pace in comparison to say microprocessor design, solid state or disk storage and display design. This is the reason why Google Glass has a battery life that allows roughly 45 minutes of continuous usage.

You husband power in the product through taking a holistic approach to engineering power-saving in both the software and the hardware; it involves tight integration and control over both factors. Tizen gives Samsung more of this control than it currently enjoys with Android. This control could also help Samsung harden the security of phones for the enterprise, however Tizen isn’t unique in this regard and the defence industry has decided to go down the route of securing Android itself; a great example of this is Boeing’s Black Phone

Tizen and Google
As margins become tighter on handset manufacturers Google looks like it is likely to make more money from Android users than they will. It is the reason why both Apple and Xiaomi have a combined services and hardware sales model so that they gain from the lifetime of the consumer usage rather than just the device sale. Secondly Google is being seen as increasingly using its monopolistic power against handset manufacturers in tactics that look reminiscent of the relationship between PC manufacturers and Microsoft.

In order for Samsung to break from Google it would need to build or integrate various services; just a few years ago Samsung was considered to have the whip hand in its relationship with Google over the Android operating system and the purchase of Motorola was partly seen as a hedge against this power.

BusinessInsider suggested that Google’s sale of Motorola’s handset business to Lenovo could be read as a perception that Google feels it no longer needs that hedge and that Samsung couldn’t build services that would threaten Google. Samsung don’t seem to have achieved this so far, but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t do it in the future.

Tizen is interesting, particularly Samsung’s mastery of power management, Samsung also possesses deep pockets, for instance it could buy Jolla outright and gain a better looking operating system whilst still retaining Tizen’s compatibility with Android applications. Tizen isn’t a mobile only operating system but could be extended into Samsung’s brown and white goods product ranges and the new product categories opening up around the ‘web of no web’ from wearables to smarter out-of-home and retail marketing.

More information
Apple And Samsung’s New Tizen Strategy – Business Insider
Why Google Is Not Scared Of Samsung Forking Android – Business Insider
Samsung Announces the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, Both Run Tizen Instead of Android | Droid Life
Tizen-based Samsung Gear 2 ditches Android, adds music player (hands-on) | CNet
Samsung drops Android for Tizen in new Gear 2 smartwatches | The Verge
Hands-on with Samsung’s Tizen OS: An impressively capable Android clone | Ars Technica
Tizen signs up new allies, but still no real phone | Mobile World Congress – CNET Reviews
Tizen Association
Samsung finally folding Bada OS into Tizen | The Verge

Namyang Dairy Products consumer backlash

I had been interested in Namyang Dairy Products as I heard that they had done some interesting work raising brand awareness of their products amongst consumers using social gaming on Kakao Talk. I looked into it and it was actually a competitor. What I didn’t realise at the time was more of the back story to Namyang Dairy Products.

The company was exposed for using aggressive sales techniques with its channel partners. A middle-aged distributor made a recording of a younger Namyang Dairy Product salesman swearing at him and threatening him. This recording then went viral on the internet.
namyang dairy company
Six million Koreans said that they would boycott the brand, Namyang apologised and proposed in ways that they could make good to their distributors. The protests went on.

The Korean government which is looking to democratise entrepreneurship in the face of a chaebol-dominated economy used the opportunity to start the process of putting in place legislation that will balance the power relationships in business dealings and legislate on the bounds of appropriate behaviour. In this case Namyang made an easier target than the chaebol and allowed the government to get the legislation past the resistance of the Federation of Korean Industry

More information
Namyang Dairy under fire over ‘cuss milk incident’ | Korean Herald
Namyang Dairy Products Incident |KBS Global
6 million join Namyang boycott | Korea Times
Namyang faces widespread boycott | Korea Times
National Assembly’s June extraordinary session kicks off | Arirang News

Cheil’s bridge of light for Samsung Life Insurance

An interesting campaign for Samsung Life Insurance that turned a corporate sponsorship of a public black spot for suicides.

Whilst the campaign looks to have done very well in terms of talkability, it would be interesting to see how the client thought about, and measured return on investment.

The video is on YouTube so may not be available in all areas.

Consumer behaviour changes amongst men

Interesting collection of insights on changing behaviours and consumer attitudes amongst men from advertising group JWT: