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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nike Japan: Create with Air Max by AKQA. Japan seems to be particularly open to an augmented reality AR campaign in general. This AR campaign taps into the challenges that COVID-19 lockdown represented to creators and the wearing sneakers. The purpose of the AR campaign was three fold:

  • Reinforce the cultural aspect of the Air Max
  • Emphasise innovation in the Nike brand through the AR campaign functionality
  • Encourage customisation

More Nike related content here.

It isn’t usual to be proud of your government’s IT department. COVID Tracker Ireland on the App Store – had the highest uptake of tracker applications in a country’s population. It was based on Apple and Google’s APIs. Ireland has shared its code as an open source project – Ireland donates its COVID Tracker app to Linux Foundation. Singapore did something similar early on the year. Northern Ireland is said to be adopting Ireland’s code base for their own tracking app – Coronavirus: Northern Ireland rejects UK’s COVID-19 contact-tracing app | UK News | Sky News

Beatboxing and digital sampling technology meets meditation in this video by Yogetsu Akasaka, a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk ‘Heart Sutra’ vocal live looping remix.

How Taiwan’s Unlikely Digital Minister Hacked the Pandemic | WIRED – Audrey Tang has been doing some interesting press briefings on how the Taiwan government deals with disinformation. A lot of creativity is used; inspired by behavioural science. More on this podcast as well.

The Korean Tourism Organisation collaborates with Netflix to promote Korea as a travel destination. The ad spot highlights locations drawn from food travelogues to Korean dramas on the platform. Korean drama already has an international following, previously it has been on specialist sites and DVD boxsets. Netflix has made the potential reach for Korean dramas even larger. At least some of the Netflix audience won’t have heard of ‘hallyu’, or K-pop. Netflix had helped improve access to international dramas in general. That’s the audience that the KTO is trying to tap into with this ad creative.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Venture Capital and Cleantech: The Wrong Model for Clean Energy Innovation by Gaddy, Sivaram and O’Sullivan – venture capital investment is very inefficient according to this MIT paper. More venture capital related posts here.

Why business in Hong Kong should be worried | The Economist – Hong Kong is trapped like the grips of vice. Its economy is dominated by finance and rent-seeking businesses – Simon Cartledge for Gavekal Dragonomics, a consultancy, because these firms are over-represented in government, “Hong Kong’s single biggest disincentive to risk-taking and entrepreneurship—its high costs, especially for property—cannot be tackled.” That is why the back-to-business message is unlikely to resonate with ordinary Hong Kongers. This is probably why Hong Kong start-ups like DJI moved to Shenzhen to found their businesses. (Frank Wang did a lot of the key work on DJI drones whilst studying at HKUST. And even benefited from a small HKUST grant. But he moved across to Shenzhen to found the business itself in 2006.) Fintech has been a bit of a busted flush. It was the latest in a long line of business ideas like wine trading, the arts and medical tourism as failed niches for Hong Kong. Singapore seems to have been much more successful in business creation and seems to be seeing more venture capital interest. Current sectors in Hong Kong likely to be affected include the legal practices specialising in commercial arbitration. Without trustworthy commercial arbitration in Hong Kong doing business in China looks much less attractive. Singapore is trying to bridge the gap, but I suspect that there might be long term corrosion of Chinese business dealings. Digital companies and foreign banks face big worries. Between the Hong Kong Autonomy Act and the Hong Kong National Security Law – Helping America to enforce sanctions would violate the security law. Not doing so would incur American penalties

The untold story of Stripe, the secretive $20bn startup driving Apple, Amazon and Facebook | WIRED UK – what’s more interesting about Stripe is the brothers reading list

Remarks to the Economic Club of New York – United States Department of State – interesting speech by Mike Pompeo

What It’s Like to Escape the Mindset of a Conspiracy Theorist – Vice – fascinating psychology

Barr warns against corporate America’s China ‘appeasement’ | Financial Times“You should be alert to how you might be used, and how your efforts on behalf of a foreign company or government could implicate the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” he said, referencing a 1938 law that requires foreign agents to publicly identify themselves – those comments hit US banks, Apple and other US multinationals. Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers Remarks on China Policy at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum | OPA | Department of Justice – the US C-suite executives must be getting very worried about this

Quisling

The State of Strategy. A view from the Frontline | Noteworthy – The Journal Blog – great read and nails the issues affecting strategy and planning at the moment

Mark Ritson: In a virtual marketplace, only the strongest brands will survive – Companies see better profit margins and an almost unlimited customer base but miss the drastic reduction in barriers to entry. – so brand hyper-competition will ensue and the winner takes all model will extend beyond tech. Expect venture capital money to pour all kinds of weird industry niches as they try to pick category winners

WeChat users in the US say a potential ban of the app would cut them off from friends and family in China | South China Morning Post – Banning it might be a mistake. It would be more worthwhile using WeChat data to investigate Chinese in the US with ‘anti American’ sentiment as it’s easy to surveill in comparison to other platforms. WeChat sends messages in the clear with no encryption at all. You then start using the Espionage Act or the Patriot Act prosecutions

Chinese liquor group Kweichow Moutai tumbles after graft news report | Financial Times – Moutai sales are linked to gifting and lavish consumption and some have linked the share price increase with a corresponding uplift in sales and by implication graft. The damaging bit in the article is that Moutai’s former chairman Yuan Renguo quoted saying in private that sales linked to corruption are “a normal part of business” and that China’s corruption clampdown would not reach far enough to affect the company’s business

Banning junk food from TV an ‘irrelevant symbolic gesture’ that won’t reduce obesity | The Drum – the argument whilst true won’t be believed by regulators. Their rationale would be why would junk food companies advertise if it didn’t work? The distinction of this is junk food brand fighting out with similar brands in its category won’t wash. Secondly, advertising bans worked in the past on tobacco products over time

The party’s grip – Under a new national-security law, Hong Kong is already a changed city | The Economist – you have to wonder about the share run and will the pop of the bubble be blamed on ‘foreign interference’?

Outrage Over China’s Treatment of Hong Kong Galvanizes the West – WSJComplaints about China have piled up in Western capitals in recent years, but it took Beijing’s new curbs on Hong Kong’s autonomy to galvanize them around something approaching a common cause. – In many respects its like boiling a frog in reverse, it is likely that China didn’t expect the frog to jump out of the pot, given that the heat had been on so long

Opinion | A Coronavirus Care Package From China – The New York TimesAfter the Communist takeover in 1949, traditional Chinese medicine was institutionalized. Folk remedies helped fulfill both a tangible need — credentialed doctors were scarce — and an ideological end: That system of knowledge is quintessentially and uniquely Chinese.  Today, the Chinese government sees a political opportunity in the continuing emotional appeal of traditional medicine. If Chinese people can embrace an Eastern alternative to Western medicine, they might also be more likely to accept the Communist Party’s governance model and reject liberal democracy

Speaking in Tongues – Chinese Storytellers – such a great essay on the current challenge facing Chinese (and in particular Hong Kongers) writing for foreign audiences: a Chinese storyteller telling stories for an English-speaking audience in a divided world. As a writer who has called Hong Kong, Beijing and New Haven home, I find myself often in the position of what Zadie Smith once called “speaking in tongues”: equivocating between the lens of the insider and the outsider, examining the places I call home with both the “objective,” parachuted gaze of the foreign correspondent, and the emotionally implicated and invested eye of the local storyteller. Increasingly, that has felt impossible

Google considers alternatives to Hong Kong for undersea cable | Financial Times – Hong Kong has – become less critical for not only US cloud providers but also their Chinese rivals, according to Tao Wu, a senior research analyst for Gartner, a tech research firm. “Singapore has become much more important than Hong Kong from a location and population perspective,” Ms Wu said. “Other top cloud providers such as Alibaba Cloud are much more focused on south-east Asia to go global than expanding in Hong Kong.” – this will have a big impact for those property developers who’ve invested in data centres (internet hotels). Hong Kong’s financial position for international trading desks will also be diminished if international telecoms infrastructure starts to divert away from Hong Kong. From a pure connectivity point of view Korea, Singapore and even the Philippines start to look really good

Categories
中国 | china | 중국 初 | hygiene | 기본 市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅 思想 | ideas | 생각 日本 | japan | 일본 铭记 | branding | 브랜드 마케팅 한국 | korea | 韩国

Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.

The Takeout

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.

1908 Candy

Mann Sales Co. and 1908 Candy

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.

Jason Fried
Jason Fried at TED

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.

Apple Inc.

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.

NEEDaFIXER on Vimeo