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Five for Friday | 五日(星期五) | 금요일에 다섯 가지

Reading Time: 2 minutes

See the Unseen – Volkswagen’s Taureg advert focuses on one feature and creatively sells it. This doesn’t look like your typical car advert. It will be interesting to see if See the Unseen is a one-off or marks an industry departure of from the usual car ads. It has none of the cliches: an anonymous driver speeding over winding roads, or millennials heading for a cool night out in the city. If Unilever sold cars, this is what the ad would look like.

I hadn’t seen Coca Cola’s ‘Open’ ad before by Wieden & Kennedy. Its a very different execution that still goes back to core distinctive brand values.

I could write a good deal about it but Mediatel has done it better:

In many ways (and over many years, minus the odd deviation) this is classic Coke territory, with a direct lineage back to the 1970s blockbuster ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’: Coke as unifier, as socialiser, as harmoniser, as the vehicle through which ordinary citizens come together.

Coca-Cola: positioning, not purpose // The Attentionators

TEVA Pharmaceuticals’ ‘Hairspray’ done by VCCP is an amazing patient advocacy spot. That uses emotion in such a great way. Often its hard to get a patient advocacy film that hasn’t had the creative become bland. This was the kind of brief and piece of work that I would have loved to have done.

Rent a Pred by Adidas – interesting how they’ve integrated WhatsApp into this campaign. Slightly dodgy title but really good execution promoting the latest version of Adidas’ premium football boot.

Tokyo 2020 unveils first ever animated pictograms used in Olympics’ history. This is a beautiful piece of work that hints at the ubiquity of digital signage and the heritage of Otl Aicher’s work for the 1972 Munich Olympics – which defined a so much of late 20th century signage afterwards. Masaaki Hiromura’s designs were animated by Kota Iguchi. The lightening of the icons helps the animation to work better.

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Things that made my day this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

SAS – What is truly Scandinavian? Nothing. This was an ad done by &Co of Denmark. It’s an ad that was meant to challenge the audience and promote the benefit of travel. But I felt it got its tone wrong.

What is truly Scandinavian got backlash online. As it went towards 13,000 dislikes on YouTube, SAS took it down. This is where things get crazy:

  • SAS blamed the reaction on right-wing (possibly Russian) botnets, which it doesn’t seem to have been the case. Which begs the question can SAS be trusted?
  • The ad agency &Co had bomb threats made against their office

Update SAS have reposted the ad, it currently has 94K down votes and 10K upvotes off 782,885 views. Comments are turned off.

I have never got the chance to see Hall & Oates play live, this recording of their 1984 July 4th concert in New York shows them at their best. It’s called the Liberty concert because of the US independence day, it was held in Liberty national Park in Jersey City and one of the main sponsors was called Liberty. The event was put on to raise money for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty.

Sony goes against the romantic grain for Valentine’s Day with its latest PlayStation campaign. More information here (paywall).

South Korean TV broadcaster MBC did a documentary on a family that lost their daughter at just 7 years old. The mother agreed to say a fine goodbye to her daughter in VR. The child’s death in hospital left a big hole in their grief. Now I know it sounds mawkish but the mother said that it helped her come to terms with her child’s health. It also brought home for me the power of VR to drive emotion. I think that this is really important give how uncomfortable VR’s fit with storytelling as we understand it. More VR-related posts here.

Liam Young gave a great talk on using his art of film making to shape the future. This is particularly interesting given William Gibson’s feedback on meeting fans who worked in the tech sector:

“They’d read a book in which there didn’t actually seem to be any middle class left and in which no characters had employment. They were all criminal freelancers of one sort or another. So, it was always quite mysterious to me.”

William Gibson quoted in William Gibson — the prophet of cyberspace talks AI and climate collapse | FT

Gibson’s experience implies that steering the future through art, requires a lack of ambiguity and subtlety than good film frequently has.

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Five for Friday | 五日(星期五) | 금요일에 다섯 가지

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Adapt! did a great guerrilla wrap for Metro newspapers during the December general election. In their own words:

We designed an alternative newspaper cover wrap for the Metro. On it, we imagined a different approach to the December 2019 election – where climate change was the main focus. From front page to the sports section, we turned every tiny detail of the newspaper into a lighthearted commentary on climate change and the urgent need for a Green New Deal. Once printed the paper cover was applied to Metro newspapers and distributed across London by a large team of volunteers.

I liked this Adapt! project as it reminded me of people like Adbusters and the ethos behind much of the stuff on the Wooster Collective

Metro Guerilla wrap
Courtesy of Adapt!
Metro Guerilla wrap
Courtesy of Adapt
Metro Guerilla wrap
Courtesy of Adapt

Scotty Allen of Strange Parts went to a wholesale market in Shenzhen, China that sells everything you need for a high tech factory. This eco-system is why industrialisation isn’t going to return to the UK any time soon.

Watch out for the vibrating pans in after 8:25 that tilt components up the right way. Such a simple design solution, each one is custom made for the part that they need to work with. Seeing it in action is almost like black magic.

It’s interesting to look back through concept videos at what people thought the future might hold. This one was done in 2001 and captures the ennui of modern life. It was originally made for a Teletext conference… More on the web-of-no-web here.

Brilliant bit of work on Cheetos based on the product flaw / design feature of flavouring that gets all over your fingers. Ride on 90s nostalgia with MC Hammer and you have a Super Bowl memorable experience.

It is right up there with the Steven Siegel ad from 2004 by BBDO New York that had Mountain Dew as the hero product also featured other PepsiCo brands including Cheetos.

LinkedIn Live - the mind boggles
Screen shot from the Louis Vuitton LinkedIn live stream

LinkedIn – Louis Vuitton menswear fall/winter 2020 lifestream – its odd to see a YouTube style lifestream on LinkedIn. Engagement seems to be relatively low given Louis Vuitton’s million-plus followers. And the user experience is really out of context on a business platform.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Interesting interpretation of the current approach to online harmonisation by the Chinese government. There is an opinion that China’s censorship mechanisms are somehow overwhelmed. I don’t think that this is the case at all. Instead I believe its part of their wider approach to online harmonisation – As Virus Spreads, Anger Floods Chinese Social Media – The New York Times – this isn’t a government apparatus operating from weakness but smart: just enough venting to stop it boiling over into angry action but not enough for a Velvet Revolution. The clue is in the Chinese government’s own name for this process online harmonisation – to give a harmonious Chinese society

Shenzhen Art Museum government-sponsored exhibition
SARS medical personnel captured in Chinese government-sponsored art capturing their effort and sacrifice made for glory of the motherland and the communist party

Philips plans to hive off unit as it sets focus on healthcare sector | Financial Times – this has been a long time coming, not terribly surprised. Ten years from now I wouldn’t be surprised if Philips is leaving the medical technology industry and licencing their brand to a Shenzhen based MRI machine manufacturer….

Daring Fireball: The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10 – I think its the UX as well as multitasking. Its a consumption machine with limited creative capabilities

Nightmares on wax: the environmental impact of the vinyl revival | Music | The Guardiandigital media is physical media, too. Although digital audio files seem virtual, they rely on infrastructures of data storage, processing and transmission that have potentially higher greenhouse gas emissions than the petrochemical plastics used in the production of more obviously physical formats such as LPs – to stream music is to burn coal, uranium and gas – vegan vintage wearing gen-z will look back on streaming not only as a cultural disaster, but a planetary one. Streaming is the music industry analogue to restaurant’s plastic straws and styrofoam cups

Swiss Watch Export Growth Slows to Weakest Pace in Three Years – Bloomberg – lower end of the market has dried up, which isn’t that surprising. The Apple Watch and G-Shock are aimed at squarely at quartz manufacturers like Tissot and fashion label licencees

Witcher’s Andrzej Sapkowski’s Honest Thoughts on Netflix Show – legendary responses, you can imagine the publicity department at the publishers suffering from severe anxiety

This will probably do a lot of long term damage to China’s aspirations in Europe building up a deep level of distrust – China spy suspect casts chill over EU’s vulnerabilities | Financial Times 

Probably some of the smartest European focused thinking on China at the moment

Country life: the young female farmer who is now a top influencer in China | Life and style | The Guardian“That despair of not being able to find oneself in the ‘Chinese dream’. I don’t think she’s propaganda because one of her major successes is that she’s making that failure highly aesthetic …

Measure to limit self-checkout gets nod from Oregon Supreme Court | gazettetimes.com – not available in EU due to GDPR regulations but you get the idea from the headline

I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter by Isabel Fall : Clarkesworld Magazine – Science Fiction & Fantasy – interesting story that steps on the live wire issue of gender and identity channeled through William Gibson and Neal Stephenson. I am reminded a bit of the ‘Rat Things’ – cybernetic enhanced dogs that enjoy endless dreams during their downtime are are networked via the metaverse – in Stephenson’s Snow Crash

23andMe lays off 100 people, CEO Anne Wojcicki explains why | CNBC – surprised to see market turn… – I was surprised to see this late 20th century version of a faddish product from the Sharper Image catalogue do so well for so long given the privacy implications of it

Is Singapore’s ‘perfect’ economy coming apart? | Financial TimesMid-level jobs in manufacturing and multinational companies are disappearing and being replaced by technology and financial services roles, which are easier to fill with younger, more affordable migrants. Singaporeans like Aziz struggle to get back into the workforce. Only half of retrenched over-50s are re-employed full time within six months. Nearly three-quarters of people laid off in Singapore in the third quarter of last year, the most recently available data, were what the country classifies as professionals, managers, executives and technicians, or PMETs – I’ve been re-reading John Naisbitt’s Megatrends at the moment and its interesting how these classic knowledge worker roles have been disappearing – whereas just 30 years ago they were the future. It does make me a bit skeptical of the ‘every kid should learn how to code predictions’. The increasing consumer debt is another interesting aspect of this

The Offense-Defense Balance of Scientific Knowledge: Does Publishing AI Research Reduce Misuse? by Shevlane and Dafoe – interesting paper on identification and ethics surrounding machine learning applications

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 2 minutes

IoT Trouble: The Sonos Example — And More – Monday Note – the recent Sonos issue is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, the basic IoT issue that older equipment on a network can block security updates to newer Sonos gear. The second aspect of this relates to consumer attitudes. Early Sonos sales positioned the equipment against traditional consumer electronics brown goods like Sony, Denon, Yamaha etc. As we can see from recent products, Sonos has moved away from hi-fi to convenience. This is probably why Sonos legal action against Alphabet’s Google Chromecast and Google Home became more important.

Sonos
Early model Sonos hub and amplifier

Angelo Baque, Zainab Jama and Acyde on counterculture – The Face – interesting thoughts on immediate access and value versus gradual access and appreciation

Here are some terms to mute on Twitter to clean your timeline up a bit. · GitHub – really handy to clean up your Twitter feed

Jobs, Cook, Ive—Blevins? The Rise of Apple’s Cost Cutter – WSJ – sounds like a sociopathic knob who’d be better off working at Huawei

Facebook Says Bezos Hack May Highlight Phone Vulnerabilities – Bloomberg – Nicola Mendelsohn over at Facebook is like one of them monkeys that throws its own faeces at bystanders walking past their cage

Nutella/Ferrero: nut fluster | Financial TimesIn 2012 Ferrero agreed to set aside $3m to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by a California mother. She had been surprised and upset to learn Nutella was not a “healthy, nutritious” food. She was widely mocked – you could not make this up (paywall). More on FMCG as a topic here

MBS Taunted Jeff Bezos Over Secret Affair Before National Enquirer Expose | Daily Beast – surprised that Bezos didn’t have multiple numbers and and handsets – private and business. Also that the handsets weren’t scrubbed regularly. Some of the infosec experts commenting on the report itself are very interesting and raise more questions than answers

Mediatel: Newsline: Tess Alps: We can’t confront climate change without advertising – despite the headline this is about advertising requiring an emotional pay off

Sonos will stop issuing software updates for ‘legacy’ speakers and devices in May | TechHive – another reason why hi-fi makes more sense

LOEWE Runway Men’s Fall Winter 2020 | Fashion Show – feels curiously low res