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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 It was originally made for a Teletext conference… More on the web-of-no-web here.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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Jargon watch: yellow economic cycle

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The yellow economic cycle has manifested itself as a positive boycott.

The anti ELAB protest movement in Hong Kong exposed the fracture lines between pro-Beijing (blue) and pro-Hong Kong sides (yellow). Some of Hong Kong business community came out and criticised the protestors. This resulted in consumers boycotting their business.

Maxim’s

The classic example of this was when Annie Wu criticised Hong Kong protestors. Wu’s father James co-founded Maxim’s Caterers Limited. Maxim’s is has a wide range of restaurants for all budgets. It also owns bakeries, provides catering for universities and businesses. Maxim’s even has a joint venture with Starbucks. Starbucks coffee shops in Hong Kong and southern China are run by this joint venture called Coffee Concepts.

Mainland businesses, especially Chinese state-owned enterprises like China Mobile and Bank of China were defaced by protestors. McDonalds restaurants in Hong Kong and China are majority owned by CITIC – a Chinese state-owned investment company.

Garden Bakery

Garden Bakery’s Life bread ended up becoming a yellow brand by default when it was criticised by members of the Hong Kong Police. Hong Kong protestors rallied around and even brought along loaves to demonstrations.

#AnywhereButChina Challenge

Consumers bought everyday products that weren’t made in China and shared the product and its country of origin online. This becomes quite tricky as products from western brands like Wrigley chewing gum or pair of Nike sneakers could be made in China.

It’s particularly interesting as it raises questions about long term perception of quality. Back before the protests when I was living in Hong Kong LG and Samsung smartphones being sold advertised with pride that they were made in Korea. It was a similar story with high-end Sony TV sets. #AnywhereButChina channels China’s political and quality related issues in one meme.

Solidarity with their customers

Many small businesses in Hong Kong started to do what they could for their young customers. And the customers paid them back with loyalty. By trying spend their money only in yellow businesses and avoid blue ones by creating a yellow economic cycle.

Yellow economic circle

Online assets were created to point customers in the right direction. Here is one of the posters that have been circulating on Twitter. The use of QRcodes is much more common in east Asia than Europe. The code takes you through to a Google Maps overlay of Hong Kong featuring Yellow businesses which would be preferable to shop and eat at. Green businesses which are preferable to blue businesses. Blue businesses will be avoided wherever possible.

Reviews of yellow shops and restaurants on review sites like Open Rice have been poisoned by pro-government supporters placing bad reviews and protestors piling in to defend their yellow economic circle members. At its worst, even the most hardened Wikipedia editor would be daunted by the pitched battles going on.