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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: < 1 minute

I didn’t want to talk about space aliens. Given that some people are currently beating up on network engineers and destroying 5G network infrastructure, this art project about space aliens and electro-magnetic radiation might be considered to be a bit close to the bone. Space Aliens are no longer visiting Earth due to an allergy to our cell phones – the storytelling neatly taps neatly into the cold war and X-Files peak of alien abduction and combines it with ambient music.

Keep It Real Online is a great campaign by the New Zealand government highlighting the risk and appropriate action parents can take regarding online behaviour.

Keep It Real Online – New Zealand government

YouTube channel Awkward Puppets has become active again over the past couple of months. Imagine if Sesame Street characters grew into awkward post-modern adults.

Maybelline Launches ‘Spread Good Vibes’ COVID-19 Campaign in Thailand Branding in Asia | Branding Asia Magazine – a lovely bit of insight: that make-up and mutual social affirmation ‘good vibes’ will do wonders for how we feel during COVID-19. It also taps into Thai women’s love of beauty products. The execution was nicely done using augmented reality. The campaign was done by MRM for Maybelline-Thailand. More Thai-related posts.


Ali Goldsworthy was on BBC Radio 4: Four Thought. She explained why campaigns which succeed by polarising people can cause long-term harm, and suggests ways we might tackle the resulting damage.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Were TikTokers and K-pop stans really behind Trump’s low rally turnout? | DazedThere’s no way to prove whether the fake bookings caused genuine Trump supporters to lose seats. Many have attributed the low turnout to Trump’s failing campaign, with Bernie Sanders tweeting: “Maybe people are catching on that he is a pathological liar and a fraud.” Others have cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as reducing turnout, with mass gatherings still not deemed safe (six campaign staffers later tested positive for COVID-19) – the catchy story about K-pop stans might be obscuring a more interesting story: that Trump just doesn’t have stadium filling power anymore. More Korea related stories here.

Rocky start for Land Rover’s new Defender | Financial TimesDespite being configured online 1.6m times by enthusiasts, only 11,000 customer orders have been placed for the car so far, with a further 11,000 test-drive cars ordered by dealers, according to JLR’s annual results – fascinating insight in terms of website conversion numbers for the Land Rover

Facts vs feelings in the BLM debate – UnHerd – so much to unpack here, not all of which I agree with wholeheartedly. But we need dialogue and debate more than slogans

Quite apart of the inappropriateness of defining segments by ‘generations’ some of the economic data in these presentations are quite interesting. I would challenge their assumptions about attitudes over time made in the video.

Hong Kong families prepare to flee the city, fearing a reign of terror from Beijing – The Washington PostTheir departure is so hurried that Ho has yet to assess school options for her two children. Her husband does not know what he will do in Taiwan, which lacks a financial sector comparable with Hong Kong’s. But even working at a restaurant would be acceptable. “Having my freedom of speech is worth more,” he said. – this shows pure fear in the face of evil. Its like refugees in pre-war Europe facing fascism

How Diversifying Channels Can Help Retailers and Consumer Goods Brands Survive Covid-19 | Ogilvy – could we see a diversification beyond digital focus. Market penetration is key for marketing growth

Solving online events — Benedict EvansNo-one has ever really managed to take a networking event and put it online. You certainly can’t just make a text chat channel for everyone watching the video stream and claim that’s as the same as a cocktail party. Equally, I can go up to a booth on the Qualcomm or Ericsson stand at MWC, wait my turn and then ask an engineer lots of questions, but how do we do that online? I could book a sales call, but that’s not the same at all.

Mediatel: Mediatel News: Export to surviveAccording to Ad Association, UK advertising exports hit £7.9bn in 2018, a 15% increase on the year before. They’re growing faster than other services exports and, surprisingly to me at any rate, the growth rate has accelerated since Brexit – but the Brexit restrictions haven’t kicked in yet

Group M forecasts 12.5% decline in UK ad market – I was expecting a greater decline

China is setting itself up to win cold war 2.0 | Financial TimesAt the height of the cold war in 1963, the US federal government spent more on research and development than the rest of the world’s public and private sectors combined, Mr Atkinson says. Today, it spends less on R&D as a proportion of gross domestic product than it did in 1955

Indonesia says China’s ‘nine-dash line’ puts its interests at risk | Financial Times – interesting

Instagram ‘will overtake Twitter as a news source’ – BBC News – when this happens the rationale for Twitter fades away

Behind China’s Twitter Campaign, a Murky Supporting Chorus – The New York TimesNo doubt some of these accounts are run by patriotic, tech-savvy Chinese people who get around their government’s ban on Twitter and other Western platforms. But an analysis by The New York Times found that many of the accounts behaved with a single-mindedness that could suggest a coordinated campaign of the type that nation states have carried out on Twitter in the past. Of the roughly 4,600 accounts that reposted China’s leading envoys and state-run news outlets during a recent week, many acted suspiciously, The Times found. One in six tweeted with extremely high frequency despite having few followers, as if they were being used as loudspeakers, not as sharing platforms – surprised that the bots don’t mutually follow each other as social proof

TSMC at the head of history’s tide: two high walls and one sharp knife – China AI – translated from a Chinese article

Nearly a third of all online ads in China invalid: report | Advertising | Campaign Asia31.9% of all online advertising traffic in China was invalid last year according to Miaozhen Systems. Worth RMB 28 billion. 57.5% of KOL fans are fraudulent – I thought that this could be even higher

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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Sophisticated card skimming in Mexico by a Romanian criminal gang was first highlighted by Brian Krebs. This documentary was produced by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and features Brian Krebs. It is amazing how audacious this sophisticated card skimming scheme was.

Sophisticated card skimming in Mexico with Romanian criminal gang.

Adam and Eve DDB’s Les Binet on COVID-19 and recommendations on marketing. Much of it is more common sense and nuanced consideration than simple rules by other people. The key outtakes here compared to some of the stuff that I have seen coming out of Ogilvy Asia is the differentiation between supply-side driven recession and demand-side driven recession.

Elders Corner is a documentary that focuses on the political context that Afrobeat exists and had been played in. It tells the stories of Nigeria’s musicians who pioneered the Afrobeat sound and the role of their music in society during a time of tremendous political upheaval.

Asian brands really seem to have taken to Animal Crossing, with a Hong Kong eatery hiring a marketer to build their Animal Crossing presence. The Global Pride festival seems to be no exception to brands and culture going into Animal Crossing. The creator tools allows creative expression that works really well for Pride month celebrations.

In the same week that Boston Dynamics released their ‘Spot’ robot, a Thai shopping mall are doing an interesting exercise in human computer interaction featured in the Singapore media Robot dog hounds Thai shoppers to keep hands virus-free – TODAYonline. I’d love to know if they managed to gather effectiveness data around this initiative. The only thing that surprised me about this was that it was a Thai shopping mall, rather than one in Singapore.