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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ian Murray of House 51 takes on some marketing sacred cows such as brand purpose in The Empathy Delusion. His presentation sets out to show how different marketing and agency folk are from the general public. Positive traits, like the gumption to move to London put a difference between them and the general public. This is just one aspect that Murray touches on when talking about The Empathy Delusion.

I was recommended Economy Candy in New York. Their collection of vintage trading cards is a site to behold. The film tie-ins from Back To The Future and ET to Howard The Duck are tremendous.

Local Hong Kong group StreetSignHK are featured on this video of the process that goes into saving Hong Kong’s neon signage. The biggest threat seems to be building regulation bureaucracy rather than technology.

I loved the style of this 1980s vintage Mercedes sales training video, presumably for American dealerships.

I was reminiscing about The Site. This used to run on CNBC Europe when I was in college and provided a window into the early net. Soledad O’Brien has gone on to produce documentaries. Leo Laporte who played the Dev Null* character is now better known for his technology podcasts. (Technically it should be /dev/null* for maximum geek humour.) The programme sat at a sweet spot. The web was small, but inaccessible to many of the viewers. AOL and CompuServe were just taking off. I had net access in college and used that to take a look at their online recommendations at the time.

The Site pioneered virtual characters and offline integration of programming with its own site. Dev Null now has a kind of PlayStation 1 vibe to him. But this was all new stuff. Terminator 2 had been in the cinemas five years earlier and blow people away with its animation.

The year after we had the virtual world of The Lawnmower man. Lawnmower Man brought to life the kind of virtual world on screen that had previously only existed in the works of authors like William Gibson and Vernor Vinge.

Then in 1995, there was Hackers that tapped into gen-x youth culture (X-Games, Oakley T-wire glasses, the psychedelic side of rave culture) to create a connected world closer to our own now.

This all explains the look and feel of The Site and its role in helping the general public to experience online. What I didn’t realise is that the show was run on one dial-up modem. This around about the time when I worked in my first agency with a 1MB T1 line – and that was hard enough. I am not sure how the programme researchers, broadcast production team and web producers managed on 1 dial-up line.

More on online culture here.