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Things that caught my eye this week

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Upcycling a Tokyo Metro train into a coffee vending machine. Suntory Coffee collaborated with Tokyo Metro on a one-off vending machine based on parts of a decommissioned train. The level of detail that they put in is amazing. Trains have a big part of modern Japanese city life. Japan has more railways and more train travel than most other countries. It was part of a concerted post war strategy that saw the creation of the bullet train and a wide range of commuter railway lines. It stands in stark contrast to a post-Beecham report train system in the UK. More Japan-related posts here.

via Sora News 24
Chipotle
Chipotle by Mike Mozart

Chipotle hosts virtual lunch hangouts amid pandemic | Contagious – Chipotle tapped into the widespread use of Zoom to develop virtual lunches. They might do food but they also realise that work lunch has social aspects. As far as I know this was the first consumer marketing campaign on Zoom and shows what an agile marketing team can do. It would be interesting to see if there is any marketing effectiveness data around the campaign in the future.

Adidas GMR tech combines sport and gaming | Contagious – interesting combination of wearable, gaming and locative technologies. It also shows the potential of what Nike Plus could achieve with this arguably wider existing customer base.

Lil Mariko’s ‘Where’s my Juul?’ blew up for a second time. The first time was due to the anxiety of jonesing for that nicotine fix. The second time is because it perfectly expresses cabin fever. Mariko Zhang is the full package in this video. The song slips somewhere between EDM and BabyMetal.

Channeling cabin fever

The guys over at Zak have launched a new video series of interviews and episode one covers young people around the world coping with lockdown.

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Things that caught my eye last week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Whilst the world is becoming ever more digital, the book publishing industry has remained print focused due to customer demand. This is a great segment from CNBC that goes into it in more depth.

Dina Amin’s stop-motion assembly and disassembly video of everyday objects caught my eye. I would be surprised if this doesn’t show up in future ad agency work concepts.

What’s inside by Dina Amin.

Even my lack of expertise in gaming means that I have heard of Crash Bandicoot. What’s interesting in this video is how the development of Crash Bandicoot for the original PlayStation is similar to getting software to work on early PCs. Crash Bandicoot was one of a handful of titles that drove PlayStation popularity.

How Crash Bandicoot hacked the original PlayStation from Ars Technical’s

I did some initial work on dental health campaigns in APAC. It fell apart due to politics within my own agency, making us unable to collaborate with our colleagues at Red Fuse. Our agency was appointed for social media marketing work; but we couldn’t get anything out the door. During that time I came across some really smart people working in this space. This is why work like this: Colgate Ice Cream and Candy – The Inspiration Room made me smile. Great insight, simple execution in collaboration with confectionery companies ensuring a win-win outcome.

Greg Girard’s street photography from Tokyo in the 1970s feels like postcards from the future – check out these previews from a forthcoming book of his work: Rare 1970s Street Photography from Tokyo Published in New Photo Book. You can see more Japan related posts here.  

I’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future, but will be working hard to try and keep this blog as free of coronavirus-related content as I can.

I am not a virologist, so my expertise doesn’t matter. I do know about the media and social platforms. You will see contradictory information, confusion and uncertainty. A classic example is the way hoarding toilet paper became a self-perpetuating meme.

While I am working from home, I don’t imagine that it will be too much of a trial as the office environment itself has become ever more digital. I am going to use the time that I’d have spent commuting to improve my reading. I have a stack of unread books that won’t read themselves. I may even explore the ideas from them here with you my reader(s).

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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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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

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Mark Ritson: Coronavirus won’t hurt Corona, it will actually boost salesdifferentiation, particularly at the symbolic level, was overstated. Any evidence that people perceived Brand A as vastly different from Brand B could be largely explained by its size and prior purchase experiences. Purchase caused brand image, not vice versa. Ergo building a brand image was waste of marketing effort. The big job of brand was to create salience, so a brand came to mind in buying situations.

Pandemic brands – Wunderman Thompson Intelligence – nice counter-cyclical brand building and CSR during the corona virus outbreak

Terabytes Of Stolen Adult Content From OnlyFans Have LeakedThere are communities on Reddit and Telegram dedicated to cracking performers’ accounts and sharing the content without their consent. Many of those videos eventually make their way to various tube sites. A similarly large, though different, OnlyFans leak was posted last Saturday to forums dedicated to cracking and leaking pirated content – that is one of the bleakest things that I’ve read in a good while

Nando’s-inspired sex slang used by girls as young as 10 | Technology | The Guardian – you’ve got to wonder about what other level of monitoring and censorship is going on. I find this monitoring of kids distasteful.

Second-hand clothes sales: fashion forward | Financial Times – vintage all over again

porsche to print giant fingerprints of customers onto hood of 911 sport cars | Designboom – not sure I think its smart to post a copy of a biometric data on the bonnet of your car. These are the kind of people rich enough to personal safes and secure rooms with finger print locks. I’ve got visions of hackers working out how to take advantage of this

IBM and Microsoft sign Vatican pledge for ethical AI | Financial Timesthe pledge, called the “Rome Call for AI Ethics”, will be presented on Friday morning to Pope Francis by Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, and John Kelly, IBM’s executive vice-president, as well as Vatican officials and Qu Dongyu, the Chinese director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation – so it wasn’t a Vatican driven initiative after all but a public affairs exercise

Baidu/tech groups: traffic warning | Financial TimesBut higher traffic does not equate to higher income for search platforms. The contrast is with gaming, where more time playing means surging in-game purchases. For Baidu, which makes about three-quarters of total revenue from advertising, that is bad news. Even before the outbreak, a slowdown in China had trimmed the advertising budgets of clients. Marketing campaigns have now been cut further. Cancelled events and concerts contribute to the malaise. Baidu’s biggest clients, which include online gaming companies, real estate developers and plastic surgery clinics, have little incentive to advertise. A surge in new sign-ups for online games means fewer game ads are needed. Demand for homes has plunged and some cities have banned home sales altogether. Plastic surgery clinics, a lucrative source of core ad revenues, are taking a hit.

Twitter is testing new ways to fight misinformation — including a community-based points system – sounds curiously like Cory Doctorow’s concept of whuffie

How to deliver the personalization consumers want while respecting the privacy they expect | Think with Google – I am not convinced by the focus on mass personalisation. What about brand, culture etc?

Ogilvy brings on global executive creative directors for Instagram | Campaign Asia – God help us

Volvo Trucks – The Tower By Forsman & Bodenfors, Sweden – THEINSPIRATION.COM – interesting that they got the head of their business directly involved

Did America Forget How to Make the H-Bomb? – Mother Jones – and things are probably worse with processes reliant on electronic records

Chinese navy accused of using laser on US military aircraft | Financial Times – This reads like something from a William Gibson novel

Otl Aicher: The Olympic Designer Who Shaped Your Journey To The Toilet – FlashbakLike a paperclip, we don’t think of Aicher’s pictograms as designed objects per se, but rather as the objects themselves. The chairs we own are someone’s take on a chair. That’s not the case with the average, everyday paperclip. It is what it is, a paperclip. That’s it. Objects at this level of comprehension are simply there. They feel as though they have always been there, and did so from the moment they were presented to the masses. In every country, in every city, they are simply there. In the case of Aicher’s icons they’ve become shorthand that everyone can understand, a set of simple shapes that successfully tells us where to go when we need to use a bathroom. – pretty much sums it up

Google tops Facebook, Instagram in e-commerce activity, study finds | Mobile Marketer – context wins, but guessing that this may vary by category

LinkedIn | Balenciaga Summer 2020 collection video – Jay Owens – This is a genius bit of media buying for a collection themed around power and power dressing. The catwalk show saw private equity associates, architects & engineers stalk an EU-blue stage set like a parliamentary building. Advertising on LinkedIn now is just 👌– nails context

Featured Customer – Oscar the Grouch – Squarespace – I used to hate writing case studies for technology companies at the start of my career, but I do like this one that Squarespace did for Oscar the Grouch

How Japan’s family businesses use sons-in-law to bring in new blood | Financial TimesFor hundreds of years, owners of Japanese companies have been adopting their sons-in-law as a way to recruit talent — a practice known as mukoyoshi — giving rise to the saying “You can’t choose your sons, but you can choose your sons-in-law”. The histories of zaibatsu (conglomerate) families such as Sumitomo, Mitsui and Iwasaki (of the Mitsubishi group) are studded with adopted relatives and sons-in-law

The Sun posts £68m loss as it pays out £27m in legal costs over phone-hacking scandalHowever, revenue at News Group Newspapers for the 52 weeks ending 30 June 2019 were up, with total turnover growing to £420m in 2019 from £401.4m in 2018. Circulation of The Sun was down to 1.38 million last year from 1.51 million in 2018, and fell to 1.16 million from 1.28 million for The Sun on Sunday. – so despite revenue increasing losses were up. You also have to wonder how sustainable revenue increases can be with a declining audience

Smartphone startups take on Google, Apple and put privacy first | DW – I just can’t see these taking off. Interesting data on Google and consumer attitudes

How Adidas is using WhatsApp as a direct marketing channel – DigidayThe most recent example of the strategy was the “100% Unfair Predator” campaign. Earlier this month, Adidas opened up a hotline on WhatsApp for people in need of a footballer to cover for unreliable teammates on their team. Adidas-sponsored players were made available for games last week once fans had shared some basic information with the hotline such as the game they need the player for. The company’s marketers would notify fans on the morning of their game if their request was successful. The rented players turned up dressed in Adidas’ new Predator20 Mutator footwear. “We know our audience use it to share fixture info, team selection — and team-mates messaging to find last-minute replacements,” said Coveney. “WhatsApp was perfect for the more functional elements of the ‘Rent-a-Pred’ hotline as it allowed consumers to share private information one-to-one with us for review, before being allocated a Predator player near them.”

Unilever kicks off strategic review of personal-care brands | Campaign Live – this could get interesting

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初 | hygiene | 기본 媒体与艺术 | culture | 미디어와 예술 工艺学 | technology | 기술 日本 | japan | 일본 艺术与设计 | design | 예술과 디자인

Things that made my day this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

American infrastructure is critiqued in a Vice documentary. In order to make it fit for purpose there would cost $4 trillion. That’s the cost of a couple of Afghanistan conflicts. It is stunning how bad American infrastructure is. The video is well worth watching in a grimly fascinating kind of way.

Before Vin Diesel was an actor, or a night club doorman, he was a dancer. He made an appearance in a video on how to breakdance. It is a symphony of old school Adidas.

Mark Vincent aka Vin Diesel in How to Break Dance video

The other week, Larry Tesler died. Tesler was a technologist that spanned Silicon Valley from Xerox PARC to Web 2.0. He is best known for non-modal computing. The move from modal to non-modal computing was Apple’s Lisa. The Lisa was an expensive workstation version on many of the concepts that went into the Apple Mac. It failed for a number of reasons. Part of which was cost and third party software support. Without the Lisa, Apple couldn’t have developed the Mac. John Couch and David Larson discuss the development period of the Apple Lisa.

I am a huge fan of The Avalanches. So I was going to give We Will Always Love You a listen. It is interesting that they’ve gone with an iTunes / WinAmp visualisation for their video. Ten years back iTunes and WinAmp used to have custom visualisers made. Brands like Relentless energy drink did really interesting things with them. I’d love to see visualisers become an area of further innovation.

The Avalanches – We will always love you

nendo designs coffee beans gacha gacha capsule vending machines at self-serve cafe | Japan Trends – we can have the argument about the relative merits of capsule coffee. I am not a fan, but this self service cafe is beautiful.