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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nike Japan: Create with Air Max by AKQA. Japan seems to be particularly open to an augmented reality AR campaign in general. This AR campaign taps into the challenges that COVID-19 lockdown represented to creators and the wearing sneakers. The purpose of the AR campaign was three fold:

  • Reinforce the cultural aspect of the Air Max
  • Emphasise innovation in the Nike brand through the AR campaign functionality
  • Encourage customisation

More Nike related content here.

It isn’t usual to be proud of your government’s IT department. COVID Tracker Ireland on the App Store – had the highest uptake of tracker applications in a country’s population. It was based on Apple and Google’s APIs. Ireland has shared its code as an open source project – Ireland donates its COVID Tracker app to Linux Foundation. Singapore did something similar early on the year. Northern Ireland is said to be adopting Ireland’s code base for their own tracking app – Coronavirus: Northern Ireland rejects UK’s COVID-19 contact-tracing app | UK News | Sky News

Beatboxing and digital sampling technology meets meditation in this video by Yogetsu Akasaka, a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk ‘Heart Sutra’ vocal live looping remix.

How Taiwan’s Unlikely Digital Minister Hacked the Pandemic | WIRED – Audrey Tang has been doing some interesting press briefings on how the Taiwan government deals with disinformation. A lot of creativity is used; inspired by behavioural science. More on this podcast as well.

The Korean Tourism Organisation collaborates with Netflix to promote Korea as a travel destination. The ad spot highlights locations drawn from food travelogues to Korean dramas on the platform. Korean drama already has an international following, previously it has been on specialist sites and DVD boxsets. Netflix has made the potential reach for Korean dramas even larger. At least some of the Netflix audience won’t have heard of ‘hallyu’, or K-pop. Netflix had helped improve access to international dramas in general. That’s the audience that the KTO is trying to tap into with this ad creative.

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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Brands using politics as a trope. First up, Kelloggs Korea’s campaign for green onion flavour Chex breakfast cereal. They were allowing consumers to ‘vote’ for the president of Chex.

In 2004, Kellogg’s Korea decided to hold a cute little promotional contest online: an “election” to decide “the President of Chex.” The two candidates were the delicious chocolate “Chekkie,” and the hideously green “Chaka.” Chekkie promised that if they won, they would find a way to add even more chocolate to Chocolate Chex, while Chaka promised to imbue the cereal with stinky green onions. One thing the adults at Kellogg’s were sure of was that kids hate, hate, hate green onions, so Chaka would be an easy fall guy, Chekkie would emerge victorious, and Korean customers would be so excited about Chocolate Chex that they’d purchase millions of boxes.

The Takeout

A Boaty McBoatFace-type polling disaster ensued. And it inspired this tremendously trippy ad.

The second brands using politics trope example was for a grape candy brand by Mann Sales Co. I still can’t work out if its a hoax, but it was doing the rounds on a few ad planning groups. There was an interesting dichotomy. People in the ad planner groups didn’t like it because it fell down from being politically incorrect on so many levels. I personally thought that it went too close to the bone. But then I was was too conservative versus the general publics interpretation of Poundland’s naughty elf campaign. A small unscientific straw poll of friends in the US saw the funny side of it.

1908 Candy

Mann Sales Co. and 1908 Candy

Of course none of this is quite as bad as a time when I was working with Chinese clients. American colleagues used campaign marketing in democratic elections as the ultimate brands using politics as marketing trope.

They cited the use of data by the first term Obama election campaign to show how their wonkish staff could aid the client’s marketing internationally and in China. It was all about how Chinese companies could learn from democracy.

It was only when they came out of the meeting that I got to tell them that Twitter was banned in China. It was super awkward.

On work doesn’t happen at work by Jason Fried. A key quote:

 some people might say email is really distracting, I.M. is really distracting, and these other things are really distracting, but they’re distracting at a time of your own choice and your own choosing. You can quit the email app; you can’t quit your boss. You can quit I.M.; you can’t hide your manager. You can put these things away, and then you can be interrupted on your own schedule, at your own time, when you’re available, when you’re ready to go again.

Jason Fried
Jason Fried at TED

Musique Strategies – oblique and practical strategies for music – what happens when modern music production meats Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies. This has been put together by Danny Taurus, one of the unsung heroes in UK dance music production. Back in the early 1990s he founded Dansa Records which put together some banging tunes. He’s revived the label and releasing new material from his new base in Los Angeles.

I am not too sure where Apple was going with this working from home ad, but I suspect it was empathy and brand awareness. If you’re working from home, you’ll have experienced all of these challenges by now and know who your technical partners are. It is an entertaining six minutes though and sometimes that’s enough.

Apple Inc.

Finally, this video is a two-minute work of love featuring the sites and sounds of Hokkaido. It reminds me of the way Sergio Leone’s camera work as tightly linked with the music. In this video the edits and footage both move along with local sounds from Hokkaido, Japan.

NEEDaFIXER on Vimeo
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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 6 minutes

‘Chinese diplomatic failure’ as Australia’s dovish voices fall silent – Inkstone – it will be interesting to see if this Chinese diplomatic failure forces the Chinese government to alter its approach

China’s Trillion-Dollar Campaign Fuels a Tech Race With the U.S. – WSJto develop next-generation technologies as it seeks to catapult the communist nation ahead of the U.S. in critical areas. Since the start of the year, municipal governments in Beijing, Shanghai and more than a dozen other localities have pledged 6.61 trillion yuan ($935 billion) to the cause, according to a Wall Street Journal tally. Chinese companies, urged on by authorities, are also putting up money.

The mystery document holding up China’s sale of Anbang hotels | Financial Times – this reads like a Robert Ludlum novel. More China related content here.

Coronavirus: ad shift from TV to digital will speed up says Goldman – move away from brand building to activation

China Millionaire Livestreamer Viya Shows Online Shopping Future“E-commerce livestreaming,” as it’s lovingly called by analysts, will already feel familiar to many in America and elsewhere; the latest stage in an evolution from infomercial pioneer Ron “But wait, there’s more” Popeil, the Home Shopping Network, Oprah’s Book Club, and Kim Kardashian. Amazon’s been experimenting with the concept for more than a year, most recently teaming up with “Project Runway” stars Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn for a spin-off and retail tie-in that will make the show’s winning designs immediately available to buy. Facebook has been trying to get users to shop on its platform for years; in May, it announced a partnership with Shopify to help integrate buying there and on Instagram

‘Don’t waste the crisis’: EU business group presses China to open markets | South China Morning Post – European chamber’s annual survey finds companies grappling with a more politicised, state-dominated environment. Forced technology transfers also a big concern for foreign players in the country

UK businesses in China say opening measures have little impact | Financial Times – it will be interesting how much of a car crash it will be with Chinese retaliatory measures

Daring Fireball: Zoom, Still Shitting the Bed – headline nails it

Memorandum on Protecting United States Investors from Significant Risks from Chinese Companies | The White House – this has been a long time coming

AUS antitrust probes zeroing in on Google Search, rival says – CNET – questions focused on ways of requiring Google to provide alternatives to its search engine on Android and in its Chrome web browser, Weinberg told Bloomberg

A Come Back Story or a Mirage – Story of China’s Street Vendors | LinkedIn – my bro Calvin on the rise of small businesses in China

Sequoia Capital China’s Neil Shen and Softbank Vision Fund partner quit board roles at Qihoo 360 | South China Morning Post – probably something to do with Qihoo 360 being sanctioned by the US representing a wider Chinese diplomatic failure

Briefing with Senior State Department Officials on Limiting the CCP’s Ability to Steal U.S. Technologies and Intellectual Property – United States Department of State – interesting read

Nomura/Hong Kong: beyond our Ken | Financial Times – interesting how Hong Kong’s national security law could encompass a brokers ‘sell’ note on Chinese equities. This is likely to be another Chinese diplomatic failure

Huawei – Nowhere to run pt. XVI. – Radio Free Mobile – rather assumes China won’t use grey market techniques to get parts for Huawei

Huawei builds up 2-year reserve of ‘most important’ US chips – Nikkei Asian Review – not terribly surprising. I also suspect that its set up a web of front companies to buy on the grey market as well

Beijing Threatens Hong Kong’s Companies and Workers – The New York TimesChina and its allies are using threats and pressure to get business to back Beijing’s increasingly hard-line stance toward Hong Kong, leading companies to muzzle or intimidate workers who speak out in protest.Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong’s former top leader, on Friday called for a boycott of HSBC, the London bank, because it had not publicly backed Beijing’s push to enact a new national security law covering the territory

Hong Kong Filmmakers Discuss the Dire State of the HK Film Industry | JayneStars.com – this breaks my heart, having grown up on Hong Kong cinema

HKU Legal Scholarship Blog: Johannes Chan Comments on the National Security Law (RTHK English News)what constitutes ‘national security’ has never been defined. “In China they never really define what exactly is ‘national security’. So the law could change according to political expediency or political necessity,” he said. “We don’t know if it will be more clearly defined in the coming law but in accordance with their tradition and the current scope, it could be exceedingly wide,” Chan said, adding it is naive to think the law will only apply to only a small group of people. The legal scholar also said he doubts if the central government will accept unfavourable rulings by Hong Kong courts linked to the new security law

Presentation Design by 24Slides | 24Slides – interesting side service by Sheraton Hotels

GOOPiMADE – really cool Taiwanese streetwear brand

The Quietus | Missing The Jackpot: William Gibson’s Slow-Cooked Apocalypse“One thing I was curious about with Dominic Cummings,” Gibson continues, “is I wondered if he had noticed that Bigend’s mother was a Situationist – or someone who hung with the Situationists –and I wondered if he knew who they were and what their schtick was, because I somehow doubt he’d get that.” But I guess he sees himself as some sort of disruptor, shaking things up – albeit perhaps in more of a Silicon Valley kind of way, than in a Situationist vein. “But disruption is not hot anymore!” Gibson exclaims. “That’s an old meme.”

Legendary fashion bibles STREET and FRUiTS are finally online | Dazed Digital – huge online asset

How Did I Not Hate the new Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045 CGI Anime? – J-List Blogone observation J-List’s anime figure buyer made is that Netflix-funded anime rarely result in figures or other products for J-List or other anime shops to sell, and in general don’t have a “long tail” that allows anime fans to enjoy the work over many years, compared with more organically-created anime series. Sometimes this “Netflix short tail” problem is caused by the business model of streaming, which prefers to dump a whole series online at once so fans can binge it and get more addicted to the platform. One such anime was Relife, about a company that lets people return to high school and re-live a year of their lives over again, which totally failed to make a splash because it came out all at once on Netflix, rather than one episode per week

The Wizards of Buzz – WSJ OnlineThe next time you visit a buzzy Web site, see a funny video clip online or read an unusual take on the news, chances are you owe it to someone like Mr. Worthington. A new generation of hidden influencers is taking root online, fueled by a growing love affair among Web sites with letting users vote on their favorite submissions. These sites are the next wave in the social-networking craze — popularized by MySpace and Facebook. Digg is one of the most prominent of these sites, which are variously labeled social bookmarking or social news. Others include Reddit.com (recently purchased by Condé Nast), Del.icio.us (bought by Yahoo), Newsvine.com and StumbleUpon.com. Netscape relaunched last June with a similar format. The opinions of these key users have implications for advertisers shelling out money for Internet ads, trend watchers trying to understand what’s cool among young people, and companies whose products or services get plucked for notice. It’s even sparking a new form of payola, as marketers try to buy votes – from back when influencers weren’t such a malign dystopian concept of shallowness

The Infinite Heartbreak of Loving Hong Kong | The Nation – The same brutal policing tactics and authoritarian legal frameworks developed by the British to suppress leftist dissent are being recycled by Chinese authorities against pro-democracy Hong Kongers. The CCP constantly casts itself as the answer to Western imperialism. But Chinese state media now argues Hong Kong’s new national security law would improve upon the “frail” British security framework—in other words, that it wants to bolster, not dismantle, the colonial machinery of repression – interesting diacotomy in narrative. All of this compounds Chinese diplomatic failure in Australia and other western countries

Cross-Country Trends in Affective Polarization – TL;DR – no clear correlation between political polarisation and social networks

WARC | Global Ad Trends: COVID-19 & Ad Investment – advertising investment is set to fall 8.1% – $49.6bn – worldwide this year. This year’s downturn will be softer than in 2009, when the ad market fell by 12.7% ($60.5bn). Traditional media will fare far worse than online. Almost all product sectors will record a decline this year, with the most severe falls seen among travel & tourism (-31.2%), leisure & entertainment (-28.7%), financial services (-18.2%) and retail (-15.2%).