My friends at LONDON Advertising have rolled out a TV and out of home campaign for themselves. Advertising and creative agencies usually market themselves. This might be:
‘Thought leadership’ activities
It is usually consumer brand clients, or those that want to promote their corporate brand (think Oracle or Vodafone) that do TV and out of home advertising. Which makes this campaign by LONDON Advertising rather unique. The principle behind it is relatively simple, what the tech industry calls ‘Eating your own dog food’. LONDON Advertising already does advertising for the likes of Mandarin Oriental – why not do the same thing for themselves? So they’ve done TV, OOH and social channel content. The idea is that spending on the dip allowed an enhanced share of voice.
My favourite TV treatment has a voice over by Liam Neeson.
Swiss duo Yello talk about how they produced ‘Oh Yeah’ – which then became famous as part of the soundtrack to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Georgia Tech looked to bio-mimicry when designing a robot to monitor at tree level the inhabitants and environment at Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The Slothbot prices energy efficiency over speed of movement.
Cameron Paul was one of the first generation of beat mixers in San Francisco. San Francisco’s CBS affiliate eulogy manages to underplay his impact, but has some great archive footage. Cameron started DJing in 1970s San Francisco, when ‘personality DJs’ that got on the mic were the norm rather than someone who could mix.
He founded his own DJ subscription service with exclusive mixes and had his own label. (More on those at Discogs.) His remixing skills helped break Salt n Pepa’s Push It. He probably doesn’t have the profile he deserves because his sound historically was closer to freestyle than house. Here’s Cameron talking about the art of DJing in this vintage recording.
Talking of mixing, I have been listening to this mix by The Reflex for Kombini Radio which is tremendous.
EXP TV – not quite sure how to describe it, its just tremendous. In there words “EXP TV’s daytime programming is called “Video Breaks”—a video collage series featuring wild, rare, unpredictable, and ever-changing archival clips touching on every subject imaginable. Similar to how golden era MTV played music videos all day, daytime EXP TV streams non-stop, deep cut video clips filtered through our own distinct POV. Our Nite Owl programming block features specialty themed video mixes and deep dives on everything under the sun: Bigfoot, underground 80s culture, Italo disco, cults, Halloween hijinks, pre-revolutionary Iranian pop culture, midnight movies, ‘ye ye’ promo films, Soviet sci-fi, reggae rarities, psychedelic animation and local news calamities. On any given night you could watch something like our Incredibly Strange Metal show followed by a conceptual video essay like Pixel Power—our exploration of early CGI art. Aside from our unique tone and deep crate of video materials, one thing that really sets us apart in 2020 is our format. We are *not* on demand, we are *not* interactive—just like old TV! You can tune in anytime and something cool will be on. That’s EXP TV in a nutshell. It’s funny, it’s art, it’s music, it’s infotainment, it’s free and it’s 24/7.” It reminded me a lot of the pioneering night time TV programming that used to run on British TV.
Gen Z wants brands to be ‘fun,’ ‘authentic’ and ‘good,’ study says | Marketing Dive – Gen Zers prefer brands that are authentic, with 82% saying they trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising, while 72% said they’re more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes. Product quality, positive ratings and reviews and customer service are the top three characteristics that establish trust in a brand among Gen Zers – really? I am sure if you asked any cohort through time of the same age that would have come out as the result. More on ‘generations‘ here
TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong – Axios – interesting how they got out ahead of Facebook, WhatsApp etc. TikTok might feel its mainland app Douyin can be swapped in. It is an interesting canary in the coal mine for Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp etc
Luckin Coffee investors oust founder | Financial Times – this looks very similar to WireGuard. The problem is that audited books can’t be trusted due to local law. And locally written analyst reports have to self-censor allowing this kind of thing to happen. China doesn’t seem to be moving to change its law in the same way that Germany is to try and protect shareholders
Facebook Suspending Review of Hong Kong Requests for User Data – WSJ – based on the Xi administration’s concerns about national security and cyber sovereignty; one can expect China to extend Great Firewall into Hong Kong with this. Which will then impact multinational companies who have traditionally used Hong Kong as an exit point for China operation VPNs. It will also affect Hong Kong’s position as a regional base. Firms would no longer want to use the data centres and backbone networks that Hong Kong has. More from the FT: Facebook and Twitter block Hong Kong authorities from accessing user data | Financial Times – WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram have all given the Chinese Communist Party the finger. They have a strong incentive to. Chinese drop shipping businesses like Shein or Wish will suffer more than Facebook. And it plays well in parliaments and distracts from the other troubles that they may have. China gets burnt because of its information warfare games on these platforms. Facebook et al provide Chinese marketing teams a gateway into markets around the world that WeChat and TikTok don’t – which dings the Chinese government’s economic goals
Philip K Dick’s Metz speech is mind blowing. It was done at an international science fiction festival in 1977, held in Metz, France.
Did China Steal Canada’s Edge in 5G From Nortel? – Bloomberg – short answer yes. Though it probably didn’t help that they had a management team that had failed to act when they were warned about infiltration, a infrastructure business reliance on the frame relay network market and partnered with Microsoft on a lot of enterprise technology. Some fantastic stuff in this article – Did a Chinese hack kill Canada’s greatest tech company? – BNN Bloomberg – in the late 1990s, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the country’s version of the CIA, became aware of “unusual traffic,” suggesting that hackers in China were stealing data and documents from Ottawa. “We went to Nortel in Ottawa, and we told the executives, ‘They’re sucking your intellectual property out,’ ” says Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who headed the agency’s Asia-Pacific unit at the time. “They didn’t do anything.” By 2004 the hackers had breached Nortel’s uppermost ranks. The person who sent the roughly 800 documents to China appeared to be none other than Frank Dunn, Nortel’s embattled chief executive officer. Four days before Dunn was fired — fallout from an accounting scandal on his watch that forced the company to restate its financial results — someone using his login had relayed the PowerPoints and other sensitive files to an IP address registered to Shanghai Faxian Corp. It appeared to be a front company with no known business dealings with Nortel. The thief wasn’t Dunn, of course. Hackers had stolen his password and those of six others from Nortel’s prized optical unit, in which the company had invested billions of dollars. Using a script called Il.browse, the intruders swept up entire categories from Nortel’s systems: Product Development, Research and Development, Design Documents & Minutes, and more. “They were taking the whole contents of a folder — it was like a vacuum cleaner approach,” says Brian Shields, who was then a senior adviser on systems security
Burger King’s Autopilot Whopper campaign reminds me of a lot of the classic work that Crispin Porter Bogusky have done for Burger King over the years. The Autopilot Whopper is based on the insight that Tesla cars machine learning powered vision system that helps with self driving function mistakes the Burger King logo for a Stop sign.
Autopilot Whopper entertaining with this schadenfreude around Tesla technology. And it also lands the message that the Burger King drive through is as good a place to stop as any.
YouTube announced the winners of its 2020 YouTube Works awards. I would strongly recommend that any brand planners bookmark this in their browser and dip in on a regular basis.
The one that really piqued my interest the most was Hulu’s campaign for live sports that tapped into a growing consumer cynicism around influencers. The sports linkage was using NBA basketball players as the influencers.
Public Enemy came back when we most need them. Flavor Flav seems to have patched up his beef with Chuck D. Public Enemy have partnered with DJ Premier to capture the zeitgeist. Black Lives Matter, COVID19 and chaotic leadership feature in State Of The Union (STFU). DJ Premier’s product references earlier Public Enemy works scratching in sounds of early Public Enemy vocals in this track. The beat is more laid back than what one would expect from the Bomb Squad production team. But the Public Enemy fire in the belly is still there.
The step chickens are a meme driven ‘cult’ that have sprung up on TikTok. More accurately they are a directed community. Here’s the founder on how they came about. Their heat has been parleyed in a community for a new app. From a product point-of-view, this means that something like TikTok could lose chunks of its user base IF the step chickens phenomenon was widely and successfully replicated. Given that it was a mix of smarts, happenstance and pure luck it isn’t likely: sorry brands.
German China-focused think-tank MERICS had a thoughtful presentation put together on the Hong Kong national security law. The presentation focused on the impact for the financial services sector. But there similar lessons to be drawn for professional services (accounting, management consultancy, legal firms). And only for a a slightly lesser effect on the strategy and planning functions of creative agencies, or counsel based PR functions.
On reflection, I would be concerned about how some of the creative briefs for China-focused campaigns that I have written would have faired against the Hong Kong national security law. Probably not that well.
What immediately becomes apparent is the implications for quality research into companies and economics won’t meet international standards. Which means more fodder for the likes of Muddy Waters Research LLC. It likely indicates a conscious effort for China to decouple from the international financial system.
The calculus behind the Hong Kong national security law seems to be that the Chinese government think yet another (internal) market for Chinese stocks will be a better deal than the traditional gateway to and from China Hong Kong has provided. I am not sure what this bet will mean. Shenzhen already has a robust stock market by Chinese standards; would China really need Hong Kong? Without the gateway role, Hong Kong would also find it harder to be the point of capital departure from China for high net worth citizens. Dampening capital flight would definitely hold some attraction to the Xi administration.