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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

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Listening in – Podcasting provides a space for free thought in China | China | The Economist – I suspect that podcasting will represent a new frontier in censorship for Chinese regulators. China has an eco-system that allows paid subscription via podcasting platforms for experts in different fields such as business or investing. More China-related content here.

Mike Pompeo renews attack on HSBC as bank walks line between US and China | Financial Times – HSBC is about to get a lot of trouble coming its way. It has managed to make enemies of the Chinese government over Huawei, the US government over Hong Kong sanctions busting and the UK government over its support of the Hong Kong national security law. I don’t think that they will be able to wriggle out of the mess that they have got themselves into

Chinese Diplomats Helped Military Scholars Visiting the U.S. Evade FBI Scrutiny, U.S. Says – WSJ – not terribly surprising

Can virtual fit technology step up and replace fitting rooms? | Vogue Business – this could also accelerate the move to digital

Alibaba wants American brands. The same ones as Amazon | Vogue Business – this could kill JD.com and Amazon China

Rolls-Royce unveils “confident but quiet” rebrand by Pentagram – move away from skeuomorphic 3D branding lends itself better for apps online etc etc

Are creatives better at creativity? | Contagious – While we’re always interested in the nature of creativity, it’s important to put experiments like these into perspective – there’s a lot more to being an agency creative than what was tested here. After all, being good at keep-ups doesn’t mean you can play professional football.

Tech war chronicles: How a Silicon Valley chip pioneer landed in China  – Reuters – really interesting. MIPS, SPARC and RISC-V are arguably better architectures than ARM’s Core series of processors. MIPS has been ubiquitous in high performance computing to embedded electronics. It is very well understood, in terms of both design and writing software for it

Wilderness of Mirrors – The Burning Shore – great meditation on the nature of conspiracy theories and culture

KFC temporarily drops ‘finger lickin’ slogan in first global campaign – KFC believes its slogan is “inappropriate” at a time when hygiene is top of mind and so is dropping it temporarily, but is on the lookout for an interim replacement.

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Things that caught my eye this week

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Indonesia is a fascinating place in and of itself and comes up with all kinds of cultural nuggets. The latest one that I came across was the Vespa Extreme moped sub-culture. Vespa scooters are plentiful in Indonesia, as is the desire to invent. Car tuning culture is big amongst the middle class. But for those who need something more affordable Vespa Extreme builds are a site to behold. The South China Morning Post put together this great documentary film on the Vespa Extreme culture and its riders.

Like car culture there are meet-ups, cruises and even festivals organised.

Vespa Extreme Culture.

About half of the mobile game developers on iOS are based in China, the country’s universities turn out more programmers each year than anywhere else (including India). Yet China has still lagged behind other countries games in terms of incorporating technology and art. That’s where Black Myth: Wukong is supposed to come in. Sun Wukong is one of the names of the Monkey King in the Chinese literary classic Journey To The West. This has been a staple of Chinese animation and film for years.

Black Myth: Wukong

Could it be popular in China? It’s hard to tell from this pre-Alpha release footage. The biggest issues are likely to come from Chinese regulators. But hopefully the game won’t have to undergo the lengthy rewrites and changes foreign games have to do to comply. Instead the Chinese developers should be able to bake compliance in from the start. However, its China; so nothing is guaranteed.

German software giant SAP created a Tinder-like internal matching app to connect isolated employees for virtual lunches during remote work – its an interesting approach to things I guess. Home working lacks serendipity of working in an office. There is no water cooler moments. Social interactions are limited and Zoom analogues (Microsoft Teams, GoTo Meeting etc) burden the user with a heavy cognitive load. I just hope that this is opt-in at SAP, rather than ‘enforced’ or ‘serious fun’.

The Ikea Taiwan Facebook page faithfully created looks from their catalogue on Animal Crossing, much to the delight of their Taiwanese and Hong Kong based followers. The original post is here.

Ikea Taiwan Animal Crossing
The original Facebook post
Ikea Taiwan Animal Crossing
Front cover with Animal Crossing characters, but on Ikea furniture
Ikea Taiwan Animal Crossing
Side-by-side comparison between the original catalogue and a recreation using sets dressed in Animal Crossing
Ikea Taiwan Animal Crossing
Another example, all prices are in Taiwan dollars rather than Animal Crossing belles

More Ikea related content here.

Spotify is already encouraging media planners to start thinking about audio adverts for their client Christmas campaigns. More here; Spotify’s Christmas in Summer: Hear the Cheer

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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Burger King King of Stream campaign conducted in conjunction with Ogilvy agency DAVID based in Madrid, Spain. The King of Stream makes sense when you look only at the data. Target young people who do gaming. Presumably there is some group cohesion data or insight that shows a propensity to eat fast food with gaming.

However what would have been an interesting half-formed idea in a brainstorm seems to have had a negative impact in real life. Often what makes sense on Excel isn’t that smart when it meets the real world.

It reminded me of the introduction to Robert X. Cringely’s insiders story of the PC industry, Accidental Empires written in the 1991:

… PCs killed the office typewriter, made most secretaries obsolete, and made it possible for a 27-year-old M.B.A. with a PC, a spreadsheet program, and three pieces of questionable data to talk his bosses into looting the company pension plan and doing a leveraged buy-out.

Robert X. Cringely – Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date

Spreadsheets and the data models inside them can be extremely powerful business tools and also weapons of mass destruction. And King of Stream seems to be the advertising equivalent.

The use of bot powered donations to Twitch with the donation sizes related to Burger King special deals had an adverse effect on the gaming community on Twitch for a few reasons.

  • Burger King is a big brand, yet isn’t engaging with the community in a respectful way. It was culturally tone deaf.
  • This was the bit that surprised me the most given Ogilvy’s reputation around its use of behavioural economics or behavioural science in campaigns. The ‘donations’ are miserly. There is a lot of psychology around the value of donations or gifts. If it really want to engage with the gamers, why not sponsor them?
  • The execution was intrusive and felt like spam

More on this can be found on the King of Stream by reading this thread here. More on other Burger King campaigns here.

Celebrating Hong Kong style milk tea. According to the descriptor on this video is made by the Cui Brothers in Hong Kong; though I suspect it might be carefully edited from other films. It features classic Hong Kong dishes including French toast and pineapple bun with butter.

Indigo Gaming have put together this guide to cyberpunk culture. It is called part one, was done months ago and there doesn’t seem to be a part two yet. Part one of this guide to cyberpunk culture is worthwhile watching on its own.

The best of dance music over the past 30 years or so in a Soundcloud account – The Classic Mix CD Series | Free Listening on SoundCloud – mix CDs were time capsules of what was hot in different clubs at the time. They owe their origins to the mix (cassette) tape packs that club promoters used to sell of their nights. Mixmag took that concept and came up with the first properly licensed recordings.

The original ones were done as one track per DJ mix. At the time CD players would in a space between each track recorded on a CD. Even early versions of iTunes used to do the same thing with both mix CDs and recordings ripped of mix CDs.

At their height, they were an amazing money maker for record labels. They received steady royalty payments from licensing their tracks to appear on these mix CDs. For example Gat Decor, who had a break out single called Passion – appeared on 191 compilations and mix CDs.