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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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:

  • Awards ceremonies
  • Search advertising
  • Public relations
  • ‘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.

LONDON Advertising campaign
LONDON Advertising
LONDON Advertising campaign

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.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 6 minutes

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 DiveGen 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

Why Corporate America Gave Up on R&D – Marker – great conversation about basic research and its place in the economic life of a business

The Changing Structure of American Innovation: Some Cautionary Remarks for Economic Growth – basically US innovation is dying out as corporate basic research is no longer happening. It echoes the work that people like Judy Estrin has done in the past

Produce your own physical chips. For free. In the Open – FOSSi Foundation – interesting that Google is supporting open source silicon prototyping on 130nm process – not cutting edge but moving things forward massively for electronics designers

China ‘trying to influence elite figures in British politics’, dossier claims | Politics News | Sky News – not terribly surprising. I’d be surprising if Chna wasn’t trying these things. More fool the UK for allowing it to happen passively

Exclusive: Digital natives see PR as ‘press releases and gin-soaked lunches’ – Sorrell | PR Week – depending on the industry its probably pretty fair, though probably less gin than there was previously

What’s really behind “tech” versus “journalism” | Revue – really management vs employees – it seems to have got much more toxic than when I worked at Yahoo!

MullenLowe merges Profero and Open in UK – surprised that that this wasn’t on the cards sooner to be honest with you

Lessons from the fall of luxury e-tailer Leflair – Vietnam based luxury start-up goes under with $280,000 in unpaid goods

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

Holographic Optics for Thin and Lightweight Virtual Reality – Facebook Research and Alphabet buys a rival company North who do similar technology Our focus on helpful devices: Google acquires North – more related posts here.

Interesting French short film about the future from 1947. In some ways it is a better predictor of technology usage than Star Trek some two decades later.

La Télévision, œil de demain (1947) – J.K Raymond Millet

‘What Big Tech does to discourse, and the forgotten tech tool that can make tech less big’ with Cory DoctorowIt is a conspiracy is to have an energetic mastery of wrong information. And sometimes that information in fact provides a good, not evidentiary basis, but a good fact pattern to support skepticism of a regulator – Cory Doctorow’s speech is long but well worthwhile.

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

‘Abolish Silicon Valley’ vs. ‘Always Day One’: Who’s Right About Fixing the Tech Industry? | OneZero – this conversation wouldn’t have even happened 10 years ago, but its needed. If not from ethics perspective, then from its failing in innovation as outlined many years ago by Judy Estrin.

Encryption-Busting EARN IT Act Advances in Senate | WIRED  – if you care about privacy, this is frankly terrifying

Above Avalon: Apple Is Pulling Away From the Competition – the obvious candidates missing here are Huawei, Xiaomi and the BBK firms (Oppo, Vivo etc) which have driven the smartphone market into the middle in China and opened a can of whoop ass on the premium sector overall

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 Bloombergin 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

Why China’s Race For AI Dominance Depends On Math | The National Interest – concerns about STEM education outside China

“Who Sells Bricks in Hong Kong” Hopes to Introduce New Actors | JayneStars – as dark as things are for Hong Kong’s film industry, ViuTV drama looks to Hong Kong film past for inspiration

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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%).