Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beyonce blamed

Another day in Malaysia, and another high profile international artists postpones a concert days before the event is scheduled to go.

This time it was Beyonce’s turn to disappoint – and disappoint she did if we are to believe the official word from organisers who have denied the move was due to the threat of protests by Muslim groups.

Organiser, Marctensia said in a statement yesterday that the postponement was “solely the decision of the artiste and has nothing to do with other external reasons.”

If the name of the organizer sounds familiar it’s because the company also had to deal with Akon’s last minute pull out of a separate event back in June. H1N1 was said to be the culprit.

But speculation was rife the move was due to Chivas being a major sponsor of the event as Malaysia has several rules regarding alcohol and cigarette companies as sponsors.

It also has rules on dress attire and it Beyonce’s “inappropriate dress sense” was the subject of PAS protests.

However, officials said if she adhered to the dress code there would be no issue.
One thing is for certain though. It’s not only the fans who lose out again. The brands, sponsors such as Hotlink and Guess will have to pour cold water on their Beyonce marketing efforts and restart them at a later date (unless the concert does get cancelled).

Worse still, whatever the reasons are this time for the postponement – it still portrays brand Malaysia in a bad light.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mystery Google

Imagine a search engine where you get what the person before you searched for. Well, you don’t have to imagine too hard just visit http://www.mysterygoogle.com/ to experience it for yourself. Why would you do it? Let's discuss.

I tried to ring Google offices in Singapore to see if I could get an explanation but it was lunch time and there was no answer. So, I checked it out for myself and spent a good 15 minutes on the site trying to figure out what the hell its purpose is.

I type in “earthquake” and I get search results for “university of south Florida”. Ok, I guess there is a market out there for people who are curious to get other people’s search results – or just want to spend a few minutes seeing what other people are searching for.

But it gets creepy (or funny depending which football club you support) when I typed in “Manchester United” and get “anyways brad and jake touched me all weird that night and were all over me”.

Still, I did spend 15 minutes of my life trying to see if there was any patterns emerging (yeah good luck!) from my search results. From what I can tell most of the search results are random (try searching Manchester United for yourself and you’ll see) or even try “Yahoo.” I got “go outside I need a clear shot” when I entered Yahoo in Mystery Google.

The only things I’ve discovered so far which are not random is when you type “Mystery Google” and search. The result is a message on the search bar telling me “that is the site you are on.”

And when you search for “Google” it says “No. Mystery Google.”

There’s even a copyright message at the bottom which reads: © Mystery Google, 2009 | GOOGLE is a trademark of Google Inc.

Whatever it is, I am sure someone with enough smarts and time will figure it out. So far, the only search term I’ve entered which correctly takes me to the site is “Facebook”. I did it several times. Search for “Facebook” in Mystery Google and it will take you straight to the Facebook home page.

Oh yeah, if you don't type anything and hit search it tells you to "please don't type gibberish".

If you do type "gibberish" - it responds to you sarcastically!

And gets angry when you only search for "mystery" as well...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Below today’s marketing threshold

Malaysia’s broadband quality was described as “below today’s applications threshold” in a study conducted by Oxford University and sponsored by Cisco.

The Malaysian Insider has the in-depth story, and it doesn’t make for good reading if you’re a digital marketer.

Malaysia ranked 48 in the study of internet broadband in 66 countries – behind the likes of competing Asian markets such as Hong Kong (3) and Singapore (7) but also ahead of China and Thailand.

Countries like Singapore were listed above Malaysia as having internet speeds “meeting needs of today’s applications” while Hong Kong rated as country which “comfortably enjoy today’s applications”. (Korea and Japan were said to be markets with broadband speeds that were “ready for tomorrow”).

Even as I type out this blog I can remember the frustration I had posting links on my previous A+M Bootleg entry. I linked to two different online campaigns which an agency based in Australia called Spiral did. It was taking forever to load when I was trying to test out the link and I almost dropped the idea of adding the links.

We tend to be rather impatient when we’re online and any page which takes longer than a minute to load is 30 seconds too long. Which is such a shame because the good social media marketing campaigns are meant to be shared but how can I enjoy something after I’ve lost my temper waiting for it to load.

My Hong Kong colleagues enjoy speeds of 100 Mbps but I can’t even access Google sometimes from home on Saturday afternoons.

UPDATE: You’re not going to believe this but while attempting to post this blog entry my wireless connection at the office went offline for at least 30 minutes.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Big Day Out

Figuring out social media marketing in Malaysia was the topic up for discussion at yesterday’s Starcom MediaVest Group Digital Day Out.

No easy task – but Starcom managed to assemble DiGi marketer Lau Sulin, Starcom’s executive director Lee Yew Leong, Nuffnang’s Timothy Tiah, TV host Jojo Struys, and Scott Wenkart from Australian agency Spiral Digital+Media+Lab to represent a mixed bag of point of views for the discussion.

The usual what is social media question was followed by a series of others ranging from whether advertisers should care about social media to the all important question on effectiveness and ROI.

At one point, Nuffnang’s Tiah even shared how one campaign the company did for a debit card brand flopped big time.

The client wanted to get bloggers to write in about how they would spend X amount of money using the debit card and then reward them with a trip to the Gold Coast.

But, against Nuffnang pleas, insisted that bloggers would have to first apply for the card, get the card, use the card, and take a picture of the receipt and send it in with the write up.

“It was a total disaster,” Tiah said.

“A record breaking four entries to the competition but a lot of emails from bloggers complaining about the competition and that the card never showed up [after they applied for it],” he said.

I asked the panel for their thoughts on Malaysia’s social media marketing scene where we are seeing a lot of brands experimenting on the medium with some launching campaigns which are not really engaging at all. Does this turn consumer’s off from using something like a Facebook if they are being bombarded with unsocial like ads?

“The cream always rises to the top,” Spiral’s Wenkart said.

“People will only engage with something they like,” he said.

The rest – I guess – is just seen as noise and gets ignored.

You can watch some of Spiral’s work here and here.