Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Be there or be square

I take the bus to work, and I take it from USJ 6 in Subang Jaya to downtown Kuala Lumpur. Today was no different but my Rapid KL brand experience has seen better days that's for sure.

I left my apartment around 7:20am this morning with a 100% feeling of certainty that I'd get to work well before 9am, given that the bus usually comes at 15-minute intervals.

At 8 am, I was still waiting for Rapid KL's U63. It finally arrived about 20 minutes later after nearly an hour of me waiting at an increasingly crowded bus stop.

I don't own a car and taking a taxi isn't the best solution for my wallet - for those of you who live in Subang, you know how awful the jams are along the USJ 2 area can get (it can take up to an hour just to get from the Goodyear Court 1 stop past Summit Mall).

I can understand if the bus broke down on-route but no back-up for a whole 60-minutes? I reached the office at 9:45 am.

So, I've emailed my feedback to Rapid KL via its website. Let's see what happens next.

Thank you for your e-mail which we read with genuine concern. We understand that efficient service is essential in today’s fast paced world, especially for our valued customer like you. Thus, on behalf of RapidKL, we would like to apologize for the inconvenience caused.

The delays you mentioned was due to the shortage of buses and has affected the bus frequency tremendously. However, believe us that we are constantly upgrading and improving our scheduling, especially with the continuous increase in number of passengers.

RapidKL would also like to assure commuters that we will continuously work toward increasing the quality of service provided which includes increasing the size of RapidKL’s existing fleet of buses which would improve bus frequency and reduce waiting times and congestion on the bus.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Battle of the boots

An interesting battle is emerging at the 2010 World Cup between Adidas and Nike - and it happens everytime a goal is scored.

Adidas are the official ball of the World Cup, a pretty prestigious tag to be. And one that guarantees repeated brand exposure through action replays and close-ups which invariably occur when a player scores a goal during the month long tournament.

There's just one problem - Nike are getting lots of exposure too.

In the first few days of matches so far I've noticed the Nike logo on the boots of the players scoring most of the goals. It's very clear during the slow-motion action replays.

In fact by my unofficial count so far - Nike have had five such golden moments.
1) Tshabalala's goal for host nation South Africa against Mexico.
2) Marquez levels the match for Mexico against South Africa.
3) South Korea finishes off Greece with a Park Ji Sung goal.
4) Clint Dempsey provides a double whammy as his scuffed shot from his Nike boot is somehow fumbled into the net by England goalkeeper Robert Green (double whammy in that there was so much criticism in the media about the flight pattern of the new Adidas ball)
5) Robert Koren scores for Slovenia - and another goalkeeper fumbles the ball.

While Adidas has only had the limelight to themselves on two occasions when Gerrard scored for England (Adidas sponsored player scores with Adidas ball) and this morning's humiliation of Australia by Germany (they scored four times in that game).

I didn't watch the Ghana v Serbia game so I can't comment on that and I've also not included headers (i.e Heinze's effort against Nigeria)in this unofficial rant.

Adidas are official sponsors of the tournament but in a Nielsen study conducted between 7 May to 6 June it was Nike's "Write the Future" campaign which resulted in Nike being linked to the tournament more than any of the official sponsors.

I suppose a slight negative for Nike so far has been England's draw with the USA where Wayne Rooney - the star of Nike's Write The Future campaign - couldn't lead England to a win.

P.S. I know this isn't a really scientific way of looking at things but when it comes to football boots - I reckon there's alot of us out there who buy the boots of our favourite players who score the goals.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I should feel better in a month

If you listen closely you can almost here the sounds of the vuvuzela trumpets slowly building towards the start of the World Cup 2010 tomorrow night and marking a month of fake sick days and low office productivity.

That's according to recruitment and HR services specialists Randstad which said that employers in Malaysia need to consider the impact of the World Cup on their workforce and productivity levels when the nation catches football fever.

It warned that Malaysia's passion for the World Cup was likely to have an impact beyond tired faces at the office as employees are likely to watch replays on their computers in the office, have post match discussions, as well as participate in online forums – particularly as the final approaches.

"Some businesses, especially those which are tightly resourced and still trying to build up from the Global Financial Crisis, may find World Cup Fever to be irritating and a major distraction to achieving their goals," Sahun Nadarajah, General Manager and Director of Randstad Malaysia, said.

"However, instead of dampening people’s spirits and expressing your frustration, it’s actually an ideal time to embrace the spirit of the sport, have fun and build employee morale through celebration and a culture of teamwork."

Nadarajah's advice? Allow people to express their emotions and be passionate about this global sporting event because it can have a positive impact on the overall happiness and mental attitude of staff in the workplace.

"Themed marketing and business development activities can also be effective tools to generate sales and build stronger relationships with staff and customers," Nadarajah said.

"It’s actually a great time to celebrate diversity in the workplace, by encouraging people to get behind their favourite team. Employers should see this as an opportunity to build a sense of team spirit, boost the overall culture of the company and demonstrate to their workers they are a supportive employer inside and outside of the workplace."

With that... let the games begin. Go Oranje!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What's the big idea?

You know World Cup fever has peaked when even your admin staff starts sending you links to football ads. On this particular occasion, the really interesting part played out in the commenting section - not in the ad.

You can view it here.

I think most football fans would agree the ad is amusing but there were a lot of negative comments about the idea not being original enough - "done, done, done" were some of the repeated comments left by users. Some went to as much detail as to name other campaigns by brands which were similar (i.e. Burger King).

The ad was made by an advertising school so its not good if their students are stealing ideas.

And just as I was starting to feel a little judgmental myself, a different comment caught my eye.

"So what if it's been done before? Everything has been done before. Does it fit the brand? Is it in context? Will consumers remember your message or that the message was sponsored by you? Those are what's important."

Slightly defensive but point made. We operate in an ideas business and the stealing of ideas (or magazine mastheads) is something we totally oppose but in terms of advertising, where do you draw the line between inspiration and copying?

If a marketer gets inspired by another person's work, adapts it and uses it in a way which creates effective results for their brand - should we judge the work based on the results or cast it aside as a copycat effort? It depends on the severity of the similarities between the work I suppose.

I've heard many brand marketers complain before about ad agencies who think they are in the business of creating art, not realising they are in the business of creating business for brands.

Maybe sometimes we are a little too quick to categorise new ads as copied.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nike Writes The Future

Following in the footsteps of past Nike football ads is the latest effort by the sportswear brand titled "Write The Future" which doesn't disappoint.

Nike went all out this time - the three minute spot is packed with football stars like Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba, Franck Ribery, Cristiano Ronaldo, Fabio Cannavaro, while also including cameos from other famous faces like Kobe Bryant and Roger Federer.

The goal? To set the scene for the World Cup where many a player has, for better or for worse, etched his name in the history book.

"One touch, tackle or free kick could crush a nation's hopes or cause them to build a statue in your honour. Drogba, Rooney and Ronaldo are ready to Write The Future," says Nike.

I wont spoil it if you haven't already seen it (it aired during last weekend's Champions League Final) but the best bits for me are the scenes with Rooney - although Cannavaro's (he's the Italian defender who clears Drogba's chipped shot off the line) future is pretty hilarious.


The only negative thing I can think of is: Why does Rooney end up becoming a bankrupt trailer park slob? Did he have shares in the stock market (see 1:03 in the clip).

As if Rooney didn't need another reminder that the hopes of an entire nation are resting on him! No pressure! Write The Future or the media will do it for you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Volvo's PR accident

A Volvo demonstration in Sweden of its new collision warning system fell to pieces last week, literally, when its S60 model smashed into a parked truck.

Luckily for us, was there to document the PR nightmare and you can watch the video here.

To the reporter's credit - it was mentioned in the story that the collision warning system had been working fine earlier in the day. But it's still pretty amusing to watch the brand new Volvo S60 fly through the testing tunnel at 30MPH and smash into the back of the truck - in front of a group of journalists.

A nightmare scenario for any brand. Reminds me of the time when a BBC reporter broke a phone that was being marketed as "unbreakable" during filming. Clip below.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Singapore's World Cup draw

I think most Malaysians would have felt a perverse sense of amusement at watching the "car crash" that was Singapore's recent bid for the FIFA World Cup 2010 broadcast rights.

Then, from a marketing point of view, it started to get really interesting last Friday when finally, with less than a month to go before kick-off, SingTel and StarHub secured the non-exclusively broadcast rights.

Time to sell the sponsorships. There isn't much time for all parties involved to recoup the fees but the World Cup is such a huge draw and marquee event that any brand would want to attach themselves to it.

I met up with a friend who works in Singapore's sports marketing industry over the weekend - he thought Tiger Beer and Singapore Pools would be at least two definite sponsors.

My colleagues in Singapore beat me to the punch on that one with a story today confirming that talks with Singapore Pools were indeed ongoing - but the tone of the story reflected a belief that the Singtel-StarHub World Cup deal had come a little too late.

Perhaps this unique situation leaves the door open only for Tiger Beer to emerge as the main sponsor - APB declined to comment when approached by Marketing mag Singapore.

And since we're on the topic of the World Cup - here's something we can all enjoy.

For the upcoming tournament in South Africa, the World Cup trophy will have its own Louis Vuitton carry-case.

"When you have the most beautiful girl in the world you hope she will wear the most beautiful dress," Jerome Valcke, secretary general of FIFA, explained. "That's exactly what we've done."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Web Wednesday refresh

Last night's Web Wednesday, although there was still plenty of drinking and networking going on, seemed a bit duller than usual. Is now the right time for the MDA to freshen up this monthly industry night?

I am pretty sure the numbers last night were the lowest for Web Wednesday so far this year - was it because there was no drink's sponsor this time? Maybe. But Khairul Syahar from Malaysia Airlines and Ian McKee from Vocanic were scheduled to speak which should have made the event, on paper, more attractive or maybe it didn't - how many of us want to sit and listen to another hard sell?

In the end, I didn't see any presentations being done last night but to be fair I am actually open to the idea of having client marketers on stage at Web Wednesday talking about what digital marketing means to their brands. And then get a conversation going with the audience.

They would have to do it early on in the night though, judging from past disasters, the later you leave it the less chance it gets noticed.

Over to you guys.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Life after tobacco advertising

Over the weekend I spotted an interesting post from 'enter the sponsorship dragon' (Ben Flint) which broke down what the repercussions for Indonesia's sponsorship industry are should its Govt go through with a plan to ban tobacco advertising.

It's a topic A+M Bootleg has touched on before here shortly after Malaysia launched its latest anti-smoking effort.

Flint said the ban on tobacco advertising will include sponsorship and accounts for a whopping 62% of sponsorship in Indonesia.

Just some of the sponsorship money that will need replacing includes Djarum's USD4.75 million annual sponsorship of the Indonesian League, Sampoerna's USD5 million of the Indonesian Basketball League, and Djarum's USD250K for the Badminton Open.

Hopefully, the respective leagues mentioned will get the support from non-tobacco brands to keep it commercially successfully - nobody wants to see the Govt take over and run it into the ground (i.e. What happened with our Malaysian Football League after the cigarette money disappeared).

To end, I'd like to link to another industry blog which I sometimes so happen to come across. Saatchi's Andy Greenaway recently created this comic strip to poke fun at the way politicians show their concern about our health regarding cigarettes.

Over to you guys.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Samsung awesomeness

The market has been flooded with 3D products of late and while I have yet to be convinced about the idea of wearing special 3D glasses at home, this ad for the Samsung 3D TV is beyond funny - it's brilliant.

I just can't imagine inviting my friends around to watch football and having to buy 3D glasses for everyone.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Tiger comeback

A vulnerable looking Tiger Woods faces the camera as questions are posed to him by the voice of his dead father. That’s the new Nike ad by Wieden+Kennedy which aired recently to mark his comeback to golf at the Masters 2010.

Day 1 of golf’s Masters this year at Augusta National is over. Tiger Woods played like he never left. He opened with a 4-under 68 – his best first round ever at Augusta National – and only two shots behind leader Fred Couples.

He must have been nervous out there. There was an incredible amount of observers waiting to see how he would respond this week – in our region ESPN STAR Sportshad more visible Masters lineup this year.

ESPN STAR started with coverage of the Par 3 contest on Thursday and was building towards the opening tee-off by Woods. An email from their PR department reminded me not to miss the exclusive coverage of Tiger Woods’ first tee shot at the Masters 2010.

"Time: 1.38AM – 1.45AM."

Inside… Woods must be feeling ecstatic. By most accounts, the support he received on his first day back at work was very positive. Fans stood along the first fairway, some a half-hour before he arrived, to wait for him to tee-off his golf career after five months of what must have been hell for him. Among those in the gallery watching was Nike chairman Phil Knight.

Nike was one of the sponsors who continued to back Woods at the height of his sex scandal. This advertising spot is a reward for the support. Yes, the ad is a little self-serving but it’s also brilliant. Those who have followed Tiger Woods’ career, even casual followers, will know he’s had a strong relationship with his father (Earl Woods).

Only Earl (whose had his own marital problems in the past) could ask those questions to Tiger - "did you learn anything?"

Tiger never speaks during the commercial. This morning, he let his golf do some of the talking – and perhaps a bit of mending as well.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The long haul

An advertising agency actually advertising. No, it's not an April Fool's Day joke - I know of at least one agency running an ad in next week's The Edge.

Fresh from helping four clients or brands win awards at the recently concluded Putra Brand Awards, Lowe will run a self-promoting / thank you ad in The Edge.

I expect to see more agencies doing the same.

Not a big deal. But according to Lowe MD, Khairudin Rahim the wins for his clients that night at the Putra Awards (which tracks consumer preference) show why it is important for brands to build longer term relationships with their ad agencies.

In case you were wondering, yes i've purposely skipped the debate on whether advertising actually builds brands - lets save that for another time.

"It is a fact that there is a high correlation of strong brand equity and market leadership being built, once an enlightened advertiser and its agency mutually commits to remain with each other for the long term. We are fortunate that Unilever (49 years), Sara Lee (15 years), Johnson & Johnson (16 years) and Cerebos (4 years) think so too," Rahim said.

"Many Asian or local Advertisers don’t share this opinion," he said.

SIA always comes to my mind as one account which went long term with Batey - perhaps too long term though for both parties.

Over to you guys.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Earth Hour II

Earth Hour is back again after last year's effort saw 1 billion people across 4,100 cities in 88 countries participate but will Malaysia make a better go at it than last year?

I only ask because when I did a quick search of Malaysian blog posts on Earth Hour in April 2009, a few bloggers raised some valid points to support their argument that Earth Hour Malaysia had flaws.

The biggest one being that the point of Earth Hour might have been missed by brands and corporations who probably saw it as a night to celebrate their 'green' credentials with Malaysians instead of making a commitment towards sustainable practices.

Case in point, one blogger's complaint about an Earth Hour event at CapSquare last year where tubs of coal soaked in kerosene and fire-eating performances was hardly being mindful of CO2 emissions.

This year Earth Hour has continued to receive support from brands in Malaysia. Even conservation group Green Kampong signed up to support a regional CSR initiative from online ad network Admax.

And YTL Corporation said close to 30 iconic landmarks and establishments across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand will go dark for one-hour.

The company said the move was in line with its "long-time commitment to environmental protection, which over the last decade has seen the Group make sustainable development and energy efficiency a core part of its business strategy particularly in its construction, utilities, property and infrastructure businesses."

If you've ever met YTL's Ruth Yeoh, you'll know she's pretty active in the area of conservation and climate change. Here's what she said:

"Climate Change is a very real phenomenon and as sea levels rise and our climate grow more erratic, each and every individual on our planet will no doubt feel its impact."

"In its message of hope and action, Earth Hour underlines the very simple fact that every individual should take responsibility for the impact they create on our precious environment. Earth Hour sets an excellent example of how simple it is for every individual to contribute towards saving our planet."

Earth Hour Malaysia also has an impressive online presence this year although do we consider having 16,000 Facebook fans a powerful figure for this campaign?

Not sure.

So there you have it. You can enjoy a drink on the rooftop garden of Lot 10 this Earth Hour and feel like you've made a difference - just remember to turn off the lights before you leave home.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Paint My Ride

If you haven't already heard, there's a competition to design the most creative outer skin for a Lamborghini Gallardo with the proceeds going to The Narine Poverty Reduction Program (Naporee).

It's called "Paint My Ride" and is a local design challenge to innovate a paint scheme for the Gallardo, and it's calling out to the creative industry to enter.

"We have managed to garner strong support from the 4A’s and alongside this, we hope the advertising industry’s best minds can come together to support Paint My Ride and make it a success," Dr. Rodwin Bahadur, Organising Chairman for Paint My Ride, said.

Lamborghini, Microsoft, Lenovo, Canon, Red Bull, One Utama, and Pavilion, are among the partners involved in the project.

You can click here for more details or have a read below.

The Competition
The competition is open to all interested individuals; with categories for students or professionals. The competition ends 31 March 2010, upon which time the international panel of judges, put together by the 4As, begin their judging.

The public will be encouraged to support the charity effort by purchasing on the spot photos with the winning entries – an effort supported by Canon Marketing Malaysia.

How to Join?
Applications can be submitted via fax or email; instructions will be posted on the website when the competition begins. The application fees are RM 150 for the students’ category and RM 350 for the open category.

The cause
Proceeds garnered from various activities carried out during and post competition will be allocated to micro-projects for Naporee.

This program aims to develop skills in the underprivileged for life-long opportunities for generating income and sustainability: enabling and equipping them to deploy the best effect their talent, knowledge, resourcefulness and creativity that will enable them to improve their life chances.

The prizes
1st Prize RM5,000 worth of cash
2nd Prize RM3,000 worth of cash
3rd Prize RM1,000 worth of cash

In addition to that, the three winners will also get an opportunity to drive the Lamborghini LP560 at the Sepang International Circuit, and showcase their winning design on the actual Lamborghini which will be displayed in two major shopping malls and online

Student winners will also be offered internships at an accredited advertising agency for four to six weeks.

4th and 5th Winning Entries get RM 500 cash each and the opportunity to be driven around the Sepang International Circuit in a GT race car by a professional driver.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What's in a name?

The sixth and seventh stages of the Le Tour De Langkawi Malaysia 2010 makes its way through the city centre this weekend - why's it still called Le Tour De Langkawi when the islands never feature in this year's race?

I live in KL and so when I heard that several roads in the city will be closed this weekend because of the Le Tour De Langkawi Malaysia 2010, naturally I went to the official website to find out this year's race route so I know which roads will be affected.

To my bemusement I saw outlined on a map of the race route (below) that Langkawi (circled in red by me) doesn't seem to be part of the race at all. What gives?

It's not like the race is an uninteresting proposition - sponsors this year include brands like Milo and Gatorade while Astro is the official host broadcaster. Resorts World Genting, Proton, and TM are also event partners.

I suppose the organisers wanted to continue to tap on the Le Tour De Langkawi Malaysia brand name to attract sponsors and participants but it still seems strange to me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yours or mine?

Is it ethical for a company to keep active the email address of ex-senior staff months after the person has left?

The question might seem a bit odd. But so far with nearly a year under my belt in Malaysia I know of a few incidents where this has happened with the companies in question using former employees' email accounts to chase business leads.

"I have a problem with my ex-employer who refused to disable my old email address and also did not want to include an auto reply to say I am no longer with the company," a source told me.

"The problem arises when some agencies mistakenly sent proposal requests and bookings to my old email address because Microsoft outlook system recommends the last email address used in the 'To' column. My ex-employer used these email leads to talk to the agencies which I think is unethical," he says.

In this instance the source told me he had written to his ex-company on several occasions for them to activate an auto-reply message telling people he is no longer with the company. Because he still works in the same industry (and is chasing the same clients) as his former company, he declined to be named.

What I can say is he left the company in late 2009 and only this week his email account has been deactivated.

"They told me it [his e-mail account] was company property and they will decide when the time is right to disable it," he says.

A lawyer friend of mine unsurprisingly told me the email accounts are indeed company property despite the huge amounts of personal and confidential information they can contain.

The only question mark is whether it should be considered diligent work on the part of companies who keep old email addresses active (with no auto-reply message) and follow-up business on any potential leads or whether it's unethical to do so.

Over to you guys.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

F1 stalls at Sepang

A friend of mine is a huge F1 fan. Having been to most of the F1 races in Sepang over the years, he isn't convinced organisers here are doing enough to keep the event attractive in the face of Singapore's spectacular start.

"Just collecting your ticket in Singapore is an experience," he told me.

"People pay a lot of money for their tickets. Here you get paper, in Singapore you have high quality plastic cards with lanyards in a cool box that one would like to keep sealed," he said.

His disappointment in the way the last few F1 races at Sepang have been organised is a far cry from how he felt just four years ago when there were F1 parties aplenty, free food in KL's clubs, fireworks, and F1 wherever you looked.

"It was the Mega event. Now, it seems that the thunder has been silenced in recent years," he said.

Just last year he told me he had to wade through knee deep mud at the Malaysian Grand Prix to catch the entertainment headlined by an artist who hasn't been popular since Y2K.

"Virtual insanity", indeed. (That's the title of his hit song in 1996 in case you forgot).

This year my friend isn't optimistic about Sepang and it's not because Beyonce isn't part of the show.

Having booked his ticket online already, a confirmation mail read: "All advance booking will be closed by 28th March 2010. Ticket collection at SIC Ticket Counter at the Circuit or in KL Sentral by 2nd April 2010."

However, what the mail failed to say is that the tickets are only available mid-March which he found out after a trip out yesterday to collect the tickets.

He now has to go back again. Such a simple thing, yet not considered.

"The poor sales girl told me that many people complain about having to come here, and not being able to collect the ticket," he said.

"The only reason I am going has nothing to do with Sepang’s F1 promotion. Schumi is back. That’s it," he said.

He's also puzzled by this year's tie-in with a shoe festival to sell F1 tickets.

Needless to say, my friend is now contemplating spending 25 times more to watch the F1 in Singapore instead of KL.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Let the games begin

Around 41,000 people turned up at Singapore's first ever Casino when it opened during the first three days of the Lunar New Year.

I checked out the action on Tuesday night, and you couldn't get a look in at any of the tables without waiting at least a half hour. Although, a large section of the main area was shut when I was there.

In an interview with Channel News Asia, Resorts World Sentosa said they expected the crowds to dip from Wednesday onwards as more people start to head back to work. After Wednesday it will be interesting to see if any newspapers / media outlets decide to take the moral (sensational?) route and go hard against the evil the Casino supposedly brings to society.

A search of 'Resorts World Sentosa Casino money' on Google already turns up interesting results. The top result is a story from Channel News Asia about an Indonesian man who lost all the money he brought with him to Singapore and was caught trying to rob someone at Changi Airport.

It's been picked up by Yahoo and a few other news outlets as well.

Of course, some of the papers might write a story about all the jobs the Casino created (there were a lot of first time croupiers on the floor when I was there) and the tourism dollars it will bring (there were a lot of people from China when I was there) but who wants to read about that!

For the record, I had to pay the S$100 levy to get in (damm the timing of my Singapore PR status) which I failed miserably trying to win back at Baccarat.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Superbowl creativity

The New Orleans Saints have beat the Indianapolis Colts to clinch a truly historic Superbowl win for the city which went through so much heartache just five years ago. Which marketers managed to rise to the occasion?

This year there was plenty of slapstick humour coming from the likes of Doritos and while the E*trade spots were still amusing -- talking babies are getting old! Also, the stuff was pretty tame this year.

While the Denny's spots are just funny, the Megan Fox (in a bathtub) ad for Motorola is also worth a mention.

As always you have to remember these ads are mainly for the American football crowd so leave your feminist hat at the door.

You can watch all the ads here.

Here are my favourite five.

Google "Parisian Love"


Doritos slap

FloTV "Jim Nantz"


Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Social Media Guru

Any client, agency, or person involved in digital marketing will cringe when they meet someone who has just introduced himself as "the social media guru."

And it's not because you expect to learn nothing new or practical from this "guru". The cringe-worthiness instead comes from someplace else. A place brilliantly illustrated by this YouTube video below.

WARNING - There's foul language in the video so you get offended easily don't click play. Otherwise...

Monday, January 25, 2010

User generated creativity

Two weeks ago, Hewlett-Packard and Cartoon Network announced the winners of its inaugural Toon Creator Awards – I finally managed to find the clip of the winning entry.

The judges evaluated over 31,000 individual and school contest entries from budding young animators spanning the Asia Pacific region. Mohammad Aidy Adham (aged 9) was named as its Individual Country Winner for Malaysia, which received a total of 2321 entries, as well as this year’s Asia Pacific Grand Prize Winner.

You can watch the clip here.

I am not the biggest fan of UGC contest mainly because there has been an overkill of brands running such competitions in the last two years. But I thought this idea of letting kids get creative with popular brands like Ben10 was pretty neat.

Plus, he gets an HP TouchSmart PC and a Cartoon Network Digital Pack with Ben 10 branded goodies including an MP3 player, a pre-loaded MP4 player, a digital camera, a USB flash drive and an MP3 speaker for his troubles.

He also won an HP Digital Makeover consisting of more HP products "designed to nurture his creative abilities".

The sheer number of entries from Malaysia (2321) must be very pleasing for the two brands as well. A pretty good alliance marketing campaign all around although at nine years of age, I don't expect the winner to stay loyal to HP at all after this.

"As the number one kids’ channel in Asia Pacific, we strive to animate kids' lives across all platforms. We hope this regional initiative will continue to serve as a community platform to promote self-expression and imagination in a fun and exciting way, encouraging young talent to showcase their creativity through technology," Benjamin Grubbs, regional director for Turner Entertainment Interactive Media said.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lessons from Steve Jobs

Sometimes you look at YouTube and think what a waste of time but then every once in a while you stumble upon a video or someone sends you a link to a video which is just pure inspiration.

It's easy to forget how awesome YouTube is. I regularly check out the Six Pixels of Separation blog to catch up on what Mitch Joel is doing. I met Mitch two years ago at a blogging event in Singapore where he gave a fantastic presentation on digital marketing and new media.

Anyways, it was on his blog where i stumbled upon this video of Steve Jobs delivering a powerful speech to a bunch of students at Stanford back in 2005. I'll let the video speak for itself but it's a great lesson in business and in life from someone who knows what he's talking about.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And the hits keep coming

As much as we would like to think there is a full-proof way to create the next internet sensation or YouTube hit - it's just not true.

Meet YouTube's latest star attraction with nearly 600,000 views and over 2600 comments in less than a week. Is it a marketing gimmick? Is it some cleverly shot piece of work done by a YouTube user?


It's footage from an Irish news bulletin showing a man slipping and falling on an icy pavement.

I found the clip hilarious but not as funny as seeing BBC technology reporter Dan Simmons break a mobile phone marketed as "unbreakable" during a LIVE demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Now that's a marketing disaster - although the CEO handled it pretty well. You can watch the clip here.

And since we're on the topic of disasters. I can't help but have a slight dig at Liverpool director (or should I say ex-director now)Tom Hicks Jr who committed the cardinal sin in CRM by telling the customer exactly how he felt and putting it in writing.

Responding to an email enquiry about the state of Liverpool's finances, Hicks Jr wrote back to the supporter (who is a member of the club's supporters' union) telling him to "Blow me f*ck face. I'm sick of you."

Guess he wont be too sick of Liverpool fans anymore now that he's no longer at the club.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Firebombed churches burn tourism

On Friday morning, a colleague turned to me and said: "So is your church alright?" Puzzled, I responded by nodding my head slowly but at that point little did I know by Monday Malaysians would be reading reports on how seven churches were attacked.

At first, I thought my colleague was trying to associate what happened with Calvary Church with my own church but he was not.

We all know the story now so lets not get into the politics of that again. I just wanted to bring up a point made by the Tourism Ministry which feels that these disgusting episodes might deter foreign tourists from visiting Malaysia.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen was quoted as saying the religious tension could cause fear among foreign tourists wanting to visit Malaysia.

She said the church attacks were sending the wrong message to foreign tourists when Malaysia was always touted as a harmonious country despite its multi-racial and multi-religious society.

On your left, an article from the reputable TIME which unfortunately for Tourism Malaysia does not paint the nation as being very religiously tolerant.

Maybe it is time our industry stepped in and offered up some advice. Would launching an advertising / public relations campaign help or worsen things? What would need to be done?

I went to church on Sunday and there was a full attendance for all three services -- no one seemed panicked or worried the church might suddenly erupt in flames from another attempted fire bomb.

Domestically at least, there isn't a lot of fear but it's not us the tourism ministry is worried about.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Guess who's back

First day back from our break and going through a 1000 emails and alerts is never fun – but at least it gives A+M the chance to recap some of the unusual and interesting news bites from the last two weeks.

Making headlines over the last few days was the High Court’s decision to allow Catholic weekly, Herald to use the word “Allah” in its publication. Today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak called for calm over the ruling.

The Star
said the PM and the government was “quite aware about the feelings of Muslims in the country and would deal with the matter as soon as possible.”

Those opposing the High Court’s decision to allow Herald to use the word “Allah” believe it could lead to confusion among Muslims – and the word could be exploited.

On a lighter note, the Daily Telegraph reported the story of how a Malaysian teenager’s name and an Icelandic TVC had turned her into a Facebook sensation in Iceland.

Why all the fuss?

The 19-year-old girl from Port Klang is named Essasa Sue which sounds very similar to “Essassu” (Icelandic) or “Is that you?” (English) and was the catchphrase used in a popular Vodafone commercial.

Also, if you've seen our report on the Malaysian backed Lotus F1 Racing there was less positive news on the team from The Malaysian Insider. The Petronas move to sponsor the Mercedes Formula One team next season is seen as a blow to govt supported Lotus F1 racing team - it could also have political consequences for its chief executive.

"While Petronas's decision may have been the right one commercially — Mercedes's superior brand name and its experience in F1 racing — it could have political consequences for Tan Sri Hassan Merican, the oil firm's chief executive whose contract expires in February.

Tan Sri Hassan does not have a great relationship with Datuk Seri Najib, his immediate boss, especially after the oil firm's board rejected the premier's request to appoint one of his candidates to the board."

It certainly was a big decision for the state's oil and gas company to make. It cost RM1 billion a year to sponsor a Formula One team, luckily for retail giant Parkson it will cost them considerably less to go ahead with its sponsorship marketing idea.

Parkson has inked a one year deal with the winners of the Ford Supermodel of the World Malaysia 2009 competition to be brand ambassadors.

Ok, so that's the quick recap done. A+M year two can officially get going now.