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.