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.