Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The world is changing and so is beauty.

Gone is the last century of beauty of porcelain smooth baby's-bottom skin, or has it?  Look at today's beauty ads - same same but different: good looking lady, very feminine, with all the right curves and almost spotless.  We kept touting that beauty has change or at least, Dove has been trying really hard to convince the society at large (or reflect?) that beauty is all in the mind.  It has nothing to do with products.  You use products because you only care about how others perceive you.  But really, beauty is about confidence and if you think you've got it, you've got it.

Is that what the world has come to?  If so, then why are we still seeing 99% of beauty commercials talking about the same old thing?

Why do women want to be beautiful?  Because they want to be accepted.  They feel that beauty is a passport for them to gain access to meaningful interpersonal relationships.  To not miss out or be left out in the society, they must at the very least groom themselves because it's the 'social norm'.  So, nobody's born ugly.  Everyone's born beautiful to the beholder, the question is what does society accept and reject?  That caused women all over the world to scramble to look 'right'.

Let's talk about hair.  Does being hairy make a woman feel unattractive?  But if we follow the argument above, isn't her 'unattractiveness' a result of a miss in social expectations?  So WHO decides these expectations?  Men?  Or media?  Or beautiful women?  Or all of the above?

So if I want to tell a woman that she deserves is beautiful, what must I say in order to convince her?  With a clause that she must must must use our product?  Whatever noble message that comes from the commercial, I guess it's sort of cheating.  It's a grey area and a very fine line.

I think all women are beautiful.  At different points of their lives, they experiment with different solutions - make up, clothes, hair removal, etc.  When they drop the school uniform, they'll start to realize the need for hairless armpits and legs to be socially accepted when wearing clothes that might reveal those area.  I suppose this isn't called 'beauty', it's simply about being respectable.  Like not wearing your underwear out in public.  Or your birthday suit.  Or having BO.  Can a beauty service then sell itself by unpositioning itself in the beauty area?  Frankly, it's such a sensitive area, it's pretty much like the discussion of a Brazilian wax.  There're two extremely different school of thoughts regarding that X zone.

Strong women are not beautiful?  Wrong.  Strong women are the most beautiful.  Because they stand for something.  I've got my train of thoughts back now, thank you very much.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Happy New Year.

Wow, it's been almost 6 months since I last posted anything.  Happy New Year to all.

I did not lose my voice nor vocabulary.  Nope.  I was just really busy.  Busy with preparing a new life and 2014.

I wish to continue my point-of-view but alas, sometimes this space scares me.  And that's because of you guys really.  Those whom I know and those I don't.  I never intended to garner attention as much as any other witty whimsical writers did.  It's nice to have some attention but not too much.  Limelight scares me and I'm afraid of this unknown invasion that's slowly but surely creeping into my space.  I wanna talk.  I want some people to listen but to be honest, I'm really worried about who's listening.  Because I don't function alone right now, I have people in my life and I want to keep their space private.

Till then, I'll learn to self-censor.

If you want to keep reading this, then be my friend.  Learn with me, teach me, lend me your empathy, let us exchange counsel.  But don't.  Don't share my blog.  I really don't think this circle should grow any bigger than it is right now.

Till the next time we speak, happy new year once again.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quality-of-life Index.

Just read about The Economist's Quality-of-life Index and it's scored based on these criteria:

"The survey uses nine quality of life factors to determine a nation's score.[1] They are listed below including the indicators used to represent these factors:

Health: Life expectancy at birth (in years). Source: US Census Bureau
Family life: Divorce rate (per 1,000 population), converted into index of 1 (lowest divorce rates) to 5 (highest). Sources: UN; Euromonitor
Community life: Variable taking value 1 if country has either high rate of church attendance or trade-union membership; zero otherwise. Source: World Values Survey
Material well being: GDP per person, at PPP in $. Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
Political stability and security: Political stability and security ratings. Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
Climate and geography: Latitude, to distinguish between warmer and colder climates. Source: CIA World Factbook
Job security: Unemployment rate (%.) Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
Political freedom: Average of indexes of political and civil liberties. Scale of 1 (completely free) to 7 (unfree). Source: Freedom House
Gender equality: Measured using ratio of average male and female earnings. Source: UNDP Human Development Report"


Good to know.  Last I checked in 2005, Malaysia is ranked 36.  But with all these political fiasco, rampant corruption and crime and latest gun shooting incidents, how do you think we are scoring?  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

From government controlled currency to branded economy.

If loyalty is essentially a currency to the brand, then maybe it’s time to rethink if money is absolutely the only currency for consumers to purchase products.

There is a restaurant which you could eat at even if you don't money.  You could pay by helping out in the restaurant - cleaning, washing, serving - where the currency that matters is your time.

Our ancestors might have gotten it right long time ago, bartering could be a viable option before money was centralized by federal governments.  And if the accumulation of money and domination of wealth by 1% of the world population is creating a lopsided economy and tonnes of other social problems, then wouldn't it make sense for the other 99% to start consider creating their own micro-economy, especially in countries which are hard hit by poverty?  So what is so bad about exchanging some cabbage for a free ride to work?  Or like Nike - some sweat for new kicks?  Or cleaning for rice?

I call this innovative economy - where brands are as big as some governments, this idea is really not so far-fetched after all.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The best city in the world.

A liveable city has low crime rates, decent weather, good education, superb healthcare, reliable transport and an airport with a host of international destination. It’s the sort of place where you can be gay or Muslim, or gay and Muslim, and no one cares. Its art galleries open late and museums are free. It takes recycling seriously and encourages independent shops.

Monocle - Steve Bloomfield & Michael Booth

I cannot agree more.

At least it provides the fundamental basics of a safe and thriving community for us to consider when choosing where to live, or how to live.  Or even, dare I add, how to plan for a liveable city.

Hello.  I'm back :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Marketing evolution.

Price is competition

Packaging is competition

Promotion, well, is in a way, competition

Distribution is definitely competition

But Purpose... the new P.  That's outside of competition.

Friday, June 7, 2013

How to hire the right person when you have too many candidates?

Okay.  Scenario.  You wanna hire an Account Manager - so it would be someone who's got some level of leadership, a team player, able to decipher complicated tasks from the Account Director which usually comes in the form of a Morse Code and break it into understandable tasks where they and the Account Executive can work on, able to put things together and get it organised and present it back to their boss.

There are 5 candidates.  All Senior Account Executives with similar agency experience and operational skills.  But what you need are 'invisible' skills and they are usually not stated in resumes or extravagantly exaggerated otherwise.

And your enemy is time.  You need this guy like yesterday and interviewing all 5 means you'll have to drown in your own team planning incompetency together with all of your other projects at hand.

So what do you do?

Tick tock tick tock tick tock.

Easy peasy.  Get all 5.  Put them into a room with a two-way mirror (if your agency doesn't have this crazy surveillance room, then a spy camera would do).  You might want to inform them of the camera, in case they found out they didn't get the job, you might get sued to Timbuktu.  So as I was saying, get all 5 of them.  Put them into this room which you can observe them remotely and give them a 30 minutes to an hour task.  Give them a problem of which all 5 will have to agree on a common solution.  Tell them they're free to do whatever they want and you'll be back in an hour to 'hear out the solution'.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock.

Now sit back, relax and evaluate.

All 5 people, and everyone knows only 1 will get the job.  So there is some kind of tension already in the group.  So observe who is the natural leader in the group, who opposes with facts and who without facts, who are the followers, who are the 'whatevers', who are the limelight grabbers, who are the thinkers, who are the idea jotters, who are the yes people, who are the mavericks, who are the smartypants and who are the actual smart ones.


I think you have an ideal candidate in mind already.