Friday, July 31, 2009

Anyone knows about Twitter CTRs?

I was reading two school of thoughts (or research methodologies), this versus that.


I’ve been running an experiment with four twitter profiles to find out what a good click through rate (CTR) is on Twitter. What I found out was kind of shocking and amazing: Twitter seems to have a 4% clickthrough rate. No wonder the affiliate marketers, spammers and get rich quick crowd are flocking to it. 4% CTR is outstanding in any internet advertising program:

Indymike –- 4.17 % average clickthrough rate, >800 followers
Profile “N” — 4.05 % clickthrough rate, >300 followers
Profile “M” – 4.2 % clickthrough rate, >200 followers
Profile “L” — 3.8 % clickthrough rate, > 50 followers

Methodology: I set up unique short URL trackers on seperate domains and then conversed and posted links and retweets though the shorty tracker for four different profiles. After on month, I tabulated the results to find the aggregate click through rate.

What’s it Mean?
1. People click on twitter links more than pay per click ads and banner ads.
2. CTR on Twitter seems to scale with larger groups of followers.
3. The larger your follower base is the more people will click on links your post.


Here's the other side of the story, Darren Barefoot says:

Working with about 140 responses who collectively have 333,000 folllowers, I found that the average clickthrough rate was 1.7%. The trend of more followers equaling a lower click through rate has definitely held true, though. For those respondents with more than 5000 followers, the click through rate is a mere 0.9%. For those with less than 5000 followers, it’s 3.5%. For those with less than 1000 followers, it’s 6%. This scatter graph hopefully illustrates that trend. That’s followers on the x-axis, and CTRs on the y-axis. To make the diagram more readable, I excluded a couple of the really big follower counts (click for the largess):


(Bold mine)

It's really still too early to tell what is the CTR like for brands to be on Twitter. What I know, personally from my own social experiment is, Sparks is getting more traffic from Twitter (createsparks). And these traffic are 'repeat visits'. Therefore, you'd expect your followers to be some kind of 'brand loyalist' (to a certain extent because they care enough to want to know what you have to say). But still. I think it's still a rather vague question whether our clients should be on Twitter. I think brands need to be convinced in another way, at least over here in Malaysia. What's more important is the 'sustainability' of this channel. No, I'm not referring to Twitter. They're probably gonna be around for awhile. But the 'sustainability' of the resource invested on this channel. You can't have createsparks one day and gone the next day, can you? So think it through before you decide to be on social media. And someone rightly put it. Brands on social media is like Friends with Benefits ;) It's tricky, rewarding, exciting, scary - all in one. Hmm. We likes.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Android with HTC.

Saw HTC's booth in Mid Valley showcasing their touchscreen handsets and well, well, what do you know. Android. Google's OS for mobile phones (hello iPhone).

Incidentally, I've had a go on the prototype last week. And what amazed me was 'Social Network' is officially part of the 'Phone Setting'. O. K.

So what does that mean? That means that we are inching towards this convergence of the offline-online world. The post on 'digital identities in reality' is becoming more and more. Well, real. On Android, if you save someone's mobile number, you'll be able to search for that person in all his or her social networks! So, if I profile you as Bob. I can add Bob's Facebook (watch his status update), Twitter (what's he tweeting), Flickr, etc and be truly wired with Bob's world. Another thing that was really cool was the Geo-tagging of the photos which you'll be snapping away in your brand new HTC. By utilizing GPS, Google will locate your EXACT geographical position (with numbers and all) and memorizes the photo you took at that place. You can either save it as your 'footprint' - in case you forget where you've been or you wanna keep track of your journey. OR. You can immediately synchronize your phone with your Google Latitude account to let your friends know where you are. Neat huh. Travel blogging has never been easier.

I think the first thing that comes to people's mind is the issue of 'privacy'. Hmm but hey. If you're updating your status on Facebook on your complicated relationship, why do you care about privacy anyway? I would like to think that people (again, collectively) are good. Therefore, it's probably an even more efficient and immediate form for them to keep in touch with their friends and communities 24-7, ironically, without exactly commiting any formal communication at all.

That really made me think. How many times, did you update your personal Twitter. Not only because you have something on your mind that you truly want everyone to know. But the tweet is indirectly directed at someone in your followers list without 'formally establishing any form of serious communication' with that person at all? You've got a point to make but you don't want to be seen as making that point. Hmm. It's pretty much like you're saying something, but you're saying nothing. It's strange how the human mind works. Making a decision out of indecisiveness.

Facts you should know.

10% influence the purchasing behavior of the other 90%. 10% generate the content for the other 90%. Now the numbers tally. Get it?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Accord 2.0 VTi-L: The Perfectionist media launch.

Today, we were at 'The Perfectionist' media launch held in One Utama Highstreet, rubbing shoulders with 6 acquired individuals whose ambitions and fail-proof spirits were captured through a showcase of fine art photography. The white Accord certainly has a certain sporty elegance to it (not that we're being biased or otherwise).
One of the questions posted by media was, "What was the meaning behind this 'Perfectionist' campaign and what has it got to do with the new Accord variant?". Aptly asked. And aptly replied by Go Suzuki, Assistant MD of Honda Malaysia - that it was about leveraging on the essence of Accord. A car driven to drive. Not just in the physical world but also the unseen world, which is your personal journey in achieving your goal and ambition. I think what HMSB is doing here is not just associating the Accord with a certain maxim. But also to understand the psychology of their customer base.

Essentially, as drivers become more mature in life, they also become more refined. Because of various social and psychological reasons and it's simply part of life. Gone are the days where a vehicle is something you ride on to get from point A to point B. As looney as it sounds, a car does carry more than 4 wheels with doors and seats and a steering wheel. A car today, is an extension of the driver. Who you are and who you want to be projected as, is as important as finding a car that does all the practical work. Of getting you around. Accord is a special brand in Honda's stable that projects itself as a true chaser of dreams. And I don't know anyone who, when it comes to their ambition, goal or focus or whatever you want to call it, isn't a perfectionist. Accord is not for those with stature. You want to show off, you get a 7-series. Accord is for those who never stop chasing their dream until it is perfected on terms defined by themselves. Never terms defined by others. So there. Faisal from Autocar Asean - I hope that answers your question ;)

The spirited essence of Accord captured.

Also, today was the sad announcement of the moving-on of Azman Idris, COO of HMSB for 15 months. Apparently, he will be embarking on a bigger role with DRB Hicom. Chevrolet perhaps? :)

Oh. And if you need the price or detailed specs, then click!

Youth - mindless enthusiasm or marketers' last hope?

Was at the Malaysian Media Conference last week and was really taken with Khailee's presentation on Youth in Malaysia and what they have got to say. While I think it's brilliant but I think some areas are opened for debate.

Question: If we let youths run the country, will we have a brighter future? Personally: I think we'll be in havoc.

Having a voice and being heard is important. But when it comes to running marketing campaigns, I'm sceptical. Marketing with youths is essentially marketers utilizing youths. Hey, let's face it, there's no other way to sugar-coat the pill. Swallow it, will ya? YouthAsia talks about marketing with youths, hear em' and let them drive your campaigns spiritedly to achieve your goals. Don't appear and 'hang out' with them when your brand isn't even their friend. Hey, is Apple your friend? Is Nike your friend? Is Facebook your friend? NONE. They're an indispensable tool. An idol at best. But NOT a friend. How can a brand claims to be a friend when at the end of the day, every day it's still trying to sell me something? Is your insurance agent your friend? Is your car salesman your friend? Is your MLM promoter your friend? Come on.

What brands should do is STOP trying to be the consumer's friend. Stop trying to look cool, be cool. You're either cool or you're not. And that usually starts from the top. So here's talking to you, Mr. CEO. DiGi is cool because their CEO is young. And wears jeans to work (maybe). Practices flexi working hours (for sure). Believes in innovation (most definitely). Try that with Maxis. Or Celcom. Hmm. Brands should just sell stuff. The difference is people appreciate transparency. Just own up, will you? I think marketing with youth (or to, or at, whatever grammar proposition you decide to use still boils down to the same thing), is about empowerment. You don't have to be like them. You don't have to do what they do. You only need to empower them so that they know (NOT FEEL) they're in control. And they will appreciate what you have done. Because you kept it real. And in return, vote for you with their dollar (willingly and most gladly).

The 'friend' model is just another disguised 'transactional' business model. Getting youth to get more youth to buy into something is getting the gullible to lead the gullible. It should be organic. Keep it real remember? Stop being a control freak and wanting to see how the dots connect from the mousetrap to the cash register. WELCOME TO WEB 2.O. It doesn't happen that way. Brands should focus on themselves. Improving their service, products, conduct user research, listen to feedbacks, listen to critics, empower consumers to improve their lives and most importantly, in the boundless democratisation of the net - give them a choice. Brand loyalty is not something which can be built by ADEX, by frequency, by exposure, by mindless advertising. Brand loyalty is now truly scarce because you screw up once, bad news travel far and fast. But when you finally do get the loyalty of your consumers. Trust me. It will be a lifelong relationship and return.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Digital identities in reality.

It's finally here. Remember when everyone was divided between their existing and second life? That being 'online' means you can be someone else, almost detached from your 'offline' world? Augmented reality is one mean to bridge the two worlds. The 3rd dimension, if you will. I think there are many more ways to converge the two worlds. Online becoming more real, more offline. And vice versa. That if you're not online, you cease to exist (hey, that's already VERY true if you're in business). Finally, finally, finally, we will witness an even higher accountability and transparency in people. If you poo all over the net, it will come back to you in the real world. And vice versa. Makes you rethink about what you're about to say and do, right?

If fashion is a religion. Then Vogue is the bible.

We've never really talked fashion in Sparks. But I think this 'coming soon' is gonna be quite a big one, looking at the overwhelming response of 'The Devil wears Prada' in the women/fashion world. I think partially it's because a minority of women has finally achieved equality. As high fashion moves forward, feminism becomes a thing in the past. Can you imagine, last year (or was it year before last), the covers of Vogue's September issue held the publication's highest recorded number of advertisements. That issue was close to 700 pages if I could recall clearly! Suddenly, ads were no longer ads. They were the artistic showcase, a photographic journey, an embodiment of what's gonna hit the both the fashion conscious and the art world in the coming year. As someone rightfully said it - September is the January in fashion.

Anna Wintour. The most powerful figure in the fashion world, yet isn't exactly famous famous (at least to consumers' mind). It's interesting to see how she helms and drives that side of the world.

Let's get inspired. Watch and learn.

The September Issue - Anna Wintour & the making of Vogue. A film by R.J. Cutler.

Man is forever searching.

How are social networks evolving to become search engines of their own right?

YouTube --> Search for videos
Facebook --> Search for people
Twitter --> Search for trends
MySpace --> Search for talents
Wikipedia --> Search for knowledge

Shows why Google in a few years time may not be the default search engine as users are getting more and more targeted and specific with not only the content but the format it comes in. This is one example of human intelligence (collectively) evolves at a much faster rate than one creator's technology. Freakily, this reminds me of the ouija board. You know the stuff meddlesome people play with to invite 'spirits' into the living dimension? I'm not saying that it works, but I'm imagining this whole 2.0 thing as this 'force' of collective intelligence directing the mass to where the next big thing is, without the mass actually knowing that they are the collective intelligence (see the paradox?!). Neat huh.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Learning to be a (great) planner 101 #3.

If you need to be told what to do, you're too late.

Hello there, Sexy.

Just music. Works so well. Perfectly. Sexy.

Yasmin Ahmad 1958-2009 - a repost.

This is one of the most beautiful tribute written by Pete Teo to the late Yasmin Ahmad. I think many feel the same as he does but have trouble looking for the right words to express. The below is a repost from his blog. It is very very very beautiful. Very real. Many of us know Yasmin from a distance. Some famous person somewhere. But few of us have the golden opportunity to 'connect' with her like how Pete did. Nevertheless, we share the same sentiment on her departure (ironically, I watched Yojiro Takita's Departures yesterday and oh how I bawled - a movie that makes you feel so terribly lonely that you want to reach out to all other lonely people out there. They should create a support group for that online).

I've only had two personal encounters with Yasmin all through my advertising life. Once, I wrote her an email with a very short line. Asking her how on earth did she come out with the legendary Petronas ads. And she replied very simply, "Just write from the heart". It sounds simple but isn't the easiest thing to do. It's amazing how so many people are not reconciled with what's in their heart. And till today. I try to write strategies from the heart. And it's crazy how people could feel your passion in the boardroom. And I remembered her.

The second time I had a close encounter with her, was during a talk organized by Kakiseni on the arts and culture in Malaysia. Somehow, as usual, these things always lead to heated political debates and discussions. And I remember holding the mic and telling her how much more nationalistic I am, how much more patriotic I am, how much more Malaysian I feel whenever I'm OUT of the country. Because I tell foreigners I am a Malaysian. The paradox is, when in my own soil, I have to define myself as Chinese. That's utter bullshit.

And when Pete wrote (as you will read below) about how so many talented and 'frustrated' Malaysians left the country in hope to find a better life out there, and she would cry for these people - that sentiment resonates deep within me. I remember telling my friends too. If I ever do migrate, it only means one thing. I've given up hope on my country. And God willing. That will never happen. Hey Pete. If you need another gutsy soldier. Here I am.


Rest in peace, you crazy lovable cow.

I trust you will be watching over your parents and hordes of children from wherever you’ll be. It’s scarcely 24 hours since you left and they already miss you terribly. Your mother is taking it particularly badly. She refused to leave your grave earlier today though she had not slept for days. She was still there when I left.

Anyway, my phone has not stopped ringing. Commiserations, condolences and assorted newshounds seeking sound-bites. I gratefully accepted the first two and turned away the last. In fact, I got a little short with a reporter who wanted an obituary quote when my head was still spinning from watching the undertakers move your body into the hearse all wrapped in shroud. I mean, what the fuck happened to respect for the dead?

You can’t blame them I guess. The country is abuzz with news that one of her brightest has gone. You’ve been all over the front pages and someone just told me that 8TV is doing a tribute on you as we speak. But I am not going to watch it though. I am not yet ready to leave this space where I can be alone with you.

Elza messaged me on Facebook earlier to say that she is left with a big vacant hole in her heart now that you are gone. Poor thing - she’s been strong for everyone all day and is now left to fend for herself at 2am. So I told her that the hole is where your ghost will, once it has unpacked and settled in, fill up her heart and inspire her to live a fuller life than she would otherwise do. I hope I am right. If I am not, then there will be an awful lot of people walking around with unfilled holes in their hearts. Not so pretty.

By the way, I finally got around to watching Yojiro Takita’s ‘Departures’. I am not surprised that you kept badgering me to watch it. It is a very beautiful film. I suppose I could succumb to temptation and speculate upon how you loved a film about death shortly before you decided to die on us - but that would be bullshit – because the film is really about how to live. I know you loved it exactly like the way you loved ‘I Go’ - because it is about those who are staying rather than those who have gone.

I am sorry I never got round to showing you the ‘making of’ film I shot and edited for ‘Chocolate’. Unless you possessed super human powers whilst in a coma, you wouldn’t have seen the trailer of the film I put up on the 15Malaysia Facebook Page either. Anyway - it’s too late to show them to you now - so I’ll just have to go with the assumption that you approve of them. Either that, or you have my permission to call me at 3am again, as you did when you first heard ‘I Go’ and wanted to use it for ‘Talentime’.

Still, I am glad that I did get a chance to reconcile with you your decision to use the abstract ‘philosophical’ ending of ‘Chocolate’ rather than the more accessible ‘political’ ending. It took me a couple of weeks to get your point – i.e. that politics is useless without compassion – but better slow than dead, as they say…

Better slow than dead. Haw.

Lame joke aside, I do hope you’ll find time to politely ask the big guy upstairs to stop sending so many political charlatans and opportunists to this lovely country of ours. You once told me that you would cry if I were to migrate out of frustration like so many of our best and brightest - well, now that you’ve buggered off and left us, we could do with as much help from the Almighty as possible. Tell him I’ll give up smoking if he agreed to send a few more compassionate and gutsy dreamers like you instead.

Oh well, I shouldn’t ramble on. You probably have a boat to catch or something. Please give my regards to my grandma if you see her. Tell her I am doing okay though I’ve recently lost a friend to the ferryman…

Be safe on your way.

Miss you already,
Your Pedro.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Be conscious of what you put in your mouth a'ight?

About a year back, I questioned if we're depleting our protein source faster than we can say fish. Because of our disgustingly huge appetite for all things natural and swimming, our grandchildren may really think all fishes look like Nemo in decades down the road. Here's a snippet of a really interesting article which I'd like to share. Originally published in TimeOut KL, July issue: All you can't eat, pg 30.


“Eating a bluefin tuna is like eating a rhino,” claims WWF Hong Kong conservation director Dr Andy Cornish. Extreme as this might sound, the comparison is accurate. The world’s relentless demand for seafood has pushed many fish to the verge of extinction.

Humans rely on seafood as a source of nutrition and as a livelihood. According to London-based international charity the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), established by the WWF and Unilever in 1997, the diets of 2.6 billion people depend on fish as a source of animal protein. They estimate that 52 per cent of fish stocks are ‘fully exploited’, which means they are being fished at their ‘maximum biological capacity’.

Human consumption of fish has risen from 93.6 million tonnes in 1998 to 100.7 million tonnes in 2002. The MSC doesn’t want people to stop eating fish. Instead, it wants people to ensure consumers source their seafood from a well-managed fishery, which in turn guartantees a future for the industry and all those who depend on it for their livelihood. Shoppers who want to minimise the environmental and social consequences of eating fish should look out for MSC-certified products, which display a distinctive blue fish on the packaging.

Nevertheless, there are other ways to reduce your impact on the the world’s fish supplies. A few years back, WWF survey released a pocket-sized guide (visit to download it for free) that categorises 60 types of fish according to their sustainability. Alaskan Pacific salmon, North American black cod and Western Australian rock lobster (which are also availale MSC certified) are fine for consumption because they are not over fished. But shoppers should steer clear of Chinese shrimp, Hong Kong grouper and orange roughy (which share the endangered list with the bluefin tuna).

But with so little MSC-certified fish in our supermarkets, and even fewer restaurants serving it, the onus still lies with the consumer. But experts believe that even though change must come from the consumer, it is also the restaurant’s job to make sustainable food appealing and to supply their customers with information about the source of their seafood.

It is recently discovered that people are slowly becoming more proactive. In Hong Kong for example, it’s the younger Chinese generations that place around 60 per cent of the orders for MSC fish. Similarly in KL, with more youngsters refusing to consume shark’s fin, it’s a matter of time before we move our environmental consciousness up another notch.


(Bold mine)

Statistic from:

Also just to give you a clearer picture of where your fishes are coming from if you're living in Malaysia. Just remember, aquaculture good. Overfishing bad. We're not saying you should stop eating. But hey, keep your knack for exotic endeavours somewhere else perhaps?

Sparks and The Green Buddies support responsible seafood consumption.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Astroboy full season 1 on YouTube.

AWESOME. Imagine I almost paid 300 over bucks to buy the box set when I was in Dubai! The internet is indeed a wonderful wonderful wonderful tool for free stuff. It's like Christmas every day. It's like that same box of chocolate Forrest was talking about. But the frustration of our broadband speed remains. How all our lives (could) have changed.
Now I just need to find the time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Know your GTi #6.

The GTi unlike many other cars, only have ONE reverse light which is on the left side (found out from my greatest embarassment which I won't divulge here). So, what happened to the right buttock? It's the FOG light. I was also trying to figure out, how to turn on the fog light, and you can do so by pulling out the dial (as shown on top) and turn it towards the 'headlamp' sign. If you don't pull it out, you'll not be able to turn on the fog lights (front and back). A lot of people thought fog lights are a waste of material in Malaysia (haze yea, but fog?), but I beg to differ. I think these fog lights are great for days raining cats and dogs, bulls and frogs. You see, a lot of drivers turn on their hazard lights during heavy downpours (which you really shouldn't do), just so to 'increase visibility' for vehicles at the back. But hey, with a fog light like this:
He must be blind not to see you a mile a way. (And if that's the case, what on earth is he doing behind wheels?!).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Itchy butt.

In an attempt to scour for new things to do these days, I came across this:

And I'm telling you. I'm very tempted. It's not that I have death wish or something (with an inclusive insurance package of RM100,000, I'm sure it's pretty safe :S). Or going through some life crisis but piloting a plane has always been something which I know I must do before I die (or jump out from one). And when better than now, the need to furnish more content on the other blog.

Something I read in there, really tickled me. It says:

Dress Code:
- Trousers, long jeans, t-shirt and sunglasses (Sleeveless, singlet, mini skirt, hot pants and heels are strictly not allowed)

They must have had experience with something like that (or close) to actually put that in the clause. That makes me think. What are the social norms which we all take for granted that 'go without saying' and when do we need to be so specific with the dos and don'ts? For someone to be able to fork out a hefty amount for this one-day piloting thrill, must really have sufficient common sense for appropriate dressing, no? But that's purely my assumption, I could be judgmental. But can you prove me wrong? By just one sentence, doesn't it give you some kind of image on who actually goes for these things? And brought by who? And why? You don't have to answer that here. And I'm not saying whether your images are right or wrong, good or bad. I guess the next question is, why do we so automatically compartmentalize images based on these cues. Is it nature? Or nurture? Hmm.

Nevertheless. I'm seriously considering this. Any takers?

Know your GTi #5.

For most continental cars, the handle for signal change is on the left. For the GTi, lift it up to signal left turns and push it down for right turns. But if it's too tedious and too much energy for lazy bummers, just flick it up or down slightly and the signal light will come on for 2 seconds (three blinks to be exact). Good for zippy lane change ;)

Know your GTi #4.

If you look at your steering wheel, you'll realize that on the left hand is the volume adjustment buttons but none for channel change. I was really surprised that the GTi did not come with channel change buttons on the steering wheel, till I discovered that if you press the 'menu' button on the right side of your steering wheel while the vehicle is moving, it doesn't go into the menu. Instead it goes into the radio station channels and you can then pick the stations by pressing the up and down button! It's kinda neat because you can surf a lot more channels than the ones you've already preset on your player.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Malaysian Media Conference 2009.

Why a Geisha? That is so... typical of communication agencies. Anyway. We will find out and see you there ;)
Click on banner to go to site.

Workforce 2.0.

It's about time for a new social research. Whilst I've been toying with some ideas on what to discover next, I came across a web article on personal branding. That really sparked some thought in me. How has social media affected the way we work? Our motivation, our career planning, our priorities in both personal and work life, our gratification by employer and by self. How have all of that change since we've been living a life so wired to knowledge, information and other people which without them, we're like frogs living underneath the coconut shell?

I think that's something to be explored and discovered there. Who knows. It may change corporate strategies when it comes to human resource and talent management. Everyone is looking for economic growth. Why only focus on dollars and cents when we should also be placing strong emphasis on human capital? Which in the long run, will bring in the dough anyway? Hmm. Opinions welcomed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Honda Accord 2.0 VTi-L launched.

The new Accord 2.0 VTi-L version is finally launched in Taffeta White, complemented with sporty and elegant black leather seats, leather gear knob, an 8-way power driver seat with power lumbar support, door mirror with side turn lights and cruise control. This version will have the same power output as the current 2.0 model. The price you pay for a looker, substantial increment in cabin comfort and the label 'stylish'? Only an additional RM8,000. Go to Honda showrooms now to see and feel the real thing.

Nice to be spotted and featured ;)

Was notified by Slideshare that our presentation is being featured. Can you spot us?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

6 Lessons From the Best Marketing Campaign Ever by Rohit Bhargava.

Something thoughtful. Original article here.

Still, a big part of the reason for the amazing success of this campaign ("Best Job in the World")was not what they were marketing, but how they used social media to do it. In that, there are some lessons anyone trying to promote a product or service could use:

Make it believable. Many marketing groups would never make a claim if they can't provide substantial evidence. How might Tourism Queensland prove that their job is the best in the world? They can't. But it is believable because it is a beautiful place and fits what many people's definition of a dream job might be.

It's not about how much you spend. One of the major benefits of smart public relations and social media is that it scales in a way that advertising typically doesn't. In other words, you don't have to pay more to get more. The real trick is to have something worthwhile to say that people can't help talking about. You need a good story.

Focus on content, not traffic. (Amen, amen, amen) The typical marketing campaign focuses on traffic to some kind of site. For Tourism Queensland, the biggest payoff of this campaign was having over 34,000 videos on YouTube from people around the world talking about how much they love Queensland. Aggregate the views of all those videos, and multiply them over the long term and you'll start to understand the true impact of their campaign.

Create an inherent reason for people to share. Another element of this campaign that worked extremely well was the fact that there was voting enabled on the videos. What this meant was that after someone submitted their video, they had an incentive to share it with everyone in their social network online to try and get more votes.

Don't underestimate the power of content creators. Most recent statistics point to some number between 1% and 10% of the user base of any social network are the active content creators. Though these percentages may seem small, the potential impact of some of these individuals are vast online. It could easily become the secret weapon for your next marketing campaign.

Give your promotion a shelf life. The best thing about this campaign may just be the content yet to come. Ben, the winner, just started blogging and sharing videos and photos, but the content is already engaging, high quality and inspires you to dream of making it to Queensland yourself. Over the next six months, his itinerary will take him across the state of Queensland and unlock many other unique opportunities. Best of all, this content will live on far beyond the time span of the campaign.

Italics mine.
Although essentially there are no rules in social media campaigns but I think these are the fundamental requirements. Hmm.

The Green Chronicles 2009.

We've got the kind permission from our employer to share the findings of our social research on environmental awareness and conservation efforts in Malaysia. One of the biggest reasons why we've decided to share this openly is to spark thoughts and discussions on really how to design effective 'green' strategies, for we all know that this is a global or in a smaller scale, nationwide cause. It's not a battle that can be fought (and won) by one single company, and definitely not a single agency. So, please feel free to share your thoughts if you have any.

And please. Respect intellectual property. Read. Don't rip.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Only locals know best.

We've started a new experimental social site called 'Locals know best'. It's all things travel in Malaysia. Why? Because we figure that you think you've discovered everything, but no, you've discovered nothing until you discover these things. Please don't go 'party'-bashing in there though, since we encourage open participation by everyone. You just have to notify us ;)

It is rather empty now, but don't wait for it to have a bit of meat before you participate. We're looking for contributors, so anytime when you discover something new about this truly Asian land of ours, please don't hesitate to share. Have fun ;)

Know your GTi #3.

This isn't a unique feature to the GTi as I think it's standard for ALL vehicles (last I checked).
In the midst of our daily business, we forget things. So the next time you drive into the gas station to refuel and you forgot which side your fuel tank flap is on, look at the petrol icon shown on your meter (refer to green square above). The triangle pointing either direction from the side of the icon shows you which side the flap is on. A lot of people don't know that (!), so they end up driving into the wrong side and drag the hose all the way to the other side, over their vehicle, to fill up. DON'T DO THAT. You don't want any unnecessary showers, do you? Especially not this kind.

After speaking with a few car enthusiasts and day-to-day drivers, we think this is the discovery of the millennium. Really.

Monday, July 13, 2009

We're reading...

Insider's Kuala Lumpur by Lam Seng Fatt. And we're linked and following express lane. Will share when we're done ;)

Know your GTi #2.

Once you have refuelled full tank, press the up arrow button (refer to right yellow circle below) on your multi-function steering wheel till you see the 'range in km' on the combi-instrument display (refer to left yellow circle). It is basically calculated from the your fuel tank content versus current fuel consumption. This is so you know how far more your vehicle can go before needing to refuel again. I think this is a standard feature in most Vdub vehicles, but then again, I'm not 100% sure.

Useful level: 10/10 - This is because 1)It tells me on a full tank, how far my vehicle can go. The Golf GTi states 570km on a full 55l engine, which is about 10.4km/l (obviously you can't beat the Japs on fuel consumption but hey, you've got to look at the ROF (Return on Fun) instead, you know). On the long run, I'm able to gauge my vehicle's fuel consumption behavior as well as my own driving habit. When the numbers start to fall, then I know I have to be niceR on the road. And 2)After two times of nearly stalling on the North-South highway for over-gauging my vehicle's ability to 'drag on for a few more kilometres' before refuelling at the next petrol station, this obviously comes super handy.

We'll have more GTi tips and insider's knowledge from time to time. Follow us to get wired ;)

Knowledge Seekers - Autocar Asean.

We're always plowing for good reads so we'll be featuring what we like on the magazine rack and what we will pass, here. So that you spend your 10 bucks wisely or waste it on something else.

Title: Autocar Asean

Type of content: Glocal automotive news and launches, test drives and reviews of both freshly-baked and on-the-road models, expert viewpoint features of supercars and all-things-you-can't-afford and motorsports coverage.

Unique content: 7/10 - Well since most automotive magazines do cover test drives, this one is no less. But interestingly enough, they call it 'First Drives' instead. Which means it doesn't only cover newly launched models but also revisiting older ones which may not have gotten their due spotlight, or were somehow forgotten and got stashed away to make way for novelty.

Interesting content: 8/10 - Always an enjoyable read. A nice almost 50-50 mixture of local/regional news versus global content. The latter puts a lot of credibility into this Asian version, featuring one of the industry's finest driver and road tester, Steve Sutcliffe (hey, how many of yous actually got to test drive a new F1 model before? Or have raced with Button?). But the local point-of-view isn't any lesser than its global counterpart with veteran writers like Faisal Shah and Chips Yap holding the editorial reign. Very few automotive writers can bring out the emotive bits from mechanical bodies as well as them. You'd find yourself nodding in agreement when something they say strike a note with your own driving experience but then, you could never find the right words to describe that feeling. And now you read, you just go aha, so that was it.

Content presentation: 7/10 - Local shots are quite standard without any 'wow' factor. Only the imported content comes with shots that make you wanna hop right into the magazine's track. Design and features are pretty standard, so it would be nice to kinda push the creativity a bit more. What can we say. It is practical.

Price: RM9.90 - Buy. If you have any testosterone in you, buy. You may not quite know all your nuts and bolts about your car but hey, at least it's the 101 that you need to minimally qualify yourself as a 'bloke' on that beer table. As for the auto-enthusiast. Buy. Keeps you wired with all the important bits in the industry without too much rubbish or too common content that is beginning to taste like stale bread. Every page is very much enjoyed.

We're not bashing. We just want things better.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Knowledge seekers - Gaya Travel Nusantara.

We're always plowing for good reads so we'll be featuring what we like on the magazine rack and what we will pass, here. So that you spend your 10 bucks wisely or waste it on something else.

Gaya Travel Nusantara is a travel magazine which also has a corresponding website. It's got a frequent collaboration with the tourism ministry, featuring their version of group travels called 'Kembara ZOOM!' (for those of you who don't know, ZOOM! is the promotional name for Malaysia's domestic tourism. Why ZOOM!? Without realizing it, the question mark after the exclamation is really quite apt here. Why!? Hmm. But that's a different debate altogether). Anyway, the magazine features main local tourism spots, interviews with tourism personnel, some information and knowledge on our local culture and heritage, some foreign travel attractions from our neighbours and recommendations of hotels. And this is our take:

Unique content: 6/10 - Features somethings which we never knew about our country. That could be partially due to our ignorance anyway.

Interesting content: 5/10 - Although we self-admit to be an ignorant bunch of doofus who don't know much about the heritage of 'Joget Pahang' but it doesn't mean that we're dying to find out either. But then again, I always think that content is a just another form of message. And every message has got an audience. It's just not what you say, but how you say it.

Content presentation: 4/10 - Horrendous but... Can close one eye... With great difficulty. One of the feature articles was hilarious. The entire two-page article was missing its 'i's. Although t wasn't d ff cult to read w thout the ' 's cause you can pretty much guess what the word s, but st ll, we've never seen such a publ cat on that challenges aud ence n such creat ve manner. Travel photos are key visuals in inspiring people to move, unfortunately, not so for Gaya Travel :/

Price: RM8.90 - Suggest you go buy a travel eye-mask from Watson instead.

We're not bashing. We just want things better.

Know your GTi #1.

I think it's shocking to know that most drivers do not know why it is so crucial to adjust the height of their steering wheel of their vehicle. The example shown below is from the Golf GTi (obviously our market version will be a right-hand drive). There is a lever below the steering wheel which when opened and pushed below will release the steering wheel's lock (refer to red arrow). Of which then, the steering wheel's height can be adjusted freely. Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn't be adjusting the height according to your shoulder's height but should be adjusted to Xcm from your chest. For the Golf GTi, the recommended optimum distance is 25cm from the driver's breast bone. This is to ensure when airbags are inflated in the event of an accident, the driver is fully protected.

Also, when adjusting the steering wheel, ensure that the surface is pointing towards your chest and not face (refer to yellow arrow). This is very important during the inflation of airbags. This is one time, you don't want something to blow up on your face. Literally.

So check with your manufacturer to find out what is the optimum distance between you and your steering wheel so that you know you're well-protected.

Photo from

We'll have more GTi tips and insider's knowledge from time to time. Follow us to get wired ;)

Friday, July 10, 2009

A new look for City's Weekend Escapades.

Can be found here. We're still looking for new ideas to how best deliver content that is user-centric. Especially with the notorious limitation of Facebook. But of course, the more $$$, the limitations become less obvious.

I think it's getting better and better each time, but still could be better ;)

A whole new dimension of Safety Technology.

While we were busy on crash test and G-force control and minimizing pedestrian injury and what not, look what Mercedes-Benz has been doing? It really tells us something about our times, doesn't it?
I mean bullets, yea, that's the norm. But hand grenades?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Learning to be a (great) planner 101 #2.

Agency myth: There will be monies allocated to do all the research you want about the brand, the product and your target market.

Correction: Yea right. Show me this agency and I'll show you a self-sacrificial government leader.

I've been thrown the same question by a lot of people lately. Why on earth am I doing what I'm doing when it's not supposed to be done by me? Well, going back to the myth above. No. Agencies do not have a bottomless pit for planners to research whether formally or not. Not the money, not the time (time spared is money burnt, some thinks) and definitely not the manpower (or woman). That's why it would be important to use every opportunity for self-initiatives and if possible try something new. Execute something you've never done. Exchange roles with someone who complains a lot about what they do. Do something different other than researching, reading and planning. To a certain extent, executing activations especially on-ground events where there are great opportunities for physical human interaction, these are great grounds for planners to find out more about their target, the product, the brand. For free. In a way. Observe and learn. Multitasking stretches your perspective to a spectrum of possibilities you never thought possible.

I'm doing what I'm doing because it will eventually add on to what I should be doing, that's why.

Socialism x MJ.

Eternal moonwalk - A tribute to Michael Jackson.

Finally finally finally, a tribute that wipes tears away and puts a smile back on people's face. But still very heartwarming ;) Nice job.

Sparks spotted at Urbanscapes!

Look who found us ;)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blowing up Pepsi.

Read from Businessweek, April 27th 2009 issue:

D'Amore (CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages) informally called his undertaking The Big Bang. It was an apt metaphor. He was proposing not just devising new ads and slogans for the seven separate brands but redesigning 1,121 different bottles, cans, and other packages. And he wanted to have the reconceived products on store shelves in seven months (?!) to coincide with the 2009 Super Bowl, when PepsiCo was planning to unveil several new commercials.

Never had the company attempted to overhaul so many products so quickly. The danger was clear: In January consumers would walk into supermarkets and find that nearly all of their favourite PepsiCo beverages looked dramatically different - and they might hate the changes. What's more d'Amore's team wouldn't have time for the exhaustive market research that usually helps mitigate such risks.


He explained how his smooth new circle, which would replace the 3D look of the old logo with simple matte colors, mimicked the minimalist lines of Apple's music-and-video player. The logo's upturned curves, he said, were like emoticons: Diet Pepsi was a 'grin', Pepsi was a 'smile', Pepsi Max a 'laugh'.

***end of excerpt***

(Non-italics mine)

Originality is officially dead. For a multi-billion dollar company like Pepsi to 'mimic' another brand giant is no sense to me. And whatever that's planned and done looks like a hell of a risk to me. Shouldn't they try to look for the insights behind the iPod phenomenon to understand what makes the new generation tick, instead of 'borrowing' design cues from something which the world thinks it's cool!? A lot of brands can do that. But honestly, I would expect much more from a brand like Pepsi? It's like BMW wanting to be... Louis Vuitton (?!).


Anyway, I thought you may be interested in Peter Arnell's (D'Amore's appointed branding guru for this revamping exercise) pitch presentation for the rebranding of Pepsi. Dubbed 'Breathtaking', it looks more like a science paper to me. Yes, while I think it's cool to design a 'trick' logo with multiple viewpoints (that's a real first and real daring) but it also allows a huuuuuuuge room for distortion possibility and 'mis-recognition', no? Take a look:

Uh. Bottle's okay. Design's okay. But having not one but multiple 'sub-faces' of a logo? Yes, it is innovative and really pushing the envelope. But I guess we'll just have to wait for the real verdict and see how the consumers like their new Pepsi. Well at least, they left the formula untouched (lesson well-learned from their archrival perhaps).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It can only come from BMW.

Wicked rims. But wish the new X1 exterior design is more provocative though. But it's always the details, ain't it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Google Maps Malaysia was launched recently as a WIP program which hopes the last mile is built, connected and improved by users. I think it's pretty much what we've tried doing with City's Weekend Escapades utilizing Google's API. But not without some pretty tough challenges, which I really hope to see Google overcome. What we are doing is publishing content hoping to inspire user generated ones. While Google puts the platform together, working with key partners to publish content and hoping for users to correct and improve on the existing content, much like Wikipedia. Hmm. That makes me think. One, for this application to really take off, I think we'll need to wait for it to hit the critical mass (how long will that take? And Malaysia's internet penetration now stands at 59%, is that critical mass?). And secondly, this application would also appeal to tourists/foreigners traveling/living in Malaysia. But remember, you need grassroot support to generate quality content in this kind of situation. The problem with published content is, they're stale! The content from publisher A to B to XYZ is the same!

The reason why we're doing the City's Weekend Escapade is because we realised that Malaysians (especially Klang Valley-ians) aren't all that adventurous unless everything is served right from the kitchen to their mouths. I'm not pouring cold water, I'm sure there are good internet samaritans in Malaysia. But I think perhaps, some kind of carrot or incentive may actually speed things up? Like the much talked about WikiMalaysia project. You really need a lot of cooperation from the mass to pull off something like that. And remember, the 'knowledgeable ones' may not be the 'wired ones' and vice versa. All these are great ideas but I remain sceptical about our market where we can't assume netizens everywhere behave the same. Hmm. > Search for whatever that comes to your mind and watch them appear on the map. > You can make the content more robust by reviewing and correcting misinformation

Compare > City's Weekend Escapade itinerary, 'Back to Basics in Perlis' > Plotted but visually still needs a lot of improvement. To display the itinerary 'visually', still requires user to 'get directions' and plot each destination manually. So yes, we're assuming our users are Google maps intelligent.

Mansion-size room for improvement.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More content for 2009 Honda City FB page.

Posted on 2009 Honda City: Honda City fans cruising in a convoy towards Bukit Tinggi. Song: You & I, by Jason Mraz, played via iPod jack in the Honda City's advanced audio system.

We produced a 'test drive' video of driving in the 5G City during our recent road trip to Bukit Tinggi. It was experimental, utilizing everything the car has to offer, the view, the maneuverability, and yes inclusive the amazing sound produced by the advanced audio system. I thought the video turned out not bad, considering only 1% is edited. Inspires the team to be even more experimental with stuff ;)

On a separate but somehow related note, something got me thinking today. One of the less prioritized situations in our automotive market is the lack of study on how Malaysians are using their car. It isn't surprising to know that the market is largely driven by the 'sports' factor, yet so many still live in 'practical-dom'. So they settle for a vehicle with sporty aesthetics with fair day-to-day power. The price of the investment aside, but what the mass need is a kind of stimulation which will change the way we view 4-wheelers and how they are used. This stimulative need can only be created by a tidal wave of social change that seemingly has nothing to do with the automotive market yet everything to do with spearheading product strategies that will finally (and hopefully) change how local makers perform.

Malaysians in truth, need to get out more. And get out of the congestions of local malls to experience a more fulfilling weekend. When you get out of the urban box, you inevitably search for something that satisfy a different level of driving experience. Whether it's comfort driving, or being able to finally use your paddle shifters or finally utilizing the maximum horsepower that you're beginning to think it's urban legend. It does make sense. Putting people on longer journeys means putting more bums on better seats means putting more enjoyable wheels on the roads means kaching! But yea, that kinda go against the green grain at the moment right? But the argument isn't about encouraging people to drive out more unnecessarily. The idea here is to get them to experience 'quality' driving. To get them out, disperse themselves and explore. This is what I guess we have been trying to achieve with the Honda City. It's an apt car that sits just nicely on the priceline that encourages drivers to go out and discover what's round the bend. A very long and wide bend that is, looking at the destinations and driving itineraries that we've been putting together. Of course, this doesn't have the scale befitting a 'social reform' or even remotely sizeable enough to spark even the most minuscule of change in any kind. However, having said that, I think this is how our local makers can learn from people and their habits to be able to predict trends and capitalize on opportunities instead of remaining stagnant and/or auto-cruising at a speed which is government protected and incentivised. How long more can we remain on the middle lane? How can we change how and where people travel to that could ultimately affect us on so many different levels?

This is the mashed-up results: More quality time doing more meaningful things that better relationships with companions, Malaysians becoming better advocates of their country through exploration and discovery of their beloved (hopefully, spur some patriotism on the way) through the web due to the ever-burgeoning 'need to share' culture sparked by social media, and of course, lastly but of no least, better quality cars at competitive prices that are beyond aesthetics for the people.

Now doesn't that make perfect social, political and economic sense?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Joint ventures.

Joint ventures are exciting happy occassions. But most often than not, what breaks them apart isn't conflicting ideas. But conflicting management styles.

There can only be one main guy. It's either you or I. There's no you and I.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Not Pringles. But the banner ad. Click on it (later, after you've finished reading what I have to say) to find out why.

Is the design appealing. Er, not really. Does it communicate the brand message? Uh, brand what? Is it engaging? Abso-friggin-lutely.

That makes me think. I wonder what was the brief for this kind of ad? Screw everything. Engagement one and only? Hmm.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Metrics from qualitative surveys?

What kind of brand metrics can we create from qualitative focus groups? Usually a tool to provide insights but need a large volume of data (or at least quantifiable). Is there a more interesting and insightful way to present focus group surveys?