Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Breaking news: New NAP revised.

Browsing through the NAP revision in Paul Tan's blog. But what really caught my eye was this:

"A gazetted Customs pricelist for used CBU cars to be established to supplement the current list of new CBU cars. This will be used to prevent underdeclaration of grey import vehicles by declaring then as “used” instead of new in order to manipulate the price, as the gazetted pricelist is currently only for new vehicles."

I reckon those "used" (ahem ahem) pre-regs will go off the shelves like hot potatoes!

Phew. Lucky lucky me :)

Kerepek Online.

Being a proud Malaysian (who's equally frustrated but not jaded), I have to post this.

Kerepek Online is for Malaysians, who once in awhile get a nostalgic crave for local crackers. Normally, these are sold in markets and kedai runcits (neighbourhood sundry shops). You can hardly locate any of these traditional crackers in big foreign supermarkets but now you can find it online to ease that crave anytime, anywhere (in Malaysia).

I applaud the idea because this isn't just about entrepreneurship but it's about conserving a part of our heritage that is slowly eroding before our eyes. Something about the mismatched use of fonts and colours in this website that is SO... Malaysian (haha!). I don't think we've ever been the design bestowed bunch except for a few chosen and very talented ones. But it's this very 'graphic disorder' that somehow gives the site a feeling of local authenticity.

My interpretation:

A clean, well-designed, visually engaging flash site that's wired in all sorts of imaginable (and unpronounce-able) social networks with weird multi-coloured humanlike organisms who don't resemble any animals or aliens or monsters which any human can recognize, just won't do. It gives people the impression that the these Kerepek-ians behind the screen are just some 20 something anti-government UK graduate designers with spare family cash who think they know how to produce crackers the authentic makcik way because they did it over tea on Sunday afternoons in London or in an easier way, who know someone who knows how to produce crackers, decide to mash Kerepek with the Web in an experimental sort of way to see what comes out of it since they don't have to wake up for 9am meetings the next day.

However, the irregularities in fonts and patterns and the super enthusiastic and unedited style of writing perhaps says a lot more truth about the owner: a sub-urban/rural boy (or girl) who finished tertiary education in a local uni who is passionate about his (or her) family/relative's business or feels responsible to takeover the business and sees the potential in expansion yet understands that things cannot remain the way they are, tries his (or her) best to bring Kerepek-dom from Kampung to Kuala Lumpur, truly believing that this business method will bring in the bucks. Somehow.

I haven't bought anything yet. I'm still a sceptic over transactions online (unless it's an air ticket, room reservation, concert or movie tickets and but I promise I will support at least one packet of Kerepek ;)

Long live Kerepek!

Beautifully imperfect.

Photo by Jan Chipchase.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Book covers that we love.

Cover as media. Visual usually tells the story upfront (as with most advertising) but this time, it's reversed. Instead it wraps up the story nicely when you close the book, take a look at the glass and go 'ahh...'. What a neat closure! If you haven't read the book, you'd think 'innocence', 'purity', 'huh?', 'cow', 'goat', 'what the...', 'scratch head', etc. But if you've paid attention to the content. One word. Drugs. Why? Go read it.

Anyway, I think there are a lot of great designs that are extremely inspirational which we tend to overlook every day. One of which are book covers. Especially when vintage is making a comeback, I think we can find some pretty neat solutions and inspirations in these visual communications too.

Also read more about Penguin's famous illustrations.

6 cars. 6 weeks. 6 winners.

Check out Real Racing GTi, created specially by VW for the iPhone™ and iPod Touch®. There are 6 cars to be given away for 6 weeks. And more importantly, check out the nicely done video below ;) Makes my heart skip two beats ;) This is really a representation of German technology in the funnest way.

Lexus LFA sports @ Tokyo Motorshow 2009.

LFA scupture from acrylic created for Milan Design Week.

Honda 6-seater Multipurpose Vehicle Concept: Skydeck.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thanks Tom!

Awhile ago, I posted Damian Foxe x Tom Palliser, and I got a lovely email from Tom expressing his thanks. It's really nice to know that there are so many talented people out there who are still so thoughtful to drop personal notes. He also shared a link on Vimeo where the video was available (embedded here). So here's to you again, Tom. Really nice piece of work ;)

The Longing from BABANUKI films on Vimeo.

How to get spotted by The Sartorialist.

Go on, click on the JPG for some real laughter. I'm an ardent follower of The Sartorialist. But whatever this dude is saying, is so true!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

An afternoon of classical music.


This year's Tokyo Motorshow has shrunk considerably in size due to the impact of the widespread economic depression. Although it is less interesting compared to the magnitude of this automotive show two years ago, it is nice to see what the Japanese have been up to and what vision they have set upon themselves and collectively to achieve a more harmonious environment between man and machine, especially in the face of threatening global environment issues.
Honda's theme for this year is 'Creating the never before' which stems from one of the many insightful sayings of grand old daddy, Soichiro Honda. The message to Honda's fans and potential supporters is about exploring possibilities to create a more convenient, comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle for the mass via exploring original technologies. Unlike other manufacturers, Honda this year concentrates on their personal philosophy, going back to the fundamental cultish teachings of their founder to showcase their thinking versus solely exhibiting their technologies. The stage performance, I have to admit, is really the best seen amongst all exhibitors (not that I'm biased. Will try to upload the video in YouTube soon ;)).

President of Honda, Takanobu Ito took the speech baton from Asimo, explaining Honda's concentrated effort in CO2 reduction by not only reducing fuel consumption on current vehicles but also researching and perfecting alternative technologies such as the FCX Clarity. This year, they also introduced the concept of 'Honda Electric Mobility Loop' - HELLO to promote EVs. Of course, the cutest star of the day was the EV-N which brings a little nostalgia of the first Civic which ran on the then most innovative CVCC. The EV-N also comes with the UX-3, personal mobility vehicle (one-wheeler). In meeting budget effectiveness, Honda displays both 4-wheeler and 2-wheeler in the same booth which subsequently allows visitors to experience the impact of the manufacturer's single-minded thinking in every conceived product.

Unlike other manufacturers, Honda aims to cater to every single layer of the society via the EV concept. Those who prefer performance over Darth Vader sounding hybrids will be attracted to the CRZ concept (due for production next year) - the first and only hybrid car which comes with a 6-speed MT.
For the stylish who prefer high utility over 2-seater hybrids (that cater to people with no family, no baggages, and no legs) will be amazed by another concept by Honda called Skydeck which is a 6-seater multipurpose vehicle. While we're on a race towards an electric future, the current Insight and Civic Hybrid are more recognizable with familiar technologies appealing to the now.

Everyone is moving towards the eco direction. It's nice to see how Honda doesn't lose its grit especially when its DNA started from advanced performance and racing activities. We look forward to see more 'hybrid' thinking from this manufacturer - combining two thoughts to create an original value. Which is the 'never before'.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cat is back.

For awhile, I thought I lost this little guy. Little did I know, he went travelling with his new found friend ;) More of him here.

By the way, I'm a little not used to the internet speed being so fast here. All hail Japan.

Something good is coming.

We've been gallivanting around the TMS during set-up for the past few days. Really nice people to accommodate us. And I must say that I'm impressed with the entire set-up strategy for Honda. What's coming up? That's the question. Watch this space for more news ;)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane.

Leaving to Tokyo tonight for a week. Will try to post stuff from TMS ;) Watch this space.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What a nice nostalgic surprise.

Sometime back when I had more time (still have the passion though), I had the opportunity to contribute to some mags on my many (but not enough) travels. Shared by a dear friend:

I didn't even know they made it to the web. The articles made me smile. Maybe I should quit my job and get an intership with Conde Nast.

Let me know if you need travel articles too, I'll be happy to ;)

Damian Foxe X Tom Palliser.

Damian Foxe pens a love letter to 1940s glamour. Too bad I can't find the video anywhere except for in FT - How to spend it. Click here, and click on the video. I absolutely love the art direction, the music composition, the mood. Gosh it's so melancholic, I feel like hugging the tall girl and tell her everything is going to be all right.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Forbes: What your car says about you.

"Porsches smack of success. Hondas preach practicality. And, according to a recent report, Chevys proudly proclaim of their owners, "I don't use the Internet."

Your car implies more about your life than you might think. While 13% of Chevy owners don't use the Web, by contrast, less than 3% of Honda owners remain in the technological Stone Age. The antithesis of flashy, Honda owners are usually pragmatic and well educated; 70% boast a college degree or higher, compared with 35% of Chevy owners and 45% of Ford owners.

The data was released in the spring as part of this year's New Vehicle Experience Study by San Diego-based market research outfit Strategic Vision."

More story here.

It's a nice research to do while I don't think it gives any true insights. Automotive is serious business and even the cheapest vehicle requires the buyer to make some really hefty investment as compared to buying a slice of bread or a tube of toothpaste. Even if it's only a few thousand USD, it is a few thousand USD. For that kind of investment, it is natural to assume that people will gravitate towards brands that represent themselves presently.

In Malaysia, if you don't have the dough, you get an entry-level Proton. You want something more reliable, you get a Perodua. You can afford bit more, you get a Toyota. You want something more stylish with the same investment, you get a Honda. If you don't care about brands but want to just flick those million of switches in the car with functions you may not even use in a million years, you pick an American. If you want to be better than National brand owners but can't afford Japanese, you get Korean. If you're upcoming, wanting to flaunt your hardwork (or easy money), you go for entry-level 3series. If you're a bit old school, you go for Mercedes. If you're trying to be different from the executive pack and have a bit of innovative blood in you, you drive an Audi. If you're a real car fan, and can see beyond all these brand fluff that encapsulates the real German technology McCoy, you go for a VW. So... what are you?

Perhaps, we just need research to validate that ;)

Change the way we look at sustainability in automotive business.

The influx of Hybrids and EVs becomes almost every manufacturer's intend in lowering CO2 emission at consumer level. I think it's high time they should look at the total CO2 emission right from the beginning, starting from manufacturing. That should speak more volume about the brand.

Lexus HS 250h claims that 30% of the combined interior and luggage area is made of Ecological Plastics (TM), which is created, in part, using plant-based materials sourced from the fibers of the kenaf plant and oils from castor seeds. Subsequently reducing the reliance on petroleum-based materials which helps to lower CO2 impact of manufacturing.

Carbon reduction should be considered at three different stages of the product-consumer cycle which is at point of manufacturing, at point of usage and at point of disposal. Therefore, to truly claim sustainability, automakers need to consider a holistic approach to the manufacturing process (because this cause the greatest impact on the environment). Putting out products which are kind to the environment will someday be a 'given' because as I mention before, social conscious consumers will 'vote' with their money. Last but not least, manufacturers should not stop there. They should also plan strategies to educate their customers on the disposal of their products. Now that's closing the loop.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Clinched MMC CR-V.

Coverage from Marketing Interactive dot com. Well, thanks to Team and thanks to Honda. Celebration in WIP, BSC this Thursday. Watch post for drunkards (and we do not, let me emphasize again, WE DO NOT drink and drive) ;)

Volkswagen - The Fun Theory.

Mash marketing + social experiment + digital production = what do you get?

The Fun Theory: A great viral campaign.

More story here.

Vogue September issue featuring the Ice Queen.

I vaguely remember reading the particular phonebook size Vogue two years ago. The first 100 plus pages or so are all ADS. Instead of mindless brand propaganda, it was about art, art, art and slap brand on art. To my surprise, they weren't boring at all.

So when The September Issue was on screen in New Zealand, I figure I had to watch it. Couple of things I gather from the film (can't say it's amazing because... that's how all documentaries/reality films are done now anyway, but it's great nevertheless).

One: I didn't know that what you are wearing right now as you're reading this traces back to The One Single Point in the fashion kingdom known as Anna Wintour (at any point - could be a year, two years, some years, but always That One Point). I mean, yea, she's the renown Editor of Vogue and she's powerful, but I didn't know she was that powerful. She basically has the world's greatest designers wrapped around her little finger, all gingerly waiting for her precious little nod to seal the confidence before their runway production. So now I know. You want to hold others on their ___ ? Then you've got to be in media. And you've got to be VERY big in media. As a matter of fact, VERY big media. And Vogue is VERY big.

Two: It was equally enlightening to see what really goes on behind those unassuming doors which separate fashion's greatest creative energy from rest-of-the-world. The systems they employ to produce their monthly issues are really insightful. A system which holds individuals together without them losing their technicolor creativity to become part of the monochrome factory-line. We've been trying to 'create' systems too in this office because we were trying to counter the problems of being too personnel dependent especially when the turnover of this industry is worrying. But at the back of my mind, I've always gotten more worried about creating an advertising factory line - churning out FAs mindlessly - which loses the entire point of being in a creative communication business. We must have a system, because it protects the business. But we must not lose the individual's fingerprint in the process. Hmm. Very intricate business.

But seriously, if the opportunity arises, please go watch it.

Also, if you like fashion and will queue forever for Anna Wintour, you may want to watch this male version called Valentino The Last Emperor. Love defies rules. Here's the trailer :)

Friday, October 9, 2009 'Potong stim' ad.

Seriously witty. Seriously damn potong stim ;) But I would buy it. Cheeky!

Very imaginative.

BETC Euro RSCG's ad for premium French channel Canal+. Very entertaining and BIG imagination!

But one question though. I'm not sure what to do at the end of the 'commercial'? Does it mean that Canal+ have better screenwriters therefore better content?

The creative is so entertaining, sometimes we forget to sell eh?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Change your perspective.

Awesome awesome site by Saab - Change Perspective. The multiple senses experience is phenomenal. Guiding but non-intrusive, multiple points but non-linear navigation, fun but informational, simple but engaging. Awesome.

Smart way to link information back to corporate site so that it's a clear distinction between campaign and product (what you need to communicate versus what you want to communicate). Awesome.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Honda EV-N to debut in Tokyo Motorshow.

Wowee. We'll be seeing this retro looking little guy at Tokyo Motorshow. I'm not so sure about the specs, features and all, but you can find the original post here. This fusion of electro minimalism and vintage styling, likin' it ;)

I guess there are two kinds of minimalism in automotives. The high performance, road tearing vehicles which need everything to be made out of carbon fibre of aluminium or this, the cutesy super compact, super practical EVs that only have fittings that are absolutely necessary, which otherwise it's deadweight to the poor battery.

Food Inc - Hungry for change?

Watched Food Inc. An independent documentary on the American food industry ala Michael Moore with better art direction. The big States seems to be always getting the spotlight for their lead role – the tyrant of all sorts when it comes to consumer scandals (whether or not it’s within their shores). Independent filmmaker Robert Kenner strips away America’s packaging without shame to expose some of the most hideous acts and pure selfish motivations of the country in the name of capitalist growth. It may seem insignificant now, but not in the near future.

Not too long ago, we completed the research on ‘The Green Chronicles’ and have been actively pursuing and propagating sustainability by encouraging people to make the right decisions. Not by going against the system but by actually utilizing the same system these capitalist monsters have been using against gullible human and nature, called consumerism. Yes, you can vote every single day for what you believe in and what is right for your family, community, society, country and ultimately the world by spending your dollar wisely, choosing only manufacturers and service providers that put social business back into commerce. Corporations have always been consumer-centric anyway, but it’s increasingly important for us to acknowledge the importance of being crowd-centric instead. Considering communities as a whole before profit, even before the consumer, I dare say... Simply because being consumer-centric only means profit generation. The problem starts when they get all fuzzied vision about it and forget that they too are living in a society spiraling downwards in this era of environmental doom.

Well, vote responsibly with your money and support local industry (I speak for Malaysia – please understand that a lot of the ‘nice imageries of delicious foods and made-up vitamins’ come from packaging design and really smart brand marketing – take it from someone who is from the advertising industry aight’?), so yea… if the quality isn’t too bad then why not vote for local produce the next time you purchase something? Find out more about the slow food movement and collaborate with your local community and perhaps, start food appreciation at home instead of external food establishments.

I’ll be interested to find answers to these questions in Malaysia. Please share if you have them.

1) What are the laws which are protecting consumers and which ones are protecting the food industry and what is the balance?

2) What are we importing and exporting and why are we exporting better goods offshore instead of providing it to local consumers?

3) What agricultural practices are we implementing that take a holistic approach from ensuring farmer’s wellbeing up to consumer consumption education? For example, the UTZ Certified coffee beans in New Zealand that strongly practice sustainability in their coffee, tea and cocoa production supporting local communities.

4) Exactly how sustainable are we? In all our food productions; fisheries, agriculture, etc? And how many graduates are we churning out per year who do not just take over their seniors but to one day, lead and innovate these important but most overlooked industries?

On a separate note, read about this new spot in Manhattan called Rouge Tomato. It’s another one of those posh places where dining is fine art I supposed. But what’s commendable is, it too, is riding the wave of social-consciousness that’s sweeping across America hence providing an alternative to high-end customers. To wine and dine at their place, simply because RT belives in Grass-Fed New York Strip Steak (mind you, not CORN-fed. If you watch the movie, you’ll understand what I mean). Here's a peak:

Cat in New Zealand.

Well it's not Cat Cat. Same same but different. Soon. Very soon, the real McCoy will come back in action ;) I promise.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My personal stand in this great big confusion called world.

Inspired by the words of Gandhi:

I could not be leading a religious life unless I identified myself with the whole of mankind, and that I could not do unless I took part in politics. The whole gamut of man's activities today constitutes an indivisible whole. You cannot divide social, economic, political and purely religious work into watertight compartments. Receive his blows as though they were so many flowers. Even one such man if God favors him, can do the work of a thousand.