Tuesday, October 26, 2010

UNIQLO - From Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur campaign.

The new UNIQLO Malaysia campaign site pulls user-generated content from Panoramio which is basically GPS-tagged photos taken by its community. How it works is, you provide your address and the computer will generate a trail from it to Fahrenheit 88. The trail is formed via a collage of the above mentioned user-generated photos where a surprise coupon is mixed into the pile with a series of other UNIQLO products. I thought it was simple and a neat way to get people onto their mailing list. And then I found this:

Notice the guard house that's toppled over the car? What has this got to do with UNIQLO? Hmm...

Which is why… I think it’s still debatable if we should really solely rely on using UGC albeit it's free. It’s just the connection between the content and the brand that raises my eyebrow. Uniqlo design is dynamic through simplicity, clean, user-focused, no unnecessary d├ęcor, and while I think the initial site delivers that, it loses that concept right when the user takes the actual journey through the idea. UGC should be used if it adds value back to the people, not when the intention is to get content for free.

Hmm…

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The days after France.

It's been a wonderful, hellish, crazy, challenging, frustrating, satisfying, mind numbing two weeks after France. Those of you who are wired to me on Facebook, must have witnessed the crazy market share numbers that have been fluctuating and soaring on a daily basis, depicting my stress-o-meter. Well, to be fair, never in my life have I felt so pressured. Pressured for something that you have to deliver and a hell lot more pressured for something that needs to be delivered by others. Now I understand why so many good CEOs are so hands-on and have so many sleepless nights. By the way, I'm not a CEO.

But having said that, it's also been fulfilling because we're growing in accountability towards our client. Pardon my crudeness but the account had been like a bout of bad 'diarrhea'. The amount of things that needed to be churned out - strategies, creative, production, material - waited for no man. And in order to avoid a crisis much later, accuracy and speed are utmost important. Unfortunately, that remains as a very idealistic concept in local agencies. People tell me, this is normal. Agency is like that wan lah. Or is it? Even if it is, we have every opportunity to make it not like this. But I don't even want to go into housekeeping right now. The important thing is great work done on time. So... we're just gonna focus on that till after Christmas. I brace myself to receive some letters from those who couldn't cut the heat. Oh well, life goes on. Only heat and pressure in the furnace will filter the impurities from pure steel. We'll see :) I am optimistic.

Anyway, in the midst of our busy-ness. We've received news that we've won a recent pitch for a regional account. Wowwee. That's really something to uplift the spirit in the agency. As far as I'm concern, money or no... it's a pretty reputable account that ought to provide us a lot of opportunities to showcase Dentsu's capability. Well, will announce when it's made official :)

Right now, I'm gonna crash. Been awake for the past 24 hours, arrived at Tokyo this morning. And darn, I miss this place. And the food... they're so therapeutic. Not to mention the shopping :) If you're here, check out FrancFranc's new store at Aoyama (with Monocle attached). It's aweeesome.

Good night, world. Sleep tight and let your mind repose with the silence that blankets the city with a heavy velvet of darkness.

***I'm gonna leave you with an excerpt (that's profoundly observed in a psychological study) that I read today on flight***

And even when we do check our knowledge, we often mislead ourselves. We focus on those snippets of information that we do possess, or can easily obtain, but ignore all of the elements that are missing, leaving us with the impression that we do understand everything we need to. The illusion (of thinking you know as much as you think you know) is remarkably persistent.

Our tendency to make this error isn't limited to our thoughts and beliefs about physical devices and systems. It happens whenever we have a big project to complete, a problem to solve, or an assignment to do. We must overcome the temptation to dive in and get started rather than examine our understanding of the task and its requirements.

***So. Remember to escape that illusion***

Monday, October 11, 2010

When being in the middle is no fun.

*** Back journaling ***

It's 4am and I have been stranded at the Abu Dhabi airport for the past well, 4 hours. Transit would have been a better word except transit brings feelings of elation as travelers sweep pass corridors, barely brushing each other's shoulders before hurrying off to their departing gates. Some stop for a few luxurious minutes to pick up some candies for the kids or the latest bottle of eau de parfum for the lover, at home or elsewhere. Or the bottle of liquor or that carton of cigarettes that have become important social baggages. But stranded meaning, you're slouched in one of those stiff airport metal seats with bad internet connection.

I meant to while my time away by getting a magazine which was destined to be my bosom buddy for the remaining 10 hours. It was between Vogue or Wired. Nat Geo Traveler or BMW Magazine. Monocle or Lonely Planet. In the end, I picked a copy of this month's Marie Claire UK. I thought I needed some light reading and contrary to popular belief, Vogue ain't any lighter than the Economist. They are different bibles for different sorts. So Marie Claire seems good. Blonde enough in some pages and smart enough in others. A fair combination fit for wee hours reading. It is of utmost importance that I do not jam anymore facts than I need to, yeah, after almost two weeks worth of CNN & BBC, I seriously need to lighten up baby. I didn't pick up anymore travel magazines because I think I should divert my mind's attention and start pepping it for work. No more wandering and wondering aimlessly on Parisian streets and/or in the labyrinth of dreams conjured by my imaginative mind. At least not for another year before we take on... London :)

Two more hours... what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do...

At times like this, my mind wanders off (yet again) to two places. Before I reached this forsaken place or my next destination. Since I'll be home soon, then obviously I'm missing the place I left which is Paris. And you can expect me to be yakking about it for the next few weeks. If you think it's a bore, come back after that. I should be done by then :)

Ah... Paris, Paris. One most important lesson I've learned from the French is the art of style. Everything and I mean everything is an accessory. You name it. It goes beyond conventional wearables. From salt and pepper grinder (think Peugeot, yup that's right... you've been riding on a pepper grinder for years now) to Chanel No. 5, which I picked up a bottle of Chance by Chanel by chance because unlike number 5, I won't swoon at the slightest whiff. If I had a French grandmother, I would imagine her smelling like Chanel No. 5, all day. So yea, I was also torn between YSL Parisienne, Dior Shine, Lancome Treson EDT, Givenchy Dance with Givenchy or Chanel Chance. And so Chance it is. All French! That pretty much tells you why it's important to start accessorizing yourself with EDTs and EDPs because that's what the French do. The attention to detail, of something that cannot be touched, cannot be seen, cannot be tasted yet evokes powerful emotions and ideas that can only come from a scented whiff of a perfect blend that lingers in our memory lane forever. Aqua di Gio does it for me as with Tommy Girl which reminds me of the folliest of all folly living during college days. And so I've decided to leave that and write a new chapter of biography with the likes of Escada and Givenchy's limited editions.

So how many bottles of fragrance does one really need? Good question as I asked myself the very same thing when I was about to buy another bottle - that's what an idle mind can do to you, therefore thou shalt always keep it occupied. I think I'm gonna start collecting all my favourite scent. Well Christmas is coming and if you need a bit of hint, scroll up. No, I'm kidding. Don't get me perfume, it's too personal unless of course you insist. I remember a conversation I had with a guy friend the other day. He bought a bottle of EDT for his girlfriend. Bold move. It's either his girl isn't so peculiar about scent or he's a very lucky guy. Getting the wrong perfume for someone close to you is like sending the message: I don't really know who you are. Maybe you should consider this personality instead. OR because it's been advertised really heavily therefore, it had to be the right one! OR worse, my ex wore this so I thought you might like it too. Either way, your nonchalance will get you into a lot of unnecessary trouble. But you know what? For you brave souls out there who have steel balls of fire and intend to take up this challenge, I salute you. If prior homework is done, I don't see how you cannot get it right. And the reward thereafter, I promise will be handsome :) It will worth more than striking jackpot and she may really think you are God-sent after all.

Speaking of which, I've been carrying around one of the most famous and at the same time most boring books of all times. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus and trust me, with both their issues combined, they are super heavy to lug around on journey with. Just imagine the weight of the real thing! Anyway, I swore to myself that I'll finish the book no matter how much it tries to send me to ze Z land. Because if I don't, I'll probably never pick it up again. Don't get me wrong, I think the author, John Gray did a fantastic job in counselling couples and I'm sure countless relationships have been saved. It's just that I was looking for some really interesting golden insights on human behavior that explain the differences between these two majority genders. Simply because of the acclamation it received. Instead, all I got was a lot of common sense in sentences which fail to engage and brought a lot of frustration. It's like a text book lesson: Women want to talk, men don't want to talk. Men want to fix, women don't want to be fixed. So the clash of the titans go. So the next time, if your man doesn't want to talk, let him be. He's an adult, he will talk when he wants to talk so stop mothering him. And if your woman wants to talk, just do the 'hmm, ahh, I see' and that should do it. The art of listening is mastered by few, but stop trying to be Mr. Smarty Pants and give stale solutions. She's not stupid, she knows her options and will pick the right one when the time comes so stop fixing her.

Well, even though these knowledge is hidden within all of us from our personal experience or someone else's experience, I guess we still need someone doubly smart with good English to put it in between two covers like John Gray, so that it can be read and we can go aha! I knew that! That kind of massages our ego a little, doesn't it?

Anyway, you wouldn't believe how time flies. As the pages on my notebook grow thinner, I am finally able to board the plane. Who says you can't pass time in your own thoughts? I just did. Au revoir ;)