Monday, February 28, 2011

Dentsu appointed as the official representative of Facebook sales and marketing support in Japan.

While all of us were occupied watching pseudo-Mark in The Social Network (which won Best Adapted Screenplay by the way), our President was busy drinking tea with the real deal :) We can expect even stronger know-hows in local markets very soon.


February 28, 2011 - Dentsu Inc. (Tokyo: 4324; ISIN: JP3551520004; President & CEO: Tatsuyoshi Takashima; Head Office: Tokyo; Capital: 58,967.1 million yen; hereinafter "Dentsu") and Facebook, Inc. (CEO: Mark Zuckerberg; Headquarters: Palo Alto, California, USA; hereinafter "Facebook") announced today an agreement under which Dentsu will become the official representative of Facebook's sales and marketing support to companies in Japan.

Under this agreement, Dentsu, as Facebook's official ad sales representative in the Japanese market, will provide consultation on effective Facebook Page development, exclusively market Facebook Premium Ads, and offer new marketing strategies utilizing Facebook that are tied into ad placements in the mass media to advertisers in Japan.

"Dentsu will be a valuable partner for us as we seek to support marketers in Japan to connect and engage with their customers," said Blake Chandlee, Vice President & Commercial Director, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Emerging Markets, Facebook. "Dentsu understands the unique social marketing opportunity on Facebook, and will work directly with brands here to help them create and implement campaigns that will impact their businesses in meaningful ways. "

"As communication styles diversify, social networking, which directly connects consumers to other consumers, has become a vital communications medium in the world today," said Dentsu Executive Officer Akira Sugimoto. "I believe that our collaboration with Facebook will play a key role in our initiatives to further strengthen links between consumers and corporations. "

Facebook has more than 500 million users worldwide, and many brands and businesses around the world are already integrating Facebook as part of their marketing activities. Campaigns in which advertisements in Facebook are linked to a wide variety of advertisements in the mass media are becoming increasingly apparent .

Through this alliance, Dentsu will propose and implement new communications strategies and marketing activities utilizing the Facebook platform to advertisers and media companies, in addition to creating new advertising models that will generate new revenue streams.

cyber communications inc. (President & CEO: Hideyuki Nagasawa; Head Office: Tokyo; hereinafter "cci"), a subsidiary of Dentsu Inc., will act as the media representative for sales of advertising space on Facebook.

Looking forward, the Dentsu Group will provide optimal solutions for the new marketing activities required by companies in this age of social communication.

The main points of the agreement are as follows.

[Main points of the business collaboration agreement]

1. As Facebook's official ad sales representative in the Japanese market, Dentsu will obtain from Facebook the latest technical information and examples of how to use the services, and will provide consulting services to advertisers and media companies.

2. With the cooperation of Facebook, Dentsu will create Facebook Pages that maximize the platform's functions in order to provide added value to advertisers and media companies.

3. Dentsu will have exclusive sales rights to the premium advertising space on Facebook for a one-year period from February 18, 2011, and will develop new advertising strategies in Japan that link advertisements in the mass media (such as television, newspapers, magazines and radio) with advertisements on Facebook.

4. Utilizing the technical support provided by Facebook, Dentsu will develop new plans and business related to advertisements and promotions that utilize the Facebook platform.

5. Dentsu will proactively incorporate into its proposals to clients Facebook Premium Ads with social context that Facebook currently offers

(Press Release)

Dentsu Utama looking for a PR executive and Account Executives.

PR Executive:
With at least 2 years background in PR agency, press release writing experience and good command of language both spoken and written. Good media relation is a plus point. Some sort of journalism ability is extra points.

What you can expect to do: A lot of reading and 'journal-type' of writing, assisting in strategic planning for non-directly paid media. Work on your connections, building genuine relationships on behalf of Dentsu. Getting involved in a bit of creative work and producing it. Er... just a bit (in case any copywriter is reading this...). As you grow into your job, you'll realize that your job scope becomes increasingly grey. Depending on your strength, capability and capacity, we may then decide to give you an opportunity in other non-direct but PR-related areas. Your leadership potential will be consistently and guerilla-ly (if there's such word) tested so be prepared. Be very prepared.

Snr Account Executive/Account Executive:
Whilst I'm a strong believer in the new generation, fresh grads most unfortunately need not apply (yet). At least two years with previous employer. Not to be sexist, but female preferred. Unless a guy can demonstrate equal if not better ability in being meticulous. Good looks have no brownie points, but sloppiness will minus you some.

What you can expect to do: Get thrown around in a couple of accounts and... swim. Swim like you've never swam before :) Working with managers in production, as independently as possible. Mistakes (e.g wrong copy, wrong FA, wrong insertion, wrong size) are unforgivable and deserve capital punishment. You will be shot. If you survive, you will be shot again (we understand people make mistakes, that's why we don't hire freshies :)). You'll be involved in a lot of research work relevant to communication and your business. And you'll work very closely with planners and will be given the chance to lead some risk-averse projects. If your team doesn't comply to your commands, you can beat them up. It's really up to you, so be creative. Sometimes, you'll be put in the hot seat and expected to give your opinion. If it sounds stupid, well... er... at least you've tried. Also, build genuine relationship with the client, although important to note that you don't have to do anything which you will not be respected for. If they screw you, contrary to conventional agency, you can screw them back. But do it with finesse, because if they complain to your management, then you're really screwed.

Relevant for both: Promotion is almost guaranteed if you're constantly pursuing out-of-your-job-scope work that is result-driven. How fast your promotion comes depend on how fast you pursue this out-of-your-job-scope work and also how much result it brings. Out-of-your-job-scope work without results is good too. You'll earn two pats on your back and a hug thrown in :) Fun personality but grounded with good common sense, optimistic and able to endure Japanese hardship. But more importantly, has a great sense of humor. Don't worry, Kamikaze or Harakiri spirit not needed though commendable. Have all that? Then we need to talk.

(If you're reading this and you have the perfect candidate, why not just apply on their behalf? You know they deserve better ;))

See you soon.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dentsu Utama - 1st runner of CREAM awards.

Quite a nice surprise, considering we were not even in the list in 2009. I'm not sure who we should thank and I didn't even know there was such an award. But anyway, I guess it's something small but a significant morale booster for everyone in Dentsu Utama. I guess... er... we should try harder next year?

But, if you're our client and have participated in this survey, thank you very much and we're eternally grateful (we won't forget those sleepless nights and mindless arguments so soon) but like any good old husband and wife relationship, we know we cannot live without one another. Ha ha, kidding! Lighten up, will ya? Maybe this will be the post for getting myself sacked ;)

But on a more serious note, thank you. Seriously. It's not the award that mattered, it's your opinion that had mattered. Thank you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are you the fortunate? Or the less fortunate?

Last night I had an amazing conversation with an old friend. I told him that this world is divided into two types of people. The fortunate and the less fortunate (apologies for seeming to be crude). The fortunate are those who can basically afford anything they want, out of abundance. RM1 extra to spend and RM100,000 extra to spend - don't make a difference. And the less fortunate are those who are consuming all they have, with no extras for anything. Anything at all.

So for ALL of us who are in living above the differential line between the two, we have had a hand in innovating the world into becoming the state it is today. We have the means to innovate, we have the means to change because we can. I read somewhere that we're saving the forests, the marine life, other people's children, simply because we can. We can afford to not pay attention to where our food will come next. We can afford the best medical services if we fall sick. And we can afford to do a lot of things both legal and illegal to stay safe. If we can innovate ourselves into today's mess, we can innovate ourselves out of it and along with that, the world. 20% of the world's population is consuming 80% of the world's resources. And you ask God why He's not fair when you lose something? Hmm.

Sparks is adamant to change. Change for something to good. Don't know what, don't know how, don't know yet. But if at first the attitude is right, everything will fall into place.

Watch this video and be inspired. I am in advertising too. I am guilty. I have had a hand in pushing consumption. Over consumption. Sometimes I also asked myself, why. Because I need to have a job. Because I have 'commitments'. That is why. But does that solve the problem?

A global paradigm shift to urge some serious focus on triple bottomline is imperative. May the days of Agencies dog laboring for Clients be gone. May the days where Agencies orchestrate Client's market share rentals be gone. May the days where we tell someone who has five TVs at home, that he needs another one be gone (only if he gives up the one(s) he doesn't need to someone who needs them and somewhere that can help dispose it responsibly). May the days where Clients push for economic growth in the expense of social welfare and environmental hazard be gone. We don't need to be hermits, we don't need to give up everything we have and be a monk. We just have to be more aware of our decisions. And ask ourselves... how is what we're doing impacting someone else, somewhere else. Could be our parents, our children, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbours, our community, our nation, our world.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Internet: A technology of forgetfulness?

Read in ADOI today:

"It really scares me to know that there is an illness out there that can make us forget not only the distant past, but our loved ones who are still with us. We're happily outsourcing our memories to the Internet, which author Nicholas Carr describes as a technology of forgetfulness."
- Hafidz Mahpar, Associate Editor - The Star


Are we remembering less by depositing memories into the Internet creating a generation of forgetfulness?

Or are we remembering more because we now have the ability to go beyond the limit of our physical memory capacity and by that we're talking beyond giga but tera or potentially peta (quadrillion) bytes of memories?

The answer lies not in the simple fact of seeing two different sides of a coin. The answer lies in which year you were born, and at what age you experience the growth, peak and burst of web 2.0.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

James Hawkins set to perform for Dentsu.

A little late, but better late than never! A significant step to even stronger online performance marketing for our clients in Malaysia. Looking forward to regional collaboration to providing more significant value for our clients' investment in the digital space.


Former Managing Director of DGM Asia, James Hawkins, has joined Dentsu Asia Pte Ltd as the Executive Director of Performance Marketing.

Reporting to the COO of Dentsu Asia, Mr. Hiroshi Harada, Hawkins’ main role will be to develop and grow the agency’s capability in performance marketing, the core measure of digital campaigns with today’s clients working closely with Angeli Beltran of Dentsu Asia Digital Division (DADD) and Akiro Suzuki of Dentsu Media in Singapore.

Angeli Beltran, Executive Regional Director, DADD, say, “The business of results – tracking, measurement and optimisation, is the fastest growing area in digital. James comes with a proven track record with multi-national clients and we’re very pleased that he will be able to contribute to growing our clients’ businesses as well as imparting the skill sets regionally” DADD was set up in January 2010 as a regional hub to drive digital business for Dentsu’s clients.

Innovation comes from mapping different values onto each other.

When two or more values are overlaid on one another, you get amazing results. As you can see, if you're the kind who sees music in everything, you'll be amaze with what you can see ;)

Monday, February 21, 2011

1Malaysia - highly misunderstood and abused.

"The concept of 1Malaysia encapsulates the economic imperative to unite and optimise our collective resources as a nation to compete and cooperate for our place in the global community. Transformation often involves some temporary short term economic dislocation. Hence, the full commitment and drive of all stakeholders, in terms of the rakyat, businesses and public sector, is required. Potential short term dislocation will need to be viewed as an investment towards medium term and sustainable gains in higher income and quality of life for all. Success would be achieving Vision 2020 in a holistic sense, not just higher income and quality of life but also achieving developed nation status in a manner consistent with our cultural values." - The 10th Malaysia Plan, Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister's Department

1Malaysia got a lot of bantering because it was meant to unify Malaysia. And every time the concept was brought up, it also unearthed long buried unhappiness amongst different ethnic groups. And that is because the most obvious need for unity can be seen and experience in our everyday life. We know each other is different, and we are treated preferentially. So the rakyat began to dictate the concept of 1Malaysia and it became a banner hoisted for silent public outcry. Our diversified cultural background and deep-seated national policies have made 1Malaysia seemed like a Utopian concept. Great to have but realistically unachievable not unless there's a reformation. One that will bring equal treatment to all races... And that is the general perception. What does 1Malaysia unite, if not the people? Right? Well, wrong.

The core idea of 1Malaysia, and correct me if I am wrong, is about optimizing collective resources as mentioned above. It is about checking every layer of income earners and restrategizing and reorganizing to ensure optimization of resources for maximum output. If at all, 1Malaysia is about consolidating assets in terms of human capital to help save the country from a doomed ending by 20 years time. Of course, this is a sensitive issue since we can't help that the socio-status in this country is somewhat disproportionate to ethnic percentage. There are many various reasons why Chinese seems more economically advanced than Malays, as a natural response to lopsided policies. But having said that, there are a lot of rich Malays and poor Chinese and Indians too. Because of social status, trouble begins to simmer between races. The government foresaw this and ensured certain policies are in place to propel Bumiputras into playing more significant roles in the nation's economy. Then it spiraled into a chicken and egg story...

In order to get out of this 'mess', we need to reassess what the public understands about 1Malaysia and more importantly, what steps the government and media are taking to ensure the concept is not misunderstood. Unity starts from prioritizing based on socio-economic needs, starting from the bottom of the pyramid. Yes, there are more Malays below the poverty line and yes, that should be the first focus (which is what the transformational plan for Malaysia is about). I think the government has got the right strategic plans in place, but the question becomes... what is their perception management plans? Every time we open Facebook and/or read the headlines of some authoritative media in Malaysia, someone links 1Malaysia to the segregation of races. If we look at it objectively, the message we ought to be sending out is 1Malaysia = the unity of resources. Resources means talent. Talent means the people. Ultimately, it shouldn't be about who you are but what you can do and how the government is 'moving' these resources to ensure the right people are in the right place. Motivate the people who can do, teach the people who can't, regardless of race and class and put them in places where everyone can excel. Perhaps that would encapsulate 1Malaysia better?

Before the government and media propagate 1Malaysia, perhaps they should unite first to decide the right message that's needed to be sent out.

Then again, this is only my puny tiny little insignificant opinion. At least I now know not to misuse the word 1Malaysia. I now know not to hang my country's precious name so loosely on my lips and violate her dignity. I now know what 1Malaysia truly constitutes. Thanks to the successful tourism positioning, (maybe that's why we are all so confused!) 1Malaysia is not truly Asia. 1Malaysia is about consolidation of the country's resources for a dynamic economic growth.

Book: The Economic Naturalist by Robert H. Frank.

Robert is a lecturer every college grad wish he or she had. His thoughts are simple yet provoking and his style is engaging. Imagine not needing to plough through tonnes and tonnes of formal economic mathematics to try understand what exactly is economics.

This book is about questions that we ask or even those that escape us every day about why things happen the way they do. Next time, your children bug you with those 'why' questions, try answering in an economic point-of-view and that would stop it :) But to an adult mind, it is a fantastic tool to be able to see beyond the obvious and really probe the normalities of everyday life. It helps give you a peripheral sense of things and how everything makes perfect economic sense if you understand how the cost-benefit structure works. Even the most difficult question, why people marry some people and not others to a certain extent... difficult, but still hypothetically possible, be answered via economic. Wow. I've always thought matters of the heart are fuzzy, grey and unexplainable. Well, I suppose that magnetic buzz is more of a scientific answer but why we are attracted to certain people - that definitely is in the book.

Go out, get your mind out of the way and explore what the book can offer you. Which is pretty amazing and a lot of fun. Makes your mind topsy-turvy if you're not accustomed to this sort of thinking. Nevertheless, c'mon... let it go once in awhile will ya? Highly recommended :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Malaysia's own Micheal Buble.

Rising star Alif Satar :) This dude's got stage charisma. Just hope he gets the right marketing manager for a soaring career. I support! ぺこ

(And the first thing the manager should do, is to make sure his video is posted on all social media sites, easily downloadable, easily shared. A decent video on him that can be found on YouTube was the one recorded in Brunei! :P)

Friday, February 18, 2011

The silence of the Honda Insight's IMA.

You can hardly notice that the engine is running. Even though this was captured in the car, you'll be surprised at how silent it is even if you're outside the vehicle. But fret not about boring drives, when you rev it - you're back to the world of i-VTEC ;)

A new wonder: Why is the Honda Insight so affordable?

Dubbed as the next era transportation by Honda, what really is the deal behind the Insight other than being known as a cheap global hybrid car? Today we will delve deep into the insight behind this globe trotting, earth conscious vehicle.

The Honda Insight uses a parallel hybrid system which means the primary power source still comes from the engine, assisted by a motor. There are also the series and parallel-series systems, the latter is the platform designed by Toyota for the Prius, which utilizes two different power sources from the engine and the motor. Of course, every system has its universal pros and cons, but what I feel different between the Insight and Prius is the 'driver's experience' that comes from the distinctive value resulted by different engineering heritage. If you are a driver-driver, looking for sporty handling and the i-VTEC drive-enhancing rev sonic is music to your ears, then your clear choice is the Insight. But if you are a passenger-driver, looking to escape everyday traffic and seek sanctuary in cabin comfort, then the Prius may be more apt for you. However, having said that, both the Insight and Prius are not meant to compete head-to-head because of different values and pricing strategies. It's hard for the public to not misunderstand especially when they carry a similar tear-drop design.

Globally, the Prius is priced higher which is fair due to the complication of their parallel-series build. The Honda IMA parallel hybrid system is a lot less complicated, without needing an additional 'generator' in the car. This allows Honda to really save on production cost. If at all, Insight's pricing has managed to bring down the overall average price of hybrid vehicles thus making them more accessible to all. In the more noble point-of-view, it is important to note that ONE manufacturer is not enough to battle global warming. Every effort makes a difference and remember? We don't have all the time in the world.

Cost-saving Insight - Why is it so cheap?!

Affordable is the better word. There are a lot of negativity which tags along with the word 'cheap'. Exactly, why is the Insight priced at such an affordable price, considering it's a CBU from Japan? Is it an inferior product? Here are some answers to uncloud the haze:

1) The Insight uses a new and improved Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) which basically consists of a battery pack (7 modules of the nickel-metal-hydride batteries down 4 from previous generation IPU), a power control unit (that determines power usage from the engine and/or motor) and a cooling system (that regulates cabin air). It is now more compact, located under the rear cargo floor that increases overall space as well as output and durability by 30%. Lesser battery modules equals to lesser production cost equals to lesser cost to consumer.

2) In order to anticipate global market demand, Honda has also increased production efficiency via a new and highly automated assembly line in Suzuka factory in Japan. The automation has resulted to maximization of resources and cost reduction as well.

3) The convergence of mechanical components in the IMA system has also managed to provide higher value to user at a lower cost. We're not unfamiliar with convergence if you really think about it - the latest Playstation Phone is a good example. Mobile internet, MP3 phones, projector cameras, etc. The value of this technical convergence may not be immediately apparent to users, but has definitely helped price the Insight attractively.

The cost up front may be cheap, but long term savings?

Wake up. At the rate this country is going in helping local manufacturers, we will never have a hybrid that can 'return' our investment. However, the Insight gives astonishing numbers in fuel-efficiency. Travelling 150km from KL to Melaka via a stopover in PD, Insight's fuel-efficiency ranges between an average of 19 to 25 km/l at different driving speed. Honda's official claim is 4.6l/100km which is an average of 21.7km/l. One of the most common misunderstanding is low speed = low fuel usage, therefore high speed = high fuel usage. Well of course, higher speed requires more power therefore burning more fuel, but just to correct the perception, the equation is not directly proportionate to one another. In short, you don't have to drive like a 75 year-old grandfather to achieve above 20km/l. What is more important is your throttle control, the foot pressure during both acceleration and braking. Sudden and often switches between the two will cost you more fuel. Period. During our test drive on the highway, revving the engine and climbing up to a steady speed of 140km/h still resulted in a very confident 23km/l! Then again, I could be bias. Try it for yourself.

Ways to improve fuel efficiency:

1) Do more foot-related exercise so that you can control throttling better. Driving at a constant speed (which is rare but not undoable) below 50km/h will switch off the engine automatically, running on motor alone. In case you want to know, the power that comes from the motor is stored in the IPU via regenerative braking (every time you brake and/or decelerate, power will be stored in the IPU). In such event, you use zero fuel. However, like I mentioned, if you have great right foot control while driving, even at high speed your fuel consumption should be optimistic. Just avoid driving like a cow.

2) The Econ mode is like your personal eco coach and consists of an Eco driving guide and an ECON button. The Eco driving guide is a 'passive interactive' system where the vehicle 'encourages' you to drive better by giving you real-time feedback. The speedometer changes colour from green which is ideal (very eco-friendly) to the less ideal blue (Insight recognises that you're on performance mode). Like I mentioned, sudden and quick shifts between the brake pedal and accelerator are more likely to turn your speedometer blue than purely judging from speed level.

3) A more fun way to drive is to try scoring for the 'eco leaves'. You will be rewarded one leaf (or more, depending) after every drive which you can also accumulate over a lifetime journey between you and your Insight if you've been good. The best score gets you a trophy of which it can be reset only by your dealer. See if you can challenge yourself to be a green champion.

4) Pressing the ECON button automatically regulates the engine, CVT, IMA, air conditioner and cruise control to give you even better mileage. This is automated, which means in the event you are fed up with points 2 and 3, consider just letting the Insight do the green job for you. Some people may worry about a faulty A/C during standing start-stop (aka traffic lights) because the air vents seem to be blowing 'wind' only. This is because the engine has in a way, stopped with only the motor running therefore the cooling system also shuts down for approximately 90s before cool air comes on again (in gas engine vehicles, it is the engine that powers the A/C and/or heater which is why you burn more fuel than you think you do).

Well, there you go. The affordability story behind the Insight is really due to higher efficiency in producing and designing the car which brings us to its core value of Simplicity. Simple to build, simple to drive, simple to maintain, simple to do your part for Earth. Following a great commercial line - isn't it great when everything just works?

But of course, the most important point is the excise duty that was imposed by the government (up to 75% of the total cost!) has been removed, at least for this year. I'm pretty sure Honda won't be relying on Insight to increase overall shares in this market because it's simply too volatile. What if the government loses the next election? No, actually, if they did then I'll be pretty confident that we'll get a whole lot more competitive hybrid market. I mean, what if they win the next election? What if they remove the incentive? Then go on, you can add back that 75%. So if I were you. And you kinda like the Insight, you should get it now. Because like I mentioned, a strategically sound corporation will not plan its foundation on uncertain grounds. And Honda, I'm sure is one of them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Short and quick recharge at Langkawi.

So I asked Google to recommend, and I explored the recommended :) Not bad for an informal guide.

I've always loved Langkawi - idyllic, friendly people, vast of greens, rich in legend, stretches of beaches. This time, as recommended by Google, I stayed in Four Seasons Langkawi, which is a huge resort estate in Tanjung Rhu with the friendliest bunch of people taking care of it. Meals are extremely pricey though if you weren't on an all-inclusive package. Although expected for a luxury resort, but it really ain't got value for money. Menu is considerably plain, priced premium for the sake of pricing premium. That's one set back. The other which I could think of is the beach. From the resort ground, the beach looked pristine but when closer to the shore, the sand turns coarse and stoney with the occasional but not unexpected trash. Sigh. But on the good side, the estate is beautiful and relaxing and the bed is simply heavenly! It's been a long time since I've last slept so soundly on a foreign bed! You only need to sink in to doze off... So Four Seasons, checked. キラキラキラキラ Also, watching the sun set in Langkawi was highly recommended. And there's no other better place than watching the swooping fiery yolk goes down at Tanjung Rhu ;) Checked!

Cat's too light, so he doesn't 'sink' :P

Your private outdoor jacuzzi :)

Cat having afternoon tea while getting ready for London :)

汗Also visited the Langkawi Underwater World. Although no first class amenities, and I wish to see more of the educational material become less static and more engaging, nevertheless the species it houses is vast and pretty exciting as you'll see later. It's RM38 for tourists, and 28 bucks for Malaysians (ahh, finally, some usage for MyKad). Underwater World? Checked! 汗

If you're like others who love shark's fin soup, please please please understand that their fin is cut off in the most inhuman way possible. Here, we take a commercial break (don't worry, it's not gory, so you can continue to watch it). Please watch and help stop the insanity びっくり :

And we continue with our underwater journey...



This is amazingly surreal...

Trippy yo...

Cat and Happy Feet (I mean a lot a lot a lot of Happy Feet) :P

Well, that was a quick weekend getaway and I absolutely recommend you to do so if you've not done so already. Langkawi is only an hour away by flight so if you were to leave on Friday morning and come back Sunday noon (as long as Air Asia's airbus is in a good mood), you'd have enough time for a full battery charge :)