Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Most of the things you worry about never happen.

And it's damn well true. So STOP thinking about it and just GET ON with it!
Pic credit: randompics.net

Marley's wise words.

Applicable to anyone, and everyone. Not just her. Be thankful for who you have today. Stop changing them.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Quick. Name a soft drink.

And your answer is?

The power of brands. When you don't even need to say more.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Looking for an explosive threesome activity!

Have you heard? There's an account planner who's got a lot of sparks but no where to set fire to and so decided to find two other accomplices to start some explosive solution-driven activities. One who knows how to escape from law by power phrases and the other by crafty design. If you've got the criteria of either one, please let me know and I'll pass on the message. Requirements as follow:

1) Passionate about doing it and thinking of doing it
2) Courageous in editing each other's ideas and position
3) Tireless energy - start it good, end it great
4) Fun-loving and great chemistry
5) Standards-oriented

And most importantly, no strings attached :)

If that doesn't sound like a job made in heaven, I don't know what is.

Please get in touch and let's see some sparks fly.

Those days we have Mozart. Today we have Hans Zimmer.

Saw this hilarious comment on one of the YouTube comments of Hans' Pirates' OST:

3 guys are in a cafe.

One says 'I have the longest arms in the world'.

The second says 'I have the longest legs in the world'.

The third says 'I am the most musical talented'.

So they all went to the Guiness world records

The first guy walks out satisfied saying 'I have the longest arms in the world'

The second guy also comes out saying 'I have the longest legs in the world'

The third storms out of the building aggrivated saying 'WHO THE F*CK IS HANS ZIMMER ?

Hans has been voted as the 'Top 100 living geniuses' by Daily Telegraph. Well, he rightly is :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

The priority of values.

Sometimes I wonder, do we truly prioritize what we value? In our industry (or this country as a matter of fact), do we value standards over 'just getting it done'?

It frustrates me immensely to know that when we achieve a little something and we become contented and stop aiming for the stars. It frustrates me thoroughly to know that we sometimes excuse ourselves in various ways to not push for the highest standards we owe to our trade. Good is great but consistency is greater than good.

Sometimes I wonder, who are we? Ad factory? Or really, we're here to put some good value back into the society? To take orders or exercise our brain cells? To go with the tide or to question the norm? To satisfy our monthly expenditure or produce results that genuinely satisfy?

Sometimes, I wonder. And I'm truly beginning to wonder if I am in the right industry at all.

Our Monday cheer: The absolute monarch.

I'm sorry, this picture REALLY cracks me up!

Yes boss, I know...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A special dedication to all my wonderful girlfriends :)

Since we're big on equality, if you're my guy friend, you could swap the genders and it will still kinda work (somehow) :) Otherwise, enjoy the thought!

Girls are like
apples on trees. The best
ones are at the top of the tree.
The boys don't want to reach for
the good ones because they are afraid
of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they
just get the rotten apples from the ground
that aren't as good, but easy. So the apples
at the top think something is wrong with
them, when in reality, they're amazing.
They just have to wait for the right
boy to come along, the one
who's brave enough
to climb
all the way
to the top
of the tree.

Aww :) Reposted from here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thou shalt not procrastinate.

Do what you need to do today. Tomorrow has its own job.

Pic ffffound from Piccsy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our latest video for Honda.

Too many people are not careful with their Hondas, so you know where to send it to the next time yours need servicing :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

There's only one thing that can save advertising. Us.

Ad people. You. Me. Everyone in this industry. Thinkers, doers, leaders, followers, planners, suits, creatives, producers, management, operations, everyone.

Every day, we're dying a little. Our twin (media) was separated from us (though we were inseparable from birth, or so we thought) and the cost of that is a huge lost for both of us. On top of that, the linear process of collective problem-solving in the agency was disrupted because deadlines are always yesterday, launches are always in two weeks, which means everyone has to work in tandem. We have to hypothesize the problem, think of solutions even before it is well-defined, plans must be put into place at breakneck speed because costings need to be accurate (and low) and worse, researches have become a crutch for support rather than illuminating things we never knew (what paradox, we keep wanting to know what we already know...). Day in, day out and we run around like ants with giant cynics stepping on us, spluttering poison: Advertising is a sunset industry! We hear that every day, yet the people who could do something, never did anything to stop the margin from closing in. Advertising will die, if it doesn't evolve. Of course. Anything would.

But we can stop this.

We can reverse the wheels and spin it away from dooms day. First and foremost, we don't need anymore 'brand' workshops as an industry effort to tell clients how important branding is. We should be telling them why it is imperative for advertising to work as the mediator between the brand and consumers. Why are we flying in the biggest marketing personalities and paying them obscene amount to talk about something that we all already know? No one denies the importance of the emotional bond that's absent from commodities. But what clients need to know is 1) advertising is by far still the most important middle person in the equation (with the current technological revolution, how we advertise may be the more important question to ask but the fact still doesn't change), 2) what happens when you stop advertising and start discounting (over a 5 year trend) and 3) what happens when you cut off the creative expertise and start advertising on your own (let's see how far your brand sustains once you stop advertising - 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?).

These questions cannot be answered in forums nor workshops. These are questions that will make or break our industry and change the course of it forever. They need to be backed by facts. Sales trends, brand indices, ADEX, market shares, attitudinal changes - hard data tracked consistently every year, no stopping of these trackers as long as the market still exist. We need an independent body that would be the R&D of our industry, smart people who chew on data before they sleep and spit out scary facts for marketers in the morning. This body undertakes all studies, complex or not, with regards to brands and the relationship between them and advertising. The findings will not only make us better ad people, but it should also stop the attrition of trust clients have for agencies.

This is not an urban advertising legend. It's been done before, in the UK, using toilet rolls as a benchmark study. The result showed how brand A prevailed because they sustained their branding efforts through communication and how brand B got eaten up alive by house brands because they stopped advertising and started using tactical sales promotion as a long-term strategy. Big mistake. In theory, everyone knows this. But trust me. When you see those neon lines in funky charts plunging up and down over the course of 10 years, it's a different sensation altogether.

Assuming we have been consistently and studiously tracking what happens to lazy brands that don't communicate, and clients decide to advertise again. The next focus should be how are they going to advertise? Listen to the media agency? Or turn to the advertising agency? I'm telling you, we should have never been separated at all. I mean Media and us. But then again, like any modern love story, about how a couple got separated only to realize it was stupid and they need each other again. I think that will happen (hopefully). We need the channel experts, they need the human insights and creative expertise. The only duplication I see are the suits (well, good luck, may the best men win). Well, even the suits need to specialize eventually. As channels become saturated, we need people who are producers in specialized fields (even the term 'digital' is no longer considered specialized). If you're a suit and you don't have one now, you better find your sweet spot if you still wanna stick around. But anyway, seriously. I wish we could be together again and live happily ever after. It's okay to have made that separation mistake but it's never too late to make up. I do seriously believe, once media and agency come back together, we could create a new hybrid discipline that we couldn't before. This 3rd value will be higher than both values of media and creative agency combined.

Of course, there are many more areas which we could beef up in order to not 'fossilize' our industry. But first, we must show some hard evidence on the value agencies are bringing to the table for brands. No more fancy afternoon tea with black-tied people. We just need some thought leaders and funding to make sure that we've got strategic researches and long-term trackers in place which allows us to plan ahead, make sensible predictions to spur innovations creating an even more fertile ground only to be continuously broken by great ideas.

Advertising is a sunset industry only if we allow it to be.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The standard market cycle.

First, you serve an under served need. When all needs are fulfilled, then you create a new need. When a new need is created, then you create choices. When there are too many choices, then it will go into a price war. When a price war starts, you bundle value-added services. When VAS becomes a standard package, then it's time to create a new product that again serves an under served need.

You can almost tell the positioning of a brand by identifying how much time and resources it is spending on one area of the cycle. An ideal business situation is of course, one that has balance throughout the whole cycle. It doesn't promise you success, but at least you know you're still relevant to the people.

There. No rocket science.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bedtime read: Stephen King.

Known as the Godfather of Account Planning, he said:

Many managements have copied the most overt element of BMP's account planning, without fully understanding the depth of skill and breadth of interest involved, the very high ratio of planners to account managers and the great commitment to training. All they have seen, in fact, is account planners running group discussions. As a result a large number of qualitative researches have found themselves, after four years or so of slogging away at group discussions, translated overnight into instant agency Account Planning Directors. It was so much easier to find them than people with a thorough grounding in all aspects of brand building. - Published (reproduced) in 1989.

Wherefore art they, O'King? If not from research!

Fastforward two decades, and instead of research agencies, we see an influx of planners from account servicing. Some grew in love for strategies (but then again, that's a little vague), some grew in detest of clients (a hard truth, but a truth nevertheless). For us to really grow planning talent, I'm afraid they will have to come from media or marketing. Best if hybrid, but that's where they should come from. Preferably, the client's side. Someone who finds sole data crunching a little limiting to their growth.

And really Mr. King... it is too ideal to have 1 Account Planner to 1 Account Manager. My management will drop dead laughing at my utopian proposal! (On second thought, hey... may I should...).

Monday, May 2, 2011

Our lazy brain and the machines.

The brain stores and organizes information so that it can prioritize course of actions. Routines or automatic reactions are usually triggered in the subconscious department, helping the brain to avoid being overwhelmed by petty decisions all the time.

But now, technology in the form of web tools and applications are helping us store and organize information as well. In very practical matters such as listing top 10 movies, books, to-do lists, etc to help ourselves or others to make risk averse decisions. What if we create apps that could help make emotional decisions? Example: Top 200 friends as listed on Facebook (so that you don't have to crack your head deciding who to invite and who not to invite for your parties), babies' names (based on our favorites and likes), partner compatibility (based on search results from two different people).

We have seen fun applications/websites spewing daily horoscopes and personality tests and love thermometers for the longest time so there's hardly anything novel about them. But when these 'future telling' tools provide results that are based on concrete data, they ought to be quite scary. Because if machines or technology take over us in data formation and analysis, then our conscious brain will be reduced to making decisions of A or B, Yes or No, Black or White. Imagine if technology can tell you that you are only 23% compatible with your current partner and actually tells you why based on both of your search results. The next step is a pretty clear one, if you ask me.

The good side is, we might be liberated from unnecessary emotional weights but the bad side is, we become less and less human. We lose our confidence and might become overly data reliant because we learn to trust equations and algorithms more than our own intuition and faith. And that is when, we become machines.

The power to think and make good judgments will never be robbed from us. We just have to know when to stop giving them away.

Photo credit here.