Thursday, 17 January 2008

Everything is contextual

Update. Many of the photos in this post have been lost so I've deleted them. I hope it still makes some sense.

Particularly when it comes to advertising or otherwise we'd use the ads from yesteryear, year in and year out.... and they would work. I'll be fleshing out that theme at some point but in the mean time here's more China Syndrome.

The local bank cards don't have a 'chip' but do have a six figure PIN which makes a lot more sense than a four figure PIN. The one above was at the hotpot restaurant from this QIK video and has been given some love and affection with stick-on hearts and pseudo bling. A bit like putting a sprig of parsley on top of food. erm not!

These steamed dumplings and cakes (Xiaolongbao) are still found all over Beijing from little vendors that keep the feel of food more interesting than elsewhere to me. I've been
going on a bit about street food of late.

This is the first ad that has impressed me in China. I"m hoping its local as the brand is a local glasses retailer. There was a French version next to this poster, so it might well be international. 

Its also beautifully art directed. Seen in the Oriental Plaza, Beijing.

These little fellas (Motuoche) run around Beijing like the Tuk Tuk's of Bangkok, although far less ubiquitous. The example above is in mint condition and used solely by a restaurant to ferry its customers to and fro. It was all glinting and sparkling in the sun.

Well you might have caught on to that whole Ferrari brand extension thing over at Rob's which prompted me to take a look around their shop. They actually sell a Ferrari branded telescope on top of other pointless crap!! Its a top quality telescope with a Ferrari (which I think has like Prada, not the most attractive logo) badge on it. Ferrari are fucked if they need the few extra dollars that this retail shit provides. It would be a shameif they were the first luxury car brand to do a Pierre Cardin/Burberry. I know there are people who have made a bazillion in China (as indeed elsewhere around the world) who aren't very discerning but this is just plain crass.

La Pargay above however have got something going on. It's a talented local Chinese designer. Their clothes are really innovative and have a particular identity - that to my mind taps into the Mongolian roots of Northern China. The retail staff also remind me of Mac Cosmetics who have always hired interesting staff over classically beautiful assistants. Also the ladies in this shop were definitely wearing the most risque clothes I've seen women wear in Beijing. Its not summer yet so maybe things will change but the girls clothes here rarely reveal their upper torso unlike the girls here and which I hadn't really thought about till I took a look around La Pargay. These people are one to watch fashion lovers... You heard it here first.

I'm completely in love with I.T the clothing brand above. They are from Hong Kong and apart from doing very noticeable advertising. I like the cat aping the model in the lower right hand corner. I've done something I only do very rarely which is buy 3 of an item because I know I will love them forever.

These special edition Adidas caught my eye and were the "Special of the month". I'm not sold on what looked like under closer inspection a cutting edge pedometer on the tongue. Trainers like this do look OK with a baggy casual suit or something, a la Alexander McQueen some years ago. Sort of like a loud sneakers modest clothes look.

Lastly I think I've found the origin of toffee apples. I've never come across these in any other culture but these toffee fruits look splendid on their display pillars, and particularly at night when they are illuminated.

Yes I know this is a bit of a crap post but the work is piling up, and I'm getting deeper and deeper into a lot of local and international brands and finding their context here in China. We're also waiting to hear some news on that pitch I've mentioned to a few of you and which deserves a post once the dust has settled because doing marketing communications in China, as in lots of Asian places, is often way different from other places around the world. Sometimes I think the biggest challenge is overcoming that whole consensus thing which is responsible for what can only be described as consensual communications. The internet seems to be the only place where reality can be externalised. Albeit through virtual persona sometimes.

Update: I subsequently discovered that La Pargay is Italian. Just trying to champion local stuff when I see it!


  1. Ferrari Telescopes?

    Oh for fucks sake - I absolutely stand by my viewpoint now, hahaha!

    It'll be branded condoms next, I can see it now ...

    "Ferrari gets you there quicker"

  2. Oh dear Rob.
    Like the IT stuff, and you can't beat steamed pork buns.

  3. firstly, charlie, you are on fucking fire with this blog now!! i know that you've probably got a lot of work to do, but do you think you could keep this standard up for a while? that would be lovely.

    secondly, those shoes fucking own!!! i don't care if the pedometer is slightly naff, they rock some serious kazbah. jealous.

    fingers crossed for the YouKnowWhat pitch too.

    [and rob, i don't know if 'getting you there quicker' will sell condoms on either side of the gender divide.. heh.]