Friday, 28 December 2007

Random Retail

I've talked about the China Adidas 'Impossible is nothing' stuff before over here, and Rob raised a really good point about the work not being representational of the international spirit of the Olympic games which is bang on. I haven't seen one mention of another country mentioned in any of the communications for this international event. I think the onus is on the international agencies to have a word with the Chinese clients about this very inward approach to what is after all a celebration of multinational competitive spirit. Age also did a post on the Adidas commercial being derivative of a Visa commerical which is well worth a once-over here.
Personally I think line artwork is lovely stuff at the moment and I'm trying to get across to the teams I'm working with that tonality is crucial in marketing communications. That the messaging is often less important than the way an ad 'feels'.

But really, sports apparel advertising is looking soooo cliched - They are all clinging to lamposts like drunks, including Nike. The main high street in Beijing is dominated by Adidas with 'Impossible is nothing' as you can see above, but on the same high street is a domestic sports brand called Li Ning. Their flagship store is here, and their endline in red at the bottom of the poster below reads 'Anything is Possible'. This is for me the real challenge out here. Persuading brands to find their own voice, and understanding that standing out for the right reasons is a good thing. I'm already seeing a Yin and Yang correctional approach to branding and research... If its too functional that means we need to add emotional. If its too emotional it needs more functional. No it doesn't. It needs what it needs. There's also a philosophical debate to be had over business entities that exist in countries for no other reason than wealth creation. If that's the case then a brands values are all about making money. Period.

Personally I'm all up for the sports brand that talks frankly. Something along the lines of 'We know you stuff your pie-hole with takeaway pizza and corn syrup beverages but you do like to watch matches on the box down the pub with your mates, while wearing some sporty looking kit now and again'. That's a brand voice. Tagline - 'Its impossible, another cheeky half fella?'.

I saw this sign above while wandering around the latest shopping mall to open, and couldn't resist taking a snap. Of course I was thinking about 'her' at the time. She's so... she's so freestyle baby, and she's just for me. Apparently.

Later on I as I descended the escalator in the adjoining department store, I got thinking if this guy could qualify for that whole uncanny valley thing that Russell was talking about. That name though...Hunter Funny.... Most awesome n'est pas?

No post on Beijing retail could get by without some reference to Panasonic's Olympic street theatre on Wanfujing. Seriously, I don't know if Panasonic have ever knowingly had creative tumescence. This (ahem) brand, particularly in Asia (like Canon) suffers from the marketing communications equivalent of a charisma bypass. Whatever you do... Don't stand out! The Canon endline is particularly irritating. 'Delighting you always'. What a pile of shit that is. They so-don't delight people that I challenge anyone to find a delighted Canon user on the whole internet....Ever. At least Panasonic with their 'Ideas for life' are implying that they are just ideas and you wont need them when you're dead, and that they aren't a Volvo.

Last but not least, is it just me that sees a bit of Chinese (yes grasshopper) in the Colonel above? There's a healthy dominance of KFC over McDonalds for number of outlets in China and I'm blaming the atavistic logo! Ha


  1. Do they still do the Teriyaki burger and waffle fries?

    Good stuff. Ads in Asia seem to try and fit in; I wonder how that will change over the next few years.

  2. Canon's delighted users? Oh sure, there are many. Check out flickr - about 3 of 4 people are Canon eos photogs.
    Personally, I am a Nikon-ian, though I had to buy a Powershot recently for want of some cash. But I am going to make up for the bad Karma by buying a Nikon D40x for the new year.

    But, yeah, flickr = Shiny Happy Canon people.

  3. Its a fair cop Ravages. You're right Canon make some awesome freaking cameras and I was taking a serious look at one today. But you can see my point.

    They make some great cameras but that isn't the same as "delighting people always" shouldn't it be "delighting some photographers sometimes"?

    They are not the only brand who so believe their own bullshit they have forgotten what the truth means.

    Now then I might just go and buy one of their digital cameras now that you've got me thinking so I can put them to the test.

    So its the Canon Ion versus the Nikon D40x ? What else do you recommend I consider while weighing up which brand/model to buy. I'm not pro but the Nokia N95 is being stretched to the limit at the moment.

  4. Ah.

    Definitely check out the Canon EOS Rebel range. But go for a Nikon? :))

    If you have some serious cash to spend, I suggest a Nikon D200/D300 with a couple of lenses - you should have two-three primes and one zoom.

    Pentax has a good DSLR. So you might want to give it a whirl before you plonk the money down.