Monday 28 September 2009

Demographics & The Vicar of Clerkenwell

Last week I purchased the International Express newspaper to see what it was all about and apart from being stuffed with the sort of Jingoistic journalism trash that one expects from what I presume is a Daily Express sister title I creamed through it in 15 minutes and ripped out the bits that were interesting.

One article penned by the chaste and pious Anne Widdecombe tackled Boris Johnson, , another Tory I don't like much, for suggesting that Ramadam is something the UK should embrace.

I loved the way that Anne resorted to "the British way of life" as if it were an institution that the FMCG consumer revolution hadn't overturned post second world war. They always do make me smirk, although this might be a good time to say I think John Major was the finest Prime Minister we ever had in my lifetime even though he too was prone to making cricket and old maidens references.

Anyway demographics are an important subject because the reality of early 21st century United Kingdom is that while Christianity dwindles to nothing. Under the full flame power of people like Richard Dawkins, Islam will be the predominant religion in the United Kingdom in the future. How ready are we for it?

Now, why we may have not paid much attention to the future, while strip harvesting the British Empire and specifically partioning Pakistan and India (not forgetting our invasion and seperation of Bangladesh) we're now snookered, because we can't talk about having our cake and eating it. 

We plundered and caned to death a few Islamic countries and while power will resist any change that means praying five times a day towards Mecca, I see no more interesting solution than all the other UK religions (including the U.S originated Mormons for reasons I'll get into later) from embracing a one month, day only (not the night) period of fasting for what I think are great reasons.

We're obese, we fret over the lack of self control we seem to have lost, we're surrounded by a disenfranchised and fast growing Islamic brothers family. We don't even understand the power of frugality that Islam shares with it's brothers and sisters...and if our manners are out of order we should reconsider them. 

Maybe the United Kingdom will end up like some kind of East Timor circa 1975 when the Indonesians invaded Dilli and rounded up the women before flying them off by helicopter to be used by the troops - Using UK, Canadian, US and Australian bullets and guns.....It's just business after all.

Anyway; just a thought. My business is dangerous ideas and I'm always up for debate and criticism. What do you think? Do you even care?

Friday 25 September 2009

I Heart Recession

Via I heart recession AKA the egregiously talented Jason Li of Hong Kong (Currently in Barcelona I think)

Banksters & Economic Simulacra

I didn't want to say too directly back here (Simulacra economy, economic hologram, economic hallucination) but I think this graph from Rob's Posterous says it more clearly. But I would agree with that wouldn't I....... to paraphrase Mandy Rice Davies.

This doesn't mean some of my friends are not Bankers; as Jason Li humourosly cartoons for us back here.

Thursday 24 September 2009

White Boy

I've been trying to get Unilever to do this for YEARS. I've even told a good friend of mine who sells skin whitening lotion at a Global level, that I know how to circle the square (sic). How to pace round the quadrilateral with a menacing stare. Well at least now that I know that even to make racial judgements is in itself philosophically racial as my learned friend Tim once taught me.

Nevertheless the intellectual justification that circumscribes the square thinking of the peasant classes of say late 17th century rural Anglosaxon versus say the emerging bourgeoisie in the cities towards a tendency that darker skin meant working the agrarian economy, in a field contrasted with ladies (and men) bearing parasols, meant wealth and the coveted lifestyle that went with that, thus pushing them into a lifestyle that white was right, or at least admirably better is no basis for assuming that it's OK to encourage  similar thinking in the early 21st Century - The field is muddled by other points but let's stay on track with not contrasting the communications budgets of white tanning lotion versus skin block.

I've written about this at great length elsewhere and made my position clear however as, Unilever have failed to embrace my solution for what I've seen in research groups means that I give it to the internet and possibly cover my exposed and vulgar rear should I be exposed for selling whitening cream in the future.

So here goes.

While I really did not enjoy hearing in the focus groups of Asia that lighter skinned Asian bourgeois preferred not to take lunch (or sit at the table) with their darker skinned but equally talented non skin whitening colleagues. I do know there is a RESPONSIBLE solution to any corporation's intent.

Make sure the packaging and the communications on any skin whitening range use the words "XYZ Corp, embrace people of ALL colours"

In this way they make it known that while making a healthy profit on said skin care category is arguably pernicious; intellectually it says what is most important. It's OK to lighten your skin like the early agrarian economic classes of Europe most wished for, but that doesn't mean we as a corporation don't love y'all black assess too.



The Y-3 collaboration between adidas and Yohji Yamamoto is one of my favourites. I thought their store refit in the IFC building of Hong Kong was a one off, but it appears they are well coordinated with a coherent campaign using Google Earth as a store locater visual. Pretty hip move. Well mapped out. More please.

Hong Kong Electric

The Hong Kong Electric logo is mostly used alone when I see it out and about, and it kicks ass. But best of all they've got CCTV at the top of their wind generator which is a scientific experiment to propel Hong Kong's energy needs into the future tapping into Typhoon power and erm where my last phone, mobile, keys etc were swiped from the KLEIN.

Update: This is one of my most popular posts please take a look at this post.

Wednesday 23 September 2009


Sitting in a bar in Hong Kong a couple of days ago, with easily the most interesting women who had the good grace to sit and listen to my "grand theory" which stretches from renewable resources to wealth creation (along with my latest stolen report to Hong Kong police by a TV Channel runner) and takes sometime.

"Anyways" as the Jamaican bad boys like to say I noticed a couple of publications that I asked the landlord to take with me.

The first had a picture on the front that I found unsettling and yet strangely compelling. It's called ADMARTASIA Magazine and I suppose you could say it's an Asian Craigslist but there were two (actually three) outstanding and compelling points to the publication. The first was the article on Progeria which highlighted once again that for some reason Youtube is the "lets get retarded in here hangout" for comments that are cretinous. It's just the way it is, 21st century acne and saliva or puberty-trying-to-type?

Later I picked the magazine up again and read the founders piece on the publication which are usually vanity puff pieces in Asia but in this case was written with honesty, balls and intelligence. The reason for the magazine? Because as we've all been talking about for some time and two friends are actually doing the future of the internet is print and I've tipped my hat enough times about "transmedia planning" over the years.

Ladies and Gentlemen meet Wayan Chan. Smart smart smart.

Wednesday 16 September 2009

T Shirt Culture

Visit Plannersphere

That T Shirt I'm wearing in this picture is a screen printed Interesting 2007 original that went along with a lot of other deeply cherished T Shirts (and more) that frankly meant more to me than the luxury goods items I stupidly left in my suitcase which was stolen or "borrowed" depending on what sort of writer one is.

So this is a good place to tell Hong Kong that if you ever see this unique T Shirt which has the full name of the longest city name in the world underneath the Interesting 2007 screen print  which is Krungthepmahanakornamornratanakosinmahintarayutthayamahadilokphop or the full name of Bangkok known locally as the City of Angels (all of this in Thai though), then give me a holler. Otherwise fellow planners, don't forget that both Facebook and Ning have great planner resources and you can add me on there or twitter or even Plazes which I noticed today was looking a bit sorry for itself.

Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom

Obviously I cunningly set this post up by linking it with the title and cultural narrative reference of the previous post. 

I got it going on like that sometimes.

Sadly, I've met more "creatives" and seen more "creative" storyboards and read more "creative" treatments like this in Asia than I should ever admit if I didn't want to earn the wrath of the "creative" community. I could also write a swift list of people who I revere as advertising creatives but it's a lot shorter and I always tell them when I like their work.

Drunken advertising put a smile on my face too. Thanks to John for alerting me to them and    tolerating the whole bacon abuse situation.

Tuesday 15 September 2009


There's a couple of sound bites that I always use when people ask me about China because I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Beijing and previously in Shanghai. I got to really think about those difficult questions that aren't easy to answer, or rather, I had many attempts to answer them and get a little better each time. One of them, and it still applies from the bottom of my heart because Beijing taught me that the people there are among the finest that one could wish for as future Leviathan capital city of the planet managing the largest population in one fell swoop is that 

"China is both a few years old, and a few thousand years old at the same time"

I say this because it's one of the most exciting countries on the planet and viscerally feels like a young country. Yet at every conceivable juncture the history of thousands of years in is evident in the customs, the pride, the food, the language and on and on it goes. It permeates the air, the posture of the people and is dense with a high viscosity should you ever get into the sensitive topic of culture in China.

The other quote that I use is more to tame the excesses of a young country (that I love) when considering the responsibilities it will need to face much quicker than any empire philosophical or otherwise to date.

"No country will grow faster, larger and older than China in the history of the world"

Now this might be a slight stretch as I think Italy is doing remarkable demographic time-bomb things as far as an aging population goes but in principle; in terms of size China is the fastest story ever. This incredible graphic below from the ever remarkable All Roads Lead To China Blog is as good as it gets for telling the story visually.

china demographics

Socialist Pig

I love this. Via Daria

Sunday 6 September 2009

Paul Isakson - Social Media Presentation

Paul has done a great presentation on social media that has some new points well worth thinking about and some old ground that we all need reminding of; particularly if your business is structured around squeezing out 30-40 second spots of film geared up for the old 20th century broadcast model.

American Apparel

There isn't a spreadsheet in the world that will prove American Apparel's idea to use the scraps of material they usually discard, as a sales asset, will once again show why they are opening outlets at a considerable pace, all over the world. 

Because they are a company that puts outcomes ahead of incomes the profit follows naturally, but if you put the numbers before the values you're competing with the rest of the mediocrity (sic).

Update: I bookmarked this in my delicious (mmm yummy) when I learned that a Federal raid on American Apparel busted them for hiring illegal aliens and lost the brand 1500 employees or a third of their workforce. American Apparel I salute you. But maybe that outlet in Beijing was a bit premature though ;)

Tuesday 1 September 2009

And While We're At It

The first 5-10 seconds of sound on this one is probably as stunning as the first time I heard Acid music way back in 1988. Not bad pop either. Probably the sort of thing I'd sample for Cillit Bang to convey that it cuts through any shit you either can see or conceive of.


Ferociously effective.

Just a thought.


I've been pompously sniffy about pop music and especially so when I grasped just how easy  it is to package the stuff that makes the young salivate so easily.

So I really much more enjoy anything from (unclassical?) Classical and say Minimal Tech - The good stuff mind but then I would say that as I haven't really paid attention to anyone of significant pop music popularity with mandatory good looks and maudlin lyrics, for more years than I can remember.

However, I've had an enforced loss of music. Some 30 Gigs or so of quite choice and select music that went with the cab driver. To make up for this I've been swiping peoples music off mobile phones and I've had an epiphany about Korean Pop music. Yes it's often formulaic, yes it's all about pretty boy bands, or (but not and as they dont mix) girl bands that are too hot for a middle age man to gawp at for more than a second or so, but the facts remain.

About 5-10 percent of K-Pop is top notch pop. The productions are flawless, faultlessly lavish, choreographed cleverly and lastly the music is obviously Korean though frequently with often an English chorus deployed, so we (including the rest of Asia) can all join in or get the gist of the usual teen themes of love that could never spin off tangentially into gender dysphoria issues or handicapped sex because which I just cranked up the imagery deliberately for emphasis rather than any fixation with amputee sex or what not.
In any case as far as K-Pop goes, the music is kick ass in sections and this compensates for the relentless parade of pretty boy good looks and skin that I don't see many women able to match without recourse to traditional concealment techniques. I wont mention the K Chicks because they are stunning, and a charming conclusion to the topic is beyond me right now.

Here is 2PM's "Again and Again" and it's worth more than one listen because there's something heartfelt in it apart from the preternatural pretty boy band expectations it's difficult not to prematuraly conclude.

I'll go as far as to say that K-Pop has something going on right now that has the potential to go really global. I am also currently blown away by the production of Britney Spears who is clearly lacking in talent but a blindingly scary showcase for how good music can be if the best of the best in production are involved. Style over substance? Yes. But then so is moisturiser, lipstick and nail varnish even though I've written at length about cosmetics recenty and I'm not what the Germans would call part of "die brutale emanzipierte frauen" brigade.