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So it’s Monday … the start of another week filled with dramas, problems, confusion and arguments … except for me it isn’t because as of Wednesday, we’re on a stream of national holidays – and the best bit is that thanks to the way the holidays days fall – I end having almost 3 weeks off.
God I just love [fake] communism!
Now I know that this news will probably fill you with a mixture of delight and anger.
Delight … because it means you won’t have to endure my ridiculous ramblings for a while.
Anger … because you want a national holiday of that duration for yourself.
Well tough shit, that’s the price you pay for living in a country where you don’t have any hassle buying any book with the word ‘Revolution’ in the title, even if it’s ‘Cooking Revolution’ … but to cheer you up, I want to leave you with a clip that can’t fail to warm the cockles of your heart – even if it’s as cold and dark as Andy’s’.
Let me introduce you to 5 year old Howard Wong … the youngest, tough-motherfucking drummer in the entire Universe … except at 43 seconds, where he magically transforms into the most delightful, happy bundle of smiles you could ever hope to see.
When was the last time you were that happy?
When was the last time you did something that made you smile from ear to ear?
When was the last time you got truly lost in the moment?
I’m not talking family or personal stuff – I’m talking about normal work days?
The thing is Howard is a pretty mean drummer, which means he’s been banging away for quite a while … and yet despite that, there are still moments in his performance that makes him break out into an irrepressibly huge smile.
Sure, he’s performing in front of an audience that makes this sort of reaction more likely – especially as they all seem to love him – but still, his happiness and joy is infectious and that should be something we all experience and not just when we’re 4 years old.
I think that is why I love what I do.
Sure there’s an unbelievable amount of shit to wade through … sure there’s frustrations, arguments and a large dollop of conservatism to deal with … but at the end of the day, I get to explore, learn and do stuff with a whole host of interesting, intriguing and talented people and that is way better than 90% of people in jobs.
Yes I get paid well to do what I do [whatever that is] but I can honestly say I felt the same way when I started cynic and didn’t have 2 dollars to rub together – so maybe the secret is to make more decisions [or time] for the things you love rather than focus on what pays or demands the most, because even though life places more pressures and expectations on us as we get older, a life without fulfillment is no life at all.
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I know I used the same references last year, but I am sure you won’t mind.
Happy Birthday my beloved Dad.
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This is a bit of a weird post so I apologise in advance.
It came about because tomorrow would be my Dad’s 72nd birthday and whilst that means it is understandable my mind is focused on him, it made me wonder whether I am giving my Mum enough attention.
I love my Mum, she is wonderful in every way possible.
I’ve written about her love, support and energy for life many, many times … but as I was about to pen something about my Dad, it dawned on me that maybe since he passed away, I’ve not given her enough attention.
I’d like to think I have … I talk to her all the time and tell her how much I love her … but the reality is that as much as the screaming child gets the attention, the missing parent sometimes gets too much of the focus.
I am a byproduct of 2 people. Two wonderful, loving, kind, supportive, long-suffering people.
I could not of asked or wished for better parents or a better upbringing … and whilst we both miss my Dad as much today as we did on that fateful January morning 11 years ago, I am incredibly fortunate to have my brilliant Mum to turn to and talk to and I never want her to feel otherwise.
Love you Mum.
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So as many of you know, we have a cat called Rosie.
Without doubt, she is one of the most pampered pussycats on the planet which is why we make sure that as soon as we move, we always get a new ID tag with our updated information on it.
Well, last week we went to pick up Rosie’s new tag and amongst the packaging was this:
Yes it’s a bit over the top Aussie cliche in parts plus it feels more ‘dog like’ than cat, but after I read the note, not only did it make me feel more of an emotional connection towards Red Dingo, but it made me feel like I’d made a better choice for Rosie.
That’s right … I felt a connection to a company that makes bloody animal tags.
OK, so I am a bit strange like that, but whilst an accountant [and environmentalist] could/would argue that this note was an unnecessary addition to the overall purchase decision and product deliverable, I would say it’s things like this that lifts a brand from passive to active, especially when it’s in for a category that commands huge emotional investment from its audience.
Given adland – especially media and DM companies – love to claim they know more and more about the public and their habits, I find it amazing they still recommend brainwashing society with bland and faceless materials [albeit with a personalised name and address] when creating a piece of communication that has emotional relevance can be far more meaningful, memorable and effective.
But that’s what happens when you make all your decisions with a computer screen and data that tells you what happened rather than why.
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So a while back, Diesel launched their ‘Be Stupid’ campaign and for all intents & purposes, it’s been well received and regarded as a success.
The thing I find particularly interesting is this success isn’t unique to Western markets, it’s been a hit in Asia as well.
And why do I find that interesting?
Well because if you were to follow the cultural rules of Asian advertising, positioning your brand as anything other than a symbol of status and success would be commercial suicide … as would encouraging behaviour that may make others regard you as being foolish … and yet these are 2 traits that the Diesel campaign prouldy stuck their middle finger at and they’ve still been able to walk away with their heads [and wallets] held high.
Whether this is because we are seeing an appreciation of more Westernised approaches to communication is open to debate … personally I don’t think so because the Asian brand graveyard is littered with companies who have tried this approach and failed [including my beloved friends at Virgin] … for me, I think one of the reasons they have been successful is because they’ve captured the spirit of the category and its fans perfectly.
China is changing.
I’ve always said it lives in dog years but even that might not be a good enough representation to reflect its speed of advancement.
And yet, despite all this growth, societies systems and structures remain the same as they were 20 years ago.
Their approach to education is as regimented today as it has always been.
When you talk about filial expectations, the attitude is as fixed today as it has always been.
It’s a system of conformity where ultimately, unless you are one of the chosen ones [either through wealth, connection or an unnatural talent that is immediately able to be identified] you will follow the same structured path from an early age.
Hey, when you have well over a billion people, that’s understandable – however the interesting thing is that as China has opened up [or pretended to open up so they can take the West for all the cash they’ve got] technology has both developed and penetrated the country, helping China’s young to be more confident to explore and experiment in areas they’re interested in and one of those areas that is most popular is fashion.
It’s no surprise brands like Uniqlo and H&M have been hugely successful here because they offer breadth of fashion at low prices that allows people to mix and match with total abandon. Every day these stores are packed with people buying variety rather than just specific looks – which is why if you now walk down the streets, you’ll see them crowded with a mad array of colour and styles which gives an already obscenely energetic place an even bigger spark.
It’s not so much that China follows fashion but genuinely plays with it – embracing new and extreme looks on a daily basis – not because they want to make a statement, but because they want to explore and experiment … and that is why I think the whole ‘BE STUPID’ campaign has worked because rather than being seen as an encouragement to be ridiculous [which still wouldn’t work on mass because for all the confidence that is rising across the country, it’s still a relatively conservative nation] I believe it’s because it’s been interpreted as a cry to try … where experimentation is good, fun and exciting.
It’s a fascinating time to be here – and probably even more if you’re a fashion retailer – because while many other categories have to follow the ‘cultural rules’, they get to be free, or at least a little.
Still, even with all this freedom to explore , I believe one fashion brand has missed the point [or taken it to far] because despite the fact they’re the sort of label who appeals to rich, old businessmen who think going without a tie is dressing down, their choice of mannequin is downright spooky …
And that wasn’t a one off, check this one out …
Yes, I know they’re probably hoping people will interpret the eagle[?] as a metaphor for successful hunter with power and presence BUT IT’S STILL A BIRDS HEAD STICKING OUT OF THE TOP OF SOME CLOTHES!!!
Jesus, and to think I thought I’d seen the ugliest mannequin in KL!