Apple dazzles again!

APPLE HAS DONE IT yet again with its newest launch of the 27″ iMac. This time the already monolithic display is boosted by an LED-backlight. Therefore this would mean more light being beamed through more pixels, using lesser energy. HD movie technology will be pushed beyond its perimeters with the 2560 – 1440 resolution, for a complete face-melting experience.

Now the glass panel stretch across the entire edge and the set comes with wireless peripherals.

Now the glass panel stretches across the entire edge and the set comes with wireless peripherals.

What really tickled my fancy the most was the addition of the new “Magic Mouse”, which has an innovative, probably world’s first all touch sensitive surface. Basically it is like a laptop’s trackpad on an ergonomic flushed surface for your hand. The user can scroll left right and even swipe webpages back and forward.

I guess all that’s really missing  is the ability to write Chinese characters on its surface. That would definitely be a sell-out in China.

Speaking of which Apple has reported its most profitable quarter ever, pertaining especially to new Mac, iPhone and iPod sales. Hence, the share market has responded  by doubling the share price of Apple, from a low in May to $203.94 in 25 October.

All that Steve magic, up! Up! Up!

All that Steve magic, up! Up! Up!

This is just a lesson to all those cool cats out there in the IT world, no longer is it about delivering your product faster or cheaper, it’s all about innovation. When you’re in that fast moving-circle, it’s innovate or die.

The celebrity case

HAVE YOU ever wondered how luxury brand companies like Louis Vuitton select celebrities to endorse their brand and products? Luxury fashion companies have been in a love affair with celebrities for decades running now. It is an unspoken law that the luxury  fashion industry relies on opinion leaders and celebrities alike to carve a certain image for their brand.

I used to think this involved brand managers lining up a bunch of photos of celebrities drawn from a hat, on a board and throwing darts. However, I soon learn’t this obviously was not the case.

The selection process 
The celebrity endorsement process begins not in a magazine ad-photo shoot but in the selection procedure, according to Luxury Brand Consultant Uche Okonkwo in her work, Luxury Fashion Branding, 2007. In her book she also suggested several qualitative approach by these companies, though most sound pretty arbitrary and it seemed more like a good gut-feel of the brand manager than anything.

For instance, for the case of Louis Vuitton in this year, they launched 2 campaigns with 2 different celebrities, Sir Sean Cornery and Madonna.

Knickers, heels and bag, 50 and fab!

Knickers, heels and bag, 50 and fab!

Uche suggests that the primary reason of utilizing celebrities is to make the brand’s message stand out amongst the clutter of rival advertising. In addition is also offers the following benefits;

  • Helps to position and re-position; In past campaigns Louis Vuitton has employed younger more current celebrities, with the likes of Uma Thurman and Scarlett Johanssan. Recent, celebrities are older and fading in popularity.
  • Revives and revitalizes staid brands
  • Generated extensive PR leverage and opportunities for brands 

Besides traditional media (print and television ads) other ingenious methods of celebrity endorsements includes photographs of celebrities appearing with the product indifferently. This portrays the true lifestyle of the brand and the public relates better to this than a glossy-ad.

Do not out-shine the brand
The golden rule established by Uche is that Luxury brands have their own brand image which they have developed over the many years. Hence,  the image of the celebrity should never be greater than the brand or in conflict. Perhaps this would explain why Louis Vuitton has recently selected stars that are nearing the decline of their careers.

 

Could a switch to older celebrities affect the relevance of Louis Vuitton to its core customers? Or perhaps just broadens it's appeal

Could a switch to older celebrities affect the relevance of Louis Vuitton to its core customers? Or perhaps just broadens it's appeal?

Consumers link a pre-established image of a celebrity with a brand, every endorsement adds a new facet into a band. So brand managers must ensure that selected celebrities are constant, replaying and reinforcing the same brand image. A change could well lead to a bit of a confusion.

Also, I often wonder if there is a quantitative approach to selecting celebrities. Agents should have a popularity rate-o’meter for their stars, so brand managers can make better decisions.

Wilfred Wong

Notes from a fan of science

USS EnterpriseI FELT JJ ABRAM’S take on  Star Trek really breathe life back into the franchise. The acting was very faithful to the original cast’s thanks to its talent team; Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto. In addition, its visual effects was absolutely mind-blowing. 

I am not a fanboy of the franchise but am very fascinated by  “Hollywood science”, as i would put it. I never did got my mind round several of the movie’s, in my opinion, flawed technicalities which was not very well thought through by the script-writers.

WARNING SCIENCE CONTENT &  SPOILERS AHEAD

Read this article for a plot refresher

Ok so the deal is this, overall this is a great concept to open up the prospect of a parallel story-line thanks to a peculiar time-traveling episode. JJ has effectively opened a whole new universe apart from the original series and it would literally be his to control, pure genius!

For all you know, Piccard may be a space janitor and Commander Data a crash-test dummy for future family saloons in JJ’s sequels.

I shall be exploring 2 (in my opinion) flawed-concepts employed in the movie; time traveling and teleportation (transporting; in Trekie speak).

Time traveling
In the running order of events, it is appropriate to start things off in the year 2387 after the Romulan mining vessel, Narada and Ambassador Spock’s transport gets caught in the event horizon created by a black hole and both are displaced in different periods of time, 150 years in the past.

Scientifically, not even light can escape the gravitational well of black holes. However, the movie suggests that entering a black hole would displace you randomly in time. This is really fine by me actually, after all, no one has attempted to fly a probe or a chimp into one, so theoretical science maybe wrong.

However, in the film’s crescendo, the Narada gets drawn in by another artificially created black hole and gets crushed, when it should have turned out safe and sound in the year 2009, ok no 2087. WHAT!?  In contrast, the USS Enterprise managed to escape the black hole after blowing it shut by jettisoning its warp drive engines into the black hole and seconds later it, *DAH DAH DAH* warped away safely…

Teleportation
Now here’s a pretty cool thought, given the right transport equipment and a clear transponder signal, I can teleport any moving or stationary human being to any location.

Thought number 2, why could Scotty beam up free-falling Kirk and Sulu but could not save Spock’s mother when a weaken ridge line collapsed under her? It should have been much more easier to accomplish the latter as mummy was already secured in mid-transport. 

Final thought, if I can transport 2 people into the cargo hold of the Romulan vessel? Can I not in the same way transport a kidnapped Captain Pike and evil Romulan boss Captain Nero on-board the Enterprise. Though if that were to be the case Star Trek 2009 would have been approximately the length of a Gillette commercial, gotta blow-up the drama-mama right? *DAH DAH DAAH!*

I won't allow you to lecture me...

I won't allow you to lecture me...

Right you are Mr Spock! That is enough rambling for me, better quit while I am ahead. I still strongly urge all trekkies and people out there to go enjoy the movie if they haven’t yet caught it.

Live long and prosper.

Getting active

IS THERE MORE a fast moving consumer goods company can do to get their customers to interact with their brand? How can they get customers to move past just buying a great product and to have an affinity with the brand? Without a doubt affinity is directly linked to repeat businesses, the lifeblood of all fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs).

Other benefits include forming brand evangelists; people who would advocate a brand to friends and family members, resulting in a more credible marketing pitch with no direct costs to the company!

Can that swoosh be more than a product? Yes!

Can that swoosh be more than a product? Yes!

Nike has came up with an ingenious initiative to get their customers engaged and involved with their brand.

Niketown Running 
Nike spends $300 million a year on media advertising (2008), though one of its most effective campaign could be “Niketown Running”.

It all started in Portland, Oregon, where twice a week 30 or more customers would gather at the Nike store for an evening run. Afterward, the store employees would go into the store to socialize and for refreshments. Nike’s staff keeps track of their performances and hails members who have logged more than 100 miles.

Nike augments this brand-community building effort with an online social network, a la Facebook, with the intent of interacting with their core-customer base. 

Such a concept has since spread to states like, California, Florida and Washington, to name but a few.

Going the extra mile for the customer

Going the extra mile for the customer

The Results Are In!

Nike is already beginning to reap fruits of success. Its other initiative, Nike Plus running web site that allows customers to link their Nike shoes with their iPods, to track and compare their performances with their peers.

200 000 runners are already site members and Nike Plus’ goal is to have 15% for the world’s 100 million runners on their systems.

One can only imagine what influence such a site would have with 15 million dedicated eyeballs on it every week.

Deeper in Hollywood’s love affair

 

Clint Eastwood's latest outing

Clint Eastwood's latest outing

I FELT GRAN TORINO was an spectacular picture, another addition to the critically acclaimed actor/director’s portfolio of hard nosed dramas. This is not to mention the many ad-placements from Ford and Toyota. My personal favorite was Letters from Iwo Jima. Now if only he could branch out to chic flicks right?

Giving back to the community

Now here’s the thing about Eastwood, he’s a true blue cowboy. His movies were always tethering on the edge of political incorrectness. For instance, with “Letters”, focused a good 95 percent on the Japanese defenders and portrayed them in a very human light. Something most directors shun away from in Hollywood. 

With Gran Torino, he again worked closely with an Asian cast. This time playing a racist Korean War-Veteran, who eventually befriended his Hmong neighbours. His character interacted a lot with Asians, with an ethnic group called the Hmong people and the movie focused on Asian values and family customs.

This could just be the beginning of Hollywood’s love affair with the Chinese people, it helps now that the China’s the new global growth engine.

Asian Roles

There are  a few stereo-typical plot-pivoting roles in which Asians appear in Hollywood pictures. I shall be exploring them;

Geek/Computer hacker

The geek/computer hacker

Always ready to break that firewall and declare, “Ok guys! I’m in.” (5 seconds on-screen time)

The angry grocery/food store old guy

The angry grocery/food store old guy

As bullets rain down at a random road-side store, caught in the middle of a gun-fight, against all odds an old chinese guy would dash out of his store, shaking an angry fist, gibbering something in Cantonese (2 Seconds on screen time).

Prominent Asian characters include Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

Get the right tools for your life kid!

Get the right tools for your life kid!

Though it is my view that all that would soon change, with more Asian stars taking the lead and doing more than just quantum physics and kung fu. I applaud Eastwood for his foresight and boldness to set the direction for an industry. 

Wilfred Wong

Blog Announcements! – Supported Charity & Feeds

Hello? Hello! Is this thing on?

“i’m MAKING A DIFFERENCE”

I am very proud to announce that I am supporting UNICEF and Microsoft’s initiative to make a difference.

Every time you use Windows Live™ Messenger or Windows Live Hotmail®, Microsoft’s free webmail service, Microsoft shares a portion of the program’s advertising revenue with an organization of your choice from a selection of some of the world’s most effective organizations dedicated to social causes. 

With every e-mail and instant message sent, you help address an issue you feel passionate about, including poverty, child protection, disease, environmental degradation and animal protection. It’s really that simple.

Partner organizations include Stop Global Warming, the American Red Cross and Nine Million, just to name but a few.

You can give these kids a chance today - Give.

You can give these kids a chance today - Give.

Start giving today and make a difference, join now and spread the word to your friends and family. Simply click on the “i’m helping kids survive” tag under “Widgets” or the banner below to get started.


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Thank you for the support! Have a blessed Easter.

Wilfred Wong

Viral Marketing. Big Buck! Buck! Bucks?

VIRAL MARKETING, or the Internet word-of-mouth, normally involves a company creating a website, video or email that is often irreverent and so infectious it spreads all over the web community, simply by people passing it along to their friends and family. 

One would describe viral marketing as addictive, self-propagating and “advertaining”. A message may also spread quickly through mobile phones.

Normally, the tricky thing about these messages, if it involves selling low-invovlement products is that it actually never tells the viewer to buy anything.

Benefits of using viral marketing to a company would include;

  1. Low advertising cost
  2. People are more likely to view the message, as it would be from somebody they know.

Burger King’s Subservient Chicken Campaign (2004) could be said to be that one chicken who started laying the eggs, the pioneer of viral marketing. Though ratings may have been affected by the bird flu scare, the site is still up and running today.

The site features a “Live” webcam broadcast of an oversized chicken standing awkwardly in a living room, sporting what seems to be a belt of-sorts. The user types in instructions of what he wants the chicken to perform and the bird obeys to hilarious results.

D*** bird couldn't lay an egg!

D*** bird couldn't lay an egg!

I actually split my sides from my devious experimentation. I finally put the bird out of its misery by ordering it to “Die”, which it carried out. Very amusing.

http://www.subservientchicken.com was part of the company’s “Have It Your Way!” promoting its “TenderCrisp chicken sandwiches” thought the site was never promoted by Burger King.

Now every time I look at it I think, poor poor guy...

Now every time I look at it I think, poor poor guy...

Instead, when it went live, the developer at Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP +B) emailed the URL to fellow colleagues, asking them to forward the email to other people. The Subservient Chicken site, without any promotion, ended up with 1 million hits at the end of the day, 46 million in the first week and 460 million hits since April 2004. (Armstrong & Kotler, Marketing: An Introduction, 2009)

What are the benefits? A Burger King Director confirmed the ad helped to sell “a lot, a lot, a lot of chicken sandwiches.” Subservient Chicken, you have contributed greatly to all of chickenkind, wait. That did not come out right at all.

Wilfred Wong


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