Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mobile SMS Advertising - Up Close & Personal

This weekend, one of our clients will be utilizing Mobile SMS to target Mainland Chinese travelers to Hong Kong during the May 1st golden week holidays. We've contracted a mobile aggregator vendor to send out SMS to roaming users at Lo Wu Immigration Control Point (羅湖入境管制站) when they reach HK and their mobile services switch to either one of the local operators. This allows us to target a specific group of mobile users, with specific mobile operators, and at a specific geographical location.

I still remember after the Octopus incident, a lot of mobile operators stopped the SMS advertising services. As HK people get over these things quite easily, and for the service providers to cope with the overwhelming demands, SMS advertising is one big hot vehicle for advertisers reaching their 'target' audiences and activating their marketing campaigns, once again.

The reason why I said 'once again' is because SMS advertising is not new. Ever since there was mobile, SMS has been the Instant Messaging (IM) platform, probably the first. And the mobile operators have the right to send you any messages they want. Hence there was the SMS spamming days, after the email spamming era. The problem is there are no SMS spam filters. The only filtering is done at the mobile operator level. Therefore SMS slowly declined after series of complains which involved regulatory bodies trying to regulate this. Not to mention the whole privacy issue around opting-in and opting-out of receiving these SMS.

As technology advances, SMS is not only a simple piece of text (well it's still a simple piece of text to certain extent) that mobile operators blast off to everyone, it can be very targeted and personal.

How so?

On Mar 29, Tuesday, I happened to be in Central in the afternoon. As I was walking the footbridge approaching The Landmark I got this SMS from my mobile operator. It said "LONGCHAMP PRESENTS LA MAISON 8 GRAND OPENING", and it followed by a MMS featuring its logo and also details of the grand opening telling me Kate Moss would be there. As I'm working closely with several Luxury clients, I was intrigued to learn more and check out. I then took a turn and went to Queen's Road Central 8, where Longchamp's La Maison 8 situates. Of course I didn't see Kate Moss, nor I was able to enter the store, but I was motivated to arrive at the spot.

Thanks to many targeting options available to SMS advertisers, you can now choose targeting such as geographical locations down to the building and blocks, time of day, day of week, demographics (age, gender, interests, etc.), which operator, and many more. With the right mix of targeting options, brands can elevate their brand communications to mobile audiences at a more targeted and relevant way. Spam no more.

We understand when mainland Chinese come to HK, one of their objectives is to shop for goods, and by sending them a SMS once they arrive with information on where they can achieve their objective, this piece of info become highly useful and relevant. Watch this space as SMS/Mobile technology advances.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Learning from Microsoft x MediaMind "The Digital Next Steps for Retail Marketers"

I was honored to be invited as one of the panel speakers among other well-known industry professionals to speak at "The Digital Next Steps for Retail Marketers" event co-organized by Microsoft Advertising and MediaMind on Apr 19, 2011.

After several presentations & sharing by MSN, Microsoft Advertising Research, MediaMind, and VISA, the event ended with a panel discussion aimed to wrap up with best practices and learnings. In the panel there were Eddie Ngan, General Manager of GroupM Interaction, Herbert Lam, Regional Director, Digital of Universal McCann, Kenneth Wan, General Manager of GroupM Interaction, Kevin Huang, CEO of Pixel Media, Lawrence Lo, Business Director, Digital of OMD, and myself. Moderation was by William Lai, Business Director of MSN Hong Kong (William claimed that it was his first time being a panel moderator :)

Here are some of the learnings and sharing from the panel:
  • Digital is not only disrupting how retail marketers communicate with their target audiences, but also bridging the gap in terms of activating their marketing/communications campaigns
  • Mobile will be a big trend in enabling such activations
  • Group buying is set to take off. Location Based Services (LBS) related group buying or advertising will be a new way for retail marketers to drive traffic and sales
  • Group buying will diversify by verticals and niche group buying will have its advantages over others
  • Social Media is a key platform for not only users to communicate and share information, but also for brands to get involve and listen
  • Digital out-of-home (DOOH) will also enhance user experience together with augmented reality (AR) like activation
  • Future is going to be utilizing digital touch points together with traditional media to create a holistic 360 degree brand experience. And using data to best personalize such experiences ('Minority Report' was mentioned!)

p.s. notice we all cross our legs in the same direction. and as Kenneth suggested, "Great men 蹺 alike"!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

3D Projection Mapping in Action

Recently every marketer is intrigued by 3D Projection Mapping executions. Even I am trying hard to make that happen in HK (I'm sure other agencies are doing the same :)

While we are scouting for the best location and finding the best solution to execute, here's a good example on how to put the same technology in action, in a smaller scale. Still you can see the impact it delivered.

Some times we are too caught up with technologies, and under estimated the importance of creativity. Innovation is not all about inventing new stuff, it's also about putting the pieces in new and meaningful ways. Maybe this is a good showcase on igniting our brain cells in coming up with cool, and relatively affordable, 3D Projection Mapping executions.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Charlie Chaplin's 122nd Birthday on Google

Google Doodle is going Video!

The Google Doodle team stars in an homage to the silent film era's greatest star's 122nd birthday.

Here's the video:

The Google Doodle team put on a full disclosure: none of the mustaches in the video are real.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Great Global Treasure Hunt on Google Earth

In the news today (Apple Daily), it reported 'The Great Global Treasure Hunt on Google Earth' was unveiled at this year's London Book Fair. This book will provide a series of drawings that include visual and textual puzzles that are described as "ferociously complicated".

The book will then lead readers to places on Google's online global map, Google Earth, and ultimately to a single destination. Readers who submit the answer online between the September 1 launch and the end of March will be entered into a draw for a 50,000 prize.

Patterns and outlines found in satellite imagery, scenery, directions from one place to another or simply connections in Google Earth will provide a piece of the puzzle, which will ultimately point to a place that could be anywhere in the world. Wow, imagine how difficult it is just to find a "particular spot" on the Earth. Readers will not, however, need to visit it.

'The Great Global Treasure Hunt' is written by Tim Dedopulos, a former editor of Mensa puzzles who has previously written a history of wizards along with more than 90 other puzzle books, and who in the early Eighties drove tens of thousands of Britons scoured the puzzle book 'Masquerade' for clues about the location of a Golden Hare.

Now the classic treasure hunt is set to be reinvented for the digital age.

Coincidently, in our brainstorming session couple weeks ago we had the similar idea of treasure hunting having people finding clues in multiple places using their mobile phones to unveil the ultimate goal or a prize. Through the treasure hunting, we can embed the brand values as part of the experience.

'The Great Global Treasure Hunt on Google Earth' sure is of a greater scale with complications. But this definitely will have the advertisers and agencies embark the new form of treasure-hunting-like campaign executions in the digital age.

Pre-order of the book is available on

PeopleBrowsr's Brief (Cartoon) History of Social Influence, 2006-2011

Online Social Influencers... hmm, a very new topic in today's 'social media' age. But PeopleBrowsr, a social analytics company, illustrated to us (in a panel on social data moderated by AdAge's Simon Dumencowith, with LinkedIn Principal Data Scientist Daniel Tunkelang and Klout Cofounder and CEO Joe Fernandez at last week's Ad Age Digital Conference) just how far we've all come in our collective understanding of social influence, through a series of great and not-so-great moments in 'social' history (illustrations by Adam Long). Here's the deck.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another Great 3D Projection Mapping execution - Hyundai Accent

Needless to elaborate, see it for yourself!


"this is fuckin' awesome!!!!!!"

"This is pure epicness !"

Ditto to the comments above (or I can hit the +1 button to each of these too), this execution really brought the 3D Projection Mapping to the next level. Not sure where this took place (it looked like Malaysia to me), but it doesn't matter since this video has what it takes to viral out.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My POV on "電視戰國風雲四大趨勢" from骷髏會

From the article 電視戰國風雲四大趨勢 on (ARTICLE LINK), I really think 廣播與製作分家 will happen. not only due to more free-to-air tv channels, but also more and more online video content channels arising. Apple Action News is a good example which foreign news channels are already buying their "home made" contents. In light of this, advertisers will have more options in producing branded content in various channels rather than pure TVC insertions, program sponsorships and product placements.

Branded content is not new. It started to take off in the US few years ago. I remember my ex-colleagues (Klipmart to DoubleClick) started their own gig few years ago and focused on producing branded content for advertisers and distributing it on their partner websites as a video ad network using their own players and via then-rising and popular YouTube. Result? Phenomenal!

It really exercised true experiences with the brand. Here's a great example done for Walmart in creating awareness for their pet care department. Walmart wanted to let pet owners know that Walmart's Pet solutions and products stacked up well against major pet supply chains such as Pet's Mart and others. So, they came up with Pet Advice, a multi-part web series hosted by a real life veterinarian supplying tips and advice on numerous pet-care solutions.

There are many more examples such as Infiniti's Family vs Chef webisodes.

Personally, the classic of all branded content to date has to go to the BWM film series, which was a series of 8 short films (averaging about 10 minutes each) produced for the Internet in 2001 and 2002. All 8 films featured popular filmmakers from across the world, starred Clive Owen as the "Driver", and highlighted the performance aspects of various BMW cars, beautifully.

Directed by John Frankenheimer

Directed by Ang Lee

Directed by Wong Kar-wai

Directed by Guy Ritchie

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

Directed by John Woo

Directed by Joe Carnahan

Directed by Tony Scott

As a matter of fact, this BMW film series was perceived to be the father of branded content, as a new marketing technique. Now a decade later, we have yet to see branded entertainment to this level of quality and engagement, especially in this part of the world where branded content has yet to take off. I look forward to seeing some great work being distributed in various channels very soon.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Learning from a Collaboration with City University of Hong Kong

I've always been wanting to give back to the community, especially with what I've gained over the past, and trying to give some pieces of advise to the young generations. I realized, actually I need to learn from them.

I learned couple months ago my agency has a collaboration with City University of Hong Kong on a Management Information System Marketing course within the Business Economics Bachelor Program. My agency was to give real-life cases as their course project and they were asked to come up with media/marketing recommendations based on the cases. This year is the second year.

In February just after the CNY, we were asked to give out the cases to the students and also conducted a brainstorming sharing session just to give them more understanding on the cases and the brands. Then they were given 2 months time to come up with the recommendations. From those brainstorming sessions, we already were surprised to find the level of understanding and enthusiasm towards what they were set out to produce.

Last Thursday we were invited to the students' final presentation and be the panel judges of their work. Together with the research team and my digital team, we were thrilled by the high calibre of work we saw.

Without going into commenting their presentation styles, which was superb given our low level of expectations, let's look at each of their work:

Group 1 were given a case for Snickers chocolate bar and this group of students not only have a all-rounded recommendations, they also produced mock-ups of the mini site, posters, outdoor executions, and mobile gaming apps. They even registered themselves a Snickers HK Facebook Page (well we might need them to take it down soon before the client finds out :).

Level of creativity was outstanding and they stuck with a unified theme - "Boost Your Energy!". They have even thought of a crossover with Adidas to boost their association with sports as an energy bar.

Another execution which I personally like was the in-game opportunity with Angry Birds, where instead of busting the pigs, the angry birds are aimed to attack the Snickers bars.

Group 2 and 3 were given a case for Xbox 360 Kinect and they both turned out great with good understanding of the consumers. One of the group came up with the theme - "Partners" and a great YouTube video was produced. Another group had a TVC storyboard drawn out. With great story telling the presenter brought the audience through the fantasy which has strong association with the Kinect games.

One of the group actually came up with a media plan with costing. This really amazed me as they were the only group who did that and also came up with the use of SEM and SEO to drive traffic to their mini site. I'm sure they really did their research on understanding their consumer online behaviors.

The last group was given a case for Li Ning. I personally think this group really had a strong campaign which exercised the integrations of multiple media touchpoint. They also came up with some really great creative mockups.

They came up with an event with teaser viral videos to promote it. Although I can't find the videos on YouTube but I must say they are not bad at all. They were also the only group with a competitive and SWOT analysis which impressed me, but without a clear positioning. Also, this group lacked an actual media plan and sustaining strategy which is needed for brands like Li Ning who came as an underdog facing giants like Nike and Adidas.

Nevertheless, the quality of work and presentation skills were outstanding. We don't see a problem having them presenting in front of our clients. Just the content which needed further nurturing.

Other than praising and criticizing student's work, we as an agency also had great deal of learnings from this:

Our media agency business model is dead!
We didn't see any banner ads or much of paid media. We saw a lot of viral videos, social media, and mobile applications. Maybe it is time for us as agency to revisit our business model, cos these young people will or already is the future consumers.

Social is the key!
Of all the presentations, we see one commonality - the social element. Be it on a centralized platform such as Facebook or disbursed multiple touchpoint, we saw a strong sense of sharing of contents, including UGC. As these young people grow up with the norm of sharing, this would change how we advertise, or how the brands 'get involved' I should say.

Mobile is the future!
We also understand mobile will be the future. Even Google projected in 5 years time 50% of Internet browsing will be from a mobile device. It really supported these claims after looking at the students' work. We saw a strong adaptation of mobile into the recommendations, be it an application or the use of mobile devices to activate their campaigns (I particularly liked the group buying on mobile, and the use of LBS for gaming). Mobile devices will be the ultimate terminal for accessing information and networking.

Celebrities remain strong influencers!
In this part of the world where we see celebrities as spokesperson of brands all over the place, there is a reason why they will remain. Young generations perceive celebrities or renowned public figures as influencers. It is a matter of the brands to understand and adopt so to turn these influencers as their brand advocates.

In conclusion, this collaboration with City University of Hong Kong was a great experience for us. Not only we get to see and cultivate some great talents, but also we learned a great deal by understanding more from the next generation on how they perceive our industry and how our businesses would evolve in today's digital world. We are already thinking of internship opportunities and to echo my previous blog post on the talent pool of the ad industry, I think the industry still has a bright future ahead. Now just a matter of how well we can evolve to fit the future of advertising.

Monday, April 4, 2011

"The Super Lai Way: Jimmy Lai on the end of Facebook" - from Gafencu Men, Apr 2011

Jimmy Lai was speaking to Gafencu Men magazine for its April 2011 cover story on the future of the Internet. The title of this article immediately caught my eyes and after reading through it, I found no surprise for such straight-forward claim by the man behind Next Media.

(Article excerpt)
Rubbing his hands together with an expression of calculated concentration, Asia’s maverick media mogul, Jimmy Lai, predicts the end of Facebook. He says: “The fact is, Facebook users, using Facebook technology, will piecemeal build applications for friends of friends of friends. This will become a pyramid of networks and will create a faceless Facebook. This is the future of the internet and the future of media.”...

...He says: “With Facebook, we know this kind of networking is the future for media. We know it is the future for person-to-person business. There is no doubt that it will prove profitable for both individuals and for communication in general. If I send something to you, you will send it to a friend and they will send it to other friends. Will Facebook continue to exist as part of this gigantic ocean of networking? I think it will dissolve because it will become part of a universal application on the net. What will make the world more connected will be the development and supply of new applications.

  “People currently using Facebook technology will ultimately gravitate towards standalone applications, as they are potentially more liberating and innovative. They represent creations which can be used instantly and intimately among friends and business colleagues. This is a spontaneous evolution in that they will use applications within their associated circle.

  “It reflects the evolution of Facebook from being a particular tool to becoming a universal aspect of the internet. I can illustrate how I see it working. If, for instance, I want to watch TV with my wife, but she works in Hong Kong and I am doing business in Shanghai, then, using a linked screen, we can both log onto the same site and watch a movie together. We can both buy the same movie and send each other messages relating to it while watching it together. That’s networking. If I want, I can also add another person to watch the movie with us. I can add any friends from within Facebook’s closed system.

  “This will inevitably evolve so that more individuals using different applications will adopt Facebook-style networking. It will eventually become universal among users of the PC, the iPad and the iPod. The problem for Facebook is this very universality. Facebook users will, ultimately, exponentially develop its core technology into the greater internet. Applications are definitely the future. Applications designed for utilitarian purposes will create more associations and networks, more pieces of the puzzle which will eventually become universal.

  “When international news is fed into post-Facebook networks, things will really get exciting. All of your friends will become sources of news as well as readers of news. They will all be sharing information and articles. He will give to her and she, in turn, will pass it on to so-and-so. This is how a merchandiser will operate—developing products and concepts that will ultimately become marketing tools. Whether you are buying shoes or news, an article or a button, applications are the future. We are not an application producer, we are a content provider. All those applications will ultimately facilitate what we do.”
(Gafencu Men, April 2011)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gmail Motion - a new way to communicate

This is Awesome! Must try!!


MediaVest wins Yahoo! regional business -

Flashmob - Human Behavior Testing with a Water Bottle

Would you pick up an empty water bottle on the floor and put it in the recycle bin right next to it? A testing was conducted by the "Testé sur des humains" in a busy shopping mall in Quebec, where an empty water bottle was placed on the floor right next to a recycle bin. Here's the video and see it for yourself:

Amazed by the people walked right pass and pretended nothing was there. Flashmob was organized to cheer for the first person who picked up the bottle and put in the recycle bin. Sure it is something to cheer for! Here're some figures:

- Each year, 671 million Kg of plastic are produced around the world.
- Each year, 400 million refundable bottles and cans are not recycled in Quebec.
- There are 18 000 pieces of plastic floating on every Km2 of ocean.
- 91% of Quebecers care about the environment. Do you?

Do you? Recycle.