This Week in Asia: Alibaba Brings the Battle to Family Rooms Across China Reply

This week on For Immediate Release podcast #714, Alibaba announces set-top boxes that bring shopping, payment, and eventually games into China’s living rooms.  This is the next step in the battle for consumers.  Also, listen to the full report to hear how crowdsourcing is being used to battle fake medical ads and educate consumers.

China’s Online Population Reaches 591 Million Users Reply


This week in Asia, I share a few insights about China.  The nation’s online population has grown 10% year-on-year and is now estimated to be at 591 million users.  I also share a great resource for further insights into China, and my favorite read from the previous week.

As always, do yourself a favor and subscribe to the For Immediate Release podcast.

The Best Explanation of US Govt Surveillance of its Citizens Comes From…Animal House? Reply

Double Secret Probation.  Lauren Weinstein explains the concept from the movie Animal House and uses it to help us understand exactly what’s wrong with the US surveillance activities.  Let’s start with a fun clip from the movie.

While animal house is laughable, the US surveillance is not.  According to Weinstein,

For it is frequently not the existence of government surveillance per se that is so problematic, it is the deployment of such surveillance without the public being clearly and definitively aware that the surveillance is taking place, rendering us impotent to fulfill our oversight of government that makes all the difference between democracy and tyranny.

 Significantly, many of our government leaders have put themselves into the role of Dean Wormer — and placed their entire citizenry on “double secret probation” — not trusting the people to appropriately judge the actual threats or to accede to a level of surveillance activities that can be reasonably justified.

Something is wrong when comedians see how laughable this situation is, but our elected officials do not.

Thanks to Jonathan Stray for sharing Lauren’s great blog post.


How Awkward is Mercedes’ Corporate Rockstar Campaign? Reply

Sometimes the branding campaigns in Singapore seem to border on the ridiculous.

Do you recall the Visa payWave campaign?  It presented a lockstep world where everyone walked, ate, and lived life in perfect

Visa payWave Commercial

Visa payWave Commercial

unison.  The instant someone did something different (i.e., did not pay with Visa) the world recoiled in horror and happiness could only be restored by returning to a lockstep world.

The idea that we would find such uniformity inviting is disturbing. I find this almost as disturbing as Coke’s desire to “teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”

Now Mercedes Singapore has launched a corporate rockstar campaign.  “Ignore the ordinary and live life on your own terms.”  Seriously?  Mercedes seems to flip between being the #1 or #2 automotive brand in SG measured by sales.  Old and young alike drive Mercedes.  The brand is everywhere from HDB complexes to country clubs.  From one perspective, we could argue that these cars are the Adidas, Chivas, or Manchester United of their price range–they are everywhere.

Setting aside the oxymoron of “corporate rockstar,” I personally struggle with how it could be even remotely attractive to “Ignore the ordinary and live life on your own terms” by embracing the Mercedes brand.  Buying Mercedes would seem to be a step directly into the mainstream.  Given the national context into which this campaign was placed, such corporate speak simply comes across as silly and disconnected.  This is unfortunate because Mercedes does represent some damn fine engineering.

Mercedes Wants to be a Little Edgy

Mercedes Wants to be a Little Edgy

Best Read: Douglas Rushkoff Makes the Digital Economy Work for You (via S+B) Reply

“Rushkoff has spent his career thinking and writing about the influence of technology on how we work and live. He now believes that we are witnessing an evolution as meaningful as the transition from feudalism to the Industrial Age. Those companies that adapt, he says, will be the winners in the digital economy. Rushkoff sat down with strategy+business to discuss this transition, its historical context, and how businesses can respond.”

Read the entire interview via Douglas Rushkoff Makes the Digital Economy Work for You.

Do Suicides and Sudden Deaths Among PR Pros Signal an Overwork Problem? Reply


This week on For Immediate Release #712 I discuss the tragic death of Tata Steel’s communication officer and link this with other reports of death and unhappiness in Asia’s PR industry.  

Are we creating a work environment that simply is not sustainable if we want to attract and keep the best talent?

A Good Reputation Can Help Increase Profits, Yet Expose You to Regulators Reply


This week in Asia, I discuss the reputational angle to news out of China that antitrust investigations have been announced against Tetra Pak, and also impacting infant milk formula brands.  I also discuss why Singtel’s Hawker Challenge is a great example of localization in marketing.

Get all the communication news and the full podcast at For Immediate Release.

Marketers & Communicators: What Metallica Can Teach You About Coming Career Demands Reply

Step aside English as lingua franca.  Wordsmiths, time for some continuing education to learn a new skill.  Ok, maybe I am being hyperbolic…but is there any way I can say that just by sending you a photo and not causing anyone to Google the term “hyperbolic?”  That would seem so much easier.

Disruptions: Social Media Images Form a New Language Online describes such a world where we respond and communicate via images (presumably using Google Glass) and not even bothering to choose our words carefully.

This is a watershed time where we are moving away from photography as a way of recording and storing a past moment,” said Robin Kelsey, a professor of photography at Harvard, and we are “turning photography into a communication medium.

We have already seen infographics, one form of visual communication, rise in popularity due to the quick-consumption style and ease of sharing.  Perhaps photography will be next.

Either way, marketers, PR folks, and eventually everyone will need to increase their visual communication literacy if this prediction holds true.  To help you get a sense of where we are headed, look at this brilliant visualization of Metallica on stage.

Fantastic visualization illustrating coming literacy demands

Fantastic visualization illustrating coming literacy demands



Video Consumption Patterns & a New Alibaba Documentary: This Week on For Immediate Release Podcast #710 Reply


This week in Asia, I share an announcement from Huntsworth regarding the appointment of Bob Pickard as Asia Pacific CEO effective January.  I also highlight a new film about Alibaba and Jack Ma, called Crocodile in the Yangtze, and conclude with recent research about video consumption patters across APAC.

Please tune in to For Immediate Release podcast #710 for the lastest and greatest discussions about communication.