Friday, August 24, 2007

Back to the roots of Marketing

Siem Reap is doing well. The tourist trade is booming, hordes of Korean and Chinese tourists overrun the ancient temples of the Kingdom of Angkor. Everyone in the service industry is doing a brisk trade.

Take for instance the remorques, tiny taxis consisting of a two- or fourseater compartment pulled by a moped. Remorques are a bit of a commodity, they're all alike and your negotiation position as a tourist is good. A US Dollar will get you anywhere.

Except this one. This entrepreneur has discovered the value of advertising. If you make yourself heard, and shout just a little bit harder than the others, you will get more business and you can charge just a little bit more. We paid this gentlemen $3.

Next step is branding, of course. A transport tycoon in the making.

Germany funding minefields?

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) does good work, removing a lethal danger that still lurks in parts of Cambodia's civil war scarred soil.

Too bad then that the Germans keep funding new minefields, according to this CMAC sign near Siem Reap. Or do they mean the opposite?

This grammatical minefield would've been funny, given a less deathly serious subject. Wonder how many of these signs can be found throughout Cambodia, and what effect they have on Germany's public image?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hello Kitty Unlimited

If you've ever visited Hello Kitty Hell then you know that the Hello Kitty Universe knows no bounds.

Thanks to Hong Kong's MTR Corporation it now has an underground railway too. Complete with trains and uniforms.

Hong Kong respects global brands too

Welcome to Lamma Island, home to just about every Leading Hotel of the World:

True sign of globalization: each country its own speciality

Cuba's was already well known. But Macau's?

Asia's continuing IP crisis

Just a high street pharmacy. This one's in Macau, but could be anywhere in China or Southeast Asia.

Honestly. No fakes. Cross my heart, hope to die.

Ugliest skycraper. Ever.

Stanley Ho's Grand Macau Lisboa atrocity may not be finished yet, but it already dominates the skyline of Macau. Too ugly for words, I guess it'll easily take the trophy for Macau's most photographed building. Here's the definitive picture angle.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Alien is Alien, and English is English...

... and never the twain shall meet. I bet Rudyard Kipling lies turning in his grave.

Some like it French

Not a word of English in this little tableau. Still, it's in South Kensington. Or shall we say Quensington du Sud?

English may dominate the business community. But from Sydney to London, French is the global language for the culinary world.

No fusion here...

... at least some of London's stock brokers seem to prefer it English through-and-through.

Anglo-Japano-Greco-Thai fusion

From a distance it looks like your typical wood paneled English corner pub. Up close, it turns out to be a Thai restaurant. Design cues from ancient Greece (Ionic columns). And the name? "The Rising Sun."

Not that there were any doubts that London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities on Earth. But this pushes the envelope.

"You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it."

Scott McNealy's classic quote is now over 8 years old. But it turned out to be quite visionary. UK's largest credit bureau Experian seems to think so too. In this tube ad Experian tries to educate the English consumer to not only accept this fact of life, but to try to make the best of it too. "Our information affects your position in life," it seems to say. "Why not come and check it, and ensure it's up to date?"

Quite the double-edged sword. One wonders if an ad like this would have the desired effect in other cultures as well. Would it work in, say, China? Somehow I doubt it.

Pottermania in action

Quick research in the London Underground, morning rush hour:
1. One in two spend their tube time reading;
2. One in four readers reads Harry Potter.

By the looks of it J.K. Rowling's books are not only enjoying record sales, they're being read too. By adults.