Saturday, April 10, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Also known as why I never go to Coffee Bean but find Starbucks rather pleasant.
Let's briefly touch on branding for these two places.
They're both coffee joints
Starbucks set the standard for the "hang-out" cafe but Coffee Bean has followed suit
They're priced evenly
They're both more upscale than Old Town Kopitiam.
So why does Starbucks do so much better in Malaysia? Some might say the Berjaya Group holding company has the money to keep them springing up, but I think there's a little more to it than that.
A lot of companies bring more than just the food and ambience to a place, they also bring a culture. Here are two of my own experiences:
I walked into a Starbucks and was greeted by warm hellos and smiling faces. After ordering my drink I went to sit down and waited. After awhile I got that uncomfortable feeling that surfaces when you realise that you've been sitting down at an empty table for too long. So I glare at the counter, the baristas realise they forgot/were too slow and rushed out to get my my drink, gave me a coupon for a free one and apologised frantically. I was annoyed, then felt guilty for coercing them into giving me a free drink. I eventually gave the coupon away or used it to dispose of gum.
Coffee Bean (just today!)
Went it and ordered my drink, felt mechanical and dull. Waited at the counter for my drink. 7-8 people who ordered after me get theirs and I'm still waiting. After 20 minutes of standing at the counter, made to look like a bloke that's just been ditched on a date, I ask the guy where my drink is. He looks like I've called his mother a guinea pig and starts asking questions
"What's your drink?"
"Sure it's not chocolate?"
"You ordered chocolate right?"
"Your name is Din"
"Do you want this instead? I think I forgot to add the banana"
I tell him I wouldn't lie about my fucking name and to get me the drink I bloody paid for, instead of trying to pawn off whatever he had at hand. Especially if it was another customer's. He turns back and does whatever it is he does. At this point Din, the owner of the drink, shows up and says his name and claims the beverage.
It's so awkward when you're proven to be a liar, and a bad one at that. For some reason he goes on to say he made the wrong drink, even though I see nothing remotely close to my order in sight (disadvantage of an open bar). As he wanders off, more drinks are being distributed to other customers and I wait even longer. After 10 minutes-ish I literally have to yell
"STOP MAKING DRINKS FOR OTHER PEOPLE"
before he realises that an irate customer made to wait almost 30 minutes for a single drink shouldn't have to endure anymore balls attitude. Anyways I go and sit down and pout before I finally get my drink a grand total of 45 minutes-ish after ordering it.
Moral of the story?
Your brand is more about looks, taste and a name. Take Coffee Bean.
Here's some advice:
Spend some money and train your fucking staff the way you want them to behave. And get your managers to fucking MANAGE SHIT instead of being useless lying cunts. I can honestly say I will share my stories with anyone who even suggest going there, till they either
-Get the fucking picture
Though I wouldn't know if they've changed as I don't plan on setting eyes on said venue ever again.
*I say this for benefit of the doubt, because I can hardly believe the already shit service can be even more abysmal than it already was. Who finds time to talk to other customers about random crap when you're trying to catch up on other orders.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Some might say even more so, blame the economy huh?
I've ridden this out with fake empathy and naive awe. It's the combination of youth, enthusiasm and a quote from Steve Jobs reminding me to stay foolish and hungry.
But recently things have become more stark in their appearance.
My grandmother passed away last night at 2am and it is one of my biggest regrets not to have spent more time with her. This is a common lament from persons whom relatives have passed away, but at the risk of sounding self important, I must at least say the effect is magnified for those who work in advertising. It is simply the nature of the beast, but I can't help but feel an immense guilt that I must confess to.
My grandmother had a stroke a few months ago, which she was slowly recovering from. I told myself that I would visit her more often, and also document her life. My grandma is one amazing lady, raising 6 kids in the toughest of times and being the picture of vibrance and optimism throughout it all. I really wanted to document all of that, for her, myself and everyone else.
I remember her watching me spread butter on a bun and asking me if I liked butter. It was an odd question and I replied, "I suppose I do, grandma. Bread's just bread without it." And she told me, "Well I love butter".
I must have looked puzzled as she continued to explain, "In the war, we couldn't get butter. Once in awhile we would get a little with the rationed supplies. But not often. When the war ended, it was a lot easier to come by and I ate butter all the time! I love butter".
And I thought to myself, "Wow, my grandma really likes butter."
It's stories like those I wanted to put on paper. And now I can't. Because I was at TV shoots, recordings and stuck in the office 3 weekends out of every 4. And when I wasn't, I was a bastard and told myself I needed time off to rest instead of seeing her for maybe even an hour.
I'm still dealing with it.
But here's to the lady that would give my friends and beers whenever we visited, who gave my friends money just because they drove me to see her, who told me every single time I saw her that one day she would win the lottery* and give me so much money I need not worry, who always told me she loved me.
In hindsight, I may not know my grandma from before, but at least I've known her all my life.
I love you grandma.
*This was hilarious because she is a devout Catholic and never gambled. It just made me smile every time she said it.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Growing up in the 80s, I'm more familiar with this style:
For some reason people then preferred the faded illustration treatment.
However, at Apple's trailer site, I noticed a blinding amount of blank space. Upon closer inspection, these were identified as movie posters. Keep in mind these were taken from just the first TWO pages and are among the latest movies. Click to enlarge:
In Apple's attempt to redesign the fucking world, they've convinced movie execs to ship posters ala iPod aesthetics.
Bit much? Not sure how much this helps/harms a movie trailer's chances of being viewed.