Saturday, April 10, 2010

The state of user generated digital content

A quick update on where shit is headed.

Web 2.0 has been around for a number of years now.

User generated content and social media is a bigger part of the Internet (for consumers), than any other type of site.

But where does that bring us?


The numbers are ridiculous. More pop up every day, and even more die. With the rise of services such as posterous, tumblr and twitter, traditional post-a-week blogging is slowly grinding to a halt. The only blogs that people still read consistently have a loyal following established from days when the medium was hot.

Mini blogs

Twitter, tumblr, posterous etc.

Why write long-ass articles when you can share your thoughts a bit at a time. With mobile increasing it's reach as one of the main access devices for Internet, bite-sized blogging has definitely become the preferred method for the masses. Typical with gen-y, anything that's more convenient and takes less time is instantly better. Simply because we don't have time or attention span to cram everything into our schedules. I'm guilty of this myself, I don't have an inane desire for web-celeb, and if my friends want information or to stay connected to me, facebook and twitter are just fine.

But I must admit that this has severely reduced the quality of articles. Less space means less depth. No matter what you say. Please don't reference things like haikus being minimal yet engaging, you fucking hippies. Sometimes you need a bit of length. Just ask the ladies.

Web 3.0

Geolocation and augmented reality. Nothing new really, but we haven't seen any major use for these technologies yet. Foursquare aside that is, and even that's just a game with some promo gimmicks tacked on (just in the US for now).

So that's a quick update on the digital landscape.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sometimes before client meetings

we head out to this massive balcony and have a cigarette.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

5 things you love that were created by Advertising

A regular point of discussion I bring up with strangers is how almost everything they know and love, they happen to know and love because of the ad industry.

Now this usually sparks up a huge discourse. People don't want to feel as if they were 'influenced'. They want freedom of choice. How dare I suggest that advertising has played any part in their lives!

Now I'm not saying we fucking mould society to the whims of our clients. Sometimes a good product is a good product and the advertising doesn't have to work very hard to sell it. Apple makes incredibly sexy gadgets, so it's not very hard to sell those, a more generic item like Gatorade would need more branding behind it and so on.

There are instances though, where we do something and it just blows out of proportion. Here are some examples:

1) Santa Claus

Probably the most famous story here, the modern image of Santa Claus was created by Coca-
Cola. As mentioned on their website:

Most people can agree on what Santa Claus looks like -- jolly, with a red suit and a white beard. But he did not always look that way, and Coca-Cola® advertising actually helped shape this modern-day image of Santa.

Coca-cola advertising? Sounds like something that was created in an agency. So you have us to thank for the big blokes you take photos with in malls. And of course, Santarinas.

You're welcome.

2) Boxer shorts

Helping the bros hang loose since the early 20th century, advertising didn't create boxer shorts. They did however, make em' popular, but not on purpose. Here's the story from wikipedia:

In more recent decades, boxer shorts got a fashion boost in 1985 when English model and musician Nick Kamen stripped to white boxers in a 1950s style "Launderette" in a Levi's commercial.[1] Since the 1990s, some men also opt for boxer briefs as a compromise between the two.

Ever since then, they've been a staple in every dude's drawers. Stolen by ex-girlfriends, riding high above the jeans of hip-hoppers and protecting my eyes at the gym changing room.

3) Practically every 80s cartoon

Not many people know, but practically every cartoon in the 80s was produced so that some toy company like Hasbro or Mattel could sell toys. Looking back at the various toys I had when growing up, they did a pretty good job.

4) Barack Obama

Yes we can. If there's anything I can say about Obama, it's this: what a fucking great ad campaign.

If you kept tabs on the last election, you may also remember a public service announcement from Sarah Silverman asking Jewish folk to get their rellos in Florida to vote.

Created by the wizards at Droga5, who have a habit of creating awesome viral videos, there's no doubt it played a pivotal part in getting Obama into office.

5) A whole bunch of great ads we enjoy every day!

Sure there are a ton of shitty ads out there, but isn't it great when you watch something and it makes you laugh, or shed a tear, or whatever man. Ads aren't all that bad. And besides, shit's changing.

Check out this ad from the 80s:

And what advertising is today:

My Malaysia

Panic on the streets of London.

Panic on the streets of Birmingham.

I wonder to myself.

Would life ever be sane again?

That oh-so-familiar tune from The Smiths has been on constant repeat in my mind over the past few days. Except I substitute London for KL and Birmingham for PJ.

Recently several churches in the KL and PJ area were torched by mysterious villains. If you don't keep track of current events, here's why.

Raised Catholic, I've kept quiet on the issue. But after much thought I've decided to speak up. Religion, skin colour, accent and the rest aside, I'm probably as Malaysian as you can get.

'Well how is THAT possible, Mr. Rudolph Christopher La Faber?'

You may ask.


1. I am a fucking minority. I honestly get tired of people complaining about being second class citizens. Technically, I'm not even on the list. I have to tick Dan Lain Lain in every fucking government race criteria. Do you know what that means? OTHERS. You OTHER PEOPLE. I know what it's like to be discriminated against.

2. I also happen to be bumiputera. Which makes me part of the majority. So I know what it's like to be in that group.

3. I've renounced my faith many years ago. So I'm not going to play favourites here for the "bros". Whatever beliefs I adhere to are unique to Rudyism (Hey that's my blog url, I haven't mentioned that's where I got it from after all these years).

4. My mom is part Iban. Ethnic yo. My ancestors were here looooooooooooong before anyone else.

So now that I'm a credible source, what do I think?

Honestly it doesn't matter.

And therein lies the problem.

Please register to vote in the next election if you haven't done so.

Then vote responsibly.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Starbucks vs Coffee Bean

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?"

"Chocolate banana?"

"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


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

-Go bankrupt

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

Death and Advertising

There is much demise in the industry.

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

Current trends in design : Movie posters

Don't ya love movie posters? A constant reminder of the biggest blockbusters coming up.

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.