Change bit by bit

This ad by Saatchi & Saatchi, Bucharest, Romania for United Way might seem like a very simple ad but I do feel the message is well conveyed and extremely impactful. Cutting down the layers of flashy details, going straight to the core of the message, the ad communicates the importance of changing lives. We see a sad old lady, a dirty little boy and a gritty looking man transforming in the videos. Their differences in appearance was well illustrated from the beginning to the end of the video. Clearly, what we see in our daily lives can be changed through the little actions we do. Donate generously.



BIG BIG thumbs UP to all the kick ass creatives in Ogilvy Beijing. This activation communicated a very important message in one of the most impactful approaches we have seen so far. People tend to be reminded when they are engaged mentally and physically. To a certain extent when an ad results in an action, it gives remembrance. This ad combines emotions and actions. And thats really clever execution. It successfully stunts the audience and captures their attention. Great work for Volkswagen.

Nearby friends


Delete-history Nearby-Friends-Map  Turn-On-Nearby-Friends-11 Who-can-see-you Share-Exact-Location-web


An article from Mashable, reported Facebook releasing their apps with newer functions. This time round, they added a nearby friends function which is similar to WeChat’s. What could have taken Facebook this long to implement this function? In Asia, Facebook penetration is massive and a function like this might serve its purpose but yet attract adverse effects. I have heard of couples banning one another from Facebook. I guess you probably could visualize what the reasons might possibly be. Nonetheless, I think this is still an innovative addition to the repertoire of tools on Facebook, plus it also aids in further enhancing consumer experience. Now, I shall not go into details how the new function would work, but you can read more of the article here to understand the ‘Nearby Friends’ experience.

Colors colors colors

If it’s IKEA, you just gotta love it. With the avalanche of zany yet provocative campaigns from the furniture giant,  it is no wonder it receive such great support from it’s supporters. Effective communication through creativity is the cornerstone for most of the works produced by IKEA. As much as I recalled, innovative approaches to traditional media seems to be prevalent in a lot of IKEA’s campaign. With less costly media placements, they attempted and successfully garnered high traction. This time round, they again push the boundaries of traditional outdoor advertising. Executed in Belgium, witness how these lovely colorful bus stop billboards actually captured the public’s attention through bright vibrant colors. As you go nearer, you see fine lines delineating the contours of furnitures. Interesting concept. Love the art direction and idea.

The Coping Cycle: Understanding your brand by understanding your consumers

I remembered having a conversation with one of my clients before, and an insightful analysis of how consumers react to brands are closely similar to how humans react when they are faced with immediate changes. When people are faced with changes, they generally react in three separate manner; positive, negative and neutral. I might delve a little more into these reactions on my future posts, but for now I really wanted to share the possible cycles and phrases people go through when information is communicated across to them. Note that this is taking into account that the communication message is already successfully communicated into the minds of the consumers.


Here is an image of Carnall (2009) Coping Cycle. It is taken from here:



The introduction of a product through different means or channels generally communicates information to the consumers and is akin to Carnall’s Coping Cycle. Except that his was done for identifying employee’s reaction to organizational changes. In our context, regardless if the information is engaging or mutually dependent, the phrases in the Coping Cycle where consumers experience are not in random sequence and individualistic.

Phrase 1: A new change usually experiences some level of resistance. UNLESS, the idea has some level of acceptance and value which benefits the consumers. In this case, positive feedbacks becomes a possible scenario. People will also be more forgiving to the new change. Brands typically fail to understand that product changes must resonate with the consumers by identifying and solving through the perspective of consumers. Because that adds value to them.

Phrase 2: As long as brands remain adamant on changes, consumers can sometimes succumb to these changes. As long as they are relevant and would benefit them in the long haul, such changes are deemed as innovations and improvements. Therefore, propensity of consumers to embrace becomes generally very high. Nike+, a really good program that aims to benefit consumers by tracking their exercise regimes while encouraging healthy competitions between peers, is a highly successful example.

Phrase 3: Changes can be extremely daunting for your consumers. It really depends on the level of complexity. New product launches might seem beneficial from the company’s perspective, but in reality it might prove to be challenging or perplexing for your endearing customers. Take for example, GongCha, a bubble tea shop in Singapore, have the system of using a numbering system. While idea of waiting for your number from the flashing buzzer is deem as an efficient queueing system, consumers do not appreciate the idea of buying tea so similar to consulting a doctor.

Phrase 4: Have patience. Give your consumers some time to adapt to your new product or service. Even if it is changes that is being introduced, time is required for people to adapt and react. Humans are very adaptable beings. We make sure we get the hang of it all the time. However, the time required does varies a lot before one is adept at what the new changes.

Phrase 5: This becomes a very crucial phrase. As the consumers begin to internalize the new changes, they start to fine tune their lifestyle to suit these means. They began to make personalized tweaks to incorporate these changes to their daily routines. So long as the change adds value to their routine, it will be cherished. An example for Apple to completely remove dvd players and other essentials for their new Mac Books and Mac Book Air is one example of removing ‘essentials’ away. Because, these essentials are slowly fading off and their usage had become questionable.

Brands must understand that for consumers to accept your changes, you need to understand the flow and anticipate possible reactions. Remember, always add value in whatever you do. Because people tend to nurture their love and passion beyond reason, most of the times.

KFC China



This is definitely one of the most insightful article with regards to China, a fast and growing market.AdAge reports the recent campaign by KFC in China on how they are adopting the cliche but sure-win approach of celebrity endorsements. This campaign by Ogilvy, takes celebrity endorsements onto another level. What interests me is how receptive the market in China is from their reaction to many stale marketing tactics. Using a group of five influential celebrities, the campaign aims to go for the kill through not only a collective celebrity power, but also tapping on the celebrities’ social fan base. Taking into consideration that one of the actors has a staggering 72 million followers on Weibo, it is potentially a lethal marketing cannon.

As much I believe, China is quickly becoming a very digitally savvy nation. Ogilvy Shanghai, fully aware of this rising trend, leverages on it with their digital campaign for KFC. They immediately focus on using these celebrities to advertise on engaging social media activities. One for instance, aims to motivate fans to compete against one another over the amount of “likes” for their favorite celebrities. Another very fruitful insight from AdAge talks about the fact that KFC has been one of the biggest and most successful food chain with the longest history in China, since its penetration 27 years ago. A whopping 2,600 outlets in China alone is seriously no joke. A bigger market equity than McDonalds by itself is an amazing feat.

However, as the the brand suffers a decline in operations, branding and sales due to the avian flu outbreak and health inspections, it was devoid of a good strategy to fight back. Now with more marketing campaigns and excellent strategic brand initiatives, the brand is taking back its helm.

What I believe to be extremely essential is an extract from Adage‘s article:

“Celebrities are often used as a quick and easy way to sell products in China,” acknowledged Graham Fink, Ogilvy & Mather‘s chief creative officer for greater China. He pointed out that the same celebrities are often tapped by many brands.

“I think that more and more people are beginning to see through this ‘cheap’ tactic, and the brand will ultimately suffer as a result,” he said. But if the celeb seems “genuinely involved in the message they become more believable, and this is what we are trying to do with KFC.”

Another one:

A top national executive for KFC’s parent company, Yum!, noted that China is the world’s biggest digital society (with 618 million people online) and that Chinese consumers are “moving at the speed of a bullet train.”
The brand is seeking to revamp its menu and offerings every 12 months and I believe this would constantly refresh their image and presence in the eyes of the consumer. When done effectively, shall be a very deciding factor when it comes to triumphing strict competition between competitors on an industry level.
Milind Pant, president and chief operating officer for Yum! China, wrote in an email that “urban Chinese are becoming the most digital savvy group in the world, offering opportunities for brands to innovate and communicate.”

The menu revamp is part of what KFC has labeled its “restage,” which includes new product packaging, uniforms, store designs, a mobile app, an e-menu and a prepay takeout offering.

And of course, not forgetting that bigger companies comes with a heavier inertia and requires longer time to maneuver effectively.

“I think it’s very difficult to steer such a big chain in a new direction,” he said. “And it took this situation with the antibiotics to really force them into making some fairly dramatic changes … A complete revamp of the brand is a good idea.”

The Front Row Story

AND, I think this is extremely powerful. I mentioned in a conference presentation a while ago that brands harnessing human power has an exceptional appeal when compared to companies adopting the brand power approach. While the latter signifies a passive communication, human power aims to unify and conquer with one common agenda. This sort of relational contract between fans and brands becomes mutually dependent. As a result, engagement occurs because it needs to, and not because it had to. Take a look at what Google+ has done for Manchester United fans. They created the ‘Front Row’ project which took on a less perplexing approach of acquiring fan support, yet a very impactful one.