Sunday, April 25, 2010


Generally, advertising works in regardless of its creativity especially in Australia where the population is lower but possesses probably 10 times the spending power than say, Malaysia.

What happens is that we get clients with A LOT of money and a market that is not very competitive.

I was having lunch with a digital producer and art director the other day. They were confuzzled by clients who are spending so much on traditional media instead of digital since no one watches TV anymore. My gut feeling is that majority of the 22 million Australians aren't as technology savvy as we'd think. Even if we can avoid watching TV, we still cannot avoid getting stuck in traffic and platforms staring at traditional adshels and billboards. I have a conspiracy theory that corporate marketers don't really want to fix Australia's poor public transport because that's a huge reach and frequency. I doubt clients are so incompetent to not realize that their 2 million dollar ads are not generating enough return of investments. But perhaps it wasn't the ads that worked or didn't work that matters, but the lack of choice for the public. We are simply stuck with the same service by the same brands in the same shops in every suburb.

Another point may be what I call the 'wedding photography' syndrome. The reason we see shit loads of wedding photos with couples kissing distastefully next to the beach during sunset is not because of the couple has poor taste, but perhaps that's what they expect out of wedding photography. And when clients expect less, agencies produce less.

And that leads to my next opinion: creatively speaking Australia is handicapped. Say we compare Sydney to New York, the top 10% of creatives in New York will always produce the best work in the world whereas the top 10% in Sydney will probably only end up getting promoted to New York to battle against their top 25%. The rewards are high but the competition is astronomically higher.

So like I said, because Australia has a high spending power, creatives are prone to stay (or retire)in Australia because you pretty much get the same pay for doing less. In short, the whole point of this post is: advertising sucks in Australia generally because clients don't really have to try very hard; and those who do think their problems can be solved by spending more money in telemarketing and promotions.

Sensis blackmailed Chika the other day. They phoned her and she said 'I would like to advertise on Yellow Pages only if our business name can come up in other search engines like Google'. However, they deleted the second half of the message and now they have her consent on record as 'I would like to advertise with Yellow Pages.' After the initial outrage I just realised how desperate Sensis has become. In fact, from Chika's original statement I wonder: In this day and age, who needs fucking Yellow Pages?

And when clients have employees blackmailing customers, who needs fucking creativity?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cookies are everyone's right.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I ended up chatting with the landlord of this 11-floor building. And like any middle-age Chinese man, he started throwing me advices as if I'm his own son, who I assumed never listened to any.

One that stuck with me is: Never obstruct people on their way to success.

I'm not sure if it's an Asian thing, but I do have this experience of elders telling juniors ' When I was your age, we never had (enter basic commodities here),' or ' you need to suffer before you're allowed to be happy.'

I'm all for being appreciative and hardworking to gain skills, but suffer?

The landlord then elaborated that most people feel so threatened by the young, that they'd rather indulge in ways to make it more difficult for them to advance instead of coming up with methods to further develop his or her industry.

I agree that there's this morbid disillusion that the new generation needs to go through some unnecessary hardship to share the fruit of the current generation. Don't get me wrong, I strongly feel that sometimes the young can take things for granted, but that doesn't mean the solution is to prevent them from the basic luxuries of life?

So mum put the cookie jar on the top shelf to prevent baby Harvard from reaching it. Not because too many cookies is bad for baby Harvard, but because when she was young, she couldn't have cookies anytime she wanted.

How screwed up is that mentality?

It's one thing to reject a person if he or she is incompetent; definitely another if he or she wasn't as unfortunate as you are.