Archive for February, 2012

Malaysia and Dubai. (February 2012)

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

I have just posted some snaps of Tioman Island and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia as well as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The light in the Dubai was amazing, especially during a sand storm.



Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

There is a belief in advertising to always try and make a positive claim about your product. That’s not a bad thing, if your claim has a consumer benefit like strongest, safest or most reliable.

However a number of brands, having achieved market leader status, rely on being ‘biggest’ for their claim.

They forgot what got them there and just reflected on their achievements, in the belief that this is important to the consumer.

The trouble with this strategy is that sooner or later their position at the top of the ‘biggest’ tree will be challenged by someone else.

Then they become second biggest and who wants to be in second place?

Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, boasts a lot of ‘biggest’ things.

The world’s biggest indoor ski slope.

The world’s biggest indoor aquarium with the world’s largest acrylic viewing window.

The world’s largest shopping mall. In fact Dubai will soon have five of the seven biggest shopping malls in the world.

And of course, they have the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

In marketing terms this strategy might doom them to a certain fall. But their ‘biggest’ positioning has also become their strategy.

When you build a city out of the desert, on an area that 60 years ago had little more than a few houses, camels and date palms you need to do something spectacular.

When oil was discovered in 1966 the then ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid, used the money to start a development program that would eventually lead to modern day Dubai.

They needed a city that would attract attention and investment from all over the world.

Their way of creating a unique product was to go with a strategy of ‘big’

They didn’t become big and then fall back on that, they started off with the idea to be big.

The entire city is a work in progress, building bigger and bigger things. I wonder how long this race to collect the most Guinness world records can last?



Saturday, February 25th, 2012

There are two seafood BBQ restaurants on the outskirts of Tekek on Tioman Island.

We have been there twice and both times one was crowded and the other empty.

There appears to be no real difference between the two.

Normally it would come down to reputation and repeat business. However in this instance the patrons are predominately tourists and are only on Tioman for a few days at a time.

I put it down to symbolism.

The guy hovering over the hot coals, at the popular spot, has a hat and it’s a very symbolic hat.

Leave well enough alone.

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

So much for blogging about globalised advertising and marketing.

I have just witnessed, first hand, what a lack of marketing to can do for a tourist’s experience.

I am currently on Tioman Island, a small pearl shaped dot off the east coast of Malaysia, in the South China sea.

It’s marketed as an unspoiled paradise.

Admittedly this is the off season but so far it has lived up to the spin. There are no touts and no pressure to buy this or do that.

What has amazed us most is the way the animals cohabitate with the locals, and the tourist.

Apart from the numerous birds and butterflies there are somewhat larger critters like giant monitor lizards and families of monkeys.

What is so surprising about Tioman is that these animals are very happy to respect your right to be there if you just let them be.

This is in stark contrast to places like Bali, where the locals have made the monkeys so dependent on food, sold to the tourists, that the they have become a pest. The Bali monkeys have become so aggressive that people are now too scared to visit some of the original tourist attractions that made the island so famous.

The fauna isn’t the only inhabitant of Bali that is discouraging the tourists, the locals are doing a great job as well.

Touting on the beaches, in the bars and on the sidewalk has become so aggressive that many people are put off returning to what was once the paradise of South East Asia.

The over marketing, of the natural and human resources, has lead to a devaluation of what was the original attraction.

"Don't monkey with me"


Monday, February 13th, 2012

I will be away for the next twelve months, living and traveling in countries that don’t have English as a first language.

Also countries that have very different cultural and commercial values to what I have been used to.

Firstly North Africa, Jordan and Turkey, then the Balkans, Eastern Europe and finally into Western Europe.

Well that’s the plan.

This will be a challenge for my blog as I usually write about communication.

And, as I believe that most good communication involves both visual imagery and the written word, I think that I will be dealing with half a deck of cards.

It will be interesting to see if the contemporary approach to advertising, of more visual than verbal solutions, has really become global.

Will I just gravitate to visual solutions, because language will no longer play a part, or will there be genuinely good work that transcend language?

Brands, as well as products, have a shelf life.

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Brands began to grow and become national and then international in the early part of the last century.

They then went through a growth spurt after the Second World War. This was especially evident during the Creative Revolution of the 1950s’ and 60s’.

Agencies like Ogilvy and Mather worked with their clients to expand into new areas by creating unique campaigns designed to tap into the different cultures.

Then, in order to reduce costs, marketers sanitized the advertising so it all looked the same and called it ‘Globalization’.

Now many of these brands are now suffering from Brand Decline, where their commercial and social viability is being questioned.

Communication has been revolutionised and the brand paradigm is being challenged. Social Media and online shopping are changing the way consumers consume. Even consumerism is being challenged, as a new generation find that they either can’t afford to purchase or don’t really want to.

In Australia the dream of owning a house on a quarter acre block is just not possible for many the current generation. The shift will be into high density living, much like 99% of the rest of the world.

This will have a knock on effect to many branded goods.

When you live in an apartment you don’t have a garden and don’t need half the products that Bunnings and other large hardware stores flog.

The demise of the Detroit motor industry came about because the marketers and manufacturers didn’t see the small four cylinder Japanese cars coming. That was until they knocked their big gas guzzlers off the motor show podiums.

The same thing has happened here as the Mazda 3 takes over as being Australia’s largest selling single vehicle. A position held by locally manufactured vehicles for over 100 years.

Long-standing branded goods are disappearing from supermarket shelves at an alarming rate. Fueled by a desire to give the consumer lower prices and make larger profits, the supermarkets are filling the shelves with Home Brand goods.

The brands that survive won’t do so by cutting prices or engaging in a retail war with their competitors. They will only continue if they remain relevant to the consumer.

Loma Linda in California, a town with the world’s best life expectancy, has no bottle shop and no McDonalds. Now this is an extreme situation but it’s not beyond possibility that it could be part of a growing trend.

If proposed new plain packaging laws pass the in the Australian parliament, cigarette brands as we know them, will be history.

Long standing brands like Marlboro, Dunhill and Peter Stuyvesant will lose their identity.

Lonely Planet grew out of a need to provide a new generation of travelers with information that was relevant to them.

Everywhere you traveled you could see the tourists clutching onto their Lonely Planet guide like Linus to his blanket.

Now many of them have replaced the guidebook for a notebook and especially an iPad.

Currently Lonely Planet has only 5 ebooks for the iPad.

I wonder if Maureen and Tony Wheeler saw that the writing was no longer on the wall or in fact, even on the book, when they sold out to the BBC in February last year?