The Naïve Blog

Welcome to the Naïve Advertising Asia Blog / Marketing Asia Blog.

From time to time we'll be posting our very own biased, opinionated, partisan comments from the front lines of advertising in Asia. Be sure to drop by to catch the latest breaking news stories as we gradually become aware of them. Or subcribe to our RSS feeds below, if you prefer.

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It’s All About Creating an Impression 

We were interested to see Ogivly & Mather touting their a new ‘Virtual Pilgrimage’ campaign for the Shangri-La, Lhasa Tibet recently, and proudly proclaiming that it had garnered a billion ‘impressions’.

Now a billion is a big impressive number, even in China which has more than its share of big impressive numbers.

So does that mean that a billion people clicked on the ad to "join the brand on a 'virtual pilgrimage' to Tibet", creating "epic" awareness for the hotel as the PR blurb put it? Well not exactly. We looked up what a digital impression is, and it turns out it’s got nothing to do with actually watching anything, or taking a virtual pilgrimage to anywhere.

Here’s what Bob Hoffman of Ad Contrarian fame had to say about impressions, in a piece subtly titled The Epic Screwing of Online Advertisers.

We think of an impression as one ad seen by one person. In the impossibly sneaky and perfidious world of online advertising an "impression" has nothing to do with either ads or people.

Instead, it has a definition that is so supremely full of shit that you have to be brain dead not to realise that it was created to confuse and deceive.

Here is the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) definition of an "impression":

“Impression’ is a measurement of responses from a Web server to a page request from the user browser.”

How's that for bullshit? In other words, a browser sends a message to a server to send it something, and that's called an impression.

It turns out that there’s also something called a viewable impression, which is defined as "those that are at least 50% visible to the user for at least one second." So if you manage to see half a frame for at least a second that’s counted as an impression… mmmmm.

The last word comes from the agency in a Campaign Asia piece on the video:

The agency said it could not provide business orientated metrics such as room bookings because as a new hotel there is no basis for comparison and attribution to this campaign would be difficult due to concurrent PR and media activities.

Still with a billion "impressions" who needs room bookings?


Is advertising really a creative business?

Q: How many advertising people do you think made it onto Fast Company's recent list of The 100 Most Creative People in Business?

A: One.

That's right, just a single creative from our whole "creative industry". An industry that awards itself for "creativity" more than any other.

Of course, Elvis Chau of JWT Shanghai deserves full credit for this magnificent achievement. Imagine if he didn't make the list and we had no-one to represent our industry. How embarrassing would that be?

Ironically, even Elvis says, "Advertising is not that original."

Perhaps it's time for ad agencies and their clients to stop talking the talk about how to engage consumers who are already engaged with things far more engaging than advertising, get their heads out of their research reports, and start to produce something that is genuinely creative and entertaining.

Now there's an idea!


The world's first Tranny-Pacific airline?

It's not everyday we see a new airline launch that makes us sit up and pay attention like this one does.

PC Air, based in Thailand, is the first airline in the world to feature transsexual flight attendants. Of course, the gags almost write themselves ("Did you order meat & 2 veg, sir?") but the most entertaining part of the Asian marketing launch has to be this TV commercial, which is absolutely priceless:

We're not sure which is our favorite shot - the close-up of the boy's shoes as they suddenly become stilletos, or the look on the guy's face when the flight attendant gives him his wallet back. Only in Thailand!

However, we can't help but think that PC Air may have missed a marketing opportunity with the name of their airline. 

Any suggestions?

Sep072011 passes $100 million but where's Asia marketing?

The world's largest outsourcing marketplace has just marked a milestone $100 million in user earnings, according to this article in Campaign Brief.

Interestingly only one S.E. Asian country, the Philippines, features in the top 5 freelancing countries:

  1. India 34%
  2. United States 11%
  3. Pakistan 9%
  4. Bangladesh 6%
  5. Philippines 4%

No Asian city makes it into the top 10 outsourcing cities - all are in the US.

This could be because is specifically focused on the US market, or it could be that businesses marketing in Asia are yet to realise the potential of creative outsourcing.

But creative outsourcing's day may be coming, as the competitive advantage of building a flexible, multidisciplinary creative team at a lower cost becomes apparent to more and more entrepreneurs and SMEs advertising in Asia.

Here at Naïve we have seen it grow from nascent beginnings, to the point where creative outsourcing is becoming a realistic alternative to a mainstream agency for many smaller - and even some larger clients.

While concentrates mainly on individual design items like logos, business cards, corporate identities etc, using freelance copywriters and designers it is now possible to source strategic brand planning, creative concepts and execution through the outsourced model. All without the bureaucracy, stifling processes and silo mentality that often come in dealing with a big traditional agency.

1.2 million jobs have been posted on to date, and if one thinks of the potential for those marketing to Asia then the outsourcing model begins to look like an attractive business proposition.

Of course just like any business, reputation and trust will be vital as clients ponder the switch to an new and unfamiliar model. But once it has been proved that creative outsourcing can provide exactly what businesses in Asia need then creative outsourcing will really prove its worth.


Why are so many clients in Asia unloved and unwanted?

In our travels through the agency world in Asia we often encounter a situation where client and creative department have become estranged.

In short the love has gone (if it ever existed in the first place).

It starts with the creative 'stars' who have tried and failed to make any impression on a client who, stubbornly resists their brilliant creative thoughts, and undoubtedly award winning ideas.

The recalcitrant client is then quickly dropped by the creative director, who moves on to focus on more productive and 'enlightened' clients. And so on down the food chain, until it lands up at either the solid uncomplaining creative team who are clinging to their jobs; a relatively junior team who are pleased to be working on anything or the freelancers who can't complain and just get on with it.

Trouble is, these clients marketing in Asia are often the ones who pay the bills; serious revenue that big agencies can't afford to lose. So when the client senses this lack of attention and kicks up a fuss, the big guns are ordered back onto the business and our unhappy client is smothered with love once again.

But of course it seldom lasts, passion quickly fades and the whole cycle begins again.

Perhaps there is an opportunity using creative marketing to reach out to these spurned clients: if only you can find the creatives to love them.