Singapore's Tiger Beer Opened a Mysterious Store, Filled With Wonders, on Canal Street

Rice. Cheap goods. Pointy hats. Christmas decorations. Fortune cookies!

Those are just a few of the stereotypes that pop into a Western mind when asked to think about Asia—and Asian products. To beat this stereotype, and demonstrate how diverse and innovative Asian countries really are, Singapore-based Tiger Beer partnered with Marcel Sydney to repurpose an old discount store, right in the middle of New York’s Chinatown. 

read more

This Motorcycle Helmet Detects Crashes and Instantly Reports the Rider's Location

In Thailand, 80 percent of people killed in road accidents are riding motorcycles. Now, one agency hopes its new invention could literally mean the difference between life and death. 

The “Helpmet” was designed by BBDO Bangkok for the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (the same partnership that recently came up with the fat-reducing AbsorbPlate) to help address Thailand’s staggeringly high rate of motorcycle fatalities—the second highest in the world. 

read more

The New York Times Accidentally Invented a New Country, and the Internet's in Love

Sometimes a mistake is so embarrassing, it cycles all the away around the shame circle and becomes kind of awesome.

Today’s case in point: Kyrzbekistan, a country accidentally invented by a New York Times piece that meant to reference the Central Asian nation Kyrgyzstan.

In fairness, the story is otherwise quite compelling and dramatic, telling how a climber escaped captivity by shoving an armed militant off a cliff. Unfortunately, the newspaper accidentally portrayed the events as happening in Kyrzbekistan, which has the unfortunate distinction of not being real.

“An earlier version of this article misidentified the country whose army chased Tommy Caldwell’s kidnappers,” notes the newspaper’s online correction. “It was Kyrgyzstan, not Kyrzbekistan, which does not exist.”

Or at least, it didn’t exist before. Today it has its own Twitter feed and a Fodor’s Guide worth of sarcastic tweets.

Beyond the parody account, the mockery has already begun to roll in:

People in Japan Are Making Tiny, Adorable Beds for Their Wallets and Purses

Here’s an odd slice of weird from Japan. As seen on Japanese blogs, people are putting their purses and wallets into tiny beds before going to sleep themselves. The resulting pictures are strangely charming.

Kazuyo Matsui

TV and Internet personality Kazuyo Matsui recently made the following statement on air: “We sleep to recharge ourselves, don’t we? Well I believe that if we don’t let our purses and money sleep and recharge, they won’t have any power.”

This has inspired several people to start photographing their tiny little sleeping money holders in the hopes that the next morning their wallets or purses won’t be tired, and perhaps good luck will follows the.

If you’ve got a little extra cash in your pocket, and you’re not really feeling the DIY thing, you can order one of these restful creations from Matsui’s blog for ¥2,800 (which is about $26). Take a look below at some of these perfect little sleepy bundles of Yen.

Via Rocket News 24.

Sleepy guy. But that poor little iPod left out in the cold!

Butterflies and floral patterns inspire wealth, apparently.

But real flowers might just inspire more.

This is probably what Donald Trump’s wallet sleeps in.

Either that pencil is huge, or that wallet is tiny.

For the woman with several different options:

Yahoo Japan's Awesome 50% Off Sale Leaves the Price the Same and Cuts the Product in Half

Next time you see a sale online, be sure to read the details closely. 

Yahoo Shopping’s Japanese division is running hilarious ads promoting 50 percent off several items: suits, bicycles and household appliances, to name a few.

But there’s a catch: The prices aren’t cut in half. The items are.

Yahoo partnered with Web promo company Burg Hamburg Burg for this 15th anniversary sale that actually exists. Take a look below at a few of these ridiculous ads. 

The only way I could see this look working is if I were a model: 

Actually I am pretty sure there are dudes in Brooklyn who would buy this: 

I hope this sweatshirt is for sale, too:  

Via RocketNews24.

It Looks Like Pizza Hut in Japan Is Now Totally Being Run by Cats

If there are two things that go together on the Internet like cats and pizza—it’s cats and friggin’ pizza! 

The latest treat from Japan is a website announcing the grand opening of Pizza Cat!, a Pizza Hut restaurant apparently run entirely by cats. The campaign is rolling out as tiny “episodes” of each “employee” cat doing jobs like delivering pizzas, cleaning the floors and managing the money. The results are pretty hilarious, bordering on totally absurd. 

We’re not quite sure of the actual point of it all, but according to the translation of the YouTube page, “Pizza Cat! Store is a fictional store.” Shocking, I know, but it’s great anyway. 

Check out the official Pizza Cats! grand opening announcement, followed by the many episodes of feline frivolity.

Ad Agency Creates Jewelry Meant to Combat Sexual Assault

When JWT Singapore was tapped by the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) to create an educational campaign about date rape, the agency decided to go in a different direction.

The result was Guardian Angel, a personal safety accessory line that looks like jewelry but is also designed to get women out of dangerous situations.

The $120 device, which can be worn as a necklace or bracelet, has a button that, hen pushed, automatically triggers a call to the wearer’s cell phone. That method is billed as a way for a woman receiving unwanted attention to create a convenient excuse to leave. If things become more serious (read: dangerous) the wearer can push the button and hold it down, sending a text alert to a designated contact, who will receive the wearer’s GPS coordinates and an automatically generated request for help.

While the idea is interesting and seems to be made with good intentions, there’s something problematic here: If you take a look at Guardian Angel’s website, you’ll notice it’s filled with cloudy backgrounds and waifish young women in white tops and little makeup. The image we’re presented with is one of innocence. While the visuals are probably supposed to look heavenly and angelic in the vein of the product name, the end result is that the Guardian Angel is a device to protect innocence. 

Why is that a bad thing? Because sexual assault isn’t something that just happens to cute, unassuming young women. And sexual assault doesn’t have a gender or sexuality associated with it. (Yes, many sexual assaults do involve young men attacking young women, especially those that are widely reported and picked up by media outlets, but assaults don’t happen to a specific type of person.) Sexual assault is pervasive and upsetting and a huge issue in our culture, so let’s try to keep that in check while creating the visual idea of an assault victim.

On The Verge, Adi Robertson describes a deeper problem with the idea of everyday assault-prevention tools:

“That’s what’s wrong with the Guardian Angel’s gauzy, stereotypical femininity: it ends up normalizing rape as an unremarkable, if unfortunate, part of the female experience. The soothing language—making women ‘feel less vulnerable’ so they can ‘live their lives to the fullest’—smacks of the vagaries in tampon commercials. It’s something everyone knows about but nobody wants to hear about, and certainly nothing that we want to acknowledge is a shamefully common plague in our schools, our prisons, our armed forces, and almost every other social institution.”

Maybe if the Guardian Angel’s creators had more directly acknowledged how awful it is that we need a piece of technology like this to begin with, then maybe the mission could resonate more.

Via Fast Company.

Lego Versions of Famous Artworks Are So Great, They're Now Official Ads

When most great spec projects make the rounds among the Internet’s creative community, it’s assumed the work will never see the light of day. Here’s a notable, wonderful exception.

Late last year, Italian designer Marco Sodano received global praise for his creative pixelation of famous paintings remade with Legos. At the time, he said he wanted to convey “the belief that every child with Lego can become a great artist like Da Vinci and Vermeer.”

This month, he posted a new gallery, this time empowered to call it simply a “campaign for Lego.” The official versions (largely similar but for the word “Imagine” embedded at the top left) were produced by agency Geometry Global in Hong Kong, with Sodano as art director.

Check out the four official executions below:

Via The Inspiration.

Coke’s Recyling-Themed Arcade Game Accepts Empty Bottles Instead of Money

Would more people recycle if the process were actually fun? Coca-Cola and agency Grey Dhaka tried to answer that question by placing six "Happiness Arcade" machines around Dhaka, Bangladesh.

But these aren't just your run-of-the-mill video games. Unlike 2010's "Happiness Machines" these do not vend the soft drink itself; instead they work the opposite way, accepting empty soda bottles and rewarding the user with a turn playing a Pong-like game. 

As you can see in the video below, the stunt drew quite a crowd, despite the relatively simplistic game. (I mean, when was the last time Pong made you grab a grown man and lift him off the ground in celebration?)

All told, the project collected thousands of bottles at six locations, which might not have a huge impact itself on a place as populous as Bangladesh, but the brand believes the effort helped by "making a case for recycling one game at a time."

Via Gizmodo and Design Taxi.

UPDATE: Some commenters have noted the idea is similar to Volkswagen's "Bottle Bank Arcade" created by DDB Stockholm in 2009. Here's how that one worked:

This Deeply Emotional Ad for a Japanese Music Store Will Definitely Strike a Chord

Need a new reason to cry at weddings? Tosando, a Japanese company that offers musical instruments and lessons, is pleased to oblige with this intense, time-tripping tear-jerker.

The short film tells the story of a widowed, middle-aged father and his daughter on her wedding day. At the reception, dad sits at the piano and attempts to play Pachelbel's Canon, which opens the floodgates for memories both happy and sad. The flashbacks are a tad disorienting at first, but you'll get the gist. (RocketNews24 has a handy breakdown/translation for those in need.) There's a nice shot of the bride's hands playing along on the table as pop struggles with the song. Her pissy disapproval of his decision to play gives the scene an extra dose of reality and keeps things from getting too sentimental.

Judging from reactions around the Web, this finely crafted cinematic spot, clocking in at more than three minutes, has left more than a few viewers misty-eyed.

Indeed, emotion-stirring ads from Asia are a big deal these days. Thai mobile company TrueMove told an immensely popular sob story last year, and Thai Life Insurance has twice turned on the waterworks to impressive effect. In Japan, Intel recently pitched in with this epic 13-minute base-bawler.

All advertising is manipulative to some degree, but at least these weepers win us over with deft manipulation. Such spots broadly play on our emotions without stepping over the line into maudlin territory. These commercials truly make us feel something, which is a lot more than I can say for much of the self-consciously wacky ad campaigns still being trotted out for American audiences. Sometimes that crap is so lame it makes me want to cry.

Life Adventure

Jurian Gravett nous propose avec cette vidéo de 6 minutes de nous évader et de nous emmener en Asie découvrir ainsi des paysages splendides. Le résumé d’une année d’expériences à dévorer dans la suite avec une vidéo tournée à la GoPro mais aussi au Canon 550D.

Life Adventure7
Life Adventure6
Life Adventure5
Life Adventure4
Life Adventure3
Life Adventure2
Life Adventure1

There’s a Tiny, Adorable, Rather Messy Kitchen in Each Bottle of This Japanese Drink

If you want a drink that tastes like an entire kitchen, Japanese beverage marketer Kirin might suggest its Salt and Fruit soda. A new spot from the brand features a tiny, adorable kitchen (a 1/48 scale model, to be precise) inside a plastic bottle.

The miniature setup includes a sink, well-stocked refrigerator, cooking utensils and a woman. The craftsmanship is a pretty remarkable feat and comes complete with a soundtrack clearly designed to drive home the point that it is, in fact, very cute.

The beverage is part of Kirin's "Sekai no Kitchen Kara" series, which translates to "From the Kitchens of the World," and features flavors inspired by different locales. This one is apparently inspired by mothers in Thailand, though hopefully the flavors of moms and their cookware are relatively subtle.

Via Laughing Squid.

Need a Good Cry? These Beautiful Short Films About Strong Women Should Do the Trick

"My Beautiful Woman" is a series of three short ad films totaling 20 minutes of running time. And while that might sound like an eternity on YouTube, in this case it's definitely worth it.

The stories—narrated in Thai, subtitled in slightly broken English—are beautiful, emotional and likely to move sentimental types to tears. (They did for me, anyway.) The real surprise is that they're for lingerie brand Wacoal, though you'd never know it from the completely unsexual storytelling. 

Each movie tells a story about a "beautiful woman," and then quietly closes with the copy "Wacoal believes all women were created to be beautiful." Then comes a request: "Who is your beautiful woman? Post a photo and hashtag #MyBeautifulWoman."

I don't want to give away the storylines, because they're lovely and surprising in their subtle twists. Some may argue they're sappy or cloying, and there are certainly some cultural differences to take into account. But feel free to block this off as your sniffly-faced, feel-good moment of the day.


Catching The Light In Asia

Le photographe Weerapong Chaipuck décrit dans ses photos l’Asie. Un beau et mystérieux continent avec des paysages à couper le souffle et des traditions profondément enracinées. Profitez du voyages et de son travail sur la lumière grâce à ces superbes photos disponible sur Fubiz dans la suite de l’article.

Catching the Light 1
Catching the Light 2
Catching the Light 3
Catching the Light 4
Catching the Light 5
Catching the Light 6
Catching the Light 7
Catching the Light 8
Catching the Light 9

Ikea Furniture Is Clearly in the Mood for Valentine’s Day

Here's some hot wood-on-wood action for Valentine's Day, courtesy of Ikea. 

BBH Singapore created this Valentine's Day image, which was posted to the brand's local Facebook page and is being featured on posters in stores, according to Campaign Brief Asia.

Hat tip to Mashable, which reminds readers of the even saucier (though unofficial) Ikea stunt, Hot Malms.


Critics Say Japanese Airline Ad Is Racist Against Westerners

After being called racist for portraying Westerners as big-nosed blond men who aren't afraid of hugs, Japan's All Nippon Airways has promised to edit the offending scene out of its commercial. 

In the original spot, shown below, an All Nippon pilot (played by a popular comedian) attempts to "change the image of Japanese people" by donning a long, fake nose and a blond wig. The airline began receiving complaints in social media that this portrayal was insulting to Westerners.

What's more apparent to me is the self-deprecation on display here ("such a Japanese reaction"). In fact, I'd dare to say this ad isn't particularly offensive, especially when compared to all the other stuff one could say about Americans. Hell, the fact that we aren't being depicted as fat oafs who smell like grease and milk is a step toward progress.


Ikea App Makes Shopping Suggestions Based on Your Chinese Zodiac Sign

Ikea continues its pairing of austere design and New Age pseudo-friendliness with a campaign that uses customers' Chinese zodiac signs to help them shop.

BBH Asia Pacific has dedicated the Ikea Singapore Facebook page to this endeavor, and entering your birthdate or zodiac sign will create a list of "compatible" furniture for you. Year of the Pig, for example, brings up a lot of storage and home organization stuff because the pig is "meticulous, loyal and loveable" with a dislike for clutter.

I'm not much for astrology, but it's clear that a lot of work went into this idea, and it shows in the presentation. Furniture is something that people are notoriously indecisive about, too, so a little nudge in one direction or another couldn't hurt, no matter how goofy the process might be. Via Design Taxi.


This Japanese Tire Ad Might Leave You With Skid Marks

While plenty of marketing stunts these days take great joy in scaring innocent people with everything from fake telekenesis to nuclear war, it's rare that the viewer is actually the victim. This Japanese tire ad is a notable exception.

And the creator, tire retailer AutoWay, seems to be onto something. The spot has already been viewed more than 1 million times since being posted Nov. 19. So if 2013 was the year of prankvertising, could this clip portend 2014 being the year of scarevertising?


Lady Gaga Creates Life-Size Doll That Sings When You Press Your Face to Its Chest

Mother Monster has created her own monster clones. That's right, Lady Gaga has created a line of life-size real dolls of herself, hand crafted in Japan, experts in all creepy, real-life doll things.

Though the replicas are not yet available for sale, they might someday be. They're currently designed for a Japanese promotion of her new album that points fans to Gaga's Japanese Facebook presence. But English speakers can watch the video where they mold and make her naked body, paint the nipples and dissect her to add a special set of musical organs that play Gaga's hit songs when you hug the doll and place your head on her chest.

The end of the video shows an eager, adoring fan doing just that, pressing his face into GagaDoll’s bosom with a look of orgasmic release. The doll is so lifelike, it's hard to tell which one is Gaga in a picture she sent out from her Twitter account (it's the middle one). It makes a lot of sense given the strong pop art connections with her new album Art Pop. I mean, you know Andy Warhol would have been all over this kind of thing.


Chinese Ad Campaign Urges People to Stop Eating Dogs and Cats

"Say no to dog or cat meat." That's the message in 279 new ads being plastered across Chinese train stations, bus stations and elevators by a pet advocacy group called Animals Asia.

Steering consumers away from eating dogs and cats would be a pretty easy sell in America, but apparently the problem is quite massive in Asia, with millions of dogs slaughtered each year for food, according to the group.

Each ad shows someone putting chopsticks over a malnourished stray or beloved family pet. Some warn that dog meat is made from stolen pets, while others highlight health and safety issues.

"Cat and dog meat sold in restaurants is often sourced from stolen domestic animals and strays snatched from the street," one ad variation says. "Don’t pay for this cruel and dirty industry with your own health. Be healthy, say no to dog and cat meat.”

Check out several of the ads after the jump. Via One Green Planet.