Everyone's Angry at This Racist Chinese Ad, but It Says Something About America Too

Every few months, a racially offensive advertisement emerges from Asia and makes the rounds in America, to howls of disgust. It’s happened again this week, as a Chinese laundry detergent brand called Qiaobi released a spot—airing on TV and in cinemas, according to Shanghaiist—in which a black man gets shoved in a washing machine and comes out looking … quite different.

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McDonald's Makes Green and Red Angry Birds Burgers, Just Makes People Angry

Time was, McDonald’s put toys in their Happy Meals to promote movies. Now they just dye their burgers, we guess. McDonald’s China is making chicken and pork sandwiches with special red and green buns in advance of the Angry Birds Movie, and they’re hardly a welcoming sight.

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California Walnuts – Recess for the Mind – Recess Princess ft. Wallie – (China)

Here’s an interesting way to change consumer behaviour from China. California walnuts brand hand picked popular youtube starlets and assembled a one hit wonder group – the girl band known as the “Recess Princess”. Their hit song is all about walnuts, and how eating nuts increases brain power, thus making you better at studies and judging by the animated hearts and blushing, more attractive to cute girls. Now, it isn’t the first time a pop song has been launched in order to sell product or change behaviour (everyone remembers Dumb Ways To Die), and it’s not the first time K-pop style dancing girl group has been used to get attention, remember BClassic Classical comeback? It is however, quite possibly the silliest song I’ve heard, with lyrics like: “Brain cells, brain cells, jumpstarting quickly. California Walnuts, California Walnuts, everybody come go nuts with me. Get ready for higher test scores, now crack a smile and take your test confidently.” The refrain “kakakakakaka (etc)” is deceptively sticky, please be prepared with another song to play right after you’ve watched this.

OK Go's First Official Ad Is for Chinese Furniture, and It's Full of Optical Illusions

OK Go has collaborated with plenty of brands—including Chevrolet, Google, Samsung and State Farm—on its own music videos. But here is the first truly traditional commercial the band has ever filmed. Though of course, this being OK Go, it’s far from typical.

The ad, which the band worked on in China for much of February, is for the Chinese furniture store Red Star Macalline. Full of optical illusions, it visually references OK Go’s 2014 video “The Writing’s on the Wall” (which the band later accused Apple of ripping off) but is set to another OK Go track, “I Won’t Let You Down” (a remixed version by drummer Dan Konopka).

Hear the band talk about the project here:

Director: Damian Kulash Jr.
Co-Director & Creative Director: Mary Fagot

Executive Producer: Fung Ni
Director of Photography: Luke Geissbuhler
Art Director: Julius Mak
Production Manager: Bihong,Chan
Assistant Director: Joan Chen

Photograph group:
Steadicam Operator: Alec Jarnagin
1st Assistant : Kenan Qi
Assistants: Xinfeng Zhang Hongyan, zhang Yanru, wang
Equipement: Wei Pang
Digital Image Engineer: Tiger
Equipement Company: Yiying Shanghai

Light Group:
Lightman: Kok Kin Wing
1st Assistant: Jingdong Wang
Light Assistant: Bin Xu Xinbin Jiang Yongchao Hu Chaoliang Wang Yang An
Light Equipment : Chenjun Zhou

Art Group:
1st Assistant: Ong Wan Hoong
Art Assistants: Harris Eddie Sequerah, Rae Chen
Props: Songyi Wu
Studio Factory Manager: Yubin Xia
Recordist: Yan Xia

Production Group:
Executive Producer: Xiaoming Tang
Production Assistants: Jojo Ying Yuanbiao Wang Yong Dong Longhui Li Yi Zheng
Translator: Lingyi Chen, Yifei Gu
Runner: Chao Huang
Transport: Shuguang You

Casting: Fei Huang, Jingyuan Yuan
Choreography: Guanglei Zhang
Dancers: Weijia zhou, Chuanjing XU, Kaijie Wang, Xi Xu, Zhijing Cao, Yimian Song, Xuqin Hua, Wentao Fan, Qin Zhang, Xubin Geng, Chunmeng Yan

Stylist Director: Mengjia Zhan
Stylists: Yuanjun Xiao, Shiqi Zhang, Yinghui Huang, Zhihui Wang, Chen Wang, Bin Lang, Huiting Wang

Offline Editor: Fenny
TC : Jian Wang
Online user: CiCi & Yuqian Jin
Post Producer: Jojo Ying
Behind the Scene: Steven
Post Production Company: Liveplus Shanghai, Film Vally Shanghai
Music Studio : Take One, Shanghai

General Planner: Red Star Macalline “Two Days coming” program
Agency: 25hours, Shanghai
Production House: STEAM ,Shanghai
Advertising Agency Executive Creative Director: Lei Tao
Advertising Agency Creative Director: Song Zhang
Advertising Agency Art Director: Lei Shi, Binyan Huang
Account Director: Lingning Yan
Account Executive: Yan Huang, Da Li

This Shampoo Ad Is Lovely and All, but Can It Really Stop Couples From Getting Divorced?

If you’re looking for a “no more tears” kind of shampoo commercial, I’d skip this nearly five-minute Chinese ad for Procter & Gamble’s Rejoice from Leo Burnett Hong Kong. It’s all about making viewers cry over true love … and silky, shiny hair!

Filmed in lush black and white by director David Tsui, the spot—a sensation in Asia, with this version reportedly being viewed more than 40 million times in the past month—tells the story of a young couple on the brink of divorce. The wife agrees to separate on one condition—that she and her husband share one hug a day for a month.

The first hug takes place at a rooftop lounge, high above the city, where he proposed; the second on a windswept pier where he professed his love; the third at a secluded spot where they first kissed.

We’re about four hankies in by this point. Will they get back together? C’mon, dude. Thanks to Rejoice, she’s got smooth, luminous hair, so stop being such a jerk!

In the end, the commercial notes that 3 million couples divorced in China last year (official statistics put the number around 3.5 million, an almost 13 percent increase over 2012), while there were about 100,000 reconciliations. The spot is part of the brand’s “Smooth Heart Touching Moments” campaign, supported by the #IBelieveInLoveAgain hashtag.

Can a shampoo ad boost those reconciliation numbers? Terence Lam, P&G’s haircare marketing manager for Greater China, says: “We believe that no matter how complicated relationships can be, there’s always a way to smooth things up. As a brand devoted to smoothness and love, this is a position worth taking, having a strong point of view on this cultural phenomenon.”

On the one hand, the commercial is poignant and well made. Though manipulative in the extreme, it packs more emotional punch than your typical American romantic date film, and it has clearly made an impact for the brand. That said, there’s something about equating haircare products with love and relationships—let alone divorce—that doesn’t sit right. It feels regressive, and perhaps even talks down to its audience. (The brand has been supportive of Chinese women, though, working with a local organization to help them start businesses.)

What bugs me most is the way the guy soulfully strokes his wife’s hair with each hug. OK, this is, ultimately, a hair products commercial, and at first it seems natural. But it grows distracting and creepy. He seems to have some kind of follicle fixation. Maybe she’d be better off washing him out of her hair after all.

Kotex Tells You to Be Gentle With Your Cat (What's Another Word for Cat?)

Cats are very sensitive. And when you apply sticky tape to them, they tend to walk funny. Just like when your pad won’t stay in place and decides to adhere to your crotch.

Ogilvy & Mather Shanghai created a viral hit for Kotex around the truth that no cat of any persuasion likes sticky tape. An entire spot starring super fluffy cats filmed in slow motion looking uncomfortable and walking sideways? It’s no wonder it’s already attracted over 1 million views in China (not on the subtitles version below, though, of course).

The brand has another spot that suggests it’s easier to find a good pad than a good man. (Well, yeah—you can buy pads at the store.)

Kudos to Ogilvy for coming up with an adorable cat spot that also has an actual product benefit included amid the cute. And don’t worry, no cats were harmed in the making. They were just made very uncomfortable.

Client: Kimberly-Clark
Project Title: Kotex Brand Promise Viral Campaign
Creative Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Shanghai
Chief Creative Officer: Graham Fink
Head of Copy: Thomas Zhu
Creative Director: Bamboo Zhuang
Group Head: Yaya Wu
Senior copywriter: Kiddy Wang
Agency Producer: Xiaolong Wu
Media Agency: Mindshare
Production House: Shine Works

Nike and AKQA Create an LED Basketball Court to Help Kids Learn Kobe's Moves

Global design firm AKQA and ubiquitous shoe manufacturer Nike have collaborated on a full-size LED basketball court for Nike Rise, a program designed to train Chinese youth based on the techniques and practice drills of Kobe Bryant.

Called House of Mamba (a reference to Kobe’s Black Mamba nickname), the LED court guides and reacts to the players’ movements with an impressive range of visual displays, to the point where you wonder how the athletes aren’t distracted by it. 

Nike Rise centered on a reality show where 30 Chinese teens trained with Kobe and LeBron James, and three of them will go on to the Nike World Basketball Festival next month.

Via DesignBoom.

Apple's Powerful 'Your Verse' Campaign Rolls On, from Beijing and through Detroit

Apple is sticking with a good thing, continuing the rollout of its “Your Verse” campaign with two new stories about how people around the world are using iPads as tools to support their passions.

In one, Yaoband, a Beijing-based electro-pop ground, use their gadgets to sample sounds, communicate with fans, and perform live while they tour China. In the second, Jason Hall, a Detroit resident, uses his tablet to help organize Slow Roll, a weekly group bike ride through the city that draws thousands of cyclists, in an effort to help revitalize the city’s sense of community.

The 60-second TV ads for each, below, do get the ideas across, but they’re really just teasers—the deep dives over at Apple’s website make for less impressionistic and more powerful experiences.

Even those are fairly ambitious, and rely on a premise that may not be obvious to anyone who hasn’t been closely following the brand’s advertising of late. The “Your Verse” tagline launched early this year by paying homage to Walt Whitman as brilliantly recited by Robin Williams, may he rest in peace, in the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society. It has since been the foundation for some of the brand’s most persuasive ads in recent memory. But even to newcomers to the campaign, the takeaway should be clear enough, and feel consistent with expectations for good tech advertising: These are vignettes that illustrate how engineering can help enrich lives.

Plus, it’s nice to see Apple’s marketing keep reaching high while also staying grounded. Especially when that’s what people expect—or at least hope—to get from the brand. 

Volkswagen Freaks Out a Whole Movie Theater With Devious 'Don't Text and Drive' PSA

We’ve seen lots of “Don’t text and drive” ads lately. With this one from Ogilvy Beijing, Volkswagen drove the message home to a captive movie-theater audience in a way they’ll surely remember.

Watch the spot first to get the full impact.

Obviously the video begs the question about how, exactly, the stunt was pulled off. It says a “location-based broadcaster” was used—presumably this is done through geo-fencing, though you would think people would have to opt in to receive text messages that way.

But if the footage is genuine, it’s a remarkable way to demonstrate that mobile-phone use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel. Advertising is a great way to get that message across, at least until VW figures out a way to use German engineering to solve our obsession with cellphones.

Coca-Cola Invents 16 Crazy Caps to Turn Empty Bottles Into Useful Objects

Rejoice, happy-go-lucky and environmentally conscious Coca-Cola-lovers. Thanks to this new “2nd Lives” kit from the brand, you can now transform your Coke into something even more delightful.

Is that just an empty soda bottle? Nope, it’s a squirt gun. Useless piece of trash? Nope, it’s a pencil sharpener, or the perfect rattle for your baby. Make your children happy. Give them Coca-Cola, and toys made from Coca-Cola. And if you have two empty Coke bottles, you can even make a dumbbell to burn off some of the calories you gained by guzzling both.

Created with the help of Ogilvy & Mather China, the campaign features a line of 16 innovative caps that can be screwed on to bottles when they’re empty, transforming them into useful objects like water guns, whistles, paint brushes, bubble makers and pencil sharpeners. It’s all part of a clever effort to encourage consumers in Vietnam to recycle, and a rare success at the sort of alchemy that seeks to reincarnate garbage as advertising (even if such attempts are a cornerstone of the marketing industry). Coke will give away 40,000 of these modified caps, which come in 16 different varieties, to start.

It’s not clear if the add-ons themselves are made from recycled material. Even if they are, producing more plastic parts might not be the best way to reduce plastic waste.

But that’s beside the point. While the caps might not quite hit the sharing chord as clearly as the it-takes-two-to-open bottles, they’re a smart bit of advertising. “What if empty Coke bottles were never thrown away?” the campaign asks. Clearly, it would mean people everywhere could finally live in a utopia where everything was made of Coke products.

AntiCast 130 – Como o Botafogo Conquistou a China

Olá, antidesigners e brainstormers!
Neste programa, Ivan Mizanzuk, Rafael Ancara e Almir Mirabeau conversam com Bruno Porto sobre seu novo livro, “Como o Botafogo Conquistou a China”, contando a história fantástica, absurda, tão difícil de acreditar que é impossível não ser verdade, sobre como o Botafogo possui uma torcida com mais de 600 milhões de pessoas! É ouvir (e ler) para crer!

Sinopse do livro: “Banido na China por décadas, chega finalmente ao Brasil o inacreditável relato que abalará a história do futebol brasileiro e mundial. Da Nanjing dos anos 1930 à cosmopolita Xangai do século 21, a dramática e verossímel epopeia que deu ao Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas 620 milhões de torcedores.”

Download do episódio

>> 0h11min20seg Pauta principal
>> 1h47min15seg Leitura de comentários
>> 2h16min43seg Música de encerramento: “Adrenalize”, da banda In This Moment

Trailer do livro
Link para compra do livro

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Curso Introdução à Filosofia Contemporânea – Módulo 1 – com Marcos Beccari.

Data/horário: aulas semanais aos sábados, de 07 a 28 de junho de 2014, das 15h00 às 17h00. Carga horária: 8 horas.
Investimento: R$ 160,00 ou duas parcelas de R$ 80,00.
Escopo e programa de aulas: disponível, em breve, na página de cursos do FdD: http://filosofiadodesign.com/cursos/.
Local: Mímesis Conexões Artísticas – Rua João Manuel, 74, São Francisco (entre o Largo da Ordem e a Cinemateca de Curitiba).
Informações e inscrições: contato@filosofiadodesign.com.

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Vídeos recomendados pelo Cícero, do Olavo de Carvalho (sim, ele mesmo):
O Cristianismo, a Salvação e a Justiça Divina
Igreja, Inquisição, Protestantismo e anti-semitismo na Idade Média
Influência Gnóstica x Cristianismo – Olavo de Carvalho
Olavo de Carvalho – Os motivos para destruição da família
Podcast sobre teologia, falando sobre Santo Agostinho e sua experimentação com o gnosticismo
Palestra “A morte como quase acontecimento”, de Eduardo Viveiros de Castro

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Dissident Journalist Held Ahead of Tiananmen Anniversary

Chinese authorities, who are wary of dissent as the occasion approaches, arrested the outspoken Gao Yu under a state secrets law that critics call vague and overly broad.

Russia Quietly Tightens Reins on Web With ‘Bloggers Law’

Taking another step to restrict Russia’s Internet, President Vladimir V. Putin quietly signed a new law requiring popular online voices

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DealBook: Alibaba Buys Stake in Chinese Web TV Company for $1.2 Billion

The e-commerce giant’s deal for a minority stake in Youku Tudou extends a recent frenzy of acquisitions in China’s fast-growing technology sector.

A Website’s Chief Plays Down China’s Curb on American Shows

The Sohu chief remained hopeful that an order to remove several shows was a one-time tactic, and not the start of a worrisome trend for video sites.

Sinosphere Blog: People’s Daily Editorial Fanned Flames of 1989 Protest

Players in the confrontation that convulsed China in 1989 have long wondered how differently events might have played out without a truculent editorial that appeared in People’s Daily on April 26 that year.

Lucrative Stardom in China, Using a Webcam and a Voice

Companies across the globe have long tried to attract viewers to live Internet broadcasts, with X-rated sites the only real success stories. China appears to have cracked the code.

New Impressive Exhibition by Ai Weiwei

L’artiste chinois Ai Weiwei a récemment exposé son projet impressionnant « Evidence » au musée Martin-Gropius-Bau à Berlin. L’exposition s’étend sur 3000 mètres carré et 18 pièces. L’installation centrale appelée « Stools » contient 6000 tabourets en bois trouvés un peu partout dans zones rurales chinoises.

« Evidence » sera exposée jusqu’au 7 Juillet.


Beautiful Ribbon House

L’agence d’architecture FAK3 a été sollicitée pour transformer une vieille maison et son jardin qui donne sur la mer, dans le Sud de la Chine. Le concept était de faire une maison minimaliste dont le coeur serait sous la forme d’un noeud qui se tordrait sur 4 étages. Ils ont donc utilisé les escaliers pour ce très beau rendu.


Sinosphere Blog: Ex-Bloomberg Editor Tells Why He Left

Ben Richardson, a former senior Bloomberg News editor based in Hong Kong, was involved in the editing of a story last year on China’s wealthiest man that was not published, following a discussion among the company’s top executives.