Rich media, social media

Once upon a time (well, actually just about ten years ago), YouTube was the go-to home for rich media, and it largely consisted of video, Java, audio, and vector graphics. The phrase ‘rich media’ was not yet widely known or used, but its potential had already begun to catch the eye of marketers and advertisers.

Fast forward to today and rich media as we know it – like Pokémon – has evolved. It is travelling all over the nooks and crannies of the interwebs in a quest for bigger and better things. Like selfies, rich media has found a comfortable new home on social media and it is there that is screaming for attention to all who are willing to listen.

Five Tips for Engaging Multicultural Diasporas this Festive Season

Australia’s multicultural environment is no secret, and marketers cannot afford to ignore the spending power of ‘new audience’ Diasporas.

This Festive Season, connect with ‘new audience’ Diasporas and tap into their enormous marketing potential by tying in with cultural festivities.

Why Chat when we can ‘WECHAT’?

I moved to Australia in February this year. The first thing I did after getting off the plane is asking the airport security if there is an app people use to book cabs. The security guy was slightly puzzled and said, “Well I guess there are, but there are taxis waiting over there. You don’t need an app.” So I asked him to recommend a few to me anyway for future reference but he couldn’t think of any. However he was kind enough to give me a number to call.

This came as a shock to me.  Back in Beijing, calling for a taxi is virtually non-existent. Even my grandpa has a Didi or Uber app. I then turned to my most trusted source of information center, WeChat and Weibo, to get to the bottom of this mystery. After posting a question within the day, I got all the information I needed regarding the best apps and websites.

Make in India – a win-win for Australia

For many, India is a scary place. The sheer thought of undertaking any type of business with India would be worrying because of the challenges, uncertainties and the very real possibility that you might end up with a raw deal of high-cost, low-quality output.

In fact, Mark Thirwell, Chief Economist of Austrade, while speaking in Mumbai, said that if Australian companies were asked to list the new and exciting markets to do business in, India would invariably feature among the top five. He also remarked that Australian companies would rank India among the top five countries that were the most business-unfriendly! It’s unsurprising then that the gap between expectation and outcome is what would worry foreign investors.

Cultural Marketing to the Chinese in the Digital Age: Not just about WeChat

Do you have an active presence on WeChat that doesn’t seem to be working? Are you posting WeChat articles that are not effectively reaching the Chinese audience? Is having a WeChat subscription account enough to target Chinese audiences? A new age has dawned! Digital marketing for the Chinese audience has been changing while the world tries to catch up. Today, social video marketing (SVM) dominates the WeChat platform, like never before. SVM has always been a component of an integrated marketing communications plan, designed to increase audience engagement through social activity around a given video. It is now more important than ever to have authentic, raw and “live” video content for any campaign to be successful among the Chinese audience group.

The Great Mooncake Exchange

Over the past two weeks, our agency has definitely been marked by a spirited enthusiasm as we approach one of the busiest periods in the business calendar – Autumn Moon.

One thing that noticeably stands out is the constant ring of the doorbell. More often than not, it is representative of another delivery of rectangular or round pastries measuring about 10cm in diameter, filled with a thick lotus seed paste and surrounded by a thin crust containing yolks from salted duck eggs.  These traditional Chinese pastries are commonly known as ‘Mooncakes’.

Regardless of how many years I have now witnessed this gifting practice, it continues to be a most interesting phenomenon. To give you a bit of background – the Autumn Moon festival originated in China and is also a celebrated festival in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and Vietnam. The Mid-Autumn Festival is an important holiday in the Chinese calendar, second only to Chinese New Year. Traditionally on this day, Chinese family members will gather together to enjoy the full moon, celebrate the harvest season and eat moon cake together. Of all the celebrated Chinese festivals, the Autumn Moon it seems holds special significance due to its capacity to unify friends and family. Highly concentrated Asian suburbs all seem to be alive and abuzz with many frequenting entertainment hot spots and restaurants.

Chinese bakeries are also working round the clock, trying to keep up with the incessant demand for mooncakes. These traditional pastries are purchased and gifted in the thousands. Companies to clients, families to friends, neighbour to neighbour; for a fortnight the beautiful boxes circulate freely, ending up in office boardrooms and family homes right across the country.

Now, the funny thing is, as far as I have ascertained, most people rarely eat more than half a mooncake at one go. Rather, they are seen as a small, rich bite, symbolic of a time to share in one another’s health and happiness. 

In addition, these days it seems they serve as legal tender of the ‘Face Market’ more so than a yummy treat. Failing to give and receive the appropriate amount and value of mooncakes before the Autumn Moon is akin to a social loss of face “But they gave us such a huge box, and it was from XYZ. We MUST send a better box in return”, are the type of remarks commonly heard in social circles. Everybody knows the price of the major brands, so this “face currency” is as reliable as a diamond from Tiffany. The culmination of all this is that most families end up with a surplus of Mooncakes. This is not in itself a bad thing; however, when you commit to a serious plan to shed a few kilos before the season of sun, sand and surf, it could drastically nullify all weight loss efforts.

The whole season, therefore, turns into a furious race to gift their mooncakes before the Autumn Moon is gone and they lose all their social value. I like to call it ‘The Great Mooncake Exchange’ – a wonderful period of social gift-giving in an effort to win the affection of and show gratitude to family, friends and business associates alike.

Like I said – it’s a phenomenon that never ceases to amaze me and is as intriguing as it is peculiar. For when that doorbell rings, you never quite know just what kind of mooncake is going to be waiting for you – from green tea and red bean to sesame.

Drop by our offices in the next two weeks and you’ll be sure to indulge in this wonderful experience. As a matter of fact, I think I hear the doorbell now.

By Daniel Assaf

Image source:×1600.jpg

The Art of Stereotypes

I want everybody to picture a Chinese marketing manager. He’s overseeing the entry of authentic pre-made dumplings to Australia. His target market are suburban “true blue” Australians who like a bit of oriental cuisine, but find going to the crowded stores in Chinatown to hunt through suspicious products in foreign languages rather intimidating.

“Well first of all I know Australians like Green and Gold” he says to his copywriter, “make all the ads green and gold”. “We’ll plaster the adverts all over the Cricket and NRL matches!” he loudly declared to no one in particular. “Better yet, can we get one of the sporting stars to endorse our dumplings?”

“Australians may not be used to chives and dried shrimp, we should also create a range of flavours for them” he said on the phone to R&D. “And I want to really speak our consumers’ language, we should never fail to refer to our consumers as ‘mate’”.

“…on second thoughts, Australians like blue even more I think, make some adverts blue”. Six weeks later, ‘Shane Warne’s Bangers and Mash Dumplings’ (“full of fair dinkum flavour”) is ready for launch. Seems farcical right? Yet we often do this in ethnic advertising. We assume that cultural traits apply to everyone within the culture, and this quickly becomes patronising, if not extremely superficial.

Lahle Wolfe writes in Women in Business: “You cannot peg individuals into mass impersonal groups based on stereotypes” and “the more you see and treat customers like individuals, the more loyal they’ll be to your business”.

What applies to gender stereotypes applies to cultural stereotypes as well. Gary Nelson, creative director at Organic, a US multicultural ad agency, described his frustration with seeing a tyre store advert where a black woman danced incessantly to hip hop. Media is rife with such adverts, from huge Hispanic family gatherings to a black woman shaking her booty in the office.

Sure, the (very clichéd) relevance to the ethnicity is achieved, but where is the relevance to the product?

“As a Black man in the advertising industry, I find myself struggling with the ethnic marketing question.” Nelson said “most consumer needs (both retail and beyond) are cross-cultural… such campaigns don’t have to revolve around tired clichés and lowest-common denominator stereotypes.”

Indeed, such stereotypes are not only ineffective, but can be patronising or insulting. They also assume incorrectly that consumers are incapable of empathising with people of a different ethnicity. The sooner we gain a holistic understanding of ethnic minorities as individuals, with both differences and similarities to so called mainstream audiences, the sooner we better communicate to ethnic communities, and the sooner black women can stop needlessly dancing to sell tyres.