The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Bad Face Day?
January 12, 2011, 6:09 am
Filed under: Comment

One of the things that drives me a bit mental in Asia is their obsession with celebrity endorsement.

Seriously, if it’s not some Hollywood star selling their cred for a treasure chest of golden nuggets, it’s a local television company pimping out their z-grade ‘celebratories’ because they can more cash from that than any amount of zzzzzz-grade content they could churn out.

However one thing that is common to both is that when a celebratory is used, they are glammed up and airbrushed to within an inch of their life.

Of course, they’ve not exactly been hit with the ugly stick in the first place but even then, the brands who use them DEMAND their ‘stars’ are as exceptional as is physically possible because not only do they think it adds ‘aspirationl hence …


[No, it’s not the Queen Mum, it’s Nicole Kidman]

… ends up looking like this …

… or this …

I swear-to-god, I bet that even I could be made half decent if some madman decided they wanted me to be the face of their brand.

Or then again …

Anyway, the reason I say this is because I recently saw an exception to this rule, an exception sooooooooooo extreme that either the celebratory involved was either signed up while he was drunk, or is currently in the process of being sued.

The person in question is Chinese basketball legend, Yao Ming.

Yao Ming isn’t just one of China’s best-known athletes but because he plays in the NBA with the Houston Rockets [not to mention he’s the tallest player in the NBA], he’s also one of the best known athletes in the USA.

Given his high profile [it’s claimed he’s been the richest celebratory in China for the past 6 years] it’s little surprise that the Chinese Government view him as some sort of ‘poster child’ for their country, which is why his image rights are so carefully – and closely – protected … which makes it all the more strange that no one connected to him felt it was worth pointing out that in this ad campaign for Chinese GPS technology company, UniStrong, he looks like some drunken, bloated, half-asleep, jetlagged Chinese magician.

How bad is that?

Seriously, how bad is that!

Hell, with the little quiff, he could easily be mistaken for a bad Elvis impersonator … and I’m talking ‘Elvis’ a few days before the dying-on-the-toilet phase.

Now as Hugh Grant has shown, bad decisions need not mean bad career [or in his case, maybe it does] but I am shocked that Yao Ming and his advisors let this go … mind you, if my 375,000 RMB investment in UniStrong had turned in 75,000,000 RMB in little over 3 years, maybe I wouldn’t give a fuck how I looked either.

All that aside, what I find interesting is that we have a Chinese brand who is seemingly walking away from the over-blown, aspirational [& cliched] lifestyle advertisements that Chinese marketing departments tend to hold in such high regard [mainly because it makes them feel important rather than that being the only thing that works here] and embracing a more down-to-earth approach – albeit with a celebratory – though I do have to say I have a nagging feeling it could also be a sign that clients are not only becoming even more skeptical as regards the value of communication, but also even cheaper.


40 Comments

what the fuck has got into you campbell. this is another pile of your planner toss that is slightly less fucking toss than anything you did last year.

yes im saying i like it.

its petty, insulting, picks a fight with agencies, marketing departments, celebrities and national heroes and takes the piss out of that overrated and stuck up country fucking witch, kidman. carry on at this rate and i may have to tell people to come check it out. who the fuck am i kidding, it cant last but well fucking done campbell, i dont know whats happened to you but its made this place more warm and cosy. bit like hell.

but enough of all that, can you introduce me to the the tall pisshead, because i want me some of that 200% investment growth because i sure as shit am not getting it from any of the so called fucking experts. except dirty dan the drug cartel bloke from down the fucking road.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re right, it won’t last.

Comment by Rob

and adland is a fucking expense so i get why clients would want to try and fucking save but apart from it being a false economy because their ideas are shit, look shit (yes even the shit “crowd sourcing” ones) and achieve shit (except keep the fucking big, old dinosaurs of corporations ticking over by giving its excessive and ineffective staff numbers something to do) its still better value than the golden fucking handshake payouts that get handed out to ceos who fuck everything up and lose the company billions.

mind you in commieland they probably just kill them dont they? those reds under the fucking beds arent so bad afterall.

the end.

Comment by andy@cynic

There is a bigger point in this Andy – and it’s a situation that has occurred because of both adlands quest for profit, the loss of the marketing directors importance in business and the general sub-standard [or generic training, often based on 1950’s principals] that has led to the general decline in advertising standards which has led to the overall decline in the value of advertising … helped along by adlands senior figures choosing to turn a blind eye to standards as long as they hit their quarterly target for head office.

And yet we could make such a major difference. And some of us get to do that, but it should be the rule, not the exception.

Comment by Rob

fuck me ive turned into alan fucking sugar, just hot.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hmmmmmn …

Comment by Rob

or…given that he is an inch from becoming a cripple, the chinese gov and it’s private sector partners (GSP technology) are on the lookout for the next best thing..and dont give a fuck how he looks

Here we have a player who could of been the dominant force in modern basketball. A player with outside ability to make Shaq look silly and Duncan like a first timer.

But no. Dont give him any rest for years on end, in the off season. Make him play for the National squad over and over again.

2-1 David Stern won’t be pushing his plans into China anymore.

Short term thinking which the ad just proves to an extreme point.

Yes i am in no way an expert on China, but them guys are mighty competitive so why they blew their chance to rub the yanks faces by having a healthy Yao do damage for 10-15 years, is beyond stupid, from commercial cultural and communicative standpoints.

not only will he now just be known as merely the greatest chinese player (with #2 being a distant whang zhizhi whoop fucking doo), the Chinese missed a great chance to create a proper sports culture around the most beautifull of all sports, basketball (cricket is no sport, football is opera)…

I wonder if the success of baseball In Japan is linked to it being imported in 1872 and was able to grown organically. Could it be? really?

Perhaps I should not be so incoherent and judgemental about Chinese Bball and give them more then 50 years to see if Bball will take root in China..

nah…fuck nuance..

Fuck Miami Heat.

Comment by niko

All true.

Except the Heat comment. Hater 😉

Comment by Age

You’re right Niko, you’re not an expert on China because if you were, you’d know David Stern crawls [and has crawled] on his knees to appease the Chinese Government and has achieved a great deal of success out of it because not only is basketball the most promoted sport in China, but also the most played.

Sure in their haste to exploit a ‘success in American’, the Chinese Government have overused and over-exposed Yao Ming … but that’s not that different from countless other athletes, it’s just he [again like many] wasn’t able to maintain the explosive standards he showed when he first started.

Comment by Rob

Oh, I should point out that China’s love affair with basketball was there way before David Stern came on the scene – he just helped exploit it’s popularity by working with the Chinese Government, rather than thinking he could do it all on his own.

He couldn’t.

No one can.

Here endeth the lesson.

[And sorry if it came out aggressively, it wasn’t meant to – I’ve had no coffee and I’m a grumpy fuck when that happens, just ask Jill]

Comment by Rob

fucking hell, campbells picking fights with everyone. of course the wet fuck would lose all of them but its impressive to see an italian have a go without needing some german big talking twat egging them along.

and niko, basing arguments from wikifuckingpedia is always a recipe for fucking disaster, especially when its about a part of the world campbell, for all his fucking faults, knows quite a lot about. just trying to help you out brother, i like your fighting spirit.

Comment by andy@cynic

A) sure the love was there, my assertion is it will go back to pre Yao levels sooner then later and china will be move on to the next. No overexposure no incentive, no projected draft candidates.

B) Stern won’t push anymore hard as he did..

and no need for gloves Rob, we are all fucking big boys here. No one ever learns by being told the stove is hot.

@andy what wikipedia

Comment by Niko

Being firm doesn’t mean you have to be a rude shit – though you and Andy probably think I’m talking Russian right now.

Basketball was huge before Yao Ming and will be huge after him … so I wouldn’t say the country will ‘move on to something else’ [if you mean in terms of another sport] because not only is the infrastructure of the country almost built around it, but the NBA ensure the enthusiasm and love of the game is maintained, even if the home-grown talent is so widely known as Yao is/was.

And I would say Andy hasn’t the faintest idea what Wiki is, it’ll be something he heard and is trying to make out he is in-tune with. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

What Andy said.

And 200% rise is better than the promises that flood my inbox every day, sign me up for lessons from the Chinese investment king. He could turn my dollar saving in to 200. That’s big fucking bucks.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Who’d you steal the $1 from?

Comment by DH

a passing granny.

Comment by andy@cynic

His date?

Comment by John

he has to pay his dates doddsy, not steal from them.

where the fuck have you been hiding or has it been another christmas in the cells for not sticking to the avo order?

Comment by andy@cynic

Ive been working on my linkedin profile.

Comment by John

linkedin. the home for losers and lightweights pretending theyre somebody. wankers.

Comment by andy@cynic

Those “before/after” (photoshop) photographs of Nicole Kidman remind me of Rob’s joke about drunken shags which I will now attempt to paraphrase for relevance.

When Keith Urban comes home inebriated, he goes to bed with Bo Derek and wakes up with Bo Diddley.

Comment by Pete

can you hear that scraping sound pete?

its the sound of the bottom of the barrel.

Comment by andy@cynic

Doesn’t this post prove business can achieve considerable success without the requirement of advertising? There is a mischievous glint in my eye as I type this.

Comment by Lee Hill

Are you John Dodds in disguise?

Oh no you can’t be … he never has a glint in his eye.

I know what you’re saying [John Dodds said a similar thing to me earlier] but this isn’t about effectiveness, it’s about how shit that ad is – from a design perspective, not an effectiveness one.

[NB: The success of the company is not due to this commercial, their growth is for entirely different reasons … Government connected reasons [as is most things in China] … but then I am guessing that’s what you were saying in the first place, albeit with an air of cheekiness about it]

Comment by Rob

There’s nothing down-to-earth about that UniStrong campaign. It’s just lazy.

It seems BBH are fed up with aspirational advertising in China too. So they created another aspirational campaign and re-badged it as “authentic stories about real people”.

“Too much advertising in China is simply aspirational depictions of made up lives. We wanted to do something much more true to the authentic nature of the brand by reflecting upon real people and their real stories and do it in a radically different format,” said Johnnie Tan, BBH China’s ECD.

Comment by Andy

Hello Andy.

You’re not “my” Andy, but with the way you dissect work with the efficiency of an evil surgeon no less] you could be, ha!

That’s meant as a compliment by the way, even though in every circumstance, being compared to him would be quite the opposite.

Anyway, when I said the UniStrong campaign was ‘down to earth’ there was more than a hint of sarcasm in it. I was hoping that would come across but sadly it seems to have failed. Will check out the Johnnie Walker work – I have a weird relationship with that brand [at least in terms of comms] so I’ll be interested to see what they’re up to, especially in the “radically different format” which feels far more like a phrase a client would say [or demand is said] than Johnnie – who is a good, good guy.

Anyway, lovely to have you on here, I look forward to hearing more from you soon.

Comment by Rob

I’m not “your Andy” but I felt compelled to uphold the tone of the comments on your blog, lead by your-evil-surgeon-Andy.

No slight on Johnnie intended. I’m just an amateur flying my (developing) opinion in the company of seasoned weathered gentlemen and women in the hope that someone—like your Andy—will whip me into line and I’ll learn something in the process.

Regular listener. First time caller.

Comment by Andy

Andy (not you) is the man for whipping

Comment by Rob Mortimer

picking fights. slagging off bbh. pissing on hyped up pieces of work? youre doing just fucking fine for a beginner. now hold the fucking fort while i go and get pissed with some south americans who are begging for falkland island forgiveness. or they soon fucking will be.

and why the fuck are you naming horses northern? is this part of your strategy on that telesales bollocks you were whining about?

and calcraft is a posh fuck but then sos guy fucking richie but the rough and ready, man on the fucking streets image works so much better for making other more money than fucking sense toffs feel connected to the fucking masses while driving around in blacked out windowed chauffer driven cars that are sound proofed and germ proofed from the germs of the common herd. lucky fucks.

dont miss me too fucking much bitches.

Comment by andy@cynic

this one was fun over here a couple of days ago:
http://www.divaasia.com/article/12020

Comment by Johan

Speaking of what’s behind the glossed image, I met Stef Calcraft last year. You know what? Behind the subversive black jumpers and rebellious rhetoric he’s actually a posh sod in blazers and chinos. Disappointing.
On another note, Sharon Davies is actually fitter in the flesh, but that’s another story.

Comment by northern

By the way, guess what’s pressing on my mind this month?
Dealing with two WPP agencies?
Running out of Yorskhire Tea this morning?
An Aussie client who won’t speak to his junior because he’s a Kiwi?
Nope.
It’s the ins and outs of buying a bloody racehorse.
I shit you not

Comment by northern

You must call it northern groper.

Comment by John

Unfortunately it has to be named after a biscuit, but hey ho

Comment by northern

Dogbiscuit?

Comment by John

Dry, very dry

Comment by northern


daily fucking mail! forget why, how the fuck could you?

Comment by andy@cynic

Rob Campbell… Oh Campbell
Beauty is only skin-deep, just like photoshop. Women are attracted to all things beautifully and tightly packaged (just like Nicole Kidman’s face). Let me tell you a crazy phenomenon that I noticed. a woman bought SKII- a Jap skincare product that promises to make your skin glow and translucent (WTH wld someone want to look like a freaking glow-in-the dark jellyfish, I have no clue) to look beautiful. She religiously applies it every night. But alas! She was neither glowing nor could you see her capillaries. So what she does is, she photoshops her pictures to look like how the ads look like. She does this consistently and she got so use to seeing how she looked like post-photoshopped, she strongly felt SKII was indeed her miracle water (yes unilever calls it the miracle water). Well, I think all beauty products should add a line on their product info “*results may vary depending photoshop skills. Products come seperately from Photoshop CS.” Adobe should start pitching.

Anyway, long story short. HI ROB!!!

Comment by CJ

birds mysteriously fucking falling out the sky.
fish mysteriously dying in the sea.
new people making comments on this gucking stupid blog.

no other possibility, the fucking world is about to pissing end. and just when my bank draining woodworm shithole is nearly finished. gods a fucking bastard but i admire his (and he is a fucking he) sense of humour.

off to invade argentina. back friday (that includes sleeping, drinking and checking out all the babes wholl be desperate for me, time. not in that order). bye bitches.

Comment by andy@cynic




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