Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Eonverye taht can raed tihs rsaie yuor hnad

One of those random, anonymous emails that you need to pass on. Read it like a book. Have fun.

To my 'selected' strange-minded friends:

If you can read the following paragraph, forward it on to your friends, 'yes' in the subject line .

Only great minds can read this

This is weird, but interesting!

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too

Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ano Sa Tingin Mo? (Perspectives from the 21st Philippine Ad Congress)

The TVC for the 21st Philippine Ad Congress (Nov. 18 to 21, 2009 in Subic)  features 4 perspectives of the same story as viewed by the 4 different characters: The Magician, The Assistant, The Stagehand and The Date. Then, a tragic and mysterious death. Of course,  the question is asked: Ano sa tingin mo?

Watch the 4 TV commercials by clicking the picture...Then be sure to watch all 4 commericals of the Magician, the Assistant, the Stagehand and the Date by clicking on the other pictures on the right side of the viewing screen.
One of the repeated challenges for marketing in general, and advertising in particular is to be able to foresee and balance the different perspectives of every stakeholder, for there are many. You have the client company who pays for the ad production and airing, and their primary target market who they wish to communicate to. You also have the general public and the government who are not the intended receivers but are able to receive the communication anyway. You have the ad agency and production houses who create, design and execute the ad. Who comes first? Better yet, who comes last in the priorities? What do you think or ano sa tingin mo as the 21st Philippine Advertising Congress asks us to think.

There have been instances in the past when a critically acclaimed ad which won awards did not support the business results that the advertiser intended to have. Or ads which were really good and got the audience impact from its target audience but were vilified by a sector of the general public who just don’t understand or who have their own selfish interests to promote. Or an ad that was so downright disgustingly uncreative and bakya but left a lasting imprint on the consumer’s awareness.

The perspectives issue applies not only to advertising but to everyday life as well. For the victims of Ondoy, whose perspective should they believe more? The NDCC’s or the dam administrators’ or the PAGASA’s or their mayor’s fingers pointing to somebody else? To a victim, or more appropriately, to each survivor, does it really matter? All they will feel from now own is the cumulative effect of each view that left them with a life less whole than before the many daggers thrust into them without their knowledge and consent.

One story will always have different perspectives. Every perspective is important, some angles more than others, depending on the timing and occasion. Our role is to try to see all and then make the decision. What do you think?

Did You Know?

This video reminds me of Philip Kotter's contention that the 21st century is being shaped by globalization, technology and deregulation. I call it Converging Divergence. Do find out why...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Learn Marketing Strategy from TV commercials

A TV commercial represents the execution of a strategic marketing plan in as little as 15 seconds. Each detail is carefully planned and supports the brand image and unique selling proposition that a company wants to communicate to its audience. There is great value in reverse-engineering a commerial and discovering who the primary target market is and what needs, wants and demands are important to them, what is the product positioning and how it is supported by the marketing mix (price, product, promo, place) in the context of what competition is doing in that particular industry.

Here are select commercials used to promote persons, products, services, ideas and institutions.  Click on the Digital Video Library link on the right column of this blog or go to  http://bongdeungria.tumblr.com/

Sunday, November 8, 2009

All About Steve, Life Is Not..

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Thomas Haden Church, Bradley Cooper
Movie rating: 5 stars (funny and entertaining)
Insights on Life rating : 5 stars (bullseye on crossword puzzles and empty spaces)

Life makes it hard for anybody who exceeds the boundaries of what society considers normal- too short, too tall, too heavy, too thin, too dumb, too dependent to be living with parents, too old not to be in a romantic relationship, too talkative, too smart. And so Mary (Sandra Bullock), who has the last 4 “toos” is being pushed around by people who supposedly care about her, like her boss, and her parents, back into where she should be, like everyone else. If she remains outside society’s white picket fence, she will continue to be laughed at, ridiculed even by children she tries to inspire. Unless she finds a solution quick, Mary knows that she will be trapped to her familiar life of lonely misery.

So what is the solution? In the movie, the instant answer is represented by Steve (Bradley Cooper). The ideal, normal gentleman who is good looking, funny, decent, employed and available. Steve on a blind date which Mary almost cancels, but does not. Certainly, this is it!

And what does Mary do when Steve comes along? Drop everything she believes in and attempt to finally solve the totality of life’s complex problems with one wrestler’s embrace. If “the one” solution runs away, then chase after it like there’s no tomorrow, even through tornadoes and across unfamiliar environments. Oh, and rationalize every little thing that happens as additional proofs which are part of the greater conspiracy of fate. Life suddenly becomes all about Steve.

Along the journey, life makes it as interesting as the evening telenovela by throwing in wolves in sheep’s clothing that give Mary advise that she wants to hear but really sidetracks her in a not-so-merry-go-round. Just to even things out, as she hitchhikes and gets abandoned through the confusion, she unexpectedly finds true friends too. While they are society’s outcasts like Mary, with interests in red boots and carved apples, they prove to be the only companions when all seems lost.

Mary is a great constructor of crossword puzzles. The job description requires that she knows how to spell and give meanings and clues that every normal human being can understand. And yet, she is too intelligent to speak with one on one for any prolonged period. Don’t dare misspell even on your rescue note as she cant help but correct you. And yes, Mary is too talkative even for a deaf girl. Later on she realizes that her passion to create the puzzles is her way of silently connecting to people who answer the artificially created problem. What in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs does a puzzle satisfy? The need to fill in empty spaces in our lives with answers in ink, not in pencil, and in full, not left half-answered.

While life is not fair, fortunately, this unfairness does not apply all the time. Not to Mary. And not to us. For some strange twist of fate, we find ourselves falling into dark spaces or jumping with no ropes into situations that allow our true character to surface and help us survive. In these defining moments, our abnormalities : too smart, too narcissistic, too ambitious, too deaf and too lonely, suddenly become assets instead of liabilities. Instead of being curses, these become life’s blessings.

If you don’t know it yet, we are all like Mary constantly searching for our Steve. Like the proverbial cat which kept on chasing its tail in circles, thinking that the tail represents happiness, we can only reach true happiness once we stop . And yet, all about Steve, life is not. Life really is all about Mary. Life is not a question to be answered, not a puzzle to be constructed or completely solved, not a mystery that needs understanding. What is life then? Hopefully, I will just be as lucky as Mary, and let life reveal itself to me. And just like a Chinese proverb, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Thanks Steve.
- Bong De Ungria  (also posted  in ImDB.com)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

This Is It! trumps Just Do It!

Move over "Just Do It". "This Is It" is now destined to be the 2nd greatest string of 3 words to ever inspire (after "I love you" and its variants).

Dubbed as the "Greatest concert that never happened", this movie will be talked about for many years to come and "This Is It" will have its place in personal promises, campaign speeches, marketing slogans, love songs and many a battlecry.

The movie, composed of a carefully stitched series of rehearsals for Jackson’s summer 2009 London concerts, is reality concert at its best. While Michael knew he was being filmed during rehearsal, surely, he did not know that this would be his last curtain call.

I watched the movie out of curiosity but came out awed. Now I know why Michael Jackson is considered as a musical genius and a true artist by his multitude of supporters, and even by his worst critics. I must confess that while I heard his music before, I was never a real fan. I could listen to his songs or watch his MTVs several times without tiring of it but I never sought out to buy an album or listen to it out of my own free will. But after seeing this movie, I realize that it is not really his unique music or upbeat dance moves that earned him the monicker "king of pop". Rather it was his boundless imagination and creative passion to inspire people to shine their brightest even when it was just practice. Michael reassured his team that it was OK to be human and make mistakes; "that's what rehearsals are for". And yet, he never compromised. Each dance move, rhythmic beat, hand gesture and sequined costume was part of a grander scheme to win the hearts and minds of his audience.

I feel that "This is It!", in more ways than one is far superior to another commercialized literary invention: Nike’s “Just Do It!”. “This is It” announces to the oneself and to the rest of the world that what is about to happen next is the culmination of a series of carefully thought out actions, perhaps because there is no promise of a second chance. “Just Do It” pushes action over too much thought, which may be a reflection of today’s video game mindset where people think they have multiple lives and pause and restart buttons when things go wrong. This is It! emerges from within. Just Do It! is something that is often driven from the outside. This is It vs. Just Do It. Quality vs. Quantity, Thought vs. Action. Reality vs. Image. Internal vs. External. Great vs. Average. Forever vs. Now. Heto na vs. Sige na.

This is It! reminds me to stop my unconscious quest for the all too common epitaph of the “Greatest dad who was never home” or the “Greatest husband I wish I knew.”Today is not a simple dress rehearsal for me for the rest of my life. Today could be the last chance for me to lovingly kiss my wife and thankfully embrace my 3 children. Today may be the last chance I have to ask forgiveness from my Lord God for my sins of commission and omission. I will not let this day go to waste by doing things half-heartedly thinking that this is just practice and that the real game is still to come. I will not withhold my dance of joy to the time when I am rich, or think I'm rich. I will live this day with utmost passion and zest and thankfulness. I will not conserve my energy for another day for that day is not promised me. All I have is today. "This is it!"

To hear the song, "This Is It"  hyperlink on the right side of this blog.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Surrogates? Facebook and SMS

I like watching movies. The larger-than-life screen and detached but captive setting enhance the movies' ability to magnify/ abstract/ simplify and distill  streaming snapshots of  life in past, present and future versions. I especially enjoy the Sherlock Holmes exercise which I can't help but do at the end of the movie during which I second guess what message or "moral" lesson was being conveyed by the ever artistic directors and  imaginative writers. In the past, I have let these flood of thoughts keep me entertained for hours after the movie ends, only to be forever lost in sleep and the wake-up-joe realities of everyday life.

But now there's technology. Blogs. And doggone, its free and simple. So, as a first attempt to try to salvage my sanity and stoke the flickering fire of hopeless writing passion that remains within me, here I go with trying to guess what Surrogates, the movie starring Bruce Willis, was all about. And, no, I haven't gone to the movie website or read any reviews about it. Not yet.

The movie was set in the distant future, a time when technology allowed human beings to use life-like robots, or surrogates to do everything better: go to work, eat, make love and lust, hang out without the risk of death, injury or rejection.  The only thing the human has to do is to sit back in the comforts of his room, attach a device that allows him or her to see, feel, taste and experience everything the surrogate does, that is until the surrogate robot comes home and needs to be charged. The surrogates, which need to have the neurosignature of the human controlling it , can be made to look younger and prettier, jump higher and be stronger than the real thing. The surrogates became so good in fact,  that everyone, including Willis aging wife, no longer felt comfortable going out into the real world to compete against  the other dashing and perfect surrogates.

Surely, this is all fiction and will never happen in our lifetimes. You're right of course until you realize the extent to which technology already allows us to project only our best foot forward. Most facebook pages contain the best photos that we have, never mind if they were taken 10 years and 20 pounds ago.  I doubt whether there is anyone who actually shows all the photos taken from their digital cameras. No, no, no. My best guess from my own guilty experience is that photos are carefully selected and uploaded based on which ones show the good and fun side of us during certain events. In some way, facebook has become our surrogate face. Not in the future. But today.

And SMS or texts? Probably our surrogate language. Why risk saying something wrong when speaking live with another human being. Isn't it supremely better to carefully select our words, erase or modify at will prior to sending it? And of course, put a smiley face or attach a photo to make it personal. No fear. No rejection.

This blog post? My surrogate unpublished book. Email? My surrogate letter. Cable TV and Playstation 3? My children's surrogate babysitters. The internet? My surrogate world. If you are still reading this, then I rest my case. Do you dare think of the day when all these perfect things are taken away?The movie, Surrogate,  proposes that when that moment comes, then we start to live.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Permanently Present!

Since 1994, I have been blessed with the privilege of coaching MBA students of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business in Makati and Cebu and soon, the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health in Pasig. As of 2009, I have "challenged" and "inspired"more than 1,300 students to improve their personal brands.
For all these years, I have continuously upgraded the learning systems I share with my students particularly the lecture files and templates. Evolving from hardcopies, to softcopies in CDs, to softcopies sent via email or shared in googlegroups, here is a way of permanent presence- files on the web...24/7 availability not just to one class but for future and past classes as well.

I hope this continues to inspire my team of students to be the best brands they are destined to be. (Prof. Bong De Ungria, Oct. 2009)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Marketing H1N1: Contaminating Markets with Positive Flu

\Almost everybody, and his brother, knows about the perils of A(H1N1) virus. It is an worldwide pandemic that has just started and is poised to strike in a bigger way during its second wave. But what if there is such a thing as a Positive Flu? Something that brings goodness and benefits to everyone it contaminates? Assuming that there is such a thing, then what can marketing people learn about spreading this positive flu?
1. Spreading the flu is cheap. One contact is all it takes. Then, all the "infected" person has to do is to travel and meet other people. This has to be the "holy grail" of marketing communications- penetrating large markets at almost zero cost.
2. Children, the elderly, and sick people people are more susceptible to the "positive" infection than others. Effective marketing communications are designed to hit primary target markets.
3. It will take some time and a lot of money for those who want to oppose the flu to develop a vaccine. Marketing competitors can react but the first-to-market companies have considerable competitive advantage.
4. Over time, the positive flu mutates making it a stronger strain and unaffected by vaccines developed for earlier versions. Over time, the competitive scenario changes and only the strongest survive.
5. The flu and the marketing message thinks global and acts local. Both are generally universal and recognize no geographic, trade, political or social barriers.
6. Many people who have the flu are not aware they have it. Many of those who have it are not willing to follow the precautions to stop the spread of the virus. People who believe in certain marketing messages and are loyal to certain brands dont even know about it. Yes, being a facebook or twitter fanatic is a good example.
7. The flu and marketing messages affect a great part of society over a prolonged period of time- making people change the way they live. (Prof. Bong DeUngria, August 2009)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Magicjack Your Global Competitiveness (Outsmart, Outmaneuver, Outsource)

Is $19.95 per year for unlimited US calling from anywhere in the world a solution for you? If you pay more than this, then magic jack is a proven solution that is already out there waiting for you. See http://www.magicjack.com/.
I wasn’t sure about this. But, being a marketing innovator and early adopter, I bought a magic jack unit at Kohl’s department store during their 15% discount sale last week. My cost? $34 which already includes the $19.95 first year subscription. My benefit? A US based telephone number 262-643-5781 that saves me $160 a year and that I can use to call or receive calls from any US number from anywhere in the world with no long distance or fixed monthly charges. I thought I was already a smart entrepreneur when I used a vonage phone that cost me $14.99 a month ($180 a year) vs. the widely used phone services ($300 a year). I was right until I was “magicjacked”.
I believe that there is a “magicjack” type of solution for most business processes. In my first job with Unilever 21 years ago, the company was already outsourcing non-core processes like advertising, janitorial services, security, medical services and product delivery. To remain locally and globally competitive, Unilever started to develop systems to outsource manufacturing using licensed third party contract specialists and to develop strategic alliances with vendors. The results?- lasting competitiveness, streamlined operations, lower costs, better products to customers and the ability to focus on its core strengths.
My work in IRD LLC as Director for Business Development is to create magicjack type of customized solutions for business processes of US companies leveraging world-class infrastructure in the Asia Pacific. I build synergistic relationships that leverage time differentials, cutting-edge technology and cost innovation to produce breakthrough, global competitive advantage. Interested to know more? Call my US-based number 262-643-5781 or send email to josephdeungria@gmail.com. Zero cost to you. Breakthrough results inevitable... (Remigio De Ungria, May 2009)