Fendi – A History-Making Event

What would you do if you were given $US 10 million as marketing/ communications budget to create a newsworthy event that will attract the attention of global media?  Do what Fendi did!

Two months ago, the Italian luxury brand became the first to hold a runway show on the Great Wall of China. According to Vogue, 500 VIP guests were invited from around the world.  This is a dazzling example of how seriously luxury brands are taking the Chinese consumers (and their spending power) very seriously.

I have attended very big events and organised several fashion shows myself but to have one of the world’s ancient wonders as event backdrop, 88 models walking down the runway and Hollywood A-listers at the front rows as well hundreds of global news media attending your event – it’s a marketer/ communicator/ event manager’s dream come true.

Fendi boss Michael Burke said,

“The Great Wall showed that Fendi is clearly one of the few brands that is going to be known everywhere as a magical brand. It’s not a stretch for Fendi to do something like this. But how many brands could pull this off with credibility? If Coca Cola did it, it would be a stunt. For many of our competitors it would be a stretch,”

This is definitely no stunt. It is a history-making event.  Godfrey Deeny, the European editor of Fashion Wire Daily titled his news report, ” The Fendi show you could see from space,” and you probably could.

Creating a successful event:-

A couple of my friends who are great event producers/organisers told me – to create a successful fashion show or in fact any event, depends on a few key elements: Location, Budget, Set-up, Products and Guest list.

  • The ancient structure of the Great Wall sounds like a fantastic LOCATION, providing a long, natural runway.
  • US$10 million was also a great BUDGET to have. Flying those media and celebrities down to the event and lighting up the Great Wall – not an easy task at all.
  • The Fendi show featured an exclusive mini collection as well as the highly-acclaimed spring/summer 2008 collection.
  • Guests were given complimentary hand warmers and were seated comfortably on heated seats. (it’s amazing the amount of details and thoughts that went into the production and set up)
  • The SET UP and the guest list? Take a look at this SPECTACULAR show:-

To read more, simply do a google search and you have pages after pages of news reports (including Singapore’s owned network, Channel News Asia featuring it on primetime news).

Heading to CES in Vegas

When I went to the doc to get the flu and Hep A/B jabs, she sent me home with packs of pills after knowing that I have to take a 16-hour flight. Usually, I am not a big fan of long haul flights but this time, I am looking forward to the trip to San Francisco and Las Vegas for the International CES 2008, the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow in January.

There will be a lot to see in just four days (Jan 7 to 10). Spreading across 1.8 million net square feet of exhibits, 2700 participating companies, key note addresses, the industry insider series and other conference sessions plus alot of walking (so, i was told by a well-meaning colleague).

A sneak peak of some of the new new technology that will be on display at the show here:-

What I can’t miss is obviously Jerry Yang, CEO and Chief Yahoo! of Yahoo! Inc., who will delivering an Industry Insider address, sharing his views on the evolution of the Internet technology. Michael Muchmore of PC mag wrote that he is expecting many of the software announcements at CES to revolve around social networking, mobile internet apps, online digital media, and image and video editing. I am definitely looking forward to that too!
I am not sure how much time I have to walk around and hopefully capture as many interesting things as I can, but I am getting ready my comfy shoes and camera!

Timothy and I are planning to catch Zumanity at Cirque du Soleil one of the evenings, also catching up with my ex-client at Cirque after that. I am also hoping to meet up with with some bloggers whom I’ve been keeping in touch with online. Before I get back to Singapore from San Francisco, I am also planning to have dinner with my dear friend, Kevin who is heading to the Mac World Expo right after the CES in SF.

Exciting days ahead! For now, I have to continue my last minute Christmas shopping and get ready for my trip (there’s actually alot to prepare and do before then)! Thank Goodness, my wonderful colleague, Jeremy has been helping me with all the flight booking and details.

Nokia 14Days

With my new job role (at Yahoo!) focusing on the mobile industry, I have been spending my time trying to find out anything and everything about mobile.

I came across this interesting article in MarketingWeb, mentioning the following stats:-

With an estimated 240 million wireless subscribers in the US, mobile is already a US$350-billion sector. According to Nielsen Mobile:

  • 32 million use their phones to go online
  • 70% send or receive text messages
  • 41% percent use their wireless devices to send photos

The article also wrote:-

…… The old media broadcast model is dying
The idea of a media-consuming public that sits passively in front of a TV set is fast being replaced by a vibrant, active community of shared upstream content providers.

With the mobile phones being very much integrated into our daily lifestyle, it is no wonder that Nokia, the mobile phone maker recently launched its first ever video podcast (titled 14Days to signify the frequency of each episode) for its Nseries phone devices to ensure they stay top of mind amongst the consumers.


Thanks to Brian (from Ogilvy, Singapore) who alerted me to the vodcast

Hosted by “Girl with the number 11 briefcase” in the TV game show, Deal or No Deal (Singapore), Claire Jedrek attempts to show viewers how to take your mobile device (to be more specific – your Nokia Nseries handset) to the next level in each episode of 14Days.

The 14Days vodcast was conceptualised by Ogilvy, created by The Creative Room and produced by Nokia. All viewers have to do is to watch it online, download it to your mobile device or subscribe to it with an RSS feed.

I’ve just downloaded the latest episode into my new video iPod and of course, you can put them into any Nseries devices which I am planning to get one – the N95!! (featured in the pilot episode of the vodcast series).

Bloggers such as DK and Su Yuen who had seen the first episode think that the tips and tricks for the N95 were too “far fetched” and not “particularly interesting” The latest episode titled “VPL” was a let-down for me. After watching the episode, I was wondering “uh, where are the promised nifty ideas to push technology to the next level?” Well, the key message for the N76 is clear though – it’s a chick phone!

I thought the second episode, titled “Heroes” was quite cool, with Claire and a local blogger, teaching viewers how to freeze time and teleport at will with the Nokia N93i.

Brian was sharing with me that one of the main draws about the Nseries phones is that they are multimedia convergent devices, hence having vodcasts such as 14Days pushed the envelope in terms of showcasing the mobile convergence, the connectivity of the phone as well as accessing high quality multimedia while on the go.

This move (the creation of the vodcast) attempts to show the power and potential of the Nseries range, and also hopes to increase adoption and promotion of podcast and vodcast technology.

I am keen to find out what is the pick-up/ download statistics of the vodcast at the end of its series. It will also be interesting (as Su Yuen mentioned in her post) to see some user generated content, spinning off from the vodcast series. As the article in MarketingWeb mentioned, the next big trend is to see how social networking works on mobile.

Information Deficiency

I woke up today, determined to go out and buy that big luggage that I need to use to drag all my stuff to Las Vegas (for the CES 08) in Jan. Jon said, “but don’t you already have a few luggages?”. Yes, I do but I need a bigger one! I have to pack in my clothes, the thick jackets and erm BOOKS and magazines.


Yes, a few books. Not for work but for reading on the flight.

I found out this morning from my good friend, the brilliant producer and news anchor for Channel News Asia, Timothy Go that this annoying habit is called In-Flight Information Deficiency. Tim wrote,

This is someone who, before and during a flight, has a fear of not having enough to read on board a flight, no matter how short or long.

Although I seldom read on board the plane, because I get motion sickness and the pills I take before the flight makes me drowsy and I fall asleep. BUT, I still worry that I do not have  enough things to do on the plane. The flight to Vegas is at least 16 hours and I am already panicking about which books to drag along.


But I think, my problem continues even after the flight. I constantly worry about, “What if I finish reading the books i brought along… 😦 and have nothing to do at the hotel?”

It gets worse if I am on holiday, to stop me from worrying, Jon will volunteer to bring more books in his luggage for me.

Ok! Time to go out now to buy luggage.

The rise and fall – PowerPR Index


I just noticed from my RSS feeds that Brendan Cooper has compiled and put up a new PowerPR index for December and this time, it also indicated the changes in ranking. Brendan has once again, done a great job, putting together the links with the various rankings.

Amazingly, my 5-month old blog is up by 5 points. Encouraging! My latest favourite read, Pop! PR Jots dropped a few notches but I am still enjoying reading Jeremy’s posts.

Steve Rubel’s blog dropped to 2nd place, replaced by Online Marketing Blog. My other usual reads are all still in the list, including my dear friends, Melvin’s “The PR 2.0 Universe “ and Walter’s “Cooler Insights”.

I wonder if the 3 of us are the only ones blogging about PR and new media topics in Singapore. I am trying to go through the list and see if there are any other Asian bloggers.

The”P” in PR

Jon and I always joked about how if we get married, my name will be changed to Priscilla Roberts (his surname), so my initials will be “PR”! Perfect for me, since I am in public relations. (if you don’t get the joke, forget it).

Anyway, that silly joke came to mind as I was reading one of Jeremy Pepper’s old blog posts on “what does the P in PR stands for?” (I’ve been spending some time going through Jeremy’s blog posts and they are really quite brilliant.). PR can mean many things to many different people.
Jeremy wrote,

…. PR used to stand for public relations. Not press relations, but public relations…

I totally agree. It has been argued about, debated on and the conclusion is that PR needs to focus and put the real “P” (for public) back to the highly misunderstood industry of public relations, (especially in this new Web 2.0 and social media age).

There are alot of definitions of PR, by academics and experts in the industry. Generally, the idea of PR lies in the following:-

Public relations is the management of relationships between an organization and its publics – groups on whom it depends for its success. An organization’s publics may include employees, shareholders, government regulators, customers, financial analysts, pressure groups, and industry associations. Depending on the field in which it operates, there will be others. A school board will have parents, students and taxpayers. A food producer may have farmers, marketing boards, dieticians and consumer associations. A registered charity will have donors and volunteers…

(source: PRCA)

And of course, the mass media is part of the publics that organisations and PR people aim to reach out to, but did you notice the many other “publics” listed in the above? PR has been evolving and I have realised that the definitions can even vary in different countries but it definitely goes beyond “how to get a coverage in XX publication..”

Melvin Yuan, an independent PR and new media consultant commented in one of my earlier post about how many PR folks are thinking press relations rather than public relations.

….Ask any consultant to list his/her top five tags for PR and you’ll know the level of his thinking.

If “media relations” and “pitching stories” are in that list, you’ll know what’s going to rattle his nerves…

I have several thoughts as I was writing this post. One of them was attempting to define the “P” in PR and as I was researching on what had been discussed, I came across this great article, “Media coverage: forget about the quantity- measure the quality,” by Jennifer McClure, summarising what I had in mind.

PR is not meant to be about creating static messages in a vacuum, and it is not synonymous with media relations, but for too long this seems to have been the assumption – not only by clients and management, but even by many in the PR industry.

Public relations is about forming and nurturing relationships with the public. We all need to remind ourselves of this from time to time. If, instead of spending time creating and communicating static messages and trying to make sure that nothing negative is ever said about our organizations, PR can re-focus its efforts on creating relationships…

I start to fear and cringe, whenever I speak with communications/ PR or marketing people who asked me, “oh, so can you get us some coverage in Her World magazine?” Nothing wrong with Her World magazine (a very popular female mag in Singapore) but in today’s Web2.0 world and the age of social media, PR folks should take the opportunities to work towards achieving not a front-page press coverage but to start a real dialogue with the key audiences (which includes the “publics” mentioned above) to alter perceptions, to create awareness, to gather feedbacks (and the list goes on, depending on what you aim to achieve). Such are statements that many have spoken and written about but, honestly, how many PR people are actually practising them? How many actually GET IT or attempt to GET IT?

Two-way dialogue can occur without a front page or any media coverage. Infact, let’s put it another way, two-way dialogue SHOULD occur ON TOP of the front page coverage – that’s the job of PR now and in the near future. Most decent PR folks know all about traditional media pitching, the challenge is to move on and put PR back to the scope it is meant to cover.

Although I am in PR, I am also a blogger – possibly part of the “publics” that some organisations are targeting. I am also the consumer who buy the various media’s publications and many different brand of products. I am also the unhappy customer who had a bad perception of that hotel with such bad service, I am dying to tell the world not to go to that hotel.

I guess, what I am trying to say here is, at the end of the day, we know that PR is evolving, especially in this exciting time where we see shifts in the industry, the key thing is to start practising it, start to put the real “P” (repeat: Public) back in PR and learn to GET IT! We are sick of hearing everyone telling us, “PR just don’t get it”.

More reference articles on elated topic:-

What is PR? by Heather Yaxley (another updated post – 12 Dec 2007 – here )

PR Measurement: Does media coverage alone impact business outcomes?

What is PR? by Public Relations Institute of Australia

Hosay Lah! Time to rekindle old interests

Hosay Lah! where “Hosay” (in Hokkien) means Good! And very good indeed was last evening’s event at The Substation, celebrating their 10th Anniversary of Moving Images.

(left): we all sat in the little theatre -old school style without air con but very excited
(middle): the crowd flooding the entrance of The Substation, eating, mingling and chatting with the film makers
(right): Jacen Tan and Jon

Jon and I went to support Jacen Tan’s latest film, Zo Hee (Hokkien for making movies), under his hosaywood production. Jacen and Jon were ex-colleagues and I was just there to rekindle my old interest in films and the arts. Not many people know that I actually first graduated in designs, spending a year plus studying films and photography. Some ex design school/classmates included the now renowned film maker, Royston Tan (a year, my senior), the highly talented Victric Thng (my ex-classmate) and Randy Ang (ex-classmate – we recently found each other again on Facebook). Well, I moved on to do other stuff and these guys are obviously doing really well and coming up with great, creative works that make Singapore proud.

Back to Jacen. I was really impressed with his latest two short films (Zo Gang, and its sequel, Zo Hee). Definitely not filmed with a huge production budget but they captured local culture, flavour, lots of humour and clever script. Jon also appeared in a short section as the Ang Moh busker. I asked Jacen, when is the next film coming up and he said, “hmm.. need to take a break!”

So, while we wait for Jacen to take his break, enjoy the film I am attaching below. More of Jacen’s work can be found on YouTube and hosaywood.com

From 7 to 10 December, 5 to 10pm, people who are interested to support or take a look at what some of our local film talents had put together, pop down to The Substation, admission is free! You can also show your support by donating (any amount)!

For more interesting local film stuff, check out this real cool site – www.sinema.com or join the facebook group to be updated with the latest news.