During my daily morning read of Sky News’ error riddled iPhone application, I stumbled across an article criticizing an application created for Vaseline to promote their skin lightening range, which is hugely popular in India. Whilst The Guardian’s take on the matter included a slightly more valid point of view

“What makes it even more nauseating is the fact that Vaseline is a sub-brand of Unilever, which also own brands like Dove. Dove, if you remember, set about saving our little girls from the beauty industry with their Campaign for Real Beauty. The much lauded campaign included inspirational films like OnSlaught, which suggested “you talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does”

They still failed to recognise that the want to alter the colour of your skin is something that is not only exclusive to India’s culture but is prevalent in the cultures of many Western nations. This is what annoys me so much. It is so easy to look in from the outside and point out the flaws of something else without realizing that the exact same thing, for very similar reasons and with very similar consequences goes on within your own belonging.

The funny thing is, this isn’t the first time I’d encountered this issue. To earn what are formally known as ‘beer tokens’ within University circles, I worked at Ventura on a department that had a very good representation of traditional Indian culture. Not to my surprise, a group of white British women failed to see why any woman would attempt to lighten her skin colour with a low concentration of acid. I know what your thinking, who wouldn’t see this is a bad thing, acid is the stuff we use to digest our food and unblock our drains. What makes me laugh is that the same women, or at least 2 of them in the hope of convincing their colleagues that the 2 weeks they spent caravanning in Skegness was actually a fortnight relaxing besides a pool in Spain’s finest Benidorm, regularly used sun beds. Yes, those cancer inducing beds of joy that emulate one of the most powerful and potentially destructive things in our solar system, THE  SUN!

The issue of skin lightening comes from the Indian caste system (which is very similar to our hierarchy) where lighter skinned people are seen of as a higher caste. Do white women use sun beds because they want to be Asian? No, it is because they want to look like they can afford time to leisure in the sun i.e belonging to the middle class.

To cut a long story short, whilst I agree that Unilever have been hypocrites, using acid on your face is bad and that changing the colour of your skin isn’t going to make anyone love you I don’t think that we should spend our time nit picking other peoples cultures when ours is just as bad. It’s easy enough for journalists to sit on their pedestals and criticize the efforts we go through in the hope that maybe, just maybe, someone rich may be convinced we are holidaying in the Bahamas and marry us.

Inspired by non other than PR Maverick and all around nice guy, Jed Hallam, I’ve compiled a list of what I believe to be the 10 most enjoyable songs that I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to. They aren’t necessarily my 10 favorite because, well my music taste has ADHD. So, here it goes:

The Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy

This song reminds me of when I was young, hustlin’ crack just to put food on my girls table.

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

The harmonies, its the harmonies.

Moby – In My Heart

I had to have a Moby song somewhere in here and it was either this or Porcelain. Whereas Porcelain reminds me of The Beach and well…the beach, this song makes me feel like I should be doing something profound with my life.

Jimi Hendrix Experience – Little Wing

It’s the finest thing Jimi Hendrix ever did (unless you’re American). Which also makes it the finest thing anyone ever did.

Foo Fighters – Everlong – Acoustic Version

I love a good acoustic version and this is one of the finest, also the simplest.

Bob Dylan – Blowin’ In The Wind

The only thing I like more about Bob Dylan is this interview.

Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart

So haunting, this song channels the spirit of Ian Curtis through the headphones and emits it as a sound wave.

A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It?

Yes you can.

Roger Sanchez – Another Chance – Original Mix

The single best house song EVER produced. I can’t help but listen to this and wish I was on a certain beach in the Balearics wearing shorts, shades and smiles.

Daft Punk – One More Time

I saw Daft Punk at O2 wireless festival in 2007 and connected more with 2 robots than with anything else through a live performance. If you’re ever in a bad mood, put this song on and listen to it and I mean really listen to it…absorb everything. It’ll definitely pick you up.

If you haven’t heard of All Saints already you probably will soon as they’re beginning to get into a lot of fashion periodicals like GQ and even Vogue. I can remember the brand a while ago, around Leeds it was championed by the house scene then it took off massively, if you’ve been noticing the grungy, military look around recently this is where it started. What I like about All Saints is that as a brand, it does very, very little traditional marketing yet has managed to create one of the strongest brands I have witnessed amongst my age group.

This Vogue article gives a good overview of the brand. What All Saints shows is that taking the philosophy’s, theory’s and standpoint’s of marketing and applying them throughout the business model will ensure that the selling takes care of itself. A lot of brands miss the point with this, they’ll follow the trends of the designers, copy it with little attention to detail then put it in the shops and only at this point will the marketing begin. Instead, All Saints didn’t become just another high street brand knocking off high end labels hoping that it’d filter down into the tastes of the masses. In somewhere like Italy or France this is very viable and very acceptable, it is what their cultures revolve around, however, in Britain street fashion rules all. And this is how All Saints have managed to connect so well. Indie fashion, which is undoubtedly where All Saints gets it’s inspiration from, was something that came from the streets not from the catwalks and up until a few years ago the only people capitalizing from it where vintage shops and All Saints.

I’ve got a feeling I’m losing focus here, so I’ll sum up my the main point. The high street has got too comfortable copying the cuts, colours and trends of the catwalk but only when they really fulfill what the public really want (In terms of All Saints different, well made, affordable clothes with a variety of textures and fabrics) will the selling do itself.

I would thoroughly expect the recently announced iAd platform Apple launched at iPhone OS 4 developer preview is going to force mobile advertising into the same echelons as search engine advertising, possibly above. Whereas the current mobile advertising is focused around accountability, very much like current search ads, iAd looks to create rich user experiences that invoke emotion and stimulate desire. It also offers brands the opportunity to add a dimension of personality to their product or service.

The fact that companies are now creating intelligent ways of distributing brand messages makes me so happy and excited that I decided to persue a career in marketing and adveertising. iAd, Digg Ads and Twitter COO has said that their new platform

“It will be fascinating. Non-traditional. And people will love it… It’s going to be really cool.”

and thats exactly how it should be. Businesses need to be more aware of how to build a model thats going to sustain them rather than worrying about short term profits because that’s just self destructive. Perhaps this new era of management is a result of the recession, I’ve read in a few places about how a recession acts as a catalyst for progression.

It’s 4am and I’m doing my dissertation as I have been doing for the past 4 days. I’ve noticed that when I’m really tired, my brain works really well and I seem to be a fountain of knowledge and ideas but when I’m physically awake I feel like I have the mental capacity of a Labrador. Maybe this is why I did well in school, I always struggled to sleep and was therefore really tired at school all day. But at college, late starts and days off meant I slept loads and…well had the mental capacity of a Labrador. I actually can’t wait to get a regular 9-5.30 job as I feel my life will return to the peak of mental achievement like I enjoyed at school. But now, I won’t have acne.

However, there are the usual downfalls of being exhausted. I make loads of mistakes and my brain is telling me I need to empty the cache cos my memory is full. What usually happens is I write them all these thoughts down in the notes app on my phone and delete them in the morning, but now I’ve got a blog and…it just fits this purpose so well. I just hate how its so besides the point.

I’ve also decided I’m going to take a Michael Moore approach to blogging, a approach that I’ve enjoyed throughout my life and I think its something to do with being left handed. I read through my blogs and I’ve decided the beard one is the most interesting, why? Because its quite fun to read but it has a valid point (like Michael Moore films!). I’m also flirting with making about responsible marketing/CSR (they tie in brilliantly if you look at marketing as a philosophy and not a sales tool), but I think I’d struggle to make that fun to read, but it’s what interests me most.

We want the same things from brands as we want from our friends. To make us feel good, trust, honesty and respect. When marketing through social media you have to respect that this is a place where people have come to chat and have fun not to have corporate messages shoved down their throat. Don’t get me wrong, they are following/friends with your brand because they like you and for that reason alone they appreciate and deserve you to push them in the direction of some well conceived branded content that’s going to educate or amuse, hopefully it’ll sell a few things too. But don’t exploit the trust your friend has shown in you by misdirecting every shortened URL straight back into your pocket. Treat a friend right and they will be with you for life, treat them like a fool and they’ll drop you as soon as something better comes along.

I was reading this post on Ad Lab about Burger King’s ads now being included in searches of Digg that yield no result. The thing I like about Digg is that whilst it needs advertising to keep running, they never go over the top or shove it in your face like a lot of other sites do. Digg has a very loyal fan base, and for good reason too. If you aren’t one of the 18 million people who casually browse Digg already I’d suggest you make it the first port of call for off the beat, or just down right weird news.

Digg also runs ads alongside the links to content, and the ads usually link to some kind of article or image promoting something meaning they fit in with the context and if you do click them you can get some kind of satisfaction even if you aren’t interested in whats being sold. Whilst I’m sure Digg would be able to make a lot more money plastering page engulfing flash ads all over their page they are making sure the experience stays the same, something which a lot of companies are getting wrong.