Feng shui tips for the ad industry

Yesterday, I came across an article on Forbes where the writer talks about “advertising space” as an environment, one which not only conveys a message to people but also encourages a dialogue with them.

That being the case, let are some feng shui  tips for your work environment, as well as your marketing campaigns.

1. Cut the Clutter:

Do something bold this year. Clear out the holiday template you’ve been using since 1995 and start afresh. With Christmas recently passing and Lunar New Year merely hours away, consumers can tell when you are simply changing your copy from “Christmas” to “Chinese New Year” (or try to get more creative with the usage of red in your artwork, please) .

One brand that broke through the clutter this year is Owl International to create a rap video for Chinese New Year. The video, humorous and heartwarming, raps about familiar topics associated with Chinese New Year. However, despite highlighting the “troubles” youths face during this period, the video ultimately conveys the message of family bonding and love.

(Read also: SingTel’s heartwarming Lunar New Year Commercial
OMO illustrates colourful custom for Tet
Pepsi’s attempt to reunite families over Tet)

Meanwhile, The Manhattan Fish Market also launched a campaign to promote family values and friendship amongst its customers this Lunar New Year. Its ‘Unplug’ initiative encourages diners to ‘unplug’ while dining by placing all their mobile phones in a specially designed ‘Unplug’ box.

The box will then be closed and placed on the table as a commitment to disconnect. At any point in time when guests are dining, they are free to open the box to retrieve and use their electronic devices, but if they don’t a reward is in store.

While the campaigns aren’t ground breaking, they do stand out from the clutter and try something new.

2. Always be mindful of the overall feel

Be clear on what you want to say and say it but be mindful so as to not come across as insensitive.

News jacking:
News jacking, a rising trend, is quite cool but only if you get it right. For example, late last year, an ad done by Fish &Co copped a fair bit of flak.

The eatery had to apologise after running an ad just a day after the riots that happened in Little India. Local seafood restaurant Fish & Co released an ad on its social media with the tagline [sic] “Stay Away From Riot & Eat Bombay Fish and Chips”. The Facebook post also ran with the words, “Let’s all stay clam, not make speculations and just eat fish.” Whilst we applaud its response time, the ad came across as insensitive to many.

Meanwhile Scoot also pulled off a similar stunt with the Anton Casey situation where it promoted its flights to Perth at a discount. Whilst many lauded the move, several others questioned the brand’s motives. A spokesperson from Scoot told Marketing that the brand often ties with topical news events for its marketing and promotions.

“Inevitably there are some who misinterpret these light-hearted pokes, but our experience is that the vast majority see the intended humour. The escape to Perth sale is no different in that respect.”

Much like your home, colours also help when deciding on the feel of the ad. Colours are powerful weapons in any branding toolkit and rich with meanings.

In a recent article, Master Kenny, feng shui ambassador of Dulux, said the “colour green is the most influential good feng shui colour and it can bring forth plenty of positive energies and greater fortunes to promote good health, wealth, harmony and prosperity in year 2014.”

(Read also: Why colours define a brand’s logo and 11 brand colours and their meanings)

3. Sharp or jutting angles need to be softened

Roundness is preferred in feng shui. It promotes fluidity and flow of the qi. Fluidity in marketing implies a seamless approach marketers should be aiming for, across various channels. With multiple customer touch-points an omni-channel approach is a must.

See what Sanjeeb Chaudhuri, StanChart’s global CMO and Simon Kahn, APAC CMO for Google have to say for it.

Digital marketing should strike an emotional chord

Getting consumers to participate in your brand

4. Balance is a cornerstone of happiness

Last year the ad industry saw several unfortunate incidents where young vibrant executives lost their lives after exhausting themselves.

In an earlier interview with Marketing Pat Law, managing director, GoodStuph said: “I’m inclined to make everyone from Goodstuph leave the office by 7pm starting from 2014. Good time management leads to better productivity and at times, better creativity (especially if you’re not caught rushing to meet a deadline).”

With an increasing number on going pitches in the Singapore market, agencies also really need to watch their back and sometimes learn to say no to pitches.

According Richard Bleasdale, regional managing partner of Roth Observatory International Asia Pacific agencies need to carefully weigh several key factors, before making the decision to throw their hat into the ring.

“Unfortunately in many cases, agencies do not approach pitches with a rational mindset, and weigh the pros and cons of being involved with the head rather than the heart,” he added.

Often, the most successful agencies are the ones with a pre-defined set of questions and a point of view in advance, on the answers.

“In any specific pitch scenario, if the actual answers they get don’t stack up, they shouldn’t pitch,” Bleasdale said.

Read also: Pitch fees? Why not, say clients and Why pitch fees are unlikely in SG)

If good qi is needed at home for a happy life, surely good qi is much needed the ad industry to bring about positive changes for businesses as well as individuals.

Have a wonderful Lunar New Year, everyone. Gong Xi Fa Cai!


Rezwana Manjur
Southeast Asia Editor
Marketing Magazine Singapore
Rezwana Manjur, a true blue city girl and complete social animal, spends half her time sifting through advertising scandals, and the other half testing out brands' retail marketing strategies at the mall. She enjoys traveling and fantasising over the charming lads on hit TV show Mad Men. Most weekends, she turns nocturnal, except when brunch comes into play.

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