ASICS recent adverts do a great job of bringing the running shoe back to its roots in Japan. To promote the new Gel Kayano 15 running shoe, Asics dove into the brand’s essence. The brand name is an acronymn for Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, a Latin phrase expressing the ancient ideal of, “A sound mind and body.” According to the website, “It’s not a tagline, it’s a reason for being. It’s a foundation, a goal, an inspiration. It’s why we began and when we lose sight of it, is when we’ll call it quits.”

The company was founded in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka who believed the country’s youth needed direction during the reconstruction efforts of post-WWII Japan. Though founded as Onitsuka, it became ASICS in 1977.

On another note, I love how ASICS brought back the Onitsuka brand name a few years back when it launched – with the help of Strawberry Frog – a casual shoe line with deep roots in Japanese pop culture, Onitsuka Tiger.

Proposing to create a social network to a brand can be one of the most clicheed marketing tactics in the business. Blindly creating a social network when the Facebook population now stands at 175 million users is just a waste of money. Or is it?

I’ve seen a couple household consumer brands that have launched social websites that are doing quite well. The difference is that their sites have a purpose that also reflect the brand’s attributes. They give something back to the consumer. It’s not a social network to be a social network.

Scott Common Sense Community. The paper products maker launched this site as a way for people to learn and share money-saving tips. It’s especially helpful in a down economy apparently: according to quantcast, the site generated as much as 97,000 unique visitors in one day, and is holding steady at 57,000 today.kashi1 Rather than create a separate site, this healthy cereal maker simply added a wealth of social features to its site. Created with ample help from the Barbarian Group, Kashi’s site is a place where people can achieve a healthier lifestyle, one step at a time. Different challenges, like ‘Go running everyday’ invite users to join together to achieve the goal. The thinking being, if you’ve a support structure, you work harder to stick to the challenge.

predatorIn 1986, Orson Scott Card wrote Enders Game, a sci-fi extravaganza with an unlikely hero: a prepubescent wiz kid who was trained – down to DNA design – to fly a remote-controlled starfighter half-way around the galaxy. Today, the US Military’s main line of offense against the Al Queada in the treachorous foothills of Pakistan and Afghanistan are… you guessed it, remote-controlled drones armed with missiles.

NYT: Drones Are U.S. Weapons of Choice in Fighting Qaeda

nintendo-resetInflux’s Ed Cotton has a thoughtful post on what the future holds after the apparent financial meltdown. He writes:

What if we are going through a giant “RESET” and there will be no return to normal, just a new post-depression era.

Perhaps we are undergoing a shift, one that’s so massive, it will be impossible to get back to what happened in the past and from the so called ashes of our past, perhaps a new more viable future will emerge with dozens of new business models emerging.

That’s a great way to put it: a giant reset button.We live in an era where it’s  easy to start all over largely due to the universal access to communication and information.

Take New Orleans for example. It’s now experimenting with sustainable housing via the Make It Right Foundation. The foundation has attracted architects from all over the world and has received hundreds of submissions that is slowly turning the downtrodden Ninth Ward into a forum for sustainable architecture.

Wiped clean by a great flood, one of the country’s poorest neighborhoods has become a hopeful look into what the future may hold. Now that the market has crashed, maybe this line of thinking – or rethinking, rather – will roll over into the way we view the all our cities. And on that note, PSFK has a great post summing up a few ideas on what may happen: PSFK: An Intelligent Redesign of America’s Communities?

2001-posterSpace exploration has been getting pretty interesting in the news as of late. NASA just launched a probe (called the Keppler Mission) that will explore the Milky Way in search of habitable “Earths,” according to CNN. Astronomers recently said there may be as many as 10,000 “Earths” right in our galaxy. One astronomer went on to say that though “people refer to this as the golden age of astronomy, astromers call it the platinum age.”

Then there’s the business of NASA launching the Discovery shuttle this week. It will deliver two more solar panels to the International Space Station. When the work is complete, the space station will be the second brightest star-like object in the sky as viewed from Earth.

Made me think about what’s next. If you look at the Space Station as of now, it kind of looks similar to the Wright Brothers’ airplane. Will we soon have massive stations up there, a la 2001: A Space Odyssey? Why don’t we already have them, as Arthur C. Clarke surmised?

I think yes, we just need a bit more time. The reason being, no longer is it just Russia and the US who are players in space exploration — it’s the whole world. India and China have space programs, not to mention the EU. We’re all in this together. Maybe will get one of those stations that wraps around Earth like a ring of Saturn. I think we deserve one..

Economic Meltdown Screen Grab

September 25, 2008

There’s a nifty little piece of marketing on the sides of Budweiser cans called, Lager Lessons. It took me back to the little cartoons and rebuses found on candy– like finding the Indian on the Tootsie Pop, or a Bazooka Joe cartoon. But I digress. In one of Bud’s “Lessons,” it introduces an official drinking glass. Belgium is notorious for creating drinking glasses tailored to each glass, and this to me is the announcement of Bud joining InBev’s family. I wonder if Budweiser is the dad and Stella Artois is the wife? Or maybe they’re siblings in a Bart and Lisa Simpson kind of dynamic. I have too much time on my hands.


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