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Monday, December 20, 2010

People are just people

There are no good or bad people. There are just people who do good and bad things.

There is a calypsonian called Hunter who has written the essential piece on understanding Dominican and I daresay Caribbean people. The song is called 'Typical Dominican'. Basically it talks to the fact that if a local likes you, you could pretty much kill a third party in front of them and it wouldnt be you and they'd testify to that. On the other hand, if they dont, you are essentially fucked. Doesnt matter how good a person you are, you can give up ghost and just assume the guise of a villain, cause thats what you will be.

Oddly, these same people then turn around and want justice from police and a court system with jurors who are the same way inclined.

Its funny.

Anyway, this habit of taking an instant liking or dislike of people is very common. Pity the young woman or man who dares be different, quiet, individualistic, stylish...name your trait of potential voodoo worshipping non conformist and it is no wonder the migration rates to more liberal lands are growing.

Then again if you want to see why, go to something like the Presidents Charity dinner or any other function when you can see who calls the shots.

Then it will all become clearer.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sometimes

There was an article by Nancy Nassief-Caudeiron pointing out the madness with the vendors on the Bayfront.

The problem with the situation is that the person who is the custodian of the City of Roseau, is more interested in scoring brownie points than facing up to reality.

You have business places with vendors literally in front of their buildings and surrounding their entrances. The vendors have a right to sell their wares, but the City has also a duty to protect the business places and to also setup a proper arcade for use for selling products. The current situation serves noone. It makes the Bayfront uglier and dirtier, and the vendors are no better off for it.

That last part is the real issue. Any discussion which focusses on what the real solution would be is of course a problem. The inability to provide that solution is why Ms Massief-Caudeiron will get dragged into a mini us vs them discussion which has nothing to do with the real problem she highlighted.

So it go...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Let me lay my cards on the table.

I am speaking both personally and also as someone who runs an ad agency. I also have a stake in a realty company so I am not making these comments lightly.

It is time, IMO, for Dominica to rebrand away from the Nature Isle identity.

Over the last umpteen years, the tag has been that Dominica is a step back in time, where nature is preserved for all and sundry to enjoy.

Part of that is true. In successful marketing, when the brand has integrity, ie, where the statements which it conveys have truth behind them, and the experience matches the promise, then you have a true winner.

The issue with the Nature Isle tag is that Dominicans, through no other fault than the pure economic reality of the island, do not live to this Nature philosophy in the main.

SOme people do, but here is the truth. We have a heavy dependence on fossil fuels in our way of life. Our stance on whaling is positioned by the lobbying of the entities in the IWC, and not by a pure nature policy. The amount of junk, especially abandoned metal on the island is a tragedy. On top of that you have no recycling policies to govern our waste, and the use of non recycleable plastic bags and containers for the takeaway food business is almost endemic.

The list is as long as your arm, and you quickly get the sense of the country operating contrary to what it is branded as. The actual nature aspect is inherent in the makeup of the country, ie volcanic, green, raw in terrain, and not by any concerted strategy. As mentioned there are exceptions and Dominicans are hardy people who do love their country, but the economic reality is that we are compromised by the need for currency.

My recommendtation is that we rebrand Dominica as the island of adventure. This fits the rationale for gaining real brand equity because it is 100% true. You may eat in a styrophene container and pass a few spots with random rubbish, but the experience of moving around Dominica and going to all the sights etc is one big adventure.

Every spot has a tricky journey or a story. Every person has some story or angle on things that are happening locally. Our hiking, river and sea bathing, spas, even places where you go to eat food, all give off the feel of an ongoing adventure, where the rules are not the same as everywhere else.

This will fit Dominica perfectly, in a region full of the same tired sun sea and sand formula and with a current brand which doesnt really reflect who we are.

I hope people put their personalities aside and think about it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Keep on praying

Read carefully on why is Haiti poor.

Why is Haiti so poor

I dont profess to know everything about Haiti to the point where i can do summaries without reading or quoting sources, even though I have friends there who have their own accounts of why it is what it is.

It is difficult to assume an enlightened position in the Caribbean when a large majority of the people you interact with think someone is in the sky watching events and selectively choosing to interact and interfere with the course of history.

Subliminally think what it does to the average persons mindset. The average black person, spiritual as they are, subliminally believes that other people are favoured, given that many people have gone through generations of domination by countries who have shown little or no moral compass (or even any adherance to the same faith they pretend to have) and yet who continue to prosper.

Its a logical process and akin to a little child who sees the man in their household who molests them, who could be popular in society, and indeed starts to hate themselves rather than recognise the real evil.

This collective low self esteem manifests itself at times like these when underneath all the debate about helping Haiti, there is a knawing thought process going on amongst Caribbean people. Dem people bligh.

I have a friend from latin America who claims that Caribbean people and Latin americans have the same mentality.

In the face of adversity they throw their hands up in the air and literally say the same thing "quitter yo pour bon dieu" - ie leave it to god.

Of course God does nothing (as neither does Zeus), and the verdict is as suspected. More suffering, more low self esteem, and ironically more fuggin praying.

Until a generation of skeptics start to get their chance to repel the God squad kumbaya thinking which has stunted the development of all African and Caribbean countries and indeed many people of African descent, they will continue to suffer and hope that the afterlife gives salvation and glory.

And then they mock the guy who kills himself for the anticipation of endless virgins in the sky.

Different degrees of the same psychosis.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Get IN

One of my most active relationships is that where I represent FSI in the membership of IN, the largest network of independent advertising agencies in the world. I was elected to the Board this time last year and it has been a challenge, primarily because of the demands on time (and you dont get paid).

Some of our agencies are very well known. Duncan Channon for example, just won the global esurance account and also have the global Hard Rock Cafe account. Eric Mower Associates also have the Kodak account as well as ran the I love New York Campaign. Our Japanese counterparts have the Nikon Camera account.

Dominica seems like a dream to them given our size. Though FSI represents the Caribbean we are of course the smallest agency even when you take in regional campaigns and projects.

We are currently trying to win at least three accounts jointly with other IN agencies and that is an interesting exercise.

The current one is tourism accounts. There is an irony in it, but we are currently working with Total Media, our UK counterparts to try to win some Caribbean tourism accounts. Total Media pitches the account, and then we get to do much of the ground work which mitigates against their biggest weakness. They dont know much about the region.

WHile having a big agency buy media etc is useful, an agency like FSI can buy through global buyers who are often stronger than any creative agency that say Dominica Tourism are exposed to.

I often think that seeing the same people who are deciding on the account daily passing you in a vehicle in a small island is not a good way to get a multi million dollar account. Its just difficult to pass that money locally especially when there are perceptions about who you are and how large you might get (its real folks). I understand that challenge.

So more and more we are pitching through other entities.

Sometimes you just have to recognise what works.

It will be interesting

To see Dominicas representation at the Shanghai World Expo. They received a substantial amount of money from the Chinese to build their presence which is being managed through Dexia.

We were involved in the design bid presence and indeed gave advice as to how it could be developed. Of course we did not get through but it is only a mere coincidence that the final design was very similar to what we presented. It was also a big coincidence that the young man who ended up floating the new design happened to have sat in all the meetings with us and received all our submissions and ideas.

My initial reaction and thought process is not printable, but in retrospect its a futile cause. Best watch the results.

For info on the Shanghai World Expo visit en.expo2010.cn.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Lawlessness inc

Small LED screen in Roseau.

Right outside Issa Trading and opposite Subways.

Entrepeneur applies to Planning for permission to put this slap bang in the middle of a sidewalk in the middle of town.

Planning Division (usually called Town and Country in many Caribbean islands) REFUSES permission based on ordinance.

Man proceeds to erect structure and screen as if nothing happened. Soon the Ministry of Tourism are advertising on it.

A simple diary of lawlessness.