Monkey-see, monkey-do. It’s what most of Hong Kong is afflicted with and if, somehow, someone, somewhere, either in Hong Kong or The Pied Piper of Hamlyn doesn’t find a way to shower this place with inspiration that will make originality live again, this city will be known as The City Of Lemmings.
Forget the buffet of similar restaurants, bars and restaurants that have flooded Soho, Lan Kwai Fong, Wyndham Street, Sheung Wan and anywhere there’s some space not big enough to swing affair.
These places are beyond hope and their “business model” of “happy to break even” is as stupid as when I was with EMI and Head Office was ecstatic that instead of registering a forecasted 7% loss, we had “only” posted a 5% loss.
EMI wasn’t known as Every Mistake Imaginable for nothing which grew far worse and far too quickly when Autobahn toilet private equity genius Guy Hands, below, was conned into purchasing the albatross that then-Chairman Eric Nicoli had taken and bashed into the ground through poor management and extra-curricular activities that included a very expensive love shack.
Back to Hong Kong and just look at the “quality” of advertising today- and the “quality” of those working in ad agencies- and those on the client side- and what you have is one of the worst examples of the blind leading the blind, safety in numbers and numbingly vapid work.
It’s like having Tommy, that deaf, dumb and blind kid, on both sides of the fence.
At least, Tommy could play a mean pinball and was The Pinball Wizard.
It’s a living hell of The Peter Principle on all sides today- the agencies and the clients- all producing what they think is what advertising is supposed to look like.
It’s more lemmings at work and the lemmings way of looking at advertising.
Hell, even that former greasy wunderkind of Hong Kong advertising- Andy Lau- and what a political beast he was- has moved to China from where he’s making his usual purring sounds about that country being the future of advertising.
If anything, China has helped relaunch the careers of many has-beens and taken advertising back to the Tang Dynasty which has had a spillover effect in Hong Kong- spillover like a really bad bowl of congee.
This is why those days of Hong Kong winning- or working damn hard to win- a Clio or a Gold Lion in Cannes are long gone.
Why? Win a Clio with something like this hackneyed piece of communications from the moribund minds of the Hong Kong Tourism Board and featuring the dulcet tones of that old warhorse Jacky Cheung?
It’s as boring and corny as having the same local celebrities being paid to even attend the opening of an envelope- the same models- Rosemary, Lisa, Anke, Wanky- the same socialites, the same actors- Andy, Leon- just older- and some new young Hello Kitty muppets like the weirdly named Shiga.
The local music scene, meanwhile, plods along with an enthusiastic “Indie” scene, but short on bona fide musical talent- the young Jazz band MArk with the amazing drummer- Anna- being the only exception and deserving to be heard in Europe and the States- and the rest made up of either fairly new names like Khalil Fong, Justin Lo, Dear Jane and a few others let down by their music companies and, as Dylan sang, with no direction of home while washed up oldsters carry on way past their Use By date.
It’s cringeworthy stuff to watch former local legends and now bloated fat cats, trying to “rock it”.
Oh, puhleeeze, no. Don’t become a parody of your former selves- and thank gawd for the always musical tastefulness of Sandy Lam.
The lady has it over everyone else- in spades. Always had, always will.
Why the lack of creativity in Hong Kong?
Well, the pat answer would be to blame Hong Kong’s bumbling Chief Executive and his cronies who have managed to create a blanket of anger, frustration and desperation over the city.
There is no leadership in Hong Kong whereas every industry that needs words like creativity and inspiration to flourish are lacking in those with vision and not shackled by the Fear Factor of failing.
So, what we have is safe, predictable everything and producing things for the sake of producing something and with no sense of pride and no real thought or strategy.
It’s just bad examples of Just Do It- and To Hell With It.