A JOURNEY INTO ADVERTISING IN HONG KONG

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

Like he had done for many, it was Tony Morias who gave two New Zealanders new to Hong Kong- Andrew Hagen and Morton Wilson, below in their band Schtung, collectively known as Schtung Music- tea, sympathy, confidence, took out his impressive roller deck and introduced them to the Who’s Who in the still somewhat fledgling world of advertising in Hong Kong. This was at the end of 1982.

At the time, Tony was running the main post production house in town- PPS- and will always be known for his generosity and unselfishly helping those who needed that first break.

Tony Morias gave so much to the advertising industry in Hong Kong and received very little in return. It’s impossible to forget all those parties he gave at his Videopost facilities and the Manhattan disco to help bring the industry together.

Tony, above, was a real life social media platform and not about aimlessly pressing “Like” buttons that today lead nowhere. His would be a helluva interesting Hong Kong story. But knowing Tony, he would say there’s no point dwelling on the past. What’s done cannot be undone. Same with everything that’s happened in Hong Kong. We can look back at what some of us enjoyed here, but none of that is coming back.

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HOW CANTON DISCO SWAM AGAINST THE TIDE IN HONG KONG

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

It was not only part of Hong Kong coming of age, to many, it gave this unique city a very different pulse. As a much-used advertising copy line might say, here was the place to see and be seen- the vibe maker that was Canton, the disco on- where else, but Canton Road on Kowloon side- and at a time in the Eighties when Night Fever was finding its strut.

Sure, Hong Kong might have had other discos- Hollywood East, Hot Gossip, Manhattan, Pastels- but with its quirky, androgynous and now iconic logo, none of these in Hong Kong had the brand personality to attract a different group of regulars as Canton Disco.

Yes, Manhattan in Elizabeth House was popular with the advertising crowd. More often than not, it had its moments of shee shee pretentiousness with the usual suspects associated with advertising showing up for private parties and needing to feel miserable and pass that anger around. One never forgets those things, especially when they were hurled your way. Maybe they needed hugs.

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If one were to rebrand Hong Kong

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

Until she mentioned it, I had either taken it for granted, or else, had completely forgotten about the diversity of the Chinese food available in Hong Kong- Cantonese, Shanghainese, Fukien, Hakka, Chiu Chow, Peking etc etc- and just how far this goes in describing what makes the city so unique.

Add to this, all the other types of cuisine available here- Italian, French, American, Indian, Nepalese, Danish, Greek, German, Swedish, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian, Middle Eastern…

Margaret is one of the most popular and creative chefs in town. She and I were in advertising around the same time and started talking informally about how we might rebrand Hong Kong.

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THE BULL SAW RED AND DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

It was not only part of Hong Kong coming of age, to many, it gave this unique city a very different pulse. As a much-used advertising copy line might say, here was the place to see and be seen- the vibe maker that was Canton, the disco on- where else, but Canton Road on Kowloon side- and at a time in the Eighties when Night Fever was finding its strut and swimming with sharks.

Sure, Hong Kong might have had other discos- Hollywood East, Hot Gossip, Manhattan, Pastels- but with its quirky, androgynous and now iconic logo, none of these in Hong Kong had the brand personality to attract a different group of regulars as Canton Disco.

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RIP MELVIS, THE KING OF LAN KWAI FONG

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

Melvis, real name Tsui Kam-kong, 68, is gone and long live the King of Lan Kwai Fong. Those of us who have made Hong Kong home know Melvis from his performances throughout most of the Central district of this city for the past three decades.

I would always run into him when having dinner at what still remains one of the best restaurants Hong Kong ever had- Bistro Manchu. That wonderful restaurant managed by the always honest Tom- “No order any more, Mister Hans. This enough”- and with a menu that included the best pan fried dumplings anywhere and the brilliant Cumin Lamb, closed its doors over a year ago along with many other restaurants in Elgin Street.

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Those KGV years in a changing Hong Kong

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

We didn’t know it at the time, but in our own small way, we were game changers in the makeup of what was growing up to be Hong Kong.

The secondary school that is KGV- King George V School- in Tin Kwong Road, Kowloon was a unique melting pot of nationalities that came together at a very important time in Hong Kong’s then present without even knowing it. In doing so, we were part of creating the heady gumbo mix that was to become so integral to the cosmopolitan personality Hong Kong.

Looking back, perhaps our parents learned much from us- like how kids from very different backgrounds could form a rainbow coalition long before this term became a meaningless hashtag.

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COVID ON THE DANCE FLOOR IN HONGKONG

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. While some railed against it, many in America are doing everything possible to stay safe during this Thanksgiving weekend by being masked, and practising social distancing.

Early this week saw Covid-19 Fever enter a dance salon/nightclub in Hong Kong where one wonders how many were practicing social distancing on the dance floor and attack almost everyone there. Not even Stephen King could have come up with this script.

This wasn’t just another club with a DJ and sweaty bodies jumping up and down and losing themselves in the, well, ecstasy of pumping House, Trance and other beats.

No, this was a well-known private club to some in a more upmarket area of Wanchai. This venue caters to what are known as “tai tais”- extremely rich, well manicured, mature, and mainly married or divorced Chinese ladies needing to feel young again on the magical carpet ride of the dance floor.

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The social distancing between the online and real worlds

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

It’s really about listening and understanding the wants and needs of the customer. And let’s remember that the Customer Is Always Right. It was something drummed into those of us when in advertising. After all, it was the customer who kept all our clients in business…and which paid our salaries and provided a certain lifestyle.

These days in Hong Kong, the government has thrown their support behind the hospitality trade- financial support and everything possible to ensure that it makes a comeback. That it succeeds. And keeps succeeding.

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Wherefore art thou, Creativity in Hong Kong?

Below is something I had forgotten I had written until someone sent it to me earlier today asking, What’s happening with CreateHK? What is, if anything?

Over a decade ago, Duncan Pescod, the government’s fluffy puffy boy, got on his high horse and announced a GLOBAL search for someone truly world class when it came to creativity and inspiring new local talent. This person was going to head up the uniquely named CreateHK.

We didn’t get Steven Spielberg. We didn’t even get Tori Spelling. We ended up with some bloke named Jerry Liu. “Jer” did his tour of duty and retired a reasonably wealthy man. What had he accomplished? Pretty much squat.

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BUT WHO’S LOOKING AFTER THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN?

By Hans Ebert
Visit: www.fasttrack.hk

There are those days when you feel you’re in the middle of one of those trailers for a black and white movie where a manly voiceover would scream out things like, “MORE FEARFUL THAN FEAR ITSELF!” and “A CITY UNDER SIEGE!” and “WHERE IS BATMAN?”

What Hong Kong has been going through for over a year is its own rocky and wobblyhobby horror show- peaceful demonstrations that morphed into violence and split a city apart.

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