Can Video Games Be A Spiritual Experience? Short Film “Player Two” Answers

When I came across this video on social media, it hit me right in my geeky gamer feels!

This short film, called “Player Two“, was ostensibly based on a true story.

In response to a YouTube video titled “Can Video Games Be a Spiritual Experience?”, one commenter shared the story of how he had lost his father at a young age and reconnected with his ghost via a shared video game.

Here’s the video:

As a marketer and corporate communicator, I cannot help but note that this inadvertently serves as a great ad to the Microsoft Xbox. It’s a powerful, emotional story that does a great job humanizing the brand, video gaming, as well as the technology. Not a bad achievement in just under 2 minutes!

Now, Adweek has published an interview with John Wikstrom – the filmmaker behind “Player Two”. It’s interesting to note that Microsoft – the owner of Xbox – had nothing to do with the video.

Read the full Adweek story here: Here’s the Story Behind the Moving Xbox Video That Microsoft Had No Hand in Creating.

Speaking at IACT on The Future Of Marketing & Communications

Speaking at IACT 20151202

The great bunch of students I had the pleasure of hanging out with. 2 Dec 2015.

I was invited to give this presentation to a student class at IACT College, which was founded by the advertising industry to become Malaysia’s premier college specialising in creative communication.

I enjoyed my time with the students as well as the insightful questions they asked.

I spoke on “The Future of Marketing & Communications”, exploring the disruptions impacting marketing and communications today as well as what capabilities practitioners need to develop for the future. In a world where the scarcest resources are attention and engagement, marketers and communicators need to:

  1. Have a conversation – Marketing and communications today is essentially a dialogue with the marketplace. We need to design organisations and capabilities that set us on a virtuous circle where we sense/listen, integrate, and communicate again and again to remain relevant and engaged with our audiences.
  2. Embrace and co-create with your community – From the conversations we have with the marketplace, we are able to take in input and perspectives that result in truly engaging initiatives that already have buy-in from our audiences and customers.
  3. Tell authentic stories – In a world saturated with banal noise, authentic storytelling helps cut through the clutter; engaging both the heart and the mind.
  4. Integrate across media – Marketing and communication channels can no longer operate in silos. The sum of parts are often stronger than the individual parts.
  5. Build your own media platforms – As the media and channel landscape becomes even more fragmented, a brand’s own media platforms often become an authoritative source of information.

My slides are available here:

I also shared some case study/examples from both Microsoft and Shell. The videos I refer to in my slides are as follows:

Shell – Destination Home

  • Link to video on Youku
  • More context to this campaign available here and here

Shell #MakeTheFuture – Morro de Mineira Project

Microsoft – Decode Jay-z with Bing

Speaking at Comms Malaysia 2015 on The Future of Communications

CommsMalaysia_2015-40Photo credit: Advertising + Marketing

I was very honored to be invited to join a great panel of speakers at the recent Comms Malaysia 2015 event, organized by Advertising + Marketing, a publication of Lighthouse Independent Media.

Comms Malaysia Speakers

I spoke on the topic, “Looking to what’s next: The Future Of Communications.” In my presentation, I made the case that the marketing and communications landscape is being completely disrupted by many forces, including: the globalized & hyper-connected world we live in today; Big Data and the Internet of Everything; Social media; an ever-changing and ever-fragmenting media landscape; ubiquitous connectivity, and changing interfaces.

Drawing on case studies and examples from both Microsoft and Shell, I then outlined four capabilies marketers and communicators could build on to prepare themselves for the future of communications:

  1. Embracing & co-creating with your community
  2. Telling authentic stories
  3. Integrating across media
  4. Building on our owned media platforms

Here are the slides from my presentation. I hope you enjoy them and look forward to engaging with you on it.

There were two videos embedded in my presentation, which can be viewed via YouTube here:

  • #makethefuture Morro da Mineira Project:

  • Microsoft Bing – Decode Jay-Z Case Study:

My Welcome Aboard Note

At the end of my first day at Microsoft, I received a wonderful “Welcome aboard” note from my manager Danny Ong (whom I am now privileged to call a friend, and whose influence in my life continues far beyond the time we spent working together). I’ve since adapted it for my own use. I hope it encourages my own new team members in the same way I was encouraged when I first started working with Danny.

Dear [name],

Welcome aboard and thank you for saying yes to this adventure!

As you are new to [company] and this team, plus you and I are working closely together in this context for the first time, I’d like to share some principles I will try to live by to support you, and set you up for success with the team:

  1. My #1 priority is your happiness and productivity at work. If there’s anything I can do to make you happier and more efficient – tell me right away. This isn’t mere idealism – it’s also good business, since happy people are more productive.
  2. I will not burden you with unnecessary rules and regulations. You’re are an adult – I trust you to use your best judgment at all times.
  3. You have my full permission to screw up, as long as you own up to it, apologize to those affected and learn from it.
  4. Please tell me immediately when I screw up, so I can own up to it, apologize and learn from it.
  5. If I get it right occasionally, I’d love to hear about it from you, too J
  6. Please make sure you proactively identify people who are doing great work and praise them to the heavens. I will do this as much as humanly possible, but I can’t do it alone.
  7. I will always have time for you. My calendar is open to you and you will see that it is often completely full. However, if you need to speak to me I will re-arrange it to accommodate you.
  8. I am interested in you as an employee AND as a human being. I care about your private life and about your – and your family’s – health and well-being.
  9. I expect you to take responsibility for your personal and professional development. I will support you fully with helping you to achieve your goals, but the commitment must come from you.
  10. Finally, I expect you to take responsibility for your own well-being at work. If you can do something today to make yourself, a co-worker or me a little happier at work – do it !

I’m looking forward to your success!

Sincerely,

Leigh

Double Win At The Malaysia PR Awards 2013, Second Year In A Row!

MPRA2013

I’m very delighted that, for the second consecutive year, my team and I have been honored and recognized with a double win at the Malaysia PR Awards (MPRA), held by the PR Consultants Association (PRCA) of Malaysia. The MPRA is the Malaysia PR industry’s highest recognition for consultancies, campaigns and individuals behind cutting-edge communications programs and campaigns in the PR arena.

Image credit: Chip Magazine

The first award was in the Product Brand Development category, which recognized the work we did for the Microsoft Surface range of devices. The entry of Microsoft’s Surface range of devices into the Malaysian market was one of the most highly anticipated consumer tech events of the year. The launch of Surface was an eagerly awaited event among local fans and the tech community in Malaysia. However, we certainly faced our own unique challenges with the Surface campaign. For example, at the launch of Surface RT in Malaysia in April 2013, the Surface Pro had already debuted in other markets worldwide. With consumers and media anticipating the “bigger and better” Surface Pro to arrive locally before long, we needed to build a campaign that brought forth the strengths of each model without diminishing the unique capabilities of the other; while maintaining the position that Surface are the most productive tablets on the planet. This challenge was replicated for the launch of Surface 2 in March 2014, where Surface Pro 2 – the successor to Surface Pro – was already announced to the world in September 2013.

Image credit: SC Cyberworld

The second award was in the Technology Award category, which honored the work we did in our year-long campaign on Transforming Education in Malaysia. This particular award is especially dear to me because of the great impact we landed for the business as well as for the great stories we landed in telling about how many great teachers and students are leveraging technology for the betterment of the country. In fact, I was recognized with a global award at the Microsoft Worldwide Summit earlier this year for this campaign!

I’m certainly very proud of the team! My heartfelt appreciation goes to our team at Priority Communications – without whom I definitely could not have won these awards!  We’ve continued the great momentum from enjoying a double-win last year and I’m looking forward to the great work that we will do in the future as well.

I also want to thank my friends in the media: *SO MANY* of you have been very kind and supportive, always being open to our story pitches and engaging with me regularly. I’m blessed to count many of you as friends today!

Onwards and upwards!