Latest Posts


Santa Claus vs the Jolly Toy Scouts

Part of our 12 Pokes of Christmas. Are you feeling festive yet?

Jolly Toy Scouts

The Big Guy traditionally holds an unassailable lead when it comes to toy distribution at Christmas. But this year, fast-food giant Jollibee is upping the stakes with the launch of its annual ‘Maaga ang Pasko’ toy collection drive.

Now in its 20th year, the Philippines-based campaign has to date collected a whopping 1.5 million toys and books, and distributed these to over 300,000 underprivileged children, assisted by a 200,000 strong army of volunteers, the Jolly Toy Scouts.

The company is aiming for a record number of donations this year with the theme ‘Ang pinakamaaga, pinakamahaba at pinakamasayang Pasko’ – ‘The earliest, longest and happiest Christmas’. 20 caravans will appear at schools across the region to distribute toys. And for 2014, the campaign will be expanded to include Jollibee Hong Kong, Kuwait, Singapore and Vietnam.

Word in the stables? Rudolph and the guys are seriously worried.



Pleasant pluckers

Pleasant pluckers


Venturing into the great outdoors over the holiday season? Then you’ll appreciate that nothing quite compares to the warmth and comfort afforded by a genuine goose down jacket. There’s little comfort for the goose however. Down is a by-product from geese bred for the dinner table. And while most are reared humanely, in extreme cases birds are forced to endure live plucking and force-feeding.

Having learnt of this practice, US adventure clothing manufacturer Patagonia this autumn launched a range of garments made using 100% traceable down. Via a dedicated microsite, customers can trace every stage of production so they can be sure the down in their jackets comes only from birds that have been treated humanely.

Going one further, the company has commissioned an animation by Geoff McFetridge to highlight the plight of these unfortunate birds. The movie follows the progress of a skiing goose who is forced to witness the less than ethical treatment of his brethren at the hands of unscrupulous farmers.

It’s a dark tale and one that prompts the viewer to ask the important question, ‘What the pluck?’



From Christmas waste to Christmas wonderland

Part of our 12 Pokes of Christmas. More to come this week.

Christmas waste 1

Shopping. Giving gifts. Returning gifts to the store. It’s all part of the fun as the holiday season gathers momentum. But there’s an unfortunate consequence to all this. The increase in consumption means the volume of waste we generate around this time of year also rises dramatically. Here at Poke Towers we’re already ankle deep in food packaging and gift wrap. (Business as usual then.)

Christmas waste 2

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, the Lee Gardens shopping mall is launching a campaign intended to offset the impact of seasonal waste. Shoppers are being encouraged to return empty PET bottles which are then recycled and reformed as Christmas baubles. The project aims to recycle 30,000 bottles on the run up to Christmas. That’s a lot of baubles. These in turn are destined for Christmas trees across Lee Gardens’ various retail sites: Hysan Place, Lee Gardens Two and Lee Theatre.

Thanks to their recycling initiative, maybe Lee Gardens really can claim to offer the gift that keeps on giving.



Can’t afford lunch? Yes you can

Can’t afford lunch 1

Summer in Stockholm. It’s great to be young, free and totally irresponsible with your cash. Because here, even though you may have squandered your bus fare home, at least you won’t starve.

To coincide with this year’s festival season, McDonald’s came up with a lifeline to lunch for the city’s young people. Alongside the usual cash and cards, the chain announced it would accept cans as currency. A local billboard was used to dispense black plastic bags for collecting empties. These could then be returned to MacDonald’s and exchanged for burgers – 10 cans for a hamburger, 20 for a cheeseburger and 40 for a Big Mac.

Can’t afford lunch 2

The benefits of the scheme are twofold. First, the kids don’t go hungry after a day in the city. And second the rest of Stockholm’s citizens get to enjoy the streets and parks free from discarded cans. Now, if there was some way to get teenagers to tidy their bedrooms…



Season’s greetings by (robot) hand

Part of our 12 Pokes of Christmas. Look out for more throughout December.

Season’s greetings

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to ask the tough questions. Like, who gets onto the Christmas card list this year? The nice cab driver who returned your iPhone last week. Or Julie from Personnel, who was definitely a bit snippy in the elevator this morning. It’s a significant task, sharing the seasonal love, but fortunately help is at hand. A robot hand, to be precise.

Heineken’s ‘Spark Your Holidays’ campaign allows people to send personalised greetings to loved ones, hand-written by a robot. Visitors to the campaign site enter a 400-character message along with a destination address. This is then transcribed by a robot arm moving a pen across the page, mimicking personalised script. Finally, the message is physically mailed to the recipient.

At first sight, Heineken seems like an unlikely sponsor for robot letter writing. But, we’re assured, it’s all rooted in their brand mission to ‘bring enjoyment to life’. And presumably the service leaves users with one hand free to continue drinking beer. Here at Elmwood, we’re hopeful the technology may be adapted for other writing tasks, such as filing personal tax returns, or meeting Poke deadlines…



The bell falls silent


Twitter? Silent. Facebook? Closed. Instagram? Blank. In what appears at first to be a wilful act of social media suicide, US fast food chain Taco Bell has chosen to go dark across all channels. Withdrawing from the web, the company states that the new way to Taco Bell is #onlyintheapp – a reference to the company’s mobile ordering and payment app.

With it, customers can choose from the Taco Bell menu, pre-order meals for pick-up and receive app-only discounts. By focusing on the app and encouraging customers away from  other social media channels the company is appealing to customers who prefer to conduct business off the grid. CIA operatives, and so on.

It’s a bold, contradictory and clever move that’s generating a good deal of attention for the app. Although the logical next step could prove to be even more radical. Forget the app. We believe it may be possible to drive to the restaurant and order a taco directly from the guy at the counter.



Changing with the seasons

Part of our 12 Pokes of Christmas. Look out for more in the coming weeks.

Changing with the seasons

If the holiday season puts you in mind of a cosy mountain retreat with open fires, bare wood walls and an alpine view, then we suggest you head into New York City. Here in a post-industrial gallery space, brand consultant Rachel Schechtman has set up STORY, a store that’s in a perpetual state of flux, with design and merchandise ranges changing completely every few weeks.

For the current theme, ‘Home for the Holidays’ Schechtman worked with Target to assemble a hand-picked collection of gift items, all displayed in the fantasised setting of a mountain lodge, complete with blonde wood fixtures and comfortable seating. It’s a witty and engaging piece. There may be a problem however. Once customers have kicked off their shoes and settled in, how can they be persuaded to leave?



Growing trends in packaging

Living fruit basket

After travelling a few thousand miles in a refrigerated container, fresh fruit and vegetables start to seem somehow less than fresh. Chances are, they’ve lost a lot of their nutritional value along the way too.

While few of us have the privilege of picking and eating fruit as soon as it ripens, design student Hyunhee Hwang has come up with a way to deliver the freshest produce possible. The roots of the fruit plant create their own container in the form of a living basket. It’s an idea that works especially well for fruits that tend to perish quickly after picking, such as berries or figs.

Living fruit basket 2

Appearing under the brand name Nurture, the baskets come with a display stand, a spray to keep the plants moist and scissors to harvest the fruit. Just the thing for the table-top allotmenteer.



A break from the norm

Part of our 12 Pokes of Christmas. Look out for more in the coming weeks.

A break from the norm


This comfy Fairisle sweater. It’s not just a sweater. No. It’s a work of art. It shouldn’t simply be slung over the back of a chair. It deserves to be displayed in a Chelsea art gallery.

Or so Gap would have it. The US retailer has styled itself as the champion of normcore, urging its customers to ‘Dress normal’. But, with a recent crop of 10 mini-spots promoting its holiday gift range, it appears there’s a spirit of artistic experimentation buttoned up inside Gap’s knitwear.

Filmed in a neutral gallery setting, Gap’s knits and accessories adorn a series of bizarre installations, among them slot racing shoes, a troupe of dancing sweaters and a perpetual high-five machine. It’s all strangely mesmerising. And at the same time, affirming. Now, when we pull on our cosy sweaters, it makes us feel ever so slightly edgy.



Mo than a screensaver



As another Movember draws to a close, the campaign to promote men’s health worldwide has left many men with a luxuriously carpeted lip. Or at least just a light peppering of stubble. It’s unlikely that many of these ‘taches will last until Christmas before falling beneath the blade. But this year, developers Bas van de Poel, Daan van Dam and animator Wong Ping have come up with another way to further the fuzz.

The ‘screenshaver’ is like a screensaver, only hairier. When your computer goes idle, an abstract figure appears and proceeds to shave its entire body, leaving only a magnificent moustache behind.

Proceeds from the screenshaver go to the Movember Foundation which supports a range of initiatives around the world, working towards better health for men and raising awareness around testicular cancer, prostate cancer and heart disease. Which is great. Close shaves like these are best avoided.



Latest jobs Jobs web feed