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interTrend has been in the news. Above, an article on Imprint Venture Lab in the Los Angeles Business Journal. Below, video of our own Julia Huang on ETTV’s MD Talk.

And then there was the Long Beach Post’s recap of our announcing Jeffrey Ng as our new Executive Creative Director

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Please let us know about other sightings!

Introducing interTrend’s new Executive Creative Director, Jeffrey Ng (a.k.a. jeffstaple)

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Photo: Lindsey Ingram

Last week at the Psychic Temple, Jeffrey Ng was formally introduced to the staff of interTrend as the creative agency’s new Executive Creative Director. I asked Jeff (a.k.a. jeffstaple of Staple Pigeon, Staple Design, and Reed Space) and the Long Beach-based group’s CEO and co-founder Julia Huang to talk about the hire, how it happened, and why they are excited about it.

iT: Julia, Jeff is a bold choice for Executive Creative Director of an Asian advertising agency. Can you describe what he brings to the team?
JH: My friend John Jay at GX (Wieden+Kennedy) once said to me that a great Creative Director makes those around him or her better and lifts the collective bar of excellence through inspiration. It’s never about the ego or creating a great individual portfolio. Jeff fits that bill rather nicely.

iT: Did you have to convince Jeff that he was right for the job or was it vice versa? None of the above?
JH: The funny thing is, I’ve known Jeff for several years and we have worked on different projects together but never for interTrend. A couple of months ago, we had a discussion creativity in advertising is so different now. Something clicked and the conversation organically flowed to how he could take on the role of Executive Creative Director for interTrend.

iT: What does his accepting the position say about what interTrend has evolved into and where it’s going?
JH: Multicultural marketing has evolved into something very different from when I started the company. Asian American advertising and marketing, even more so. Reaching the target market for our clients is still very important from a return-on-investment standpoint. But we are focusing more and more on cultural influence of Asian Americans. As Jeff quoted our mutual friend Dave Choe in his kick-off presentation: “This is the absolute best f*cking time to be Asian!”

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Photo: Lindsey Ingram

iT: Jeff, I love how you cited the ascendance of Asians around the world as your prime reason for taking the gig. What’s your take on interTrend’s relationship with Asian culture in America?
JN: I really think they’ve been paving the road—perhaps unknowingly. I’ve never spoken with Julia about this, but I would imagine she saw a necessity in the marketplace and she realized she could fulfill it. The original necessity was that there was a need for U.S.-based companies to communicate effectively with Asians. As time has progressed, that messaging has needed to be more and more sophisticated. In my opinion, Asians are very often at the pinnacle forefront of almost every facet of culture. We are in a very enviable position. As a company or brand, it’s no longer “You should communicate to Asians.” Now it’s “You must communicate with Asians—and it better be damn good.”

iT: Is there anything about your career trajectory that makes the timing right on your side as well?
JN: I have founded three incredible companies and have a team of 35 people, mostly in New York City. We have a menswear collection (Staple Pigeon), a boutique creative agency (Staple Design), and a lifestyle retail concept (Reed Space). In some way, I feel that I’ve reached a very comfortable position in all these industries. There’s still more to do, but I think with my guidance the team will get us there. Now I’m really interested in doing things that move the needle. So I want to apply my learnings from the past 20 years to making things shake, rattle, and roll in the mainstream.

iT: Julia, I’m sure you’ve considered that more conservative clients may not “get” Jeff’s body of work. What is your response to that notion?
JN: The kind of pedigree clients or advertising agencies are looking for in an Executive Creative Director, while still important, is not the priority anymore. Consumers are looking for authenticity in brand messages and Jeff gets it.  And I’m confident that clients will understand that he gets it, too. Through his many successful businesses, Jeff has always understood the pulse of what’s happening in the world of culture.

iT: Jeff, as a guy whose business and client work have always seemed very personal, how do you feel about taking on a mass-market audience?
JN: It may seem like my work has been tied to me personally, but I’ve always had the ability to separate emotions from the reality of doing business. I think the thing I have been deliberate about is being “authentic.” That’s either authentic to the project, to the client, to the consumer, or, ideally, all of the above.

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Photo: Lindsey Ingram

iT: What are some of interTrend’s recent campaigns that you are a fan of? Why, and what would you like to do more of?
JN: Interestingly enough, the most impressive campaigns have been the in-house ones. The summer internship and the Psychic Temple poster campaign were standouts. This tells me a lot. Our clients need to allow us to spread our wings and show them more of what our capabilities are. This isn’t their problem, though—this is our problem. It’s an inability on our part to showcase our skills or instill a level of confidence. I don’t expect this to happen overnight, but I do think a major goal of mine is to push that boundary as far as possible.

iT: I’m pretty sure I’ve heard you say that New York City is the greatest place on Earth. Is there anything about Long Beach that you look forward to being around more often?
JN: Clean air, sunny skies, and Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles.

iT: Julia, when the office moves into the Psychic Temple, what do you think about employee uniforms/work wear by Staple?
JH: To be honest, with so many birds residing in and around the Psychic Temple we just need to be careful that our everyday outfits don’t get stained by the famous Staple pigeons above!

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Photo: Lindsey Ingram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ultraman x State Farm campaign launches today

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The long-awaited Ultraman campaign for State Farm launches today! Mashing up Asia’s O.G. costumed hero franchise with motorists in distress is a perfect fit for the Chinese market in America, and the videos are pretty cool. (Be sure to clarify that it’s Ultraman Neos when sharing this, or you will be slammed by your otaku friends.)

Check out the first piece below and get more details about Ultra Service at statefarm.com/chinese.

Seeking Interns for Summer 2014

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We at interTrend are seeking curious, creative, and hungry recruits for this summer’s internship program. Participants will get a behind-the-scenes look at our award-winning creative agency and contribute to real projects with real clients. The brand-new program will include time spent in each department at the agency’s Long Beach headquarters. And it’s paid!

Disclaimer: Must like dogs.

Apply at intertrend.com and spread the word!

Jane Nakagawa on the Huffington Post

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Today the Huffington Post posted an essay by interTrend’s own Jane Nakagawa. In the piece, Jane not only shows insight gained through her expansive experience in the auto industry but demonstrates why her newest effort, Portia Consulting, will be so valuable to clients. Read the complete article at huffingtonpost.com.

 

Renzei Holdings feature in OC Register

 

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Did you miss last week’s article about Renzei Holdings (the parent company of interTrend, Imprint, Pivot, and Rezonate)? Read about its history and highlights, as well as Julia Huang’s tips on how to run a successful business at ocregister.com.

 

 

Architecture for Dogs goes to New York

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Fresh off a successful launch in Tokyo, Architecture for Dogs is about to receive the spotlight once again, this time in New York City at Purina’s Better with Pets Summit on Tuesday, November 19. After packing her bags, AFD co-founder Julia Huang answered some questions about it for us.

What do you know about the conference that you’ll be presenting at in New York?
Not a whole lot, aside from the fact that there are so many subject matter experts with Dr. before their names. But the premise of this Purina-facilitated conference about how our lives are #betterwithpets resonates strongly with me.

In Japan you were involved in a few group discussions. How are you approaching this solo gig?

The good news is the time slot is shorter than the two-hour panel discussion in Japan. The bad news is I don’t know if there is going to be enough time to share the best of Architecture for Dogs: how it came about, what’s happening even as we speak, and what we have in store for the future. But I am going to try to communicate as much as possible Kenya Hara’s vision, how world class architects responded to the challenge, and how the world is responding.
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Were there any surprising moments or new realizations in Japan that you can share with us?
More like a strong reinforcement of what we knew all along. A lot of people respond strongly to all things dogs and all things architecture.  Combine the two and we basically have a powerful platform for people to communicate with each other.

Any interesting fans of the project that you’ve come across ?
A hip-hop rapper with his dog’s named tatooed on his arm.


Is Renzei going to make the trip to New York?
No, I really wish he could but I don’t think he would take 6-hour cross-country trip very well.

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For more information, visit architecturefordogs.com and imprintculturelab.com.

October Roundup: Take Your Shot, Aziatix/Corolla Ready, Architecture for Dogs, Love Is Changing History

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Yesterday was interTrend’s monthly agency meeting, in which the different departments (and sister companies) share projects, updates, information, and inspiration. It was also Halloween, so there were costumes! I can’t possibly run down all the great outfits that were present in the office–or even show photos of everyone–but here are four campaigns that we are very proud of.

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The three Take Your Shot contest winners have completed their short films under the tutelage of Wong Fu Productions, Jon M. Chu, and Freddie Wong. You can not only watch them at takeyourshotfilms.com but also vote on them, see behind-the-scenes footage, and enter to win a Nokia Lumia 1020.

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On the heels of last week’s Aziatix/Corolla “Baby, Let’s Go” premiere and launch event, more details have been released regarding the campaign. In addition to the online effort and Asian print and television outlets, the song and videos will be featured at Boiling Crab locations, select boba shops, and many karaoke studios beginning next week.

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Imprint Culture Lab’s Architecture for Dogs exhibit debuted in Tokyo at the TOTO Gallery•Ma, and has enjoyed tremendous media coverage. Next week I’ll share photos from the opening and other special events that took place, as well as provide a peek into the accompanying book that is available all over Japan (and will hopefully be distributed in the United States).
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Finally, interTrend was proud to develop AT&T’s Love Is Changing History Project. The site launched in October but it isn’t too late visit it, see two powerful short films, and help raise money for the nation’s leading non-profit providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project.

Aziatix/Corolla launch event at the Smog Shoppe

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Last night at the Smog Shoppe, Aziatix gave an invite-only performance and meet-and-greet for fans and the media to promote their brand-new single which is being used to promote the latest Corolla campaign. Following Hatsune Miku and HyunA, Aziatix is the newest Asian musical talent to support Toyota’s centerpiece model.

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Following introductions by K Pop icon Danny Im (1TYM, Mnet), Toyota’s David Chung (National Manager, Targeted Advertising and Strategy), and label spokesperson Lynn Scott (Vice President of Marketing for Cash Money Records), the group came out to debut “Baby, Let’s Go” to the intimate crowd at the converted auto garage.

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The song, which was written specifically for the Corolla campaign, is being released as a single by Cash Money Records but is also the centerpiece of a series of commercials and online clips. The pumped-up blend of R&B, rap, and K-pop is super catchy, and will not disappoint the trio’s hardcore fans in Asia and America. I expect it to attract new fans to the group, as well–not to mention direct attention to the revamped Corolla.

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The performance was followed by the global debut of the accompanying music video and a casual Q&A with the group. Topics ranged from how inspiring it is to collaborate with K-pop stars, what a treat it was to work with Toyota, how scary it was to shoot a video around the prototype model, and doesn’t everyone have Hello Kitty air fresheners in their cars? Nice guys, all around.

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Of course, the highlight was when fans could mingle with Aziatix. I spotted homemade T-shirts and signs, group flags, and flashlights, and overheard that some attendees had traveled from out of state to be at the event. Check out the song, videos, and ringtone, at the Corolla Ready site, and enter for a chance to see the band perform the song in concert yourself.

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Congratulations to the Aziatix, Toyota, and interTrend teams for putting together a packed launch event and cool campaign. We look forward to seeing it take off.

Toyota.com/corollaready/

OCA-GLA Image Awards

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A couple of Fridays ago, interTrend was recognized at the OCA-GLA‘s 22nd annual Image Awards. The other two recipients were the Hon. Warren Furutani (Political Achievement) and Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (Community Achievement), and we were honored to receive the Impact Award with such impressive company.

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The Sing Tao Daily provided coverage (above) and so did ETTV America (below).

The interTrend family supports OCA’s goal of “advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States” and truly appreciates the props. Thanks!