Thursday, November 29, 2007

Club Monaco Launch @ Pavilion

After a week of pulling our asses out of our beds before the sun comes up to go to KL to attend the Diageo Way of Brand Building training, it finally ended on Thursday of last week.

And I came back to the office with a back log of work plus new jobs which I’ve been staying late to complete.

So it’s only now that I’m about to blog about what we did AFTER the training.

We celebrated by drinking at the new La Bodega at Pavilion. There were several rounds of Tiger Beer, after which Sin Cyn, Cheryl Smurfette, Annie Boobster, Paul & I headed to the launch of Club Monaco.

It was all very glam. Once your name is ticked off the guest list, you step onto the red carpet. But this red carpet, covered about 400sft outside of the store. Guess they wanted everyone to feel like VIPs.

The event was grand with a lot of pretty looking men and women.

As soon as we walked in, we were served champagne which is always a good thing.

We then nibbled on popcorn on chocolate sticks and white chocolate shaped like corals and dipped into dried strawberry. Very yummy and interesting morsels of food catered from Lafite.

Then I discovered that they had a single malt whiskey bar upstairs. Which was of course why I parked myself on the upper levels. Which was a good thing cos that’s where I met many advertising and production who’s who. I also met many from the media, publications, fashion houses and even Bank Negara. Bumped into a lot of friends too.

My only problem now is watching the name cards to the faces I vaguely remember in my head.

Here’s some pics of the clothes and the food.

The clothes were simple but very stylish. The pieces I picked up averaged at RM400 a piece. ‘Picked up’ meaning ‘lift up to touch the material’ and not buy. Hahaha!

I do like the clothes and am planning to go back there to have a good look. Kinda hard to try on dresses with a drink in one hand, a tuff of cotton candy on a chop stick in the other while waving to friends and trying to extract a name card from a very tiny clutch to pass to a new acquaintance.

And here’s some pics of when the beer, champagne and single malt whiskey decided to gang up against us.

This is what happens when you drink too much, Sleepy Smurf!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Diageo Way of Brand Building

Of all the client trainings I’ve attended, I can honestly say that the Diageo Way of Brand Building is the best among the rest. It’s a 3 ½ day workshop where those who work in Diageo as well as on Diageo brands come together to learn about how the company builds brands. They must be doing something right because Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Baileys are among some of their brands who are leaders in their categories.

From an agency’s perspective, I found the training to be beneficial as it give us an insight into the inner working of the client’s brand team and to understand why they work they way they do.

The waking up at 6.30am everyday and getting to the hotel by 8am was tough. And so was the shortened breaks where we had to down our coffees and stub out our half smoked cigarettes and actually run back into the seminar rooms ….. unless we want to stand up in front of everyone and sing a song. I guess that penalty worked cos most people were punctual if not way ahead of time for all of the meetings and break out sessions.

And of course the product training part of the course was excellent.

The Johnnie Walker session was best since we got to sample the red, black, green, gold AND blue label. Yummy.

And this is how the room looked liked when we left for the evening.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Diageo Training & Traffic Jams

It took 20 minutes for me to get to work today. That’s twice as long as it usually takes. That’s because I wanted to come in earlier to work today to check on work by 9.30am before I leave for my training session at 11am.

Diageo owns Guinness and they have training sessions for all personnel working on all their brands. Their marketing staff as well as advertising agency personnel alike attend the training for all their brands which includes Guinness, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Baileys and more.

The training will include an understanding of how they come out with the briefing template for agencies to work on jobs as well as product tasting. Yup, we’ll be sampling (or downing for some people) all the different brands and variants of their alcoholic brands. But I don’t intend to be high until after 5pm each day. Such a good and sober girl!

The sucky part is that if we want food in the mornings, we gotta be there by 8am. The training session starts at 8.30am everyday. Which means I’ll need to wake up by 6.30am and be ready to leave the house at 7.15am! I know that this may be the norm for some people but for me, that’s madness!

I hate being woken up. I like to wake up on my own and at my own body clock time. I already find it a struggle waking up at 9am to be in at work by 10am. What more waking up at 6.30am? Just because there are traffic jams. I hate traffic jams. They are such a waste of time. So far I’ve managed to find jobs which allow me to go to the office late and leave work whenever I want so I’ve managed to avoid traffic jams. At least that’s 95% of the time. And I schedule meetings so that I hardly need to sit in jams either going to the meeting or coming back from it.

It’s for this reason that I have a rule that I my home and office should not be more than 15 minutes drive away from each other during normal circumstances. This means that I’ve ruled out working in downtown KL. Unless they triple my salary. AND include perks.

And since I’m in KL for the next few days (and I’m hardly in KL cos of the jams), I may as well stay there in the evenings and enjoy the night life there. And avoid the traffic jams of course.

So there won’t be any more posts from me till at least Friday.

Have a good week everyone!

I’m off for my Guinness, vodka, whiskey and other assortment of alcohol.

Friday, November 16, 2007

TV & Movie Watching Mood

Stardust the Movie was funny, sarky (I love good sarcasm!) and fun to watch. While it wasn’t that close to the book by Neil Gaiman, it was entertaining and I had no major gripes about it.

Apart from About a Boy by Nick Hornby which was a movie based on a book which I personally felt was as good as the book and even stayed true to the storyline up to the small details, more often than not, I always feel disappointed after I’ve watch any movie based on a book which I’ve read.

When you read a book, you’re in a theatre of the mind which can draw you in completely especially if you have a vivid imagination. Sometimes when I watch a movie based on a book, I feel like I’ve already seen the movie. It helps when the author is descriptive and totally immerses you into the world he’s created.

Thus, this time with Stardust, I decided not to re-read the book which I tend to do sometimes before movies. I didn’t want to end up frustrated and through the course of the movie, think to myself “That’s not what happened!”, “Who is that new character?” and “They jumped from the scene on Page 57 to Page 285?!!!”.

Thanks to Sin Cyn who organized for 8 of us to watch the movie at Cineleisure on Cheap Movie Day Wednesdays!

We may be watching Beowolf soon to see Angeline Jolie (hot hot hot!). Neil Gaiman was part of the team which adapted the legend for the big screen.

And I can’t wait for Enchanted. I thought it was a cartoon but the trailer showed that it was animation meets the real world, something like the original Roger Rabbit. The trailer was funny from the start to the end. It had me in stitches…. All 3 minutes of it or however long trailers usually lasts. Not to mention that Mc Dreamy (Patrick Dempsey of Gray’s Anatomy) plays the modern day prince. How apt. He’s not my version of hot, by those eyes would make most women swoon.

I’m going home now to watch the last few episodes of Gray’s Anatomy Season 3. I heard that Season 4 is already available!

I’m in such a TV series and movie watching mood!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Time For Facebook

I finally have a bit more time in the office and can play with Facebook again.

I’ve deleted a whole lot of applications which I’ve installed but no longer use. And have clicked the ‘Ignore’ button on the new application invites umpteen times in an effort up to clean up the programme and only keep the those which allows me to keep in touch with friends through common interests.

Since I had time, I did the ‘What Drug Are You Test”. The result:

You are "Mushrooms"!

“Why does everything need a definition? Why must society insist on labels? Why can't we all, as a people, decide that life is about living, and that all this hatred and fear has no place in today's society? And why is that couch talking to me?”

And that’s so true about me. Especially the couch talking portion.

I also did the ‘Lesbian Test’ and the result:

Amanda is an Anne

“Whether she's a lesbian or not depends on the day of the week. Or how intoxicated she is"

And that again is so true! Strangely my current boyfriend and also my exes do not like the idea of me kissing a girl. So I’ve refrained from doing it now when I’m on an alcohol buzz.

The funny thing is that many women are like that especially when under the influence. I believe that everyone, both male and female, have a bit of gay tendencies (being homophobic could be a sign of being afraid that if they get close to a gay person, they may turn gay themselves). It’s just a matter of how much they are willing to take it. And sleeping with the same sex does not necessarily mean that you’re gay.

And my current favourite application (besides Fluff Friends) is Visual Book Shelf. Problem is that I can’t recall all the books I’ve read. I’ll start with the ones I do recall then will go back home to look at my book shelf and key in the titles.

Ikea Called Regarding the Missing Meatballs Within 24 Hours

After 2 emails from me and a long follow up email from Jasmine, I received a call from Ikea! They explained that there was a problem with the quality of the meatballs and they are sourcing for a new supplier.

Unfortunately they were unable to tell when the meatballs will be available again.

They probably think that Jas and I are some kinda psycho meat ball lovers who’s experiencing withdrawal symptoms from Swedish meatballs.

I’m slightly surprised they called to follow up. On one hand, I expected them to call because they are an international company but on the other hand, customer service in Malaysia is so crap (I’ve still not received any word from BAT despite informing several friends who work there. I could write in formally but quitting seems like the better idea) that I’ve learn to lower my expectations.

But bottom line is that they did call to follow up within 24 hours. That’s pretty amazing.

I now hope that they have the good sense to reply my email inquiry which I also CCed to 20 other friends.

Only then will I be convinced that Ikea’s customer service is on par with international standards.

I’m contented enough for now but I hope they bring the meat balls back soon!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bring the Meatballs Back!

Ikea is not only known for their furniture but their food too. Besides furniture and food, I often go to Ikea to :

- play with the animals (and try not to bring any back with me though Ashton, the Minnen Ratta, put the guilt trip on me so I had to bring him back home and I now love him to bits)

- walk around when I’m bored and end up buying something small which I don’t need but is cute so I can’t resist like the jigsaw puzzle shaped ice cube makers

- take a nap on the beds or sofa beds

- do a sales pitch and try and sell a sofa bed to the customers

- sit in the ‘living room’ with friends and pretend I’m hosting a tea party

Today, Michelle Who Stays on the Seashore, Sin Cyn and I went to Ikea for lunch. We already knew that the Ikea Café no longer served the Swedish meatballs, though we don’t know why. We heard some rumour about it being not halal. Anyway, the last time we were there, the meatballs were replaced by something else that I can only describe as flattened meatballs. They tasted about the same but it was slightly crispier, due to the shape.

We headed to the café today and there were no meatballs! Flattened or otherwise. Ikea is famous for their Swedish meatballs! How can they not have it on the menu?

I asked the server who told me that it’s simply no longer on the menu and he doesn’t know when it will be brought back. I asked the cashier and she said that there’re a problem with the supplier.

I then called Ikea Customer Service and they put me on hold so many times. They really should not call themselves Customer Service. I’ve just emailed them instead. I need an answer. They need to bring the meatballs back. I’d really like it if they would offer both the traditional meat balls and “meat flatties”. Maybe I’m asking for too much but just bring one version back.

And they need to take the sign out from the car park area.

Quality of Dunhill Cigarettes Makes Me Want to Quit Smoking

The quality of cigarettes has been deteriorating. I was smoking Marlboros but due to the Dunhill conversation programme and also it’s higher quality, I switched to Dunhill.

Now, I find that the quality of Dunhill Red appalling. This may be due to the fake cigarettes flooding the market but as a loyal Dunhill customers, this is so discouraging especially for those who have been smoking it for decades. Twice so far in the last 2 months, I encountered people who bought a bad pack of Dunhills. Paul opened a new pack of Dunhill Reds to find that there were 16 sticks in the pack and at another time, a friend opened a new pack and found that the sticks were not rolled properly. See pic below.

Besides the low quality of Dunhill Reds, Dunhill D360 Menthol Lights are not fresh and neither are the Dunhill Fine Cut Menthol Lights. This could be attributed to less people smoking those variants which results in slower moving stock which causes the cigarettes to go stale. But if I’m going to pay a price that’s higher than normal premium cigarettes, I’d expect some sort of quality.

I’ve complained to several friends who work at BAT or have connections to the company but I’ve not received any follow up so far.

First, bad quality cigarettes. And now bad customer service follow up? This reflects extremely badly on BAT which I previously held in good light.

This is disappointing indeed.

I’ve since switched back to Marlboro. But the taste really isn’t as good as Dunhill.

So both Marboro and Dunhill (all it’s variants) suck. And I can’t smoke the value brands.

I enjoy smoking but all the cigarettes available in the market today either taste bad or are of bad quality. And I’m not going to pay good money for an inferior product.

I’m considering quitting smoking altogether.

Health reasons notwithstanding, it’s more about being ‘cheated’ by brands I used to love and was willing to pay good money for.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Holiday - Private Villas in Bali

I’m feeling sleepy. Very sleepy. It’s such a non-productive day at work. Well I’m in the office but I’m not working. My mind is stoning.

Doesn’t help that I was out till late on Wed at Clear & Thurs at Attic.

So Sin Cyn and I went for an aromatherapy foot massage in Urban Retreat at The Curve during lunch today. It cost RM39 for half hour and it was so worth it. I almost fell asleep. Now we’re planning to go for a 1 and a half hour full body massage the next time we are able to have a long lunch (massages are cheaper during working hours).

And talking about massages, I can’t wait to go to Bali and spend a few hours in spas everyday!

My holiday to Bali with Paul is finally confirmed! After several emails, calls and SMSes to Ashley of Nazar Travels, we’re going to Bali!

I’ve been to Bali several times but it’s still a place u can return to again and again as a holiday destination. It’s got so much to offer. I was contemplating between Bali and Samui during New Year but the good hotels in Samui have compulsory New Year Eve gala dinners which costs up to RM800 per person! And the peak season surcharge was high for both destinations

So we pushed it 2 weeks later which also coincides with our 1 year anniversary.

For RM1,800 each, we’re staying 3 nights in Villa Dedaun in Legian and 2 nights in Santi Mandala in Ubud. Each private villa is large and has its own pool.

I can’t wait to surf, get a tan, go for spas and sip cocktails every single day while we’re there!

Check out the pics of Villa Dedaun. The pics of the place was what sold me on Bali this time. Finally, no more tan lines ;)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Heineken Extra Cold Launch @ Velvet

Here are more pics. This time it's from the Heineken Extra Cold launch held at Velvet last night.

I looks like I'm partying but the beer team and I were there for work! Really! The client invited us to mingle, PR and try out the new beer.

With the Boobster and Lols.

The beer team and the client. We're missing Smallie aka Little Monster aka Smurfette.

With Sin Cyn and the Fairy.

Siew Yee of G2 loves Heineken! Helps that there was free flow that night.

The big bosses of Guinness Anchor Berhad and the Heineken girls.

Heineken in a ice casing. Some people were licking those ice cases while others were wiping their palms on it.

Close up of the new Heineken Extra cold bottles. These come in bottles and on tap. The liquid is exactly the same but it's made to be served at 0C - 3C whereas normal beers are served at 4C. This also makes the taste smoother and less bitter than the usual Heine. I'm not a beer person but i gotta say that this is quite yummy. Beer should never ever be served if it's not icy cold.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Saatchi & Saatchi is Agency of the Year!

Saatchi & Saatchi wins Agency of the Year at the Kancil Awards! By then, we were onto our 20th bottle of Moet and trying not to fall off stage though I heard that 2 people actually did that. Yes you do know who you are. I just can't find anyone who took a pic of it. I'll check the Adoi website since the photographers were lined up facing the stage.

And these are some of the pics from before the walk up onto stage and before the alcohol madness.

Cyn was bored in the car. We were stuck in a jam on the way to the Kancils which were held in Sunway Resort Hotel this year. No one likes this venue for the Kancils but i suspect that Shangri-La has banned us after the amount of damage done to cutlery, crockery, furniture, furnishings and people in the past few years.
We finally arrived! Cyn, Shell and I decided to take a shot before we got smashed. This is in the car park lobby.
The pre-party at Cafe Flam with Cindy & Adrian.
Cyn & I with the planners - Salt Boy who's left Saatchi (do u regret it now??!) and May Leen who's leaving soon.
The alcohol has begun to flow. Darren, Bubs, Kenny, Boobster & Dawn. Saatchi had 7 tables and each one had a few bottles of Moet. No wonder those from other agencies were hanging out with us!
Marsupial, Shell & I. Marsupial is bored. Your first Kancil is boring cos you don't know many people especially if you're in a smaller agency or one which isn't picking up a lot of metal. By the time u hit your 5th Kancil, you're jaded and bored. That's why the alcohol must flow! Then everything becomes fun again and everyone is your friend.
Cheryl the Smallie likes girls when under the influence. I'm not posting pics of her doing other stuff to girls cos I'm nice. Hehe!
Pic with Tina, my ex AD. Do u see Smallie the monster behind?
Sin Cyn & I with the bosses. They are not only important cos they are our bosses but cos they pay for the very many bottles of Moet, vodka & wine.
Darren the intern is the first casualty. Totally passed out.
Aaron is doing something strange to Passed Out Darren while Sin Cyn and Sin How eggs him on.
If only Passed Out Darren wasn't passed out. He'd have enjoy that. Okay maybe not the cheek pinching but the lap dance...?
Apparently Boobster and I always take a shot like this every Kancils.
Wow .... i look sober and this was at the after-party in Wabisabi.
This is a drunk Andrea. When we have pics like this, it always means we had a great night.

This is the first time I'm in an agency which won Agency of the Year. I'm so proud of Saatchi & the Guinness team! Go Saatchi!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Happy Halloween 2008! With Pics!

As promised, here are the pics from the Halloween Party.

Sin Cyn trying on the pirate cum Zorro type hat & mask.

I'm smiling under the mask!

Sin Cyn said I scared some old ladies walking around with a extra fluffy bright orange pumpkin wig.

Then 8 of us went Trick or Treating, unlike last year! More fun but it also means I get less candy! And here's my bounty. Lotsa sweets and candies, a few paper clips, a pack of chips, RM2+, one tennis ball and one pillow.

Guinness marks the start of the party in the office.

Mini Mouse makes an appearance. She's smoking tho. Not good for the Disney family image.

A fairy, not The Fairy in the dark.

A must for Halloween!

A fairy, pirate & pumpkin.
Pumpkin, fairy, Pinky and Smallie according to height

Casting a spell!

The devil and the gargoyle.


Dunno who Boobster is trying to be.

And I don't know who this is.

There wasn't enough Guinness so Lara Croft got violet and took it out on a poor unsuspecting alkie.

Pinky just took it out on herself.

By the way this was a secret party and not many know we sneaked into the office so don't tell anyone!

Enjoy these pics. The office is closed for the afternoon so we can all prepare for the Kancils tonight. More (very drunken) pics will be posted up.