Happy New Year Everybody!

Goodbye love Welcome Love


It’s that time again when we have to say goodbye love

To old times when we had so much fun

Where you and I said things that made us laugh and cry

Saying goodbye love to times gone by


Goodbye love and welcome love

To times where tomorrow is ours to shape

Where nobody have no say for the path we take

Saying welcome love to times coming by


Goodbye love and welcome love

Is not about what we had in our hearts

But it’s about time gone by and the time coming by

Love knows no goodbye and welcome


Because love is always there in our hearts and the future is ours to shape


Happy New Year everybody!

Confession of A Marketer Part One

Just like John Perkins came out from the closet and relieves his past doing in a book entitled “Confession of an economic hitman”, I’m going to do the same only with a different context.

In a very brief summary, Perkins wrote about his job as an economic hitman, negotiating lucrative deals that benefits his employer but the deals always has a catch. The catch is that his employer gets more than enough and the host country usually gets… Well, less than nothing or at least just enough. The way Perkins did his job back then is to use advanced negotiation and communication skill, combined with advanced financial knowledge to literally cheat the host country to sign up deals that actually do harmful things for them.

Now, I used to be a marketer and putting myself up to Perkins level is absolutely stupid… I do however worked like him, putting up communication skill to make people believe what I said and do what I wanted them to do. In my country, marketing is a branch of communication major, where applied theory of communication is all too relevant. In advertising 101, it is said that what we do in daily life is marketing in itself. When we talk, we brought about tone and manner, with a message to convey explicitly or implicitly, and we expect the person that we talked to respond in ways that we have anticipate so we can reply accordingly. The last sentence alone is the most basic form of marketing, and that is just one part of our life. What we wear, what we eat, where do we go, who our friends are, where we live, all reflects our status. Status, something that we wanted people to perceive us, same like many brands wanted and formed perception of their selves. BMW “The Ultimate Driving Experience”… Is it? I heard and read Ferrari cars offer the best driving experience of any car/brands… D’oh, given Ferrari unified product portfolio (all Ferrari cars are semi professional racing cars).

By creating false assumption to garner intention and perception, marketer basically lies as their daily job. Why said marketer lies as their daily job? Well, it’s very simple… What would you say to your boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents? You will say something that impresses them, something that you did or currently do but you exaggerate it through the roof. Basically creating a false assumption, or true to some extent. It’s not necessarily lying, but what is that term again… When you are not telling the whole truth? White lies? Well, there are many type of lies but it is still lying.

Some marketer even abuse the concept of marketing in the sense it became no longer relevant to the product. I have the best example for this. In my country there’s a local notebook company with the name of BYON. As a newcomer how could they garner attention from Indonesian IT consumers who are easy to sway by international marquees? They have to be innovative, have to be different… But what they sell is just old plain notebook, the same as multinationals brand who already established strong brand image in the country. With a strong barrier to entry, what does the marketer at BYON did? They create a perception that their notebooks are “upgradeable”, and they use Indonesian record museum (Indonesian version of Guinness book of record) achievement frequently.

Are BYON claim about their products as upgradeable is true? Well, to some extend yes, but basically they are just claiming what other national/multinational notebook brands already capable of. It’s what we call in marketing term as preemptive claim, claiming something that is already common but never been claimed. I’ve wrote up about preemptive claim here. For that I have nothing to say about BYON because they are just practicing common marketing effort. But then there’s the record setting claim… This one I really don’t like… They set a record as being the first notebook that uses gold and diamond on the cover… What the hell… What the hell… Then they set another record, about creating a Christmas tree using BYON notebooks. Does the record settings are relevant to BYON products which are mobile computing? Big fat NO.

Record settings supposed to be relevant to the product. Honda for example, in Indonesia they set a record of using 1 liter of fuel to travel an average 70 kilometer (43.5 mile); now that’s relevant even though how that fuel consumption number is achieved through questionable ways. Then, there’s Suzuki Shogun, a small bike that claimed a record (noted in Indonesian record museum) of being run through racing circuit for 24 hours non stop, now that is dead relevant to the product. How BYON abuse their non relevant record setting claims to me is very non sensical. If I could humbly offer a record setting claim that is good for them is about battery longevity. They could use a high capacity battery and they could sell this battery to the consumers at premium price because it has that “record setting” status.

There’s this one book written by Budiman Hakim, creative director for Macs909 (Indonesian advertising agency) entitled “Lanturan tapi Relevan” or loosely translated to rubbish but relevant. In that book he wrote about advertising is a simple thing of acknowledging one unique selling point of a product/brand how small it is and blow it sky high to achieve the desired result. For those who are new to advertising/marketing world in general, I recommend you read this book because of its light approach to the subject. The man was my former employer and although he doesn’t remember me, I learn quite a lot from him.

This entry is actually my reason for making this blog. I want to share with the world about advertising, and marketing in general from my point of view. It is not rocket science by any measure, but still, a lot of marketer doesn’t adhere to the basics of marketing. Instead they use complicated brand/product perception creation through unorthodox methods. Remember guys and gals, do not, I repeat, DO NOT take “thinking out of the box” too literally. When you have objective and direction you are in “the box”… It’s thinking on the boundaries without going over that is most important.

I used to want to name this blog the confession of a marketer… But that’s just too melodramatic.


As I was writing about the confession about being a marketer… I stumble upon Temple Of VTEC preview of Honda cars that received a “prototype” body kit treatment for the upcoming Tokyo Auto Salon show. Honda brings three blinged up ride, the Civic Type-R, the fat Accord (called Inspire in Japan) and the Fit.

The Fit only receives small interior update, because it’s fairly new. The Civic looks like shit… Sorry, I have to say it. It just looks like garbage, complete with garbage like stickers. It’s like a 12 year deranged kid got mad because his mother doesn’t buy him playboy and he’s playing with Need For Speed Underground after a marathon of pimp my ride… It’s just wrong!

But the Inspire… Holy Marry mother of God! Please Honda… PLEAAAAAAAASSSSEEEEEE Make this body kit as an option for the Accord globally, not just Japan. I will delete my post about my rant of how 2008 Honda Accord looks like and put up an open apology letter on this blog for Honda. OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMGWTFWTHROTFLLCBBQ!!!! It makes the so-so Accord looks like awesome, it screams presence, menace and respect.

Click here for source and more pictures

Honda Head Honcho: Hybrid War Is Beginning, Civic Hybrid Was A Mistake

Well, finally the head honcho at Honda Japan has declared an all out hybrid war and stating that Civic Hybrid was a mistake. Starting 2009, Honda will release an all new dedicated hybrid car like Toyota Prius, no longer the hybrid car is based off an existing car.

This actually a long awaited news personally for me… For the longest time I feel that Honda is making a mistake with introducing Civic Hybrid. Toyota Prius as a dedicated hybrid car is instantaneously recognizable as a hybrid car, unlike the “hybrid in disguise” of Civic Hybrid. From marketing point of view, Prius drivers will get a direct recognition of being “environmentally conscious” because the car looks different, and thus people can directly associate it with hybrid. The Civic Hybrid on the other hand… Looks like a Civic, a car that is commonly associated as… Common.

Here are some screenshots of the an existing mule of the supposedly dedicated hybrid.

global hybrid face

global hybrid back

As you can see, Honda’s commitment to introduce a dedicated hybrid is in full steam. Above are pictures of a frankensteined Honda Fit front end on Honda Airwave chassis taken sometimes mid 2007, supposedly tested using the all new hybrid engine. Pictures are taken from… Motor Trend…

Honda also introduced CR-Z, a concept car at 40th Tokyo Motor Show. The car will be gas-electric hybrid, and aimed at performance oriented market… It has the looks, but the gas-electric engine will be something less desired from performance point of view.

Honda CR-Z
Honda supposedly dead serious about the hybrid war. In 2009 the car that is being tested with the frankensteined Fit/Airwave will be available worldwide according to Honda CEO year end speech of 2006, and the car will be cheaper than the current Civic Hybrid. The CR-Z however remains a mystery regarding of its mass production date although Takeo Fukui has mentioned that the car is on its way to production. Probably Honda will deliver a one-two punch by delivering two hybrids at the same time in 2009. The Prius fighter and the CR-Z.

The Prius Fighter, supposedly sized bigger than the Fit but smaller than the Civic will be priced accordingly… Someway between the Fit and the Civic. In America, Civic Hybrid is US$22.000ish, and the new hybrid car supposed to be less than that.

Edited… Fixed some release schedule error, I was so sleepy when typing the entry.

Let’s Talk About The New Fit Engine

As I have noted previously on the new Fit engine, a recent review from asia.vtec.net has proved that I am dead wrong about the speculation of the new engine used in the new Fit. I mentioned about the Fit’s engine uses dual sequential ignition system coupled with VTEC cam changing mechanism… As it is reviewed… Apparently the new Fit engine make do with single ignition system.

My assumption was stemmed from the new Fit 1.3L engine torque curve which maxed out at 2800 rpm (the same as the outgoing 1.3L i-DSI engine), and flat lined with tendency to dip. However at 3200 rpm the torque shoots up again until it reaches 5100 rpm, most likely attributed to the change of hotter cam profile, a proof of VTEC mechanism applied. However, as I have noted, the engine uses a single ignition system… And I can only say… WHAT THE @#)(*&^%$! HONDA!! Why can’t you use this system since day 1??!! I’m upset because as an i-DSI Fit owner, the 1.3L I-VTEC is like a dream engine, high torque at low rpm but can spins high and produce more power. The outgoing 1.3L i-DSI engine only produces 86hp, 14hp less than the new engine with the same fuel consumption.

The new 1.3L I-VTEC achieves power and frugality similar to the outgoing engine because it employs valve deactivation system… I’ll quit the technical mumbo jumbo, and go straight to the point. When the 1.3L engine is cruising it runs on 12 valve, while running hot (accelerating), the full 16 valve goes into action. Just what VTEC was intended, frugal low speed and cruise speed, while power can be achieved at wide open throttle condition

The new 1.5L I-VTEC produces a good 120ps, the highest naturally aspirated production 1.5L power output on any car in Japan. This number I assumed came from a “chipped” 110ps old VTEC engine… And again I am dead wrong. The old 1.5L VTEC uses valve deactivation system that is now used on the new 1.3L I-VTEC. Replacing that system is a full 16 valve that unlike found on the 1.3L version is that the 1.5L changes the valve timing and it also employs a cam changing system. While the 1.3L valve deactivation system is intended for low speed/cruising speed as the engine allow it, the 1.5L is designed for all out performance. Because the 1.5L only changes the valve timing, it is faster at generating torque across the rpm range, no flat line or dip in the torque curve like the 1.3L engine because it takes a bit time in activating the valve.

I really don’t know what I’m talking about here except for the 1.3L I-VTEC engine… After all, aside from marketing and general Honda stuff, I’m clueless… (Well, I have some more qualification but I don’t want to brag). More clear information can be read on asia.vtec.net website provided below.

Temple Of VTEC ASIA Fit Engine Overview

Proton Vs Indonesia: Between Dreams and Reality

Proton as one of SE Asia own automotive marque is regarded as one of the most successful brand in the industry. As a SE Asia bigger company, it stretches its sales network to Europe, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, many other countries and recently Indonesia. Even though many late comers did not enjoy high growth or sales immediately, Proton sales in Indonesia is awfully lacking.

Indonesians are well known for their impulsive buying habit and have tendency to become super early adopter. Many China made bikes, cars, products which had bad quality being bought as soon as they come up, and the reason why because they are cheap. Sure in the end the quality problem rears its ugly head and people started ditching them. However, Proton did not enjoy that kind of “first step” as none even bought their products (well actually there are some). Until today since last year Proton opens up its business in Indonesia, I only saw 4 Protons on the road with one of them being towed… Probably had a problem, the driver seemed very unhappy. So why oh why…?

The reason Proton is very unsuccessful in Indonesia as far as I know is attributed to several obvious things. One being political, two being product portfolio, and three being the product styling.

Politically, Malaysia and Indonesia has a bit of tension regarding Indonesian labor being treated bad there. As deaths has been reported due to neglect and abuse in Malaysia. To make things worse, there are claims about Malaysia claiming Indonesia’s cultural products such as songs, indigenous dance and what not. I would not go into details because I think politics are stupids and most politician goes where a marketer and lawyers went when they are dead anyway.

On product portfolio front, Proton only made available cars which are sedans and supermini, which are cars most Indonesians dislike. Indonesian market dictates that a car must be:

  1. Cheap.
  2. Can sit minimum of 6 comfortably.
  3. Frugal
  4. Handsome… This one is subjective

So Proton current product portfolio only consists of two sedans, one hatch coupe, and one supermini hatch. They certainly could not seat 6, the price range is weird, their looks are… Somewhat unique, and frugality is unproven. Proton’s product price range is unique in a connotative way. Proton Savvy as a supermini is aggressively priced at Rp. 107 million, that is quite right, considering it is automatic model, the Gen-2 sedan hatch is also attractively priced at Rp. 146 million, so does the Waja sedan at Rp 168 million (all A/T models). However, the Satria Neo, which is a 2 door hatch coupe is priced at Rp. 190 million, quite expensive for a late comer considering at that price you can get the more popular Honda City VTEC A/T. So price is okay, one star product with three cash cow is not bad at all.

Then there is the look… Frankly speaking personally, aside from Proton Savvy, all of Proton’s offering is… Different… In a negative way. The Savvy is different in a unique way, it looks very European. The unique side profile, the center exhaust, and every line puts me head over heel. If I have excess money, then I will buy this car, but since I do not have any, then it will have to suffice I am writing good impression of the car 🙂 Do you know that the Savvy has engine and transmission lifted directly from Renault Clio? Yup, the D4F engine and Quickshift 4 (or is it 5?) can be found powering the Savvy. Some say the Savvy itself is based on the Clio, but I could not found definitive info on this. Suffice to say, the engine and transmission itself is worthy to be called awesome, as this means that Savvy is a true European car. There is a popular culture here in Indonesia that if you cannot afford Mini Cooper, than Suzuki Swift is the next best thing… WHOA! The Swift might have the look, but the Savvy is the truer representation of European technology (because it actually is). Interior wise it is also quite good, considering it is a Rp 107 million car.

Other Proton cars… Err… The Waja looks like small VW Passat, a bad impersonation that is. The Gen-2 rear end is good, I like it, but the overall roundness does not suit the front end of the car, which happens by the way has smallish headlights. Proton Satria Neo profile also look like it belongs to the 90s. Overall, aside from the Savvy, all Proton cars looks outdated to me.

So why Proton is unsuccessful in Indonesia? Aside from political problems, Proton did not do the number one mantra in the business world, they did not do enough marketing effort. Marketing effort to change the perception of Proton when it was just taxi fleet so many years ago. The problem is, Proton Indonesia needs to get rid of its taxi fleet image that has been perceived for so many years. Mind you, when Proton (Saga) was used as taxis, it is not a good taxi, the ride was rough, and the engine noise was awful. Sure time changes everything, but perception is one thing that time could not easily change.

So Proton needs to change or rather reinvent their marketing strategy. For sure the existing campaign is less than effective, and they can follow what Suzuki, Toyota and Honda had done in the past to introduce youth oriented marketing and approach. At least the Savvy is quite good, Proton could abuse the European connection because people are sucker for International exposure.

One more thing I like about the Savvy is that it looks very different than any other car out there. Perfect to be targeted to those who wanted to be different.

Honda Love Affair With Turbo And VTEC Heir

Anybody who likes Honda, can spell VTEC right and knows what VTEC stands for, knows that Honda is faithful for the longest time to naturally aspirated engine. Every known popular Honda cars are naturally aspirated, it can even be said that nowadays Honda is the purveyor and champion of naturally aspirated car engine maker. Honda S2000 F20 engine is considered to be the best 2.0L engine available in the world, producing 250ps (246hp) on the high spec Japanese Domestic Market. Honda newest K24 displacing 2.4L in America even produce 190 horsepower in the 8th generation Accord, using regular gas, the most powerful engine of its class. Moreover, Honda Fit RS produces 120ps from a 1.5L, and it is just a simple SOHC engine, wonder what number it can churn if the car uses DOHC type engine.

All Honda venerable Type R cars even have a trademark of using only naturally aspirated engine, from Integra, to Civic, to Accord Euro, and the everlasting NSX. None has ever needed a force induction to make the car go fast around the tracks. Sure sure people will mock Type R cars for having no torque and pit it with a forced induction engine cars and the Type Rs will go bye bye. But what naturally aspirated engine cars with displacement below 2 Liters can go toe to toe with the Type Rs? Answer… Only a few and most often than not they uses bigger displacement engine to win (hints: Nissan and BMW).

With all of this naturally aspirated engine affection, do you know that in the 80s Honda had a brief affair with turbo?

After the advent of CVCC engine that put Honda in the long road to fame, Soichiro Honda’s son Hirotoshi Honda decided that Honda needs a proper “enthusiast” car, one that can go fast but still showcase the spirit of Honda. Then, he took the unjustified tame looking Honda City and installed a turbo in it. So who is this snobby son of Soichiro who can decide what Honda needs? Well, he is after all the founder of Mugen, the-not-so-affiliated-but-actually-is Honda tuning division.

So after the turbo installation, Hirotoshi named the City appropriately as City Turbo, and the car was an instant classic. The engine now produce 100ps up from the measly 70ps, it seems small but consider this… The City Turbo only weighs around 700 Kilogram!! That gives it a power to weight ratio as good as today’s Civic Type R, and that car is fast. When Honda facelift the car, giving it the designation of City Turbo II, the power was upped a little to 110ps. However, according to many various resources, the boost pressure for the engine is limited to preserve engine life, and the car can be boosted easy to more than 150ps (I’m guessing, but being conservative). That’s just insane!

city turbo

The small car that could

Then, there is the thing about 1989 Honda Legend, the first ever 2L V6 with a variable geometry turbo. This variable geometry turbo that Honda created was aptly named the Wing Turbo as it uses some kind of a winglet inside a turbo that variably change the boost pressure depending on the engine load. This beats out conventional turbo concept because it can change boost on demand depending on the engine load, unlike the static boost single turbo charger and the “low-high” characteristic of twin turbo chargers. However, even though the engine was ground breaking, the price reportedly was “too much” for a car of that class back then. Furthermore, I personally suspect that the effect of force induction that is detrimental to the engine was one of the main cause Honda ditch turbo engine.

The Legend

A legend in its time

When VTEC was integrated into Honda product lineup starting from Integra back in 1990, suddenly turbo development was put into stasis, and nobody ever talk about it anymore. Like turbo, VTEC allows for a surge of extra power when the engine is forced to its limit however unlike turbo, VTEC allows daily driving to be efficient. This is because Honda introduce a cam profile changing system that allows “soft” cam to be used for slow driving and “hot” cam to be used for full throttle condition. Furthermore, unlike turbo, the engine is not forced to operate beyond its limit, giving that longevity trait of naturally aspirated engine compared to force induction engine. Now, Honda has this miracle engine that can be driven efficiently but can produce power at high RPMs and have a long life time. It’s a no brainer, turbo is dead! Until recently…

When Acura (Honda lux division) RDX, Acura answer to BMW X3 was launched, enthusiast and media gasps with what type of engine the car used. It is a factory spec turbo, a first for Honda after nearly 20 years! The K23 as it is called produces 240hp and 260 lbs-ft, the torquiest engine Honda ever made. As it code sign gives away, it is a K series engine, the engine that can be found anywhere in the Honda product line, ranging from Accord, Odyssey (JDM), Accord Euro, Civic, Civic Euro, Edix, Element, and others. However Honda engineers strengthened the engine block and added the turbo unit, a variable geometry turbo… The past has return, with a vengeance!

Acura RDX

Acura RDX: Variable geometry turbo in action

With this in mind, speculations about another engine used by Acura TSX replacement (Honda Accord Euro outside US), is a turbo engine producing at least 260hp are running rampant throughout the web. With Honda proprietary torque vectoring all wheel drive system (Super Handling All Wheel Drive, SH-AWD for short) will be adopted by every Acura cars, they need high power high torque engine, and what could give that kind of power except for turbo or large displacement engine? There is something else though, and it is called the A-VTEC.

In the late 80’s Honda ditch turbo for the favor of VTEC. From the looks of it, turbo seems to be a short answer to the long awaited completion of VTEC mechanism. Now does history is repeating itself? Honda new variable geometry turbo engine is faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr from complete. It doesn’t feature direct injection like many advanced engine featured in the Lexus (expensive Toyota) line. Therefore its performance can still be increased with the addition of this simple mechanism. However, 20 years and Honda only took an existing engine, lower its compression, strengthen its structural integrity and adding turbo… Skipping the important direct injection technology? I smell something fishy. I smell Honda is going to repeat history again, introducing stop gap turbo technology before the real “true” advanced engine to be introduced.

A-VTEC or Advanced Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control, is a more advanced version of I-VTEC (Intelligent VTEC), which itself is a more advanced version of VTEC. I won’t try to be a smart guy, you can check how VTEC works by clicking the links I provides at the end of the article.

Anywho, that’s that for now. Will Honda introduce direct injection or not is up to them, but one thing for sure, the existing K23 turbo engine is far from complete. Will Honda repeat history and introduce next generation of their venerable VTEC, or will they soldier on with turbo is still up in the air.

Honda A-VTEC dissected

Honda Wing Turbo

Honda City Turbo Forum

How VTEC works

Honda Very Own VTEC Documentation

Pictures are taken from Acura.com, Asia.VTEC.net, wikipedia.

The Shit That Follows (Counter Marketing Again… With Pictures)

Okay, as I have wrote on my previous post about counter marketing, there are two Indonesian GSM providers who are currently involved in a marketing battle. I promised about posting a picture of a counter claim from Xplor whose image has been soiled by Indosat’s effort to gain a market share. First of all, Indosat put up this billboard complete with a plethora of similar TV and print ads.

crappy ad

The wording on the billboard means (loosely): Anything cheaper (tariff)? With Rp. 0 (free) next to the lady’s head. Then there’s the usual misconception problem about the ad as people accuses Indosat for making a misleading information. First of all, the Rp. 0 (free) is a tariff scheme whereby you used Rp. 5000 and you will get a free Rp. 5000 for the next one call on the same day. The call also only applicable for the same operator. The problem is that Indosat put up Rp. 0 that implies the call is free although it’s not, and a lot of people thinks it’s free.

Furthermore, the ad is a counter marketing for Xplor’s (another GSM provider) Rp. 1/second promotion. Xplor has this promotion of Rp. 1/second, and Indosat anything cheaper notion is specifically aiming at Xplor’s marketing effort. As I have mentioned on my previous post, this move is enough to send Xplor up in flames and decided to do a counter marketing. Then, Xplor made this billboard and its many variations through tv and print ads.


The wording on the billboard means: empty barrel sounds loud when hit… A famous Indonesian phrase hinting at those who exuberantly exaggerate things. In this case, the Rp. 0 Indosat claim is just one big bag of hot air, because it is not a tariff, it’s a bonus. I used Indosat as my personal GSM provider, but I do however side with Xplor on this… Indosat doesn’t have any “smart” thing to say about this, because Xplor is right. Rp. 0 is not tariff, unlike Xplor’s Rp. 1/second. Because the real Indosat tariff is around Rp. 8 /second, and after a cumulative of Rp. 5000 is amassed then the user got their bonus free call for Rp. 5000 duration.

If you guys take a look closer at the wording under the girl who sits on the barrel is the Rp. 0 crossed out with font and visual styling of Indosat’s original Rp. 0 ad.

Indosat… Shame on you… Xplor, I have your back… I’m still keeping my subscription though, even though Indosat is expensive, my number has flew around the world.