Thursday 24 November 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 24/11/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Ricky Rhodes

Opinion / Chiara Rimella

Big impression

This week a former Monocle colleague who has flown the nest to pursue a music career made an interesting publicity choice for her forthcoming EP. After months of self-promotion on social media, she booked a huge billboard on a busy intersection in east London. She is not alone in employing such a strategy: out-of-home (OOH) advertising is an old-school method but its fortunes are once again on the rise. After a predictable dip in 2020 and 2021 as a result of lockdowns, many expect the sector to continue to grow. Statista estimates a global value of about €42.5bn by 2027, compared to €33bn in 2017.

Though online advertising remains important to marketing teams, a sense of digital deluge is enticing brands to try out different ways of grabbing attention. A billboard’s return on investment might not be as easy to measure as that of a digital banner but taking a step away from our phone screens and onto a city’s streets means making a different kind of statement. This is no longer just about a targeted attempt to find a customer niche but rather a desire to be part of a broader, real-world conversation.

For an independent artist, it is also surprisingly good value. A PR campaign aiming to reach an audience of music connoisseurs on online magazines and blogs can cost £2,500 (€2,900) for three months, while two weeks of your face plastered on multiple posters will typically set you back about £1,100 (€1,300). Whether or not this strategy will deliver more punters to my former colleague’s gigs remains to be seen but it has already inspired more opinion pieces than any of her digital ads.

Chiara Rimella is Monocle’s executive editor.

Image: Shutterstock

Geopolitics / Turkey

On dangerous ground

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has signalled that he might send ground troops into northern Syria and Iraq, following Ankara’s recent airstrikes on Kurdish targets across the two nations. Ankara blames the proscribed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for a bomb attack in Istanbul earlier this month that killed six people and injured 81 others. The PKK has denied responsibility but Turkey’s military response, Operation Claw-Sword, has stoked fears of a regional conflict. “The borders between Turkey, Syria and Iraq are a very troubled part of the world,” Paul Rogers, author of Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century, tells The Monocle Minute. “Unless a state is prepared to play the role of interlocutor, we could see a flare-up of violence in the wider region too.”

For more on this story, listen to the latest episode of The Foreign Desk Explainer.

Image: Lina Ghotmeh/Serpentine

Design / UK

Natural choice

Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh has been selected to design the 2023 Serpentine Pavilion. On display in London’s Hyde Park each summer, the commission acts as a bellwether for the concerns of the architectural community. Ghotmeh’s concept, which she unveiled yesterday, will interrogate our relationship with nature. It’s a subject that shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who are familiar with the designer’s work, including the Stone Garden apartment block in Beirut, which explores local environmental conditions.

“In my office we are always thinking about how architecture can be in complete symbiosis with an environment and how nature can be included,” Ghotmeh told Monocle at our Quality of Life Conference in Paris. “It’s a change of mindset for both designer and client because the value of the project is no longer about how much capital you can make from it but how much of a positive effect that you can have on the environment.”

Image: Reuters

Trade / India

Divine intervention

India’s €872m project to build the country’s first container trans-shipment port and position itself as one of the world’s main shipping routes has been blocked by a local Christian fishing community. “Once completed, this port will help to counter India’s encirclement by China,” Shruti Kapila, a history professor at the University of Cambridge, tells Monocle 24’s The Globalist.

By providing a more economical and flexible trade route, the port could take business from Sri Lanka, where China has invested heavily in port infrastructure. Vizhinjam in the southern Indian state of Kerala could also poach trade from Singapore and Dubai. Despite the High Court of Kerala repeatedly ordering construction to resume, authorities have so far made no attempt to remove the protesters taking part in sit-ins blocking the port’s entrance. With police (pictured) unwilling to act against them for fear of igniting social and religious tensions, China’s maritime dominance in the region looks safe for now.

Image: Pierre Mouton

Retail / France

What goes around

Paris-based resale platform Vestiaire Collective, which specialises in second-hand luxury clothing, is banning the sale of items from labels associated with fast fashion on its website. The move is a snub to brands such as Topshop, Asos and Shein, and casts shade on their manufacturing standards. “We don’t want to be complicit in this industry,” says the platform’s chief sustainability and inclusion officer, Dounia Wone (pictured). “Fast fashion encourages overproduction and overconsumption, and generates huge amounts of waste.”

Vestiaire also plans to offer recycling and donation options, and is lobbying for more stringent producer-responsibility policies that will hold environmentally harmful retailers accountable at government level. While the platform’s announcement is admirable, particularly during a week of heavy Black Friday discounting, the rapid expansion of resellers such as Vestiaire is creating a problem of its own: customers are buying seasonal items at higher prices and reselling them after a single wear. A reset is needed across every level of the industry.

Monocle 24 / Monocle On Design

Icelandic Design Awards and Glasmuseet Ebeltoft

We hear from the winners at this year’s Icelandic Design Awards and visit a Danish museum that has proved itself to be “best in glass”.

Monocle Films / Global

The future of Japanese craftsmanship

For the release of our book about Japan, we produced a film series that dives into the intriguing ecosystem that has preserved Japanese traditional skills over centuries. Meet the people who are future-proofing the age-old know-how.


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