Kai Wong Makes Photography Nuts Drool For The Leica M Camera

I’ve been following Kai Wong from DigitalRev TV for awhile now. He’s a little Asian dude with a British accent hosting one of the most subscribed to photography shows on YouTube.

Out of all the hundreds of videos Kai has ever done, this one packs the most persuasive punch, especially starting around 3:40 and after:

Notice how he begins the video by educating you of the history of this magnificent camera. Notice the piano music in the background. Notice the artistry which sets the tone of the video for “this is truly something special.” Notice how he takes ordinary concepts like a viewfinder and transforms it into something magical. Phrases like: “…your window into other people’s worlds.” “his Leica… was an extension of his eye.” Notice how he keeps comparing it to the “big black bulky DSLR’s” which in the mind of the prospect would be the #1 objection to spending $6,000 to $8,000 on this difficult-to-use camera. He then tackles that objection too, saying the lack of automation in the camera is precisely why he loves it.

“We live in a world of convenience. We live in the iPod age. But yet there’s something so stimulating about creating the music yourself with your hands.” Then it cuts away to hands playing the piano we’ve been listening to this whole time. This isn’t just a camera that lacks automatic controls, no, it’s your partner in creating a piece of art by hand. This is some masterful reframing if I ever saw it. See the video; it’s education in persuasion is worth every minute!

As far as marketing personalities go, I think he beats Frank Kern for many of his pieces, since Frank seems to model Adam Carolla a lot for jokes (even taking a few directly such as “Jenius with a J” without attribution) whereas Kai seems to actually be the goofy dude he is in video (unless he’s modeling some sort of HK radio personality himself I don’t know about, wouldn’t that be ironic, ha!)

As it stands now, Kai is more of a “store celebrity” (that keeps you glued to a store once you enter) and a minor YouTube celebrity that generates subscriptions and store traffic… (until he grows in viewership to compete the many other general cam celebs like Olivia Tech, Philip Bloom, etc.)

Whereas Frank is more of “niche” celebrity or “field” celebrity. In his case, the Internet Marketing niche or IM “fields”, he is probably #1 in many people’s eyes. There’s really no other charming “cult of personality” marketers who make media.

Much like Stephen Hawking is also a niche or field celebrity. He rules science like Frank Kern rules IM.

They’re both near the tops of those cults of personality.

Kai would be like the strangely funny Vince Offer, if only he actually did a video for each product instead of merely edutainment for the store.

Vince is more of a “product celebrity” than Kai from what I’ve seen. You know exactly what product to buy after you see a Vince presentation. He shows you 1 or 2 products doing tens or even hundreds of amazing things.

Many people get a very SPECIFIC urge to buy something after a Vince presentation, whereas Kai gains affinity and moves you a little closer to whatever he’s doing in a more generalized way.

Therefore Kai is more of a “store celebrity” or even more generally “YouTube celebrity”, as you don’t immediately know from his YouTube presence that he’s schilling product. Vince you KNOW he’s schilling product.

Except in situations like the video above, as a viewer of Kai, I still wouldn’t know how each actual product would work (and thus which one to buy.) To get me to make a buying decision, the video has to focus on a specific product from a specific brand.

That’s perhaps a weakness to this approach. He brings people to the store, and sometimes he educates them generally about things like 50mm lenses, but once you’re at the online store you still gotta ultimately figure out what you want from pitiful product descriptions and even more horrible pictures of the gear that, ironically, takes pictures.

No doubt if you dragged your ass all the way to Hong Kong, he may actually be there in the physical store occasionally to be just as entertaining telling you about specific product, as he is online charming you about general photography topics. It’d be nice to see something like he probably does in-store, in Hong Kong that translated online so the world can see.

I think the Kai approach increases the size of the “pie” a little bit (again, with his very general, but not necessarily product specific tutorials on things like 50mm lenses), but when he’s not teaching he mostly uses humor and personality to keep the pie size the same, simply diverting customers from other stores who already have an interest in the products.

The Vince Offer approach increases the size of the pie as he educates you from 0 about a new product you probably never would’ve thought about before.

The only minus to Vince is that he seems Nefarious. His very head telegraphs that he’s up to something bad, and it’s may be bad for you, too. It’s is a little bit strange that someone who looks like a villain from a Disney movie has chosen to take the seemingly elevatory, value adding “create something from nothing” approach Vince has.

Adweek even calls Vince a “Pariah”:

Vince’s latest video has been removed from Adweek for copyright violation. You can see an edited version, in small form, at:

… where he talks about women’s pussies, schticking this and that, appearing behind bars, and all kinds of other wacky shit. My recommendation is to find the most uncut version of this commercial on YouTube and the like, because the full 2 minute plus piece is startling.

No doubt someone who appeared to be more innocent and kind would perform even better in Vincent’s position.

It’s likely Kai could take a Vince like position and do well, or even appear in simple edutaining videos for each MAJOR product offering (there’s too many minor products to do on the site) for the store he works for in Hong Kong.

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The 7 Step Formula To Almost Every Documentary I’ve Ever Seen

I’ve seen a lot of documentaries over the years. After awhile they all start to run together and you begin to pick out patterns. And with a few exceptions, I don’t like what I see.

If you’re wanting to truly influence people and change the world in some meaningful way, I am wholly unconvinced this normal template for almost every single doc I’ve ever seen is really the best.

Here’s the normal doc template in 7 steps, as experienced by Greg:

1. Start out with a few seconds of each of the several talking heads you’re going to feature in more detail later on in the doc. Try to include someone famous and respected so you can put their name on the title credits, even if you disagree with what they’re saying (like Noam Chomsky).

2. Establish the “problem” – clearly stated. Intersperse cuts from some old 1950′s movie or classroom educational piece to hold audiences attention in between talking heads.

3. It didn’t used to be like this. Better times were had before. “So how did we get from there to where we are today?” Cue history part of the show. Include even more 1950′s black and white bits, maybe some stuff from an old horror movie when you want to jokingly refer to something as “scary” etc. Maybe begin some type of half-ass cinematic sequence we can refer back to later to create the illusion we’re telling an interesting “story”

4. Take us on a lackluster romp through history as it pertains to our topic. Do lots of History Channel-like panning over still photos. Ken Burns effect crap. Some archival footage from these older times, if it exists. Forgettable voiceover.

5. Now we’re back up to the present day. Few more talking heads shots. “So what can we do about this?” Now let’s talk about possible SOLUTIONS, or if we’re really biased, we’ll only talk about our one favorite pet solution and make it look as good as possible, never (or seldom) mentioning any negatives.

6. The “Yay we can do it!” part of the show. Cue inspirational, upbeat music. Cue talking heads saying a bunch of crap you’re not really listening to at this point because they could be saying anything and it would sound good when combined with the background music. Show lots of vague shots of people coming together and singing around the campfire type stuff. Maybe some smiling children recovering from disease holding American flags, blah blah blah.

7. “It’s up to you” – call to action. Usually some flavor of “call your congressman” or “go to some website” – FUCKING YAWN, DUDE! WTF!!! That shit NEVER helps anything! Cut to black credits and continue playing happy music. la la dee fucking da

THE END! Woohoo! Win awards at film festivals and pretend like you’re making a difference in the world! Yay!

Except nothing changes. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

So what’s the alternative?

I’m dreaming up something more revolutionary. I keep thinking of that Pink Floyd movie “The Wall” and wanting to create something like that in a doc, but obviously something that will make SENSE to the average dude. I’m thinking about combining The Wall with what Michael Moore used to do that made him so famous. If it’s done right, that could make some real waves worth talking about.

I think you have to be relentless, uncompromising, unfair, and artsy to the extent you know what people are really thinking and you bring that out in your work graphically to keep their attention – and deal with objections much like a good salesman would do. That way you can be biased with your topic, but still cover the other bases to create the illusion of fairness. Unanswered questions at the end equals less persuasion.

Making your documentary along the 7 steps I described above is just lazy. Where are the new ideas, the innovation, the creativity? There’s a little out there, but not nearly enough.

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4 More Sneaky Tricks That Influence Your Decisions


1. Blatant Indicators of Positive Reputation Beat Subtle Luxury

Consider a face-off between the Toyota Prius and… a stylish Lexus.

Even Lucifer Himself couldn’t make me drive a dorky Prius.

But a recent split-test between these 2 cars revealed that when shopping in public, people are willing to spend more on a product they don’t really want as long as it makes them look like positive contributors to the greater good of society.

When the whole world’s looking (and can see the “green” eco-conscious logo) people buy the doe-eyed Prius. Then as you lock ‘em up in a room with no one to judge, they turn into me… a shameless consumer of pretentious luxury. The heated steering wheel. The baby seal skin leather seats. Plumes of toxic exhaust from a rumbling engine. Sickeningly delicious cheeseburgers in non-biodegradable containers.

Oh yes. We consumers are a dastardly lot.

And for the same reason, this is why clothes and other products with big, blatant logos sell better than those with more concealed identities:

Louis Vuitton’s classic “LV” on their bags. Abercrombie & Fitch’s garish tags. Polo Ralph Lauren’s pony. Apple’s glowing chrome apple.

People seek out the brands that best display their own particular set of personality traits. Regardless of what “flavor of the month” personality analysis books you may have read (not your fault, publishers barf up more of them than any sane person can handle), all human traits can be summed up as a measure of these 6 characteristics:

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The Big Money Secret People Will Kill You For

Dean Kamen spent 10 years of life and $100,000,000 developing the Segway, a gyroscopically balanced transportation device.

Investors predicted it would crush golf carts, wipe out global warming, and render cars obsolete in big cities. It was hyped through the roof as some kind of “mystery transportation device” that would “revolutionize how we travel.”

They invested in factories to crank out 480,000 Segways per year to make way for what would surely be an explosive phenomenon.

Personally I too was excited at the time, thinking someone had at long last invented the hover board from one of my favorite movies, Back To The Future 2.

Imagine my complete disappointment when, in 2001, the Segway was released… to the thrill of no one. Consumers took one look at it and yawned. It was nothing more than a $3,000 glorified scooter… and one that made you look like a total dork at that.

Eight years later now in 2009, sales just passed 50,000… TOTAL. It’s target customers are fat mall cops.

(Since then, Dean has moved on, working to invent a water purifier that runs on bull shit… literally.)

I mention this catastrophic failure because it demonstrates in gory detail THE biggest money secret of all time.

…A secret so valuable that once you truly figure it out and put it to work, you will be envied… you will be hated… and men and women from all walks of life may even seek to murder you for it.

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Weird Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

I was in the mall yesterday when a sterile female voice echoed through the PA:

“…And remember, please drive home safely. We want you to be our customer for a long time, so we do care about your safety,” she ended suddenly chipper,“Thank you!”

At first blush the recorded fembot’s words would fly over my head, barely noticed among a sea of commercial background noise. But this time, for whatever reason, I paid attention… and could scarcely believe what I’d just heard.

She might as well have said:

“…And remember, get back to work soon. We want to suck as much value out of your pathetic average lifespan of 78 years as possible. That’s our logical justification for your safety. Thank you!”

A month ago, I turned 27 years old… am I really getting this cynical already? Geezus, what would I be like as an old man? Or am I finally waking up to some sort of Matrix-like Truth?

Or maybe… I just think too damn much.

Whatever the case, my sleepwalk was disturbed and what I discovered gnawed on my mind. As a marketer, if I’m trained to keep an eagle eye on these hidden forces that direct our thoughts every day and many still fly right over my head… what must it be like for the average person to whom these messages are aimed?


Subtle influences are all around us. In the next couple posts, I’ll share some of the most useful and interesting I’ve discovered during the past few months.

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