Filed under: Comment
Ages ago I wrote about an embarrassing episode I had with Jaron Lanier.
Sure, it wasn’t as embarrassing as dressing up as a pirate while a sailor recounted being kidnapped by Somali pirates, but it was close.
Anyway, ever since that day, I have felt compelled to follow the work and thoughts of Mr Lanier. It’s as if it’s my way of making up for the fact that instead of trying to discuss the future of technology with him, I asked if the Microsoft beefburgers were any good.
So recently he launched a new book, however instead of talking about the power of technology, he talked about its potential [and reality] for economic destruction.
The bit that grabbed my attention was this:
“At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people.
Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?”
I love that.
Well, obviously I don’t love the destruction of the middle class – I’m not a bastard – but I love that he has come out and highlighted the potential darkside of all this technological advancement.
Of course what he’s saying isn’t new, others have said similar things – including me, which I’m only highlighting because I want to try and associate my name with the brilliance of Mr Janier, even though I rightly don’t stand a fucking chance of that happening – however the example he uses gives us tangible food for thought as opposed to the insane ramblings of those people who try and claim Google is to blame for everything wrong in the World … from the loss of privacy to societies stupidity.
Of course what he says has flaws.
The reason Kodak died is as much due to their lack of innovation as the rise of technology … but while you can’t stop progress, the economy of the future could end up being a pretty bleak for people, society and Governments given there may not be the jobs – and the pay cheques – to fund the lives of the people technology has discarded.
That or maybe humanities survival instinct will kick in and we’ll create jobs that don’t yet exist to keep the food on the table.
Or we’ll all end up working in a call centre … talking to people who can’t actually afford to buy anything anymore.
Jesus, how fucking bleak.
While I’m being extreme, Michael Moore said a similar thing in his first documentary.
GM had just closed their car plant in Flint, Michigan.
Outside the plant were some of the ex-car builders. He was interviewing them when one of them said,
“If companies keep making us redundant to maximise their profit, who is going to be able to buy the products they make anymore?”
Good point, though in the case of Instagram – and now Tumblr – it appears the new economy is not about making products that create sustainable profit, it’s about coming up with something that some fool will pay ridiculous amounts of cash for, based on the ‘strategy’ that ‘if they have it, none of their competitors can have it and end up doing something useful with it’.
Anyway, it’s a great book with some real food for thought and you can buy it here.
Filed under: Marketing Fail
So a few weeks ago I wrote about a direct mail letter that proudly stated upon the front of the envelope, that it wasn’t direct mail.
I mumbled that with this sort of approach, it’s little surprise people don’t trust advertising – or a lot of brands – anymore.
Well, that is if they ever trusted them in the first place.
Anyway, I recently came across another example of marketing mentalness. This:
There you go, 100% pure orange juice … that is if you ignore the other ingredients that aren’t pure and aren’t orange juice.
Seriously, what the hell do they think they’re doing?
Sure, they might have been able to get away with this sort of thing before … sure, many people might not ever notice … but that doesn’t mean it’s right. In fact, I’d argue that when people notice the truth, they’re pretty unlikely to believe anything they ever say again.
Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.
After all, people still buy Subway after they had the fucking audacity to say ‘the foot long sub’ was a brand name, not an indication of length … despite the fact they’ve been pushing the length of their footlong sub for as long as I can remember.
Seriously, what can we believe anymore.
Is there really 1/2 gallon in that orange juice container?
Is there any orange juice at all in that container?
Maybe I should jump on the bandwagon and say my penis is 2 foot long [but that's only my name for it, it's not an indication of it's true length] and that I went to Oxford university, without revealing that I only went to see it with my parents when I was 6 years old and that’s the closest I got to going to any university.
According to some studies, advertising people are only slightly more trusted than a used car salesman.
A USED CAR SALESMAN.
For fucks sake!
I don’t blame society for thinking that – but the truly sad part is there’s lots and lots of genuine, decent, compassionate, smart people in adland – and yet they are letting themselves get tarnished with the ‘untrustworthy’ brush by people who have mistaken the work ‘marketing’ for lying.
Marketing isn’t about lying.
While it is about finding a way to position and promote products so that they will achieve maximum desirability – it should be about cleverness and insight, not bullshit and lies.
I love this industry I work in. It’s given me a wonderful life and lifestyle … but if we continue to allow ourselves to be pushed into making claims that – regardless how you look at it – are about trickery and lies, then we are all contributing to the downfall of our industry and careers. And that would be hugely upsetting, because not only do I think there are lots of wonderful people in it, but – when done right – it has the capacity to make a positive difference beyond the world of commerce, but to society as a whole.
Rant over. I feel better for that.
Thanks for ignoring me. Ha.
Filed under: Comment
I’m back and what a couple of weeks its been.
I know you won’t believe me, but I’ve genuinely been working hard. Well, working hard by my standards anyway.
Travel … presentations … pitches … birthdays … visitors … holidays … meetings … campaigns … do you feel sorry for me?
No, I didn’t think so. Dammit.
Well, I’m certainly not going to bore you with what I did. Instead, I’ll bore you about a football match.
Hey, it makes a change from Brits banging on about winning the World Cup in 1966 doesn’t it?
The football match I’m talking about is the one between England and Germany in the 1990 World Cup finals.
In all honesty, the 1990 World Cup was my favourite World Cup of all.
Not only was it in Italy – my Mum’s home country – but it also had the best theme song for any World Cup, Pavarotti’s version of Nesunn Dorma … a piece by Puccini that seems to have been written specifically for the drama and flamboyance of the World Cup in Italy, despite being written in the early 1920′s.
But there is another reason why that World Cup – more than any other – captured my imagination, and that is because it was the first World Cup where I was now old enough to watch the games in my local pub – a place where the atmosphere of each match was only second to actually being there.
The reason I’m saying this is because I recently watched the magnificent documentary One Night In Turin and it not only brought back all those wonderful feelings and emotions [as well as remind me of some stuff I had literally forgotten about], but it reminded me what legends are made of.
Mr Colman wrote something about sporting legends on his blog a while back.
It’s a wonderful piece … highlighting the difference between people who have a natural talent for sport and those whose abilities are driven by their heart rather than their body.
Anyway, as I was watching the documentary, I saw something I had forgotten.
This was it …
No, it’s not Chris Waddle missing his penalty – I certainly remember that – it was how the German captain, Lothar Matthaus, didn’t join his team mates as they celebrated winning the match that meant they were in the final, but instead went over to Waddle to console him and didn’t leave his side until he had been placed in the care of his fellow England team mates.
What a fucking legend.
With sports stars constantly being showered with compliments and praise, Lothar Matthaus’ simple act of compassion reminded me the difference between talent and legend and reaffirmed why I believe empathy trumps curiosity in terms of what is the most important trait you can have in a planner.
Filed under: Comment
“Who is Shelly?” I hear you cry.
Shelly is the wife of this guy.
Whose that guy?
Well, it’s my oldest and dearest friend Paul isn’t it.
And why should we feel sorry for her?
Because today is his birthday which means she will have to give him his annual shag which would be bad enough in itself, if it weren’t for the fact – as I have explained many times previously – he is hung like a horse.
So spare a thought for Shelly on this painful day … and while you’re at it, wish a very happy, happy birthday to the boy who somehow always ends up having his special day on a weekend and always ends up getting himself into some potential medical disaster.
PS: Sorry Paul, you have to consider this post your ‘present’, I can’t afford to do the newspaper thing again.
Filed under: Comment
… not because today is her birthday [though that is a worthy reason], but because it’s Saturday, which means the poor thing has to spend her special day with me. All day.
Every. Single. Minute.
Happy birthday my darling wife, I hope I don’t ruin it for you too much.
Filed under: Comment
… because 43 years ago today – at 10:10pm GMT – there only son was born.
[Yes, I know, this is a very subtle reminder about my birthday isn't it]
Filed under: Comment
I’ve just heard the news.
I can’t believe it.
It’s impossible to comprehend because it’s way too soon.
I’m so happy your last few weeks were filled with excitement and happiness. You deserved that because you were always a good, kind and generous person to everyone you met.
Your boys are testimony to you as a person. They are good, good men.
Be with your beloved sister and say hi to my Dad.
You will always be in our hearts and minds.
Thank you for everything.