The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Help Yourself By Helping Society …
July 24, 2014, 6:11 am
Filed under: Brilliant Marketing Ideas In History, Comment, Human Goodness, IKEA

So I recently saw a campaign that IKEA did to help a local dog shelter.

Basically they put life sized cutouts of the shelters dogs around their store – on beds, on the sofa, sitting around the dining tables – so that as people walked around, they could see the pooches in a home environment and maybe get tempted to adopt one.

Better still, IKEA ensured that there was a code placed around the collar of each cardboard cutout pooch so that interested parties could get more information and organise an appointment to see them directly at the shelter.

Such a sweet, simple, lovely idea.

Of course, you could argue they should have done it with cats given they were the star of one of my favourite ever ads … but given they were once my public enemy #1, this is a lovely gesture that lets me forgive their past sins.

OK, so I have no idea how many homeless dogs have been adopted which means you could throw the whole ‘awareness counts for nothing’ argument I continually use, back in my face … however there’s a massive difference with this and the clearly defined, commercially-focused, business goal that many companies try and justify.

But all that aside, I think it will have had some sort of positive effect.

You see a long time back, a friend of mine – who runs an animal charity called Halo – asked for help to try and encourage people who were interested in getting a pet to go to him rather than a commercial business.

Sadly I didn’t think of the IKEA idea, but what I did say was that he could take ‘cute’ photos of the animals he had in his shelter and put them on instagram with a #tag.

Given animals are one of the most popular categories of instagram [along with, semi-ironically, food] people picked up on it rather quickly and before he knew it, he was getting comments, interest and offers from all over the World.

Of course, having someone in Australia contacting you when you’re in America is of little use … but he was able to use them to help drive even more awareness and over a period of 3 months, he re-homed 28 animals and raised a significant amount of donations for his charity … all for a cost of a few instagram photos and some emails.

With that in mind, I’m sure/hopeful the cardboard cutout dogs also had a positive affect on finding homes for those homeless pooches, just like I am sure/hopeful it had a positive effect on the perception of IKEA … because when people see a company doing something good for no other reason than they believe it’s the right thing to do [especially for the helpless], it makes society feel more positive and loyal towards them than any amount of contrived, bland ‘we care’ advertising they care to churn out.

There’s Compartmentalisation And There’s China’s Version Of Compartmentalisation …
July 23, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

As you get older … meet more people, have more experiences … you find yourself ‘grouping’ your life into bite-sized chunks.

School Friends.

Family Friends.

Work Friends.

Husband/Wife Friends.

We self segment even though in terms of what we are told friendship should be, there probably shouldn’t be any level of separation between them at all … they’re either a friend or they’re not.

Though given I have some stupid rules about when I can define someone as a mate, I’m the last person who should talk.

The reason I say all this is that one of the big things I noticed when I came to Asia was how many people here segmented their lives into micro groups.

For every big group, there’s a bunch of subsets such as:

School friends who like to party.
School friends who are foodies.
School friends who work in similar industries.

OK, I’m generalising and I’m also not explaining my point at all – mainly because I’m not sure what it is, but I know there is one somewhere – but that aside, all this post was actually trying to do was to justify this photo …

… even though what it actually shows is how the Government segments their industry rather than how their people segment their networks.

And for the record, I’m still looking for the ‘advertising practitioners’ hospital in China, though something tells me it might end up being this.

How Nice Of The Daily Mail To Hire Blind Journalists …
July 22, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment, Daily Fail, Daily Mail

I give the Daily Mail a lot of shit.

If you look back at some of my old posts, I have accused them of bad journalism … hypocrisy … racism … and while that is all true, I have come to the realisation they are not all bad.

In fact, they might have a heart of gold.


Because it’s become apparent to me that the reason they end up doing the things they do is not mean spiritedness, but disability.

Yes, disability.

Not of the brain, but the eyes.

I know … I know … you’re wondering what the hell I’m going on about.

Well the answer is simple, what other possible reason could there be for them to write an article like this:

No offence, but I don’t think she looks ‘exactly’ like Elsa from the movie Frozen.

She’s a human and Elsa’s a cartoon for a start.

But hey, I don’t want to mock the blind – after all, after my retina collapsed, I am not that far off being legally defined by the same term – so please accept my apologies for all the ridicule I’ve thrown your way Daily Mail, including the time I mocked you for another looks like article [when it looks nothing like the person you were describing]

You’re a guardian for the disadvantaged.

A pillar of society

A beacon of hope.

Or you could just be a bunch of fucking idiots.

As If Your Monday Wasn’t Going To Be Bad Enough Already …
July 21, 2014, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment

… but I’m back.


The good news for you is I’m too bloody knackered and jet-lagged to write about how bloody awesome my [latest] holiday was – and it was, culminating with me finding out I’m going to have a little boy, which is splendiferous except for the fact the only name we had agreed on was for if we had a little girl which means discussions over what we will call a little lad are still ‘ongoing’ – but I won’t bore you with that [I'm so kind] so until tomorrow … watch this compilation of movie disasters and realise it could all be a hell of a lot worse.


If The Chinese Government Aren’t Going To Give Me A Holiday This Month, I’ll Take My Own …
July 7, 2014, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment

Yes … as you can tell from the title of this post, I’m going on holiday.

Yes … I know you’ll ask how that is possible when I’m supposedly always on holiday, but I’m going to ignore that as I’m going to be a Father and that means I’ve entered as new phase of maturity in my life.

Well, by my standards of maturity anyway.

So I’m going to be buggering off for some World Cup madness and then some Mum’s hugs which means I won’t be writing any more of this rubbish until the 21st July.

But before you all run around shouting with happiness, I’m going to leave you with a post so horrific, it should burn in your mind until I come back.

OK, so it’s not as bad as this, or this … or this … but it’s as stupid.

Look, I know ‘before and after’ pictures are notoriously bad, but this literally takes the biscuit.

Before: A woman heavily pregnant with her child.

After: A woman after having given birth, exercised regularly and had photoshop.

[And judging by the state of her in the first photo, she had some hair removal too]

Seriously, is anyone going to fall for this rubbish?

What they’re saying is basically this …

… and I’m pretty sure that no one would believe plastic surgery – even plastic surgery done in South Korea – could get that sort of result.

Because I’m a dick, I’ve emailed the stretch mark removal geniuses asking for some more case studies. We’ll find out if [i] they respond and [ii] they send me more utter bollocks, but all that aside, I’ll keep this information handy just in case my wife feels she needs some help after the birth of the most wonderful baby in the World. [patent pending]

That’s a joke.


Oh dear.

Anyway, with that, I’ll leave you to do whatever it is you do … have a wonderful time without me and don’t get too settled because I’m coming back.

Oh yes, I’m definitely coming back.

[Cue: Evil Laugh]

A Little Love Goes A Long Way …
July 4, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

A while back I wrote a post about how great it is to work with a client who is genuinely passionate about their brand.

I talked about how this pride and belief transfers into a working relationship that combines purpose with infectious excitement and that tends to spill over into everything you do together.

Well I’ve just had another sort-of example of it … though this time, it’s more a story about when clients and agencies have a genuinely great and trusting relationship.

Except it involves me, which makes the whole thing weird.

So recently, one of our NIKE clients asked if I could do a presentation to their global team.

The request went via Bryan, the business director on NIKE at Wieden.

Because he has a great relationship with them and because he knows I have a Van Halen fantasy, he said that I would only do it if they supplied me with a bowl of green M&M’s.

[If you don't know what that has to do with Van Halen - or why was actually a moment of attention-to-detail genius, go here]

Imagine my surprise when a few days later, I got to my desk and found this:

How awesome is that.

No, not the fact you can now get mint chocolate flavoured M&M’s, but that NIKE actually went out and got me them.

Lets be honest, I was hardly going to say no to them – especially when it’s for some of their most important global leaders – so the fact they did this not only shows they’re great people, but its made me want to work even harder for them.

Hang on, they’ve just made me do more for them for the price of a packet of M&M’s.

Evil geniuses.

But seriously, the relationship between client and agency is built on the relationship between the people inside the client and inside the agency … so while we will – and should – always get judged by the work we produce together, these little acts of generosity actually play a part in making that happen because showing your trust, care and respect are as important in delivering great work as provocation, planning and creativity.

The Hitchhikers Guide To Age …
July 3, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So I recently saw something Douglas Adams – author of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy – wrote about how we react and relate to technology as we get older.

It’s amusing and it’s certainly got an element of truth to it … but overall, I think it’s wrong.

Or at least the bit post-35.

I’m not saying that because my Mum is a technology fiend and she’s 82, nor am I saying it because I’m now 44 and will embrace tech like a fat boy embraces cake … I’m saying it because it has little to do with attitude and more to do with usefulness.

You see pre-35 [and I don't even agree with that age as a cut-off] we tend to be a society who seeks out the new and the exciting. If you’re very young, it’s because everything is new and you want to grasp as much of it as possible … however if you’re in your mid 20′s, new stuff represents an element of escape and possibility from a World where you’re just coming to terms with the fact life isn’t this free-for-all we’d been led to believe it was, but a place where bills and expectations weigh heavy on our soul.

However for those of us who are older, it’s not about any of that, it’s about selfish usefulness.

We have become immune from the sparkly hype … the promises of the ‘next big thing’ … and we sit there with an attitude of ‘impress us’.

And here’s the thing, when something does do that … when something empowers, enables or engages us, we embrace it with a zeal like no other generation, because we see it for what it is and what it can be. It’s not a case of it simply being the new, new thing, it’s a case of us seeing it as the new way to help us to do the old thing.

Whether that’s banking, traveling, spending, exploring or escaping.

Post-35 and you embrace tech based on on action, not hype.

In some ways, this is the audience that can give technological evolution its validity – we can give it acceptance, mass, distribution and possibilities – and yet so many people in tech view this group as the stubborn, the cynical, the slow … but that simply shows many in the tech industry understand us far less than we understand their creations.

What this is all trying to say is that while the young might initially be more open to change, it’s often the older guys who can turn tech potential into tech commercial reality.


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