Filed under: Comment
You’d think that having just come back from my 214th holiday of the year, I’d be happy and have nothing to complain about.
But it’s not my fault, it’s when companies put things like this out and try and say it’s a case study in creative effectiveness:
Are they being serious?
I hope not because putting aside the fact the ‘results’ are either ridiculously ambiguous or are of no true commercial value to the client other than stroking their precious ego, the fact is there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that any one of those 3000 bottles of ‘hot sauce’ had any direct effect on their clients business.
Maybe its because the case study was badly written up?
Maybe … but as I assume the ‘data’ being quoted came from the agency, I can’t see how this could be reported without their involvement.
Maybe it’s because the client didn’t want to release all the data?
Maybe … but that makes the case study pretty worthless given there’s little context to evaluate the true level of success achieved.
Maybe it’s because some people think this is what constitutes a ‘case study’?
Sadly, this is quite possibly the case.
I cannot tell you how angry this sort of thing makes me feel.
It’s exactly this sort of thing that makes adland a laughing stock in business because what we’re actually demonstrating is we don’t even understand the fundamentals of what business is supposed to be.
+ Did Ford make all their employees swear to secrecy prior to the launch of the car?
+ Was every press release banned from ever mentioning this car?
+ Were all Ford salesman kept in the dark about the impending launch?
+ Were all dealerships under strict orders to not feature collateral or examples of the car?
+ Did every car industry magazines/website agree to not mention the car?
+ In other words, were the 3000 bottles of hot sauce the only exposure this car had in terms of communicating it’s availability?
My guess is no.
My guess is that there was a lot of exposure that was used to communicate this special edition vehicle to the people of NZ.
In fact, I’d say the results are quite poor given a ‘special edition’ normally encourages people to act quickly and immediately … but as they don’t say how many cars were actually available, we will never know.
The thing that bugs me with this – apart from the fact the case study is more flawed than Seal’s face – is that adland loves to take all the credit when things are [allegedly] good but so bad at taking the responsibility when things go bad.
Sure, everyone is a bit like that, but adland has made it an art-form … however when they take credit for ‘good news’ that is questionable, they just make themselves look like fools.
Don’t get me wrong, I like that they tried to explore new ways to launch a car, but the information they are using to communicate this story doesn’t – in any way – show it had any impact on the end result. None. Nada. Zilch.
What this means is that if they say it did, they need to show it and prove it because as it stands now, this is nothing more than a case study for creative gimmicks, not creative effectiveness.
Filed under: Comment
A while ago, I wrote about UK motorway service station toilets.
Well a few weeks ago, I found myself back in one – not because I’m a pervert – but because I needed to use the ‘facilities’.
So I walked in, walked up to a urinal and as the ecstasy of ‘mid-flow’, I looked up and came face-to-face with this:
Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against penises – hell, I [allegedly] have one – but having a mans cock in his underpants at my eye level is not something I really find comfortable.
Almost as uncomfortable as being caught by a guy walking into the toilet and seeing me taking a photograph of this poster.
Apparently it was trying to communicate an incontinence product – and that’s all well and good – but I don’t know if this ‘execution’ is the best way to connect to the audience.
No, not because it is insulting, demeaning or a cause for unleashing your own inadequacies – but because I don’t think it communicates the audiences issue [or how they feel about the issue] or even the products benefit.
Now even though I’m 43, I am not incontinent [yet] … however, I have experienced times in my life where I’ve been literally bursting for a wee [yes, I said 'wee', deal with it] so I have some sort of appreciation regarding how stressful and confronting that is.
That sense of ‘danger’ or ‘fighting to keep control’ is horrible, so I can’t imagine how someone who suffers from incontinence must feel experiencing that situation every day.
And that’s why I find this ad so bad.
Not because they’ve put a man’s ‘package’ at the eye level of its audience … but because it doesn’t come from a place that demonstrates they have any understanding of the feelings of discomfort or confrontation people with incontinence [probably] go through, which has resulted in an ad that doesn’t communicate this product can give these individuals the confidence they seek.
In short, they’re shouting rather than communicating.
Or said another way, they’re craving attention rather than giving meaning.
What a load of pants.
Filed under: Comment
The bad news is that if you need to be reminded how important and influential the Asian market [and the people within it] is – in terms of trading, developing or working there – then there’s a good chance you’re already too late be a major part of it.
Filed under: Comment
As John Dodds likes to continually point out, I often post things about circumstances or situations that passed long ago.
Sure, part of this is because I’m about as topical as an episode of Neighbours, but part of it is because I pre-write this rubbish so far in advance that by the time I get to something new, it’s already consigned to history.
OK, so I could write it and move the other posts around so it would remain ‘topical’, but I can’t be arsed, so deal with it.
The reason I am preambling is – you guessed it – because I’m going to write another un-topical/topical post.
Back in April, I talked about how they seemed to understand how showing empathy, humanity and personality could translate to building a real rapport with their passengers, well on Halloween, they did it again.
I particularly love that they wrote the whole thing ‘straight’ – as if it was a real notice – giving the overall impression they’re a professional organisation but with a twinkle in the eye.
Yes, I know lots of companies do Halloween ads, but this is not an ad – well, not in the way most companies do them – it’s a wonderful bit of brand charm.
OK, so I accept many people may have missed this sign – and some may even think it is childish and unprofessional – however, while many companies believe the secret to success is to run efficiently and show no personality trait that could alienate a potential customer, I am firmly of the belief that brands who express their personality or point of view have a real advantage over their bland, parity competitors.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying a strong POV or personality can automatically overcome those brands that offer mass distribution or uber-low prices, but it might get you a stronger and more emotionally loyal customer base than the casual/superficial/auto-pilot customers many organisations continually chase each and every day.
It’s for this reason that I’ll always pop into – and buy music from – Nottingham’s iconic second hand record shop ‘Rob’s Records’ … not because we share the same name or because I’m a technology luddite and only listen to my favourite bands via vinyl or CD … but because he has no problem expressing his personal opinion on the music he stocks.
Efficiency, professionalism, reliability and trust might be vital traits of a strong brand, but personality and character are what makes you fall in love.
Filed under: Comment
Yes, it’s me … no wonder he has such a disappointed look on his face.
How are you?
Yes, I had a wonderful holiday thank you for asking.
Let’s be honest, even if you’re kidnapped by Somali pirates, you still enjoy holidays … though the the best news is I get another two within the next two months for Christmas/New Year and then the wonderful Chinese New Year.
Living the dream ladies and gentleman, I’m living the dream.
Given I have written quite a lot in this post already, the reality is I have nothing to say, so I thought I’d go back in time and see what I had written on this day in previous years and guess what I found … I had to go all the way back to 2009 to find a post written on the 9th December.
I know, that’s amazingly big news isn’t it.
Anyway, for those who are interested [read: no one] it was about George Clooney and a whole host of other Hollywood stars who had sold their credibility to Japanese ad agencies in the misguided belief their ‘work’ would never be seen outside of that country.
Personally, I think the Western World should be thankful for their financial greediness, because otherwise, when else would we get to see Scarlett Johansson give a pseudo blow job in the guise of drinking an iced coffee brand.
[I bet you've all clicked on that link, haven't you? Pervs]
Anyway, as I said, I’m temporarily back and I promise you tomorrow’s post will be better than this one.
Though I am in advertising and work as a planner, so you shouldn’t trust a word I say.
Filed under: Comment
So today is the last day I write this blog for over 2 weeks.
As I said on Monday, I’m off on holiday – and while I’m sure you find this incredible, given the amount of time off I’ve had this year – the fact is it’s true.
I leave tomorrow, return 9th December, then 2 weeks after that we have Christmas holidays then New Year holidays and then – literally a couple of weeks after that – Chinese New Year holidays.
And to think some people don’t actually want to move here. Fools.
Anyway, as it’s the last post for the next 2 weeks [and it will be, because Jill will kick me in the head if she so much as see's me use any technology while we're away] I want to leave you all with a bit of a sentimental post.
“Oh no” I hear you cry.
But I’m asking you to bear with me on this. At least for a little bit.
I was recently in another city for work.
I was sat at the desk in my hotel room, looking out at the bustling city as the sun was starting to set on a beautiful – if bitterly cold – day.
Some nondescript music was playing in the background when my attention was suddenly drawn to a Facebook message that had just come through.
I looked down and saw it was a message from someone I had literally not seen – or spoken to – for 19 years.
Now I need to give you a bit of background on this character.
Many, many years ago, I was in a band.
We were quite good, had quite a following and big things were expected of us.
Anyway, along the way, we acquired a bunch of mates who all helped us out in different ways.
Some with transportation. Some with publicity. Some just coming to every gig.
One of these mates was our bass players flatmate.
Despite being quite a bit older than us and having experienced a rather ‘textured’ life … he was a good man and really wanted us to do well.
Anyway, one day, I went to our bass players house only to find that his flatmate had gone.
He’d packed his stuff and left without a note.
He’d also left with one of my guitars.
It wasn’t an overly expensive guitar, but it was still mine.
I was obviously fucked off, but it was apparent he had bigger issues in his life so just accepted it was ‘one of those things’.
Zoom forward 19 years and here he was, messaging me via Facebook.
I responded warmly, because  I was genuinely interested to hear why he had got in touch and  despite the incident with the guitar, I had always liked him.
Within seconds, I got a reply.
It was an apology.
A request for forgiveness.
He said he had always felt terrible about stealing my guitar but he had found himself in trouble that required him to leave Nottingham in a hurry and to do that, he had to get as much money as he could as quickly as he could.
He wanted me to know this incident had always played on his mind and he felt he just had to reach out and say sorry and face the consequences, because he honestly felt he could not move forward properly unless he addressed this issue.
I read this email a number of times.
Over and over again.
He he was, a man of 50, pouring his heart out to someone he’d not seen or spoken to for 19 years about an incident that – while wrong – was relatively small in the big scheme of things.
I wrote back to him.
I said the only thing I was really upset about was that he hadn’t felt he could tell me about his issue so I could try and help. And while I’d of rather he’d not stolen my property, I knew he would not do it unless he literally felt trapped in a corner.
There was a big pause between me sending this and him replying.
When he did, it was short, but no less powerful.
He said, thank you. He said he was grateful for my response. He said the weight that had lifted off his shoulders was unimaginable.
This made me happy.
Sure, he’d made me angry when he stole the guitar, but the price he paid for this act was 19 years of slow, nagging, guilt … the worst kind.
Now I know you might think I’m going over-the-top with this given he’d managed to get through 19 years before making contact, but the fact is he did. He didn’t have to. He could of kept quiet because the chance of us ever running into each other was almost zero.
And here’s the thing, as good as he felt that he’d come clean [which I genuinely believe was more important to him than me forgiving him] I also felt good he’d admitted to it.
Sometimes in our work lives, we forget we’re dealing with people.
The pressure, the speed, the expectation results in us focusing on the destination, not the journey.
Tempers can get frayed, arguments can happen, tears can occasionally flow … it’s all shit to be honest, given it’s only a job and it’s only bloody advertising.
Which is why I think if you’ve done something wrong, it’s always worth holding up your hands to it.
Sure, sometimes someone thinks you’ve fucked up when you don’t – and that’s another thing altogether – however there are many times, where you know the way you acted or responded wasn’t right and yet you try hard to forget about it, or write it off as just ‘the way work sometimes makes us’.
But the thing is, you never forget.
And the ‘victim’ never forgets.
It niggles and prods away in the background and as much as you can try to act like it’s not bothering you, you know it does.
Which is why when it happens, it’s always good to come clean.
The respondent might not be as forgiving as I was with my ex-bass players, ex-flatmate, but after you’ve done it, you’ll finally understand why people say ‘honesty is the best policy’ because even if there are ramifications, the sense of emotional freedom you get can never be underestimated.
Though obviously the best thing is to try and not fuck up in the first place. That is an even better policy than honesty, so to speak.
I know the guy who took my guitar doesn’t read this blog. But if he ever does, I want him to know I always thought highly of him, but now I feel he’s even more of a good man.
See you in a few weeks.
Filed under: Comment
Have a look at this …
… hopefully you went to the very end and saw that rather than being an infographic for bad Hollywood movie cliches, it’s actually an ad for a film festival, summed up with the line:
“Watch Films, Not Movies – There Is A Difference”.
To be honest, I like the idea behind the execution more than the execution, but I like the line.
Maybe it’s because it’s planner wanky or maybe, as the owner of thousands of documentaries, it ‘speaks’ to me [ignoring the fact I love Hollywood schlock and Jerry Springer is a cultural beacon for me] but whatever the reason, it engages people who might not normally go to a film festival … thinking they’re inhabited by film students who sit around in stripy tops, playing with their beards and contemplating how to capture the darkness of civilisation within their parody comedy that they wrote when they were 5 years old or something.
And that’s just the women. [Boom Tish]
Anyway, I don’t often praise work on here and compared to many of the campaigns I’ve liked [like this or this], it’s probably the weakest – it’s certainly the ugliest – but I go on holiday in 2 days so I’m feeling particularly generous which is why I should go before I start to make myself as ill as you’re probably feeling right now.