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


Appropriateness Is In The Eye Of The Censor …
August 29, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So I was recently watching television when just before the next program commenced – which was at 7:30pm – this notice came up:

Look at it.

LOOK AT IT!!!

Four countries – all in South East Asia – with vastly different perspectives of the appropriate audience for the show.

OK, to be honest, I have no idea what Taiwan or Korea are saying [though I'm assuming the land of Samsung suggests you should be 7 years of age to watch the show] but the big ones for me are Singapore and Malaysia.

Let’s be honest, given Singapore is a land of bland safety … I’m not really surprised they said it was a PG certificate, because this is a country that once ran a front page newspaper story about a man who didn’t wash his hands after coming out of a public toilet. No, that’s not a joke … that really happened.

But look at Malaysia.

18.

EIGHTEEN.

Christ, they’ve managed to make Singapore look like more liberal than San Francisco and Portland put together.

I hadn’t thought about it before, but these ‘audience ratings’ are a very quick way to get an idea about how the local culture views or lives their life. Or should I say, how the local authorities want their people to view or live their life.

Of course it’s utter bollocks because despite what so many say, there are all sorts of weirdness and depravity that exists in both countries cultures … but that is nothing compared to the bollocks of both those ‘ratings’ given the show in question wasn’t some edgy comedy. Hell, it wasn’t even some news program with images of war or sexuality, it was this:

That’s right, it’s a bloody home improvement television show.

No, let me correct that.

A CANADIAN home improvement show … a nation so bland, it makes beige look like a sex, drugs and rock n’ roll addict.

And yes, I do know my wife is from there – how else do you think I got her to marry me!

Anyway, the only offensive thing about this show is the fact it exists, so unless the Singaporean or Malaysian Government did it because they don’t want their people to be subjected to shittier-than-shit “reality” television, they need to sort themselves out or they’ll have a generation that thinks owning a house is the equivalent of owning an STD.



Throwback Thursday. [Though It Should Be Thrown Back And Never Retrieved]
August 28, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Bangkok Shakes, Comment, Throwback Thursday

So a while back I wrote a post about an online dating site for Metalheads.

I mentioned that being a lover of metal, I might have turned to that site if I was unlucky in love.

[Whereas it's Jill who is the unlucky one. Boom Tish]

What I can tell you is that while I am now a bald bastard, I wasn’t always that way so to help you picture me as a ‘metalhead dating candidate’, I thought I’d show you a photo of me from that era.

Well, to be honest, it’s only ‘sort-of’ from that era, as I took it a few weeks ago as a leaving ‘present’ for a client of mine who was heading back to the US.

[I should add, he was leaving before he saw the pic, I'm not the cause of his departure. Allegedly]

Anyway, cop a load of this …

What a dish eh!

OK, more like a dish that has been lying in the sink for 7 weeks with a load of stains on it.

Damn.

However, may I point out that the leather jacket I’m wearing is the same one I had when I was 20 years of age.

Of course I can’t zip it up, but the fact I can still sort-of wear it is amazing to me.

AMAZING.

Anyway, as you have been so nice to not vomit yet, I thought I’d push-you-over-the-edge with a photo of me from that actual era.

Just for context, it’s one of the press photos we were ordered to have done before we had our first album released. As you can tell by the fact I now work in adland, it bombed and we were dropped soon after but it still was one of the best times of my life … well, it was while I thought we were going to be Rock Gods.

Anyway, have a look at the photo … I swear one of them is me.

Honest.

Can you tell?

I’ll give you a clue, I’m holding the guitar.

Yes, it’s a very long time ago.

And like the leather jacket, I still have those jeans and that guitar … though I can only just about squeeze the 6-string around me these days.

Happy vomiting.

[Sorry, soon-to-be-born son]



You Only Get One Chance To Impress. And If You Do It Right, That’s All You Should Need.
August 27, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Reagan Insight

So for reasons I still don’t quite grasp, many American’s believe Ronald Reagan was their best ever president.

Yes … better than Lincoln, Washington, Kennedy or Roosevelt.

Of course, this is also a nation that thinks Fox News offers ‘fair and balanced’ reporting, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

To be fair to the C-grade, cigarette peddling actor, there were some things he did/said/believed that were pretty good.

He didn’t believe in knee-jerk reactions for one.

He once said “vengeance isn’t the name of the game, we have got to protect against over–reaction” … which compared to a few presidents who followed him, shows a level of maturity you’d never expect from a man who once made a living riding horses in terrible, terrible movies.

Anyway, I recently saw a quote of his that I thought was a good lesson for adland.

To be honest, I have no idea of the context he said it, but I have to say I’ve seen way too many planners and creatives finish their presentation and then have to go back right to the beginning to explain why their idea is right.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s a bunch of people out there than couldn’t open a packet of cornflakes without a video guide, but there’s also a hell of a lot who are smart, sharp and commercially savvy and if they don’t get why your idea or strategy is right, then maybe you have to look at what you’ve done or how you’ve done it.

For me, it all comes down to knowing what the real problem is you’re trying to solve and preparing your argument clearly and concisely.

That doesn’t mean you have to be uber-rational nor does it mean you have to bore them to death with a 10,000 page powerpoint … you just have to appreciate that just because you think something is right doesn’t mean others will so you have to make sure you construct an argument that gives people the confidence to buy rather than something that purely tries to sell someone into acceptance.

That’s why I hate when adland uses the word ‘brave’ to describe work.

Or at least when the agency behind the work defines it that way.

No work should be brave. Behind everything provocative or innovative should be an argument that shows it to be a wise commercial decision … even if to the outsider, the logic is more twisted than a M. Night Shyamala plot.

Being questioned about your strategy/work doesn’t mean it’s wrong or you’ve failed – it can also mean they’re interested and want to know more – but for me, the best way to judge how well you’ve done your job is if the questions you’re asked post presentation are less about ‘why’ you’re doing it and more about ‘how to make it happen’ … because to paraphrase Reagan, if you find yourself having to justify, you’ve not made the most of your chance.



The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same …
August 26, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

… though I still don’t think my parents ever let me take a comic to a restaurant, let alone an iPad. Mind you, we rarely went to restaurants in the first place. Cue: Violins.



Nothing In Life Is Simple, So Deal With It …
August 25, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

One thing I hear a lot of, is people saying “why do things have to be so complicated?”

What this tends to translate into, is “why won’t people just do what I want them to do?”

Well, there’s a bunch of reasons for it … from personal agendas [yours and theirs] to personal stupidity [yours and theirs] to egomania [yours and theirs] to commercial requirements and realities and pretty much anything and everything in-between.

The reality is that while you can definitely influence how people around you behave, collaborate and align, the raw reality is somethings going to happen, the issue is how much are you going to let it screw everything up.

In my experience, there’s a bunch of ways you can try to manage this:

The Dictator:

It doesn’t matter what the feedback or situation is … you act like a child full of caffeine and e-numbers the moment there is the slightest change of plan. This might work once, but even if it does, you have started a reputation where people won’t want to work/help you in the future.

The Pleaser:

It doesn’t matter what the feedback or situation is … you agree with whatever the client says or wants before you have even aligned with your broader team. This might make some clients like you, but it starts the a chain reaction where by the end of it, the relationship between client and agency is doomed to failure. [Either creatively, commercially, culturally or all 3]

The Professional:

It doesn’t matter what the feedback or situation is … you assess and discuss the implications and impact of any feedback against the bigger goal and then make the most appropriate decision – even if it means pushing back or pulling together. This approach not only keeps people focused on the real/bigger prize [rather than let meaningless details throw you off course] it creates better work, results and relationships. Honest.

Anyway, the reason I say all this is because I recently saw this timezone map …

Now I am sure there are a bunch of reasons for it, but how complicated is it!!!

Almost every line has some kink along the way.

I know I am probably wildly wrong, but something tells me there was a large amount of lobbying along the way.

Maybe farmers wanted to have more light during harvest?

Or fisherman wanted the ability to be out in the seas for longer?

Or maybe airlines just preferred to land at a more reasonable time?

Or maybe the people behind it were just pissed out their heads and actually thought they were drawing straight lines all the way through it?

Who knows what the real reasons behind it are … but I wonder if it had anything to do with the person in charge being a dictator, a pleaser or – god forbid – a professional. Anyway, have another look at it and be grateful that you don’t have to deal with that much [potentially pointless] political bullshit in your job.

See, your Monday suddenly got miles better.

You can thank me later … though if this sort of thing does resemble your average 9am-5pm, then I apologise and suggest you either visit here or here.
____________________________________________________________________________

PS: Dear NSA … or CIA … or HR … please don’t fire me for promoting that 2nd link in the last line of the above post. It was just done for humours sake and in no way am I advocating murder. Nor am I guaranteeing success in getting away with it. Thank you. Ahem.



Life After Death …
August 22, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Maybe it’s because I’m going to be a Dad soon.

Maybe it’s because I’m a sentimental fool.

Maybe it’s just because it’s a sad – yet beautiful – story.

Whatever it is, I read this and it utterly got to me.

Especially the last line.

Even more so, the last 5 words.

Those beautiful, heart wrenchingly sad yet utterly loving and longing, last 5 words.

Without wanting to come over all Oprahesque or to dismiss any of the hassles and pains we all have in our lives … reading this serves as a great reminder to be grateful for what you have and – more importantly – who you have in your life.

It also serves as a great reminder of why organ donation is such a wonderful thing to do.

I promise I’ll be back to my cynical, vindictive self on Monday, but till then … have a great weekend and hug someone important to you.



Mischief Marketing …
August 21, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

When I was in Nottingham a while back, I found myself in a big industrial estate where out-of-town megashops are located.

To be honest, I found this highly offensive until I saw this:

Yes, that really is a home furnishing store that used their outdoor signage to tell passers-by that they will beat the quote of any competitor, including their next-door neighbour, who also is a home furnishing store.

The fact there are two companies – selling pretty much the same stuff – are located next door to each other may seem strange to many of you. After all, in the West, we talk about the importance of ‘differentiation’ so locating your store right next door to a competitor is probably the antithesis of that, but in Asia, that is not unusual.

In fact, in Asia, the opposite tends to be the case.

Here, companies actively associate with competitors. Not because they like to get up to the sort of mischief furniture shops in Nottingham like to get away with, but because the cultural value system actively encourages ‘group acceptance’ so by being with others, it sort of implies they are OK and not ‘out-the-loop’.

And that’s why you can walk into malls that literally contain hundreds of shops all selling the same thing.

From camera equipment to – I kid you not – fish accessories.

Anyway, I digress.

I was going to leave you with an ad that encapsulated mischief marketing … because quite frankly, I love that sort of stuff.

Not – as you may initially assume – because I’m a little sod, but because in these days of brands spending millions to say absolutely nothing, a brand that is prepared to ‘have a go’ at a competitor with a twinkle in the eye is incredibly attractive and engaging.

So as I said, I was going to leave you with an ad that had a bit more punch than the Nottingham furniture store … but I can’t find the one I wanted to show [Pizza Hut attacking McDonald's when they started selling pizzas by running a spot that said 'Would buy a pizza from this clown?'] so instead, I’ll leave you with another fast-food spot. It’s not targeting a competitor with their mischief, instead they are using another category all together to justify their point of view.

It’s an oldie, but a goodie.

Enjoy.




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