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


The Last Of The Originals …
August 28, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Agency Culture, Charinee, Human Goodness, Planning

So today is a momentous day for me.

A day of both great pride and of great sadness.

You see today is the day the wonderful Charinee leaves Wieden after 6 amazing years to move to NYC.

In her time here, she has gone from being an intern, to creating the infamous Luan Dun to working on a global Michelle Obama initiative to being involved in a whole bunch of work for clients including NIKE, Disney, Tiffany and pretty much everything in-between.

And don’t forget, she managed to do all that while having me as a boss so that proves how smart she is.

But it’s more than that.

You see Charinee is – in many ways – the life and soul of the agency.

On first impression, she looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth – but that’s part of her genius – because she’s a mischievous little fuck [in the most magnificent of ways] and brings the best out of people and brings the best people together.

Everyone loves her.

Clients, colleagues, bosses, weirdo’s …

You see Charinee has got that deadly combination of smarts, charm and looks so everyone want to hear her, talk to her, learn from her and just hang out with her so it’s no surprise she’s such a killer presenter and more connected than Linkedin.

But it’s even more than that. At least for me.

Because Charinee is the very last planner of the original mob I inherited when I took the job.

The last one.

It’s weird, but this has made her leaving feel a bit different to when the other guys have left.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as happy and proud of her as I was when everyone else went on to bigger things than they could have imagined [if only for the fact it means that in a small way, I may have contributed to that] … but I have to be honest, I am a bit more emotional that she is leaving, because being the last means she’s the person I’ve had the most history with.

In short, Charinee has been a bloody legend to me and for me.

Not just in the standards of her work … nor just the infectiousness of her spirit and attitude … not just in her overall desire to be better … but in how she has protected, defended, taught and saved me in all manner of situations.

From the time she managed to get my laptop returned to me from a Taxi driver in Xiamen to helping me write presentations that made me look much smarter and informed than I really am to organising a surprise birthday party [even though she accidentally copied me on the email she sent to the agency] to just making me laugh at times where I wanted to cry.

Through thick and thin, she has been there … loyal, curious, passionate and just plain ace.

Mind you, I’ve not been too bad to her.

Sure I’ve sent her on wild goose chases.

Sure I dropped her into mad situations.

Sure I’ve asked her to deal with issues that weren’t hers of the making.

But I didn’t kill her when we reached Manilla airport after a 2 hour taxi ride through the mad streets of Manilla and she announced “I left my passport back at the hotel”.

And don’t get me started on the amounts of times I’ve overlooked her latest ‘great movie reccomendation’ [which turns out to be one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen] or the numerous occasions she’s told me to hold her plate up while she instagrammed her latest favourite meal or the fact she is the most photogenic fuck in the universe [except when she’s eating – see below] and yet I still will allow myself to be pictured with her despite it making me look even more beastly than usual.

I’ve been a bloody saint to her. Oh yes. It’s not all been one way traffic. No siree.

Cough Cough.

But in all seriousness, I feel honoured to know Charinee and to have worked with her.

She has made a massive difference to my life, the teams, the agency and the clients.

And yet despite all this, she has remained humble, grateful, eager and passionate to improve.

We are very lucky to have had her, especially for 6 years … which in China terms, is a lifetime.

And for all she has given us, what has Wieden give her?

Me and her husband. [No seriously, they met when he was a planner here too]

Poor thing.

In all honesty, Dominic and I got the much better end of the deal, but she seems happy enough so I’m just hugely thankful – and Dom better be as well – that for once, her decision-making ability in terms of who she spends a lot of her time with, deserted her.

So my wonderful Charinee, I still might not be able to pronounce your surname, I still might take the piss out of the Rod Stewartesque outfit you once wore [but never wore again] but I can tell you I’ll miss you hugely and I’m incredibly grateful for all you’ve done in this office and for this office.

Wherever you go, they will be very lucky to have you because I can honestly say I couldn’t have achieved half of what I’ve achieved here without you and I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed it half as much.

I’m so excited to see where you go and how you grow so enjoy the adventure, say ‘hi’ to Leon and Debi, let every opportunity grow you but not change you and see you in New York.

Au revoir, but not goodbye.

Ciao lovely. It’s been an honour.

Now knock them dead.



When Respect And Culture Come Together, It Creates Unstoppable Emotion.
August 27, 2015, 6:10 am
Filed under: Culture, Death, Empathy, Human Goodness, Love, Peace

I could say I am posting this because tomorrow is going to be a bittersweet day for me [more on that, unsurprisingly, tomorrow] but the reality is I’m posting it because it’s beautiful and moving and incredibly powerful.

First a bit of background.

A teacher in a school in New Zealand recently died.

To honour him, around 1700 kids from Palmerston North Boys High School performed the traditional dance – the haka – as his hearse rolled into the school on the way to his funeral.

It is one of the most powerful and meaningful ways I’ve ever seen someone be told, “goodbye, we will miss you”.

Their teacher would be proud.

I was.



Corporate Punishment Is A Workshop …

Many years ago, I started a blog that showed photos of all the conferences that were being held in the hotels I was staying.

I [stupidly] thought that over time, you’d be able to get an idea of when companies were undertaking their strategic planning.

I very quickly realised I was wrong.

The reason I say this is because I recently attended a client conference and when I walked into the hotel, I saw a noticeboard detailing all the companies who were having a meeting there that day.

Nothing strange about that.

And then I saw this.

WHAT THE HELL IS A WRITING BREAKTHROUGH CONCEPT WORKSHOP?

I would understand a writing masterclass … I would even understand a conference on how to develop breakthrough concepts … but a workshop on writing breakthrough concepts?

I wonder if L’Oreal understands this makes it sound like they’re admitting their products do nothing and it’s all in the fancy writing.

I can imagine the workshop now.

“This might be some $1.99 hand lotion from Boots, but through the power of the writing breakthrough concept, it suddenly transforms itself into a scientifically proven cell rejuvinator for elegant, smooth and soft hands”.

Seriously, when I see stuff like this, I die a little inside.

But not as much as the attendees probably are. Boom Tish.



Only Read This Book At The Library. Do Not Buy It.
August 25, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment, Corporate Evil, Hong Kong, Wankers

If you want to be disgusted at people who think having money means they can do whatever the fuck they want, read this:

While there’s some bits that are funny [mainly his diarrhoea episode on a private plane filled with clients] the rest of it just makes you feel a bit sick.

What makes it worse is the author is proud of it. Yes, proud.

I wish I could say it’s all a work of fiction [and it appears some of it is] but my 18 months living in Hong Kong exposed me to a lot of these assholes.

Fortunately our apartment was in Happy Valley so I didn’t have to see them in my everyday environment but if I had a meeting in some big hotel or found myself somewhere in Wanchi, there they would be … loud, arrogant and acting like they owned the place.

Sadly, Asia tolerates this.

Especially from white guys.

Or should I say, rich white guys.

What’s tragic is some people will read this book and think, “that life sounds awesome”.

I remember reading an interview with Michael Douglas where he said he was inundated with people saying how much they wanted to be like his character in the movie ‘Wall Street’ and he kept reminding them he was a bad guy.

But in this World of wannabe-entitlement, people seem to miss this point and just see the lifestyle of indulgent excess.

It still blows my mind that it’s only a few years ago that this industry destroyed the livelihoods of millions of people, cities and governments by selling them promises they had no intention of fulfilling and yet they are still walking around like nothing happened.

What makes the whole thing kind-of worse is that as much as we like to think of these people as the devil, they actually look like this:

Yep, that’s the author .. the guy who celebrates his life of depravity and lies.

Looks boringly normal doesn’t he?

Like most serial killers do.

Which makes sense when you think how both have such a disregard for others lives.



Mark Twain Tries To Motivate Us On A Monday …
August 24, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

He failed, didn’t he.



This Is What Would Happen If Oprah Winfrey, The Puppets From Team America And Jenny Craig Had A Baby …
August 21, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Brilliant Marketing Ideas In History, Health

If you’re watching your weight – or just trying to be healthy – and you’re worried you might succumb to kebab and booze temptation this weekend, then you need to watch this.

No seriously, you do.

It’s better than every Jenny Craig type food expert put together.

It’s even better than our Weight Watchers ad and I loved that.

That’s how good it is.

I’m not waiting for how long it will be before some health company tries to get him to endorse their product.

For their sake, I hope whatever they want him to try and sell is good or he might stick an AK47 up their ass and pull the trigger.

Now that would make those late night advertorials worth watching.

Have a great [healthy] weekend.



Children Of Tiger Mom’s …
August 20, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment

So a few weeks ago, I was in Hong Kong.

As I was walking through the airport, I saw this …

They are literally a walking cliche.

Then I got thinking about it and I asked myself what would the alternative be … a t-shirt announcing they’re studying the effects of copious amounts of drink, drugs and sex?

What would I think of someone wearing that t-shirt?

We are so quick to group people into 2 groups and yet its all bollocks isn’t it.

Those kids might study hard but it doesn’t mean they don’t have a life.

And kids getting off their tits on booze doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in life.

But we don’t like to acknowledge that, we like defining people by the cliches that make us feel better for the situation we’re in.

Rich people must be bastards.

Northerners are not as clever as Southerners.

Tiger Moms lack empathy, warmth and understanding.

BOLLOCKS BOLLOCKS BOLLOCKS.

And planners are the worst.

So much of what we do is defining – and giving a name – to groups of people that fit a certain attribute or stereotype that we want to ‘sell to a client’ while ignoring the fact that the reality is these people have many more sides to them than that single attitude.

It all makes me a bit sick to be honest which is why after I took this photo, I actually stopped them – and under the guise of doing some research – asked them a few questions about their favourite subjects, music and ambitions.

Only for them to fuck up this post by responding with …

“Maths, Mozart’s piano concerto 27 and becoming a surgeon”.

Kids today. Pah!
________________________________________________________________________

PS: Sorry about using ‘Mom’ instead of Mum. It makes me feel ill too.




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