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


Lies, Damned Lies And Kickstarter …

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote about this so I guess it’s time for another post about another massive lie peddled from a kickstarteresque company.

Yes, I know I ranted about them earlier this week, but I can’t help myself.

Have a look at this …

Let’s move past the fact they have the audacity to claim a lens – held on with a bloody bulldog clip – gives you the equivalent standard of a US$4000 camera [unless they mean a US$4000 camera held onto a smart phone with a bulldog clip] and let’s instead focus on the image they are using to sell ‘said’ item.

Look at the screen of the smartphone.

Such incredible quality.

Such incredible clarity.

Such incredible focus.

Wow, maybe they weren’t joking when they said this simple attachment could make an expensive DSLR redundent.

But hang on, something isn’t right.

That super sharp image doesn’t seem to relate to the ‘live’ image going on in the picture.

Sure, they’ve blurred the shit out of it, but I’m pretty all the action is going on in the middle of the court, not by the net.

OK, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, I do only have one good eye.

But there’s something else bothering me. Hmmmmn, what could it be?

Oh I know, it’s that perfect image on the phone.

Look, I have an iPhone and if I so much as zoom a bloody milimeter on it, everything looks like I’m trying to do an impression of a Tony Scott movie, so either the person holding the phone/lens in the photo has the steadiest hand ever created – especially as they are located on the other side of the court – OR THIS IS A PILE OF BULLSHIT.

I know I’m in adland so look at these things a bit more closely than the average punter, but that shouldn’t mean brands don’t care about this sort of thing.

Why would you supposedly go to all this effort to make a great product and then short-change the work that is designed to tell the World about it?

It’s like my issue with people who spend weeks working on a pitch but don’t rehearse it until the last 5 minutes.

All that effort, wasted.

Of course it’s because people still believe that ‘the quality of the product/work/idea’ will shine through.

In a perfect World – maybe – but in the real World, how you present something is often of equal importance to what you are presenting. Sometimes, even more important.

When I was at HHCL, one of their tenants was the quality of advertising had a commercial benefit on the brand.

In short, the better the work, the more people were interested in you.

Now I appreciate that some may challenge that view, but I passionately believe that what you do says more about who you are than what you say … so while the creators of this lens may claim it can single-handedly put Canon and Nikon out of business, the fact their communication is so obviously bullshit makes me think you’re more likely to find this attachment inside a cheap pack of Christmas Crackers than a high-end photographic store.

Which means if you actually end up buying it, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

And this is coming from someone who paid $100 for a remote control ball!!!

Have a great weekend, only 50 odd weeks till Christmas.



An Oldie. But A Semi-Goldie …

This is one of those ads that is constantly referred to as being a perfect example of perfect advertising.

David Ogilvy was behind it – spending 3 weeks doing nothing but reading about the car – before producing that amazing headline.

OK, so there is some conjecture whether he came up with it or not, but regardless, it’s one hell of a headline.

But here’s the thing, when you read the rest of the ad, I’m not sure if its worthy of all the accolades bestowed upon it.

Sure it comes from a different time [as the $13,995 price tag highlights] … and yes, some of the ‘features’ they mention were probably cutting edge back then [power steering for example] … but after you get past that epic headline, what you actually have is an ad that is just a list of product features.

While there are still nods to the sense of craftsmanship and technology within that list – for example, you can have a telephone as an optional extra – I can’t help but feel that all the romance the headline conjures up in your mind disappears once you get to the details.

Maybe that’s because it appears the strategy was not actually to communicate the sophistication and craftsmanship of the car, but to change the perception of it being only for the super-elite … the one’s who are chauffeured around rather than drive themselves.

Hey, I could be wrong, but the fact they use that hilarious image of a ‘Dad’ picking up the kids from the local shop after school – not to mention they state in the copy that you don’t need a chauffeur to drive it – means I might have a point.

Now I get I have no right to criticise the wonderful Mr Ogilvy and the fact this ad is continually referred to implies it was hugely successful … but when I was reminded what the actual ad looked like – rather than just hearing that headline – I couldn’t help feeing that I find this scam ad for Bentley far more appealing.

[Though I accept that just might be my Nottingham heritage shining through]



Insight In A Picture …
January 17, 2017, 6:18 am
Filed under: Insight

Yes, that’s all this post is today. Consider it a New Year gift from me.

But don’t get too comfortable, tomorrow is most definitely another day.



Dear Dad …
January 16, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Childhood, Comment, Dad, Death, Jill, Love, Mum, Mum & Dad, Otis, Parents

Oh Dad, how can it be 18 years.

How is that possible?

I remember that phonecall like it was yesterday.

You had been in hospital since Christmas having taken a turn for the worse.

And then on the 27th December, Mum called to say it was very bad and the Doctors had told her that I should come back right away.

In a weird way, this did not worry me.

We had gone through the same situation twice in the last 3 months and both times, you had pulled through.

But then I realised Mum’s voice sounded a bit different … more scared … and that’s when I started to get worried.

As you know, after a rather traumatic flight from Sydney, I got to Nottingham and was by your side at the QMC.

You were very poorly, but you knew I was there and it seemed to help.

But the strange thing is I can’t really remember what happened between arriving by your side and the Doctor asking me if I wanted him to remove the suffering you were going through.

I know Mum and I spent every day – from the moment visiting hours started to when they ended – next to you.

I know I told you how much I loved you. How I tried to will you back to health.

But the actual conversations and considerations are a total blank.

I’d like to say it’s because 18 years is a long time, but it’s actually because my brain refused to let me deal with the realities of your situation until that conversation with the Doctor.

4 years of delusion and denial pricked by a single conversation with the Doctor.

4 years of ignoring Mum as she quietly and tenderly tried to prepare me for the inevitable.

I certainly hope I was better when Mum passed away.

Of course, it was less expected than your situation and yet, deep down, I feared it may happen – as, it seems, did Mum – which is why I was much more aware of what was happening or what may happen.

So I need to thank you yet again, for helping me learn.

For trying to ensure I didn’t face more pain than I absolutely needed to.

Oh Dad, I wish you were here.

I wish I could hear the questions you would have for me.

I wish I could look into your bright blue eyes as you heard what I’d been up to over the last 18 years.

The decisions I’ve made …

The situations I’ve encountered …

The life I have somehow managed to live …

I would give anything to hear the pride – mixed with incredulity – you’d express about the career I’ve managed to forge.

The places it’s let me live. The people it’s let me meet. The experiences it’s let me enjoy.

The family it has let me have.

The daughter-in-law you would absolutely adore.

And the grandson you would be totally obsessed with.

But you’re not here … not physically, anyway … but in a weird way, Mum passing has made me feel closer to you.

Not that you were ever far away, but 18 years meant I had got used to the memory of you rather than the presence of you.

However now Mum has joined you, I kind of feel you’re both near me again.

I know that’s mad and I can see you shaking your head at me … but it’s true.

Don’t worry, I’ve not become a religious fool – but the fact you’re together has helped me a lot because I never was happy that you were both apart from each other.

But now, my mind, you’re back together, as you should be.

As you always were throughout my childhood.

And I cannot tell you how special that was to me.

Even more so now.

So while today is a day of sadness, it is also a day of joy … because you will be happy to know I am no longer lost in the pain of your final few years and can now focus on the wonderful life you had and we shared, exemplified when I had the honour of discovering the card you wrote to Mum when I was born.

I never doubted how much you loved me, but finding this was the verbal equivalent of one of your warm, wonderful hugs.

Sure I cried my eyes out, but oh what a feeling that was.

I so hope Otis feels the same way when he finally stops trying to wriggle out of my arms everytime I give him a cuddle. Ha.

So now it is time to go and I want to leave you by saying that while it has been 18 years, the love I have for you has never faded – if anything, quite the opposite – and even though I wish with all my heart that you were still here to be involved in the daily rituals of my life, the fact you’re with Mum makes the sadness a bit more manageable.

Still miss you though.

Love you Dad.

Rx

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Taking The Piss. But In A Really Good Way …

Incontinence.

Yes, I’m going there.

It’s an issue that most brands in this category, approach with caution.

Actually scrap that, they approach it with clinical rationality.

Of course, some try and break the ‘taboo’ by doing something very different … but most of the time, it’s done more for the ad agencies ego than the good of the brand or audience.

However I recently saw an ad – even though it’s 2 years old, but they decided to re-run it during Donald Trump’s press conference yesterday [how’s that for once-in-a-lifetime blog relevance!] – that did it very differently but very well …

Sure, you could argue it’s a fusion between the old Heineken ‘Man Of The World’ ads … mixed with a dash of ‘The Most Interesting Man In The World’ campaign for Don Equis and a splash of Old Spice, but it’s bloody lovely.

Also bloody lovely is the line “I’m a man of a certain age” and the premise that “when you’re used to being in control it’s hard not to be”.

While some may say this sort of thing is easier when you have a client who makes a product that needs to stand out and break free from category stereotypes … my experience on brands most people would kill to work on, tells me that I bet this was still a challenge to pull off.

But they did pull it off and they did it with relevance to the product, category and audience … which is to be massively applauded.

It might not entirely break the taboo, but it might crack it …

Lovely insight. Lovely line. Lovely execution. Well done to all behind it.



Fashion Fuck Ups …
January 12, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Comment, Fashion

One of the thing I love in China is the amount of fashion faux-pas that I see.

It’s not just fashion with inappropriate wording on it – though that is a personal fave – it’s what passes as fashion.

OK … I know I’m the last person on the planet to talk about this, but if you’re like me and struggling to get back into work after the holidays, you could do with a bit of a laugh.

Plus this allows me to plug my dodgy instagram account of China’s weird fashion.

Have a top weekend.



What – And Who – Are Trust Exercises Really For?

Years and years ago, I worked temporarily for a small company in Australia.

I hated it but I needed the money so each and every day I went there to destroy my soul.

I was not the only one.

So one day, this company announced they’d hired some specialists to help build trust between us all. The irony was there was already a lot of trust between us, it was the management we thought were dodgy bastards.

So off we go to some hotel where we are subjected to all manner of inane and condescending bullshit, when one of my colleagues announced …

“For this to work, we have to trust your bosses aren’t stupid and you’ve failed in achieving that”.

Within 2 seconds, pandaemonium happened and for all intents and purposes, we rebelled and all went to a coffee shop.

Of course management weren’t happy and a few people were fired and a lot of people were given written warnings – and while I am a big believer teams being built on trusting each other to help each other – that comes from the everyday environment, not some totally unrealistic experience in some nondescript hotel room outside of an industrial estate.

Half of the time the reason for doing it is simply for the management to say ‘they’ve spent money on training’ … which is VERY different from actually training … but none of this matters, because the only reason I’m telling this story is so I can justify showing this clip.