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


When Your Confidence Shows Your Insecurity …

So I was in San Francisco Airport recently when I saw this …

Putting aside the fact there is a Christian bookshop in an airport, I find their attempt to validate their religion through the use of the word ‘science’ hysterical.

Of course they’re not the only one who do it … ad agencies have a long history of labelling departments with pompous monikers to give it an air of validation. Or importance.

But here’s the thing, adding the word ‘science’ doesn’t make any religion scientific … just like adding the word ‘innovation’ to a media department doesn’t mean their media plan suddenly rivals the output of Silicon Valley.

In fact, a religion using the word ‘science’ is particularly offensive given they have spent decades basically declaring war on any scientist who has dared to disprove the things they believe without question.

Look, I’m all for people following a belief system – and I appreciate there’s times where getting others to embrace what you follow is valuable – but when you use terminology that represents the opposite of what you believe, all you’re doing is creating more walls rather than less.

Of course there may be another reason they did this.

Maybe it has nothing to do with winning others over and is simply to make themselves – and the people who follow them – feel even more important.

And if that’s the case, then they doubly deserve the ridicule they get, because anyone who believes the only way forward is to ignore the views of others has no idea how to truly make a difference in the World.

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I say all this but maybe there is a God because there will be no blog posts for you to suffer on Monday and Tuesday as I’ll be traveling. Now you can really enjoy your weekend, can’t you.



If Your Brand Voice Is Your Weapon …

… then many brands are killing themselves with theirs.

I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’m shocked how few brands really understand ‘tone’.

They either confuse it with a template look or using a corporate monotone full of buzzwords.

Brand voice is not a look.

It’s not even a tone.

It’s the expression of your individual values and beliefs, communicated in a way that resonates with the culture around your category.

Of course NIKE is probably the best example of this.

Regardless what they do.

Regardless what sport they’re talking about.

Regardless how an execution looks.

The moment you see or hear it, you feel it.

And ‘feel’ is the key word here.

That is no accident.

In fact, I’d say we often spent more time on the voice than the strategy.

They know the athlete so well that it is reflected in all they do.

And maybe that’s the problem so many brands face, because they don’t know their audience very well.

They define them in broad, ambiguous ways that are convenient for the brand to embrace.

It’s either that or the fact many brands seem to have values and beliefs that are designed to not alienate any potential customer … without realising they don’t resonate with anyone either.

There’s only one thing worse than a brand patronising it’s audience and that’s one that doesn’t even realise they’re doing it which is why brand voice – or tone – isn’t something you get by just scribbling some random words on a creative brief, it’s a commitment to finding it and then doing it right because to paraphrase Dan Wieden, great brands don’t discover the power of advertising, they discover the power of their own voice.



The Con Is Revealed ….

So as any poor, regular reader on here knows, I’ve been getting emails from APAC Insider magazine saying that Cynic was in the running for a Business Excellence Award in Australia.

Now while this is flattering, you’ll also know that Cynic legally closed their doors in 2010 so APAC Insider are basically a bunch of con-merchants.

Well, now I have unequivocal proof of it because – as I suspected we would – we won.

Yep, Cynic – a company that has not been in legal existence for SEVEN YEARS – has won a Business Excellence Award.

Now they may claim our excellence is in the fact we sold the company, but frankly, this would have been more believable if they’d not left a 7 year gap before bestowing us with their award.

But that’s all by-the-by because I know what you want to know what we won.

Is it a massive trophy?

Is it a huge cheque?

Is it a staring role at a lavish ceremony?

No, it’s this …



That’s right, our ‘prize’ is the chance to get a discount to advertise in their magazine.

A magazine that gives out prizes to companies that don’t exist anymore.

A magazine no one has heard of.

Oh hang on, they also give you a ‘digital certificate’ that you can put on your website. Oh that’s alright then … I mean, who wouldn’t want to advertise a bullshit magazine’s award on their website that basically say’s We’re a bunch of gullible fools.

I hate this company … I hate what they are trying to do to small business.

Sure, the small companies might have some blame to share if they do it, but as I wrote a while ago, when you’re just starting out, you are so desperate to feel you are moving forwards, you tend to grasp onto anything that feels like a positive step.

That’s what those fucks at APAC Insider magazine are exploiting and managing to get away with it.

But there is some good news because last week I received an email from them expressing their interest in being nominated for the International Magazine Publishers ‘Promotion of the Year’, so maybe they’ll be learning their lesson more quickly than we all hoped.

And I’ll be there applauding them when they get their moment in the spotlight.



Does Delta Care More About Their Plastic Than Their Passengers …

So a little while ago, I was flying on DELTA from NYC to LA.

As I was settling in for my 5 hour flight [that turned into a 10 hour trip, which is a story for another day] I reached for the headphones so I could enjoy my new luxury of watching a movie uninterrupted.

So imagine my surprise when I found this …

Maybe it’s just me, but I find the most unhygienic thing about airline headphones is the fact they’ve been on other people’s ears so for the life of me, I don’t understand why Delta put plastic around the cord.

And before you say ‘it’s to keep the wire together’, that’s not true because when you ripped off the little blue bag, the wire was held together with one of those plastic tags.

Which begs the question, why the hell did they cover up the one thing that doesn’t need covering up.

Or said another way, why the hell do Delta think their passengers are more concerned about the hygiene of the headphone socket than their ears?

Lee … any ideas or is this one of those ‘no comment’ moments?



Wee Like A Boss …
August 14, 2017, 6:00 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment

… as seen in NYC recently.


And no, I didn’t get arrested when I took the photo and even if I did, I am pretty sure the cops would agree that seeing someone pissing with the sort of confidence and swagger you’d expect from a basketballer is a sight worth photographing.



Who Knew George W Bush Was So Insightful?
August 11, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Context, Insight

Remember when George W was elected?

The World’s opinion was a mixture of fear and ridicule and yet I bet we’d all have him back in a heartbeat compared to the mess that is Trump.

But that isn’t what this post is about, it’s about an article I read on Bush and Bill Clinton and the close friendship they have developed between each other. [No seriously, check this out]

Before I go on, this is the article.

To be honest, I found it enlightening.

Not just because you learnt the foundation of their friendship was based on how they respectfully handled each others victory and defeat, but because Bush brilliantly explains how a professional reputation can be forged and destroyed.

“The Presidency is often defined by the unexpected. It makes the job interesting.”.

I love that.

It’s a great lesson to us all.

Sure, there are more eyes on the President’s actions than a planner in LA [or NYC, Shanghai and London] but the principal is the same, how you are viewed by others is by how you deal with the unexpected.

And if that scared you to death, here’s the good news.

Given the majority of us are exposed to unexpected events on a fairly regular basis, you have the chance to redefine or cement your reputation on a continual basis … which might be a useful thing to remember next time a crisis hits your plate.

Wow, I’ve just been nice about George W but then, as I wrote before, it appears the Bush family become far more human with age.



When Culture Bleeds Into Culture …

You know you lived in Shanghai when you’re driving, see the sign above and think it’s a Chinese street name rather than how American’s roadsigns say ‘pedestrian crossing’.

I wish I was joking, but I’m not.

How I passed my driving test is anybody’s guess.

I’ve got to be honest, while I am really enjoying my time in the US, I am finding it harder to adapt to certain things than I thought I would.

Not just because I feel my frame-of-reference is more Asian based than American, but because there are some things I am being subjected to that I just never encountered before.

To be honest, this is a post for another day – because it’s actually been quite challenging for me – but let me just leave you with this as a ‘teaser’ for next time.

I had just been in a very, VERY boring meeting with someone.

When I got out, I was asked how it had been.

I replied, “I feel I’ve just been brain raped”.

Their mouth almost hit the floor. Literally hit-the-floor.

Trust me, there’s so many more stories like that. I’m amazed I’m still allowed in the country.