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

When Boring Tries To Be Interesting. And Fails.
December 2, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: Cars, Comment, Crap Campaigns In History, Insight, Planning, Unplanned

I like Toyota.

Well, I used to like them.

When they had the Celica, MR2 and of course, the Supra.

It helped hide the fact they also made cars that made beige Volvo’s look exciting.

Like the Toyota Corolla.

Sure, it’s a perfectly good car.

Practical. Drives well. Strong reliability. Fair resale value.

So why the hell do they insist on trying to sex-it up?

I know buying a car is probably the second most expensive purchase you’ll ever make so you need to feel good about what you’re buying, but trying to make an accountancy conference feel like a Motley Crue aftershow party is always going to end up making you look a tool.

And yet so many car brands continue down this path.

Which gets me back to that Toyota Corolla ad.

OK, to be fair, they’re trying to be less rock star and more deep and philosophical, but it’s still bullshit isn’t it.

“Find who you have not yet become”

What? WHAT?

What’s that even mean?

Forget the rubbishness of that 3rd division Yoda statement, what about the fact they don’t see the irony of combining people lighting sky lanterns that float gently in the air with beauty and grace and calmness with a gas guzzling car that pollutes the air everywhere it goes?

And why the hell are they lighting sky lanterns?

And why did the owner of the Corolla park in the middle of the road?

What if all those lanterns land on the house at the top left of the picture and it catches fire?

How is the fire truck going to get there and save the occupants if the road is blocked by some selfish Toyota Corolla owner?

And they have the audacity to end the ad with the line, ‘Let’s Go Places’.

I’ll tell you which place you should go … to the local jail where you will probably meet the marketing team who asked for this contrived, passive piece of rubbish … which achieves the rare feat of alienating both the folks who choose a car as a reflection of their ego and the folks who want a car that offers quality and reliability rather than hype and hyperbole.

You know, the people who would actually find the boring reliability of a Corolla exciting.

Sometimes we try so hard to be different when just telling the truth is the most refreshing approach available to us.

Finally The Last Month Of This Shit Year …
December 1, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

Yes, it’s come around pretty quick, just not quick enough.

There’s a big end of year post coming up, now is not the time to do it.

I can hear the sigh of relief from here.

I Might Have Just Changed The View An Education Is The Best Preparation For The Future, Forever …
November 30, 2015, 6:10 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment

Yes, I’m back.

Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

No, I don’t know what the guys really thought of what I taught them, but I know this … it wasn’t nearly as useful as this would have been to me, when I was a kid studying maths.

How good is that!

Why the hell didn’t they teach me to do subtraction like that when I was at school.

Given I once got 2% in a maths test, Mrs Kirk – my maths teacher – has a lot to answer for.

Which I’m sure my students in Amsterdam are also thinking about me as well. Bugger.

Class … Class … Could I Have Your Attention Please …
November 19, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Brand Suicide, Comment, Cunning, Planning

So the good news for you is that there will be no more blog posts until the 30th.

The bad news – at least for some planners in Amsterdam – is that over 2 days, they’ll be spending a total of 8 hours with me.

In a small room.

What am I talking about?

I’m off to do this.

Yes, over 8 painful, slow, hours … some poor, innocent victims will learn how NOT to do stuff.

In some ways, that is as valuable as knowing how to do stuff.

Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

It will be interesting to hear what they think they learnt when I finally let them out of my [locked] room … especially now I have passed my official teacher exams, so – in theory – can do this for a living. Admittedly, not to planners. And not in Amsterdam. And not over 8 hours.

So basically not like this in any way whatsoever.

Anyway, spare a thought for these poor souls – and Mr Weigel, who has to then spend a few days in Zurich with me – so enjoy the peace and see you soon.

Pretend Helpfulness …

I get a lot of junk email.

Admitedlly not as much as when I was at cynic when Andy stupidly signed up at some ‘free porn password’ site that then inundated our inboxes with all manner of questionable material, but a lot all the same.

Many of the junk messages I get nowadays are marketing related, which is even more depressing than waking up each morning to an email box bursting with offers of dick extenders or sex with ‘hot and horny grandmas’.

What makes it even worse, is all of them are just shit.

Here’s a perfect example of what I get …

Rubbish isn’t it?

What makes me angry is they way they try and sound like they’re doing me a favour when all they’re actually trying to do is drum up some support for their conference, magazine or – in this case – webcast.

But there is one issue they have failed to take into account …

I DIDN’T ask for it.

I’d NEVER ask for it.

I have NO desire to know about it.

Maybe I’m biting my nose to spite my face. Maybe it will be super-interesting and informative … but if they don’t even know how to market to someone who is in marketing, I’ll take my chances.

Which leads to the point of this post.

Many people think marketing and advertising is about conning the audience into action.

Maybe that was once the case.

Maybe that’s what some companies still try and do.

But in my experience – and as one of the few ‘rules’ Wieden lives by – you don’t get anywhere unless it is founded on fundamental truth and so trying to engage me on a subject that I didn’t ask to know about and to not express it in a way that makes me see the personal advantage I’d gain from knowing about it … they’ve failed in every way.


Another example where people confuse alienating for marketing.

If You Thought The Fashion Industry Was Weird Before …
November 17, 2015, 6:00 am
Filed under: Crap Marketing Ideas From History!, Design

So a few weeks ago, I was walking through a shopping mall when I came across these …

Now I appreciate as someone who never wears socks because he always wears Birkenstocks, I may be missing the point, however I have a few questions I’m hoping you can answer for me.

1. What exactly are ‘fashion socks’?
2. Why does the packaging feature men talking on the phone?
3. Are the men actually talking to each other and comparing notes?
4. If the socks are ‘fashion’ garments, why are the models wearing boring suits?
5. Am I taking some dodgy sock packaging way too seriously and need to shut the hell up?

Answers gratefully received. Thank you.

If It’s Easy, It’s Not Worth It.
November 16, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration

Yes, this is the shortest post ever.

I thought I’d be nice to you given it’s a Monday.

It would be even shorter, if I hadn’t written this.

But it’s a message that will resonate with one person in particular.

I hope.

They know who they are.

I also hope.


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