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

What Australian Television Understands That Cannes Doesn’t …
July 22, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment

So Cannes has happened and while there some genuine pieces of excellence were rightfully awarded, there was – as I feared – some utter bullshit given shiny awards when they should have been thrown out and humiliated for bringing the whole industry into disrepute.

I’ve written about how awards encourage agencies to humiliate themselves and I’ve written about how the award organisers could help stop this happen … but it’s not really surprising that my voice is ignored.

Not just because no one reads this blog or that a sparrow has more credibility than I do, but because agencies, clients and awards organisers are co-dependents, each offering something the other party wants and needs for their own ego and value.

Clients need to feel they are doing something unique in the category.

Agencies need to let their clients think they are working with someone who can do things others aspire to doing.

[Not to mention needing to think we’re uber-creative despite being our own client & audience]

Award Organisers need agencies to feel their accolade is more important and valuable than everyone else’s so they can keep the money rolling in.

It’s honestly like the Emperor’s new clothes, but what makes it especially annoying is that even an Australian Television program can see how futile and pointless it all is, which goes to show another problem with our industry.

We say we ‘get culture’ but we can’t even hear them when they’re shouting in our faces.

The Danger Of Marketing Inflation …

First it was advertising award entries.

Then it was Linkedin descriptions.

Now we are entering a new dawn … the dawn of the Kickstarter write up.

What am I talking about?

The age of ‘reality fiction’.

You know what I mean … where things people write are exaggerated to the edge of reality.

From the print ad that ‘changed how society looked at the World forever’.

To the ‘account executive’ who claims to have run the biggest, most profitable, most creative account in the agencies history. [But is still an AE]

To the watch – WATCH!!! – that claims it’s a rebel, despite the fact it is exactly like every other watch ever bloody made.

Seriously, some of this stuff is more fantastical than Harry Potter, which begs the question whether the role of marketing – whether it’s your work, your product or yourself – is now a help or a hindrance to achieving ambitions and goals?

It is for this reason that the brands I like – and I trust – are always aware of the difference between truth and marketing truth.

If I was in charge of ad awards, Linkedin and Kickstarter, I’d be encouraging the people who use their services to take note of that fact or they may find themselves without a business in the blink of an eye.

Distance Makes The Heart Grow Evil …

So Singtel – the Singaporean telco giant – have made an ad about long distance love.

I’m sure it’s meant to highlight how their technology can make even the greatest distances feel invisible … but for me, the story is actually about a guy who fucks his girlfriend from going after her dream job in New York by guilt-tripping her into going back to Singapore because he wants to watch the football on TV. Or something.

Now I know some people in Asia have some very screwed-up attitudes towards gender equality, but this is taking the piss.

Now I appreciate I might be going a bit over-the-top on all this, but for me, the endline shouldn’t be …

“For every moment between goodbye and hello”

… it should be …

Singtel: for men who pretend to be sensitive but are bastards.

Anyway, have a look and tell me what you think. I am sure Cindy Gallop will agree with me.

Who Is Worse?

… the person who invented these or who buys these?

I get the ‘novelty value’ of these, but – and I might shoot myself in the foot here saying this – if this product is still in existence in 18 months time, I will eat a packet of them. Or at least apologise profusely and buy 100 packs as punishment.

That said, I do like the ‘get your tweet printed on the pack’ idea.

Sure, it results in tongue-in-cheek bollocks like “Dude wipes are a lifestyle” and “For those who wanna dominate the day”, but in a weird way, that gives a packet of bloody tissues a bit of a personality.

Oh my god, what have I just said.

Tissues with personality. Kill me now.

Worse, having just checked out their corporate website, I’ve not only discovered they have been in business since 2012, but they got cash from a major investor.

Guess I’d better start practicing eating my dude wipes … which sounds even worse than they will probably taste.

Behold, The Worst Email Ever Received …
July 18, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Marketing Fail

I’m back.

Trust me, I feel worse about it than you guys do.

I had an utterly amazing holiday…. utterly amazing … so I suppose karma wanted to make sure I was brought radically back down to earth by ensuring I got, as the post title says, the worst email I’ve ever received with – I kid you not – the worst first sentence ever written.


Cop a load of this …

Part of me feels I should be deeply offended to receive such a thing and then I remember this is a ‘direct marketing’ message and what it highlights is that as smart as computers are, they’re not as smart as everyone likes to think.

Just ask Microsoft.

Humble Brag. Without The Humble …
June 20, 2016, 2:39 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Experience, Family, Fatherhood, Holiday, Jill, Love, Otis

So by the time you read this post, I’ll be in Paris.

And yes, it’s for work.

It’s potentially the best work assignment of my life because not only do I have the pleasure of presenting to a bunch of global NIKE guys, I’m doing a presentation about Boatie McBoatface.

No really, I am.

Mind you, having written that down, I’m starting to realise the idea was better when it was in my head.

Oh well, too late now …

But if you think that’s showing off, wait till you hear this.

Tomorrow I fly home …

But it’s not to go back to work, oh no, it’s to pick up my wife and son and then get on another plane and spend a month on holiday.

I can’t wait … we will be catching up with old friends, seeing members of family and doing a bunch of new things in new places.

But most of all, we will be together … and while I’d love Rosie the cat to be with us, it will still be very special for me.

Being together is precious.

Of course that is to be expected, however when you have a young child, it takes on another dimension.

You don’t just do things together … you get to experience new things together.

Normally with a young child, life falls into 2 parts:

1. You bring them into your life. [Where they experience things you’ve done before]

2. You let them explore their life. [Where they experience things designed just for them]

But on a holiday – especially a holiday where you will be spending time in a place none of you have been before – you get to experience things for the first time together, literally share an experience where everyone is [kind-of] equal.

Now while I know it is exceedingly unlikely my 18 month old baby will ever remember anything from it, the fact is I will and I can tell you it will automatically be something important in my life and that makes me extra excited to be going away.

I’m back on the 17th July, so enjoy your holiday from me while I enjoy my holiday from you.

Repetition Builds Reputation …
June 17, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Context, Culture, Marketing, Perspective

Friday is a wonderful day.

It doesn’t matter how much shit you have to deal with, it will always be better than a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

OK, if you have to work the weekend, then that’s shit … but generally, it’s a magnificent day.

It is also a day where 2 things are cemented in my mind.

Crunchie chocolate bars and 70’s TV show Crackerjack.

I have not eaten a Chrunchie for 25 years and Crackerjack has not been on screens for the same amount of time … and yet these 2 things are still synonymous with my favourite day.

Of course, part of it is because Crunchie used to market itself as that Friday feeling and Crackerjack used to always start their show with the words “It’s Friday, it’s 5 o’clock, it’s Crackerjack” … but the fact I still deeply – and positively – associate those things with a particular day of the week is amazing.

Especially at my age.

Of course, psychologists will say I am ‘projecting’ and marketers will say ‘awareness means nothing if I’m not buying the products’ … to which I’ll respond with “of course I am” and “I would if I could buy a bloody Crunchie in Shanghai”, however it serves as a reminder that committing to a positioning – or an idea – has great value for brands, especially compared to relaunching every 12 months.

Seriously, this annual relaunch ‘strategy’ drives me mad.

Apart from the fact it demonstrates a brand trying to appear interesting rather than doing things that are interesting, the reality is that in the main, the only thing being ‘relaunched’ is the advertising slogan which – in a bid to not alienate any potential audience – has ended up being even more meaningless, ambiguous and forgettable than the one before.

Don’t get me wrong, there are occasions and circumstances where you might have to change track – sometimes dramatically – but if you’re doing it every 12 months, then it says far more about you than it does about the state of your business or culture.

So if anyone says ‘positioning’ doesn’t work … tell them they don’t know what the fuck they are talking about. Then go eat a Crunchie and watch Crackerjack on Youtube.

Happy weekend all …


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