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


Beware Of People With Brains
May 31, 2006, 8:27 am
Filed under: Comment

Check this clip out … www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o7BRlUL7e0 … it was broadcast today across Australia and is totally genuine. 

As far as I am concerned, he is a hero!  No, not because he is soldier trying to restore peace in East Timor … but because he stopped an Australian News Network trying to manipulate viewers into believing the terrible situation in East Timor was worse than it already was.

My point is that whilst theatrics can 'add' to the effect of what you say – without a foundation of truth, all you are going to do is give people reasons why they should never engage you.  Times have changed … people forge their opinions from many channels, not just from ads … so if you are not 'living your claims', you'll not only be quickly discovered, but also quickly discarded.

One of the things I have tried to promote is 'Unplanning' … where you embrace brand truth, warts 'n' all – even if the consumer perception is negative.

By dealing in facts, we can connect with consumers based on a pre-existing perception of the brand, and then, by re-shaping how they look at that fact, we can achieve brand engagement and sales results because suddenly they see things with a fresh perspective. 

Of course I am not advocating this philosophy all the time – it depends on what the client is trying to achieve and the market you are operating in [not to mention the need for great creative to pull the whole thing together] – but what I do know is that Scalextric, Super Noodles, Tango, Skoda and Virgin to name but a few, all achieved far greater results when they embraced 'truth' rather than focus on 'theatrics' to spice up a marketing idea that in reality, wasn't that motivating for consumers.

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The Reason For Metrosexuality?
May 30, 2006, 10:03 am
Filed under: Comment

This is an entry from one of the old cynic blogs but I still think it's a good viewpoint – which I have to admit was more or less developed by my other half! 

Anyway, our theory is [do you like the way I've immediately taken an element of 'ownership' on this] thanks to certain social, political, economic and entertainment* trends, Western women now feel a greater level of independence than they've ever felt before.  For possibly the first time in civilisation, a mass number of women no longer believe they are reliant on men to enjoy a full and happy life.  
 
However, because men have an inherent need to maintain their gender position within society, they are now placing greater importance on their physical, mental and aesthetic 'offering' because they believe this is what is now needed to help them stand out from the crowd and attract a female – thus maintaining [what they believe is] one of their genders fundamental 'roles'.
 
With the attitudes and roles of men and women slowly but surely merging together, this could best be described as 'The Rise Of Gender Blending'
 
 

* This could be everything from the Spice Girls, right through to Sex In The City etc etc 



Toga Yoga …
May 29, 2006, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Comment

Check this wonderful clip … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GMoq92gAo0 … it's beyond weird, in fact it's downright scary! 

However the strange thing is I feel more warmth towards this guy than many of the brands who spend billions each year trying to grab my attention.

OK, so there isn't a cat-in-hells-chance I'd ever want to sign up for his classes, but I'd jump at the chance to spend a few hours in his company. Come on … he'd make me smile, make me laugh and generally make me feel good about myself: attributes that are not only desirable but bloody powerful.

Sure this is a silly little thing, but there's a lesson to be learnt for a load of Brand Managers out there in blandland!



Brand [Mis]Behaviour …
May 29, 2006, 2:53 pm
Filed under: Comment

I was going through some old clips I found on my computer and I came across this 'moment of weakness'. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vB4vWGjqcWk]

Whilst Cass is probably not that happy to be making a fool of himself on a Global scale, [Sorry Cass] it does is raise the rather interesting question of 'when does it become cool to be sad?'

Think about it, we live in a World where each aspect of our image is carefully cultivated [conciously or not] and yet, there are times when we cast it all aside and make complete tossers of ourselves.  Hell, Cass is one of the most 'image concious' people I know – he normally wants to be the centre of attention because he is doing something cool, not because he is impersonating David Brent from The Office!

Sure, it could be about societies quest for fame or infamy … and to be fair, Cass did do this with a 'closed group of people' … however, it is still interesting that in certain circumstances, people will happily 'let go' of who they are and embrace a moment of uncool because by some weird logic, they believe it makes them appear even more cool. [Check out youtube.com if you still need convincing]

If you have any examples of things you've done or seen, I would love to hear them as well as any thoughts on why, how and when this happens.

PS: No alcohol was used in the filming of this sequence, but unfortunately a career was damaged in the process.



Singapore [Sham] Idol
May 29, 2006, 9:56 am
Filed under: Comment

Let me start by saying I like crap television – but I have just witnessed a program that transcends 'crap' … infact, this could be a weapon of mass destruction!  Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for 'SINGAPORE IDOL'.

NEVER, EVER have I seen such a shoddy piece of rubbish ….

The contestants?         AWFUL

The judges?               TERRIBLE

The sets?                    DRAB

The hosts?                  PITIFUL

Seriously, if you think the British/American/Indian/Iraqi/Australian/NZ etc etc versions are bad – you have seen nothing yet.

Talentless hopeful, after talentless hopeful slowly shuffle their feet into the Concentration Campesqe studio to warble lyrics that are either …

1. Unintelligible

2. Mumbled

3. Wrong

4. Singlish [a 'special' version of English where meaning and understanding often gets 'lost in translation'.  My fave? The song 'Can't Fight The Moonlight' was sung as 'Camp Fire The Moonlight]

What's worse is that most of them are either dressed in 1994 'New Kids On The Block' clothing OR the latest clobber from 'Accountants World' magazine.

However, even worse than that are the FOUR judges.  [The 2 'men' are below]

I think there's four because Asians are notoriously thin and so it takes 2 to make up the equivalent size of American Idol's resident chubby, Randy Jackson … however, what these 4 lack in size, they more than make up for in absolutely annoyance.

I have no idea what the judges are 'famous' for – because lets be honest, Singapore has hardly set the World alight with it's musical talent – however we have 2 men and 2 women [of which one of the men and women are EX husband and wife – and judging by how camp the bloke is, I am not in the least surprised] who sit there and say one of the following comments after each hopeful has murdered a particularly well-known song …

1. That was really entertaining

2. That was really awful

3. You have real talent

That's it … that's all they say … each and every time – except they always say the wrong comment to the wrong person. 

Seriously, in the whole competition [and we've only had 2 episodes] there's only 3 people with a modicum of talent and the best [a 16 year old girl] was almost kicked out the first round because – get this – the judges felt she made the song 'her own'.  In other words, because she sang a song in a way that really represented her, she was seen as poor as they wanted it to be sung 'just like the original'.  It's Singapore Idol, not Singapore Imitation.  JEEZ!!!!

Finally there's the hosts – heaven help us!

Here are a couple of 'lads' who are trying so hard to be 'hip 'n' happening' but come across like a damp squid.  What's worse is they have all the wit of a deaf mute – so you are subjected to 90 mins of the sort of painful television last witnessed in the 80's when we had a 'Telethon' every week for some sort of charity that needed attention.

I like Singapore – I like Asia – but seriously, this show is more dangerous than a snuff flick!!!  Saying that, for a country that celebrates its own blandness, getting me to rant and rave like a madmen is a major step forward –  as the words 'passion' and 'Singapore' are rarely uttered together.

Sorry about the rant – but if I didn't get it off my chest, my blood pressure would have reached dangerous proportions.  Normal [?] behaviour will be restored tomorrow.



Corporate Stupidity?
May 25, 2006, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Comment

 

This is from a Starbucks document I got my hands on. 

For a company that goes on and on [and on] about embracing the different cultures of the World, it seems a pretty bad choice of photo to use in communication.

Look, I have nothing against Starbucks – infact in Asia, it's the only half decent coffee I can find* – but surely someone in the company realised this photo could play right into the hands of people who accuse them of globalisation.

Yep, another great example of corporate, 'Oops, Should Have Thought That Through A Bit More'.

* I did say 'half decent'



You Can’t Keep A Secret Anymore …
May 25, 2006, 12:24 pm
Filed under: Comment

I love this … and thanks to the MIT Ad Lab for telling me about it.

Hitwise [an internet research company] analyzed internet search patterns over the last week and claimed that Taylor Hicks would become the next American Idol.

"While neither Taylor's soul angle nor Katharine's torch song persona are in the sweet spot for the American Idol demographic, based on the difference in volume of searches for Taylor … he should be announced as the winner."

Were they right?  You bet they were – and this is yet another reason why companies should embrace alternative research methodologies rather than hide behind their much loved [and much flawed] qual and quant.  Of course I'm not saying ALL qual and quant is wrong – but if it was all so perfect, we wouldn't live in a World with so much failure in business – despite millions and millions of dollars being spent on research!

Now if Hitwise could only tell me next weeks lotto numbers!