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

This Man Wants To Shout At A Bloke Called ‘Campbell’ …
December 12, 2006, 9:22 am
Filed under: Comment

So I come into work and find an email from Sir Martin Sorell’s PA telling me he wants a video conference with me at 4pm.

Within seconds, I get sent another email telling me to forget the video conference, he wants to see me face to face – and that details will follow shortly.

Now given the last time I met ‘Corporate Ad God’, I became a social leper for asking him what he spends his millions on, so I was rather confused as to why he’d want to see me again, let alone talk to me.

OK, so I do alot of work for him via his companies … but I/we pride ourselves on being a totally independent force from his billions of companies… so the only logical reason he would want to talk is …

1. I am to be sued.

2. My deal is to be finished.

3. WPP want to hire me. [unlikely as Im deemed ‘Corporately Dangerous’, haha!]

4. One of my/our clients is on WPP’s Global ‘radar. [more unlikely, except maybe Virgin]

5. It was all some big mistake.

And while options 1, 2 and 5 were the most likely candidates, I couldn’t stand not knowing what was going on till I was officially ’summoned’ so I did what any intimidated person does – I wrote a whimpering email to his lovely PA, asking what the hell was going on.

It took a mindfucking 8 hours before I got a reply – because of time differences, not because she’s inefficient – and in that time, I had spoken to clients, ex-clients, potential clients, my partners, WPP CEO’s, MD’s and PA’s [can you see my paranoia?!] to see if anyone could shed some light on what was going on and after my chats, I deduced that the only options it could be were numbers 1 and 5 … and given I had done nothing wrong, the smart money was on it all being some sort of mistake.

Finally I got a reply and in the biggest anti-climax since the movie ‘Titanic’, it was confirmed that she had made a mistake and had actually meant to email a guy called ‘Campbell Robert’. 

Now as much as this came as some sort of relief, I also felt a bit gutted. Deep, deep down inside, I was hoping Sir Martin actually wanted to talk to me – that I had somehow found myself in the superleague but alas, it was not meant to be.  So I wrote to his PA to say thanks for the confirmation and that I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. 

Mere seconds later I got another email that simply said ….

“Given I know what the meeting is about, you should be very, very happy indeed”

So while all this confirms I am a second division player in the league of Advertising, it also means I am free from ever getting slaughtered by the smallest big-man in advertising [like poor Campbell Robert probably is being at this moment] so for that alone, I raise a glass to mediocrity – probably the first and only time I’ve been an advocate of it.

WORLD RECORD: Mortimer Goes 2 Days Without ‘Blog Comment’ …
December 12, 2006, 9:21 am
Filed under: Comment

Dsc01472_1 +  = ?

Has anyone else noticed that since Mr Mortimer got his Nintendo Wii … he has been noticable by his absence?

Personally, if I was Nintendo, I’d use this as a campaign idea: ‘Who Needs Friends When You Have A Wii?’

Come back to humanity Rob … the World misses/needs you!

Lowe Principals And High Confusion …
December 11, 2006, 11:28 am
Filed under: Comment

So alot of you were right, royally peeved at the way my mate was informed of her impending retrenchment – and quite rightly so – however there were ‘developments’ on Friday, and they were that when she went in to her office to agree her leaving package, they went and offered her original job back [albeit with a slight difference to the role]

What the hell is going on? Would you trust these people to manage your career? Are they really that inept?

OK …OK … so full marks to them for realising how good she is, but …

1 Why didn’t they think that PRIOR to retrenching her

2 Why have they let some other people go who my friend say’s are bloody brilliant

3 How can a company behave this way?

Personally I’d sue them for emotional distress … but that’s just me … but I just don’t believe companies can behave this way – these are people’s lives they are dealing with and they want / need / deserve clarity and communication from their management.

The way some companies act is in direct contrast to the bile they spout in their meetings / mission statements / pitches … and maybe as an industry, we should start the equivalent of Bono’s RED – but for fair treatment to advertising employees.  First thing would be to start a union … because Christ Almighty … if any industry needs one, it’s adland.

Anyway, before I go … I had the misfortune to meet a SENIOR planner who as far as I am concerned, has absolutely no idea about what his job is or how people think.

Now I know that is harsh and to save him shame, I’m not going to name him … but to prove my point, please have a look at the chart at the top of this entry … a chart he ‘created’ to demonstrate what he does and how he does it.

Surely it is one of the most ridiculous, complicated, anti-design pieces of bollocks you’ve ever seen!  Isn’t it?  ISN’T IT???

These people don’t just exist in our industry – they thrive – and that’s because too many clients don’t know what we do, what they do or what their customers really think. 

I love planning … I love creativity … I love advertising [to a degree, ha!] but if the majority of this industry continues in their relentless quest to make money – then I am scared for where we’re all going to end up.

I want to know humans … [too many] clients want to know process … and while they can [and should] work together, I will never, never, never condone a system where we put the consumer attitudes / needs and wants a distant second to a regimented, out-of-context process protocol.

Last week I met a client [unsurprisingly, ex-P&G] who had a mathematical equation for EVERYTHING [and I mean, everything] and maybe that’s why he is about as out of touch of reality as almost any single person I’ve ever met before.

Planners, Creatives, Suits and Management stand up … relate to reality, understand humanity and don’t get bogged down in the clichés of our industry and then maybe we can show industry just what we’re capable of.

I’m angry … but then it’s Monday so what do you expect eh? 

Designers Do Have A Sense Of Humour …
December 11, 2006, 11:25 am
Filed under: Comment

So I went to a Christmas party at the weekend and there was one of those ‘Pick A Random Present From Under The Tree’.

Even though it was one of those ‘Marketing Parties’, most of the presents were pretty good – infact some people picked gifts they really, really liked [this was before anyone had chosen my ‘donation’ which was ‘Michael Bolton Sings His Favourite Christmas Carols’ CD]

Anyway, when it came to my turn, instead of simply grabbing the biggest pressie under the tree, I acted all mature [yes, it can happen] and picked a medium sized package.

With all eyes on me, I ripped open the wrapping to find that I’d chosen an iPOD protective cover as my ‘gift’.

Not bad … not bad …

Sure, I already had a cover, but with Apple launching iPODs like George Bush launches wars [and me having a medical problem that means I always have to purchase their latest model], I thought it could come in useful at some time in the very near future.

Mind you, as the box stated it held an elegant and practical accessory, I considered just chucking away my current cover and using this one instead  – afterall, I like elegant and practical!

Except there was one problem …

That’s right, rather than finding a cover of style and sophistication, I found a case that best resembled the sort of suit Simon Le Bon would wear in the 80’s. 

What sick and depraved designer would create such a monstrosity?

What sick and depraved idiot would buy such a monstrosity?

What sick and depraved tosser would use such a monstrosity?

… but most of all, what sick and depraved copywriter, would use the words “ELEGANT and PRACTICAL” in their description of this Tiger-striped bit of rubber?

Holy fuck, even Stevie Wonder would stay away from something this ugly – and while I could use it as an ironic statement against societies desperation to always ‘associate themselves’ with aspirational fashion brands [however ridiculous it may look to the outside World] I decided to put it back and give it as a gift to someone I hate – of which I have plenty to pick from.

I suppose it’s no different to agencies like JWT, Grey and Y&R who all say they are creative and then produce complete and utter tat – but at least that is something that I could argue the client ‘deserves’ – this is just a crime against societies eyes!

So to whoever is behind it – 10 points for cheekiness, 0 points for desirability.

Lowe Principals …
December 8, 2006, 10:08 am
Filed under: Comment


So a friend of mine works at an agency in London [can you tell who it is by the title of this entry? Ha] and yesterday she went to an all office meeting where management were updating staff on the many things they’ve been upto over the last couple of months.

In-between comments about how hard everyone has been working and the pitches they’ve been involved with … they casually dropped in that 12-15 people were going to be made redundant from the Account Service department.

Now obviously people were shaken up by this as …

1 They weren’t expecting it.

2 The Management treated it so casually.

3 They were worried as to who was staying and who was going.

4 It’s a few weeks from Christmas and it couldn’t come at a worse time.

… however by the time my mate got back to her desks, she knew exactly where she stood because her pathetic, wimpy, spineless boss [who sits 20 feet from her] had sent her an EMAIL telling her that she was to be one of the people made redundant. [Given the ol’ Spanish Archer – better known as ‘El Bow’ – hence the piccie above!]

Good on my friend for storming up to her boss and telling her she was a cowardly and inconsiderate person … but yet again, we have an example of a company behaving badly – a company who doesn’t know how to communicate despite being a so called communication ‘expert’.

This sort of thing makes me sick to the stomach. 

Sure I understand redundancies happen – and sure the agency in question are having a particularly hard time [which is sad, given the London office has been behind some of the truly great global brand ideas of modern times] but you just can’t treat people this way, it’s immoral.  

I appreciate no one likes to deliver bad news and that technology can make it easier because we can ‘hide’ behind it … but these sort of issues need to be handled with care, consideration and empathy – not a 2 line fucking email! 

The thing is, of all the industries out there, communication is one of the most reliant on the people who work within it.

Sure there are processes, philosophies and structures that can help shape the ‘output’ of the agency but ultimately, it’s the people within the organisation that have a disproportionate influence on how a company moves forward – and everyone in the industry knows this. So with this in mind, you could almost be fooled into believing they mean it when they say in their bollock mission statements that “Our staff are our number 1 asset” – except too often, their actions prove these are nothing but corporate ego words.

Look, my friend will be fine … she’s very good and will be picked up by countless other agencies … but whether her boss or the agency she represents stand as much chance of moving forward is in question – especially if this is how they think people like to be treated.

We are in the people industry … we are about motivation … we are about understanding … maybe some senior management should be reminded of that – because it seems a higher and higher proportion of them are subscribing to the Donald Trump school of management – where “It’s Just Business” is regarded as a legitimate excuse for any act of wrong-doing.