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

Brand Humiliation …
June 26, 2007, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Comment

So I was in the hell that was Heathrow Airport when I spotted this lovely attempt to ‘grab consumers attention’.

Now you could argue that it worked as I not only noticed it, but secretly videoed it … however the only reason I did it was to demonstrate the sad lengths some companies will go to in a bid to make people notice them.

Apart from the fact its based on the same  ‘lowest form of idea’ that I wrote about a while back, the women look so fucking bored.  And maybe that’s what amazed me most – they look bored rather than humiliated.

I don’t even know what they were ‘advertising’ … but its bound to be some alcohol brand as loads of them seem to use this method to generate sales.

What gets me is that if this was a TV ad, it wouldn’t get through the strict UK alcohol advertising laws … yet in an airport, where there are tons and tons of small kids, it isn’t just allowed … it’s encouraged.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the importance/value of sales promotion and done properly, it can enhance the brand whilst also driving sales … however I can’t help but feel that in this case we have a company who has simply gone for [what they believe is] the quickest route to sales, and not given a second thought to whether it undermines their carefully crafted brand image and persona.  [even though I don’t know who it is for, ha!]

I love the fact that companies go on and on and on about the importance of brand strategy … and yet when they think there is an opportunity to make a few bucks more, they’ll turn their back on it in a heartbeat. 

There’s loads of examples of this … from Harley Davidson making watches [very ‘freedom’] through to MILO making chocolate bars [very ‘healthy energy’] … and all it does is show that strategy means nothing when a companies greed gets in the way!

An Inconvenient Personality …
June 23, 2007, 3:28 am
Filed under: Comment

First of all I want to acknowledge how lucky I am to have even been in the situation to meet Al Gore … plus I want to celebrate the fact that he is taking on such an important issue when it would have been so much easier to sit at home and enjoy a quiet life with his family … finally, it should be noted he genuinely cares about this crisis and while I suspect a Presidential nomination is on its way, I don’t believe he is taking on this issue for publicity reasons.

OK?   Good … that’s the caveat over with.

Maybe it’s because when I first met Bob Geldof I was blown away by his passion [plus he is a genuine hero of mine] … maybe it’s because when Al Gore was in Government he didn’t take on this issue with as much focus and passion as he does today … maybe it’s because on his TedTalk he was so bloody good … maybe it’s because talking to an advertising person about global warming is out of his comfort zone … maybe it’s because it was so bloody hot [and he was sweating alot] … maybe it’s because he had much bigger [as well as better ] things to do … maybe it’s because he was putting more wine in his mouth than food … maybe it’s because he was wearing a ridiculous pair of cowboy boots … maybe it’s because I was so bloody hungry [and didn’t want to talk with my mouth full] … maybe it’s because I spent the first 10 minutes thinking “HOLY SHIT I’M TALKING TO AL GORE” … maybe it’s because as a politician, he’d been trained to control his passion … maybe it’s because I couldn’t stop looking at how bloody fat he is [not nice, but he really is huuuuuge!] … maybe it’s because in ‘An Inconvienient Truth’ he was giving a presentation he’d been doing for years  … maybe it’s because I was trying to tell if his wife had a facelift [she looks really good for her age!] … maybe it’s because when I asked him a rather politically charged question*, he answered in a typically political way [ie: not answering it at all] … maybe it’s because I’m an evil, cynical shit … but for whatever reason it was, I can say I went away feeling  – and I do admit to a sense of shame in saying this – rather underwhelmed.

As I said, I LOVE what he is trying to do [and I don’t care that some say he doesn’t practice what he preaches] … but unfortunately his mannerisms, posture and monotone, charisma-free delivery left me feeling rather unmoved.

Yes I am probably going to go to hell for saying that but that’s the truth.

Don’t get me wrong, he is a genuinely nice bloke … but you get the impression that when he talks about the environment, he switches to ‘Robot Al Mode’ because he either starts regurgitating masses of facts and figures … drops a bundle of names [most of which I’d never heard of] … or uses really obscure quotes where your brain stops listening to what he is saying and tries to work out what the hell he was trying to convey.

I totally respect the man and as I said, there could be a billion reasons for why he didn’t live up to the expectations/image I had … but to me, the difference between when I met Geldof and when I met Gore [hahaha, I love the fact I can write that] is that one guy has had his passion trained out of him and while that might be good for American politics [though I would disagree with that] it’s fucking terrible when you meet a cynical old sod who wants to ‘feel’ what is being said, not just hear it.

So that’s it, Cannes is over … at least for me … and while I’ve generally had a good time, that’s more because I’ve caught up with old friends, seen current friends make complete arseholes of themselves, been out of the office and met Al Gore as opposed to actually enjoying the festival per se.

I won’t go into all the reasons why the awards left me abit cold as I think my previous posts pretty much cover it all … but without doubt, this Cannes has been the ‘Green Cannes’ [they even gave Al Gore a special ‘green lion’] and while that is all well and good, unless the industry starts making a conscious effort to help its clients to help make the World a better place, then it’s nothing but ego-wank talk.

Sure to achieve what I am saying will require better, broader, deeper thinking [ie: not going straight ‘to an ad’] but it can be done … it should be done … and it’ll ultimately benefit everyone – be it humanity, corporations and/or shareholders.

Last thing … an apology to Will and Lauren … I’m not going to be able to meet up this weekend I’m afraid. 

I am so sorry – I really wanted to catch up – but I am there for such a short time it’s going to be pretty much taken up with my management meeting and spending time with my Mum.  I hope you understand and when I am back next time, I promise to buy you both tea AND cake!!! Yes, I am that generous, ha!

With that I wish you all a top weekend and I’ll see you mid-next week as I’ll be in mad flying mode for the next few days.

* I said that given the USA is the largest contributor to global warming … would he say the World would be within its rights to declare war on America for continually using a weapon of mass destruction against humanity.

The wonderfully hungover Tom … minutes before going in to hear Gore’s speech. Between him and me, we put fashion back 100 years!

For The Guilty Parent …
June 22, 2007, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Comment

So you’re a new Mum or Dad … and you love little Johnnie incredibly … but because you like driving a new BMW 5 series and living in a desirable location, you work all hours available and only really get to be a parent for 3 minutes on a Saturday [as you rush out to buy your soy mochacino!]

Of course you feel abit guilty about it, but hey … you’re building a solid and desirable foundation for the future so it’s all justifiable.

However despite showering lil’ Johnnie with gift upon gift … there’s that little nagging feeling in the back of your head that you could be a BAD PARENT???

Enter the latest desk fan from Asia with new ‘Baby Wind’ setting.

Suddenly you can feel like little Johnnie is in the room with you.

Suddenly you can feel like you are spending time with your child.

Suddenly you can feel like the best god-damn parent in the UNIVERSE.


OK, so it’s not really a fan with a ‘guilty parent’ setting, it’s just another one of those classic ‘lost in translation’ examples – but I like it because it sounds like it has a built-in noxious fumes setting which you probably can only access by patting the fan on the back for a few minutes. Pointless post … but probably more enjoyable than the Cannes crap I’ve been writing about eh, haha!

Mind you, later today is ‘GORE DAY’ … so if  that doesn’t inspire me to write a positive and interesting post about Cannesthen I may as well pack in this whole blogging lark, put on a cardy and wait to die.And no, that is not a promise, ha!

PS: No Mum, I won’t be wearing a suit to have dinner with him, but I promise I won’t let the family name down. Too much.

Mars Or The Top Of Rob’s Sunburnt Head? You Decide.
June 22, 2007, 3:39 pm
Filed under: Comment

But as Fred said [in a previous comment] … at least my sunburn happened naturally which is more than can be said for him!

[Wonderful to have you back my friend, can’t wait to see you on Tuesday!]

Rolf Harris Say’s …
June 22, 2007, 3:38 pm
Filed under: Comment

This photo was taken at an ad agency party in Cannes last night.

If you reckon you can tell what it is [yet], write it in the comments section … the winner gets errrrrmn, nothing.

[Clue: it’s the sort of sad thing you would expect an agency to do to try and look cool/shocking/memorable]