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

Knowledge Through Entertainment …
July 27, 2007, 7:20 am
Filed under: Comment

One of the things that I think is missing from a lot of planning/planners is ‘shock and awe’.

That doesn’t mean going into a load of self-indulgent, over-the-top wank … nor is an excuse to not rigorously follow the fundamentals of good, solid planning … it’s more about their approach, ingenuity and exploration.

As much as it is easy to blame clients for the mediocrity that inhabits our lives, I also think planners in particular, have to shoulder a large part of the responsibility.

Lets face it, our job is to help clients connect with society – so if the end product is a heaving pile of poo, then someone somewhere has to accept they’ve not been able to demonstrate why the more pragmatic approach would have made more business sense.

One of the things I/we do is what we call ‘HIGHER POWER ADVOCACY’ …

What we accept is that some clients don’t trust a bunch of advertising people to know as much about their issues as someone who is an established expert in their particular industry … and while this may or may not be true … it is a situation we decided to accept rather than get continually frustrated by.

So the way we handle these situations is by this ‘Higher Power Advocacy’ thing …

Basically it works in 3 ways …

1 Find an accepted industry expert who is known for sharing the same sort of ‘philosophy/attitude/ideas’ as us

[As we did when we hired Business Guru, Geoff Burch, to pitch for the EGG business years back]

2 Find an accepted expert who works in an area related to the issue our client is facing 

[As we did when we got Lonely Planet involved in a US Government pitch to encourage more Americans to travel]

3 Find an accepted expert who works in an area related to the issue our client is facing 

[As we did when we invited a Mother with 8 children, a Vicar and a Record Company Exec to teach Dreamworks the many sides of ‘Entertainment’]

… and you know what, it works like a dream because not only does it stop the client from saying stuff like “… I just don’t think you really appreciate the intricacies of our issue” … but they walk away feeling impressed, enthralled, interested and assured because the people delivering it are people they respect rather than people they feel are trying to just make a dollar out of them.

Nuclear Explosion!

That’s what I mean about ‘shock and awe’ … taking clients on a journey they didn’t expect … think of … appreciate … and then bring it all back to demonstrate how your strategy IS addressing their fundamental business issue and why they MUST adopt a more pragmatic approach to the challenge.

[It also separates you from the other agencies who normally bang on about their proprietary tool’ – even though the end result tends to be unbelievably similar to every other fucker in the category]

Now I know what some of you are thinking – but how do you find these people and then how do you get them to help?

Well that’s what I am talking about interms of approach, ingenuity and exploration … there’s no standard approach, it’s just a mindset, an attitude, a desire [approach]… because if you look deeper and broader [exploration] at the issues you’re trying to overcome, more often than not the sort of areas or people [ingenuity] you need to help fight your battle will become apparent and then its just a case of ‘getting them on board’.

Now I am not saying this final bit is easy … far from it … but most people love the idea of being able to talk about themselves/ideas/views and more often than not, just asking for their opinion gets you in the door.

Sure, if you want them to pitch/present with you then you’re probably going to pay – but depending on the importance of the meeting, it could be more expensive NOT to do it.

The reason I bring this all up is that at the moment, I’m working on an iconic Aussie Beer Brand who have asked me to help them ‘change’ after almost FORTY YEARS of the same campaign.

Given it’s the most successful beer brand in the country, I’m under no illusion the temptation will be for them to ‘stay with what they know’ which is why I have enlisted the help of Candice Bushell – creator of Sex And The City – to help the ALL MALE board understand what women really think of alcohol swilling Aussie men … whether they’re supping an international label or a true-blue Aussie brew. 

“But hang on …” I hear you cry. ” … what does an American author know about Aussie blokes?

Well not much … but what she has been able to do is articulate the frustrations of the hundreds of Australian women we asked [from singles to mothers to marriage councillors to strippers] in a simple, interesting ‘soundbite’ that the clients will not only remember [which is more than can be said if we went through people’s individual comments] but appreciate comes from a person who can actually speak on behalf of the masses.

And how did we get her involved?

I sent her an email.

That’s it .. no payment … no promises … no lies … just a simple, nicely written email asking what she found frustrating about today’s image-aware guy.

Amazing what you can achieve if you mix politeness with a bit of cheekiness and a desire to ‘have a go’.

[In this example, I talked to the Editor of an Australian gossip mag who then gave me the email for Candice’s production company and the rest – as they say – is history]


Anyway, while I can’t go into how this all leads into our brand idea [but fingers crossed you’ll be able to see it in a few months] the thing I’d like to remind anyone who reads my blog is that you can’t develop an interesting and exciting idea if you only go where everyone else has been you can’t lay claim to having developed an interesting and exciting idea if you never actually got anyone to buy it.


Maybe … but do you want to be known as the person who HAD good ideas or the person who DID good ideas.

However while that demonstrates I have a very healthy ego [infact it’s the healthiest part of me, ha] I also appreciate how important it is to explore, involve and collaborate.

For me, the difference between clever and stupid is recognising how/when others can help you succeed – not in the sense of ‘using them’ – but by appreciating your own shortcomings and weaknesses.

I find it sad that many in advertising are now promoting ‘departmental exclusivity’ rather than encouraging and celebrating collaboration – both interms of how the agency operates and how planners learn about life.

If you take only one thing from this rant, I hope it’s that to make a difference you need to sell rather than just tell.  Good luck and have fun.

Hari Has Energy …
July 26, 2007, 6:08 pm
Filed under: Comment

Red Bull Gives You Wiiiings!

After a longer break than Def Leppard took to follow up Pyromania, he’s blogging again – and he’s managed 4 days on the trot.

Go and check what’s coming out his lovely big brain today and Fred, maybe you need another coffee as you’ve seemed to have lapsed into blogcoma! Ha!

Hand Made Food …
July 26, 2007, 4:40 pm
Filed under: Comment

So Jill went out to lunch with some colleagues and while they were eating noodle soup, one of them started chewing wildly.

After getting no where, her colleague reached into her mouth to pull out the offending item and found this …

13th February 2007

Yep … a chewed up USED PLASTER!!!

Now here is where the Asian mentality shines through.

Whereas most Westerners would probably be sick, scream, sue … or at the very least demand a new bowl of soup … the woman in question [a Singaporean] just asked for a free desert. Amazing!

That’s almost as disgusting as the time I was with a friends workmates and slowly realised the bar snacks I was eating were actually the stones from the olives they’d be shoving down their throat all afternoon.

Instead of screaming and being sick … I calmly announced I had to ‘nip to the loo’ and then spent the next 10 minutes pouring boiling hot water into my mouth! 

Damn me and my shitty eyesight!

Subliminal Blogging …
July 26, 2007, 9:13 am
Filed under: Comment

I have to spend quite a bit of time over the next 2 days with the above.

Sort of.


More in the ‘singular’ sense of the word.

Do you understand???

I think I am going to be in a lot of trouble and might be sent to Toad Hall.

Oh dear.

Stop laughing in the back. Yes, I can see you Andy!

Begging For Forgiveness …
July 25, 2007, 12:32 pm
Filed under: Comment


I have got about 50 emails in my inbox that I have been ignoring for the last couple of days – mainly because I am preoccupied with stuff and want to answer them properly as opposed to bashing out a 2 word reply.

So apologies for being such a slack shit … especially to Roop and Rachel who I think needed a response ASAP and Charles, who I’ve been especially slack to … but I promise I’ll get back to you all in the next day or two.

PS: Lauren: your email made me very happy and given I’ve only slept 2 hours, that’s a bloody massive achievement!

If You Only Do Two Things Today …
July 25, 2007, 7:32 am
Filed under: human_2

One is go here … and the second is to do what you’ll be told to do. Thank you.

Comments Off on If You Only Do Two Things Today …

If This Is What Being Sophisticated And Wealthy Means …
July 25, 2007, 7:30 am
Filed under: Crap Campaigns In History

… then please kill me, kill me now  – but only after you’ve slowly tortured the brainless fuckwits who both wrote and approved this steaming pile of turd.

[Sorry about the quality, I had to tape it off the television!]

When will marketers understand this sort of contrived, mindless pap doesn’t make their brand ‘aspirational’ … it makes them look like total try-hard-never-will-be’s.

As I wrote a while back, the brands that the truly rich and famous have/want, aren’t the sort that are freely available to the masses – infact their goal is to keep scruffy oiks like me, well away from them!

Fuck you Martell Cognac … fuck everyone in your company, agency and family … I wouldn’t drink your shit even if I had a broken bottle being pushed up against my jugular.