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


Can Anyone Help Make This Happen?
February 29, 2008, 10:25 am
Filed under: Comment

Election Day 2006

Just got this great idea from Charles who got it from a mate of his …

“I had an idea which in a nutshell is to set up a site that allows people around the world to vote in the US elections so we can then breakdown the figures and see how, say the UK or Iraq voted”

I’m going to see what I can do – and I’ve already put in calls to people at the BBC, Google and Glue – but if anyone out there knows someone, can you tell them about it and see if they’re interested.

Please put this request or link on your own blogs so we can widen the net of possible developers.  Thanks alot.



No Blogging Till Monday, I’m Mixing It Up With People Who Are Bound To Be On The Purple List
February 28, 2008, 7:00 am
Filed under: Comment

black sheep (of the family ;-)

… because I’m presenting/listening/debating/learning/ranting at the inaugural World Effies corporatefest in Singapore.

Given the thing has apparently sold out – despite tickets costing something like SG$2,500 each – I think the most uber-effective campaign is the one that managed to convince shitloads of people from all around the planet to come to Singapore under the guise of seeing/hearing the best the Globe has to offer in business sound, creative thinking.

Don’t get me wrong – they’re good – but as I wrote a while back, they are not without their flaws and anyone who regards them as the embodiment of ‘genius’ is severely misguided.

Anyway, I thought we could have abit of fun – or more precisely, I thought you could help me have a bit of fun – by looking at the list of key EFFIES speakers  and then suggesting questions I could ask them.

I’ll be checking in over the next couple of days so feel free to write them at will – however I do have to say I’d rather have something intelligently sarcastic than simply asking Seb Coe whether he is suffering from a detached retina given he supported the monstrosity that is the British Olympics logo.

Then again, that seems quite a good question really, ha!

Have fun – will report what I saw/learnt/experienced next week.



What Makes A Country Unique?
February 27, 2008, 7:40 am
Filed under: Comment

Despite the fact I [and Fred] passionately hate/disagree with Singapore’s underwhelming tourism campaign positioning UNIQUELY SINGAPORE … 

[which was justified to me with the brilliant, “What’s unique about Singapore is that there is nothing unique about it”]

I do …

1 Love the place

Think it has an unfair negative perception

Believe there are some unique elements to the place

OK, to represent a whole country in a few words is incredibly difficult [especially if you need to put a positive slant on it, haha!] however my 75 year old Mother could come out with more interesting propositions than most countries churn out.

Incredible India

Uniquely Singapore

Amazing Thailand 

Discover Hong Kong

For fucks sake, what do those ‘lines’ mean????

And then there’s the ads.

OH
MY
GOD

Imagine vignette style advertising that tries to cram in every possible tourism activity over 30 seconds.

Apart from the fact it leaves you with no impression as regards the values/soul of the place, in most cases it could be for any destination in the World.

[Why don’t countries who spend all their money talking about the ‘ masses of activities’ they have to offer, stop trying to put it all into one ad and start a cable television network [think Discovery Travel & Living] that each day talks in depth about a different element of the country [including activities].  Not only would this give undeniable evidence there’s alot to do [because you need at least a year to talk about them all] but it also allows the culture and values of the place to come through. In essence, advertising would focus on selling the channel rather than the country – which might sound mad, but not as mad as trying to encapsulate a nation into a pithy slogan and 30 seconds of visuals]

Infact, there’s only 3.5 ‘tourism’ campaigns that come to mind that have a real idea behind them – an idea that is powerful enough to motivate people to actually want to find out more and they are …

Malaysia: Truly Asia

Sofea Ms Average Malay

The ad’s are appalling, but the idea that Malaysia represents all of Asia is lovely and nicely sidelines their core competition.

Singapore should be kicking themselves because this ‘thought’ could easily of been used for them given the CityState offers a truly multicultural experience.

Infact I think there’s a decent idea in positioning Singapore as the ‘sample shop’ for Asian destinations – because not only would it still attract people who specifically want to come to the Island, but it would also encourage other tourists to ‘pop by’ so they can get a brief sample of what other Asian countries are like so they can make a more informed decision of where they want to spend the majority of their holiday rather than wasting it on a place they don’t like.

Yes I know people like to ‘discover’ so this sort of idea could undermine an element of that holiday experience – however [1] people don’t like wasting their hard earned cash and [2] Singapore only offers a ‘flavour’ of what the experience in other countries is like so there’ll still be lots for people to uncover for themselves. 

Of course it’ll never happen because apart from ‘travel ageny booking issues’ there’s also nationalistic ego to contend with, but I still think there’s something in it.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

NZ: 100% Pure

rachel_hunter Ms Average Kiwi

The ads are still quite vignette but at least there is a real idea at the heart of it – an idea that isn’t just about ‘facilities’ but life and the Kiwi’s attitude towards it.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Victoria [Australia]: You’ll Love Every Piece Of Victoria

Alexandra Ms Average Melburnian

One of the best tourism campaigns I’ve ever seen.

Incredibly consistent tone, manner and idea that perfectly represents the style, sophistication and culture [finally an ad that talks about that!] of Victoria.

Hell, even when they do ads which show various activities, they execute them as part of a bigger idea rather than being the core focus.

Absolutely wonderful work from M&C and based on a lovely [albeit generic] insight that states when you are about to go leave from a short-stay holiday, you feel a real pang of anguish that you might not have experienced all the things you could/should have which often manifests itself in you going for one last ‘mad walk around the city’ or trying to delay the ‘inevitable’ for as long as possible.

Here’s a couple of examples of how they do it – Walkabout and Hide ‘n’ Seek.

______________________________________________________________________________________________ 

Wales: 2 Hours And A Million Miles Away [this is the .5]

Blech Ms Average Taffy

Not so much a brand message as a tactical campaign – focused on encouraging people in urban areas to get away from ‘normality’ and experience the best of Mother Nature.

If it wasn’t so full of Welsh people, it’d be perfect! 🙂

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Anyway, as is the case with most of the posts I write, I’ve gone off track as this isn’t what I wanted to write about at all.

What I wanted to say was that one of the things that IS unique about Singapore [see, there’s the link to the beginning of the post, ha] is the Airport.

Yes, the airport.

Now that might not seem exciting to you, but they have the most god-damn amazing airport in the World.

Sure there’s others that can match it for offers and variety of shopping – but interms of efficiency – they are in a league of their own.

I can get from plane to taxi – which naturally includes going through immigration and collecting my suitcase – in 7 minutes.

SEVEN MINUTES.

When I fly into London, it takes me that long just to walk up the alley from the plane to the terminal.

Have a look at the pic below …

18/02/2008

That is the immigration counter at the new Terminal 3.

Nice eh!

And guess what, that photo wasn’t taken at 2am on a rainy night – oh no – it was taken at 6pm on a Sunday after planes from Tokyo, NYC and London had got in.

Now compare that to the queues you normally experience in other cities!  It’s freakin’ brilliant!

There’s alot of things that bother the crap out about Singapore [but then I am a miserable ol’ bastard] but when I come back having endured another fuck up fairy adventure, I can honestly say the airport almost makes me feel proud to be a Singaporean PR!

I did say ‘almost’ – I still can’t get past the Government bods who did this! 🙂



Freedom Of Speech Is One Thing, Freedom Of Judgement Is Quite Another …
February 26, 2008, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Comment

This is quite a hard post for me to write because it revolves around a tragic event – namely the suicide of DDB Chicago Creative Director, Paul Tilley.

I didn’t know the man but by all accounts he was a well liked, talented individual and for what it’s worth, my thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues. 

However as tragic as this is – and it truly is – this post is not to muse over the events that may or may not have contributed to Paul’s terrible decision, it is to say how disgusted I am that certain individuals in the industry have decided to point the finger of blame in the direction of Adscam and Agency Spy because in the past, they’ve both been critical of the work Paul and his agency produced.

Death is never easy to accept – and it is even harder when it happens by the persons own hand – however blaming people who were simply critical of that individual is one of the most hurtful things you could ever do. 

Look, I understand how people want to blame someone when something like this happens and I understand how they want to protect the name of their family/friend/colleagues and I certainly understand how priorities and attitudes in life get completely refocused … but some of the comments being thrown around are outrageous and need to be reeled in before even more hurt and damage is caused. 

The ad industry is a bitter and twisted one. It would be wonderful if that changed however it’s been like that since day one – which is why for most people who have been in it for a period of time, they develop a thicker skin towards criticism. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect them – no one likes being ridiculed – but it is something that is given and received with such frequency that its potency is severely diluted. 

Did AdScam and Agency Spy sometimes cross the line? 

Maybe! 

Did AdScam and Agency Spy get personal? 

Quite possibly! 

However to blame them for what happened is both crediting them with far more influence than they could ever hope to have as well as demonstrating a complete lack of understanding regarding the issues and complexities that someone who takes this decision is going through at the time. 

As I said I didn’t know Paul and I am very sorry for what has happened, however his decision had nothing to do with the comments made by Adscam and Agency Spy and anyone who says otherwise is guilty of grief, ignorance or hypocrisy.

.



[Very Bad Taste] American Foreign Policy Joke …
February 26, 2008, 7:44 am
Filed under: Comment

Q: What has Hiroshima and Tehran got in common?

george-w-bush

A: Nothing. Yet.

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Practical Insight Beats Self Congratulatory Planner Insight …
February 26, 2008, 7:09 am
Filed under: Comment

I get kind of fed up of hearing planners talk about the ‘amazing insights’ they’ve discovered only to see them present work that is …

1 Exactly the same as the category

2 What the brand has always done

3 Just an ad

I know me ranting about this is nothing new however whereas before I thought Tesco’s were the most creative company [interms of developing product/services around cultural/lifestyle insights] I have now decided it’s internet ‘gadget’ shop, Firebox.

On first impressions Firebox seems to be a one-stop-shop for every piece of self-indulgent pile of ‘man-tat’ you could ever hope to find, however on closer inspection you realise they are an organisation who know their customers better than many research companies / ad agencies could ever hope to achieve and … here’s the killer … they don’t just talk about it, they use this knowledge to create things that resonate, engage and excite.

One thing they’ve done recently that I love – and not just because it came from the head of our dear Bazza – is the ‘biscuit tea mug’.

10/02/2008

Here is a mug that allows you to internally ‘store’ 3 digestive biscuits [the amount most people tend to use per mug of tea] so you can have a ready supply of dunking material as you walk around the office. Genius.

And how did this come about?

Mainly because Baz saw people continually going backwards and forwards to the kitchen to get tea ‘supplies’ and when he looked into why, he found …

1 They couldn’t dunk if they were holding other biscuits in their hand at the same time

2 Too lazy to get a saucer [more to do with not wanting to wash up/make desk messy]

3 They didn’t want colleagues to see them holding a bunch of biscuits at the same time [especially women]

4 People didn’t like leaving them on their desks [i] dirty [ii] people steal/borrow them. 

… so by taking all these learning’s/insights – and adding abit of his disgustingly brilliant creative mind – Bazza came up with the ‘biscuit tea mug’ idea, which we then developed and talked to a distributor about, who inturn licensed it to Firebox and the rest is [fingers crossed] tea-quaffing-biscuit-dunking-money-making history!

Now I know NP has announced he’s just appointed an official office tea mug, but something tells me he’ll want one of these – and I hope he gets it because everytime there’s a sale, we get a % of the cash, hahaha!

Something else Firebox have just launched – this time without the help of Bazza – is the brilliantly mad Wi-Fi t-shirt.

With more and more mobile devices having inbuilt wi-fi – there is a greater need for people to find out if they are in range of a Wi-fi spot.

Now there’s lots of ways to do this – including turning the bloody device on – however as we’re all such a bunch of time-poor bastards/princesses, Firebox has created a t-shirt that tells you there and then whether you can save on your mobile bill and surf via Wi-Fi.

Sure it’s a gimmick and there’s other devices on the market that perform exactly the same sort of thing – however it’s tailor-made for a Firebox type-of customer and more importantly, helps build their brand persona by demonstrating what they believe rather than just saying it via advertising.

Last example interms of creating fate rather than hoping to influence it is this double iPOD charging clock radio …

10/02/2008

Many households today have a couple of iPODS and yet more often than not, one tends to dominate the ‘charger’ whereas the other tends to be left till it goes flat.

Well thanks to this device, that no longer has to be the case because this product allows both iPODS to be charged at the same time and – because musical tastes differ – lets each iPOD be set for a different alarm times using different wake-up songs.

The thing is, the insight behind this idea wouldn’t of been something new – it’s probably been around as long as iPODSs – however only one company made something from it whereas the others focused more on aesthetics and/or pointless ‘added value features’.

Now I know you’re thinking, all these examples represent the height of laziness – I mean not holding 3 biscuits in your hand, turning on a Wi-fi device or charging your iPOD is pathetic right? – however this isn’t about humanities devolution towards ‘minimum effort’ [that’s for another day] this is about how insight/consumer understanding can/should be used to help clients develop financially viable products/brands [as opposed to just their advertising] because not only can these things have more impact on society than the majority of communication created, but it also demonstrates the worth of agencies and planners because if we don’t start making more stuff happen, we’re going to be sidelined for ever.



Everything’s Bigger In America …
February 25, 2008, 5:24 pm
Filed under: Comment

Following on from my earlier post about sexism in marketing, here’s a little story of someone who doesn’t have to worry about being patronised …

Daughter: My friends and I want to go out tonight.

Mother: Where are ya’ll going?

Daughter: To the cowboy bar on the edge of town.

Mother: I don’t think you should, there’s been a lot of trouble there and people get hurt.

Daughter: But Mom!! Please!! I’ll be okay.

Mother: No, your life is more important than going out.

Daughter: But Tina is going with us…

Mother: Well, in that case, it should be okay ..  ya’ll have fun!

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SEE IF YOU CAN WORK OUT WHICH ONE IS TINA?

Please note that any resemblance to Andy is purely coincidental. Personally I don't think it looks anything like him, but for some reason Marcus has suggested it does!

[Thanks to the lovely Charlie for this!]

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