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


Banks That Give Themselves Too Much Credit …
September 30, 2008, 6:59 am
Filed under: Comment

Snake in the Grass by Jangsta-A Snake In The Grass By Jangsta-A

Putting aside the fact this financial crisis is affecting the lives of millions of innocent people … is anyone else out there enjoying watching the egos and arrogance of the financial industry being brought down a peg or 10?

Of course not all people in the banking industry are idiots – some are decent, smart and worldly individuals who really have helped make a difference – however there’s a huge amount who think that because they have fancy suits, big job titles and obscene salaries, they’re better than the rest of society so go through life with their noses high in the air.

I met one recently who reacted so badly to my questions regarding roles and responsibility that he resorted to bragging about how much money he made because he obviously thought that was the best way to justify [probably to himself] his value/success in society.

As much as his reaction will probably cause the blood to boil in quite a few of you, you can’t blame him totally.

You see this is an industry that doesn’t just embrace the concept of meritology, but worships at it’s feet … so now the World sees how the lies, delusions and illusions they were sold have contributed to this financial massacre [acknowledging that in some cases, people really didn’t help themselves by blindly accepting whatever they were told] they realise their ‘intellectual and social value’ has fallen quicker than their shares, so the only way they can maintain their self esteem is to focus on their material success.

Look I am not against people making money … it helps make great things happen … however when people are sold lies to maintain the illusion of global prosperity and keep the outrageous banking bonuses flowing, then I get very pissed and think they’re getting all the deserve. [even though a hell of a lot more people are getting what they don’t deserve]

The banking industry is not all bad … in areas of training they are absolutely one of the best … however what gets me is that they were able to create this perception of being ‘superbrains’ because for all their talk about research, data and analytics, the wheels of their industry are greased by rumour, myth and perception so they’re a hell of a lot closer to gutter of adland than they are to the intelligence of science.

[Plus it shows that research DOES have it’s flaws because they’re a damn sight better at it than companies who think focus groups can judge the mood of the nation]

On the positive side maybe this will help get the World to realise what is truly important again … move them from embracing meritology to something I call morolology – where values and principals are regarded as being important again … however the cynic in me feels that once the financial markets recover, the memories and lessons of the past will be first to fade …

Then we only have ourselves to blame.



The Power Of Poems …
September 29, 2008, 7:12 am
Filed under: Comment

Poem by you.

I should of written this sooner, but I want to say thank you to everyone who either wrote on my blog or sent me email/SMS regarding the post about my Dad.

As I said in one of the comments, I find it amazing that I am afforded such warmth from a bunch of people I’ve never met but I am very, very grateful and very, very touched.

Maybe Andy said it best when he commented the human race isn’t as doomed as the media would like us to believe – though with all the shirking of responsibility by banks and governments regarding the global financial crisis, I think it’s a tighter race than he might of thought, ha!

Anyway the reason for this post is that Marcus and BTBB both used poems in their comments – and without disrespect to anyone else – the power they had on me is amazing.

Of course the fact they were relating to death at a time where I was thinking about my Dad meant they were always likely to be especially poignant – however it got me thinking about the power of good copy and why it is a dying art in adland.

Actually I should rephrase that because I know there are some incredibly talented writers in agencies … what I mean is that it saddens me that there are less and less brands who are seemingly embracing the power of the written word in their communication – they all seem to be favouring bullish headlines, a fancy photo and a few lines of description.

I don’t know whether this shift is a byproduct of clients wanting to just focus on the ‘offer’ or society not wanting to focus on the ads [possibly both] … and I do appreciate the emotions of ‘death’ and quite different to the emotions of ‘buying a sofa’ … however whilst the basic foundation of popular advertising is ‘entertainment’, that doesn’t mean people only react to slapstick humour or graphical wonderment – infact if done [and presented] well, I could argue long copy [spoken or written] is even more powerful in motivating or engaging society.

The only time I tend to see ‘longish’ copy these days is in ‘niche’ marketing collateral … however in many cases, the only element of ‘niche’ is in the terminology used because the rest of it is as flat, broad and emotionless as the stuff FMCG’s put out each and every day.

To me this sort of thing isn’t niche marketing, it’s niche effectiveness …. if a brand really wants to speak to a small segment of society – apart from ensuring the media placement is appropriate – they should get their agency to think about how they can express their ‘offer/news/views’ in a way that is interesting, deeply relevant and emotionally resonant.

Both the poems I got sent [plus a speech emailed by Naoko] had more impact on me than most ads could ever dream of achieving – and yet they needn’t be so different. If clients and agencies just remember the power of emotional communication … encouraging their planners and creatives to start talking and acting as humans again … then great things could happen, because as much as some say society has an ultra low attention span, I believe it has more to do with what the companies are saying than our ability to focus.



Singapore’s Day At The Races …
September 27, 2008, 8:30 am
Filed under: Comment

f1 race by Debbie-sion Photo: Debbie-Sion

… F1 comes to the little island this weekend for the World’s first night race.

Putting aside the fact they’ll be so many lights around the track it’ll be brighter than the sun, it’s actually quite exciting and I don’t really like F1.

Maybe it’s because I can feel a real sense of an ‘event’ about to happen [abit like how it felt on the eve of the Sydney Olympics] … or maybe it’s because I know a bunch of stupidly loud cars will be roaring relatively near our house all day Sunday … however when I carefully consider all the possibilities, I reckon the real answer is because I know the place is going to be choc-a-block with gorgeous F1 groupies so something I usually find quite tedious, might become quite interesting to watch for once.

That is if Jill doesn’t give me 2 black eyes.

Honda F1 babes by Hot-screensaver.com Photo: Hot-screensaver.com

Do you need a place to stay Doddsy and Charles? 🙂



Screw You Chuck Norris …
September 26, 2008, 10:08 am
Filed under: Comment

… according to Marcus, there’s a new superhero in town …

… yes, [Indian] SuperRob – a man with more hair and better dress sense than the ranting loon you thought you knew and alarmingly you can follow his exploits by clicking here.

Thank you Marcus – it’s even better than a penis shaped award. I think.

[The comments are off because a SuperHero never wants undue attention. Cough Cough]

Comments Off on Screw You Chuck Norris …


Would You Trust A WPP Company To Make Your Brand Successful When They Do Shit Like This And Think It’s Brilliant?
September 26, 2008, 6:45 am
Filed under: Comment

It was bad enough when Wunderman came out with that horrendous squigily thing to express they were experts in OUT OF THE BOX THINKING [cough cough splutter splutter] however that’s nothing compared to what MindShare have gone and done.

Are you ready for this?

GLOBAL – Media network Mindshare has updated its identity by introducing a new company logo and ALTERING IT’S NAME.

The WPP subsidiary has replaced its purple logo with a red, purple and blue swirled sign and has adopted a lower-case ‘s’ in its name, changing it from MindShare to Mindshare.

“The logo has longevity, simplicity and flexibility – it’s future-proof,” said Mindshare Worldwide’s marketing director Ailsa Lochrie. “And it’s purple. We’re always going to be purple people.”

The rebranding is consistent with the agency’s global restructure process, announced earlier in the year, which has included the introduction of new management and tools.

The logo was designed by London agency Moving Brands following a pitch that included ten companies.

Now I know you must be desperate to see the work of genius so here you go …

Yes, that is it.

Changing your logo or the way your name appears is fine … but making a big fucking deal of it is a joke, especially when you try and justify it with the bullshit coming out of Ailsa’s mouth.

This smacks of 1950’s P&G advertising where you had to have ‘new news’ even if it had no value or importance to the masses.

There is so much wrong with this that I feel morally obliged to go through each point one by one …

First of all, lets look at the logo.

To you and me it’s 2 circles in the sort of colours you’d get on Thai Airlines but not to Mindshare … oh no, this is the exhaustive result of a TEN WAY PITCH!

TEN!!!

How the hell can you get that many agencies to pitch and then decide 2 circles was the best option?

Who the fuck were the other 9 agencies, members of a blind school?

Then there’s the fact Ailsha Lochrie say’s “it’s future proof”.

Hahahaha, hAhAhahaha, HahahAhaHa!

Future proof?

Well only in the sense that something shit today is most likely to be shit in any decade.

What the fuck is this woman on?

If I were WPP I’d keep her locked in the closet with Tom Cruise before she say’s anything else that might make them look bloody stupid.

[Can anyone tell me if the design agency, Moving Brands, is a WPP company. Something just doesn’t smell right here!]

And what is a purple person?

Isn’t that the colour you go when you’re about to burst in a fit of frustration because in your heart of hearts you know what you’re doing is wrong but you have been told by your bosses that to ensure your monthly pay cheque you have to go along with the corporate illusion that you’re at the cutting edge of media and people habits despite the fact that you end up spending pretty much all your clients money on the same old traditional channels as you did 20 years ago?

Then there’s the big one.

The fact they have dropped the capital S into lower case.

Holy fuck … hold the front page.

Seriously, I don’t know why I didn’t grasp the opportunity to write some trumped up press release when I started referring to myself as Rob instead of Robert.

THIS IS A COMPANY THAT SAYS IT HELPS BUSINESS GROW.

THIS IS A COMPANY THAT HAS LAUNCHED A BRAND CONSULTANCY DIVISION.

THIS IS A COMPANY SO STUCK UP ITS OWN ARSE IT CAN’T SEE HOW STUPID THEY LOOK.

The thing is, Mindshare does have some great people, but the sad part is that they use them for ‘PR’ because in the big scheme of things, they don’t use their ‘scout network’ for cultural trends … they don’t use their creatives to break new ground … they simply churn and burn clients cash and employees energy to keep Sorrell and his gang in champagne and lobster.

However the biggest tragedy of them all is that clients don’t see the lies and blindly go on – thinking they’re with a company who is being responsible with their money when despite all the hype, they’re doing little more than my Mother could come up with.

OK, so my Mum is a smarty-pants, but she’s not some media person – so if you work for MindShare [sorry, Mindshare] and are in a role where you actually are being exploited [or exploiting clients trust] let us know what’s going on [I heard a horrible rumour that the management ordered all staff to give money to some charity thing so they could PR how ‘ethical’ they are] and then go back to your bosses and ask how the fuck 2 circles and a lower case ‘s’ reflect the companies new management and tools.

This is the sort of wank the idiot at Landor probably comes up with [which would make sense given it’s another WPP company] but in the ‘real world’, we don’t buy that shit anymore than we believe Mindshare’s ‘3D’ planning tool is breaking new ground in media thinking, planning and execution.

Thanks to James for this – you’re right, it did light the touch paper 🙂



I Won The Battle And I Have The Medals To Prove It …
September 26, 2008, 12:43 am
Filed under: Comment

But lets not get too cocky folks … the war is still raging so be on your guard and fight the good fight.

Night all, I’m absolutely knackered … but strangely energized at the same time.

What a sad – award [for WPP!!!] and rant winning – man I am, hahaha!



Anything Is Easy For The Person Who Doesn’t Have To Do It …
September 25, 2008, 5:10 pm
Filed under: Comment

CONFERENCE UPDATE: DAY 1

So we’ve had the morning sessions … loads of speakers basically giving their company creds, passing off other people’s ideas as their own and showing old viral pieces as if they’ve just come out.

Hey, I’m not knocking it, I’ll probably be doing the same in a few hours … however one guy has pissed me off and that’s one of the conferences “Guru’s” – Nirmalya Kumar – Professor of Marketing Harvard, IMD / Director – Centre for Marketing / Co-Director Aditya Birla India Centre, UK London Business School.

Obviously this guy is very smart and very informed – you don’t get to where you are without that – however like most University lecturers, he speaks AT an audience, he detests being questioned and he only understands life by post-rationalised case studies.

Well guess what I did!? Yep I called him on all 3.

You see it was all going well till he started talking about the fashion brand, Zara.

Without doubt they are an amazing business because like Google, they’ve come from nowhere to everywhere in about 10 years – however what pissed me off was that he said Zara has become a brilliant brand without ever advertising … they’ve just created and communicated their competitive advantage through their advanced processes and systems.

Now don’t get me wrong, process and systems has played an enormous part in creating Zara’s consistent and competitive brand advantage … however what this old school thinker fails to realize is that communication is no longer just about television spots or billboards, it’s about [as in Zara’s case] things like shopping experience, location, PR, fashion shows, magazine articles – hell, even the clothes – so whilst Zara may not use the ‘old school’ method of advertising, they still spend a shit load of cash on communicating their brand to the masses.

Of course I had to bring this issue to his attention and do you know what he did?

He grabbed the mic off me and made some glib comment that because this method of communication wouldn’t get adland the commission they demand from media channels, he was right and Zara owe their success to internal efficiencies and infrastructure.

Now apart from the fact that [1] I have seen Zara advertise in traditional channels [2] they do have ad agencies on their books and [3] they spend a huge amount in exposing their brand to the masses … the media commission model is incredibly outdated and if most agencies relied on that for their only income, they’d all go bust in an instant.

So all in all this guy has made 4 major faux pas …

1/ He has not acknowledged the role adland can have in making an efficiently run company into a brand that motivates and infiltrates society

2/ He does not understand the changing face of the communication industry.

3/ He doesn’t understand how real people think/do/act

4/ He is letting me speak after him.

Revenge happens in about 3 hours.