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

There’s A Big Difference Between Looking Good Enough For Hollywood And The Local Panto.
February 20, 2009, 6:24 am
Filed under: Comment

So I’ve written about MAC Cosmetics in the past … and whilst some of these posts have taking the piss … I’ve always had a soft spot for the brand because they have a fresher, cheekier approach to the often self-important, uber-serious tone of the fashion and beauty industry.

However I have say I think they’ve lost their way and adopted the ‘shock at all costs’ strategy, best favoured by creatives who like executions rather than ideas.

Before that comment gets anyone’s panties in a twist, I am not saying communication should blend in with its surroundings – far from it – I am just saying that in the commercial communication/strategy industry, you need to have a purpose to what you’re producing or you’ll find yourself without a job/company before too long.

And before someone say’s I’m advocating the sort of ads produced by Colgate on an almost hourly basis, I would point out that the best work I’ve ever had something to do with [even if it was just bringing in a cup of tea at a pertinent moment] always had a well crafted, pragmatic strategy/idea at the heart of it – be it Tango, Supernoodles, Mini or Schweppes – because in my industry, I believe creativity has to be linked to effectiveness or it’s another reason why clients won’t want to deal with you.

Anyway enough of all that, the reason I’m writing this post is because MAC have chosen a brand ambassador that just doesn’t work.

I know I’m a 38 year old man who has never worn makeup in his life [that’s my story and I’m sticking with it] but as much as I thought their ‘Barbie’ campaign was madness, this just reaches new levels – or should I say depths.

Yep, Dame Edna Everidge!

Fuck me, what were they thinking?

Putting aside the fact she/he is about as relevant today as Button Moon [look it up] … even with the glam and bling culture that permeates too much of society, no girl [or flamboyant homosexual] wants to look like a 75 year old Australian man in drag.


You might [just might] get away with RuPaul… but Dame Edna Everidge?

I’d love to know what photos Barry Humphries agent must have on the Marketing/Account Director of MAC and their agency – they must be dynamite to get this campaign off the ground.

More proof of global campaigns created and executed by people who haven’t gone further than their toilet.

Anyway, because I am still gutted we didn’t win the MAC pitch we went for a few years ago, I am seizing the ‘fuck up fairy’ strategy that MAC seem to be going full steam ahead with and creating a new campaign with a new ambassador in a bid to win the business that I still feel should really be with us so with that, I present you the cynic/MAC campaign …

Call me Guillaume – Global Marketing Director of MAC – you should have my number unless you’ve been sacked and replaced by your uber-conservative L’Oreal paymasters!

Motivation: Stalin Style …
February 19, 2009, 6:54 am
Filed under: Comment

[From Media Magazine]

Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Greater China TB Song has blasted his company as “lazy”, “arrogant” and “out of touch” in a damning document circulated throughout the agency and obtained by Media.

In the letter, Song lays out the causes of the team’s “collective failure” which includes Ogilvy China’s inability to meet its fiscal targets.

“We must be also aware that we have already become too lazy and proud and have been resting on our laurels and enjoying our good reputation,” the letter reads.

“We considered ourselves infallible and even arrogantly believed that we could engage consumers without actually understanding them. This has destroyed the Ogilvy brand and David Ogilvy’s vision: ‘We sell or else!’”

According to Song, the letter was circulated to MOTIVATE THE AGENCY’S STAFF TO DO BETTER IN 2009!


I bet everyone in the O&M Beijing office is over-the-moon they’re getting blamed for the agencies shit performance when the majority of them earn approx 1% of what the Chairman probably spends on lunch each day!

And I find it especially amusing he calls his staff ‘lazy’, ‘arrogant’ and ‘out of touch’ when as a network, they embody and celebrate all those characteristics on an almost daily basis.

Saying that, I respect Ogilvy – especially in Asia where they’re an amazing machine – but it cannot be denied that they’ve been going abit mental recently …

First they have a regional HR Director [now ex!] who gets bored when colleagues come and see him because they’re upset, then they have an office that does all they can to destroy the good name of their founder and now they have a Chairman who likes to blamestorm his own shortcomings.

Maybe they think this is the way to get to Sorrell’s dinner table, but everybody knows the secret is to just be 2 feet 3” tall.

Before I go, I found this video [thanks Ang!] of a mate of mine, Calvin …

I always thought he was the regional creative director of Publicis, but having seen this, it would seem he really has been working undercover as Ogilvy China’s ‘enforcer’.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em … Cheat.
February 18, 2009, 6:33 am
Filed under: Comment

We all know business is competitive – with the big boys buying up all they can in a desperate bid to maintain their relevance … but what happens if you’re a smaller organisation who doesn’t want to sell, don’t have enough cash to make any major acquisitions but still wants to get some PR coverage?

Well you do what Synovate Research do, and hire someone who has the same name as one of your major competitors …

[I’ve not highlighted the name because I think you’re too thick to see it, I’ve highlighted the name because some people who have no interest in planning/advertising/anything read this blog and just wanted them to feel part of the ‘joke’ because I’m such a kind and involving chap. Ahem]

Genius …

I bet Sir Martin spat his cornflakes out when he first saw that news.

So if your name is Leo Burnett, John Walter Thompson or David Ogilvy or even Ms Uni Lever, drop me a line … I have a not-so-cunning plan.

Barbie Goes Bad …
February 17, 2009, 6:58 am
Filed under: Comment

Barbie is obviously looking to expand its customer base given they are facing increased competition from children’s distractions like Bratz and crack cocaine.

After having done tie-ins with MAC Cosmetics, it would seem they have decided to appeal to a radical new consumer segment – men. Or more specifically, men with a ‘mature woman’ complex.

[Bet you’ve already got yours haven’t you Billy?]

What this will do to the people/organisations who claim Barbie reinforces negative gender stereotypes is anyones guess, ha!

Anyway, sit back and enjoy – and if you’re a lawyer from Mattel – it’s a bloody joke!

February 16, 2009, 6:49 am
Filed under: Advertising [Planning] School On The Web

… returns soon.

And this time it’s about how you can turn post rationalisation into a compelling argument for a conservative brand to do something fresh and new. [Hopefully] Details in two weeks.

Comments Off on A[P]SOTW …

And They Say Romance Is Dead …
February 16, 2009, 6:00 am
Filed under: Comment

I’ve always been of the belief that Valentine’s day is more about fear than love – but putting that aside – I’ve noticed more and more companies are trying to expand who is ‘eligible’ for a Valentine’s Day gift in what can only be described as a desperate attempt to exploit more cash out of down-trodden, fear-ridden men.

Maybe I’m a traditionalist, but I’ve always regarded Feb 14th as a day you send a message of love to your significant other, even if she doesn’t know it yet … it certainly doesn’t include your Mother!!!

Besides, isn’t that what Mothers Day is for?

In all seriousness, I am of the belief that you should show your feelings every day, not on a designated date that has been corporately sponsored – however I recently saw an ad that makes me feel I am either …

1/ Totally out of touch
2/ A tight bastard
3/ About as romantic as an Aussie
4/ All of the above

Nice eh?

To be honest, I almost admire their honesty … but lets face it, there are Arnie movies that are more romantic!

Saying that, this ad actually conveys quite a few Asian cultural traits …

1/ The acknowledgement of ‘mistress’ demonstrates that across Asia, there is quite a prevalent ‘2nd wife’ attitude/habit.

2/ The fact the Mother’s ring is big [but not quite as big as the mistresses] – and placed higher than the wife – explains how many Asian men view the pampering nature of their Mothers as being of higher value than the loving [but perceived ‘demanding nature’] of their wives.

3/ The wife being placed at the bottom of the group represents how many Asian men regard their wives at the bottom rung of importance – less than their career, children, parents and mistress.

4/ The flamboyance of the ‘wife ring’ shows how many men regard their wives as a ‘possession’ … a possession that should be used to create an image to the outside World of a caring, generous and wealthy man.

Of course I’m generalising and I accept there are many Western men who probably share the same thinking/attitudes as the ones I’ve described, but whereas in the West we would hide these sides of us, in much of Asia it is shouted loud and proud – not because the people here are insensitive pigs [though some definitely are] but because for many, this is just part of how life is.

So if any of you are working on ‘global brand campaigns’ [which given the economy is VERY unlikely] remember we might all be part of the same World, but there are cultural differences that mean we are almost on a different Planet.

Finally, for any guy who reads this blog – if you have wives/girlfriends who complained about the poxy flower you bought /stole out of a garden for her – point her to this post and explain why she’s never had it so good, ha!

And Newcastle Fans Thought They Were Unlucky When They Got Joe Kinnear As Manager …
February 13, 2009, 6:00 am
Filed under: Comment

Bummed to death?


I tell you, the Financial Times has really gone down market these days hasn’t it!