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

Speed Can Be A Competitive Advantage …
April 30, 2009, 7:03 pm
Filed under: Comment

… which could lead to a quite interesting post on the battle between product development timelines and opportunity costs, however what this is really about is the great Swine Flu game that can be played by going here.

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Calling All Digital Dictators …
April 30, 2009, 1:39 pm
Filed under: Comment

If you’re Web 99.7 compliant [what do you mean you didn’t know it existed? or are experienced in how digital can/should be used for commercial communication purposes ANNNNNNNND fancy being the head of digital at a Sydney based comms agency … then drop me a line because I have someone who might want to talk to you.

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What’s Yours Called?
April 30, 2009, 6:14 am
Filed under: Comment

In my time, I’ve been in lots of situations where I’ve had to ‘come up with a name’.

Whether it was a band I was playing in or a product I was discussing or a company I was starting … the choice of name has always been something that has inspired great debate.

Some companies have processes and theories in how to choose a name – however having seen what that actually entails first hand, I don’t think shoving a word into a thesaurus and then writing down all the answers while you charge your client top fees for ‘strategic counsel’ is all that smart.

Well, it’s probably quite smart from a financial sense, but that’s about it.

Of course there are some ‘rules’ you should consider when choosing a name – how it translates into other languages is one – but more often than not, you look for a name that embodies something about you or what you do.

OK, so that sounds like I’m suggesting Richard Branson was a virgin when he started the company or the guys behind Naked were errrrrm, nude a lot of the time … and whilst they might be amusing coincidences [allegedly], what I actually meant was that people deciding upon a name tend to gravitate to things that express their view or attitude or experience or something that has additional meaning to them.

Sometimes it can come quite quickly … cynic took a day thanks to a book I was reading at the time … however I also know that when we launched our ridiculously stupid and ego fulfilling company, potent_flix, we took weeks and weeks to come to some sort of consensus.

Seriously, if you want a less frustrating life, DON’T choose a name via committee … I guarantee you’ll spend half the time arguing and the other half wondering how you can kill everyone else and get away with it.

And whilst people say a name isn’t important – it’s more about what a company does – I don’t think too many people would like to fly with Crashalot Airlines.

So how do you choose?

Well contrary to companies like LANDOR, I don’t think there’s a ‘process’.

Sure there’s a bunch of things you have to consider … but interms of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach?

Well maybe that works in the minds of certain companies however on planet earth, I doubt it.

You fluctuate between going ‘cool’ or ‘corporate’.

What you ‘do’ or how you ‘think’.

‘Attitude’ or ‘delivery’.

You get the idea …

And that’s only the first stage … wait till you have to decide on how the bloody thing looks!


Anyway, as usual, I digress, I mention all these things because whilst in China – amongst all the piles and piles of DVD’s from production companies – one stood out.

Now you could say it’s a very clever marketing ploy – because in a very competitive industry, getting noticed is half the battle – however something tells me that whilst this company might appeal to certain deviants within the industry, that wasn’t the real reason behind the choice of name … which begs the question, what the hell was the reason?






























Is This The Laziest Ad In The World …
April 29, 2009, 8:31 am
Filed under: Comment

Time … as many have said … is a commodity.

I am sure I wouldn’t be wrong to suggest we’ve all gone through situations where the time available has impacted what we’ve wanted to do/achieve.

Sometimes this limitation of time is down to us … maybe we’ve miscalculated how long something would take to do or – a personal favourite of mine – we’ve procrastinated to the point where we’re left with a fraction of what we could have had.

There’s other scenarios too …

Maybe there’s been a sudden change of situation that means a much quicker response is required or it could be that an opportunity presents itself where despite all practicality screaming “NOOOOOOO”, you just have to give it a go, if only to satisfy your curiosity.

However, as much as there are an almost limitless amount of circumstances that can result in time being impacted, more often than not, when it absolutely matters – you will have certain standards that ensure what you do isn’t the cheapest or nastiest solution.

Except for those who work in adland it seems.

Ladies and gentlemen … boys and girls … I present you with the laziest in “lazy ads of the World” …

Now I’ve been around long enough to know there may be mitigating circumstances …

1/ The client briefed the agency late

2/ The client kept turning down their ideas and the deadline had arrived

3/ The client thought they were a creative genius

… but regardless of that, it is totally shit.

Now to be fair, I only saw the ad in the American press, so there may be a TV spot that turns this car crash into more of a slight car bump – but it’s still terrible.

Jesus, they’re small ice-creams … surely there’s a bunch of ways they could have promoted them other than “Test Drive”.


What about …

1/ The “depression-of-the-recession-is-making-Americans-eat-so-we’ve-launched-this-so-you-can-eat-your-troubles-away-but-not-need-expensive-medical-treatment-once-it-all-gets-better” ice cream.

2/ Helping supermodels know what it’s like to be normal.

3/ To you they’re small but to Bazza, they’re still bloody huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge

Hell, even “American classics made smaller” could of led to some interesting stuff [Closing shot: Tom Cruise with the voice over, “However some things are small enough already!”]

But this?


It’s bloody terrible and yet again it demonstrates why all ads should feature the names of the people responsible for them – given most in adland are shameless fame seekers [me included] maybe the potential of ‘name & shame’ may reduce ads like this … ads that are about as individual, differentiatied and motivating as the Volvo range since 1975.

Advertising Exec Syndrome: Also Known As Swine Flu …
April 28, 2009, 1:16 pm
Filed under: Comment

It could be argued that during SARS, HK suffered the most.

There’s lots of reasons for this – some down to the Governments desperate attempts to keep a lid on things – so it’s reassuring to know with the swine flu that is happening on the other side of the planet, the planes and airport of HK have all leapt into action giving warnings and checking for people with symptoms via temperature cameras.

However, this leads to a question: for people coming into HK who have not been here before, does this action reassure or create fear?

Given travel agents and Governments are seemingly cancelling/advising everyone to not eat Mexican food, let alone visit the country, is HK’s proactive stance a good thing or a demonstration of a country that doesn’t want to get caught out/blamed in the future?

[PS: If the El Preseidente of Mexico puts out a message on Youtube – I will expect everyone who slagged off Mr Domino’s to maintain their air of distain! Ha!]

Lets Hope The Meek Don’t Inheret The Earth …
April 27, 2009, 6:54 am
Filed under: Comment

Before I start, I should say this is another one of my all-over-the-shop posts. Without doubt you will probably find it has contradicted itself by the time you come to the end of the post [if you even make it that far] and without doubt you’ll be scratching your head wondering what the hell I’m trying to say. I don’t know what’s going on at the moment, but this [literal] brain dump is happening quite alot at the moment so just consider yourself lucky you only read this blog rather than work with me.

OK, now I shall begin.


For quite a few years, I have read a bunch of blogs each and every day.

I have always made it a rule to find a new one to check out each morning however I have my ‘faves’ and whilst they cover a whole range of topics – from child education to micro economics – what I want to talk about are the adland ones.

[So strictly speaking that shouldn’t count Lauren, Marcus, Dodds, Neil, Gavin etc … but they write about people, culture, attitudes and life [and write it brilliantly and interestingly] so for the sake of convenience, I’m going to count them in the category I’m about to write about]

Now there’s bloody loads out there … loads … and whilst there’s the obvious brilliant brain ones [Richard, Russell, Gareth, Faris, NP, Charles, Jon, Scamp etc] there’s a whole host of genius from folk who have seemingly been in adland for 12 minutes.

To be honest, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with these blogs …

I love how they are developing their own thoughts/theories/ideas/approaches … it’s so exciting, especially as there seems to be a fashion to just agree with whatever the supposed ‘statesmen of adland’ and/or ‘the new creative gods’ are spouting out of their gobs … however the bit I hate is that they continually get me to question my own abilities and more often than not, I come out on the losing side.

This may read like I’m seeking appreciation … acknowledgement that I’m “OK” … but I’m not.

Underneath it all I know I’m quite good at what I do – well quite good when the stars align and I’m surrounded by my clever mob – however I have noticed that in the last few years I’ve become more mellow. Don’t get me wrong I still want to make things interesting, exciting and better but the hunger/abilities I once had just don’t feel to be at the same level as they once were.

Now I could blame this on age, maturity or having a bit more cash … but I genuinely don’t think it’s that because the will is still there, I just don’t know if the ability is.

I’m not saying I’m ready for the knackers yard yet – but I am saying that when I read some of the ‘new to adland’s’ blogs, it makes me feel invigorated … excited … challenged.

Saying that, this is not all about the power of youth.

One of the big problems with adland is that they happily turn their back on people with a lifetime of experience in favour of some 19 year old without any experience – or worse – someone with a qualification in ‘advertising studies’ or some equally offensive certificate.

I’ve said it so many times … but adland is more about understanding people and how to connect/motivate them than processes, science or education. Sure … those things have an important place in modern thinking/communication … but there’s a bunch of folk out there that think knowing societies thoughts/attitudes/ideals is incidental to producing great creativity and that is plainly bollocks. Actually I should rephrase that … it IS incidental to producing great creative, but it isn’t incidental if you want to produce great [effective] creative.

That’s why I also love talking to people who’ve “been there, done that”.

Sure their experiences may be less relevant interms of the circumstances leading up to a certain situation, but it doesn’t mean they can’t adapt their thoughts to modern times and yet most people over 40 in adland [who aren’t an MD or CEO] are viewed with eyes of pity, as if their time on earth is drawing to a close – it’s pathetic.

Where am I going with this?

God knows …

Oh yes I remember …

The thing is, when I look at the rubbish I write on this blog and then compare it to what others are saying on theirs, I just think I am so superficial and out of the loop.

That doesn’t mean I’ll always agree with the clever thinking that is being said … for example I’ve had more disagreements with Niko than I’ve had with Andy even though I feel he is a really exciting brain … but it does make me happy that there are a bunch of young guys out there [From Rob and Age to Sam and Paul and a whole host inbetween] whose thoughts/ideas could really create positive change even though adland tends to embrace the people with hype rather than opinions and ideals.

When we started cynic, one of the things we decided was that we wanted to surround ourselves with people who were smart, talented, had a wide range of life experience and a pinch of unpredictability.

That didn’t mean they had to be young in age … but it did mean they had to be young interms of thinking and attitude because it meant they would keep us on our toes, learning stuff, questioning ‘rules’ and hungry to do more … and that’s why I suggest to anyone in adland – especially the young, talented and ambitious – that the blogs they should be checking out are not just the ones by the ‘Masters of the Adiverse’, but the ones where people express ideas, thoughts and emotions regardless of experience, viewpoint or industry, because if the future of advertising is getting back to understanding and interacting with the real World, then they need to ensure they don’t only associate with the people who live within the ad bubble.

So to paraphrase as a show of my youth, “Why don’t you switch off this blog and go and find someone less boring instead”

Obama: A Man Of Taste And Intelligence …
April 24, 2009, 6:57 am
Filed under: Comment

Photo: Not Obama!

“For so long, we have placed at the top of our pinnacle, folks who can manipulate numbers and engage in complex financial calculations … and that’s good, we need some of that … but you know what we can really use is some more scientists and some more engineers – people who are building and making things we can export to other countries.”Barack Obama: April 2009

I don’t know if any of you remember [or care] but a while back we working on a project to help encourage students to become engineers … well because of this, our dear George has been invited to the White House [admittedly with a few others] to discuss how engineering and science can be made more attractive for the next generation.

Not only is this exciting and brilliant [especially for George’s kids who are apparently telling everyone their Dad is going for a picnic with the President] … but Andy wasn’t invited … which means he’s going around like a bear with a sore head muttering words like “fools” and “outrage” under his jealous breath.

I know the current President of the Untidy States of America still has got to prove he’s more than just a bunch of well chosen words … but let’s face it, the things he’s saying and the decisions he’s making are far more sensible than the last Pres managed in almost 10 years so maybe it is OK to think America – and the World – will be a better place for everyone in the future.