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


This Blog Is Now Officially Closed …
October 26, 2009, 6:00 am
Filed under: Comment

… but sadly for you, it’s only till I come back from my holiday with Mum on 9th Nov.

Another wish cruely dashed eh? Oh well, them’s the breaks …



16 Days Of Being A Little Angel …
October 22, 2009, 6:05 am
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So tomorrow my Mum arrives for a couple of weeks which means not only will I not be blogging till Nov 9th, I won’t be swearing till then either.

Now obviously my Mum knows the odd swear word escapes from my mouth because – scarily – she reads this blog every now and then, however for some reason, whenever she is in my physical vicinity, my vocabulary becomes distinctly smaller and the only things that leave my gob are words of sweetness and light.

Now like many people who have their parents to stay, I too am nervous.

However it’s not because I think she’ll be demanding – it’s because I know she won’t be demanding enough.

I love my Mum with all my heart.

She is a beautiful, intelligent, sweet, caring woman.

Throughout my life, the only thing she has ever wanted was for me to be me.

She didn’t care what I did, where I did it … her [and my Dad’s] only wish was that I did was I was passionate and excited about.

To be honest, I didn’t really realise how lucky I was to have parents like that until I was much older … and now, when I see what so many kids go through in terms of parental pressure … I think I may of been the luckiest man on Earth.

Anyway, back to my Mum.

Without going into specifics, the fact is she’s had a pretty tough life.

No, I don’t mean because she had me as a son – I mean it because she faced trials and tribulations that would have derailed most people.

She has sacrificed so much to let the people she loves have opportunities and she has never asked for or expected anything in return.

And quite frankly, that’s what pisses me off.

I want her to have whatever she wants … she deserves whatever she wants … and yet she fights like Mohammed Ali to stop me giving her a bloody thing.

We literally go through monthly battles and every time she fights vehemently against it.

Hell, it’s not like I want her to buy diamonds or cars, I’d just like her to know that if she wants, she can buy a coat that costs more than 50 quid from bloody Next once every 24 months!

Don’t think my Mum is ungrateful for my gesture, she is … it’s just that she doesn’t feel she needs anything and she’d rather I used the money to build my life, than hers.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I know I’m her only son, but I’m 39 years of age, earn a stupid salary [but not as stupid as some I should add, ha!], have property, insurance, some terrible investments and a few savings … I’m pretty much set up … so I think I can spare some cash each month to make things a little easier/better for my Mum, especially as she lives more frugally than a bloody Nun so 10 quid would probably last her a year!

And that’s the thing … my Mum is a very humble and independent woman.

She doesn’t like attention [I take after my Dad, obviously!] and values health, independence and knowledge more than money and possessions.

And that’s how it should be … however after all she’s gone through and all she’s done for me, I want to try and ensure this period of her life is as fulfilling and satisfying as can be … where she no longer has to sacrifice her personal dreams and goals for the benefit of others.

I know she’s happy with her life.

I know she feels lucky she has relatively good health … a nice home with nice neighbours … a nearby college where she can continue to learn to paint and write … an ability to use technology so she can be part of this ever changing, fast paced World rather than just be an observer of it … a son who is doing OK and who is happily married and exploring what life is about … and I know seeing and spending time with me – especially in a totally new country – is something that will give her great pleasure and satisfaction … but I also know my Mum has a hungry and curious mind mixed with a sense of adventure and discovery so I just hope that on this trip, rather than simply feeling grateful for what she has, she embraces her right to do what she wants and deserves because I assure you, making it happen would give me happier than almost anything else on Earth.

Welcome to HK Mum …

[PS: It’s my Mum’s 77th birthday on November 3rd. Even though I don’t know where we’ll be – she will be with me – so feel free to leave her a birthday wish on this post. I know I’ve told you she doesn’t like the attention, but what better way for her to get over it than throw her in at the deep end? Ha!]



Welcome To The Real World …
October 21, 2009, 3:51 pm
Filed under: Comment

To Mr & Mrs NP’s new born son [who is bound to be called ‘Robert’] … I’d just like to say congratulations on reaching your destination as well as praise you on your excellent ‘choice’ of parents, so sit back, make yourself comfortable and scream a lot.



Always The Bridesmaid, Never The Bride?
October 21, 2009, 1:35 pm
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For anyone in Australia who reads this blog – which is probably zero given all the shit I give the country – I have a quick question for you …

Who do you think are the great planners there?

I’m not just talking planning directors – I’m talking about the folk who always seem to have interesting opinions, ideas and thoughts and have either managed to make them happen or passionately pushed them, even when they have been faced by a wall of mediocrity.

There is obviously a reason for this, and it’s me wanting to help a mate who is looking for a planning director who can shake things up and get his creative’s [of which I know there are at least 2 who are fucking tops] producing more of what they’re capable of.

Can’t really say much else, but if you have any suggestions – including yourselves – let me know and I’ll hook you up.

Sorry folks, at this stage it’s only for people currently in Oz or have worked there previously.

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It Had To Happen …
October 21, 2009, 6:14 am
Filed under: Comment

… I’ve run out of things to say.

Literally.

I’ve been sat here for 20 minutes trying to come up with something to write about and I’ve had nothing.

N.O.T.H.I.N.G.

Well, to be fair, there were a few little things – but they were either even more inane than usual, or just too hard to write about given it’s a Monday [remember I pre-write my rubbish] and I’m tired and cranky.

To be honest, this should have been obvious to all – especially after yesterday’s post – so to fill the space, I’ll just leave you with some clips of the best television presenter I’ve seen in ages.

Ladies and gentlemen … boys and girls … I leave you with Bill Dance.

How cool is he eh?

OK, so cool might not be right word – but in this World of highly polished, uber-slick, botox injected, fashion label dressed, focus-group managed television presenter – it’s refreshing to find someone who doesn’t require a script to be funny, embraces their flaws, doesn’t pretend to be someone they’re not and expresses natural charisma and charm in every breath, wink and cough.

And that is what I think is missing in a lot of advertising these days.

Too many brands seem to think that if you express any element other than total and utter ‘perfection’ you limit your appeal … but what they don’t realise is that it also creates a brand that has all the warmth and attraction of Nicole Kidman,

Imperfection is a good thing.

Depending on what element is less than perfect, it creates emotional warmth and connection. It makes things interesting and encourages you to find out more.

At HHCL, one of the most important things we focused on was casting.

We were taught to appreciate just how important choosing the right character was to ensure the commercial worked as hard as it physically could.

Look at this spot from Apple Tango …

God that brings back good memories and I still think the line …

“Imagine tweaking my ring [pause] pull”

… is sheer bloody genius.

Now if memory serves me, it took an awfully long time to cast this spot because we needed characters and surroundings that truly captured the spirit of ‘gormlessly average’, mainly so the dramatisation of the lead character going from ‘fighting to remain normal’ to ‘reluctant involvement’ to ‘total surrender’ would be even more powerful and memorable on screen.

Now imagine that ad with good looking, happy people in it? Just wouldn’t work would it.

OK, so that ad is British advertising personified … however that doesn’t mean other countries wouldn’t react positively to characters who don’t look or act like they’ve come out of the television presenter production line.

The reality is good casting can probably have more impact on effectiveness than good planning … however I think this is also an area where planners should be involved … because spending time on personality [rather than just focusing on ‘appearance’] can create interest and relevance – which in this World of parity products, positioning and lifestyles – could help your ad get noticed over everyone else’s duplication of aspirational and delusional status.

Well what do you know, I did find something to talk about afterall.

Thanks Bill … whataguy!



Spot The Difference …
October 20, 2009, 6:45 am
Filed under: Comment

You know what it means when I use these pictures …

… yep, the missus has spouted another glorious one of her JILLYISMS!

And before you all go on her side, think of the effect this behaviour is having on me … my life … my career … my sleep.

It’s a good job I love her madly and that she only spouts this nonsense when she’s tired or we’d be having to pay a little visit to Mr Divorce on the grounds of mental torture / despair / devolution.

In the words of Andy, I must be a Saint.



Profit In Peace …
October 19, 2009, 6:16 am
Filed under: Comment

I found this post in my drafts folder so it’s not as relevant as it could have been, however that’s never been a problem before so I’ll just get on with it.

OK, so a few months ago, the actor Patrick Swayze died.

I liked this man … not because of his movie roles [though ‘Point Break’ rocked] but because he seemed a really decent guy.

Yeah … yeah … so that impression was formed more around mass media commentary than anything more intimate, however in an industry that thinks nothing of marrying another person within 13 seconds of divorce, the fact he and his wife had been – seemingly happy – together for so many years helped solidify his ‘good guy’ image in my mind.

As most people know, Swayze died after eventually losing his battle with an aggressive form of cancer and – quite rightly – after his death, many people came out saying how sorry they were and how honourable a man he was.

However in this overly commercial World we live in … where respect plays second fiddle to profit … a number of companies saw his passing as an opportunity, not a time of sadness.

Of course this is nothing new …

Hell, you just have to look at how so many people act over a families will to realise this is not something exclusive to members of celebratory.

Anyway, so I was in HMV the weekend after Swayze died, when I saw this …

It’s bad enough that they thought this was an opportunity to make a buck literally days after he had passed away, but the fact there’s a sign on the top saying “THIS MONTH’S SPECIALS” seems a bit tactless.

What do the people at HMV do? Have a team of specialist newspaper obituary readers who are ready to leap into action the moment they spot a someone who has film/music/gaming credentials has died?

All this from an organisation that had the audacity to self-censor magazines on the grounds of bad taste.

Hypocrites.

Ghost.

But nothing takes the piss more than the way one of the Asian regional television networks is promoting Swayze’s last ever television show, “The Beast”.

As the promo starts, announcing when this new show will commence … a super comes on that says,

“In memory of Patrick Swayze”

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Can you believe it?

Why don’t they go the whole hog and just say …

“If you don’t watch this show, you are basically mocking the dead you evil bastards!”

I know television is having a bad time of it at the moment – and ratings are King – but jeez, trying to guilt-trip the masses into watching is a pretty desperate strategy by anyone’s book.

It can surely only be a matter of time before every show starts off with a ‘In Memoriam’ message … featuring either the names of the actor/actresses who have passed away since it was made, or anyone associated with them who have now gone, from parents to pets.

Of course all of this pales into insignificance when you compare it to the exploitation that has been going on with Michael Jackson death … however this is the World we have now created, a World which sadly my industry not only endorses but encourages … and I for one think all this lack of empathy, emotion and respect is doing our society harm but then they do say money is the root of all evil.