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


For All Of You Who Thought Queen Were A Bunch Of Muppets …
November 30, 2009, 6:13 am
Filed under: Comment

Genius … especially Animal, Swedish Chef and Beaker [especially his shakeout moment at 2″ 50 secs] who steal the limelight in a way that would make Freddie proud.

[Though Ms Piggy probably channels him the most accurately]

Given Queen have just released a new album [basically their 67,456th version of ‘Greatest Hits’] this could be one of the great marketing ploys to reach new audiences since Def Leppard’s “Guitar Hero” strategy – but regardless of that, it’s just bloody brilliant and given Queen would have had to approve the use of this song, then hat’s off to them for letting it happen because it’s 4 minutes 47 seconds of smiling pleasure.



When Men Grow …
November 27, 2009, 6:14 am
Filed under: Comment

After some gentle nudging, NP has written a wonderful post about how his first few weeks of Fatherhood has changed/enhanced him.

It’s sensitive, beautiful, gentle and insightful and I’m a better person for reading it.

That NP is a good man in every way. Bastard.

This is where I could go on a massive rant about how badly men are being reflected in mainstream communication and media, but that’s something for another day, especially as I need to think how I write it so it doesn’t come across as some ‘anti-women / pro man’ sexist rubbish.

So go and read NP’s magic and if in 9 months there’s a glut of babies being born, we know who to blame 🙂

Have a top weekend.



Playstation Need To Remember That To People Who Use The Machine, ‘Playing’ Is The Last Thing They Think They’re Doing …
November 26, 2009, 6:26 am
Filed under: Comment

I’m a big fan of games systems.

Over the years I’ve had a whole bunch of them … Philips G7000, Intellivision, Atari 2600, SNES, Megadrive, 3DO, Saturn, Playstation [1,2 & 3], Xbox [1 & 2], Wii … you name it, I’ve probably had it or played on it.

Now even though I am not very good, especially compared to a 15 year old kid in South Dakota who kicks my arse on FIFA every bloody night … it’s an activity I love, if only for the fact it gives the whole range of my emotions a bloody good workout.

One of the greatest ads that captured this spirit was this one by TBWA …

Brilliant … in just 59 seconds, they have not only captured the range of emotions people experience when playing a video game, but they have also captured how for many people, ‘life’ is a series of events that highlight their slow descent into conformity, self-censorship and frustration.

Bleak?

Yep … but you can’t be that surprised given we live in a society that says what we do/say/think/wear has more influence in how our lives will turn out than what we achieve, believe and follow.

Anyway this isn’t about that … this is about the ads of Playstation.

In short, the work was brilliant.

Built on real and powerful insights and married to a brand personality bursting with barely contained youthful arrogance – it was the voice of a generation, the closest thing to punk they’d probably experienced.

Now we have to remember this all came from SONY – a brand that has its heart in ultra-conservative [especially in terms of business] Japan.

So how did it happen?

Well, while the guys at TBWA can take some credit – if anyone has read EDGE magazines fantastic article about the background of Playstation’s launch – then you’ll know the real driving force was that SONY’s hierarchy thought the brand was going to fail and didn’t want a thing to do with it, hense they actively encouraged the people involved to not associate it too strongly or closely with the SONY brand.

And now onto the real point of my post …

As we all know, Playstation went on to be a huge success – at its peak, contributing approx 90% of Sony’s entire profit – which is where things started to change because rather than try and deny it’s existence, SONY’s senior management started to take a much closer and more influential interest in how things developed [probably to associate themselves with success given that prior to Playstation, the company was in a bad way] which, in my opinion, ultimately led to the downfall of Playstation’s powerful, pragmatic and insight-driven creative.

I bring this up because I recently saw an ad for SONY’s new portable PSP.

OK, so PSP’s ads were never very good in the first place – and the World is in a different place to when the original Playstation launched – but when I read copy like the stuff being churned out below, I realise SONY don’t care about resonating with gamers, they just want everything to fit in with their adult-orientated, industry-generic, brand voice.

DSC00714.JPG

Let’s look at some of the highlights shall we?

“Bored? You must be. You should get a PSPgo. You could be watching ‘Transformer: Revenge Of The Fallen’ instead of reading some ad in a magazine. Brilliant.”

How terrible is that …

No passion, no hunger, no emotion, no nothing.

It’s cold, clinical, contrived, humourless, immature wallpaper advertising at its worst and it becomes even more painful when you compare it to the ‘Double Life’ ad above – an ad for the same company, for pretty much the same product.

[Acknowledging the original PS was purely a games system whereas the more modern incarnations are much more multimedia, even if they are still predominantly used for gaming]

Sure one is a television commercial whereas the other is a print ad, but that doesn’t mean it should be bereft of all attitude, hunger or gaming mindset – afterall, some of the early Playstation print was fantastic as you can be reminded of here and here.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about this awful ad is that the person who either wrote it or approved it, didn’t take any time to really understand what gaming means to people.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, what gender you are or what you do for a living … you don’t play games as an antidote to boredom, you play them as an antidote to life …

So the moral of the story is if you want to do work that will truly infiltrate society, then you have 3 options available to you …

1/ Choose brands that have a heritage of great creative.
2/ Choose brands that are the enfant terrible within the organisation.
3/ Get a planner involved.

Maybe this insightless approach has come about because SONY’s marketing people think the brands new joke of a positioning line Make.Believe empowers them to do whatever they want, regardless of relevance or resonance – and if that’s the case, then God help us all – however there is one bit of light and that is a dear friend of mine has recently been appointed head honcho for Playstation out of Japan and if his first bit of work is anything to go by [with WK] then in the coming months gamers, creatives and planners might be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

I believe.



If Ferrari Could Produce A Car As Quick As The Publishing Industry, They’d Win F1 Forever …
November 25, 2009, 6:25 am
Filed under: Comment

I’ve written previously about how the publishing industry are masters of exploiting any niche opportunity and recently I saw another example of their relentless quest for quick profit …

Oxymoron

I don’t know if you can read the ‘headline’ but it claims to be “An Authorised Collection Of The Funniest Tweets Of All Time.”

Now that’s marketing for you.

OK, so they have got Mr “charisma by-pass” and founder of Twitter, Biz Stone, to write a forward which maybe qualifies it for ‘authorised’ status … but to say this is a collection of the funniest tweets of all time is wrong in so many ways.

To start with it breaches the trade descriptions act because quite frankly, I doubt Nick Douglas – the author, or should I say compiler – checked every bloody Twitter account in existence … secondly, with tweets such as “sometimes we wish Twitter was called ‘Ultimate Badass Report’” it’s hardly the sort of thing that requires you to put on a corset to ensure your sides don’t split … and thirdly – and most damningly – it’s not a compilation at all, it’s a book designed to help egomaniacs maintain their delusion.

What am I going on about?

Well, the fact is this book has been compiled with tweets that individuals have personally submitted for publication … individuals who wrote the tweets in the first place.

Jesus, that’s like asking Hitler to determine whether he was guilty of war crimes …

The thing is, these sorts of books sell by the bucketload – especially around Christmas time where ‘stocking fillers’ becomes a euphemism for ‘overpriced, slightly relevant, shit that on a normal day, you wouldn’t even wipe your arse with, let alone spend good money on’ – however if someone who didn’t know what Twitter was, were to flick through the book, they would be left with just one impression: Twitter is for twats.

And in many cases, they’d be right.

Anyway, as this blog seems to be the home for egomaniac twats [especially if your initials are A.B.] then you can claim to be a printed author by going here.



Love Is …
November 24, 2009, 5:48 am
Filed under: Comment

… not having your wedding reception here …

DSC00642.JPG

Are Starbucks insane???

OK, so they wouldn’t be as insane as someone who thought their marriage was going to be a success after offering their wedding guests a Venti latte and a mandarin muffin, but Jesus, it’s pretty bloody bad!

Look I know the faux coffee makers have had a tough time of late and exploring new avenues for profit is important… but the fact they are ignoring many of their inherent issues and are instead focusing on trying to tap into the bloody wedding reception market shows a brand still on the cusp of total desperation.

To be fair, with a bit of re-jigging, it might have a bit of potential – especially if they offered ‘all-in-one’ wedding packages in countries/regions where there is an abundance of teen pregnancies and shotgun marriages [read: Nottingham] – but to be honest, even if a 13 year old kid got his 14 year old girlfriend of 3 weeks up the duff, I reckon they’d turn their noses up at getting hitched in a bloody Starbucks.

McDonald’s maybe … but Starbucks?