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


Introducing Andy’s Father …
July 28, 2010, 6:01 am
Filed under: Comment

Over the next few months, you’re going to – if you haven’t already – hear alot about Winnebago Man … but I don’t want to talk about his life, his documentary or his compendium of Winnebago outtakes that has become a massive Youtube hit, I want to talk about the power of unrestrained emotion.

To begin, I need you – even if you’ve seen it before – to watch this:

Winnebago man is a gentleman who goes by the name of Jack Rebney who sells – pretty obviously – Winnebago’s.

The thing I find interesting is that had these outtakes not come out, I’m sure you’d never of heard of our friend and yet whilst the clips are funny, I believe one of the many other reasons we like them [and there will be many] is because we love seeing people show their uncontrollable, unrestrained human side.

Of course that depends on the person and situation … I mean you wouldn’t want to hear a pilot screaming that he/she [I’m not sexist, ha!] can’t believe they’ve “missed the fucking runway again” however in this World where we go through life trying to project a calm – or at the least, in control – persona, seeing individuals break loose from their passive emotion chains is both refreshing and invigorating.

And here’s the thing, I believe charisma and charm are both powerful and valuable economic assets and yet all too often, we see business try and filter out any sign of individuality in favour of a corporate monotone.

Rumour has it that many years ago – when Pete Sampras was King of the court – the ATP sent him to what amounted to ‘personality school’ because they were worried his stilted personality [especially infront of the TV cameras] was actually putting kids and sponsors off the sport rather than attracting them.

Whether this is true or not, the fact is people are attracted by personality – and whilst those personality traits are fluid, dependent on circumstance and situation – I do find it quite amusing that brands spend so much time trying to perfect their “tone & voice” and yet nine times out of ten, it comes out in the same sterile, robotic manner as most other brands out there.

Would Virgin be as popular if Branson sounded like GE?

Would Gazza really of captured England’s hearts if he hadn’t bawled like a big girls blouse at Italia 90?

Would we know Mr Winnebago if he stayed calm when he didn’t get things right?

Of course in all these scenarios, the individuals applied skill and talent helped them stand out from the crowd, but as we all know, ability doesn’t always equate to success so even though I am not saying we should ever undermine the absolute vital importance of doing good shit each and every day, I do believe that not recognising the value and importance of charisma and personality is wrong which is why if I ran a business school, I’d make sure they not only appreciated that fact, but identified ways to apply it without letting all the uncontrollable and excitable energy being boiled away into some contrived bollock “mission statement” – even if in their personal life, they think wearing a pin stripe suit, driving a BMW and talking about their wine collection is the basis for a great and memorable time.


60 Comments so far
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hang on a fucking minute, i thought “shit my dad says” was my fucking dad, now you say its this guy? make your fucking mind up campbell though if i had my pick id choose “shit” man because he was into nuclear medicine or something and that needs brains which is more appropriate for my fucking genius than winnebago man even if he executes some olympic gold class swearing.

hang on, im twice the man of other men so fuck it, lets say both can be my father but they better be as potent as a fucking stallion or they can both fuck off where they came from.

sometimes reading this blog is like a kodak moment for me, just without the nice memory attached. its like it was just yesterday youd be holding court in the office telling people pretty much exactly what youve written here except by using winnebago man, ive not fallen asleep in boredom.

dont fucking know if youre right. dont really care. but if youre slagging off those slaves to the pointless mission statement and without realising justifying my swearing as the act of a passionate, focused man this might be the best post youve written in years.

Comment by andy@cynic

I prefer the winniemandela, more room in the trunk.

Comment by DH

you might be interested in the winnebago j-lo.

its a bit old and in need of a good fucking servicing, but its got plenty of room in the back to hold countless ex husbands and boyfriends, some babies and a big fucking dustbin containing a once glittering career.

Comment by andy@cynic

That is the worst joke since I read one in a Christmas cracker.

Well done.

Comment by Rob

and campbell, guess what. we like these clips because theyre fucking funny. deal with it and stop making pretentious planning patter out of them. what next, candid camera reveals how peoples survival instinct kicks in when taken out of routine situations? fuck off, its a shit american show from the fucking 40s.

Comment by andy@cynic

And it all happened 22 years ago. What’s that prove?

Comment by John

22 years ago or not, we’re hearing about him now so I guess it proves brand voice does have an ability to cross borders but sometimes it’s very slow. Like a Winnebago funnily enough.

Comment by Pete

pete tells a funny. fuck me.

Comment by andy@cynic

dont ruin campbells post with practical shit dodds and besides, jack has now got worldwide acclaim which is better than jims winnebagos who were just down the road and was about as interesting as watching a celine dion doco.

have you heard of jim?

no. rest my fucking case.

Comment by andy@cynic

and if wpp stopped trading, would we have a doco on sorrell that would be watched by people outside the business community.

maybe a horror film.

he could dress like back that leprechaun killer bollocks from the 80s. a job for retirement. i should be a career advisor.

Comment by andy@cynic

The swearing from The Thick Of It is much better. Hell the swearing from this blog is better.

Comment by John

the swearing on the thick of it isnt better. sure the scottish twat might pull off the odd triple somersault vulgarity with perfect precision but hes still fucking 2nd division standard to the magic of roger fucking melly. and stop insulting my fucking dad dodds, hes a fucking top class swearer, just like his son.

Comment by andy@cynic

amateur.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’ve not seen this before John. It made me laugh very hard – because it is real. I watched a bit of The Thick Of It and thought it was very poor. The caravan man is real.

Comment by Marcus

You are not often wrong, but you are wrong about the Thick of It

Comment by northern

I sort of agree with what you’re saying Robert.

Charm and charisma definitely have a role to play in business and can certainly drive resonance between brand and public but unless you’re a conman, a well defined product/service is still required to allow that potential to really work.

So I do think Virgin would still be popular if Richard spoke like GE and I do think Gazza captured England’s hearts prior to him bawling his eyes out, I just think the emotional connections we have with them has been enhanced because we have witnessed moments where they have expressed unrestrained passion and belief.

That all said, so few companies seem to appreciate the importance of brand voice, favouring to write down some random words (and always including “fun”) in a brand pyramid no one reads or pays attention too.

Interesting post, but I have heard it before. In the cynic office for a start. 🙂

Comment by Pete

i fucking love it when brands say they want to be “fun” because then theres this lovely moment where i ask how the company lives that and when they throw out a fuckload of cliches, i tell them thats what they do for fun not the company so they have to try again and after scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with something (“we have a watercooler”) i tell them that doesnt sound much fucking fun and maybe we can all start being a bit more honest and make something happen other than backslap their unfun souls.

the fucking end.

Comment by andy@cynic

He does you know. It’s glorious to watch. And a teensy bit frightening.

Comment by Rob

That is fucking gold, Andy. Wish I could have seen it in action.

Comment by Age

What Pete said.

Busy. Bye.

Comment by Bazza

busy? what the fuck are you doing, filling out your expense claims?

he bazza, look up the posts, ive found a job for you when jobbsy comes to his senses. and if you dont fancy being a leprechaun, maybe you can play a young sorrell in the movie biography of his life called “the modern napoleon complex”.

Comment by andy@cynic

Still looking out for me after all these years.

Comment by Bazza

I think you’ll find it has more to do with law school than business school. Hence the airline apology I sent you a while ago.

Comment by John

what the fuck are you talking about dodds. is this another old spice missing the point moment?

Comment by andy@cynic

A lot of corporate speak (and brand voice is all too often just that) comes from fear of litigation. That’s all Im saying.

Comment by John

enough of all this shit, im off to be reunited with my long lost dad and if the bastard tries to palm me off with a winniebago as a welcome home son gift, ill drive right over him with it.

Comment by andy@cynic

Can you hear that?

Peace & quiet. 🙂

Comment by Bazza

cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooock!

Comment by andy@cynic

Maybe one day someone will do a doc on Andy and people will pretend to claim he’s their Dad because they also swear a lot.

Scary thought.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Which bits scary? That there could be a doco on Andy or that people would pretend he’s their Dad, or both. My vote goes with both.

Comment by Pete

You are right my friend.

I’d still go see it, it would be a new genre: horror comedy.

Comment by Billy Whizz

To many people unrestrained emotion can be just as annoying as corporate speak.

Gazza was not universally loved, he was just renowned for crying after getting himself booked for the same sort of unrestrained tackling that should have had him sent off in the FA cup semi final a couple of years earlier. And Virgin were pretty popular in a number of sectors long before Branson became a public figure.

Humans want genuine human communication, they don’t want unrestrained emotion – unless they can empathise with it in the specific context. Or something like that.

Comment by John

Bloody hell, why is everyone up so late/early???

Some nice comments and the usual off-tangent stuff – though Bazza as a young Sir Martin is a beautiful image that will long stay with me.

I agree John that there are times where unrestrained emotion is unwanted and unwarranted – and even then, some people will still not like the person who is showing it – however I don’t see much difference between this and your view people just want genuine human communication, because at its heart, that is about individuals expressing their inner most feelings, views and thoughts, free from contrived media training and corporate speak … so whilst swearing and crying may be a bit extreme, in a World where we seem to be surrounded by bland, soulless, politically correct noise, anyone who openly shows their passion and beliefs will stand out and – to some – forge a greater connection with a section of society that could end up helping drive their commercial value.

As for Gazza. No he was not universally loved and he had already, as Pete indicated, achieved a certain degree of UK public acclaim for his passionate performances … however when he broke down having been booked which meant he would not play the next game … his connection with fans increased dramatically, and yes, whilst Virgin had achieved some success prior to Branson’s “personality unveiling”, it would be fair to say the brand achieved much more dramatic awareness and growth once he opened his mouth.

I’m not saying having charisma/personality is the key to success, I’m just saying it has a role to play in commercial enterprise and to ignore it is foolish.

Comment by Rob

So am I.

Comment by John

Just be careful not to channel unrestrained emotion into emails.

Or marriage.

Comment by northern

unless you can reasonable ensure continuity. otherwise it is as foolish as any other idea. Hence my reasoning, that Sir Mr Branson is a liability, as much as Buffet is to Berkshire..

The Rothschild’s, MS13 or Muji (if you care for a ‘normal’ example) did it better. they are a mystery, faceless so they don’t need charisma, they have our imagination. far more powerfull.

Silence might be a better way to go about building a iconic brand these days of media consumption, then being emotional and honest…though again, if not executed well, just a lame tactic…

Comment by niko

I know why you’re saying that Niko – but I still think claiming a charismatic ‘leader’ who has helped drive brand value and profit is a liability is wrong.

Absolutely the issue is about strong succession management – not just interms of functional capability, but understanding the vision and voice of the brand – but to embrace ‘silence’ as a corporate mandate – especially one that can lead to ‘iconic brand status’ just doesn’t hold up in my book.

As for the angle of ‘secrecy’ … sure, some brands have achieved great value adopting that strategy [or need] but all this tells me is that there is no sure-fire way to guarantee building a successful brand even though some of the pillars [product/distribution] are condition of entry.

Comment by Rob

wikileaks is well on their way to prove you wrong, in terms of silence as iconic strat, one could argue..thinly..

As for Sir Mr Branson…maybe not liability, but a different term that wont get lawyers involved

Comment by niko

If I may be so bold Niko, your problem is you talk in absolutes in a world where there is rarely such a thing.

I agree that there are times where silence is truly golden – but your argument centres on what happens when a brand ‘icon’ dies, rather than also acknowledging the value the brand icon can have on business when they’re alive.

The reason many brands remain passive, is not because they believe it is a strategy to ensure continual growth, it is because they fear what people would make of them if they showed their true[ish] colours and the knock on effects from there.

As I said, I agree with your point about succession planning, but I couldn’t disagree more in relation to their being better value in keeping quiet than – done correctly – showing your passion and commitment to a cause.

Comment by Rob

I say that with love though Niko. You know that … afterall, I am the Mother Teresa of adland apparently.

Comment by Rob

finally a fightback…took you a minute..

Comment by niko

see everyone, campbell isnt really the mother fucking teresa of adland.

Comment by andy@cynic

and this post is in danger of being sensible. stop it fucking immediately.

Comment by andy@cynic

Good morning.

Comment by Marcus

Well, it’s morning – let’s leave it at that shall we?

Comment by Rob

No let’s bloody not, it’s not fair all this goes on while I’m in bed, not fair at all.

Comment by northern

I know, northern. It’s not fair at all.

Comment by Marcus

Stop going to bed at 6pm then new Dad.

Comment by Rob

The caravan man is real.

excellent.

Comment by lauren

Funny how ‘caravanman’ sounds very close to ‘caveman’.

Comment by Rob

where are you?

Comment by Marcus

hes in the fucking 80s.

Comment by andy@cynic

and where the fuck are you?

Comment by Marcus

watching my savings go down in fucking woodworm.

Comment by andy@cynic

The dollar plunges on such news.

Comment by John

mine fucking has.

Comment by andy@cynic

what does it say about me that i never heard of the winnebago man before? im under a rock.

Comment by peggy

dont worry. rob likes weird shit. if youd heard of it, you should be in a jacket with no fucking arms.

Comment by andy@cynic

for some reason, i just saw an 80s jeans cut-off with badges and permanent marker drawings flashing in front of my eyes 🙂

Comment by peggy




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