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

A Picture Says A Thousand Tourism Campaigns …
October 29, 2010, 6:29 am
Filed under: Comment

So today is the 2nd part of the experiment I need your help on.

Before I start, I’d really, really, really appreciate it if you could also broadcast it on your own blogs/twitter feeds etc – because I want to get as broad a perspective on it as possible.

The request is quite simple.

What I want is a single photo [only one] that you feel best embodies China and 2 facts:

1/ Do you live in China.
2/ Have you ever been to China.

That’s it.

Easy eh?

OK, so identifying a single picture that conveys a country – especially a country as old and diverse as China is not exactly a walk in the park – but if M&C Saatchi can claim a single word can do it, then I’m hoping you can too.

Please note what I’m after is a picture of what YOU think best represents China, not what they might want you to think.

I literally don’t care what it is – or whether it’s based on knowledge, experience or pure gut feel – I am very, very interested in your perspective and I hope you’ll help me out on this.

I’ve already got an amazing variety of submitted pictures [the one used on this post was George’s entry], but quite frankly, to get optimum value from this, I need it to be much, much, much bigger hence my request for you to promote this experiment as well as take part.

I’m really grateful for your help and I look forward to explaining more – as well as the initial findings – soon so until then, have a toptastic weekend and please get sending and promoting.

If You Are What You Eat, I’m Fucked …
October 28, 2010, 6:25 am
Filed under: Comment

So I’m doing a bit of a weird experiment at the moment – actually I’m doing a couple – and as usual, I would really appreciate your help with them.

Both are kind of inter-related, however I am approaching them as quite separate entities.

This first experiment requires you to look at the picture below and tell me what food is on the plate.

The only clue I can give you is that it is from a UK pub and it’s supposedly a traditional Sunday ‘roast’.

I know the temptation will be to either [1] take the piss or [2] just write down what you know represents a traditional British roast meal – but if you could at least pay some attention to what you think is on the plate, that would be awesome.

And yes, I did eat it.

Every last bit of it.

And I spent the next day sat on the toilet groaning and – like a person who is hungover – swearing I would never do it again.

Anyway thanks, you have no idea how useful your thoughts will be.

Misery May Like Company, But Clients Don’t …
October 27, 2010, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Advertising is supposed to be fun.

The people in it are allegedly interesting and exciting to work with.

We claim we understand people so well that we can do stuff that makes them fall in love with stuff.

So how come all the photos agency people have of themselves in the media or in their agency credentials makes them look like the most miserable bunch of fuckers on the planet?

Seriously, if they’re not all dark and moody [always in black & white] …

… they’re contrived wackiness [always in colour] …

Seriously, it’s like there’s some law that you have to either pretend your Bono in his most pretentious of moods or Coco the fucking Clown.

This all came about after I was checking a deck we’re going to present later this week and saw that the entire W+K team had photos that looked like they were either going to a funeral or contemplating suicide.

Who the hell is going to want to work with a team like that?

Our business thrives on relationships – and whilst you’d hope a lot of that is underpinned by respect and quality of work – the truth is how well you get on with eachother plays a massively significant role, and so basically scaring people away from the moment they set eyes on you is probably not the cleverest move in the World.

OK … OK … so I know I scare clients regardless of what facial experssion I’m showing, but it amazes me how adland loves to talk about big things and their ability to understand people and situations and then fail to realise how the little things can make the biggest impression.

Oh, and for those who say that knowledge and personality should conquer all … well yes, it should … however first impressions last and if the first exposure they have to a company is a bunch of miserable and moody photos of the team they would be working with, the reality is they’ll make sure you never have the chance to show how good your knowledge and personality actually is.

It’s a bit like women saying ‘a sense of humour is more important than looks’ … but let’s face it, if the guy has a face like a dropped pie, no women is going to give them the time of day to let them show off how funny they are in the first place.

Hell, I had to lock my now wife in a dungeon for 3 months to make sure she listened to me and even now I wonder if she married me out of fear or love.

So adland, drop the moody and the wackiness and just be fucking normal, smiling people – you might even find people talk to you like a human being after that.

Oh and from now on, W+K are a moody bastard photo free zone.

Marketing Changes Time …
October 26, 2010, 5:45 am
Filed under: Comment

You have to give it to the Koreans, only they could have the audacity to spread a “VISIT KOREA YEAR” over a period of 3 years.

Wonder if other things in Korea follow the same rules?

Do 30 year old women say they’re 10?

Are 5 year warranties on Hyundai cars really 15?

Do you need a degree in higher mathematics to work out how old a mutt is in Korean dog years?

I suppose the thing that bothers me most about this sort of thing is that it probably doesn’t bother other people.

Of course that could be because people don’t give a shit about advertising – but that still shouldn’t justify doing the sort of slight-of-hand, open statement that tends to be the ammunition of the sneaky used car salesman, though something tells me in this case, it’s not the fault of an agency but of the Korean tourism board because we all know how delusional government tourism departments are, don’t we.

Advertisings New Clothes …
October 25, 2010, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

I must admit I am getting a bit sick to the back teeth of hearing how storytelling is the way to go for effective and interesting advertising.

It’s not that I don’t disagree [though some people’s view of what’s needed defies belief. Not to mention many clients budgets] it’s just that the value of storytelling is hardly a new concept.

Even though when the bible was actually written is open for debate, we know it’s pretty bloody old and they were using storytelling to sell stuff before David Ogilvy was even a twinkle in David Ogilvy’s Dad’s eye so can we stop talking like we fucking invented the concept because not only were brands doing it 20, 30, 40 years ago … we look like a bunch of out-of-touch, deluded or egomaniac idiots to the rest of the World.

I’ll go and lie down now.

Someone Needs To Tell The Australian Tourism Board They’re Smoking Crack … And I’m That Person.
October 22, 2010, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So Oprah is coming to Australia.

Of course she’s coming because she’s been paid a fuckload of money to do so … but she’s still coming.

There’s a load of hooplah surrounding this trip, not least because she’s bringing 300 of her ‘fans’ to see her being sycophantic with the likes of Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

Whilst I actually think bringing someone like Oprah to this side of the World is a great idea [one I actually proposed to a company in Malaysia, however they decided doing some shit ads was a better waste of their money] there are a couple of things that are being done that I think has the potential to fuck up the numerous benefits.

First of all, read this …

As I said, I think bringing Oprah over is a good idea, even though I think it would be far more beneficial if she went to less well known places than Oz [places that Americans have a more natural inbuilt prejudice towards] … especially when the land down under is becoming more and more like LA – all be it with some better natural surroundings & wildlife, at least in Sydney – by the day.

However there are 3 things that I think, if mishandled, have the power to fuck all Australian Tourism’s carefully laid plans.

1/ Tourism Australia’s belief this visit vindicates supporting Baz Luhrmann’s flop, “Australia”.
2/ The image Oz wants to present versus the image the World wants to see.
3/ The backlash towards brands who sell their soul for the Yankee exposure.

Let’s start with number 1.

To be fair, maybe this point is inaccurate as I’m basing it off the article above – an article that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, a newspaper so myopic in celebrating anything positive to do with Australia, that you could argue it was created by the Aussie Government to keep their people brainwashed into thinking they are the super-race.

Anyway, if true, there’s a huge amount the fuck-up fairy could come and screw up.

The article states:


Errrrm yes you can, because the Aussie Government – and god knows who else – are paying for her to come, it’s not like she did it of her own accord. What it should say is …


… however that’s nothing, because the article continues to say:


What the hell are they going on about?

As I said in the point above, the movie didn’t inspire shit – that pile of crap came out ages ago and so if it was going to have inspired visitation, we’d of seen that long before now – what inspired Oprah & her ‘audience’ to go to Oz is a big whopping payment to the Queen of Sychophant and a free Qantas holiday to 300 parasites.

That’s like claiming the cars Oprah gave away a few years ago wasn’t an [expensive] publicity stunt, but vindication for a car company to stick with their ‘hideous car design principals’.

Absolute bollocks … almost as absolute bollocks as Mr Closet Travolta being a Qantas ambassador, but I’ll save that for another day – even though he’s supposedly going to be the pilot of the plane bringing all the Oprah crew and audience to Oz!!!

Which leads to my next point – though it’s number 3 of the list above, not number 2. [You can’t call me predictable, oh no!]

Is anyone else a bit fucking pissy that QANTAS can justify flying over a plane load of over-excited, middle American soccer Moms for free yet charges their everyday passengers a fuckload of cash for a shit experience?

You just know the plane they’ll be flying the lardyarse Yankee ladies in will be brand new, with a flight crew that’s made up of the most glam flight attendants they could muster [which will be hard, given in my experience it is almost universally staffed by over 60’s with a bad attitude] serving a range of cuisine that doesn’t resemble the ‘beef or chicken’ mush the rest of us have to contend with in the slightest.

Personally I’d love the Aussie media to pick up on this point but there’s more chance of Osama singing George W’s praises so I guess I’ll just have to leave it with the cynical fucks who read this blog.

But here’s the biggest possible shitfight …

What Australian Tourism is keen to promote doesn’t marry with what foreigners want to see.

I’ve written about this point before, but as much as Australia wants to present itself to the World as a modern, dynamic, innovative country [even though the movie they decided was worth investing millions of tax payers dollars in – including my bloody tax dollars – shows it as a fucking dust bowl] the reality is the rest of the World goes to Australia to see sun, beaches, kangaroos, koalas and a few iconic buildings/natural sights [ie: Paul Hogan] and so if the guys at Tourism Australia insist on pushing their ego agenda, they might just find the visit of Oprah might do more damage to their business than even their beloved Baz Luhrmann film because let’s face it, the last thing American’s want to visit on holiday is the sort of place they drive through each day on their way to work.

Expanding a stereotypical view is one thing, throwing it out and replacing it with unwanted, undesirable images is another.

When Is A Reunion Not A Reunion …
October 21, 2010, 6:26 am
Filed under: Comment

In the last 10 years, we’ve seen a huge number of bands that were once successful in the past, reform to record an album and go on tour.

Whilst some of them are probably doing it for the sheer love of making music, it’s pretty fair to say a lot of them are doing it for the money.

Hey, I don’t blame them – if someone offered me a truckload of cash to play some crappy songs I originally wrote 30 years ago, I’d be dusting off my guitars before you could say “bandwagon”.

But here’s the thing, some of these bands are reforming with such a motley crue of members that it feels more like a Frankenstein version of the band rather than anything to do with the original line up.

OK, so when a member has died, it makes it a bit hard to get all the guys together [ie: Queen] … and the same applies to when one of the band has decided he wants to retire from the limelight and madness [ie: John Deacon of errrrm, Queen] but it amazes me just how many of these groups are getting huge bucks when it consists almost entirely of musicians who have little or nothing to do with the original line up.

Thin Lizzy, for example, seemingly is made up of more members who had nothing to do with the band in their heyday than genuine ‘names’.

Of course this is nothing new – there’s been lots of bands who have chopped and changed members without so much as a blink of the eye – but when you’re riding the nostalgia gravy train, I find it amazing that some bands can get away with it when the ‘iconic members’ are no where to be seen.

Imagine Led Zep without Plant or Page?

The Who without Daltry or Townsend?

Oasis without the Gallagher’s?

Even the fucking Smiths without Morrissey or Marr?

You can’t can you … well not in any way where you’d think they’d be as good.

The reason I say this is because I’ve just heard that the Faces are reuniting for a gig but instead of Rod Stewart, they’re getting MICK FUCKING HUCKNALL!!!

Yes, the ginger Manc of ‘Simply Red’ fame.

[No, it’s not Kim Jong Ill or even a fat William Hauge, it’s Mick Hucknall]

I know they’ve both sold a shitload of records and shagged ladies that are well out of their league but even with Rod’s recent foray into American Songbook blandom, he is still miles above the bloke who gave the World ‘Holding Back The Years’ and ‘Stars’.

I know there’ll be a good proportion of you who won’t even know who the Faces are, but trust me, Hucknall replacing Stewart is the equivalent of John Goodman replacing Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

The fact the concerts will no doubt sell out offends me to the core, not to mention puts my faith in humanity in serious jeopardy.

Now I am sure some of you are thinking this is a situation that is similar to brands like Virgin or Apple etc.

Let’s face it, those brands are so synonymous with their founders, that the thought of them existing without them around is hard to comprehend.

Except I don’t think it is.

You see whilst those guys have a huge influence in how their brand operates and develops, their thought process, focus and company growth means there are many other voices and factors that get taken into account when decisions are made whereas in the main, a band survives and thrives on the dynamics of the members within that group [+ their manager] and so when one is removed, it’s much harder to ‘capture the magic’ that made them work in comparison to companies who have had time to nurture and train people to take over when the time is right.

Of course people like Branson and Jobs are going to be as difficult/impossible to replace as someone like Mercury or Lennon, however I would argue that due to their companies size, diversity and development, their loss would have less impact on the brands day-to-day operation than when a pivotal member of a band leaves or is replaced.

Please note I’m not saying losing a Branson or a Jobs won’t have an impact on their respective companies – you just have to see what happened to Apple went when they got rid of Jobs the first time around – however compared to a band, I believe it would be less disastrous because they have a wider net of people and systems in place to minimise damage whereas with a band, with the exception of say their manager, what you see tends to be all you have to play with.