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

Don’t Mistake Big Words For Cleverness …
December 14, 2010, 6:09 am
Filed under: Comment

Not Elton John.

So I’m buggering off to Portland and while it’ll be nice to visit the Mecca of W+K, the reason I’m the most excited is that I get to meet Paul Colman.

I know … I know … of all the people who are there, the person I’m most looking forward to be meeting is a Brit who resides in London – but I am and I’ll tell you why.

I’ve known Paul – or known of Paul – for quite a few years through the usual blog bollocks interaction.

Whilst we’ve had the odd disagreement over things – mainly Marcus and his paintings, ha – I’ve always enjoyed reading/following his thoughts because he has an ability to convey stuff – silly, interesting or brilliant stuff – in such a humouress and relevant way that it’s impossible not to like him.

Seriously, I wish I had that talent and yet he seems to be able to do it in his sleep.


Saying that, judging by what he’s writing about these days – not to mention how he’s writing it – it would appear he is entering a place that is making him truly happy.

I should point out I’m not saying he was unhappy previously – as I said, I’ve never met him so this is pure conjecture on my part – however it just feels he is happier in his life at the moment and that’s lovely to see … though I should point out if being happy results in renovating a kitchen [as he is currently doing], then I think I’d rather stick with being a cynical and miserable old bastard – though I wouldn’t say no if it meant getting something like his bloody lovely pooch.

Anyway, this is all theory, we’ll see if I’m right when I finally meet him on Wednesday, ha.

But to the point of this post …

You see, while Paul is relatively well known, I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves.

I might be wrong, but while I hear certain planners names being banded about like they’re fucking Jesus, I rarely hear Paul mentioned in those terms and that pisses me off a bit.

I’m not saying the Jesus-planners aren’t deserving of their praise [though I don’t think all of them are] however Paul has – and continues to do – a shitload of stuff that really makes a difference to clients [& W+K] and yet he tends to get overlooked in favour of certain guys who play the publicity game, rather than do the work that makes the difference.

To be honest, there’s a lot of people like this at W+K [I, obviously, am not one of them] but I do find it interesting that in Heather’s planning survey, the agency that people thought did some of the best work is W+K and yet the people who played a significant part in making that work happen often don’t tend to get as much credit/praise as they deserve.

To be fair, they are probably quite happy about this – especially now I’ve undermined their [and their agencies] cred by becoming one of their colleagues – however I wish more planners looked to the guys who did the work they like, rather than just follow those who give the soundbites that get the coverage.

No posts till I’m back … which means you probably only have to endure a couple more till Christmas. Is this year ending on a high for you lot or what!!!

What The Hidden Camera In The Marketing Boardroom Spied …
December 13, 2010, 6:35 am
Filed under: Crap Marketing Ideas From History!

Open on an non-descript boardroom, somewhere in he middle of nowhere.

Sales Manager: “What are we going to do, our Cheez-It Party Mix just isn’t selling!”

Brand Consultant: “Have you tried replacing the ‘S’ of Cheese with a ‘Z’ to get down with the kids?”

Sales Manager: “Of course we have, we’re a cutting edge, feel good, party brand … but it’s still not working. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?”

Brand Consultant: “Don’t worry dear client, at IntergalaticBrand we pride ourselves on finding the most innovative, effective and brand-centric solution to any marketing problem, so for the extremely competitive price of just 3 million US dollars [cash up front] we will use our proprietary tools and methodology to find the right solution FOR YOU …”

Sales Manager: “3 million you say? That seems pretty good value to me. Do it.”




Brand Consultant: “Hello.”

Sales Manager: “Hello. What have you got for me?”

Brand Consultant: “Well we’re really excited to be here today because we have found the solution that will put ‘Cheez-It Party Mix’ back on the map.”

Sales Manager: “Wonderful, wonderful … tell me more.”

Brand Consultant: “Well after a deep dive into the category and utilising our proprietary tools and services, we identified where your brand was failing to connect with consumers and after months of rigorous creative development and research, we would like to present to you the future of Cheez-It …”

Sales Manager: “Let me see if I’ve got this right. You’ve changed ‘Party Mix’ to ‘Snack Mix’ using one of the worst fonts in Microsoft Word and then, to reiterate the change that people may not notice and certainly won’t care about, you’ve put the old name in the top right hand corner so it seems like we’ve made a major change to the product when in reality, we haven’t. Is that correct?

Brand Consultant: “That’s exactly what we’ve done, you’re one smart client. We used our proprietary ‘illusion of advancement’ tool or -‘pisstake’ for short – to create a new name that means people won’t see your brand purely as a product that should be consumed at party times, but any time they fancy a snack … and after our research showed the inflation rate of snacking currently running at 68.932%, we know this is the strategy to move your brand to the top where it belongs.”

Sales Manager: “That is brilliant. BRILLIANT. And all for just US$3 million? How on earth do you do it?”

Brand Consultant: “We’re here to make the World of business a better, happier place. Now if you could just sign our expenses sheet of US$2 million, we’ll be on our way because we know you’ve got a flood of sales to manage.”

Sales Manager: “Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!”

Brand Consultant: “HA HA HA HA!”

And The Winner Is …
December 10, 2010, 6:30 am
Filed under: Comment

So after one of the most memorable trips – for all the wrong reasons – I’m back.

Did you miss me?

OK, let’s not go there …

So on Monday, I asked which food was the best food in a Christmas meal.

After a tight race, it would appear the winner is: Custard.


Fuck me, how pathetic.

Seriously, is that really the food group that makes a meal, a Christmas meal?

I don’t know about you, but I’m quite disappointed with that – almost as disappointed by the fact bread sauce got some votes whereas poor ol’ peas, carrots, boiled spuds, parsnips and cranberry sauce were the Norway of the Eurovision Song Contest with nil points. Fucking outrageous if you ask me.

So to those who voted for Custard, congratulations – even with your under-the-table dirty tactics you have ensured that from now on, at Christmas, we will all bow down to the serving of custard but let me tell you this, I hope to fuck you never invite me over for Christmas dinner, but then I don’t suppose I have to worry about that do I?!


Who Is The God Of Grub?
December 6, 2010, 6:19 am
Filed under: Comment

First they make you wear this:

Then they expect you to eat this:

So fortunately for you all, I’m away running workshops for most of this week and then am off to Portland for most of next so this could quite possibly be the only post for the next couple of weeks.

Well, I say that, but given some of my workshop exercises involve me getting the participants to spend 2 hours doing stuff so I can go and potter about, maybe I’ll find the time to write some more inane drivel … at least for this week.

Anyway, on the off-chance my client reads this and insists I stay in the room for every minute of every hour of every day … I thought I’d cram in a little bit of fun and do a ‘BEST FOOD AT CHRISTMAS’ challenge.

I was going to do it like the classic ‘best meat’ competition of a few years back, but as that involves setting up agendas and specific polling booths, I thought I’d do it the easy way.

Below is a list of classic Christmas grub.

We have main course, dessert and – as a mindfuck [because I’m crazzzzzy] a christmas cracker … not the ones you put cheese on, but the ones you pull for a crap gift, crapper joke and stupid hat.

I was going to add in peanuts, brazil nuts and quality street, but I decided I couldn’t be arsed.

Anyway, all you have to do is vote for which one you think is the best/most important item that makes the food on the plate a meal of ultimate Christmas joy and if you want to give an explanation why in the comments, then be my guest.

If you have blogs, maybe you’d like to write something about it and try and get people to vote for your particular favourite – see how big we can make this – but I know it’s pretty weak and you have better things to do with your life, so feel free to ignore this final request like you ignore pretty much everything I say.

So ladies and gentlemen, start your forks and taste buds and decide which food item deserves the title ‘KING OF CHRISTMAS GRUB” and I’ll appoint the winner on my return this Friday.

Now I know some of you may think particular items of food are missing from this list, but I don’t care. You can say what I’ve missed out on in the comments, but the choices are fixed so stop bitching and start voting.

The Future Isn’t Something You Predict, Rather Than Make Public Guesses About …
December 3, 2010, 6:11 am
Filed under: Comment

I doubt Martin at W+K Amsterdam will ever talk to me again given [1] I take what he say’s and write about it and [2] what I write is a very, very, very poor imitation of what he’s said … however as he lives in Amsterdam and I don’t have to face him every week, I thought I’d do it again after I saw this post he’d written about adlands fascination to predict the future.

The video below is almost 2 years old and for those with good memories – or no life – you’ll remember I’ve talked about it and posted it before … however having read Martin’s post, I came across it again and thought I’d put it up, because it’s always interesting to evaluate what someone said would happen with what actually happened and without doubt, there’s some elements of this ‘facts about the future’ video that are about as questionable as a $2 reading from Gypsy Rosie Lee because some of the ‘data’ they’re using has obviously been chosen with the intent to shock rather than give contextual understanding of what’s really going on and what’s possibly going to go on.

Future gazing is a very clever strategy for people who want to big themselves up, however like death & taxes, the future always ends up as the present and when that happens, the claims made with such gusto a few years before, can be held up to the light and seen for the flimsiness of substance that so many of them had.

Are you listening Mr K Roberts?

Rise Of The Working Class …
December 2, 2010, 5:51 am
Filed under: Comment

Adland is generally quite obsessed with “being cool”.

I’ve discussed the reasons – and the folly – of this many a time, but every now and then something happens that means even they can’t live in their little delusional and illusional bubble and one of those times has just happened with Susan Boyle being number 1 on the American Billboard chart.

Susan Boyle.

The ugly duckling who turned into an ugly swan.

Number 1.

Ahead of artists such as Rhianna, Kid Rock, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, Nelly … American mega-sellers.

Now, while this demonstrates America’s alarming lack of musical taste, it also shows how in the ‘real World’ … the World that so many in adland views with scorn and ridicule … real people don’t always want the latest and the greatest, don’t all aspire to designer homes and dinner parties … don’t care about being the most popular person in the room.

That doesn’t mean they’re stupid, irrelevant, out-of-touch, out-of date – hell, they’re possibly the most honest people you could meet because they don’t feel the need to spend ridiculous amounts of time, energy and money ensuring they only present the World with the bits they think makes them look cool – so next time you read your Wallpapers, PSFK’s, Wired & category-specific blogs … remember they don’t necessarily represent the opinions, thoughts or habits of the masses, they [for some people] represent your need to look and feel different from the masses, which is why if you really want an insight into the issues swimming around the masses heads – the things that most clients actually pay us for – you’re better off going to the places the masses go, not just the [sometimes] condescending elite.

Wieden+Kennedy Is A Business …
December 1, 2010, 6:29 am
Filed under: Comment

This is going to come across as a massively toady post.

Believe it or not, that was not my intention, it’s just a couple of things have happened to me recently that has resulted in me feeling the need to write this … and it’s not just the fact my review is coming up, ha!

Right, let’s get it over and done with.

W+K is an amazing place to work … and I’ve worked at a few amazing places with more than a few amazing people.

OK, so I’ve only been here about 4 months so who knows how the future may alter my view … but given the way they have handled my “idiosyncrasies” – as well as my gob – I can honestly say it’s a place that lets you be yourself and encourages you to do the best work of your life.

But here’s the thing, the best work of your life means the best commercial work of your life.

I must admit I get a bit fed up hearing people talk about wanting to work here because they think they can do stuff regardless of the clients needs – I mean, who the hell do they think provides the income that would allow them to get paid?

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not going to do stuff we don’t believe is right just because a clients ego or fee is pushing for it, but by the same token, we’re not going to do stuff we don’t believe is right just because our ego or profit margin is pushing for it.

Sure we have a lot of internal projects that are about individual freedom and expression … sure there’s people here who want to do things that will end up having nothing to do with the ad industry … but while we have fun, we don’t lose sight of why we’re here and the people who just see it as a home for indulgent, creative freedom are not just wrong, but – at least in my eyes – the enemy.

Just because Dan Wieden hasn’t sold the company to a mulitnational doesn’t mean he doesn’t like money. OK, so he’s hardly eating bread out of a dumpster in the back streets of Portland, but his business head knows that without the profits his clients give him for creating, producing and delivering interesting, exciting and effective work … his bigger plans and goals for the company could be severely impacted and for a man who has achieved so much, he still has a lot of hunger for things he wants to try.

So sure, Wieden is where you come to do the best work of your lives … but it’s worth remembering that work is still the operative word.