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So that’s another year of bollocks written and commented on.
All that leaves me to say is that I hope you all have a great Christmas with great presents and great food and may 2012 be a fucking awesome year.
But mainly me.
Even though in a matter of weeks, I get another 5 days holiday thanks to Chinese New Year [God bless China], I’ll see you again in Jan with an A[P]SOTW assignment and another big dollop of my special ranting bollocks.
Happy hangover …
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Not as good as 2010, but pretty damn good all the same.
It’s also that time of year where people in the ad community make a bunch of predictions about what will be big – or will have been big – this time next year.
As I’ve said before, I hate that sort of shit because if you disagree with them, they just say, “it hasn’t happened yet so wait and see” … so as I can’t beat them, I’m going to join them by saying my prediction for this time next year is we’ll have had another 12 months of talking the same old shit except we’ll all be using a bunch of new, improved, shiny names to describe it all because adland and the plannersphere think that’s all it takes to impress the masses and keep our intelligent delusions alive.
The end. [Of this post and quote possibly our industry]
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… is a client brief like this.
Actually it isn’t, I’d much rather have something technological … but it still wouldn’t be too bad given so many briefs today are nothing more than ‘executional’ demands rather than a fundamental business challenge, where the solution is up to you.
Of course, given so many ad agencies think an ad can solve everything, it’s not hard to understand why so many clients basically decide what they want upfront, rather than trust their communication partners to come up with something all by themselves, but it’s still like going to the Doctor and then prescribing your own treatment.
Who knows, maybe everything will change for the better in 2012.
Maybe I’ll stop loving Queen, wearing shoes and be responsible.
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So it’s nearly Christmas … a time where happiness and positivity should be in the ascendance … but given my good friend Dubes is leaving W+K, China and the entire ad industry, you’ll understand why I might not be overcome with Christmas cheer.
I’ve known Dubes for 18 months and in that time, he’s made a massive impression on me.
Not just because he’s smart, decent, funny and kind … but because he’s got me out of the shit too many times to mention plus – and it’s a big plus – he’s not smashed me in the face when I’ve continually – and purposefully – dropped him in the shit.
From helping me retrieve my laptop from the back of an unlicensed cab in a Chinese city we’d just arrived in … to making me laugh when a client has given me a deadline that is basically a declaration of war … to helping me cut out 1500 pictures from a bunch of magazines in 3 hours [don’t ask], Dubes has been there – always calm, always supportive, always smart.
And how have I repaid his friendship and loyalty?
By being a petty, childish and downright immature piece of bastardness.
From making public announcements about the frequency of his toilet visits [which is a lot. A hell of a lot!] … to drawing the most unflattering portrait of him ever seen in history [see above] then plastering photocopies of them in every nook and cranny possible [and I mean ‘every nook and cranny’] … to sending him some ‘Eat Shit’ cupcakes when we were going through a particularly ‘pressured time’ … to about ten million other things … and yet through all of these nightmares, he has remained a solid, decent, stand-up, top guy.
What an idiot.
However, just as people might start to question his sanity, he has made a decision that shows he’s still got it.
Despite loving working at W+K and NIKE – both in Portland and Shanghai – he’s decided adland hasn’t got the substance he is looking for in his life, so he’s giving it all up to go and work in Hollywood.
We’re convinced this is all code for ‘fluffing’ in some cheap porn movie, but he’s claiming it’s for something that won’t leave such a nasty taste in his mouth [boom tish] … so after the longest leaving period in the history of mankind, our lovely Dubes is buggering off to start the next chapter of his lifes adventure.
I will miss him.
I will miss him a lot.
And yet, while I am very sad he’s going, I am also incredibly proud of him.
It takes a strong man to decide to turn his back on his career – especially a career at one of the best agencies in the World and one of the best accounts in the World – but that’s what he’s done because his strength comes from his fantastic principals, values and beliefs which is why I know that whatever he does, he’ll be very successful at it and why I know anyone who works with him, will be better – both personally and professionally – for the experience.
It’s also why I am genuinely honoured to call him a friend – even if he would rather I didn’t.
Dubes, thank you for everything – you’ve done more for me than you’ll ever know and I can tell you it’s been a distinct privilege for me to know you and work with you and I wish you nothing but the best for everything in your life and I hope I will still be able to share in it in some way, even if that’s just still being an annoying shit.
Right enough of the nice stuff … fuck off and go knock ’em dead.
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So while I was in La La Land, I saw this:
Yes, that’s right, a dating site for Christians.
A place where you can meet someone who gets off on reading passages from the bible … where every glass of red wine reminds them of the blood of Christ and where at the end of every date, you are guaranteed to get nothing more than a firm handshake.
OK, I’m being a prejudiced twat … especially as there’s 5 million of the buggers on this site alone … but I find the religious market fascinating, if only for the fact they are consistently ignored by so many agencies and corporations.
Alright, I understand that in many cases, these are everyday people who consume the same brands and products as the rest of us, however as Guitar Praise showed us, there are many opportunities to develop brand extensions that specifically appeal to this ‘mass niche’ group.
Sure there’s the chance that directly appealing to a religious group may put off others – however if the product/brand has been customised to appeal specifically to that group, I don’t think it would alienate the other customers, especially because they’ll probably not even see it, let alone know about it.
So next time you have a campaign to do for a client – think about what you can do to make specific groups of people be particulary attracted to your brand rather than simply chasing the masses … trust me, it’ll not just make your job more exciting and interesting, it’ll make case-study magic.
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Hello – how are you all? Well?
Forgive me, but today I am writing a post for me.
Actually, I always do that – however this time it’s even more for me than usual – mainly because I want to ensure the magic of the last 10 days isn’t forgotten.
I had an amazing holiday.
A mad, stupid, wonderful, amazing holiday.
It could be, quite possibly, the best holiday I’ll ever have in my life.
Yes, it was that good.
Saying that, things got off to a dodgy start when having landed in LA, we proceeded to lose our luggage.
We’d only been in the country for literally a few minutes when we proceeded to lose our suitcases. And it was all our fault.
But things improved when this happened …
What you have just seen is me bumping into my oldest, dearest friend at LAX.
Yes … one person who lives in China, bumping into another person who lives in England.
Normally the chances of that would be very, very, very small – however when you find out your wives have been secretly planning that outcome for the last 10 months, you realise it’s not that rare, … even if the magnificence, kindness and unbelievable wonderfulness of their wives, is.
From there, so much happened.
Good and weird … but no bad, however some sad.
So that I can remember the highlights when I’m 90 and using a colostomy bag, I’m going to right them here now, because some simply beggar belief.
Helicoptering into the Grand Canyon for breakfast …
… then learning a helicopter – doing exactly the same trip – crashed the next day, killing all on board.
Ridiculous amounts of food. And I mean ridiculous.
Gambling. And winning. A lot.
Breasts. Huge … massive …. breasts.
Stupidly cool hotels.
Getting remarried. Along side my best friend. And Elvis.
Having some of the weirdest conversations of my life with taxi drivers.
[“There’s this thing, called the internet” & “I can’t get a passport for another 2 years”]
Being dressed like freaks … or in my case, Elton John, circa 1974 … while Paul chose to look like the bastard love child of a 1980’s Gameshow presenter and a bouncer.
Seeing a lot of B-grade Hollywood ‘stars’.
[Calista Flockhart & the Discovery Channel ‘motorbike making dudes’]
Seeing lesbian lions. Though obviously, I didn’t tell them that.
Missing the man who started shooting along Hollywood Boulevard by a few hours.
Being driven at 55mph along the freeway, in a wooden bus that no windows. At night. When it’s 2 degrees.
Imagining Elton John as a gangsta.
Being in a cab that took 2 hours to go 6 miles.
Paying more in tips than I do on a typical night out.
Shunning a hired Mustang to travel LA via our own London Cab.
Having the World’s most expensive KFC at The Ivy.
Becoming the best friend with LA’s, “no curse” rapper all thanks to a $100 bill.
Experiencing some classic Vegas moments …
… and LA moments.
Seeing our wives start ‘Occupy Rodeo Drive’.
Almost zip-lining through a shopping mall, only for my Birkenstocks to rob me of my SAS fantasies.
Getting my first tattoo. A big tattoo … so now I am Mr LA Ink & a disappointment to my Mum. And no Billy, I’m not trying to be you …
… though judging by my wife’s first ‘ink’, maybe she is.
Seeing some of the most industrious con-artists I’ve ever seen.
[Hello Ms ‘Las Vegas Sign Photographer’]
Scaring myself shitless as people jumped off ‘The Stratosphere’ in Vegas. Fortunately attached to a rope.
To be honest, none of this does it justice, but it was just brilliant in every way and I am eternally grateful to my wife, Paul’s wife & Shelly for making it happen … it was quite simply, amazing and I will literally never forget it.
OK, that’s it – normal shit service will commence shortly – but not for long, because in less than 2 weeks, Santa comes which means you get another let off my rubbish.
I’m all give, give, give …
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So it’s nearly Christmas.
Can you believe it?
Seriously, I swear to god this year only had 7 months in it because it’s gone so bloody fast.
Anyway it’s that time of year where you start to think about what you’re going to do on the big day.
Well, my wife and I thought about it – said “sod that” and have decided to get on a plane tonight and fly to Las Vegas.
To renew our vows.
In an Elvis Chapel.
Dressed as Elvis and Priscilla.
I know … I know …
But you want to hear something even weirder?
Yes, even weirder than my wife wanting to renew her vows with me [I think she said, renew, maybe she said review!] … this is supposed to be her Christmas present to me.
How the hell does that work?
Las Vegas maybe … but renewing vows dressed as Elvis in a shitty fake chapel???
What the hell is wrong with getting me some pointless gadget and a crappy card?
To be honest, I’m secretly happy and excited.
Apart from the fact that we’ve had a rather stressful time at work in the last couple of weeks – especially this week – I can’t think of anything nicer than hanging out with my wife for a bit.
Only a bit, haha!
So while I’ll write some more bollocks before we all go off and celebrate the religious festival of eating too much, drinking too much and being generally underwhelmed with the present we got from our Auntie Flora, this blog is officially closed for 10 days or so, which is possibly the greatest gift I could give you all.
Wish me luck … I mean for when I play blackjack … the vows stuff is easy.