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


Press The Pause Button …
May 24, 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

Yesterday an unthinkable incident occurred in London.

I literally cannot comprehend it. It has deeply upset and affected me.

As if it wasn’t bad enough, I now have to listen to extremist groups try and exploit the situation for their own self-serving purposes.

I don’t believe this has anything to do with religion or terrorism.

Those labels are convenient tags used by governments, media and racists.

As I wrote a while back, I am firmly of the opinion that people are inherently good.

That said, I do believe it would help if the millions of good, law-abiding Muslims stood up and said this is not what they – or their religion – condones. That they say they will always warn the authorities about anyone they believe could potentially use their precious faith to justify acts of unspeakable horror.

I know they shouldn’t have to, but if anything, it might help pour cold water on the attempts by the far right to cook up trouble and hatred.

I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe people are already doing this.

Maybe it would have no affect at all.

I am utterly confused and upset.

While I am not a religious man, I do believe that at it’s core, religion – all religion – is about doing good for humanity rather than harming it, which is why I get upset when people try and use these sorts of incidents to try and present ‘good religion and evil religion’.

The Christian faith in particular – or should I say, certain people within the Christian faith – have a very nasty habit of using these situations to try and make themselves look superior, which is utterly contemptible given they have a history littered with incidents that counter everything they supposedly stand for.

At the end of the day, I just do not believe these acts are done in the name of religion.

I firmly believe the people who undertake these sorts of terrible deeds would do them regardless – using whatever excuse they feel justifies their actions at that particular time.

That said, I do think it’s time we had a calm, honest, non-confrontational debate about why certain people use Islam as their ‘excuse’ for these acts of horror [if only to highlight how that has little to do with it] but then I also believe it’s time we stopped automatically going with the convenient ‘reason’ for these incidents – which admittedly is often provided by the perpetuator – and started looking at the other, potentially bigger, causes.

Social depravation.

Social segregation.

Social isolation.

Social inequality.

While there is nothing good that can come out of the incident of yesterday, there was one thing that gave me faith about humanity – and that was the women who shielded the body of the dead man and challenged the attackers about their actions.

Compassionate, dignified and courageous.

A lesson to us all – regardless of where we come from or what we believe.

Thank you ladies. RIP soldier.

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What’s In A Name?
May 23, 2013, 6:04 am
Filed under: Comment

Names.

Without doubt they’re very important.

They can provide ‘clues’ into what you believe, represent, offer.

They can also open or close doors for you in the future.

Names are important … but the one thing we cannot forget is that they are also very dependent on the context they appear in and the standards by which they operate.

One of the things that bothers me hugely is how quickly people judge without context.

I often say to clients that if we brought them the line, ‘Just Do It’ … I’m almost certain they’d chuck us out of the room because they’d say things like:

“Just do what?”

“It sounds demanding.”

“It sounds negative.”

But as we all know, when nurtured and developed over time, people don’t see it as that, they see it as a statement of action and potential … a statement that is a liberator not a dictator … a statement that is universally liked and revered … a statement that has helped NIKE set themselves apart from every single brand on the planet. Not just in the sports category, but in every category.

Why am I saying all this?

Well because I recently saw something that highlights the importance of context.

There it is, the original iPhone.

Yes, years before Apple’s ubiquitous product came along, there was this big, lumpy piece of plastic.

Sure it wasn’t portable.

Sure it wasn’t very pretty.

Sure it wasn’t very innovative.

But at a time where the internet was still in its mass market infancy, it let you connect to the World in ways that were beyond comprehension just a few years earlier.

So what happened to it?

Nothing. It died on it’s ass.

I have no knowledge why that was the case … maybe it was a lack of distribution, a ridiculously high price-point or simply because it was a crap product … but my reason for highlighting this is because according to some branding companies, a massive contributor to the success of a company is all down to the name they have.

Of course they would say that because it means they can charge huge amounts of cash for [mental] companies to use their ‘proprietary tool’ to identify a brand name that will be distinctive, relevant, powerful and a absolutely, definitely, unquestionably, certifiably dead-set, super-hit.

What a load of fucking bollocks.

Don’t get me wrong, having a good name is important, but to think [1] that is the most important things [2] that the name can affect success entirely independently from what the brand does or makes, is utterly insane.

So next time someone says an idea is “too negative”, “too aggressive”, “too self focused”, “too distinctive” … remind them that it’s not about the name, but about the behaviour and the power to shape that is not just in their hands, but in their ambition.



Devious Strategy By Harry Potter …
May 22, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

For a long time, I’ve been a big time fan of something I call ‘devious strategy’.

In essence, devious strategy is the development of an idea that gives your audience something they specifically want, but delivered in a way that also fulfills your own personal – and totally different – set of goals and agenda.

I know that sounds complicated, but it’s basically something the Chinese Government – the undisputed Kings of it – have been doing for at least a couple of centuries.

Anyway, I recently read something that Daniel Radcliffe had done to stop the paparazzi from continually photographing him … and he did it in a way that allowed the paparazzi to continually photograph him.

Confused?

Read this and prepare to:

[1] applaud, [2] have respect for ol’ four-eyes and [3] start wondering why the planners in adland rarely come up with strategies so devious, creative and effective.



Why Would Anyone Believe What Adland Say’s When They Pull This Sort Of Shit?
May 21, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Tragic isn’t it.

I know Clear may claim the offer in the envelope is worthy of societies interest, but they need to remember – like so many companies need to remember – that it’s not about what you want people to find interesting, but doing stuff that is actually interesting to people.



If Madness Is Doing The Same Thing Over And Over Again And Expecting A Different Result, Then Why The Hell Do We Still Start Our Working Week On A Monday?
May 20, 2013, 6:16 am
Filed under: Comment

In some respects, the word ‘Monday’ is the shortest horror story in the World.

Monday. The beginning of pressure, pain, stress and depression.

5 days till the weekend.

Those 2 days where you don’t get to enjoy them, you simply get to sleep off the hell of the previous 5 days.

Or you have to work.

It’s all so bleak isn’t it.

So I’m going to change it.

Not forever – unfortunately – but for this week.

And how am I going to do this?

By simply writing up a story I read in the news last week that made me laugh out loud because [1] it’s charming [2] amusing and [3] the sort of terribly inappropriate decision I have a history of making.

So wipe your eyes, don’t think about the next 5 days and read this:

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When the Women’s Institute in Parkham, Devon, booked a retired sea captain to give a talk on piracy, its members sensed an opportunity for fancy dress.

Expecting a ripping yarn about treasure islands, they dressed for the occasion in eye patches, tricorn hats and wooden legs. But it turned out that the speaker, Colin Darch, wanted to talk about his experience of being held hostage for 47 days by Somali pirates.

“Naturally, everyone was aghast when we realised our mistake …” said WI member Stephanie George. “… there he was delivering this harrowing story about how he feared for his life, and we were all sitting there dressed as Captain Hook.

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Absolute solid gold, push-away-the-black-clouds-of-Monday genius.