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

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.


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:


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.


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

It’s Friday, So Why Don’t We All Go In To The Time Machine …
May 17, 2013, 6:11 am
Filed under: Comment

Yes, I know I’ve talked about time machines before and that turned out to be a rubbish post about digital radio’s, but this is better.

OK, so ‘better’ might be a bit of an over-statement, but it’s certainly got more cred in being a time machine than listening to TalkSport.

What am I going on about?

A brilliant – and entertaining – experiment on how technology has affected family dynamics.

I know … I know … tech has had a profound way on how we live, but as I’ve always said, for every positive, there is a dark side – regardless how much we like to dismiss it – and while I most certainly wouldn’t like to go back to the lack of comfort gadgets I enjoy today [which recently has been supplemented with this. Don’t ask. Just don’t ask.], the simplicity of maintaining family closeness is something I think we could all do with a little more of because as I wrote a while back, that’s something even Skype can’t quite pull off.

Anyway, as I know the majority of people who stupidly come to this blog work in advertising, I know you’ll have more than enough time to watch each hour long episode of how we lived – and how technology changed that – in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, so with that, sit back and enjoy but as you watch in amazement, please remember the following:

1. This is basically the story of my life, except that in terms of fashion, shoes & music, I haven’t moved on from the 70’s.

2. If you were born in the 80’s, you missed out on an amazing decade. Especially in terms of bicycles because the Raleigh Chopper and Grifter [both from Nottingham] rocked.

3. If you were born in the 90’s, you really shouldn’t be on this blog.

[You can watch the 80’s episode here, and the 90’s here]

What Brand Consultancies Can Learn From Rock Bands ..
May 16, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Brand consultancies are a weird bunch.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s some very smart people in them, but as an industry – like advertising – they spout an incredible amount of shit.

If I see one more ‘case study’ that implies their new [or let’s face it, updated] brand logo is solely responsible for a particular companies “double digit” growth, I swear to god, I might have an aneurism.

[I know … I know … they do more than that, but am I the only one who finds it funny they always seem to suggest the development of a new logo is a vital component to making all their hard work, work. Cynical? Me? Never]

Maybe my blood pressure would feel a bit more inclined to calm down if the logos they designed were interesting, distinctive, progressive or differentiated – but no – most of the time they follow the blueprint for blandness and beige.

Now I appreciate that for all the talk companies give about being ‘different’, the fact is many have a compulsion not to stand out [living in fear of that they might alienate potential customers rather than thinking about how it could attract] … but seriously, some of these designs that are created could make magnolia coloured, woodchip wallpaper look exciting.

A while ago I wrote a piece for MTV about what brands could learn from bands, well if I was going to update it, I might call it, ‘What Brand Consultancies Learn From Rock Bands About Logo Design’.

What am I going on about?


Yes, it’s a range of ‘logos’ from a bunch of bands.

Now I appreciate you might not recognise all of them, but I bet you know more than you thought … or certainly more than you’d recognize if I’d put up a bunch of margarine brand logos instead.

However, if you were a Rock music fan – which I know you’re not – I’m pretty sure you’d recognise all of them, even if you’re not really a fan of that bands particular music.

So what am I saying?

Well, in each case, they are distinctive, instantly recognisable and represent a key characteristic of the brands attitude or attributes.

They’re not trying to blend in … they’re not trying to appeal to everyone … they don’t ‘relaunch’ every 12 months … they’re doing exactly what a logo is supposed to be, be distinctive and recognisable, regardless of the category it operates in.

Sure, you could argue some look a bit dated and in need of a freshen up – but I would say most, if not all – are still more interesting and differentiated than most company logos out there, even the ones produced by the amazing proprietary tools that Branding Consultancies love to bang on about.

While the music industry is dying, bands are very much alive and many, arguably, can look forward to a more prosperous future than many of the uber-researched, mass-spending, brand-onion-or-pyramid-loving brands out there.

We should all take note, especially the brand consultancies.

Proof Good Production [Not To Mention Script & Actors] Make All The Difference …
May 15, 2013, 6:12 am
Filed under: Comment

Compare this ad for 7-11 in Australia …

… with this for Four n’ 20 pies, also in Australia …

They’re basically saying the same thing to the same audience except one doesn’t make you feel you’re watching a car crash unfold in front of your eyes.

I know making ads can be horrifically expensive … I know a lot of them are nothing more than pretentious and egotistical style over zero or bland substance … I even know a lot of agencies make most of their money from doing television shoots, but when you see the horror of a commercial that’s been made – and developed – on the uber cheap, you realize that maybe adland actually knows what they’re talking about and instead of trying to rip you off, they’re actually trying to help you stand a chance of prospering.

And don’t give me any of that, “but the 7-11 ad is so bad, it’s good and memorable” shit, because ‘disruptive’ doesn’t always mean commercially attractive – just ask TBWA and some of their Singapore Airways ads.

Is This The Best Ad For Canada?
May 14, 2013, 6:14 am
Filed under: Comment

I know American’s like to view Canadian’s as ‘Mexicans In Jumpers’, but at least they don’t need the most childish instructions for every aspect of life – from how to cook a frozen pizza to telling people roads are wet when it rains – because they’ve allowed an over zealous litigious culture to survive and thrive*.

And no, I’m not saying that because my wife – and a whole bunch of my colleagues – come from Mooseland.

OK, I am, it’s just I needed an excuse to show this photograph. Sorry.


* Conveniently ignoring that yesterday’s post completely counters the ‘point’ of this one.