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


Momentum Vs Perfection …
June 28, 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

Many years ago, I had a detached retina.

It was pretty serious resulting in me needing multiple operations and some rather weird – more obscure – treatments.

After my retina started to look like it would detach for the 4th time, the DR’s started to get even more concerned because they felt it wouldn’t have the capacity to take much more treatment.

In worked a surgeon.

A Harley Street surgeon.

A Harley Street surgeon who was 39 years old.

After having multiple Doctors looking into my eye with all sorts of instruments and then going away and muttering, he walked in, had a look, read my notes and then said,

“He doesn’t need any more treatment, we need to let his eye heal and it will be fine”.

That was it.

After about 10 minutes deliberation, he had come to the conclusion that despite all his colleagues concerns, there was no need to do anything else because the goal would be achieved.

And he was right.

Why am I saying this?

Because sometimes I think planners spend too much time on trying to make everything absolutely perfect.

Perfect for their egos.

Perfect for the clients fears.

Perfect for the creative departments demands.

Don’t get me wrong, you have to have be rigorous in your approach – looking wide as well as deep – and have something that is commercially and creatively interesting and relevant, but when it comes to articulating a particular point of view, my belief is that it’s more important to capture the energy and momentum of the strategy/idea than necessarily identifying the ultimate choice of words.

Of course, in a perfect World, you’d have both … but when you work in a mixed culture office and country, the reality is that people will all have slightly different interpretations of words/phrases [based on their particular frames of reference] which means you can end up complicating the the idea rather than liberating it, whereas when you focus on feelings and direction, it tends to connect to more people, in more powerful – and similar – ways.

So next time you get caught up discussing/arguing/deliberating on a particular word – be it in a brief or presentation or anything else – ask yourself whether you’re talking about something that can genuinely trip-up or misdirect the people who need to be inspired by it or whether it’s simply a case of semantics that someone is using an attempt to make themselves look – or feel – better or more important.

For me, momentum has perfection, but perfection doesn’t always have momentum.



Products That Were Designed By The Fuck Up Fairy …
June 27, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Crap Products In History

You’re an electronics company that wants to boost sales.

You see the travel market – especially the holiday travel market – as having great potential to drive additional revenue.

You do research and find ‘travel speakers’ are particularly hot right now.

People love music and they want to hear it and share it wherever they are – be it the beach or the mountains.

You think about what’s it would take to make the ultimate travel speaker.

+ Small.

+ Stylish.

+ Powerful.

+ Bluetooth.

+ Lets you attach it to your clothes.

+ Lets you can slip it easily into your suitcase.

That’s it, the 6 key criteria … you’re on your way … now you just have to make it happen.

You get your team to develop a design.

It looks great.

You get your engineers to develop the speakers.

It sounds great.

You’re ready to launch it to all the people who will be getting on a plane this summer to go and enjoy the sun.

The millions upon millions of holiday makers who will descend on their local airports for 2 weeks of sheer and utter fabulousness.

What a shame that you made the thing look like a bloody hand grenade!!!

Congratulations Philips, come and get your ‘we didn’t really think that through did we’ prize for 2013.

I really hope you’ve produced your sorry letters for the idiots who bought one and then tried to take it with them on the plane.

Trust me, being strip searched and then arrested for being a suspected terrorist is probably not really good for building brand loyalty.



From The Darkest, Most Devious & Evil Part Of The Mind …
June 26, 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

So I’m pretty old.

Old enough to have seen a great deal in my life.

Old enough to have seen weird, wonderful, twisted and mental.

And when you take into account that I’ve worked in adland for over 20 years, it means that some of the weird shit I’ve seen is truly ‘weird shit’.

However every now and then, you come across something that has the power to literally stop you in your tracks.

Literally.

Something so utterly insane, that you wonder if it’s creator was a genius or a person of utter depravity.

Well, recently I came across one of those things and this was it …

In all honesty, I literally don’t know what confronts me more.

Is it that there’s even such thing as ‘virgin soap’ … a product so powerful, that I assume, they say it can even clean away your sexual sins?

Or is it that despite trying to present a godly image, they then go and write ‘Touch Me’ at the top of the pack … which, if I’m not mistaken … sort of undermines the ‘virginal’ image they are trying to present.

Or maybe it’s because they don’t just write ‘Touch Me’ on the pack, they follow it up with ‘Please’ … making it sound like the innocent and pretty girl on the pack is some sort of wanton hussy.

Or it could be the ‘free shampoo’ message they’ve tucked away in the corner of the pack … which I now assume is because while the manufacturers appreciate their soap can help you regain your virginal state, they also know you might accidentally let a man climax all over your head so ‘Virgin Shampoo’ allows you to wash your hair to ensure your entire body is as pure as the day it was born. Or something.

I would love to talk to the person who created this.

I would sit them down and simply ask one question: ‘WHY!!!?’

I swear to god, they either have balls of steel, are clinically insane or are utterly deluded.

Seriously, even the Catholic Church wouldn’t try and pull this off – that’s how mental it is.

I can tell you, I’m utterly shocked and this is coming from a man who’s seen Jerry Springer … so to the creators of Virginity Soap, please tell me what ‘planning tool’ you used to come up with this, because it might be the first proprietary process I’d actually pay to use.



Why Smarties Social Media Strategy Isn’t So Sweet …
June 25, 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

Remember ages ago I wrote about how the Smarties Australia social media approach on Facebook was basically a massive slap in the face to the brand?

Well it seems they haven’t learnt because recently I saw this …

Jesus Christ, that’s even worse than last time.

10 likes. 1 comment.

At this rate, they’ll be getting minus likes and comments in the next few months.

Why are you doing this Smarties? What benefit is this having on your business?

In fact, is it actually having an adverse effect, given kids might think Smarties are for losers?

Of course social media doesn’t have to be bad and there may be a whole host of reasons for the continued bad performance of this iconic brand … well, iconic in the kids chocolate category.

Maybe it’s because it’s badly targeted [after all, I saw it and I’m a 43 year old man. Admittedly, a sad 43 year old man, but still 43]

Maybe it’s because it’s utterly crap?

Maybe it’s because there’s no reason for doing this, other than for some social media manager to hit their KPI’s?

Whatever it is, the fact is they seem to have forgotten the fundamental rule of all messaging – especially with digital – if it’s not meaningful to your audience [based on what they want, not what you want them to want] it sure as shit won’t be social.

Not so smart are you Smarties!

Don’t worry, you’re not alone … there’s millions of other companies out there doing the same thing, in the mistaken belief it’s ‘free advertising’.

Shame they haven’t realised that just because the media’s free [which even that isn’t true in a lot of cases] that doesn’t mean it’s valuable to your business. In fact, with the cost of the people it takes to write this drivel, it could possibly be one of the most ineffective communication approaches out there.

Possibly.



Florists With Humour. And Insight.
June 24, 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment



I Seem To Have Inadvertently Become Paris Hilton’s Sugar Daddy …
June 21, 2013, 6:03 am
Filed under: Comment

Dear Hilton Hotel Sydney …

I had a very nice stay with you during my recent trip to Australia.

Sure, you were pretty expensive for basic things like Diet Coke and a packet of peanuts, but it was very nice … or should I say it was very nice until I checked my credit card bill and saw you had decided to sneakily charge me for an additional nights stay to the bill I had already paid.

And what did you do when I called you to question it?

You said I’d been charged because I was a ‘no show’, despite the fact you also acknowledged [1] I had already been in your hotel for a number of days and [2] I had checked out exactly when the booking said I would – which seems to be pretty good proof I WAS ACTUALLY THERE!!!

And what did you do when you heard this?

Did you go, “Oh so sorry sir, there must have been an error with our system, let me reimburse you right away”

No. You said it would take TEN DAYS to investigate and this shouldn’t be taken as an acceptance of liability.

Oh but hang on, there’s more.

You see rather than accept that there must be some sort of mistake, you then added that the only explanation must be that I “must have booked an additional night”.

Now listen here Hilton Hotel.

As much as I like throwing money away on stupid technology, even I wouldn’t rent another room in a hotel I was already staying in just because I could.

And even if by some weird quirk of fate, I had done, I sure as hell wouldn’t have ignored the checking in process because another room means more amenity packs to steal.

I find it amazing that a hotel chain that claims they want to ensure ‘all our guests have a memorable, personalised experience’ not only is reluctant to accept liability when they acknowledge I was already in their hotel as a guest, but wants to make me wait at least 10 days before they’ll think about reimbursing my credit card.

But there’s something worse.

Had I not seen the charge on my credit card, Hilton Hotel would have got away with this.

They didn’t call or email to tell me [1] about this charge or [2] that I had ‘failed to check in’ … they simply kept their head down so they could make a wrongful charge and hopefully get away with it.

As you know, I travel quite a lot until someone there not only reimburses me, but apologizes for the inconvenience they have caused, I definitely won’t be staying in one of their establishments again.

Of course, they probably won’t care especially because they’re probably of the view that if their business can survive after one of the founders family has been videoed fucking some sad, opportunist bastard on film, they can survive anything … and maybe that’s right, but I can assure them I’ll do all I can to try and make them take some sort of responsibility for their actions [or inaction], because this isn’t the behavior of a service industry, it’s the behavior of conmen.

Hilton Hotel. The battle is officially on.



The Good And Bad Of Blogging …
June 20, 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

I’ve been doing this blog for a long time.

I know that each post I write feels like it’s lasted 100 years, but that aside, I’ve been bashing out bollocks for 7 years.

SEVEN.

And in that seven years, I’ve written 2,167 posts and received – at time of writing this – 51,255 insults.

FIFY ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE.

That’s the equivalent of 20 a day. Every day. For 7 years. Or 2,555 days.

Fucking hell.

What’s worse is those 20 insults have – in the main – come from the same people, which begs the question, am I a masochist?

Now you might be thinking that this is the lead-up to me announcing I’m going to stop writing and ranting.

You should be so lucky.

I know every normal person stopped writing blogs sometime around 2007, but I’ve adopted the strategy of ‘resistance to responsibility’ which basically translates to this.

The longer I write, the more likely I end up being the last blog in the World.

Anyway, I’m rambling. Again.

The reason I started this blog was so I’d have a place to put down ideas, rants and moments of madness.

I didn’t do it for anyone else, it was just for me – a sort of ‘pressure release’ valve.

The thing is, after 7 years and 2,000+ posts, you also build up a compendium of what you think and believe, which is why it’s both wonderful – and slightly annoying – when you discover that something you passionately believed in 2008, is something you now feel totally different about today.

And that’s what I’m going through now.

Something I was a massive critic of previously, is something I now realise was pretty clever.

What’s worse is my change of opinion can’t be explained through shifts in technology or culture, it’s because I was blind.

Yes, I fucked up.

I didn’t do it on purpose and I absolutely meant well, but that doesn’t hide the fact, I fucked up.

Now I know it’s sometimes hard to admit you’re wrong … it makes you look foolish … but I’m too old to give a fuck especially as I’d rather learn from my mistakes than doggedly hang on to them in a desperate attempt to look consistent.

Besides, we’re all hypocrites.

Every day in every way, each and every one of us does or thinks things that fly in the face of what we say or believe.

Big things … small things … the only difference is having a blog means you can’t hide so easily from your hypocrisy which is both humbling, disarming and a little bit awesome.

Now I appreciate without actually explaining what the fuck I’m talking about, this makes even less sense than normal but it’s got nothing to do with politics, religion, economy – you know, important stuff – it’s all linked to how I think and do my job.

The good news for you is [1] this revelation came to me while working on a project, which means the very thing I had slagged off way back when, is actually what I am going to suggest is adopted moving forward [2] the client I have been doing the project for was – in typical bastard ironic style – the very same client I had previously slagging off for experimenting with this approach all those years ago* and [3] this post has reached the end … which no doubt makes you feel as relieved as it does the client.

Dammit.
____________________________________________________________

* Yes, I appreciate this means I am suggesting my client ‘does what they did previously’.

My response to that isn’t that I’m lazy, but that I’m mature enough to accept when things are good whereas others often tinker for their own ego.

That’s my excuse and I will doggedly stick to it thank-you-very-much.