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

I Know This Post Will Make Me Sound Like A Pretentious Wanker [As Opposed To Just Being A Wanker], But I Like It And Think We Could All Do With Remembering It, Regardless Of The Job We Do Or The Level We Are Doing It …
May 18, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Comment

… maybe the fact I’m not following it up with any planner rubbish will make you hate it less?

Didn’t think so.


Today Is The Day …
May 15, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

… all APSOTW assignments have to be in.

So if you haven’t sent them yet, send them to this address.

From tomorrow, I will be contacting all the judges with your submissions before going through the herding-cats hell of getting all their feedback within 2 to 3 weeks.

In a perfect World, I would hope to publish all the comments by the end of the month but the reality is it will probably be in June.

Talking of June, it’s my birthday on the 12th. Just thought I’d throw that in there.

Anyway, to everyone who took part a few words.

1. I hope you enjoyed it.
2. I hope it made you think.
3. I think it’s bloody brilliant you did it. I really do.

As I mentioned when I set the assignment, the person deemed to have made the best submission will get a prize.

For the record, it WON’T be an iWatch.

It might be a picture of an iWatch, but that will be the closest you get to me giving you one.

Unless my friend Bazza at Apple comes to the party and hands me a freebie, but the chances of that are approximately nil.

Anyway, thanks for taking part, I’m really interested to read what you guys came up with and until then, have a great weekend.

PS: Yes, the picture used in this post really is clip-art. And yes, I do feel dirty for using it. Sorry.

Why The Musical Genre Of Metal Could Be A Danger To Your Sex Life …

I love metal.

Not the stuff you build things out of, but the music genre.

Now I know some of you regard that as the musical equivalent of ISIS, but I don’t care.

Of course I like other genres, but for me, metal is best.

Maybe some of that is because – as a guitar player – my instrument of choice is upfront and centre, but mostly, I just love the way it reaches inside you and squeezes your soul.

In my younger days, I took this appreciation of heavy rock to an extreme … from having [believe it or not] long hair to wearing the sort of clothes that today, would have you either arrested or considered a homeless person.

Of course nowadays I choose to just enjoy the music rather than live ‘the lifestyle’ but even if that wasn’t the case, I still doubt I would be rushing out to buy this …

That’s right, it’s a heavy metal inspired fragrance.

Now I appreciate other musical genres have done this but it just seems super wrong for metal.

Metal was built on a foundation of rawness and power and this just feels … all pampered and nice.

OK, I appreciate time has moved on from my days going to Rock City on a Friday night, but it seems totally at odds with the principals metal was built on.

Bloody hell, I’m taking this all a bit too seriously aren’t I!?

But I’m not finished yet. Oh no.

For a start, what does ‘BE MORE. BE METAL’ even mean?

It sounds awfully like the sort of bollock lyrics you’d hear on an early Judas Priest album.

Oh hang on, that’s why … because this product was created by none other than K K Downing, the lead guitarist of that very band.

What a coincidence.

On one hand I have to admire his entrepreneurial spirit. It takes a lot of balls to actually do something like this.

However, on the other hand, I have to question his sanity.

Not just because he has entered an oversaturated category where the multitude of competitors spend hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing … but because even if I was totally into the metal music lifestyle, I’d find it hard to ‘buy into’ a brand that was created by a 64 year old man who plays guitar for a semi-retired band, originates from the antithesis of fantasyland [better known as West Bromwich], calls himself K K [admittedly because it stands for Kenneth] and looks like this:


I’m not being a dick, I’m being a realist.

And if you still think I am being prejudiced, have a look at this interview and then tell me if you would want to be seen buying – let alone wearing – this fragrance.

The defence rests it’s case.

Sorry K K. I admire the passion, but I think the years of being hit in the head by your pounding, powerful riffs have fucked with your brain.

If Effectiveness Is In The Eye Of The Beholder, I Am An Optician.
May 11, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment

So for the next few days I’m in Singapore judging the Asian Effectiveness Awards.

While some of the thinking, work and results are fantastic – I am semi-alarmed at how badly some people articulate their argument.

It appears the approach taken by the agencies submitting the poor entries is “talk and talk and talk and hopefully they will be able to work it out themselves”.

And to those people I tell them this.

Yes. Yes we can. And we have worked out you don’t understand what effective communication is, let alone what commercial effectiveness is.

The good news is the overall standard of submission has vastly improved and there are some genuinely smart, creative and crafted ideas on show, however what is slightly concerning is how many brands want to be a social crusader … fighting against issues that are apparently affecting millions of people.

This might seem a strange thing for me to say given I spent years talking about how brands have the power to help society while helping themselves … especially as I got so into this theory that I even gave the approach a name ‘socialistic capitalism’ … however the way many brands are approaching the task feels like they are more focused on creating the illusion of helping others than actually helping others.

You can generally tell who they are.

+ They do something small but try and make it sound like they’re changing the World.

+ They spend so much money telling people what they’re doing, you feel their motivation is marketing rather than helping.

+ They do a hugely exploitative campaign and try and back-rationalise it’s ‘social value’.

+ They take on issues that make them look hypocritical.

+ They take on such themes [loosely connected to their product category] that are so ambiguous, you wouldn’t be able to tell if they’ve had an effect or not.

Look, I know it’s shit for me to question this approach, because like those people who slagged off Madonna when she got preferential treatment to adopt a child [errrrm, me], the fact is they’re still helping in some way which is something worth celebrating … and cynicism aside, I still think it is amazing when a brand decides to use its muscle to try and make a difference beyond just their balance sheet … however with so many brands seemingly only focused on ‘raising awareness’ for an issue rather than trying to solve it, it’s quite refreshing when someone comes along and does a good old fashioned, straight-to-the-point ad campaign, which is why I liked last years TBWA HK campaign for AIA Insurance.

[Though I obviously hated the newspaper ad they did that I link to above]

I suppose what I’m saying is that it’s great so many brands want to try and make a difference and it’s great they believe they’re making such a difference, they can enter it into an effectiveness award … however I’d be interested to see how many of them stay committed to their cause when they realize their ability to stand out as a brand is becoming diminished given so many other brands are basically following the exact same strategy.

At the end of the day, there is a significant difference between being ‘interested’ in a cause and being ‘committed’ to it and while I do not want anyone to mistake what I’m saying as an attack on anyone who is trying to make a difference, I do think we should be challenging them to evaluate their ‘effectiveness’ beyond just a rise in awareness, likes or sales.

[Acknowledging it is very important they feel their activity is making them money, because that ensures they’ll keep doing it]

God I’m going on aren’t I?

If it’s any consolation, you’re not going to be stuck in a judging room with me banging on about this issue for the next 8 hours.

There’s some more good news for you.

No more posts till Thursday. [But it’s a corker, even though I say it myself]

I’m all give, give, give.

Remember, Remember, Remember …
May 8, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment

… if you’re doing the latest APSOTW assignment, submissions have to be in by next Friday.

People Believe What They Want To Believe …
May 7, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: Comment

When I was younger, I went to a lot of concerts.

Big, loud, heavy metal concerts.

The sort of shows where – like the photo above – 50% of the stage was taken up with amplifiers.

It was impressive, intimidating and exciting all at the same time.

So of course, when I started playing the guitar, I wanted to have something similar so over the years, I started amassing amplifiers.

Big ones. Small ones. Speakers. Amp Heads. You name it, I had it.

So you can imagine my surprise and disappointment when I got a bit older and realised that I had been sold a lie.

What do I mean?

I mean this …

Yes, all those stacks of amplifiers I saw at the concerts of my favourite bands were often either not turned on or – even worse – fake.

Bloody fake.

I remember at the time it bothered me quite a lot – especially as I had spent a fortune acquiring about 40 amps by that time, including a bunch of ludicrously big [6 feet tall] and heavy Marshall Stacks – however I also remember coming to the realisation that without them, the whole live experience would have lost some of it’s magic because seeing a band live wasn’t about hearing them replay their records on stage, it was about giving you a night of entertainment.

[Unless you saw Genesis, which was absolutely about playing their songs on stage. Exactly as they were recorded. Yawn]

And here’s the thing.

As much as we know magicians don’t really have supernatural powers and rockstars don’t really throw televisions out of every hotel window and guitarists don’t really use 50 amplifiers on stage … we choose to ignore it because we’re addicted to the feeling of emotional escape.

Maybe it’s because we love the idea there is something bigger than us … maybe it’s because we all want to believe in the impossible … maybe it’s simply because we are living vicariously through the perceived/hyped/imagined actions and behaviours of others … but there are occasions and situations where we are all complicit in the lies we choose to believe.

Maybe this is one of the reasons some brands are able to command a level of loyalty that defies all logic.

Not because they’re great storytellers, but because the story they tell – or represent – is one that we choose to suspend our belief over, because we want to believe in their ridiculousness and implausibility.

It makes us feel better.

It lets us spiritually escape.

It emotionally entertains.

Which kind-of explains why some people are so obsessed with religion, cosmetic companies and Nottingham Forest.


If You Want To Know The Power Of Design …
May 6, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: Comment

… just look at this:

Yep, if they can make Phil Collins and Celine Dion look like head-biting, drug snorting, Satan worshipers, then they really have more power at their fingertips than Spiderman.

More information on this evil genius can be found here.

Yes … that really is the end of this post. Consider it an early Christmas present.