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


Unready Ready …
October 30, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Experience

I’m going to let you into a secret, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be a Dad.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t want to be, I just wasn’t sure if I was equipped with the skills that I felt I needed to be a good one.

A similar thing happened when I was first made head of a department.

I loved the idea of it, but I was terrified that I didn’t have the skills or experience needed to be really good at it.

Some would say I’m still not.

Even when I started cynic, I had doubts.

Again, the idea of starting my own company was very exciting for me, but I was concerned I lacked the knowledge to make it work.

In all cases I was wrong …

I am a good Dad.

I [think] I am a good leader of my team.

I am proud of all we achieved at cynic.

The thought I may have not done any of those things because I wasn’t sure if I was ready, scares me to death.

The fact I could have allowed myself to miss out on some of the greatest things I’ve ever done – some of the greatest things I’ll ever do – just because I thought I wasn’t experienced enough shows the danger of contentment versus fulfilment.

Sure, you could argue what you haven’t done can’t hurt you … but the reality is I wanted to do all of these things, so it’s not like I would have gone on in my life without thinking about it and for me, a life left wondering is far worse than a life of trying and failing.

Part of the reason I was able to ‘take the plunge’ was because I was very lucky to have people around me who continually helped, supported and encouraged my growth … whether that was my wife, my friends, my bosses or my colleagues.

But part of it was because I realised there’s rarely a time where people feel ‘they are ready’ … the ones who progress just had a desire to learn, explore, and lead while also understanding – and communicating – that making mistakes was inevitable.

It’s not that they want to make mistakes … it’s just that they knew in their quest to make things happen, it would happen.

In fact in my experience, it’s the people who focus on always being safe … never making a mistake … that ultimately stop moving forward.

That doesn’t mean you should ever think you know everything … learning, talking, listening are vital elements to making better decisions, regardless of your experience … however if the desire to progress is there, then you are as ready as you probably ever will be.

As an old boss once said to me, “if you don’t take control of the situation, it will take control of you” … so if you have the desire – a real desire, not some passing level of interest – then go for it because if truth be told, this moment is probably as good a time as ever.

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The Key To Bullshit Spotting …
October 29, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Corporate Evil, Cunning, Insight

Yes I’m back.

Yes, I had a great time and yes, I finally saw my windmill in the flesh.

But it was work. It really was.

Now, of course, I know you don’t believe me and think I basically blagged another free ‘holiday’, so it’s only apt that today’s post is about bullshitting. Or more specifically, how to spot when someone is bullshitting.

Which I am not. I really was working.

Anyway, I digress …

Recently I came across something called, ‘Will Betteridge’s law of headlines’.

It is a concept that changes the way you will look at newspapers, research reports and planning documents forever.

In essence, Betteridge’s law states:

‘Any headline that ends in a question mark means the story can likely be dismissed.’

That’s right, if the headline has a question mark at the end, the likelihood is the answer to what is being suggested is “No”.

Why?

Because if the story was true, then the headline would have been written from a totally different perspective … a perspective based on facts, not suggestion.

For example:

ARE WE WITNESSING THE END OF ADVERTISING?

VS.

THE WORLD’S 20 BIGGEST ADVERTISING SPENDERS HAVE ALL STOPPED ADVERTISING FOR THE PAST 3 MONTHS.

See the difference?

One is ‘attention bait’ while the other is what would have been written if the story had merit.

You know … when there is undeniable and consistent facts to prove their point of view.

But it’s not just newspapers that do this … how many research reports have you read that offer provocative ‘trend statements’ based on either a ridiculously small sample size or some ridiculous ‘future implication thinking’ and don’t get me started on planner documents.

Or political manifestos.

Especially political manifestos.

I love this ‘law’.

Of course I know there are exceptions … and I also know that sometimes, asking a question can lead to new thinking or different perspectives on old issues … however when an organisation does it because their business model is based on ‘selling’, it serves as an interesting early warning whether you should pay any attention to what is being said or simply move on to something that has some definitive value in it.



Fill-In-The-Blanks Creative Brief …
October 23, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Creative Brief, Creative Development, Standards

A long time ago, I wrote a post about how to write a creative brief.

Given how popular the post was [a first for this blog], it seemed that I was not alone in finding writing creative briefs, a nightmare.

Anyway, I got quite a few emails saying it had helped, so I was glad because as painful as they are, they are also important to do.

So a while back, someone sent me another persons perspective on how to write a brief.

While I would never encourage this sort of approach, I have – sadly – seen many in my time that seem to have followed a very similar path … which means I don’t know if I should find it funny or terribly sad.

Oh I know, I find the person who wrote the article funny, but anyone who follows – or has followed, consciously or not – very sad.

Perfect.

Anyway, take a look … and if you feel you have done something like this in the past, wash your mouth, eyes, ears and brain with soap please.

Last thing …

If it wasn’t awesome enough that it’s Friday, I can also tell you that there won’t be any blog posts on Monday, Tuesday or even Wednesday.

How good is that eh?

Well, it’s good for you but it isn’t for the people of Amsterdam because I’ll be there.

Well, I’ll be there on Monday … I’ll be flying back Tuesday.

Wieden might be the best agency in the World, but they’re pants at making travel plans.

Anyway, enjoy the peace, I’m off to connive with Mr Weigel and if possible, go to Utrecht to finally see the bloody Windmill that has been my bank managers enemy for the last few years.

And yes, it’s the one in the picture. At least it looks pretty, which is the least it can do.

See you Wednesday. Happy weekend.



Every Now And Then There Is A Product That Makes Me Excited, Inspired And Utterly, Utterly Jealous …
October 22, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Devious Strategy, Health, Human Goodness, Innovation

… well this is that product.

How brilliant is that?

I utterly love it. LOVE IT.

It works on so many levels it’s ridiculous … from friendship, play, health and life.

The fact adland – an industry that claims to be obsessed with creativity, but really is obsessed with making ads – bestows huge amounts of praise and awards for ‘solutions’ that have questionable purpose makes me feel a bit ill.

Hell, this is a football that could even make Nottingham Forest seem like they were doing something useful. For once.

Seriously, this should have been done – or at least backed – by FIFA, given all the shit they spout about trying to make the World a better place through football.

But of course, what they actually mean is that they can make their bank account a better place through football.

For more information on this brilliant idea can be read here.



Nothing Shows Your Support Of The Armed Services Than Buying A Cuddly Bear …
October 21, 2015, 6:00 am
Filed under: Comment, Crap Marketing Ideas From History!, Crap Products In History

A while back – when Australia was going through it’s 1000th mid-term MP change – I was reading the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in an attempt to keep up with all the political shenanigans.

While reading the article, I saw an image that shocked me.

Not because of it’s gratuitous violence.

But because of it’s brilliance at totally underplaying the bravery of soldiers.

What am I talking about?

Well, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know from the title of this post …

That’s right, it’s a cuddly bear in an [old] soldiers uniform.

Not only that, it’s a cuddly bear in an [old] soldiers uniform that you can buy from the Sydney Morning Herald’s shop.

Who the hell are they targeting?

Is it for someone to buy their kid?

Is it for someone to buy for themselves?

Is it for someone to buy as a gift to someone else?

I have no idea, the only thing I do know is WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?

I get it if you want to help young children understand the sacrifices of their forefathers but this is the Sydney Morning Herald … a paper that prides itself on being an adult paper covering adult issues.

And if they really wanted to commemorate the brave soldiers who died in previous conflicts, surely they could have come up with something a bit more meaningful. Or even sensitive.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a cuddly bear as much as the next man, but as a commemorative object for the tens of thousands who died in a bloody and achingly long war, I don’t know if that’s really the best thing.

I’d love to know how many they’d sold.

Then I’d love to know the addresses of everyone who bought one, so I could go up to their house, knock on their door and ask …

“WHAT THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU THINKING?!!!”



I Hated Chris Brown Before … Now I Fucking Loathe Him …
October 20, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: Brand Suicide, Crap Marketing Ideas From History!

Let’s get the embarrassing thing out the way first.

I subscribe to US Weekly magazine.

I know … I know … but in my defence, I subscribe to a whole host of terrible magazines and in some ways, US Weekly is almost academic in comparison to some of the other stuff I get.

There’s a couple of features I love.

The ‘Who Wore It Best’ is always great for a laugh because they always have some size 000 supermodel in a dress and then ask ‘people on the street’ to decide if she looks better than the size 18 ‘TV star’ who made the terrible mistake to wear a similar looking thing to an industry party. Seriously, it’s almost as good as the time I made a bunch of heavily pregnant women watch a show called ‘Runway Mum’s’ … which was a program featuring catwalk models who were pregnant but still looked utterly amazing.

I swear to god the level of hate aimed at the television would make ISIS feel awkward.

Anyway I digress …

There’s another feature that regularly appears, except I hate it … and it’s the ’25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me’.

Similar to the rubbish/lies adfolk used to write in Campaign magazines ‘A Day In The Life’, it tends to be an array of facts that have been focus-group tested to make the ‘author’ look witty, deep, sensitive and kind.

In other words, it has no resemblance to reality whatsoever.

The reason I bring this up is that Chris ‘girlfriend beater’ Brown recently featured in the article and his answers reached a new level of rubbish.

Sure, there’s the same bollocks designed to make him look good.

Sure, there’s a desperate attempt to look like ‘he has found God’ in a bid to win back some of his female fans, despite the fact the lyrics to his songs are about as un-Christian as watching a porn movie at the Vatican.

But after spouting how rich and successful he is and how many cars, houses, possessions he owns … he goes on to ‘reveal’ a secret towards the end of the list shows he’s not only stupid, but has about the same level of self-awareness as Donald Trump.

Or the average, multi-national ad agency boss.

See it you can spot it.



Whoever Said ‘There’s Nowt As Queer As Folk’ Had Never Met A Japanese Product Manufacture …
October 19, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: Crap Products In History, Embarrassing Moments, New Product Mentalness

After the ‘heaviness’ of the past 2 days of blog post subject matter, I thought I’d end the week on something lighter.

Or maybe it’s not.

Maybe it’s an issue that is so deep and dark, few people recognise its significance except suffering from it.

What am I talking about? This …

Please discuss.