Filed under: Comment
So today is Feb 29th.
A day that only comes once every 4 years.
A day allegedly ‘invented’ by Julius Caesar, 2000 years ago.
A day where women supposedly have the right to ask a man to marry them.
In short, it’s a special day … a day we should not take for granted, especially if you’re someone called Darren Perkins because it means today, you have reached a big age … an age of double figures.
That’s right, my friend Darren turns 10 today … though it has to be said, he doesn’t look very good for it because if you saw him, you’d swear he looked 40.
So Happy 10th/40th birthday mate … even though your parents lied when they said being born on Feb 29 meant you were ‘extra special’, the fact is you’re an OK man and I hope you have a good day, especially as it has to last you 4 years till you get to enjoy the next one.
… basically anyone who uses the words ‘creative community’.
Filed under: Cars, Crap Campaigns In History, Insight, Planning, Unplanned
Late last year I wrote a post about the horrendous advertising Toyota are doing for their Camry in the US.
I talked about how it was attempting to be deep and meaningful, only to be undermined by a crap execution, especially when it’s for a model of car that is renowned for its sensibleness. I don’t mean that in a negative sense … but from the perspective that it’s a solid, reliable automobile and trying to ‘sex it up’ ends up alienating rather than inspiring.
Well, as you can see from the pic above, Toyota don’t give a shit about what I say [and who can blame them] because it appears they’re persevering with this car crash of communication.
What is it with Toyota ads and balloons?
Is it because they are both full of hot air?
And why have the owners seemingly happy to be walking towards a balloon that looks like it’s fallen from the sky?
Probably for the same reason they’ve walked off and – judging by the lit instrument panel – left their keys in their car with the engine running.
Who are these people?
I’ll tell you who they are, they’re bloody idiots.
Bloody idiots with a sexual fetish for hot air ballooning.
And what is it with that headline?
“It’s The Stops That Inspire Us To Go”.
Apart from it being some z-grade Yoda bollocks, the fact is you can see the cars GPS is on so the happy-go-lucky couple featured in the ad aren’t some spontaneous couple, going wherever life takes them, they’re a couple of balloon groupies who planned … PLANNED … their trip.
In fact I’d go one step further.
They’re a couple of balloon groupies who chose to drive to a remote part of nowheresville to pollute the clean air with their bloody car fumes.
I wanted to say this is a perfect example of why focus groups are dangerous, but the thing is, I don’t think even a research model designed to ensure communication is bland and meaningless could have approved this.
But then, if not them, who … because the alternative is even more scary.
What’s going on Toyota?
When you say ‘Let’s Go Places’, do you mean ‘go to the bottom of the advertising barrel’?
Seriously, you’re better than this.
Your agency is better than this.
And humanity certainly is better than this.
Sort it out, because this cannot be working for you.
Toyota Corolla: For balloon fetish, air polluting fools who leave their keys in the car. With the engine running.
So someone I know recently sent me this …
Putting aside that it’s sad this sort of thing even needs to be said, it’s a smart move.
Of course, doing more in the community would probably help them change perceptions more effectively … not to mention get them some more positive PR … but with funding cuts and more expectations placed on them by local governments, it can be argued they’re doing as much as they can, hence the need to do ads like this.
When I saw it, it reminded me of something I heard in a Michael Moore documentary.
There were some people in France who said something like …
“Our government are frightened of us but in America, it seems the people are scared of their government”.
The reason I say it is because when I was growing up, I respected the Police.
They were the people I’d go to if I was in trouble. The people I was nervous of upsetting. The folks who made sure everything and everyone was safe. It’s part of the reason I was desperate to be one until 14 … where I discovered the seductive powers of the electric guitar.
OK, so that could also be because I grew up in a good area, before Nottingham evolved to being Europe’s most dangerous city per capita.
But nowadays, the Police are seen as the enemy.
Not just in the bad areas, but every area.
The people to fear.
The folks who are out to get you.
The ones who only look to protect the rich.
Which is why they have to put out posters like the ones above. To remind people that’s not who they are or what they do.
On the bright side, they’re not in America … because with the shit that is reported their on a seemingly daily basis, the Police would have to go and hand out cheques before anyone would ever trust them again.
Which proves that you can spend years building up positive credit, but a few bad moves and it can all fall apart … which is why brands love using research like link testing, because they think it protects them from making mistakes when all it actually does is stop them saying or doing anything of cultural significance or impact.
And when we live in a World where we look to spend money on things that WON’T change anything, you have to say we’ve reached peak madness.
So recently I was walking through the local supermarket when I saw this …
Yep, that’s how they decided to present their bananas.
And the weird thing is, as ridiculous as it looks, it worked.
Now you could rightfully say this says more about my idiocy than their brilliance, but as I’ve said many times before, supermarkets have more insight into how people think and behave than pretty much every planner put together.
And what’s even better is that unlike a lot of planners, they don’t try and turn their insight into a ‘logical solution’, they embrace the madness because they know that as much as people may claim to make sensible decisions, they know deep down, they absolutely don’t.
To prove the point, I went in to buy some bin liners but came out with this …
… proving a man with a credit card and a deep sense of nostalgia is the best supermarket customer in the World.
So to any young planners out there, if you want to learn how to do your job better, don’t follow planner blogs or read planner books, go out and talk to a supermarket designer, because apart from knowing more than the rest of us, they won’t draw a ‘brand onion’ in a million years.
One of my favourite television programmes is Peep Show.
I love it. If you haven’t seen it before, you should check it out – especially as the last series has just aired on TV.
There are many reasons I love it, but one of them is the brilliance of the characters, Mark and Jez … played by real life best friends, David Mitchell and Robert Web,
David Mitchell is – in real life – a bit of a clever clogs, the next generation of Stephen Fry perhaps.
That said, for all his smarts, he has been honest about his insecurities – from how he looked, to his social awkwardness to the back pain that debilitated him for many, many years.
Recently he got married … to the smart and beautiful, Victoria Coren.
The thing that is wonderful about this story – beyond the fact that it’s always lovely when people in love get together – is that he had secretly loved her from afar for years.
The feeling of unrequited love is one of the most painful of them all.
The feeling of loving someone and them not even realising it – let alone knowing it – is one of the cruelest things we can do to ourselves.
[It goes without saying that loving someone and them loving you back is the best feeling on earth. After maybe, Forest winning]
Anyway, as I said, Mr Mitchell and Ms Coren got together eventually and I recently found this video where he talks openly about his transition from aching love to shared joy.
It’s loving, thoughtful, gentle and honest and given it’s a Monday – in the official month of love – I thought we could all do with starting the week on a nice note.
No, I don’t know what’s got into me either.
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Context, Culture, Cunning, Empathy, Insight
So recently I saw 2 quotes that I love.
First this one …
Then this …
I suppose what links them is they capture societies awkward relationship with ‘truth’.
And I’m talking about all of society, not just the folks who work in adland.
Of course, I appreciate that truth is [often] relative, but the fact is, unless we’re in a situation where we’re fighting for our lives, we generally find expressing or hearing bold, blunt truth pretty uncomfortable.
We talk around it, we use words to soften it, we attempt to hide it under statements like “it’s complicated”.
This isn’t purely because we’re a bunch of hypocritical beasts – though, as I’ve said many times before, we are – it’s also because our brains are designed to protect us [rather than learn for us] so when we find ourselves in a situation that has the possibility of danger, it responds in a way it believes will help us achieve the most positive outcome … which is often cautious honesty rather than unfiltered truth.
Yes, I really am saying that honesty is different to truth.
In my opinion, while the intention is the same, the delivery is different.
Of course part of the reason for this is because people are generally caring and compassionate souls who don’t want to cause upset or harm to others – and that is a beautiful thing which should never be dismissed – however it could also be why we sometimes blindly believe or find someone utterly refreshing when we hear them talk in a way we perceive is blunt and confident, despite the fact we also sometimes find – as in the case of Donald Trump – it’s has nothing to do with truth – or even honesty – it’s pure egomania and an attempt at manipulation.
We say love is complicated … politics is complicated … filling in a tax return is complicated … but to be fair, that’s only because underpinning all of those things is a subject that is the most complicated subject of them all. Truth.