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

How To Win An Award …
April 20, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude


We all pretend we don’t care about them, but if we enter them, we want to win.

Sometimes you realise you’ve been well beaten and the person who receives the accolades, genuinely deserves the accolades.

But that’s pretty rare.

Most of the time, you put on a fake smile and clap as someone saunters past you to get to the stage before you lean over to your colleagues and whisper – through gritted teeth – that you can’t believe those wankers have won and judges have just made a mockery of the whole competition.

Mind you, when you win, you’re just as duplicitous.

When you go to pick up your $2 trophy, you try and look humble while inside you want to run around screaming you’re the best before pointing at all the people who just lost to you and laughing loudly while trying to smack them around the head with your ‘prize’.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Which is why I like this video of someone picking up an award.

For those who aren’t British – or aren’t over the age of 40 – the winner is a guy called Spike Milligan.

He was a comedic genius. Seriously. He was also fearless and provocative.

While this video is from over 20 years ago, it is great advice on how to receive a reward – and judging by the audiences reaction – it seems they found the honesty of the recipient liberating and refreshing.

Shame I won’t have the chance to try it for myself, unless there is a ‘saddest man who loves Birkenstocks’ competition anyone knows about.

Earnest Without Irony …
April 19, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Marketing, Sentimentality

So a friend sent me this ad that he saw while staying in the US.

Despite there being no idea … no point of view … an attempt to show all the activities you can do within one ad, I must admit, I kind-of love it.

I love it for one reason … you can sense they’re really proud they were voted the ’53rd best resort in the World’.

You feel they believe this is a great achievement. And it is.

They’re not being ironic, they’re being honest.

Better still, it captures exactly the sort of charm you’d expect from Minnesota … which all goes to show, that if you’re honest, you can trump a whole lot of brands that shout a lot, but ultimately say nothing.

Authenticity Comes In Many Shapes And Sizes. Apparently …
April 18, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, China, Communication Strategy, Sport

I get a bit pissed off when people say ‘brands have to be authentic’ because it implies some brands choose to be inauthentic, which is plainly bollocks.

I also accept that in these competitive times, you have to think more boldly to try and stand out in a cluttered marketplace.

However, I question whether this move by New Balance China is the best way to demonstrate their brand credentials … unless they’ve discovered that having a [very ambiguous, not to mention very old] association with a member of the British Royal Family is more aspirational to runners than New Balance’s genuine and proven association with millions of athletes.

Of course, given I work with NIKE I may be missing the point.

I can’t wait to read their effectiveness case study.

Empathy Before Accuracy …
April 15, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Dad, Death, Empathy, Insight, Love, Mum, Mum & Dad

I recently read a letter in the Guardian from someone wishing to thank the DR who helped them come to terms that their precious family member was going to die.

Before I go on, it would be worth reading it here.

I must admit it made a big impact on me, mainly because I went through it myself.

My father had been ill for a number of years – and on 2 previous occasions, 3 months apart – I had rushed back from Australia because I’d been told he was expected to only have 24 hours to live.

However, as I’ve written many times before, I still thought we would see a miracle and I thought that right up until the last few days of his life.

Dad had become ill again over Christmas and I had flown back from Sydney.

He was in a bad state … apart from complications from his stroke, he had blood poisoning.

He was ill. Worse than I had ever seen him.

And I remember this next moment with terrifying clarity.

Mum and I were by Dad’s side when a Doctor came to see him in the early afternoon.

Afterwards, he looked at Mum and me and gently told us that there was not much he could do but make him comfortable.

He asked if that is what we wanted.

I said yes, tears welling in my eyes.

He then asked if I – and it was specifically me – understood what that meant.

For the first time in years, I could no longer deny the inevitable, my Father was going to die and he was going to die soon.

I didn’t want that. I wanted him to be with me forever. But this was the moment of truth … where what I wanted was not nearly as important as what he needed and the best way I could show how much I loved him was to allow him to go, with dignity and peace.

As I nodded to the doctor, the tears started pouring down my cheeks because after years of my wonderful mum trying to gently coax me into realising the severity of his situation, I finally realised it.

I think we had a couple more days together until that Saturday, on January 16th 1999, when we were called into the hospital early in the morning.

I am incredibly grateful we were with him … that he knew we were by his side as he slowly walked the bridge between life and death … but as much as that day represents unbelievable sadness to me, I will always be grateful to that Doctor.

He was empathetic without being condescending.

He was factual without being cold.

He was present, without being overbearing.

His actions not only ensured we could give my Dad the peace he needed … the peace he deserved … he gave my Mum and me a chance to say the final words we wanted to say. The words that still bring tears to my eyes 17 years later.

I wish I could remember the name of that Doctor.

I remember he was quite young … but if I was to see him again, I’d say thank you.

Because while he wanted to ensure we knew the reality of the situation, he did it with respect and grace and while I may have once thought those truths were the last things you’d want to hear, you realise they are the best demonstration of someone who appreciates humanity.

Thank you Doctor.

When Fashion Makes You Look Like Something You Fold And Hold Fashion In …
April 14, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Brand Suicide, Crap Campaigns In History, Fashion, Unfashion

I’m going to go straight into the post like I’ve not just been away on a family and work trip that was bloody wonderful. Ahem.

So last week I talked about the advertising for Gucci and their quest to make the 80’s TV gameshow host look, the next big thing.

Well I’ve seen another part of their campaign and it’s getting weirder.

Yes, it’s the same gameshow host model – with the same hair and glasses – but now they’re showing her like she’s on her way home after a busy week of filming. Or something.

But this time it’s even worse.


What’s worse, this suitcase/dress combo [which is a phrase I never thought I would ever write in my life] looks like awfully like a Sheriff’s outfit from a 1970’s Spaghetti Western.


I appreciate the fashion industry is in a predicament.

To remain relevant it has to appear it is constantly progressing and the only way to do that – after things like fabric innovation – is to create even greater division between what has gone on before … but this is ridiculous.

Yes … yes … I know I am about as fashionable as a pair of Crocs [I was going to say Birkenstocks, but even they were the darling of the fashion industry not that long ago] but seriously, what the fuck is going on?

Apart from trying to make an era renowned for its naffness, look fashionable … why the hell would anyone want to look like their suitcase?

Even secret agents wouldn’t want to look like their suitcase.

Even suitcases wouldn’t want to look like a suitcase.

If I see someone walking down the street dressed like this – which in Shanghai, is a distinct possibility – I commit to you right now, that I will stare, point and then shout, “your dress makes you look like a boxy suitcase”.

And yes, I know that is not the best insult, so I’m open to suggestions.

But for god’s sake Gucci sort yourself out. You might not realise it right now but you’re about 2 degrees from resembling a fancy dress shop. A fancy dress shop in Luton.

Time Machine Time …
April 8, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

Please press here to go back in time.

To Monday.

I know, what a horrific thought eh.

Trust me, it only gets even worse for you if actually click on the link.

Happy weekend.

If This Is Fashion, Then I’m Happy Being Unfashionable …

So I was recently walking through some upmarket mall when I passed the Gucci shop.

I have literally never been inside one of these establishments.

I have literally never owned anything by the brand.

And, after seeing the poster outside the store, I am pretty sure that situation will continue.

Seriously, what the hell is that?

Is the daytime television quiz host look now ‘a thing’?

Is the sort of hairstyle that would get you beaten up in my day now cool?

I guess it might be given big, black, square-shaped spectacle frames have evolved from ‘glasses for the poor’ to ‘glasses for the cool’.

Of course, maybe the geek at the back of the photo is not the person I should be focusing on … but the attractive and stylish lady at the front, but if that’s the case, then Gucci need a lesson in art direction because I challenge any person to see this poster and not focus their attention on the z-grade geek at the back.

Yeah … yeah … I appreciate me commenting on fashion is like David Cameron talking about the poor and that the last thing Gucci would ever want is for me to like something they do, but this is ridiculous isn’t it. It’s not just me, is it?