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


And So It Begins …
January 27, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: China, Chinese Culture, Comment, Culture, Holiday

So today is the start of the Chinese New Year holiday.

Yep, that means my first holiday of 2017 has already commenced.

A holiday that sees me away until the 5th February.

I know … I know … but don’t blame me, blame the Chinese Government. Or someone.

If it’s any consolation, I’ll be spending the next week or so doing a bunch of stuff. Sure, none of it will be ‘real work’, but according to you, I’ve never been doing that anyway.

Anyway, to celebrate the year of the Chicken [or, said another way, the year KFC’s share price goes through the roof], I leave you with this …

See you next month.

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A Reminder That Expertise Doesn’t Mean Acceptance …

NIKON.

A fantastic camera brand with unquestionable credibility.

Now of course, many camera brands are under threat from the increasing quality – and convenience – of smartphone cameras, which is why many are trying to diversify their portfolio to counter any potential profit loss.

Based on this ad, it appears NIKON are trying to do this as well.

Of course, as we have seen from GOPRO and countless other brands … the ‘live action camera’ category has been growing at an incredible rate and while you could argue NIKON might be a bit late to the party, their credibility in cameras stands them in good stead.

Except it doesn’t.

You see what NIKON have failed to understand is that the ‘live action category’ is very different to the photographic category … sure, they both involve needing a lens to capture the action, but fundamentally the rules are different, the values are different and the culture around it are very different.

As I wrote here, GOPRO’s success is not just because they were one of the first to exploit this market, but because they were part of the culture that created this market.

They understood who these people were.

What they do.

What they want.

What they feel.

This knowledge influenced everything … from their positioning [the utterly brilliant, ‘Be A Hero’] through to the style of advertising they created.

The fact NIKON’s ad shows an image that comes from the perspective of watching others do something, highlights how they have failed to understand the audience they are talking too.

All they’ve done is transfer their photographic approach to their communication … but the audience they need to engage have a totally different set of values and aspirations.

Of course it would be hard for them to achieve this given GOPRO have already nailed it with their ‘in the middle of the action‘ photographic style … but that’s the difference between a brand that looks at a category as a sales opportunity versus a brand that is born from the culture it plans to engage with.

As I’ve said many, many times … culture is far more important than category.

Don’t let anyone tell you different.

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PS: Happy Australia Day … a day where you are not just legitimately allowed to get pissed before 10am, but positively encouraged to be. Have a top day. And a top hangover tomorrow.



Sometimes Crazy Is The Most Sensible Thing In The World …

So a while back I saw this weird looking thing being advertised everywhere.

It’s that thing at the top of this page.

At first, I was captivated … it looked like the ultimate gadget.

And then, on closer inspection, I realised it literally did nothing.

That’s right …

No wifi.

No bluetooth.

No nothing.

Just a bunch of buttons and balls to press, roll and click.

Seriously, who would need this shit?

People with game controller addiction?

People with pen clicking obsession?

People with nothing better to do?

And then I saw the manufacturers had created this terrible video to help explain things …

Look, I know the ‘fidget cube’ is relatively cheap … but contrary to the video’s claims, ‘fidgeting’ is not actually an addiction and so you have to ask if people really need something like this over – say – ‘tapping their foot’ repeatedly.

So I bought one.

And you know what … it’s fucking amazing.

I know … I know … my taste is hardly the barometer for mass acceptance, but remember, I am saying positive things about something that literally has no wifi, bluetooth or web access and I’m a guy that has bought robot balls and a mug that will digitally tell me what I’m drinking even though I CAN TASTE WHAT I AM DRINKING.

I’ve bought loads of them now.

In multiple colours.

And while that may make me look a fucking idiot, the fact is there’s a valuable lesson in all this.

No, it’s not that ‘Rob spends his money on tat’ [though that is also a learning] it’s the fact that if someone had told me about it, I’d have dismissed it as ridiculous.

An over-engineered solution to a problem that isn’t really a problem.

And yet the reality is, I didn’t just buy it … I use it all the time and I truly feel it has helped me focus more.

I know that sounds mad and I swear I have no commercial interests in it … but on top of everything, it reinforced a lesson I have continually pushed upon The Kennedys, which is never kill an idea until you’ve tried it.

Never.

Not just because you may find it actually could end up being something awesome, but even if it doesn’t, it often opens up doors of opportunity you never would have seen before.

The older I get, the more I realise ‘try before you kill’ is one of the most important lessons you can learn.

Especially for planners.

Especially for planners who want to help create something that can change something.

Even if it ends up being something people ridicule.

Until they try it.



Don’t Make It Worse …
January 24, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

So when I was in Sydney recently, I saw this …

Look, I get that people in IT are still often viewed as acne riddled, socially inept individuals that listen to Norwegian death metal, have no girlfriend/boyfriend and masturbate into a sock – or something – but seriously, is this the sort of image you want to portray to potential customers?

Sure, the ad says ‘they help with leads’ – not to mention they are allegedly the #1 digital marketing firm in Sydney [which I’d love to know how they determine] but when the person in the ad looks like the sort of person who could only connect you to pedophiles, is that the sort of image you really want to convey?

And what about the people who work there?

Do they really like being promoted as the sort of person last seen in ‘Revenge of the Nerds’?

I get our industry can take itself too seriously sometimes, but I also think we often go to the other extreme with rubbish like this and the countless embarrassing singing bullshit so many of them love to do.

Which all goes to show that for an industry that says we help business communicate itself to the public in the most commercially valuable of ways, we’re pretty shit at doing it ourself.



So What Does Your Advertising Say About Your Country …

So I saw this quote recently and I admit I found it very interesting.

Yes, I know there are flaws with it … from being a generalised statement to being dependent on the media you individually engage with … however if you put that aside and look at it from the perspective of mainstream communication, I do think there’s something in it.

Which begs the question …

If you were to really look at the ads trying to grab your attention today, what do you think they are saying about the values, attitude and aspirations of the country you live in.

I’m genuinely interested to get your perspective. Thank-you.



This Video Sums Up The Reality Of Men Pretty Perfectly …
January 20, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Insight, Men, Women

Protector.

Defender.

Leader.

Enforcer.

Strength.

Courage.

Honour.

Guardian.

All words that pretty much sum up what a bunch of imposters men really are.

Of course we don’t want to admit it.

We talk a big, big game … but when we are called upon to step up to the plate, that’s when so many of us reveal [even though we do our best to hide it] we’re most definitely the weaker sex.

The reason I am saying this is because I recently saw a video that laid out the whole ugly truth in startlingly undeniable detail.

You better sit down, it’s going to be hard to watch …

Seriously, why Cindy Gallop isn’t all over this video?

All her arguments would be won in an nanosecond.

OK guys, I know I’ve broken the ‘male code’ by revealing this in public, but I have blog posts to write so it had to be done. And on the bright side, now we know why Marilyn Monroe said “Women who want to be like men lack ambition”.



Lies, Damned Lies And Kickstarter …

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote about this so I guess it’s time for another post about another massive lie peddled from a kickstarteresque company.

Yes, I know I ranted about them earlier this week, but I can’t help myself.

Have a look at this …

Let’s move past the fact they have the audacity to claim a lens – held on with a bloody bulldog clip – gives you the equivalent standard of a US$4000 camera [unless they mean a US$4000 camera held onto a smart phone with a bulldog clip] and let’s instead focus on the image they are using to sell ‘said’ item.

Look at the screen of the smartphone.

Such incredible quality.

Such incredible clarity.

Such incredible focus.

Wow, maybe they weren’t joking when they said this simple attachment could make an expensive DSLR redundent.

But hang on, something isn’t right.

That super sharp image doesn’t seem to relate to the ‘live’ image going on in the picture.

Sure, they’ve blurred the shit out of it, but I’m pretty all the action is going on in the middle of the court, not by the net.

OK, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, I do only have one good eye.

But there’s something else bothering me. Hmmmmn, what could it be?

Oh I know, it’s that perfect image on the phone.

Look, I have an iPhone and if I so much as zoom a bloody milimeter on it, everything looks like I’m trying to do an impression of a Tony Scott movie, so either the person holding the phone/lens in the photo has the steadiest hand ever created – especially as they are located on the other side of the court – OR THIS IS A PILE OF BULLSHIT.

I know I’m in adland so look at these things a bit more closely than the average punter, but that shouldn’t mean brands don’t care about this sort of thing.

Why would you supposedly go to all this effort to make a great product and then short-change the work that is designed to tell the World about it?

It’s like my issue with people who spend weeks working on a pitch but don’t rehearse it until the last 5 minutes.

All that effort, wasted.

Of course it’s because people still believe that ‘the quality of the product/work/idea’ will shine through.

In a perfect World – maybe – but in the real World, how you present something is often of equal importance to what you are presenting. Sometimes, even more important.

When I was at HHCL, one of their tenants was the quality of advertising had a commercial benefit on the brand.

In short, the better the work, the more people were interested in you.

Now I appreciate that some may challenge that view, but I passionately believe that what you do says more about who you are than what you say … so while the creators of this lens may claim it can single-handedly put Canon and Nikon out of business, the fact their communication is so obviously bullshit makes me think you’re more likely to find this attachment inside a cheap pack of Christmas Crackers than a high-end photographic store.

Which means if you actually end up buying it, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

And this is coming from someone who paid $100 for a remote control ball!!!

Have a great weekend, only 50 odd weeks till Christmas.