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


We’re All Going On A [Almost] Summer Holiday …

Well this is the last post for another week except this time I’m not going away for business, I’m going away with the family for a holiday.

Believe it or not, this is the first family holiday we’ve had in almost 3 years.

Part of that is because we have moved countries twice in the last 3 years … the other part is that when we lived in Manhattan Beach, it felt like we were on holiday whenever we were together.

So this weekend we all go – including Rosie the cat – to a farm for a week.

If I’m honest, I never ever dreamed of going to stay at a farm for a holiday.

Only staying in a tent would be worse.

But whether it’s because I’ve been on a plane so much over the past 6 months or whether it’s because I’m a Dad to a kid who absolutely loves animals … I’m genuinely looking forward to it.

Evolving opinions are a wonderful thing.

While we might think our points of view on life remain fairly static, I love that they can grow or shift.

One of the reasons I’ve kept this blog up for so long is that it’s a reference point for how I have looked at the World over time. Looking back at some old posts reveal how much my opinion on certain subjects has changed.

I love that.

It means an old dog can be taught some new tricks.

Maybe this is because having lived in so many different countries, I’ve always had to be open to how things work … but whatever the reason, I’m happy I’m going to be spending a week feeding cows even if a version of me from the past would rather be a Derby County supporter.

See you in a week.



Craft Is Not A Cost …

The picture above is a ‘behind the scenes’ photo of Queen preparing for a photoshoot.

Not just any photoshoot … but one that define their immortality.

Now looking at the state of them, you’d not thing that was possible.

John Deacon is wearing a Queen t-shirt for christsake.

But in the hands of the brilliant photographer Mick Rock, he turned these 4 lads into genuine music icons with an image that will outlive the band and define an album, a song and a video for decades ahead.

At a time where more and more people are trying to devalue the value of craft, I hope people see this and remember it’s not a cost, but an investment that pays for itself many times over.



The Difference Between Design And Creativity …

As I’ve written many times, I am a huge, huge fan of design.

Frankly, I have seen more great things come from the design community in the past few years than advertising.

Of course there has been some great advertising, but in terms of solving problems in magical ways, the design industry seems to be more progressive than a lot of adland.

Part of that is that is because a lot of adland believes their job is to make ads to solve problems rather than embracing the possibilities of creativity … however I recently saw something that reminded me the difference between great design and great creativity.

Good isn’t it?

Captures the pain, sadness and horror of the terrorist attack in New Zealand in such a gentle, tender, authentic way.

You see what this work tells me is that while great design communicates a single thought with great clarity, great creativity communicates a 1000 feelings with great emotion.

As much as we need more great design, we also need more great creativity in our lives too.

That’s down to us.

What we do. What we fight for. What we protect.



This Is What Brexit Has Done To Us …

So a few weeks ago I was in China when I saw this …

I’ve got to be honest, seeing it offended me on a level, normally saved for Brexiteers …

There’s 3 fundamental reasons for it:

+ Anyone who knows me knows how much I loathe that porky diva.

+ I appreciate the TV show is immensely popular – make that, insanely popular – but surely there are other successful shows that celebrate the UK’s creative talent and heritage – from Sherlock Holmes to even bloody Jeremy Kyle

+ I might be wrong but I swear Peppa was banned in China – and not for just being an annoying pork diva – so for the UK government to use this as a reference for why China should see the UK positively is alarmingly misguided.

Almost as misguided as their head-in-the-sand approach to Brexit.

Well, I say head-in-the-sand, but the reality is everything seems to be focused on that while issues such as crime, poverty and education are allowed to just slowly collapse.

I always thought the governments role was to look after the welfare of its citizens, unsurprisingly, this doesn’t seem to be the case – preferring to look after the welfare of themselves, regardless of the costs.

Given Brexit ‘won’ on a string of lies – lies perpetrated by people who absolutely knew what they were doing – not only do I think this makes the case for a second referendum totally legitimate, but I also think those who created and spread the untruths should be arrested for crimes against England.

Let’s face it, they knowingly lied in their campaign. Then they pushed for the government to choose the Brexit option that is uniformly accepted as the worst possible outcome for the country. And then they actively tried to undermine the Politicians of the country by forcing a terrible outcome to be mandated.

Lock them up. Throw away the key. Take away their wealth and privilege.

Wow, that took a detour I wasn’t expecting.

Normal blog rubbish will return tomorrow. Probably.



Viagra By People Who Are Massive Dicks …

As you read this, I’ll be on a plane to America – again.

Given I’m not back till Friday – and then there’s a long-weekend in the UK for Easter – that means there won’t be any posts till Tuesday. Hopefully I will have digested all the chocolate I intend to eat by then. Not to mention have got over the excitement of having my new car – which, is exactly the same as my old car – but that’s a post for another day.

Till then, I leave you with this …

So I recently saw this ad for a viagra type product on the tube …

How horrifying is that eh?

OK, it’s not quite as bad as the Eddie viagra ad I wrote about a while back … but it’s close.

From the terrible ‘When Harry Met Sally’ reference to the racially questionable ‘erect dreadlocks’, it’s the sort of rubbish you’d expect to see in a first year ad students book.

And I’m probably being unfair to first year ad students.

But even worse than that is that it comes from a company called manual.

Maybe it’s just me, but the words ‘manual’ and ‘viagra’ seem to be polar opposites.

I don’t know why, but when I see the word manual – in the context of intercourse – I think more of masturbation than copulation … and yet that is what they decided to call their company.

Weird.

At one point I was going to say that even that wasn’t as weird as ending the body copy of the ad with the words ‘Good News, Man’ … because I initially thought it another racist slur towards the guy with the dreadlocks … however having seen a few more of their executions, I see they say this in ALL their ads, even when it features a man without long hair.

Though I note none of them show their hairstyles pointing up.

Everything about this campaign smacks of a company that doesn’t know what erectile disfunction means.

From their ads communicating the effect of the product rather than the emotional benefit for the user, through to the fact the opening line on their website is, Hard Isn’t Always Easy.

I appreciate its an ad on the tube.

I appreciate most ads on the tube are even worse.

But this overly simplistic approach to communication is not building long term business, just a short-term transaction.

Maybe that’s fine for the founders … maybe they’re in it for a good time rather than a long time … but if you think how a strong brand can command a price premium and disproportionate audience loyalty, it blows my mind how few companies seem to care about this.

Oh they will claim they will.

They’ll say all the right things about thinking for the long term.

But the reality is to do that, you have to plant seeds [excuse the pun] for the future and many of these new companies are simply in continuous harvest mode.

Maybe they’re adopting the old saying of ‘make hay while the shines’ … I just hope they realize the other side of that is ‘prepare for your demise, because it’s coming’.

Happy Easter everyone …



From The Stupid To The Tragic …

I’ve written a bunch about Starbucks over the years – most recently, their cereal coffee debacle – but let’s be honest, where ‘what the fuck’ happens, Starbucks is close behind.

Well while this example isn’t a demonstration of their marketing department being on crack, it is a demonstration of what their marketing department think of their customers.

Have a look at this.

Yes, it’s a bunch of bananas.

Amazingly, this is not the first time I’ve written about Starbucks and bananas.

Anyway, bananas are one of those fruits that are almost impossible to confuse with another.

And yet the folks at Starbucks think it is worthy of adding a sign in case they have the most stupid customer in the whole wide World.

Now, if you’re going to do that, you’d think you’d make sure they were the best looking, freshest bananas ever grown … but no … instead, they’ve curated a bunch of the most depressed looking fruit you could find.

Seriously, they couldn’t look sadder if they’d been placed in front of a television and made to watch 36 hours of Donald Trump speeches.

And then they want to charge 55 pence for one.

FIFTY FIVE PENCE.

At that price, I hope they throw in some banana flavored prozac as well.



How To Not Be Depressed It’s Monday …

Yes it’s Monday.

Another long week ahead in your cubicle.

Doing work no one needs and no one appreciates.

On the production line of meaningless acts.

It’s bad isn’t it?

Really, really bad.

Worse, I am now back from my trip.

And probably/hopefully won’t be traveling anywhere for at least a few weeks.

So this blog will be back to it’s regular, daily destruction of your hope and happiness.

Well, if it’s all getting to much for you, you can at least be happy you’re not this bloke …

I get London can be busy.

I get London transport can be expensive.

But I will never get why an adult thinks this is a good idea.

Do they aspire to being Evel Knievel and this is their first step?

Do they dream of being a giant and this is how they bring their fantasy to life?

Do they hope that they can be the UK version of Officer Poncherello from CHiPS but prefer the urban pavements of Shoreditch to the freeways of LA?

I have no idea what is their rationale for it but I can tell you that when I saw him, I suddenly felt having a midlife crisis that involves affairs and buying sport cars didn’t look so stupid after all.

Look, I’m all for immaturity but this is tragic.

He should be eternally grateful that I decided to blur out his face … because frankly, it would be less embarrassing being seen coming off the back of a sheep than this.

Your monday suddenly isn’t so bad now is it?

You’re welcome.