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

Aspirational Averageness …

This is kind of an addition to the post I wrote a week or so ago.

You see I recently read a business magazine and almost every article – and I mean EVERY article – had a story about a company that was obviously trying to position themselves as ‘against the ordinary’.

Now while I appreciate anti-ordinary can be manifested in many ways, I couldn’t help but think that all the brands featured were selling products that were the epitome of ordinary.

Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Ordinary is both misunderstood and underrated which is why I think it would be great if a company actually embraced and celebrated that’s what they did … however in the context of the companies featured in the magazine, they were suggesting that what they did elevated them beyond all comparison.

I get why they would want to do this.

I get the commercial value of being seen to do this.

But if you’re going to claim it, your products and brands should demonstrate it and in the great majority of the companies featured in the magazine, the absolute opposite was true.

There are probably a ton of reasons for this.

From the ego of management to the job protection strategies of the people below them to the revenue fear of the agencies they work with … but that still doesn’t escape the fact the stuff they made was about as bland as a beige Volvo.

To paraphrase that old joke, isn’t it disappointing the people who know how to create extraordinary products and brands decided to end up making beige and boring instead.

22 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Is this when you insulted the brand on stage without knowing the CEO was in the audience?

Comment by George

Errrrrm yes. And it’s not the first time it’s happened.

When will I learn?

Comment by Rob

I think it is safe to say that in some areas, you will remain happily in mischievous ignorance.

Comment by George

also known as being a prick.

Comment by andy@cynic

Your last sentence burn is particularly excellent.

Comment by George

Still got it.

Comment by Pete


Comment by Bazza

As I am sure you’ve written before, the ad industry ruined the meaning behind words like “revolutionary” which is why we see so many beige Volvo’s branded as rocket ships.

Talking of beige Volvo’s, am I wrong in thinking you once ruined a long term friendship because of one?

Comment by Pete

Yes he did. I am ashamed to admit I was also involved. Our collective lack of self awareness and consideration cost us dearly. Thankfully things are good now, but it was touch and go for a long time which contributed to my distain for old, beige, Volvo’s.

Comment by George

Yep. As George said – it wasn’t our finest hour – but mainly because of incredibly bad and insensitive timing because what we did was hilarious. Ahem.

Comment by Rob

That’s right Rob, blame the timing.

Comment by Bazza

Well it was. And our stupidity.

Comment by Rob

I haven’t heard this story.
Remind me when I next see you.

Comment by Lee Hill

Prepare for disappointment.

Comment by Bazza

The irony being Volvo is now one of the most interesting and bold car manufacturers in the world.

Comment by Bazza

That’s a good point.

Wake up calls tend to happen when you’ve hit rock bottom – but even then, many don’t realise it or don’t want to so the recognition of their situation and the pragmatism of the route they chose should be celebrated.

Comment by Rob

how much fucking further do you have to fall campbell?

Comment by andy@cynic

Rob’s shame defies the law of gravity.

Comment by Bazza

Well said.

What is impressive about Volvo is they chose to challenge the industry at large, not just their own behavior and habits.

Comment by Lee Hill

Many companies mistake organizational ease for revolutionary change.

Comment by George

Is this why you drive an Audi?

Comment by John

no. thats because hes a fucking wanker.

Comment by andy@cynic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: