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

Down The Rabbit Holes …

So we’ve recently had some interns join the Deutsch planning mob.

They’re smart, passionate and enthusiastic as hell.

Far smarter than I was at their age. Arguably, smarter than I am now.

So I met up with them to see how they were going and they told me how they were getting to grips with things because initially, it was so overwhelming that they found themselves going down a lot of rabbit holes.

I get it, it was super daunting to me when I started too but the one thing that concerned me was their belief that rabbit holes were a negative.

As I pointed out to them, if they don’t go down rabbit holes, then they’re no use to me.

Rabbit holes are an essential part of the planning process.

Not just in terms of exploring possibilities to tackle the problem you have been given … nor to pressure test the strategy you have identified … but to also reveal if there is are more interesting ways to tackle the problem than you may have originally considered or identified.

Rabbit holes are as much about opening possibilities as they are closing them which is why if you don’t embrace them, all you’re doing is screwing yourself – and the client – over.

Sure, focusing on what you think the client will buy may get you quicker approvals and client compliments, but allowing your brain the space and time to wander can help you get to somewhere new … somewhere exciting … somewhere that allows creativity to take you to places no one saw coming … places that will attract rather than chase … and even if you don’t end up somewhere more interesting than where you started, at least you can be sure the strategy you’re recommending has been pushed and prodded, which is why I passionately believe rabbit holes aren’t a waste of time, but a key deliverable of what we do and have to do.


Behaviour Dictates Behaviour …
August 15, 2018, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Emotion, Empathy

A few weeks back I was in Kansas, about to fly home.

While queuing at the customs line, I noticed a young woman in front of me in distress.

It was obvious she was more than just upset, this was someone feeling a great sense of fear.

I asked her if she was OK and she looked at me like she couldn’t compute what I was saying so I put my hand out to reassure her and she jumped back as if I was holding a gun.

Because of situations I’ve seen in the past, I realized she was very troubled so calmly told her that is she needed help, she could talk to a Police Officer or ask me to get one for her.

All this time, the people around us didn’t say a word.


It gets worse.

As she approached the customs official, he started asking her why she was upset. She obviously was too distressed to answer properly so then he started saying he won’t let her pass unless she calmed down … which, obviously then made her worse.

I’d seen enough and pointed out she was obviously scared and could do with some assistance rather than his aggressive behaviour.

He told me to mind my own business – literally – and then told the young lady to stand by the side because he won’t be letting her pass.

That’s where I kind of lost it.

I pointed out that surely he could be more sympathetic and instead of dismissing the lady, he could try to help.

Call for assistance.

Help check her paperwork.

Reassure her he wants to make sure she’s OK.

And what did he say to this?

He threatened to have me arrested.


Still no one in the queue said a word.

Not even a mutter of support.

At this point I was too far gone to back down – but thankfully, the spirit of my Father possessed me – because I calmly pointed out that if he arrested me, he’d be in a lot of trouble because I would have a chance to point out his bullying in a court of law.

He called for ‘back-up’.

Still no one in the queue intervened.

Fortunately his ‘back up’ was his boss who asked what the problem was.

He told him that I was being aggressive and ignoring his demands.

It was only when I pointed to the young lady on ths side of the queue – still sobbing deeply inside herself – and explained my actions were due to my concerns for the safety of a passenger I didn’t know that the senior officer took control.

He told me he needed me to go through customs so the line could keep moving and he would personally go help the girl.

He said I could be sure he would do this as there was a glass partition where I could witness him doing it.

And he was as true to his word.

But here’s the thing … had this senior officer not come in to sort things out, what would have happened to me and especially the young woman?

No one in the queue offered any assistance of any kind.

The original TSA officer didn’t show any sense of empathy to the poor lady.

Mental health is an issue that affects all of us … either because we suffer from it or we know someone who does.

The lack of empathy from the people in the queue astounds me.

Yes, I know it’s scary.

Yes, I know there are potential ramifications for getting involved in things.

But how can we expect others to look out for us when we don’t look out for them?

I’ve said it many times how important I regard empathy.

Looking at the World through someone else’s perspective and situation is the foundation of kindness and compassion.

We could do with more of that in the World.

I don’t know what happened to that lady, but I hope she is OK.

Social Media Reveals How Stupid You Are By Showing How Stupid You Think People Are …

Now I appreciate I am a social media whore and have posted all sorts of rubbish in the past, but even I would never do something like this …

I honestly don’t know who is the bigger idiot …

Nescafe for thinking this is a good idea.

The agency for coming up with this idea.

The couple – who occupy that unique space of un-influential, influencers – who decided to commemorate their engagement by selling their souls for a few quid and appearing in a social media post for an international coffee brand while pretending [1] it’s totally natural to commemorate your engagement by appearing in a social media post for an international coffee brand and [2] it’s totally believable to have a staged photo of you in bed, despite the fact there was a photographer in the room with you..

Some other questions are:

+ Why are they not looking at each other?

+ Why is he so, so, so brown?

+ Judging by how tensed up his arms are, just how heavy is that cup of coffee?

+ Why is he cradling his cock?

Seriously, this might be the most z-grade version of Hello magazine that ever lived.

Everyone involved in this – and I mean everyone – needs a bloody big smack in the head.

A Moment Of Nice On A Monday …
August 13, 2018, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Otis

Yes, it’s Monday.

Yes, that means it’s the beginning of another week.

Another week of meetings, late nights and ridiculous demands.

And while I appreciate a picture of me normally would only make things worse, the fact I’m with my wonderful son can only make everyones Monday much, much better.

So thank you Otis, you make every day for me a whole lot brighter.

Even Mondays.

The Freaks Move Us Forward …

When we think of the people who are pushing society forward, who do we tend to think of?

OK, so a lot of that is dependent on your personal context … but in general, I would say we’d tend to think of scientists, technologists and – occasionally – politicians, to name but a few.

And while I totally agree with that, I think so much of the things that move culture forward are the freaks and the outsiders.

They might not get the credit.

They might not get the acclaim.

But so much of what ends up becoming the mainstream is created by the people in the shadows … those who didn’t follow the rules or expectations of others because they either didn’t know what they were or weren’t in a position to ever stand a chance of achieving it.

The misfits are the ones who can make the biggest differences.

Not because they know how to break the rules, but they don’t know what the rules are.

For the record, this does not make them rebels.

Rebels is something in the eye of the observer, not the beholder.

These people simply see the World differently which shapes why they do things differently.

They’re the people adland should be embracing more of.

Yes, I know it may mean they’re harder to work with.

Yes, I know clients may question what they are offering to their business.

But the power of creativity starts with how you think and this is exactly why we should be embracing them.

One of the best people we ever hired used to be a kids bed designer at IKEA.

Another was a pig feed salesmen.

Both of them had absolutely no idea what advertising was beyond the executions they see every day.

And yet both of them were brilliant for exactly this fact … because they were able to use their unique creative talent to develop ideas I doubt anyone ‘trained in advertising’ could ever achieve.

Don’t get me wrong, being trained in the craft of advertising is vital – and there’s amazing people who can do amazing things that outsiders, or anyone else for that matter, may never achieve – but I fear we are in danger of becoming an industry of ‘production line thinkers and doers’ and that’s why we need to embrace those who play outside the lines of the creativity because without them, we’re getting far too neat and tidy in our responses to challenges.

Now I fully appreciate holding companies and clients may think ‘neat and tidy’ is a wonderful thing – it means greater efficiency, accuracy and profitability – but that’s short-term thinking, because in a World where competition is more intense than ever, creativity may be the only legal means a company has to counter heritage, distribution and budget and the only way we can ensure our creativity works it’s best is if we embrace the people who don’t follow the rules because they don’t even know what they are.

Illusion Cocks …

So recently I was in Berlin and had one of the most underwhelming dinners of my life at Soho House.

For those of you who don’t know Soho House, they describe themselves as a ‘private members’ club for people in the creative industries’.

Maybe that’s true, but having gone to the bathroom and seen their urinals, I think Soho House Berlin is actually a private members club for men who like to think they’re big swinging dicks so will happily pay their $2000 annual membership fee just so they can keep using their toilets that have been designed to reaffirm their delusions.

Or something.

Regardless, it’s evil genius – because to paraphrase Bernie Madoff, when you offer people something they want, they never want to look too hard into it because they don’t want their fantasy to be shown for its reality.

Never Apologise For Your Emotions …

I cry.

I cry a lot.

I cry at films.

I cry at memories.

I cry at just how much I love Otis.

Now I appreciate that’s not the sort of thing you should admit, but that’s what I want to change.

I get why it happens.

From the moment we are kids, we are told not to cry.

To be fair, it’s less to do with any sense of parental embarrassment and more to do with parents hating seeing their precious child being upset, but in my opinion, it’s still wrong.

But it gets worse.

Especially for little boys.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard a Dad tell their little man who has fallen over …

“Big boys don’t cry”.

I totally appreciate they’re not saying it to be mean, but I can’t help but worry for what we are teaching the men of tomorrow.

Especially in America.

I was lucky, I was brought up in a household that didn’t try to hide emotions.

I was taught it was healthy and was encouraged to express how I felt.

Now I know that was pretty rare, but fortunately for everyone else, there was the local pub.

The pub was more than a place for drinking, it was a place for men to express their feelings.

Sure, they did it through banter and jokes, but it was where you could reveal your feelings and fears to other men in an environment that was, ironically, none threatening and none judgemental.

I have no idea if that’s still the case but I know in America it’s not.

Here, you don’t go to a bar to talk, you go to a bar to sit with other men and watch sports.

There appears little outlet for men to express their feelings which means either the pressure of situations add up to unbelievable levels or the response to situations is disproportionate or overly aggressive and confrontational.

OK, so not everyone is like that, but until we teach our children – and especially our little boys – that crying is actually the act of someone strong rather than weak, then we are going to continue stopping people knowing how to navigate the challenges and frustrations that fill our lives. Or said another way, we’ll be stopping our kids from being able to be as good as they can be … which is a crime no parent wants to ever be accused of doing.

Which is another thing we could all learn from the values taught at Otis’ school.