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


Sometimes The Audience Finds You …

So I recently read an article on the UK distributors of Danish store, Tiger.

Tiger is often referred to as ‘Posh Poundland’ as it sells all manner of stuff.

Anyway, in 2005, a husband and wife – with no business experience whatsoever – decided to pour all the money they had into buying the rights for the brand in the UK.

They openly admit it was very difficult and they made many mistakes but 11 years later, they sold it for an estimated 40+ million pounds.

So far so good, but what really interested me was something they said at the end of the interview …

How brilliant is that.

It’s also a great lesson in thinking about your audience.

Too often, our industry defines audiences by the segment we believe are the most likely to want to buy our brand/product.

While that makes perfect sense, the problem is we are often end up being pretty generalistic in who we define our audience to be … often because our clients are petrified of putting limitations on their sales potential. The other problem with this broad audience approach is that it tends to end up being the audience for the whole category, which means we end up pitting ourselves directly against our competition.

What I love about this Tiger example is – albeit by lucky accident – they realised their was a very specific segment who were attracted to this product. A segment that liked it for reasons beyond what was expected, and yet was something that actively drove them to buy.

Now I admit it takes balls to do this.

It also takes absolute honesty.

And confidence.

But when defining audiences, it’s always worth remembering the motivations for purchase are often very different to what we would like to think they are. Of course we know this, but when in front of a client, it’s amazing how often we either temporarily forget or simply choose to ignore.

By being absolutely open to who could/should be interested in our clients brands, we not only stand the chance of making work that truly resonates with a particular segment, but one that automatically differentiates you from the countless competitors all trying to steal your share, which is why I still love the V&A London museum ad from the 80’s, where Saatchi’s [in their absolute pomp] realised the thing people liked most about the place was the cafe, which led to them running ad’s with the bravest ‘endline’ you may ever see …




A Lesson On The Folly Of Focus Groups From Cameron Crowe …

For some of the younger readers of this blog, you may be wondering who Cameron Crow – the person I reference in the title of this post – is.

Well, he’s a famous film writer/director, responsible for movies including:

+ Almost Famous
+ Jerry Maguire
+ Singles

OK, so he’s also responsible for the car-crash that was Vanilla Sky, but let’s ignore that …

Anyway, I recently read an interview with him where he talks about how he came up with the name ‘Jerry Maguire’ and it’s fascinating.

Not really because of the story behind the name, but what he says at the very end … how movie companies now operate and what the outcome of their modern-day marketing approach would result in.

The thing is, I can so imagine the focus group/movie company preferring ‘You Complete Me’ to ‘Jerry Maguire’.

I can hear the feedback …

“Who the hell is Jerry Maguire?”

“Jerry Maguire is such a boring name, so it must be a boring film”.

“I can’t think what a film called Jerry Maguire would be about?”

“You Complete Me sounds so romantic”

“You Complete Me sounds like a film that is happy and positive”

“You Complete Me is a film I want my whole family to see”

And while I accept I’m being biased – having seen the movie many times – I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have wanted to see a movie called ‘You Complete Me’, even if it still contained one of the iconic scenes of my generation.

[Which would probably be left on the cutting room floor these days, see below]

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of research … but focus groups aren’t really about that, they’re about being progress killers.



When You Admit Your Faults, You Win Their Love …
February 15, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Cunning, Marketing, Marketing Fail

On Monday I posted about a company being massively unsubtle in their attempt to look good.

Today I talk about a company who is blatant in highlighting where they screwed up.

And I have much more compassion towards this company than the former.

So a friend of mine recently saw this in his local store in Portland.

Putting aside the fact that most people by now should know Coconut Water is a massive hype, there is something inherently charming in the fact they are acknowledging they fucked up.

OK, maybe if you’re Steve, you might think differently … but in a World where no one seems to want to admit a mistake, a wrong doing or a less-than-favourable result, it’s massively refreshing.

Certainly more refreshing than Coconut Water.



About As Subtle As A Banana Put Down A Pair Of Axl Rose’s Leather Pants …

Saw this recently on Linkedin.

Do you think it’s an employee randomly singing the praises of his company.

Or an employee who is doing this as a blatant attempt by his company to look good?

Either way, I want to smash the smarmy, corporate toady in the face.




The Greatest Word Ever Created To Sum Up This Week …
February 10, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude

But let’s not forget, it only works because the definition is absolutely fucking perfect.



Boredom Makes Me More Stupid …

A while back, I wrote about how I was a marketing victim.

Well it appears I haven’t learnt a thing.

For reasons I literally do not understand – other than it was very late at night and I had been forced to wear proper shoes all day [no, really] because I was in Beijing and it was -11 – I found myself buying a bloody chakra bracelet from a Facebook ad.

I know, I know …

In my defence they were offering it at a 60% discount [probably because they knew it was utter crap and even they felt bad at selling it for full price] and it looked kind-of nice …

… but I appreciate these are not really much of a defence.

Anyway, when I got back to Shanghai, my purchase was waiting for me.

I must admit, I was kind-of nervous to open it … not just because I knew what I’d done was daft, but because Jill was looking at me with a ‘who are you?’ expression on her face.

So I opened it and while I admit that it sort-of looked like the picture in the ad [in the way the burger Michael Douglas ordered in the movie Falling Down, sort-of looked like the image on the restaurant menu] … let’s just say that for a guy who works in advertising, I’m still pretty damn good at falling for advertising.

I blame wearing shoes.

Yeah … it’s all shoes fault.



It Might Be A Bit Ironic For Someone In Advertising To Post This, But ….
February 8, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Culture, Emotion, Empathy, Family, Friendship, Insight, Love

… I do feel this is a very insightful comment.

Of course there are many factors contributing to societies worship of ‘things’ … from the way many treat and regard the poor [which makes the acquisition of ‘things’ appear the path to social acceptance] to the large number of communities who literally see no positive future for them or their loved ones to the many people who grow up feeling a lack of love and support from their families.

Basically, I feel we need to press a giant reset button … but given the best chance of that was when we discovered the banks had fucked us all over and yet we [1] didn’t take any real action against the guilty and [2] we have ended up carrying on as we were before [possibly because there were no implications to those who had caused this mess] I doubt we will get that for a long, long time.

Which means our only hope is us.

And love.

In the end, it always comes down to that.