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


A Reminder …
November 17, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment

… and given it’s Friday, I’m pretty sure you’ll be living this mantra.

Especially at 11pm as you leave the pub.

Have a great weekend.

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Creativity Can Find A Way …

One of the things that bothers me about my industry is how they always talk about creativity when most of what they create is advertising.Of course advertising has creativity within it – sometimes, incredibly creativity – but often, the approach is to communicate the problem rather than solve the problem.

OK, so there are occasions when the biggest problem is a lack of awareness, but that is most definitely the exception rather than the rule.

I’ve written and talked about this so much over the years.

From my PSFK talk back in 2009 to my distain of Cannes scam to my adoration of designers and an absolute shedload in-between … and yet I continue to see briefs where the goal was obviously to ‘make an ad’ rather than ‘create a difference’.

This is not purely the agencies fault, in many cases it comes from the client.

Sometimes it’s because they need to support the retailers.

Sometimes it’s because their KPI’s are based on executional delivery.

Sometimes it’s because it would affect their remuneration structure with their agencies.

Sometimes it’s because they are not empowered to do anything different.

Sometimes it’s because they don’t actually care about solving, just producing.

And yet even in some of those approaches, there’s an opportunity to create a solution rather than make some noise if only they’d asked the right questions.

A while back, I had a client that briefed us on an ad campaign.

Got to admit, as much as I love them, it kind-of annoyed the hell out of me.

For me, that was like going to the doctor and diagnosing your own illness and solution.

So we asked why they wanted the campaign and they said they needed parents to let their kids do sport which was hard as they were worried their precious [only] child may get hurt.

And so we said, “If we can find a way to get parents to feel good about letting their kids do sport, are you open to it?”And when they said ‘yes’, it gave us the right to create bandaids that worked as badges of honor and comic books celebrating the power of sport.

Don’t get me wrong, if we had done a TV campaign it would have been a brilliant TV campaign.

But by asking a simple question, it allowed creativity rather than advertising to be the solution.

Or said another way, it opened possibilities rather than closed them off.

The reason for all this is that I recently saw a brilliant creative solution to slowing traffic down.

This is something that has been done in many ways over the years, including the brilliant Speed Dial by Colenso [video here] … but this was something even simpler.

This.

[Or if you’re too lazy to click on the link, the picture at the top of this post serves as a clue]

Now I know you might argue that once you know it’s not ‘real’ people won’t slow down, but I’d challenge that given the way the brain works.

But regardless, I will be interested to see what the data says after it has been in operation a while, but compared to a multi-million dollar ad campaign, or even the prices of stationing a copper there with a speed gun, I’m guessing it will be more effective.

And that is why our industry has to truly embrace creativity rather than just want to make ads.



Facebook Is The Home Of Fake News …

I’ve written a lot about Facebook over the years.

Good stuff.

Bad stuff.

Questionable stuff.

But the reality is that for all the shit it gets thrown in its direction … for all the talk of it losing its relevance … it’s still super popular and influential.

But as we have all read recently, it has been susceptible to communicating false news.

False news that has enabled bad things to happen … either because it encouraged people to react to things that didn’t require a reaction or encouraging people to believe that everything was OK when everything was absolutely not OK.

To be fair to Facebook, they have openly stated they don’t want this to happen and are taking steps to stop it.

Of course people say it’s too little too late but the fact is, when you have over a billion users, it’s bloody hard to manage all that content and data. But that said, sometimes things happen that are so obviously #FalseNews you have to wonder how the hell they let it happen at all.

Stuff like this …

Come on Facebook … what the hell were you thinking letting this happen?

While anyone who knows me will think it’s bollocks, the fact is even I don’t believe it and I’m as delusional as they come.

For your own sake, you need to understand that while people are willing to accept mistakes, when you let something as stupid as this occur, you’ll find their patience is very thin.

You can thank me later Mr Z, preferably with a cheque for $10,000,000.



My Friends Are A Bunch Of Bastards …
November 14, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Friendship

So a few weeks ago, I told you how my new car had arrived.

Well, the day it did, I posted this on Facebook:

If you can’t read what the status update says, it say’s this:

You know karma exists when the Audi dealer sends you a photo of the custom car you ordered 4 months ago to tell you it has just been delivered and will be ready to be picked up in an hour when you’re away from LA for the next few days.

As you can tell, I was excited.

Pissed off I was away so I couldn’t get it immediately, but excited.

As you can tell from the pic, it had literally just arrived which is why it still had the paper covers over the wheels to protect the alloys.

And how did my friends show their understanding of my excitement?

By doing this.

Fuckers. But I suppose they’re my fuckers.

Unfortunately.



Embracing Your Truth Changes Your Outcome …
November 10, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, David Terry, RoObin

A few weeks ago I wrote about my friend RoObin Golestan who sadly died recently.

It has affected me deeply for a whole host of reasons and yet I can’t help but feel utter pride in how he lived.

I don’t just mean in his everyday life – though he definitely embraced that – I mean in his final months, when he knew his time was likely to be coming to an end much quicker than anyone thought or wanted.

To do that takes a special sort of person.

But then he was exactly that.

On the day I learned about his passing, I went through his Facebook.

He never hid his illness from anyone but neither did he make a big deal out of it, preferring to use it as an opportunity to celebrate life rather than its unfairness.

One of the things he wrote was a quote from Henry Miller.

“Every man has to own his destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, accept it, no matter where it leads him”.

Reading that quote and knowing RoObin posted it when he knew he was facing an uncertain future not only shows the graciousness of his spirit, but also his acceptance of his circumstances.

That doesn’t mean he gave up on hoping to change the outcome – or at least delay it – but that he was able to stop fighting against it to ensure he could use his time for more positive pursuits.

And he did, which makes me both happy and proud.

This attitudinal shift reminds me of a time I was with David Terry – the head of planning at Wieden Portland.

We were both going through some health dramas at the time and comparing notes.

After we had worked out Dan wasn’t trying to kill off all his strategists, we discussed how we were dealing with our issues.

David’s prognosis wasn’t great and as a high-octane jock, he kept talking to me about how angry he was about it and how he was fighting it.

That was until, with options looking more remote, he went to a traditional Chinese doctor.

“Why are you fighting your illness?” he was asked.

David didn’t understand what he meant because the only alternative to fighting it was to not fight it and that just wasn’t who he was.

But then the Doctor explained to him that his body wasn’t fighting against his will, it was telling him it was not well and rather than fight against that, he should be listening to it and embracing it so that he can focus on health not hate.

This kind of blew David away.

It was the polar opposite to everything he believed, everything he stood for.

But Dave is smart. Smart enough to know that when present approaches aren’t working, the most obvious alternative is to do something else.

And he did.

And he got better.

This is amazing for many reasons.

Part of that is because his illness was very severe and very few survive it.

The other part is David had to accept an approach that he previously would have probably called ‘commie thinking’, worked.

I love David.

I love RoObin.

There are many, many reasons for it, but without doubt one of the biggest ones is how they understood embracing their destiny would give them far more than fighting it.

How letting yourself be vulnerable is possibly the ultimate demonstration of strength.

Here is Dave’s incredible TedTalk from a while back.

It was done before he accepted his destiny and was just fighting it.

I hope one day he does another, the sequel, where he talks about the beauty of his destiny.



When Marketing Is Nothing More Ego And Delusion …

Once upon a time, the attitude of marketing departments was to continually communicate ‘new news’, even if it was only of value to themselves.

It didn’t matter what was said, the goal was to keep in the public eye at all costs.

A bit like Madonna in the 1980’s.

Anyway, over the years – possibly driven by rising media costs – this trend died down and there was a greater focus on speaking when you actually had something to say.

Sure, there was the odd bit of self-indulgence, but overall marketing departments actually marketed their brand rather than their ego.

Of course, when social media happened, we saw – and continue to see – a return to the bad old days, where brands speak to themselves about things even they don’t really care about.

Part of this is because they regard social as ‘free advertising’ and part of it is because their competitors are doing it and they don’t want to be left behind.

That doesn’t mean social is bad, it just means the way it is used often is.

But all that pails into insignificance compared to something I saw recently.

Something where I cannot fathom why they did it and who they think will care.

What am I talking about? This …

That’s right, a photo library company is talking about how they’ve changed their watermark.

Their fucking watermark.

And then they make it sound like we’d actually want to pay them to have the picture WITH the watermark.

WITH IT!

Who are these idiots?

It’s not even a nice watermark so when they say ‘say goodbye to cheap-looking watermarks’, the fact is [1] you wouldn’t be and [2] they seem to have forgotten the whole point of using a photo library is so you can have access to images THAT FEATURE A WATERMARK.

And just when you think things can’t get any worse, they use – quite possibly – the worst ever headline I’ve ever read.

Look at it.

LOOK AT IT.

If you hate watermarks and never want to see one again, the chances of you wanting to see an updated, ugly watermark is exactly zero.

Why Photologo?

What was your thinking on this?

What do you think people are actually going to say, think or do?

This isn’t ego, this is makes Donald Trump’s delusion look utterly sane in comparison.

In the World of ridiculous marketing stunts, this has to go down as one of the worst, especially because even if you’re some mental case and love watermarks, the reality is you can download the pic with it for free.

FREE!!!

Which all says to me that the owners of Photologo are the most insane people I’ve ever ‘met’ and I can only assume that the people who convinced them this was a good idea also own APAC Insider Magazine.



The Amazonification Of Whole Foods Has Begun …
November 8, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Brand Suicide

A while back I wrote how money had turned Jeff Bezos into a badass.

Well, it might also have made him think he can do no wrong.

A few weeks ago I went into Whole Foods and saw this…

Yep, they’re selling Alexa products with their fresh fruit.

While one of Amazon’s great strengths has been in cross selling – I don’t know if this combination goes that well together.

Yes, I know I’ve previously written about supermarkets genius about tapping into people’s romantic notions, but Alexa and fresh fruit doesn’t seem to me to have a combination that could illicit some desire you want in your life.

And that’s coming from someone who has a shitload of Alexa’s in his house.

Not to mention a ton of other mad gadgetry.

I must admit, I think watching how Amazon deals with their Whole Foods ownership will be fascinating … though I really do hope it will be more thought out than simply shoving Alexa into all their stores.

After all, it’s called Whole Foods for a reason.