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


Know Your Audience …

When the internet first started, you often found your inbox full of ‘newsletters’ from companies who had sent you stuff simply because you once showed an interest in what they were doing.These newsletters invariably talked about what the company wanted you to be interested in, rather than what you were interested in – which is why they would often end up in the trash, without even opening them.

To be honest, I thought the worst of those days were over, but then last week I received this …

Now, as I am sure most of you know, I don’t drink alcohol.

Nothing.

In fact, not a sip of alcohol has passed my lips since NINETEEN EIGHTY FIVE!

That’s 32 years … longer than some of you have been alive … so putting aside the fact I never showed an interest in this company, the opening 2 sentences of their ‘personalized email’ has 2 major mistakes:

1. It’s not perfect for me.
2. Which is why it’s hard to get hold of me.

So while I like my colleagues and I especially like them when they’re drunk so I have more embarrassing shit to have on them, I wouldn’t buy this for myself – or them – which suggests that the ‘newsletter tsunami’ that I thought had died a long time ago, is not only alive and well … but has evolved to pure business scam, which is hardly likely to make me trust them, even if they had something I wanted.

I can only imagine they were drunk when they put me on their newsletter list.

That or they’re fucking idiots.

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The Final Countdown …

So today is the first of December.How the hell has that happened?

Wasn’t it February 2 weeks ago?!

I suppose the good news is there’s only going to be 2 more weeks of blog posts for the year.

Which – given I only write this rubbish on weekdays – means 10 more posts.

And two of those will be sentimental claptrap … one for Otis’ birthday on the 11th and then some shit ‘2017 wrap up’ … which means you only have 8 truly pathetic posts to endure.

Christ, it’s like I’m giving you your Christmas present early.

But no, I’m going to give you more.

Much more.

Are you ready?

So recently I was sent a TV ad for Rolls Royce.

You didn’t think Rolls Royce made those did you? Neither did I.

And while the song ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ is an inspired choice, the rest of it is utter pants.

Like utter, utter pants.

It’s absolutely obvious they’re trying to appeal to a younger audience, but the end result says far more about the insecurities of the marketing team at RR – and their agency – than the people they want to engage.

Seriously, I’ve watched it countless times and I’m increasingly coming to the opinion that the only thing they’re actually selling is a ‘colour option’ on the car.

Have a look at this …

What the hell?

Like seriously, what the hell?

It’s like the worst of pretentious fragrance ads interspersed with the most terrible choices of product shot.

Like that analogue clock.

A bloody analogue clock!!!

The whole thing seems to go from being dark and moody to a 1980’s conservative MP in the blink of an eye.

What are they actually trying to say?

More so, who are they actually trying to say it too?

As I mentioned, the choice of music is brilliant. There’s such a powerful idea in the whole thought around ‘for those who want to rule the World’ – and while you could argue Bentley did it before with their brilliant, but scam, ‘Middle Finger’ print ad, that’s still no excuse for making a bad version of a James Bond movie opening title sequence or a very, very, very bad version of Dunlop’s brilliant 1993 ‘Tested For The Unexpected’ ad, just without the charm, wit, self-awareness or story.

Rolls Royce are amazing car makers.

They have incredible attention to detail, quality and – as the star roof demonstrates – a sense of drama.

Nothing in this ad conveys this. Nothing.

All this ad shows is a brand suffering some sort of identity crisis.

Wanting to appear relevant but showing they don’t really know how to be because they mistook an aesthetic for authenticity.

They deserve more.



Plane Crash Advertising. Again.

I’ve written a lot about how bad airline advertising is.For an industry that is selling escape, adventure, discovery and recuperation – I’m shocked how terrible it is.

Sure, there’s exceptions … Virgin has always been strong [and not just because I was involved in so much of it] and the S7 work from Wieden Amsterdam was wonderful, but the majority are the sort of bland rubbish I’ve ranted about from Singapore and Turkish airlines.

Well there’s a new shit airline ad challenger in town and it’s Lufthansa.

What. The. Hell?

Everything about this piece of awful bemuses me.

The only reason being on a plane at sunrise/sunset is better than being on a rooftop bar with your mates is because you get a better view.

That is literally it.

Sure you might be going on holiday.

Sure you might be sat in business class.

But in terms of that fleeting 60 seconds you get to see the sunset/sunrise, I can assure you it’s better to be at a rooftop bar with your mates.

Even more so if you’re talking about watching the sunrise … because the only reasons you’re awake at that time are shit.

1. You’re jet-lagged to hell.

2. You’ve been woken up mid-sleep to be served some sloppy breakfast that is way too early for you to digest.

And yet they still have the audacity to say ‘air travel engineered around you’.

No it’s not.

Unless this ad was created to appeal to an uber-niche target audience that get sexually excited at seeing sunsets, there is absolutely no evidence Lufthansa engineer their air travel around their passengers needs.

Maybe I should test it.

Hey Lufthansa, I really like spending the day with my family and I hate having to go through all the hassle of getting to the airport and then dealing with security so could you bring your plane near my house and wait for me for when I’m ready to fly?

Could you?

Please … after all, you engineer air travel around me.

You silly, lying, bad-marketing fools.



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.



When Brands Are Fucking Delusional …

OK, full disclosure, this is old.

OK, I know ALL my posts are old, but this is old even by my old standards.

I found this photo from an Australian supermarket in my emails and I still can’t quite believe a company would do this and not think people would find it insulting.

No, your eyes do not deceive you, Woolworths Australia thought it was a good idea to print point-of-sale material that laughed at the madness of spending $10 on a BBQ chicken, when theirs are only $9.88.

A saving of 12 cents.

A saving of 1.2%.

Look, I know they say ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ but come on …

Do they honestly think someone who wasn’t going to buy a BBQ chicken will suddenly want one because they are saving 12 cents on it?

Or do they think someone who shops at another supermarket and wants a BBQ chicken will make a special trip to Woolies to save that 12 cents?

I literally don’t understand this.

And then there’s the fact that the cost of producing and distributing that point-of-sale probably added about 12 cents to the cost of those BBQ chickens, so all this means is Woolworths aren’t actually the fresh food people, but the foolish food people.



Plane Crash Marketing …

Turkish Airlines have a history of questionable advertising decisions and it seems they still haven’t learnt their lesson because I’m not really sure flying an ad for their airline behind a micro-plane is the best branding idea I’ve ever seen.

That said, it will probably win a Cannes Gold next year.



The State Of Advertising Is In A State …

I’m back.

Did you miss me?

No, didn’t think so …

Anyway, a friend of mine recently wrote an article in the UK edition of Campaign Magazine about the state of outdoor advertising.

He made many good points – from the fact it’s now been relegated to ‘out of home’ categorisation to so much of it ignoring the basic principles of static communication by shoving so many words on it, you get the impression it’s a print ad, just repurposed for outdoor.

But for me, his point was not just about outdoor, but advertising as a whole.

Have a look at this ad by BBH London.

Nice isn’t it.

It ran in 1997 [I think]

Now look at this ad.

Same product.

Same agency.

Even the same line.

Horrible isn’t it.

OK, it’s not horrible by todays standards, but when you compare it to the ad they made 20 years earlier, it is.

And what’s with that ‘beautifully designed’ copy?

As if a car manufacturer would choose to make an ‘ugly designed’ car.

In the last 20 years, the standard of creativity has been severely dented.

Oh sure, Cannes is out there celebrating winners left, right and centre but there’s 2 flaws in their praise:

1. So much of it is scam.

2. The rest of it is niche.

But here’s the thing, the quality inside ad agencies has not diminished – if anything, it has improved – and let’s not forget, both of these ads were done by BBH … one of the all time greats … so I can only assume the shift downwards is being caused by clients focused on satisfying their ego rather than intriguing their audience.

Which makes me question whether clients understand what advertising is and how it actually works … because it seems they are of the belief the masses are sat at home waiting for them to tell them what they should care about so they can run out at the earliest opportunity and make the purchase.

Of course I know that’s not true and of course, I know there are some amazing clients out there – because I’ve worked with them – but maybe this madness is because clients are more focused on the words/phrases played back in their post campaign research analysis [ie: beautifully designed] rather than aiming for society be intrigued, excited or hungry for their brand.

In other words, for all the research and data we have on audiences, there’s far too much emphasis on what brands want people to care about them rather than understanding – and connecting to them – on what they actually care about.

So to Audi, please get back to communicating driver to driver, because not only is this ‘brand to consumer’ approach not working, it’s making you look like every other bland car brand in the category and that kind of defeats the purpose of investing millions of dollars in marketing.