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


Blah Wars …

I’ve previously written about the commercialization of Star Wars, but I recently saw this and realized it’s got much worse than I originally thought.

OK … so Star Wars cornflakes may be as terrible a tie-in as you can get, but seriously, have you ever seen something as utterly hideous as this …

Look, I get there’s some nerds out there who think Yoda is real … hell, there’s some planners out there who think they’re Yoda, but come on, who the hell would actually want this?

I swear to god, even the worst Norwegian Death Metal loving, 8-times-a-day masturbating, Star Wars fan wouldn’t want to be seen dead with this. And why would they … they live in a house where where the only light that enters their room comes from their computer screen as they play their 22nd straight hour of WOW.

Then there’s the price.

US$180.

ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DOLLARS.

Whaaaaaaaat?

But as much as I’d like to dismiss this as the work of some insane individual, the fact is I know this utterly disgusting, bad-taste, Star Wars room light will sell in their thousands, so next time someone tries to kill your ideas with the excuse “no one would do that”, show them this ad and tell them not to be so quick with their assumptions.



The World Hasn’t Gone Mad, It’s Gone Ridiculous …

A week today is my last day at Wieden, so what I’m about to write shouldn’t matter. But it does.

You see, last week I received an email from a rather well known publisher.

A publisher of books.

They wanted to ‘have a chat’.

So obviously I was kind of intrigued so I called them and do you know what they said …

THEY WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A BOOK OF MY BLOG POSTS!

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Despite the utter stupidity of that suggestion, I am not going to deny my ego was well and truly stroked … which is why they brought me down to earth when they added “We don’t want all your posts, just the ones where you have something others will find valuable to read”.

Putting aside that with that filter, it’s going to be more pamphlet than book, I still find it rather exciting and can only assume their business model is built on the belief that people will pay a couple of quid to get to the few posts that are worth reading rather than spend hours traipsing through shite looking for them.

Hmmmmmn, not the best investment argument I’ve ever heard.

But here is where you come in.

You see I’ve been asked to choose the 100 posts that I think are valuable.

I know, 100. Talk about being optimistic.

Anyway, if this goes ahead, they want to pitch it as a business book [I swear I’m not making this up] … which I assume means less posts about my best friends penis size and more about businessy-stuff. I’m pretty sure that down the line, I’ve written a few of them – whether it was on strategy, creative briefs or recruitment – however in the unlikely event there’s a post on here that you remember as having some value, could you let me know because I sure-as-hell don’t want to spend months going through 10+ years of rubbish only to realise there’s nothing on here that I actually like anymore.

Ta.



They’re At It Again …

I know … I know … you would think I am over the whole ‘pram marketing’ thing by now.

Not just because I’ve written a ton about it [here and here and here and probably many other places] but because Otis is 2 and doesn’t need one anymore.

But I’m not.

Not while they keep putting out bullshit like this …

Like everything iCandy do, there’s so much that just pisses me off.

Let’s start with the colouring of the ad.

Orange.

ORANGE.

Who the fuck would want an orange pram?

I’ll tell you who, the pricks who own a lime green Lamborghini.

Yeah, those folks who are so bloody egotistical that they make sure absolutely no one can miss them.

Having a supercar to nip down to the post office to buy some stamps isn’t enough.

They need it in a shade of vomit that means even blind people can see it.

But that isn’t even the most annoying bit.

Look at that claim.

ABSOLUTELY FUTUREPROOF.

Errrrrrrm, does it turn into a bike?

What about a car?

Or a house?

Does it turn into anything OTHER THAN A BLOODY PRAM?

No, no it doesn’t … but yet again, iCandy have spouted a load of marketing twaddle because they don’t want to be in the pram business, they want to be in the innovation business and while I have no doubt that to give a pram 30 different configurations is quite an achievement, it’s still a pram and the innovation isn’t that soddin’ innovative.

But hey, they won’t matter to the fools who buy it … the same fools, as we identified earlier, who buy a lime green Lamborghini.

Because to them it won’t matter if they never use any of the configurations available to them because the purpose of purchase is not to ensure their child is protected and comfortable while being transported between the gym and the chip shop … oh no … for them, it’s all about being seen by everyone around them and being able to bore their ‘friends’ with a list of the prams features they will neither use nor understand.

Once upon a time there was a famous advertising slogan for the telecommunications company Orange that said:

The futures bright, the futures orange.

Well, thanks to iCandy, we have an updated version of that.

The futures bright, the futures fucked.



Sometimes Technology Scares Me …

… no, I’m not talking about the fact a t-shirt company was able to use my data from Facebook and serve me an ad of a product featuring my hometown and my favourite band …

… I’m talking about the fact they think I would want to be seen in that t-shirt.

Yes, I know I have the taste of a 1980’s Australian pub singer, but even I wouldn’t wear that.

Big data might help companies get an idea of what their audience do, but it fails to understand what they like.

For all it’s cleverness, the way the data is interpreted – and used – by so many companies is embarrassingly simplistic.

Not simple. Simplistic.

A strategy of simply mashing random interests together is not a strategy, it’s an embarrassment.

Jesus …



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.



Sometimes Crazy Is The Most Sensible Thing In The World …

So a while back I saw this weird looking thing being advertised everywhere.

It’s that thing at the top of this page.

At first, I was captivated … it looked like the ultimate gadget.

And then, on closer inspection, I realised it literally did nothing.

That’s right …

No wifi.

No bluetooth.

No nothing.

Just a bunch of buttons and balls to press, roll and click.

Seriously, who would need this shit?

People with game controller addiction?

People with pen clicking obsession?

People with nothing better to do?

And then I saw the manufacturers had created this terrible video to help explain things …

Look, I know the ‘fidget cube’ is relatively cheap … but contrary to the video’s claims, ‘fidgeting’ is not actually an addiction and so you have to ask if people really need something like this over – say – ‘tapping their foot’ repeatedly.

So I bought one.

And you know what … it’s fucking amazing.

I know … I know … my taste is hardly the barometer for mass acceptance, but remember, I am saying positive things about something that literally has no wifi, bluetooth or web access and I’m a guy that has bought robot balls and a mug that will digitally tell me what I’m drinking even though I CAN TASTE WHAT I AM DRINKING.

I’ve bought loads of them now.

In multiple colours.

And while that may make me look a fucking idiot, the fact is there’s a valuable lesson in all this.

No, it’s not that ‘Rob spends his money on tat’ [though that is also a learning] it’s the fact that if someone had told me about it, I’d have dismissed it as ridiculous.

An over-engineered solution to a problem that isn’t really a problem.

And yet the reality is, I didn’t just buy it … I use it all the time and I truly feel it has helped me focus more.

I know that sounds mad and I swear I have no commercial interests in it … but on top of everything, it reinforced a lesson I have continually pushed upon The Kennedys, which is never kill an idea until you’ve tried it.

Never.

Not just because you may find it actually could end up being something awesome, but even if it doesn’t, it often opens up doors of opportunity you never would have seen before.

The older I get, the more I realise ‘try before you kill’ is one of the most important lessons you can learn.

Especially for planners.

Especially for planners who want to help create something that can change something.

Even if it ends up being something people ridicule.

Until they try it.



Lies, Damned Lies And Kickstarter …

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote about this so I guess it’s time for another post about another massive lie peddled from a kickstarteresque company.

Yes, I know I ranted about them earlier this week, but I can’t help myself.

Have a look at this …

Let’s move past the fact they have the audacity to claim a lens – held on with a bloody bulldog clip – gives you the equivalent standard of a US$4000 camera [unless they mean a US$4000 camera held onto a smart phone with a bulldog clip] and let’s instead focus on the image they are using to sell ‘said’ item.

Look at the screen of the smartphone.

Such incredible quality.

Such incredible clarity.

Such incredible focus.

Wow, maybe they weren’t joking when they said this simple attachment could make an expensive DSLR redundent.

But hang on, something isn’t right.

That super sharp image doesn’t seem to relate to the ‘live’ image going on in the picture.

Sure, they’ve blurred the shit out of it, but I’m pretty all the action is going on in the middle of the court, not by the net.

OK, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, I do only have one good eye.

But there’s something else bothering me. Hmmmmn, what could it be?

Oh I know, it’s that perfect image on the phone.

Look, I have an iPhone and if I so much as zoom a bloody milimeter on it, everything looks like I’m trying to do an impression of a Tony Scott movie, so either the person holding the phone/lens in the photo has the steadiest hand ever created – especially as they are located on the other side of the court – OR THIS IS A PILE OF BULLSHIT.

I know I’m in adland so look at these things a bit more closely than the average punter, but that shouldn’t mean brands don’t care about this sort of thing.

Why would you supposedly go to all this effort to make a great product and then short-change the work that is designed to tell the World about it?

It’s like my issue with people who spend weeks working on a pitch but don’t rehearse it until the last 5 minutes.

All that effort, wasted.

Of course it’s because people still believe that ‘the quality of the product/work/idea’ will shine through.

In a perfect World – maybe – but in the real World, how you present something is often of equal importance to what you are presenting. Sometimes, even more important.

When I was at HHCL, one of their tenants was the quality of advertising had a commercial benefit on the brand.

In short, the better the work, the more people were interested in you.

Now I appreciate that some may challenge that view, but I passionately believe that what you do says more about who you are than what you say … so while the creators of this lens may claim it can single-handedly put Canon and Nikon out of business, the fact their communication is so obviously bullshit makes me think you’re more likely to find this attachment inside a cheap pack of Christmas Crackers than a high-end photographic store.

Which means if you actually end up buying it, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

And this is coming from someone who paid $100 for a remote control ball!!!

Have a great weekend, only 50 odd weeks till Christmas.