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


When Culture Bleeds Into Culture …

You know you lived in Shanghai when you’re driving, see the sign above and think it’s a Chinese street name rather than how American’s roadsigns say ‘pedestrian crossing’.

I wish I was joking, but I’m not.

How I passed my driving test is anybody’s guess.

I’ve got to be honest, while I am really enjoying my time in the US, I am finding it harder to adapt to certain things than I thought I would.

Not just because I feel my frame-of-reference is more Asian based than American, but because there are some things I am being subjected to that I just never encountered before.

To be honest, this is a post for another day – because it’s actually been quite challenging for me – but let me just leave you with this as a ‘teaser’ for next time.

I had just been in a very, VERY boring meeting with someone.

When I got out, I was asked how it had been.

I replied, “I feel I’ve just been brain raped”.

Their mouth almost hit the floor. Literally hit-the-floor.

Trust me, there’s so many more stories like that. I’m amazed I’m still allowed in the country.



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.



Welcome To Delusional …

I get pester power.

I understand how that dynamic can work and works.

I also know the airline industry is very competitive and the A380 hasn’t been as super-successful as was originally expected.

But – and it’s a really big but – I’m not sure that tactic will convince an airline carrier to suddenly start buying A380’s.

Not just because those planes – or any plane for that matter – are the sort of thing you buy on a whim, but because most airline travellers tend to choose the carrier rather than purely the plane they will be travelling on.

And then there’s the bullshit of their domain name.

iflya380.com

Look, I know the actual name of the plane is A380 – as in Airbus 380 – but the inclusion of the ‘a’ makes the domain name sound like it’s the passengers who fly the bloody thing.

As in I FLY A 380.

Why couldn’t they change it to ilovea380.com or itravela380.com?

Yes, I know I’m sounding John Doddslike, but it makes something bad even worse … and don’t even get me started on how utterly boring the website actually is when you go to it.

Honestly, what do they think this campaign is going to do?

What the hell are the KPI’s for this campaign?

And seriously, how the hell are they justifying ‘the passengers favourite’.

I would absolutely kill to know the thinking behind this work because in a weird way, it has put me off Airbus and A380’s … and judging by fact they’ve only received 14 emojis – of which at least 1 is ‘shocked’ – it would seem I’m not the only one.



Details … Details … Details …

Maybe it’s because I’ve broken the screen on my iPhone 7 three times.

Maybe it’s because I work in advertising.

Or maybe it’s because I’m a sad bastard …

But this ad bothers me a lot.

No … it not the terribly contrived ‘real life’ image.

Nor is it the fact 25% of iPhone 7 owners are clumsy fucks.

It’s the fact the company – Tech 21 – make such a deal of being iPhone 7 specialists AND THEN USE AN IMAGE IN THEIR AD THAT ISN’T OF AN iPHONE 7!!!

Why?

Seriously why?

Don’t tell me there isn’t a stock shot available because I did a quick look and theres loads of them.

No one behind this campaign comes out of this looking good.

The agency look like they were lazy bastards and the client looks like they don’t care.

Seriously, why should I trust a company about their iPhone 7 protection when they don’t even know what an iPhone 7 looks like.

This sort of thing drives me bonkers.

Literally bonkers.

It’s not hard to get this right.

It’s the least they should be doing.

If I was a competitor I’d absolutely jump on this.

Mind you, if I was at the agency/client behind it, I’d be jumping on people’s heads.

So come on adland, let’s not give people even more ammunition to question what we do and how valuable it can be for business. Seriously, get a fucking grip.



When We Put Our Heads Up Our Asses …

So this is hard for me because it not only involves an agency I like very much – Droga5 – but it also involves a number of personal friends.

So over the past few months, there’s been a campaign for Email marketing platform, MailChimp.

Not that you’d know it, because the campaign has been about creating seemingly random ads for things with names that kind-of sound like MailChimp but never actually say it.

Hence we’ve had all sorts of things like FailChips and SnailPrimps placed all around NYC.

And why?

Because when the brand sponsored the hit podcast ‘Serial’, someone in the promo mispronounced the brand as “MailKimp” and Droga5 thought that could be a fun way to advertise the brand.

That’s right, spend a shitload of cash doing a bunch of things that never actually mentions the brand name or relates to what the brand does.

This is how a Mailchimp exec explains it …

“We used mispronunciation as a creative device to inspire all kinds of different executions, knowing that people would be curious about what they were seeing and search for more information”.

What?

WHAT?

Now I accept there is a good chance I might be wrong, but are people that curious?

Do people give a flying fuck about this sort of thing?

Maybe they do, which means I can’t help but wonder how they felt when they discovered what it was really all about.

Were they pissed off they’ve just been part of a marketing scam?

Or maybe they ended up being massively disappointed by what they discovered it all to be about.

Or did they go, “Wow, that’s amazing” and immediately sign up for their service, even if they didn’t need it.

I have a feeling it’s not that likely to be the last option.

Don’t get me wrong, I know people love to ‘discover’ stuff, but I’m not so sure that means they love discovering they’ve just been had.

All of this feels like the people behind the campaign either watched one too many bad spy movies or took Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘tipping point’ a tad too literally.

But it gets worse.

Much worse … because this ‘strategy’ of mispronouncing the brand name – according to the credits released with the campaign – required 7 strategists.

SEVEN.

What did they do?

What is the bloody strategy in any of this?

I appreciate that sometimes the biggest insight is there isn’t one … but even then, you don’t need 7 strategists. Hell, even if you were doing a campaign to solve world hunger, you wouldn’t need seven strategists.

WHAT IS GOING ON!?

I love Droga5 and I massively respect my friends who were involved in this campaign, but this all smacks of early dotcom advertising and we know what happened to the majority of those brands.

Actually I’m wrong, because at least those ads focused on people remembering the name.

This isn’t advertising, it’s anti-advertising and while the industry might think that’s something cool and worthy of aspiring too, in the real World – or at least The Guardian – they know it’s a great advertisement for saying our industry has its head up it’s own ass.



Lazy Or Stupid?

So recently, I saw this ad in Shanghai …

Can you see the problem?

Have another look?

Yes … apart from the words CAR FREE DAY, they’ve literally used Lorem Ipsum for the rest of the text.

And for those who don’t know what Lorem Ipsum is … it’s dummy text used by the advertising and printing industry when space has to be left for copy but it hasn’t been written yet.

Now I appreciate we’re in China so there’s a small possibility the people behind the ad didn’t speak English so didn’t realise the difference.

But I have to be honest, I don’t really believe that.

And even if it was true, what about the people who commissioned the work?

Seriously, this might be one of the laziest/stupidest things I’ve seen in a long, long time.

This is an amazing country that is developing at an incredible rate but when I see stuff like this, I am reminded so much of it’s progress is based on the aesthetic because under the surface ‘good enough, is good enough’ still permeates so much of what passes as standards.



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.