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


So Much For Planners Having All The Smart Thinking …

One of the things that has always bugged me about planners is that some think they’re the only ones who are curious enough to see the World in interesting ways.

I’ve written about how much bollocks it is – not to mention how much it pisses me off – but in this world of social, it feels we are seeing more and more of the interesting points of view coming from outside the discipline than in it.

More than that, it feels we’re even seeing more and more of the interesting ideas coming from outside the industry than in it too.

From Rihanna creating make-up foundation that is suited to African American skin as well as white through to meme creators – such as Unchisenpai – questioning what is considered cheating in a world of global competition.

[Though their observation on how we came up with the word ‘boob’ is genius]

Now I appreciate that some of this is less to do with the talent in the industry and more the limitations placed on us by clients – though how that came about is another discussion for another day – but in an industry that is seemingly talking to itself more and more [see: planner twitter] the rule to creative inspiration remains the same:

Look for those who are doing or thinking interesting things rather than those who just know interesting things.

The things I’ve learnt from my time with China, Metallica and The Kennedys have been monumental in terms of seeing what creativity truly is, what it can do and what it can be.

It’s also helped me have a deeper understanding of how to nurture it, protect it, encourage it and liberate it.

This is not meant as a diss to adland.

I love the industry and accept it has been amazing to me.

I’ve learnt – and continue to learn – so much from the many amazingly talented and generous people who work, or have worked, within it. I detest how much the industry has been undermined and undervalued by so many when – given the freedom to do what it does best – it is capable of achieving equally incredible things.

This is simply a reminder that some of the most interesting expressions of creativity – and commerciality – exist outside of our bubble and if we continue to close ourselves off to it, or think we’re superior to it, then we’re literally limiting ourselves in terms of seeing and understanding what creativity can help us create, build and change.



When You Say It’s A Lie, You Can Say Anything …

I am doing a project about land ownership.

I know that sounds horrifically boring, but it isn’t.

Anyway, as part of my rabbit hole reading and research, I came across one of those sites where you can buy ‘titles’ … like Lord and Lady of the Manor.

And then I saw this …

Have you read it?

No, I don’t mean the bollocks testimonial, I mean the line near the top.

Yes, the one that basically says, ‘these testimonials may all be a pile of utter bullshit’.

Amazing eh?

I have to admit, I love their use of the word ‘illustrative’ … it’s as if they’re trying to say they want to add flair to their product story rather than just admit they’re writing lies.

Let’s face it, if you have to make up your ‘references’, you don’t have any references.

Believe it or not, the ad industry is more closely controlled than the newspaper industry … and while the owners of this company openly admit their references are illustrative rather than real, it still highlights how someone who wants to fuck with the system can fuck with it, regardless how closely regulated people may think it is.

But then even that doesn’t matter, because as I wrote in my post about Bernie Madoff, the people who fall for these scams are often – but not always, especially if they’re the elderly – complicit in some way.

Because as Bernie once said …

“I succeeded because when you offer people a deal that’s too good to be true, they never want to look too hard into the facts.

They say it’s because of trust. I say it’s because of greed.”



Eau De Toilet. Literally And Metaphorically …

The fragrance industry is fascinating.

I’ve written a bunch about this in the past [here, here and here for example] but nothing reinforces my view than the new fragrance bottle from Moschino.

Have a look at this …

On one hand I admire how the industry uses creativity to design distinctive bottles and packaging – mainly because the smelly liquid inside has little value – and I love the fearlessness they tend to embrace all they do, but there’s few industries as pretentious as the fragrance industry. Hell, they’re even more pretentious than a Swiss finishing school run by a Victorian father.

Now I accept some are being ironic – or have evolved to be that way, like Gucci for example – but the vast majority continue to have their heads so high up in the clouds, that even the biggest dope smokers couldn’t reach them.

I’m not sure which side Moschino are on, but anyone who makes a perfume bottle to look exactly like a disinfectant spray and proudly puts the words ‘toilette’ on it, suggests either the biggest misstep or act of fragrance genius I’ve seen in years.



Nothing Brings You More Down To Earth Than A Naked Bum Dance …

So I’ve been doing this advertising job thing for 30 years.

THIRTY.

And in that time, I've had the huge honour and privilege to work with amazing people around the world and do work that has achieved a certain level of fame and notoriety.

Because of that, I have been invited to speak at conferences all around the World … rubbing shoulders that frankly, I should have no right to.

The point of all this is that I've done quite a lot and achieved quite a lot.

Believe it or not, this is not a humble brag, in fact it's about to be a public humiliation.

You see a few weeks ago, while working from home, I was on video conference with a very senior member of NIKE's global team.

They were talking about some stuff, and realising I didn't have a notepad, I nipped downstairs to get a notepad.

When I came back, my client told me Otis had came in, done an impromptu naked bum dance at the screen, then ran out giggling.

To top it off, they said, “… and your son is still more professional than you”

Fortunately this client has known Otis since he was born so he found it funny – as would anyone really – and the meeting carried on as before.

Anyway, as I found this amusing, I put it on Twitter and LinkedIn as ‘the perils from working from home with a 5 year old’.

Within 3 days … THREE … it had achieved more views and shares than literally any conference, presentation, talk, blog post or tweet I’ve ever written.

In fact, it probably comes second to all of them combined.

ALL. OF. THEM.

Doesn’t matter if a talk of mine had been online for 10 years.

Beaten.

Didn’t matter if I’d written an occasionally topical blog post or tweet.

Beaten.

In 3 days, my sons naked bum dance had trounced all of them.

As of the time of writing, on LinkedIn alone, that single post has been read over 190,000 times, been shared 347 times, had over 3000 people approve it, had 100 comments and ignited over 220 different people – from big CEO/CMO’s to law firms – to ask to join my ‘network’.

Yes, my sons naked bum encouraged people to want to connect to me.

What sort of weird bastards are they?

[Of course I said yes, beggars can’t be choosers]

And while I can use this story at every birthday or celebration that Otis has for the next 30 years, nothing has highlighted how utterly futile my career has been than this.

Parents are said to always want their kids to go further than they have achieved.

Well he’s done it already.

At age 5.

Good job I love you with all my heart Otis.



How A Toilet Company Pissed On Purpose. Literally And Metaphorically …

It’s Friday 13th, so what better day to write about the scary subject of ‘brand purpose’.

OK, so unlike Mr Weigel, I believe brand purpose does have a real value.

That said, like Martin, I don’t believe purpose can be manufactured – or changed on a whim – and I certainly don’t believe it can do what governments can’t.

A while back I wrote a post about where purpose is going mad and used an umbrella shop as an example of when it all goes to shit.

Well, talking of shit, I recently was in Denmark.

When I was at the airport, I needed the loo – so in I went and then saw this …

Look at that …

No, not the loo, but the purpose.

Together We Change.

TOGETHER WE BLOODY CHANGE!?

Change what?

I think it has something to do with saving water but … what the fuck?

It’s a urinal.

A public urinal.

Why are they trying to sound like they’re making an Oscar speech.

Let’s not forget, this is a device that has been made to catch wee-wee [don’t say this blog isn’t kid friendly] … it’s an important device but not one worthy of a purpose like that.

And what’s the ‘Together’ part of that statement?

Are they organising men to have a filter placed in their penises [don’t say this blog doesn’t use correct biological terms] to ensure the water they emit is cleaned at source?

All this was going through my mind until I looked around the bathroom I was standing in and saw the state of the floor.

Piss. Everywhere.

EVERYWHERE.

Which immediately made me realise I’d been too harsh on the toilet company and their grandiose purpose because what I think they meant when they said ‘Together we change’ was …

“Hey men, stop pissing on the floor”

… though they would have more luck if they used the genius fly on the urinal trick, rather than another pointless purpose that people laugh at rather than are inspired by.

Purpose has a place in brands.

Purpose can be very powerful for brands.

But the moment you think it can be anything you want it to be and you act like it’s not for commercially beneficial reasons, then the only people you’re kidding is yourself.