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


Welcome To Inauthenticity …

I’ve written about Gary Vee before.

And while I admire his ability to promote himself – and don’t deny his considerable entrepreneurial spirit – I feel he is entering that dangerous area where he’s starting to blindly believe his own voice, without any sense of objectivity.

Now there’s many successful people who are like that, but given he preaches on a platform of self awareness, I find this new chapter of his ego particularly unpleasant to witness.

What has raised my ire?

This …

Yep, he has launched his own range of sneakers.

Sneakers!

What the fuck?

Apart from maybe watching sport or having once ridden a skateboard, what credibility has he got to do that?

I could maybe accept it he had got some fantastic – and credible – people to help create them, but that is never mentioned at all.

Of course not, because even if that is the case, I doubt his ego would allow it.

And maybe that’s why he wants people in marketing and entrepreneurship to support him rather than athletes … despite the fact they’re made to look like the bastard love-child of Adidas and K-Swiss.

That’s right, it’s not enough for Mr Vaynerchuk to create a pair of ‘sneakers’ that’s been influenced/plagarised by one credible sports brand, he wants to double influence/plagarise … which kind of sums him up through and through.

Seriously, anyone who buys a pair of these is basically anti-sport and pro-asshole.

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Devil In The Details …

I appreciate me – and this blog – being back, constitutes the worst Monday ever, but deal with it.

Hong Kong was as it always is … busy, noisy, energetic, proud, flamboyant.

Fuck I miss Asia.

Well, I miss lots about Asia, but one of the things I don’t is the bullshit bank advertising.

Where every company tries to convey how prestigious they are and – as a byproduct – how aspirational their customers are, even though what they show is the sort of tacky success you tend to see in a z-grade reality show contestants house.

Case in point this stuff from UOB Bank.

Introducing Singapore’s first diamond embellished, metal card.

No, seriously.

What a load of bollocks.

But what does ‘diamond embellished’ even mean?

Is it that minute square in the card … to the right of the chip?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, I think it is, because nothing says success like having a credit card with some cheap ass specks of diamond that even Ratners jewelers would turn their noses up at.

But it gets better …

By ‘better’, I obviously mean worse.

Because not only have they launched a credit card for the most insanely idiotic and egotistical customer on the planet – or at least Singapore – they’ve shown their true tacky colours by making one of the worst copy mistakes I’ve seen in ages to accompany the cards launch.

“For those who value exclusivity in its most extinguished form”.

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Dickheads.

I love it, because nothing says class and sophistication like a lack of basic language skills.

Now while I’d love to extinguish the people who came up with this card and who want this card, I think leaving things exactly as they are is a much better solution … because not only does it make the people at the bank look the sad, shallow, idiotic wankers they are, it also ensures anyone who pulls this card out looks the sort of pathetic, egotistical, insecure and unsophisticated asshole they truly are.

That’s what I call a WIN:WIN in my book.

I will always love and miss Asia with all my heart, but I will always hate the lazy, contrived, aspirational bullshit that the marketing departments of so many companies continue to peddle.



Lazy Disruption …

Right now, in supermarkets across super-conservative Singapore, is this …

Yep … that’s a real thing.

The product originates from the UK but – unsurprisingly – had it’s advertising banned there on the grounds of indecency.

[Which is why I’m kind of scared what they mean by 100% natural]

The fact it has been able to run this sort of thing in Singapore highlights the authorities there are either ultra-naive or super-broadminded.

Given the Red Dot Nation is not renowned for its liberalness – despite things like this getting through the system – I assume the introduction of a hoverboard in the visual convinced the powers-that-be that this was a genuine ad for a brand celebrating an active lifestyle.

Idiots.

But not quite as idiotic as the immature boys/expat wankers who’ll buy the stuff thinking they’re being witty. On the positive, the moment they’re seen with a can, they’ll be more hated than a Nottingham Forest owner. And trust me, that’s seriously hated.



A Reminder That Expertise Doesn’t Mean Acceptance …

NIKON.

A fantastic camera brand with unquestionable credibility.

Now of course, many camera brands are under threat from the increasing quality – and convenience – of smartphone cameras, which is why many are trying to diversify their portfolio to counter any potential profit loss.

Based on this ad, it appears NIKON are trying to do this as well.

Of course, as we have seen from GOPRO and countless other brands … the ‘live action camera’ category has been growing at an incredible rate and while you could argue NIKON might be a bit late to the party, their credibility in cameras stands them in good stead.

Except it doesn’t.

You see what NIKON have failed to understand is that the ‘live action category’ is very different to the photographic category … sure, they both involve needing a lens to capture the action, but fundamentally the rules are different, the values are different and the culture around it are very different.

As I wrote here, GOPRO’s success is not just because they were one of the first to exploit this market, but because they were part of the culture that created this market.

They understood who these people were.

What they do.

What they want.

What they feel.

This knowledge influenced everything … from their positioning [the utterly brilliant, ‘Be A Hero’] through to the style of advertising they created.

The fact NIKON’s ad shows an image that comes from the perspective of watching others do something, highlights how they have failed to understand the audience they are talking too.

All they’ve done is transfer their photographic approach to their communication … but the audience they need to engage have a totally different set of values and aspirations.

Of course it would be hard for them to achieve this given GOPRO have already nailed it with their ‘in the middle of the action‘ photographic style … but that’s the difference between a brand that looks at a category as a sales opportunity versus a brand that is born from the culture it plans to engage with.

As I’ve said many, many times … culture is far more important than category.

Don’t let anyone tell you different.

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PS: Happy Australia Day … a day where you are not just legitimately allowed to get pissed before 10am, but positively encouraged to be. Have a top day. And a top hangover tomorrow.



Kickstarter Is The Modern Boy Who Cried Wolf …

To all you poor souls that hoped 2017 was going to be better than 2016, I have some bad news for you.

This blog is back.

I know … I know …

Look, I’m pretty sure you had a good festive season and a drunk New Year – not to mention some time off work – so rather than condemn me as a person trying to ruin your 2017, see me as a kind soul trying to prepare you for the misery the next 12 months has in store.

It’s going to be an interesting year … what with Trump as President and a bunch of other stuff [which I’ll talk about at another time] but to continue with my theme of compassion, I will ease you into the pain of this blog with a little rant.

Kickstarter.

I know, I’ve written about them before … but I came across something recently that really takes the overhyped biscuit.

Shoelaces.

Bloody shoelaces.

I can just about live with the fact they call them ‘reimagined’, but ‘this changes everything?’

Really?

Give me a break.

Sure, it might change it for people who have difficulties like the elderly or the handicapped [am I allowed to say handicapped?] but using a picture of an able-boded, youngish male seems to imply they literally mean every single person – regardless of age or physical capacity.

Better yet, they use a picture where despite having these ‘new-fangled’ shoelaces, you need to bend down and use your hands to ease your foot into the shoes … which begs the question, WHAT’S THE FUCKING POINT.

I liked Kickstarter.

I’ve bought a ton off Kickstarter.

But sadly, I’ve had more disappointing experiences than positive.

Sure, that’s not entirely their fault as they simply act as a hub for the companies trying to raise capital, however it seems that rather than be more stringent in the quality control of companies they allow to use their site, they have decided to take a course of action that involves hyping up average products at an inflation rate that resembles Russia in the mid-1990’s.

This approach may keep some people coming in, but it is increasingly turning people off … because when all their ads on social media promise products that are going to revolutionise/change/evolve/solve/innovate the World as we know it, what they actually say to people is, ‘here is some more bullshit for us to ignore’.

Maybe these shoelaces do change everything.

Maybe they are the product that will bring World peace.

But when you associate with a boy who has cried wolf too many times, you end up being ignored by everyone.

Entrepreneurs, take note.

Oh it’s good to be back.



I Lied …

Yes, I know I said I’d finished writing this blog for the year, but someone sent me something that has compelled me to write one more rant.

Besides, I’m in advertising … so you shouldn’t expect us to be honest.

Ahem.

Anyway, I honestly don’t know if you will consider this a Christmas gift or horror, but you will always remember it … of that, I am absolutely sure.

So remember ages ago I said that the Gerard Butler manifesto for Hugo Boss was one of the worst things ever written?

Well, it still is … but this is definitely pushing it for first place.

The only reason Gerard wins, is because I think – or should I say, I hope – the people behind this are trying to take the piss.

I must admit, I have a niggling feeling that might not be the case – I worry, they were inspired by Gerard rather than want to ridicule it – but it’s Christmas and so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt … especially because their website features a video where they definitely have a twinkle in the eye about what they’re doing.

However, if this was written in January, there’s no way I’d be so gracious and I’d be having a aneurysm explaining why this sort of thing represents the the worst of advertising … contrived self importance mixed with a large dollop of contrived shock value.

Or said another way … the strategy that got Donald Trump elected.

Seriously, there are so many other ways they could have done this.

So many ways they could have made it fun and less cringeworthy.

But no, they decided to follow the same path as that aftershave that supposedly smells of a sweaty vagina.

A path that says as much about the people behind the brand as those who will embrace it.

Anyway, have a look at what the hell I’m talking about.

It is most definitely NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK … but you have to see it.

Then try and enjoy your Christmas, wherever you are.

Or just go back to what was supposed to be my last post and pretend this never happened.



Putting The Con In Icon …

There are a lot of people who think that in the digital age, nothing can be kept secret.

Maybe they’re right, but that doesn’t hide the fact that some people can keep their secret from being found out for a pretty long time.

Case in point is Elizabeth Holmes – the much lauded, self-made billionaire of biotech start-up Theranos.

That’s her in the photo.

While many have written about her, her story is really one about confidence.

Or should I say the dark side of confidence … both in terms of how she used it and how many fell for it. That said, it is also a story about the fear of missing out and how cash can blind the judgement of many otherwise sensible people.

[But, fortunately, not all]

It’s a truly scary story though I must admit, the thing that shocked me most was learning there was a guy in the US – admittedly a Brit – who had never worn a pair of jeans.

Anyway if you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to read it … it’s a modern day version of the Emperor’s new clothes.