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

Nothing Says Thought Leadership Like Outsourcing Your Thought Leadership …

Anyone who has ever read this blog would know the last thing I’m about is thought leadership.

Maybe thought rambling, but not thought leadership.

However a company recently reached out to me about that very subject.

Not to hear my perspective on a particular subject, but to offer to tell me my perspective on a particular subject.

Is this AI on a whole new level?

No, it’s a company who apparently doesn’t like small talk and wants to get straight-to-the-point about offering me the chance to have them write an opinion piece for me and then get it published.

Not my actual opinion, I should add … but one they know they can shove in any random magazine because they’re desperate for content and get me to pay them for the privilege.

Oh, they drop some great magazine names.

Fast Company. Forbes. Tech Crunch.

But we all know the reality is 99% of the articles will be in stuff like the West Bridgford Gazette and the Illawarra Mercury.

I would love to know how many of these things they do?

How many ‘thought leaders’ are actually thought outsourcers?

And I guess I will because I’ve written to them to say ‘this looks amazing, please can you give me more information’, even though the reality is I already feel enough of an imposter without paying these bastards to rub it in.

Freddie And Friends …

Many years ago I worked with a Swedish planner called Fredrik Sarnblad.

I loved him.

I loved him for many reasons …

His brain.

His humour.

His creativity.

His friendship.

His unsatisfiable appetite.

We went through all manner of trials and tribulations together … from highs of convincing work to send us to Bali for a week so we could work on the SONY pitch strategy in peace [which, thank god, we won] to lows of being in Thailand with a client who spent all their time trying to undermine us in front of their colleagues. [which we, read: me, didn’t react to very well]

And while we’ve not worked together for over 11 years, Freddie was always more than an ex-colleague, but a real friend … exemplified by the fact that when we saw each other in Boston a few weeks ago – after almost 6 years apart – it was like nothing had changed.

My relationship with Freddie is different to that of many of my other friends.

One of those reasons is I’ve never made a highly inappropriate blog about the way they dress.

The other is that I can have really personal and emotional conversations about life with him.

That’s not to say I can’t with my other mates, it’s just I rarely do … but with Freddie, we always did and do. Talking about subject many people find uncomfortable but are true for all of us.

The reason this can happen is that Freddie is both self aware and in touch with who he is.

He doesn’t shy away from the big conversations because he knows that’s where life resides … the real stuff, not the things we use to distract us from dealing with the real stuff.

One of the things we talked about recently was happiness.

Initially it was in the context of family but it quickly evolved to the job we are paid to do.


We talked about what makes us happy, what frustrates us and what we can do to make things better … more fun … more interesting and exciting. We even talked about how we can work together again.

Well that conversation must have had a real impact on Freddie because weeks later, he quit his job and started his own agency.

To be honest, I think that’s a bit extreme … all he had to do was say he didn’t want to work with me again … but I’m super happy and excited for him.

I’ve written many times why everyone should experience starting their own business, but in Freddie’s case it’s a little different.

Don’t get me wrong, it will be amazing for him – but the real value will come from the companies that use him because he’ll not only make them better, he’ll make them discover what they are capable of being.

So congratulations my dear Freddie, I look forward to one day being one of your shitkickers …

Knock them dead …

You can find out what he’s doing and how he’s doing it here.

It Seems I Am The Fine Line Between Famous And Infamous …

How is your 2018 going so far?

I know it’s still early days – but is it looking good or bad?

Well, if it’s looking positive, I’m about to ruin it for you and if it is looking dodgy, I’m going to help you solidify your opinion.


Well, a few weeks ago, a nice guy called Paul McEnany asked if he could interview me about my career.

While I’m sure his reasoning for his request was to help planners learn what not to do, my ego said yes even before my mouth did … and while the end result is the bastard love child of rambling randomness and base-level swearing, it’s the perfect way to justify your pessimism for 2018 or to ensure your optimism for the new year doesn’t get too high.

So go here and errrrrm, enjoy [if that’s the right word for it, which it isn’t] and after you’ve heard my crap, listen to the brilliant interviews with people like Gareth Kay, Russell Davies, Richard Huntingdon, Martin Weigel and the amazing Chris Riley because apart from being hugely interesting and inspiring, you’ll get the added bonus of [1] undeniable proof I’m a massive imposter and [2] the knowledge that if I can have some sort of semi-successful career in advertising, you certainly can.

You’re welcome.

A Name Can Do A Lot …

So over the last few months, there was a lot of commentary about a new, multi-million pound, British research boat that asked the public for help in choosing its name.

Actually that’s not what the commentary was about, it was the fact that one of the names was the utterly brilliant, Boaty McBoatface.

And guess what … it won!!!


However, despite polling four times as many votes as its nearest competitor, the owners of the boat – the British Government – ended up sinking the name, using this as their justification …

“The new royal research ship will be sailing into the world’s iciest waters to address global challenges that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, that’s why we want a name that lasts longer than a social media news cycle.”

To be fair, they have a point – especially as the vessel is actually a ship, rather than a boat and Shippy McShipface just doesn’t have the same ring to it – however I still think they’ve made a bad decision.

It is not, as you may think, because the Government have basically just pissed on democracy.

Which they have.

Neither is it that they’ve just failed to embrace the unique wit of the British public.

Which they also have.

It’s because Boaty McBoatface could have potentially helped solve the environmental issues she was built to investigate.

[For the record, boats are always female apparently]

My thinking is that with a name like that, she would have caught the attention of children – and adults – all over the World.

In fact, I could argue she already did.

And if they’d kept that name and harnessed all that attention, children would have wanted to follow Boaty’s journey … they would have taken an active interest in the issues she uncovered and discovered … they would have wanted to help Boaty out and they could have done that by doing the sort of things that slow – or even reverse – environmental decline.

Boaty McBoatface might have actually led to the sort of change in behaviour and attitudes that Earth Hour can only dream about.

I’m serious.

Then there’s the fact that with a name like that, Boaty McBoatface could be made into children’s toys or cartoons to raise even more awareness – not to mention funds – in the fight against environmental damage.

I get it might be a bit weird for the scientists who work aboard her, but I could argue that they would be far happier knowing the ship they’re on is not just getting important data, but actively contributing to awareness and change.

But no. It’s going to be something else.

I’m sure it will be respectful and dignified – they say ‘HMS David Attenborough’ is a leading candidate – and I get it, it definitely makes sense … but it won’t have the same impact or potential reach that Boaty McBoatface would have.

Like the ice bucket challenge showed us, if you have tried for years to change something to no avail, sometimes the most radical decisions are the most sensible.

It appears I am in the rare position to be able to offer the British Government some advice … advice I offer to anyone who challenges my response to one of their questions … and that advice is this.

If you don’t like the answer, don’t ask the question.

The good news is that while the Government may have stopped Boaty McBoatface from officially hitting the high seas, you can be pretty sure that’s how she will be known.

After all, the Ferrari Daytona never really existed – it was the 365 GTB/4 – but when it came 1st, 2nd and 3rd in a race, the media labeled the car the Daytona and the name entered the consciousness of the public and has remained there ever since.

So here’s to Boaty McBoatface and the British public – or at least the ones behind this – I salute your wonderful madness.

Here’s A Headline You Don’t See Very Often*
July 31, 2008, 8:53 pm
Filed under: Food For Thought

Nice to know that political scandals are not just limited to Western governments.

For those who want to know what the hell this is about, you can find out here.

* Unless you read the Sunday Sport ‘newspaper’.

Mad Facts
May 4, 2006, 3:37 pm
Filed under: Food For Thought

I love facts, not because I am a smart arse but because I love to find out how the things we take for granted, began.  Soooooo, for your viewing pleasure, here are some 'things' for you …

Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled 'Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden' … and thus the word GOLF entered the English language.

In the 1400s a law was set forth that a man was not allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb.  Hence we have '… the rule of thumb'.

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the US Treasury.  

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

The average number of people airborne over the US any given hour: 61,000

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321   

Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace.

If you were to spell out numbers, you would have to go to 'one thousand' before you wrote the letter 'A'.

Bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers were all invented by women.

The only food that doesn't spoil is honey.

The day where there are more collect calls than any other day of the year is Father's Day.

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase, "… goodnight, sleep tight."

AND FINALLY … at least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow!!!

It’s A Mad [Brand] World
May 4, 2006, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Food For Thought

How come companies call their products names like 'Beautiful' or 'Seduction'?  Are the people who buy them so insecure they need to associate with brands that tell them what they'd liike to hear?

It's happening everywhere … even Mercedes Benz got in on the act calling their BOTTOM OF THE RANGE car, Elegance.  Come on, it's not elegant, it's a boxy 1980's German taxi. Infact the only thing that looks elegant is the car dealer who flogged one to a couple who now think they're 'upper class' when in reality all it has done is highlight just how middle class they really are!!!

Where is it going to end?  What are we going to see next?

– Get Laid Aftershave For Men?

– The New Porsche Fanny Magnet?

– I'm Not Fat, I'm Big Boned Eau de Toilette?

Look, I'm all for brands creating an image/identity (hell, that's what I'm paid to do!) but when someone is as blatant as this, I can't work out who is the more disturbed … the manufacturer for coming up with it or the customer for buying it?

If you ever want to make one of these people see the folly of their ways, just ask them what car they own or what perfume they are wearing and then sit back and watch them cringe as they say "Elegance" or "Beautiful" …

Mean?  Well, I never said I was nice did I!!!  Guess this all links in with my view that people are seemingly more and more unhappy with their 'lot in life' but it could be that I am just ranting, it has been known.