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


Why Facebook Are Acting More Like A Dictator Than A Friend …

Recently my wife found the following picture on her Facebook stream …

Because she’s hardass, she wanted to know what the hell the picture could be, so she clicked on it to discover it was this …

That’s right, a woman breastfeeding.

A woman giving life to a new life.

Literally one of the most wonderful things a mother can do for her child.

And Facebook thought it was potentially offensive.

I’ll tell you what I find offensive Facebook … you allowing a company to steal our data and then act slowly to stop it. Or how about allowing fake accounts to try and influence public opinion. Or then there’s letting groups who openly promote hate use your site to ‘rally members’.

I tell you what I don’t find offensive.

A picture of a woman feeding her child.

For all the talk you give about wanting to help society connect to each other and encourage a better life, I have to say you absolutely suck at it.

This was a chance for you to show what you stand for.

Take a stand for what is absolutely, unquestionably right.

But instead you bottled it – fearful of offending people who make a career out of being offended.

How you can be OK with issues of privacy but not about feeding a child is beyond me … which is why you might need to get out of your Silicon Valley bubble because your values are more in tune with Wall Street than the average High Street.

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Strange Combinations …

Maybe it’s because I only have one working eye.

Maybe it’s because I’m an complete and utter idiot.

Maybe it’s because they’re both basically in black and white.

But when I saw the above ad at a local tube station, I thought it was all for the same product and couldn’t work out why the fonts were all different.

On the plus side, it made me take a closer look which means it’s immediately more effective than most of the ads I see underground.

As I said recently, tube ads are terrible.

Boring and rational as hell … with some occasional loose ‘riding the tube’ reference.

Boring while pretending to be wild and wacky … with some occasional loose ‘riding the tube’ reference.

Boring because they think they can get away with writing the longest, long copy ads in history, regardless that they make it feel like watching paint dry.

For such a captive audience, you’d think agencies and brands could find a way to enhance the passengers journey rather than letting their ego get the better of them and make them think they’re sitting their patiently waiting to read about another app launch that does exactly the same as the other 10 apps rationally explaining their role with some ‘crazy’ visual attached. Seriously, when the only reason I notice an ad is because I thought a whisky brand had made a milk product, you know it’s time we look at what ‘engagement’ means in our industry.



Like Walking Across A Minefield In Clowns Shoes …

I have written a lot about scam in the past.

How it is destroying the credibility of our industry.

How the main culprits are the agencies behind the bland wallpaper we see each day.

How these scam places are devaluing the agencies who make amazing work for real clients.

Recently John Hegarty suggested that agencies found doing scam should be banned from award shows like athletes are banned from competing.

I absolutely love this idea.

I don’t think it will stop it happening, but it will severely reduce it.

But I’d go one step further.

Years ago Andy told me the judges of the awards are complicit in scam happening.

He said that they were so focused on being associated with great work, they didn’t care if it was real work.

I think he has a point which is why rather than just banning the agencies who do it, I’d ban the judges who award it.

Of course, the judges could say they acted in good faith and assumed the people behind the competition had evaluated it’s appropriateness.

And that’s fair, but the award competitions need entries and the horrid reality is that scam has paid the bills for many of them for too long so to expect them to rigorous in their validity might be a bit too much to hope.

But here’s the thing, scam isn’t even hard to spot.

Part of the reason for it is – as I mentioned – because it comes from agencies who are more known for their blandom than their pragmatsism.

The other reason is that in their quest to be provocative, the agencies often overstep the mark because they know judges love this sort of thing.

Have a look at this …

It’s about as perfect an example of scam you can get.

A visually driven idea [because unless the copy is in English, it will stop judges liking it]

A clear point of view.

Embracing topical events to make their point.

On face value, it all makes perfect sense – but apart from the fact that idea is as old as the hills – the use of a Muslim woman highlights the desperate attempt of the agency and creative team to be ‘award worthy’.

Sure, all the pictures reflect people following some sort of ‘ideology’ … but a skinhead walking away from other skinheads in a riot and a soldier walking away from other soldiers on their way to unleash war on some nation is very different to a Muslim woman walking away from a group of other Muslim women who simply appear to be Muslim women.

Talk about making a massive and insulting comment to women of the Muslim faith.

The implication that they are all blindly following an ideology designed to cause destruction to others – as seems the theme given the other executions – is both wrong and frankly irresponsible.

But who cares about that when there’s an award to win.

But then, those who enter the dark world of scam don’t care about anything.

Including thinking if their ‘idea’ actually is consistent or makes sense.

Name them.

Ridicule them.

Ban them.



When A Company Confuses Condescending Twaddle As Help …

I saw this at Fulham tube station.

What were they thinking?

Oh I know what they were thinking … they thought this made Aviva look like a company who wanted to help ‘the little people’ be like the successful pin-stripe suit brigade.

But the fact is, when it comes from a company run by the pin-stripe suit brigade, not only does it lose any sense of authenticity, it feels patronising, condescending and as judgmental as hell.

And if you think I’m being a dick, the fact the last line is a cold, hard and harsh ‘capital at risk’ … you know the real goal of this ad is to get more commission than to spread the wealth.

Or maybe that’s just me.



Love Bores You To Death …

So now my life is spent on the tube, I get to look an endless stream of terrible ads.

In the main, the vast majority are basically brochures shoved into a small space.

No thought about the audience.

No interest in capturing the imagination.

Just blatantly taking the piss by ramming down what they want to say regardless of who will be exposed to it.

While the example above for eHarmony.com is not one of the worst, it’s not great.

Putting aside the vast amount of copy on there, I don’t like the idea that their version of love is finding someone who is basically a duplicate of you.

Is that love?

Sure, having things in common is important, but isn’t it the differences that makes things magical?

I know for a fact that Jill has made me a better person simply because she is not me.

Her view of the World.

Her experiences.

Her hopes, dreams and ambitions.

The last person I can think I’d want to be with is another version of me.

OK, so they then end their ad by saying ‘meet that one person you never thought you’d meet’, but even though that gives a nod to your ideal partner having as many differences as commonalities, they’re still selling the idea that there’s only one person in the World right for you … which is not only bollocks, but emotionally manipulative.

But if that’s not bad enough, it’s the fact they say they ask 150 questions for each member.

ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY!

Look, I get love is complex, complicated and deeply personal but 150 questions?

Jesus …

I wouldn’t mind, but according to some, you can make anyone fall in love with you if you just ask them 36 questions.

I know there have been a bunch of relationships that have formed because of eHarmony, but I wonder how many of those occurred simply because 2 people were in the right mindset for a relationship rather than because of the answers of their 150 questions.



UBloodyShitheads …
November 8, 2018, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Corporate Evil, Marketing Fail

One of the things that makes me laugh is when financial institutions try and present themselves as caring about the World.

OK, so some genuinely do – but the big investment banks are highly questionable – and yet, despite countless proof their quest for profit trumps everything, they continue to spout this company line.

Well recently I saw one that reached new depths of tragic.

UBS.

Putting aside ‘Does Cancer Respect Wealth’ is a pretty cold and heartless way to ever communicate, this is not some statement declaring UBS is donating billions to find a cure – oh no – it’s an ad designed to do 2 things:

1. Stop anyone who is disgustingly wealthy feel guilty for being disgustingly wealthy.

2. Invite investment in companies trying to find a cure for cancer. Or said another way, it’s offering the chance to get seriously wealthy if one of the companies finds a cure.

They just can’t help themselves can they?

Look, I know money makes the World go round.

I know money can help solve things – as they so blatantly point out in their tweet, to make them sound like they’re the Red Cross.

But – and it’s a big but – the key is how you earn the cash and what you do with it and UBS don’t have a great track record in that. Sure, there are worse institutions out there, but I would rather they own what they’re trying to do rather than just badly spin it in an attempt to look like they care about humanity when the reality is they only care about humanity if they’re super rich and customers of theirs.



Saying What Everyone Wants To Hear Will Catch You Out In The End …

I used to know this person who everyone liked.

Always smiling. Always laughing.

They were the life and soul of every party.

But then, when I spoke to people who actually worked with this person, the response was kind of different.

The common reply was something along the lines of:

“They’re nice as a person, but working with them ….”

And there would be this pause as words they didn’t want to say out loud, were said in their silence.

What they were trying to say was the problem they had working with this person was they wanted to be popular.

Sure, we all want that to a certain extent, but this person was obsessed with it … to the point they would always give whoever they were talking to, the answer that person wanted to hear.

Never saying the word “no”.

At least to people who they felt were – or could be – important or influential to them.

And while that is fine in general – or private – conversation, it causes huge problems when it comes to making great work because different promises get made to different people which means everyone is working to different goals and expectations.

Worse, it means when shit hit the fan – which it always will – this person will constantly blame someone else for the issues rather than take responsibility for what has happened.

Of course this shouldn’t be a surprise because their focus was never really been about the work – despite what they might say in public – it was just about their personal relationships.

Look I get it … no one likes conflict.

No one likes to tell someone no, especially if you like that person.

But when you let your ego be more important than the work, everyone loses.

As I wrote before, to get to great work you’ve got to accept it will leave scars.

That doesn’t mean the teams need to work in an atmosphere of toxicity or aggression – far from it, you generally feel the joy the teams have had making great work – but it does mean the tough conversations have to be had openly and early to not just ensure expectations and standards are agreed by everyone involved, but to give the teams the space, time and safety to make work that is fearless and infectious.

Popularity seekers scare the crap out of me.

Sure, they’re nice to have a cup of tea with, but to work with them is horrific.

Not because they lack talent, but they lack integrity and like all relationships, if you can’t trust the person by your side, you can’t have a relationship that can lead to exciting and new places.

But if more evidence was needed, I’d say this.

Tough conversations may not be nice, but not only do they increase the odds of getting to great work … they build stronger trust, respect and relationship between client and agency.

Not having tough conversations may be easier, but I don’t know of any great work that has ever come from it. And eventually, that leads to relationship breakdown … because if there’s one thing I know about this business, when things go good – everyone claims ownership – but when things go bad, most clients tend to point the gun at the agency.