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


Successful People Can Tell Whatever Story They Want …

Whether you like him or hate him, Gary Vaynerchuk has made a very big impression in a very small period of time.

As with anyone in this position, he has attracted his unfair share of fans and haters.

A few weeks ago, there was an article that challenged the story he tells people.

Not just in terms of it’s message [Anyone can achieve their goals if they’re prepared to work hard for it] but his background.

As we all know, there are always 3 sides to any story – your side, their side and the truth – and while it is true many people who have dreams and work hard DON’T achieve their goals, I felt it was pretty harsh of the author to pick on that given that there’s literally no other way to achieve your goals … just some are lucky and some [most] aren’t.

But this is where I do agree with author of the article, because they correctly highlight ‘successful people get to tell any story they want’.

I find it amazing how many successful people reimagine history.

It’s not hard to work out that their goal is to ensure people view their achievements through the lens of their unique brilliance – whether that is attitudinal or through their acts.

Of course both of those elements would have had a part to play in their success, but to not acknowledge the luck they enjoyed is to create a narrative that is as deluded as most of the Linkedin write-ups I read.

That said, not everyone is like that …

Many, many years ago I met a very, very successful man.

He had made his fortune in air conditioning and when I asked him what he felt he owed his success to, he said, “1976”.

Basically, he had owned a small firm specialising in fans and air con. Business was OK but not setting the World alight until the summer of 1976, where the UK experienced it’s hottest summer on record.

In that summer, he created the foundation for his future fortune.

It wasn’t that people just wanted a way to immediately cool themselves down, it made companies realize they may need to have a solution for future summers in the office.

Yes, he had worked very, very hard during this time – and subsequent years – but as he said to me, he had always been working hard … it was the good fortune of extreme weather that made his efforts experience greater rewards.

In other words, luck.

And while he still downplayed the effort he put in to be successful, I remember even back then how refreshing it was to hear someone being humble about their success rather than claiming it was down to their unique abilities and vision.

Which is why I still follow the advice of my dad, which was always listen to the opinions/advice/experience of others but remember a good percentage of what they say – even if not intentional – is probably what they wish they did rather than what they actually did.

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I Am Just Sharing An Article Because That’s What You’re Supposed To Do On Social Media …
October 10, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Advertising, Agency Culture, Comment, Marketing, Marketing Fail

I don’t know if the article I’m linking to is true.

To be honest, it doesn’t matter if it is or if it isn’t, because I have no opinion on the matter.

Definitely not.

The only reason I’m sharing it is I have been called a social media whore in the past and this is my attempt to ‘upgrade’ myself to a social media escort.

The fact the article has some vague link to the industry I work in is purely coincidental, but as we’re here, I feel there are 3 things I should add:

+ I worked for WPP on 2 separate occasions.

It is a huge organization full of great companies and smart, talented people.

In my time there, my overall experience was generally positive.

+ WPP have done nothing illegal.

Immoral perhaps – given one of their agencies also did this anti-gun campaign – but not illegal.

+ While I appreciate that a corporation has a legal obligation to make money for their shareholders, a companies ‘values’ means nothing if you don’t live by them.

For the record, these are WPP’s values:

WPP & its operating companies have as their core values honesty, integrity & respect for people. These core values determine the way we approach business & they define the principles in which we expect our people to behave in the conduct of our business.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this story.

Or should I say, it will be interesting to see what happens next with this story.



Plane Crash Marketing …

Turkish Airlines have a history of questionable advertising decisions and it seems they still haven’t learnt their lesson because I’m not really sure flying an ad for their airline behind a micro-plane is the best branding idea I’ve ever seen.

That said, it will probably win a Cannes Gold next year.



Inspired By …

My whole family are connected to the law.

Not the bullshit, sharp-suit, high-charging wankers we hear so much about these days, but the guys fighting for genuine justice.

My father in particular hated what the legal industry had become … from being a discipline that fought for justice to one that now tries to keep problems going so they can keep charging exorbitant fees.

So what has that got to do with the picture of these Gummy Pandas.

Well, I saw these in a local Starbucks and I just thought how mad this was allowed to exist.

We all know it’s a take on Gummy Bears.

We all know they’re trying to steal business from Gummy Bears.

We all know they’re trying to make people think they’re getting Gummy Bears.

OK, so it’s a bloody sweet that you don’t really pay much attention to … but if this was a person, it would be identity theft and yet companies continue to pay huge amounts to law firms to protect their hard work when anyone can set up what is basically a duplicate brand by simply changing a letter or – in the case of Uncle Martian – not even putting in that effort.

Anyway, the real reason I’m writing this is because I wanted an excuse to link to my favorite ever Amazon reviews for [Sugar Free] Gummy Bears and I assure you, it’s way, waaaaay, waaaaaaaaay more enjoyable than this post.



Is Marcus A Devious Bastard?
September 14, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Brand Suicide, Comment, Marketing Fail, Standards, Talent

A few weeks ago I wrote about a Facebook ad Marcus sent me.

It was for some tech support social platform and – alarmingly – featured an illustration that looked very much like me.

As in, it looked EXACTLY like me.

Well either Marcus was behind it or he’s frequenting some very weird places on the net, because he just sent me another one.

Yes, another!

Same company.

Same social platform.

Same – but in a different pose – illustration of me.

WHAT. THE. FUCK?

I know we keep talking about the personalisation of ads, but this is ridiculous.

It also shows an alarming lack of strategy, because anyone worth their salt would know I wouldn’t want to be part of something I’m part of.



Proof The Ad Industry Is Having A Tough Time …
September 6, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Advertising, Comment, Marketing Fail, Sexism

I guess that as the sexist Kevin Roberts once ran this company – or one very much like it – it should not come as a surprise that they only sell men’s clothing.



Mask. Cape. Birkenstocks?

So yesterday I wrote about my new birkenstock t-shirt … and I bet you were thrilled with it. Ahem. Well today I’m keeping with the birkies theme, but I’m adding a bit of Hollywood glamour to it.

No, seriously.

You see I was recently reading a copy of Empire Magazine – the film monthly – when there was an article on the classic 90’s romp, Con Air.

For those of you who need a reminder what it’s about, have a look at this.

Did you watch it?

They don’t make movies like that anymore do they.

Sure, it’s bollocks, but it’s absolutely amazing bollocks.

Hmmmmm, that doesn’t look so good written down, does it. Oops.

“So where’s the birkenstock reference”, I hear no one cry.

Well, in the article, they talk about how John Cusack – one of the movies stars – was a bit of a dick on set.

Apparently he didn’t really want to do the movie but – having resigned himself to having to do it – he decided to throw his star power around.

This is how he did it …

Have you read it?

Have you?

Really?

Well if you have, you’ll know that he insisted on his character wearing Birkenstocks.

Yes, bloody birkies!

Apparently his rationale was …

“I want to be the very first action hero who wears Birkenstocks. Charlton Heston wore sandals and he kicked ass. I wanna do the same”.

Amazing eh?

But even more amazing than that is that we now can understand why John Cusack’s career went the same way as MH370.

Which also explains why I ended up in advertising which, a friend of mine recently called, The MH370 of careers.