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


The Past Is An Indicator, Not A Fact …

Have a look at that article.

It’s not that long ago really is it, and yet the fortunes of Apple are beyond comprehension.

Probably even beyond what Steve Jobs imagined … though I doubt, if he was alive, he would admit that.

But while the iMac was much more successful than the journalist suggested it would be … its greatest achievements were re-introducing Apple to the world, positioning them as a real alternative to Microsoft and creating a platform for the brand and products to keep rising.

Now it would be easy to laugh at how wrong the journalist was with their article, but the reality is most people in the industry at that time thought that about Apple.

However the reason had less to do with the launch of the iMac and more about the recent history of the brand.

The choices.
The decisions.
The products.

But in doing that, they highlighted four of the great mistakes so many still make:

1. Immediately skeptical of anyone trying to do something new.
2. Believed the standard for success had been set by the market leader.
3. Evaluated products against current audience needs, not future audience needs.
4. Forgot how much truly great marketing can make people give a shit.

I say this because our industry often operates like this journalist.

Basing our point of view on ‘facts’ that reflect what has happened rather than what is going to happen.

Now I get why … what we do costs a lot of money and has a lot of implications and so clients rightfully want to minimise their exposure to risk as much as they can.

But despite this focus on certainty, we still see missteps and failures every single day, largely down to us – and clients – evaluating everything by the same 3 mistakes the journalist did towards iMac back in 1998.

This is not to suggest we should ignore what clients need.

Nor is it that we should disregard costs.

It is simply a reminder that if we only judge/plan/justify/execute through the lens of the rear-view mirror, the only thing we can be certain of is we will be going in the opposite direction to culture and success.



And You Thought The Mouldy BK Burger Ad Was Provocative …

The fast food industry is having a hard time.

As tastes change and a more healthy lifestyle becomes more desirable, it is getting more difficult for them to operate as they once did.

While some brands are evolving their offering – like McDonald’s – others are taking a more pragmatic perspective.

The most famous, recent example is the BK Mouldy Burger which ignited all manner of debate – often with people quick to say it won’t work without anyone actually knowing what the goal of the work actually was.

Well in South Korea there’s a burger company that makes BK look positively innocent.

It’s not just how they used Supreme to inspire their logo in a way Uncle Martian would be jealous of.

Nor is it their audacious copyright infringement of famous cartoon characters to talk about themselves.

And it’s not even their proud claims of being ‘100% Beef Meat’.

No … it’s none of those, it’s their utter confidence of their product over their competitors.

Take a look …

Amazing eh?

Not just the aggressiveness … but the choice of words.

Linking the words ‘burgers’ and ‘shit’ makes a mouldy burger look positively appetising.

Then there’s the fact it’s in English.

When I lived in China, there were a bunch of stores that used English in their copy.

Sometimes it was for the audience it was targeting.

Sometimes it was because they thought it made them look ‘sophisticated’.

But a lot of the time – as I think is the case here – they did it because it enhanced their ‘authenticity’.

Given burgers are very American, I feel their idea was that by using English and being aggressive in their tone, they encapsulated the American spirit and as such, could say their burgers were authentic.

Of course, given Burger King and McDonald’s are also American slightly undermines that idea, but hey – it doesn’t seem they really put too much thought into how they came across.

I must admit, when I saw it, I couldn’t help feel it was like a Viz fake-ad from the 80’s.

Viz – for those who don’t know – was/is an English ‘adult-humour’ comic.

Years ago, I approached them about starting an ad agency.

They said no, which still disappoints me as not only were their spoof ads brilliant, but based on both Billionbox and BK’s recent work … there’s more and more brands seemingly trying to copy their style but without the brilliance, clarity, humour or memorability as them.



A Kodak Moment Is Now An Embarrassing Moment …

Kodak.

A company that once was synonymous with photography that is now synonymous with failure.

There are a million stories detailing their demise, but fundamentally, it wasn’t because they couldn’t innovate [they were one of the pioneers of digital photography], they didn’t want to bring it to market because they didn’t want to kill their photographic developing business, even though that business was going to kill them if they continued with it.

But this post isn’t a bad history lesson, it’s about the new Kodak … the lean, mean, technology machine.

Have a look at this …

Yep, it’s the World’s first 360 degree action-camera with 4k picture detail.

OK, so you could say bringing out a device like this, years after GoPro blew-up the market, shows Kodak still have a habit of being late to change, but at least this time they are trying to offer a fundamentally better product than what is currently available – not to mention leveraging the 360 degree market, that seems to have come from nowhere.

But even that isn’t what this post is about.

No, what this is about is that based on this ad, Kodak still think it’s the 1980’s.

A few years ago, I wrote how one of GoPro’s strengths was how they were part of the culture they were making products for. This authenticity separated them from the countless other brands that tried to jump on the bandwagon – even when they had arguably better products.

Two years later and it seems some brands still haven’t grasped the importance of focusing on the culture, rather than the category.

Look at that ad. Look at it.

It’s fucking horrible.

If a photo of the London skyline from a bloody restaurant wasn’t bad enough [what the hell is ‘action cam’ about that???] … what about the utterly terrible shot of the product.

A brown square with a shitty dome on top.

It looks like a crap 1950’s robot toy that you’d find in a Kinder-Surprise.

What the hell were Kodak thinking?

And then there’s the product name and the font choice.

PIXPRO … using a stencil type font in a desperate bid to look cutting edge.

If your product is the ‘future’, you don’t need to use a shitty font because people will work it out for themselves. And even if you decide you absolutely, positively, desperately want to do it … my advice is to not use a font that is synonymous with the 1982!

And what’s that line … ‘Brings You Closer’.

What does it even mean?

Here is a product that gives you 360 degree views [which, arguably, they don’t even show in the ad] and they use that line.

Mind you, here is a product that gives you 360 degree views in 4k quality, and they don’t even help you understand what 4k quality means to the recipient.

There is so much they could do to make people want to know more – even using an old-school print ad – but no, they’ve gone for the worst advertising you could get.

Apparently the product is quite good … but sadly for Kodak, with a name that represents the past rather than the future and an ad that reinforces that perspective, I think the only view they’ll be seeing is their once great name growing smaller and smaller into the distance.



Whoever Said ‘There’s Nowt As Queer As Folk’ Had Never Met A Japanese Product Manufacture …
October 19, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: Crap Products In History, Embarrassing Moments, New Product Mentalness

After the ‘heaviness’ of the past 2 days of blog post subject matter, I thought I’d end the week on something lighter.

Or maybe it’s not.

Maybe it’s an issue that is so deep and dark, few people recognise its significance except suffering from it.

What am I talking about? This …

Please discuss.



Why The Musical Genre Of Metal Could Be A Danger To Your Sex Life …

I love metal.

Not the stuff you build things out of, but the music genre.

Now I know some of you regard that as the musical equivalent of ISIS, but I don’t care.

Of course I like other genres, but for me, metal is best.

Maybe some of that is because – as a guitar player – my instrument of choice is upfront and centre, but mostly, I just love the way it reaches inside you and squeezes your soul.

In my younger days, I took this appreciation of heavy rock to an extreme … from having [believe it or not] long hair to wearing the sort of clothes that today, would have you either arrested or considered a homeless person.

Of course nowadays I choose to just enjoy the music rather than live ‘the lifestyle’ but even if that wasn’t the case, I still doubt I would be rushing out to buy this …

That’s right, it’s a heavy metal inspired fragrance.

Now I appreciate other musical genres have done this but it just seems super wrong for metal.

Metal was built on a foundation of rawness and power and this just feels … all pampered and nice.

OK, I appreciate time has moved on from my days going to Rock City on a Friday night, but it seems totally at odds with the principals metal was built on.

Bloody hell, I’m taking this all a bit too seriously aren’t I!?

But I’m not finished yet. Oh no.

For a start, what does ‘BE MORE. BE METAL’ even mean?

It sounds awfully like the sort of bollock lyrics you’d hear on an early Judas Priest album.

Oh hang on, that’s why … because this product was created by none other than K K Downing, the lead guitarist of that very band.

What a coincidence.

On one hand I have to admire his entrepreneurial spirit. It takes a lot of balls to actually do something like this.

However, on the other hand, I have to question his sanity.

Not just because he has entered an oversaturated category where the multitude of competitors spend hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing … but because even if I was totally into the metal music lifestyle, I’d find it hard to ‘buy into’ a brand that was created by a 64 year old man who plays guitar for a semi-retired band, originates from the antithesis of fantasyland [better known as West Bromwich], calls himself K K [admittedly because it stands for Kenneth] and looks like this:

.

I’m not being a dick, I’m being a realist.

And if you still think I am being prejudiced, have a look at this interview and then tell me if you would want to be seen buying – let alone wearing – this fragrance.

The defence rests it’s case.

Sorry K K. I admire the passion, but I think the years of being hit in the head by your pounding, powerful riffs have fucked with your brain.