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


I Am A Muse …
August 9, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Brand Suicide, Comment, Marketing Fail, Standards, Talent

So a while back, Marcus [remember him?] sent me this …

Like him, I immediately thought it looked like me.

Then I looked again and I am convinced it’s me.

Sure, the glasses are wrong, but the rest is scarily right … so scarily right, I swear it has been taken from this video.

Now of course, there is a chance this is all one massive coincidence which would mean one of two things.

1. There is someone very, very unlucky out there.

2. If this ad career goes to shit, my calling appears to be in Tech Support.



A Reminder Why Grammar Is Important …
June 20, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Standards

… as seen in a store toilet in Australia.

Unless, of course, they really meant the toilet could only be used by disabled, elderly, pregnant children … which, in that case, means they should be located in Nottingham not Australia.



Fly The Unfriendly Skies …

Remember a long time ago I wrote about the Air France lounge in Paris.

In that post, I talked about the brief I got from Richard Branson for his Virgin Atlantic lounge at Heathrow.

Well recently I was in LA and went into the United lounge and this is what I saw.

Now I appreciate this may come across as a massive ‘first world problem’ and it is … but it’s also a massive brand problem for United, because if this is how they treat their business class passengers, god knows how you must feel if you’re in coach.

Seriously, how hard is it to put a bit of effort into your lounge.

Now they will claim they’re in a temporary location because they’re building something new and special … but that’s not really an excuse. Surely they could have sorted out a viable alternative while work was going on.

Is it so hard to arrange the room to look like it has had some care put into it. Offer some food that looks like you actually give a damn about the passengers who are going to eat it.

But here’s the bigger thing.

If your normal standards are going to be inhibited due to building work, then I’d imagine the sensible thing to do would be to over-deliver in terms of food and service so that your customers still feel valued, despite being in a smaller room with less natural facilities.

But not United … oh no … for them, they see this as a cost saving exercise, which is why they’re about as friendly as sitting next to Donald Trump on Air Force One.



You’re Either In Control Or Being Controlled …

Many of you may have already read this, but a while back, Politico magazine wrote a long – but fascinating – article about the moment George W Bush heard about 9/11.

What makes it especially interesting is they talk to people who were with him that day … from his Chief Of Staff, to his security detail to journalists to the pilots of Air Force One and the F-16’s sent to further protect the plan.

It is an amazing insight into one of modern histories most defining moments as well as being a wonderful lesson in how to give direction to chaos rather than letting chaos direct you.

You can read it here.



Lets All Laugh At The People Having A Terrible Time …

So writing a post this topical is a new experience for me, but I saw an ad being posted over and over again on social media this past weekend and I had to write about it.

This is the ad …

Now I admit, when I first saw it, I smiled and thought it was mildly humourous and then I realised what I was looking at was a company being massively exploitative and basically horrible.

This airline is using the break-up of a family … a family involving 6 kids … as an opportunity to try and flog their airline tickets.

Think about that for a moment.

Sure, the parents involved in the ad are huge celebrities … but does that give a company the right to literally piss on their pain for their own gain?

I don’t think so.

Imagine if someone did that to you in your moment of sadness.

Your marriage breaks up.

You lose your job.

A loved one dies.

I pretty much doubt you’d let a family member make a joke like that, let alone a total stranger.

Of course the marketing community will say I’m being a miserable old bastards and say this is a great example of being a ‘challenger brand’ or ‘cultural hijacking’ but that’s because a lot of the marketing community are a bunch of empathy devoid fucks who don’t know what the hell they are talking about.

Most of my career has been connected to challenger brands – and I’ve done more than my share of cultural hijacking – but I’ve never done work where I used an individual persons tragedy to big my client up … especially when my client and the individuals involved have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Is taking the piss out of companies who have done wrong, fair game?

Sure.

Is taking the piss out of people who have a reputation for a particular behaviour fair game?

Maybe … in very specific circumstances.

But even if the CEO of Hitler Industries endured a personal tragedy, I would never advocate using that as a platform to flog some airline tickets because if you have no empathy or standards, why do you think anyone should have it towards you.

Imagine if a Swedish Airline ran this ad after the terrible 2011 massacre in Norway:

Do you think Norwegian Airlines would be happy?

Do you think they’d say it was unprofessional and in terrible, terrible taste?

I am pretty sure they would, but it seems that rule would only apply if it concerns their wellbeing.

Pricks.

Of course some will say, “but the ad’s worked because people are talking about it” … but there’s 2 responses to that.

1. Awareness doesn’t mean effectiveness.

Given the ad is all about trying to flog some tickets to the US, it can only be deemed successful if they sold out. [And even that is open to intreptation given they may have only put a few tickets on ‘sale prices’ to justify the ad]

2. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

_______________________________________________________________________

I know you may think I’m going on and on about this, but if this kind of work becomes acceptable, where does the line get drawn?

More than that, if this sort of work becomes your baseline, what do you think people will think of you?

Sure, they may find you amusing, but does that mean they will want to give you their money.

Many years ago I was working with a big global consumer electronics brand that kept talking about wanting to do ads using Mr Bean because of the shows popularity in their market.

It was only when we pointed out that while people may like Mr Bean, how many would trust his advice to spend US$10,000 on a television.

I get the first rule for communication is to get noticed … but if revelling in others misery or misfortune becomes your schtick, then don’t start crying when people start turning on you. Just look at GREY FOR GOOD if you want more proof of that happening.



If You Think People In Advertising Get Paid For Nothing, You Should See Headhunters …

OK, so before I begin, not all headhunters are lazy fucks.

I have met a few who take a genuine interest in your career and offer advice – as well as guidance – in how you can, and should, move forward.

This involves taking a real interest in what makes you tick … some tough love … and a real desire to match your talents and quirks with an organisation who values the person as much as the job role.

But there’s not many of them.

Sadly, there are far more who are like this …

This is how I responded …

Then – realising their mistake – they tried to make amends, except they showed they completely missed the point …

To which I ended the conversation with this …

Seriously, what the fuck is going on with the recruitment industry.

Yes, I know this is the worst of it, but sadly there are far more of these lazy bastards than there are truly professional headhunters.

Why on earth would a company use them if they know they are paying for someone to randomly email folk on Linkedin.

Of course, the reason is because a lot of companies don’t really care about who they hire for their organisation as long as they sit down, shut up, do the job and can be replaced quickly.

There are some headhunters I would help.

Headhunters who I have got to know – and been helped by – for years.

Headhunters who see the person before the commission.

But to some random person from the internet who is too lazy to actually do their job properly … well, they can fuck off.

For all the talk of ‘talent being a companies most important asset’, it is increasingly obvious that speed is much more highly regarded, which is why I decided not to name and shame the person who sent me this, because ultimately they are simply a pawn in the whole seedy industry … an industry that seems to be doing an even better job than adland at turning itself into a commodity.



Passion In The Details …

So I was reading a magazine this week when I saw this …

As you can see, it’s a photo of the NBA offices in the US, but what I love is the way the area around the lift buttons has been designed to look like a basketball.

Not a big thing you may say … and you’re probably right, but that sort-of attention to detail shows someone who has thought about what they’re doing and cares about what they’re making and in this day and age, I find that more impressive and appealing than the hype that goes along with every big ad campaign launch.

For me, this is more evidence that some of the most interesting work these days is coming from design firms rather than ad agencies.

Maybe that’s because design has to think in the long term whereas most ad campaigns think about the next 30 seconds … but in terms of developing ideas with lasting and sustainable impact, I think design companies are miles ahead from most ad agencies these days and if anything should kick our arse to get back to our craft, it’s that.