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


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.

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Money Makes You Badass …
October 9, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Before Fame, Confidence

A long held belief is that money makes you more attractive.

Not because you can afford cosmetic surgery, but because for some people, the prospect of wealth makes you look past the outer ugliness of the person who currently has it.

Well I recently saw a photo of Jeff Bezos and he proves wealth doesn’t just make you better looking, it makes you The Terminator.

I’m now going to spend the week trying to ignore the fact I look more like Jeff the book seller.



America Has A Portion Control Problem …

As many know, America is the most obese nation on earth.

When you know this, I guess it’s less of a surprise when they say anyone who spends 2 weeks in America will put on approx 8 pounds in weight.

I could talk about the many, many reasons that contribute to this situation – from poverty to profit to, as I read recently, that the biggest fear for anyone who has guests is running out of food … hence they overcook by significant amounts.

Anyway, this is all an excuse to show you this picture …

As you can see, it’s a mountain of onion rings.

If you look carefully behind them, you’ll see the look of shock on my sons face.

Now you may think that is an optical illusion, but it’s not … it really was that big.

But here’s the amazing thing.

That wasn’t a portion of onion rings … that was a half portion.

HALF!!!

Seriously!!!

Apart from the fact if you ate that amount there isn’t enough toothpaste in the World to stop your breath smelling of onion for 19 years, that was the starter.

The bloody starter.

Now I like onion.

I bloody love onion.

But even I couldn’t eat more than a few strands and so there was an enormous amount left which – I presume – was then thrown away.

A while ago – 3+ years to be exact – I wrote about the insane portion control of the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC.

What made it worse was they were running a campaign at the time about stopping hunger.

Well given that obesity is a cause of so many illnesses in America – illnesses that have a huge, detrimental affect on the economy – I can’t work out why the government don’t mandate portion sizes at restaurants. Yes, I know for many people, they take what they don’t eat back home … but how much of that is actually eaten versus kept in the fridge for a few days and then thrown out.

The irony here is that fast food restaurants – the ones who often get the most abuse – are way, way, way better than more ‘formal’ restaurants.

Part of that is because they don’t want lawsuits against them … part of that is that they know their audience so well that they know how much they actually eat and part of that is that they have a huge number of stores, so they don’t have to win on quantity but simply offering the convenience of giving people what they want when they want it.

But these big ‘restaurants’ aren’t like that and that’s why I feel they are particularly guilty of creating food wastage.

For me, it is one of the worst things in society.

We have people hungry and we have people getting ill because of obesity.

It wouldn’t take much to actually start helping to reduce this, but sadly America has been sold the belief that quantity always trumps quality and until that attitude starts changing, then the allegedly most powerful country on Earth, will continue to act in a way that seems weak.



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.



History Repeats Itself …
October 2, 2017, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment

Well just like last Monday, I’m going to be traveling for the next 3 days, which means you’re safe from my blog rubbish for another 3 days.

I don’t know how you did it, but it appears Deutsch are more desperate to keep me out of the office than Wieden were.

See you Thursday, you lucky, lucky people.



James Blunt Might Be Becoming My New Hero …

I know … I know … I really did write that blog post header.

And yes, I really am talking about James Blunt, the man that can make a choir on Songs Of Praise [is that still going] look like Black Sabbath in their prime.

But don’t forget, this is a guy who is disarmingly self aware.

A guy who uses his self-depreciation to turn you from a hater into a fan.

OK, not a fan of his music but – as I wrote here – a fan of who he is.

And recently I saw something that just makes me like him more …

Yep, that’s James Blunt on Tinder.

A man who people think has got laid more than a $2 crack whore in a room of drunk and horny jocks.

OK, so getting laid a lot is part of the ‘rock star’ cliche, but I still find this move to be brilliant.

Not just because he has found a way to make money from his perception.

Not just because he partnered with platform that is the epitome of his perception.

But because he has shown that when you deal with the commentary others have about you directly, you don’t just rob them of their ammunition, you give yourself a chance to change that perception.

I’ve talked about this a lot – I called it the 8-Mile strategy, after the Eminem movie, specifically the end rap battle at 6 minutes 40 seconds – but it’s also something else I wrote about.

The power of unplanned planning.

Unplanned is where a brand speaks in seemingly obvious terms.

Not in terms of what they do, but in terms of what people think you do.

For example, when Scalextric – the model car racing brand – embraced the perception the only reason men want their little boys playing with Scalextric is because it gives them an excuse to play it for themselves.

Did you click on the link?

Seriously, you should – it not only demonstrates what I’m blathering on about, it’s a great ad.

Great because it’s funny. Great because it’s relatable. Great because it doesn’t fall into marketing bullshit.

Can you tell I really, really like it?

So why do I think this approach works when the industry is seemingly so obsessed with talking about bigger purpose stuff?

Because in my opinion, it’s easier to nudge people’s perception of you if you talk in the context of how they already view you rather than spending millions trying to convince them that who you are is totally different to what they believe or are willing to accept.

It is, in some ways, the ultimate demonstration of honesty.

A lot of brands could learn from that.



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.