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


Simple Advertising Is Great Advertising …

I’m 46.

I’m a husband.

And a father.

I supposedly hold down a senior job at a highly respected company.

I have responsibilities … mortgages and a bunch of other things ‘older people’ should have.

And yet despite all that, when I saw this ad for Hot Wheels, I totally got what they were saying.

Oh Hot Wheels.

When I was a kid, they were the toy cars to have.

Matchbox made the practical but Hot Wheels made the sexy.

The daring.

The souped up.

The ‘fuck, that looks cool’.

Kids who were good at maths would play with Matchbox but kids who could play the guitar would have Hot Wheels.

I must admit, I am shocked at all this emotion coming out of me despite the fact I haven’t bought – or played with – a toy car for at least 36 years. And that’s why I love this ad so much, because in an instant – and without showing any product whatsoever – I get it.

I totally get it.

Given this ad appeared on a motorway, I am assuming Hot Wheels actually want to target people like me.

Their goal being to awaken my memories of their brilliant toy cars and introduce my kids to them.

It could be because a while back I read Hot Wheels was a billion dollar company under threat.

Not from other toy car competitors, but because parents didn’t know how to play toy cars with their children. Especially Mum’s with boys.

[Don’t call me sexist, this is what they said]

Whatever the truth is, this ad worked for me.

It not only reminded me how much I loved Hot Wheels, it made me want to play with them with Otis. Which all goes to show that while the features of a brand can be copied, it’s spirit and values are always unique.



Why Differences Are Brilliant …

One of the things I absolutely love is when you hear a perspective on something that you never thought about.

Something that makes you stop and reconsider what you thought you know.

Not that it means your original perspective was wrong – as I’ve said before, there’s rarely a really wrong answer, just lots of degrees of right – but you just feel your eyes have been opened to something that you thought had no way of surprising you.

It’s like a revelation to me.

The reason I say this is because it happened when I read this interview with a bouncer …

Now maybe you’re thinking his statement was massively obvious, but I never looked at bouncers that way.

To me, they were there to stop trouble and maintain order.

Oh … and to look menacing.

[Except my best friend Paul is sometimes one and he is the opposite of menacing]

However, after reading “If you’re too drunk you’re not going to buy any drink”, I now realise their actions are as much about securing the profitability of the business as it is securing the reputation and environment of the premises.

In essence, they’re more than bouncers, they’re business managers.

Now of course, you could say this is a classic case of ‘reframing’, and maybe it is … but in my experience, it only works when it is born from a truth that people can immediately relate too, so even if that is the case, it’s still better than 95% of the stuff our industry has done.



Lazy Or Stupid?

So recently, I saw this ad in Shanghai …

Can you see the problem?

Have another look?

Yes … apart from the words CAR FREE DAY, they’ve literally used Lorem Ipsum for the rest of the text.

And for those who don’t know what Lorem Ipsum is … it’s dummy text used by the advertising and printing industry when space has to be left for copy but it hasn’t been written yet.

Now I appreciate we’re in China so there’s a small possibility the people behind the ad didn’t speak English so didn’t realise the difference.

But I have to be honest, I don’t really believe that.

And even if it was true, what about the people who commissioned the work?

Seriously, this might be one of the laziest/stupidest things I’ve seen in a long, long time.

This is an amazing country that is developing at an incredible rate but when I see stuff like this, I am reminded so much of it’s progress is based on the aesthetic because under the surface ‘good enough, is good enough’ still permeates so much of what passes as standards.



If LinkedIn Is About Professionalism, What Do Some Of The Statements Their Members Post, Say About Professionalism …

Yes … I know I am the last person to talk about professionalism.

And yes … I know Linkedin is kind-of an easy target, but some of the stuff people are putting on there these days blows my mind.

If I was an alien and looking at the site for insight on humans, I’d come to the conclusion there’s 2 types out there, the egomaniacs and the totally lacking in confidence.

Have a look at this …

What?

WHAT?

If it was some kind of psychological experiment, you could just about put up with it – but it doesn’t seem to be. It literally appears a guy called Jason [In a moment of compassion, I’ve deleted some of his info to protect what little honour he has left] wants to crowd source how he should style his facial hair.

And if that wasn’t depressing enough, he’s received over 5000 comments for it.

FIVE THOUSAND.

Seriously, what the hell?

It’s so depressing that I hope he’s only doing this so he could find gullible fools to sell some shit product too.

Honestly, what next …

What tie should you wear to work?

What breakfast should you eat?

What condom should you wear?

On the bright side, if this is the standard of professionalism these days, then it just might mean I am no longer at the bottom of the table.

Sure, I might still be in the relegation places, but no longer at the bottom.

Thanks Linkedin.



Running With Only The Odd Glance Back …
March 9, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Anniversary, Comment, Dad, Death, Emotion, Empathy, Fatherhood, Mum, Mum & Dad, My Fatherhood, Parents

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my wonderful Mum passing away.

If I’m being honest, I’m going through a strange time with it.

On one hand, it seems like yesterday.

The pain. The sadness. The despair.

When I stop and think about it, it re-awakens all the trauma from that day and the days that followed.

However, I am conscious that these thoughts only occur when I give them time to happen.

They are no longer just sitting in my mind, waiting to jump out … I have to open the door to let them in.

I think Mum would be happy about that.

She would never want me to still feel paralysed by the sadness of her loss.

All she would want is for me to think of her in happy terms … remembering the good times we had together.

And I do.

Almost every day.

But I have to admit, I feel a bit guilty about that.

It’s as if I’m not honouring her properly.

Part of it is because it took me 10 years to come to terms with my Dad dying.

Of course the circumstances between the two situations were entirely different, plus I now have Otis who ensures there is never enough time for darkness to fill my heart … but it still feels strange that only on her anniversary do I go back to ‘that day’.

I loved my Mum so much.

I still do.

I miss her every day.

I would do anything to talk to her one more time.

There is so much I want to tell her.

Of what has happened in the past 2 years.

Of what is about to happen.

I’d love to hear her opinion.

I’d love to hear her reaction.

I’d love to hear her questions.

I know this will sound ridiculous, but there are some days where I think I can.

No seriously.

It’s as if I’ve forgotten she has gone and all I have to do is ring her up.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I have stared at her Skype photo, just looking at her face.

I’ve talked to it. I’ve gently caressed it. I’ve even clicked on it a couple of times and let it ring … hoping she’ll pick up and everything will carry on as before.

But of course she doesn’t and she can’t … and yet there is something comforting that I still feel she is in my life.

By that I don’t mean it in terms of my memories – she’ll always be there – I mean the feeling that I’ve simply not spoken to her for a little while.

It means she lives in my present, not my past.

I know that sounds weird and I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable – but while today represents 2 years since one of the worst days of my life – she, and Dad, would be happy to know I face this day looking forwards rather than being stuck in the past.

Love you Mum.

As you can see from the photos, we’re doing well, especially Otis, so don’t worry about us.

I hope you’re holding hands with Dad and laughing.

Rxxx

Comments Off on Running With Only The Odd Glance Back …


Welcome To Australia, Please Put Your Watches Back 20 Years …

Before I begin, this is not Australia bashing week.

I know I wrote something about the place yesterday, but this is entirely coincidental.

Besides, laughing at the misguided taste of an Australian government department is not the same as laughing at the entire nation.

A nation where my wife originates.

A nation that my son holds a passport from.

A nation where I am classed as a permanent resident. For tax reasons. [Bastards]

OK? Good … so I will now begin.

Cynic stopped being a legal entity in 2010.

We had a great run and had a great time, but opportunities meant we wanted to explore other paths in life.

While we kept the website up, it was for nostalgia purposes rather than any belief we would one day restart it again.

Besides, legally we wouldn’t be able to do that because the name – and all property of it – belongs to someone else now.

So imagine my surprise when I received this …

Yep, seven years after putting the shutters up, an Australian award group have recognised our brilliance. Or something.

Of course it’s bound to be a scam because business situation aside, the website is very dated and so to be nominated for anything other than ‘website best maintained in mothballs’ there’s no way we should be on any list.

But of course I’ve accepted the offer because I am very keen to see how far this goes.

I appreciate competition is tough these days … but I am astounded how many emails/letters I get from companies that have obviously done no due diligence. The amount of companies who write to me without realising I’m based in China is amazing.

Let’s be honest, if these companies can’t get their basic information right, then why would I believe they could do a good job for me?

Given the importance of reputation, I am shocked how many organisations don’t seem to give a shit about it. And I appreciate that’s saying something coming from me and my Birkenstocks.



Why You Should Never Ask Normal People To Act In A Video As A Normal Person …

As most of you know, I love car-crash internal videos.

I love them for so many reasons …

The ridiculousness of ego.

The appalling lack of judgement.

The desperation packaged as confidence.

While I’ve written about so many of these things over the years, my favourite has always been Singapore’s Media Development Authorities corporate snuff video.

Or it was until I saw this …

No, it’s not a spoof.

It’s actually meant to make working in the Australian Department of Finance look attractive.

Apparently it cost $4,000 … having looked at it, that’s still $3,995 too much.

What were they thinking?

OK, I get what they were thinking, but how did they think this was good enough to release?

Hell, they should have known it was going to be a pile of fucking awful the moment they saw the ‘script’.

But no …

And then there’s the decision to use the real employees in it.

I appreciate the attempt to make it authentic, but people can’t act being people.

Hell, even Keanu Reeves – a Hollywood actor – finds it hard to act being a person.

I get some intern may not realise the stupidity of agreeing to appear in something like this … but what about the senior guys? Unless they had a gun put against their head, they should have absolutely refused to do it.

Hell, if they were threatened with death, they should have taken that option because the embarrassment of appearing in something like this – or even working in a place that does something like this – is potentially career destroying.

All in all, this is going to be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

They could have saved it if they came out and said, “guess we should stick to working with the numbers that run the country, rather than act”, but no they’ve said nothing which means they might think this is really good.

Oh dear.

The lack of self-awareness within companies and organisations that supposedly understand or represent the masses is mind-blowing.

Worse, their lack of appreciation that everything you do say’s something about you to all who experience it is bordering on insanity.

But on the bright side, their blindness is my light.