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.



If Marketing Automation Means Sending Out Emails With Statements That Don’t Lead Anywhere …

… then the answer is a definitive no.



Accidental Porn …
August 7, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Names

So I was in a toyshop recently when I saw this …

Now I appreciate this might say more about how my brain works rather than the manufacturers, but does this sound dodgy to you?

Woodman?

WOODMAN?

OK, so the thing is made of wood, but come on …

Look at the pose of that ‘icon’.

Hands on hips.

Thrusting groin.

Shit-eating smirk on its face.

This is pure filth masquerading as innocence.

Then there’s the fact we’re talking about a toy that is a big, steam engine that is thrusting itself into a deep, dark tunnel and the manufacturers may as well just slap a ‘Pornhub’ logo on the box and be done with it.

I know … I know … I’m talking utter shite, but it’s Monday morning so what do you expect?



Why Wonder Woman Was Always Wonderful …
August 4, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Culture, Empathy, Insight, Women

So as we all know, the recent movie ‘Wonder Woman’ was a massive success.

What is even more gratifying is that it was a movie that studios had resisted making for years – thinking it would never be popular.

Now I am sure if you were to ask them what those reasons were, they would have many – but I’m also sure that if you were to hear them, the overwhelming reasons we’d determine from their answers would be sexism and prejudice.

But this isn’t about the movie, it’s about the 70’s TV show.

OK, so there might be people who come on here who have no idea what I’m talking about, but decades ago, Wonder Woman was a TV show staring Lynda Carter.

While I remember it, I don’t remember much about it other than it was different to the usual 70’s superhero TV shows of Batman and The Six Million Dollar Man.

But here’s the thing, while I categorise it as a classic ‘entertainment’ show from my childhood, a recent interview with Lynda Carter makes me realise it was so much more.

Not that long ago I met someone who asked what my earliest memories about black people on television were.

When I thought about it … it was Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch and the adopted brothers from the show Different Strokes. As soon as I said it, I realised the significance. My frame of reference for any black person on television during my formative years was a guy on the edge of society and 2 kids ‘saved’ by a rich, white person.

Fuck, that’s horrible.

But imagine how it must have felt if you were a black kid in the 70’s.

Fortunately I grew up with parents who would never let me get seduced by those media stereotypes – not to mention a diverse group of friends who made sure I would never define someone by their colour or gender – but I know not everyone is like that.

Which leads back to Lynda Carter and Wonder Woman.

While all the plaudits for female empowerment are going to the recent movie, the fact is the star of the original TV show was endeavoring to do that decades ago.

While the significance of her actions may have passed me by, I imagine if you were a little girl in the 70’s watching it, it didn’t.

Having a show about a ‘super woman’ must have been good in itself, but having a show where the lead actress approached her role by saying, “… she didn’t have any particularly super X-Ray vision or anything, she just wasn’t going to put up with anything from anybody” must have been absolutely empowering and inspiring.

Seriously, when I read that, I wanted to stand up and cheer

Role models are vital.

Not just for ‘minorities’ to feel heard and valued, but for the majority to not allow prejudices to be nurtured.

So while society may be focusing on the empowering actions of The Spice Girls, Cindy Gallop, Gal Gadot or Emma Watson … it’s worth remembering and celebrating the original Wonder Woman – literally and metaphorically – Lynda Carter.



Why A Bin Is Better Than Earth Hour …

I’ve written about my skepticism of Earth Hour.

And while I appreciate any bit of good is good, I feel the problem with Earth Hour is that it lets people off the hook for the remainder of the year just because they turned their lights off for a few hours on a single day.

Recently I saw this …

Yes, it’s a bin.

A simple bin in the airport.

But what I love about it is the fact it says LANDFILL, rather than rubbish.

Maybe this is nothing new – maybe this is just a byproduct of having lived in China for the past 7 years – but by ensuring I knew exactly what was going to happen to what I put inside it, it made me look at what I was doing.

I’d like to think I give a shit about the environment, but I can honestly say that bin had a stronger effect on me than Earth Hour. Not only that, but that bin won’t let me off the hook for the rest of the year. It will be there – every time I pass it – reminding me that my choices will determine how much I poison the planet.

The other thing this does is highlight my big problem with adland … which is that it loves to communicate problems rather than solve them.

When a bin [and let’s remember, this is not the first time this has happened] produces more effective solutions than much of adland – and certainly what adland awards at shows like Cannes – maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what we view is creativity.

Please don’t think I am pissing on the power of communication or ignoring the importance of craft and exploration – of course I’m not – but for an industry that celebrates the freedom of creativity, it’s amazing how limited we are in our execution of it.

Of course part of that is our ego – because not only do we like to think that we can solve all the problems of the universe, but we feel simply ‘renaming’ something is beneath our creative brilliance, despite it potentially being more effective than a Worldwide campaign asking us to turn our lights off for the night.

I think this is why I loved Fearless Girl and Mr Parking Ticket Nerd because at the end of the day, they have understood our industry is at it’s most powerful when we’re at the creative end of business rather than the business end of creativity.



I Know They Say Too Much Coffee Can Be Dangerous But This Is Ridiculous …

When I was younger I loved pocket knives, especially swiss army knives.

Not because I was a mugger – though I am from Nottingham – but because I found the way all the different elements came together in one small package, fascinating.

While I have grown up since those days [as have Swiss Army Knives, judging by this monster] I still find my eyes drawn to them when I see them, which is why this caught my attention.

But then, I looked a bit closer and saw it was a special edition.

And then I looked closer still and saw it had a picture of something that looked like a bloody Nespresso pod on its blade.

There’s a simple reason for that, because the image is supposed to be of a Nespresso pod, because this knife is made from recycled poncey coffee pod packaging.

I have to be honest, I didn’t know what to make of this.

Without doubt, one part of me thought it was bloody awesome, and yet another part of me hated it because by pointing out the specific material they recycled to make their product, I felt it was some sort of ‘official’ alliance and suddenly it was less about helping the earth and more about exploiting it.

Of course I knew I could be wrong – as I usually am – however when I looked into it, I found this descriptor on the Victorinox website:

“Two Swiss innovators, one directional collector’s piece. Meet the Pioneer Nespresso Livanto: a Swiss Army Knife with sustainability at the heart of its design blueprint. The second limited edition from this unique collaboration between Victorinox and Nespresso, it fuses a solid eco conscience and heritage with intricate engineering. This utility piece features scales crafted from 24 recycled coffee capsules in a striking bronze hue. It’s where green living meets coffee culture and intrepid adventure.”

… and in an instant, Victorinox and Nespresso left a horrible taste in my mouth, even worse than their coffee but – thankfully for them – not as bad as their ads.



James Blunt Is Sharp …
August 1, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Cunning, Empathy, Insight

James Blunt.

Yes, his music is horrific but I have to admit, I find his self-depreciation very amusing.

Anyone who tweets, “If you thought 2016 was bad – I’m releasing an album in 2017” is alright by me.

But there’s something about him I like even more about him and that’s his openness to career highs and lows.

For a man who sold millions of records, I can’t imagine what it must feel like being the opening act to that other massively annoying songwriter, Ed Sheeran.

Sure, you could argue he’s going to be playing to massive crowds wherever he goes.

Sure, James and Ed seem to have a bromance going on, so he gets to hang with his mate.

But I know people in adland who wouldn’t take a job – even if their livelihood depended on it – if they thought it would make them look like they were taking a step backwards, so given Mr Blunt works in an industry that regards acting like a diva as acceptable, that makes him pretty special in my book, at least in terms of character.

Of course, when you have been in the army and seen incredible horror and are a multi-millionaire playing to thousands of people around the World every night – even if you’re relegated to ‘opening act’ status – I guess that career low isn’t that hard to deal with.

But hey, while I won’t listen to his songs, I will happily read his tweets.