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


Forget Foot In Mouth, I Have Punch In Mouth …

A while back, someone sent me the image above with the words, “you’re in a cartoon”.

While they didn’t specify which of the 2 characters they were referring was me, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out which.

I have an incredible knack of saying things that come out the wrong way.

Or can be interpreted as coming out the wrong way.

But believe it or not, I never intentionally do that.

OK, I 96.3% of the time never intentionally do that.

I swear it’s because of my Dad …

He had an incredible array of techniques, questions and words to put people either on the back-foot or to get them to reveal their true agenda … so I think I got it off him.

Of course, he was a brilliant prosecutor and I’m an OK advertising planner … so what he did was not only part of his job, but something he was revered for how he did it, whereas mine is, errrrrm … not any of that.

That said, some of his techniques are things I have used for years.

For example, when someone say’s something I disagree with – rather than just say “can you help me understand what you’re actually trying to say” [which I also occasionally do, hence the cartoon], I simply repeat whatever they’ve said to me, but in a slow voice and an intonation at the end that makes it sound like a question.

You’d be amazed how often this makes the other person back down or rephrase what they said in much more palatable way.

And while I am still learning at how to be a better person, the one thing I can honestly say is that at least I’m asking questions to learn and understand rather than just make corporate small-talk.

God I hate that stuff.

The attempt to bond over mutual superficial bullshit.

It’s not schmoozing … at least there’s a purpose for that, it’s pandering.

And while this could easily be read as an excuse, that sort of shit is – for me – far more insulting than anything I may accidentally or unintentionally aggressively say.

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What Disney Won’t Do For A Dollar …

Good news. Bad news.

Good news: Given I had yesterday off, that means you only have 4 days of this blog to deal with. Seriously, this is the slowest ‘easing you back into my rubbish’ that I may have ever done. What a Saint.

Bad news: There’s no more holidays for ages so prepare for a lot of it. That is if anyone reads this any more. Or if anyone read it, more like. Especially given the lack of comments which was – let’s admit it – the only reason people popped along. Damnit.

Anyway, I thought I had posted this a while back only to discover it was still in my ‘to post file’. The good news is 99.96% of my posts fail to hit the ‘topical sweet spot’ so I can still post it and no one will bat an eyelid.

I have a strange relationship with the Disney organisation.

I appreciate their history.

I appreciate their creativity.

I appreciate their craft and film making.

But they can also be a bunch of assholes.

This is not just based on the 3 years of weird shit – good and bad – I experienced with them when we were launching their park in Shanghai at Wieden [only for them to take the business off us at the last moment and hand it to Ogilvy simply because as the first park in the digital age – we wanted to use digital to bring the story of the characters journey to China to life] but because they have a history of putting their name to anything if they’ll get paid for it.

Now I have to admit they’re very successful at doing that … but it just reinforces there’s two groups the organisation. The craftspeople and the greedy exploiters.

OK, that’s like every company I suppose, but they just don’t even try to hide it … which is almost impressive if it didn’t rob you of the hope of someone good to believe in.

I know … I’m a sentimental idiot.

So you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was with how Disney decided to handle the merchandise for Black Panther Wakanda.

Rather than sell the rights to Kmart to be shoved on as many t-shirts as possible, they partnered with Actively Black.

Actively Black is a community-first, black owned and run company committed to advancing representation of Black creatives, designers, and brands and they actively invest in the health and wellness of Black communities worldwide.

They’re an amazing organisation and so it’s no surprise the merchandise proceeds would be put towards educational programs and resources that promote physical, mental and emotional health, HBCU athletics, social justice initiatives and DEI advocacy.

It was a great move, especially given the importance and significance of Black Panther in the Black and African American community. Not to mention honouring the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman.

It seemed Disney understood that of all the characters in the Marvel universe, this was one that had an even more significant role and position in culture and should be treated as such.

I say ‘seemed’ because then I saw this …

And to give you more details, there’s this …

What the absolute fuck?

A screwdriver set.

A FUCKING SCREWDRIVER SET!

I know Disney have form pimping their icons out, but a Kmart screwdriver set?

All that good will.

All that consideration.

All that sense they actually understood.

Let’s hope the reason is as my friend John stated:

“Calm down Rob … don’t you get that you need some serious power tools to dismantle the capitalist white supremacist patriarchy”.

We all know it isn’t.

But I wish it was.

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Listen To Your Audience More Than Your Ego …

Congrats, you survived my first week back.

OK, so it was only 3 days, but I’m still impressed.

But I don’t want you to heading into the weekend thinking you’ve already mastered the art of dealing with my rubbish, so here’s something to test you.

Good news.

It’s not about Queen.
Or Birkenstocks.
Or Nottingham Forest.

Bad news.

It’s about gadgets and cats.

You see a while back, I had to fly to the US and it just so happened to coincide with Jill and Otis being in Fiji [as you do]

While they were coming back the day after I’d left, it did mean Rosie the Cat would be on her own for a night.

Now she’s been on her own for a night before.

Hell, she was on her own for 15 nights when she had to do her quarantine when we moved to NZ – and that was after a hellish 26 hours in the cargo hold of a plane – but I still felt guilty about it.

So despite leaving more bowls of water and food to keep an army going for a year, I still wanted to know she was doing OK … which is where my love of gadgets comes in.

Putting aside the fact my plane had wifi – which is incredible in itself – I was able to use that wifi to connect to a camera in the house and see this …

There she is.

In NZ.

While I’m 40,000 feet in the air, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

But seeing my cat in real time while being so far away, surrounded by nothingness is not even the most impressive bit.

You see the reason her eyes are glowing as she looks directly at the camera is because she’s hearing my voice as I talk to her. TALK TO HER!!! LIKE I’M IN THE BLOODY ROOM. And that’s after I used an app on my phone to lower the blinds so she could feel more comfortable.

Go back just 25 years and doing this shit would be considered witchcraft. But here we are, able to do this wizardry without much effort or expense.

Madness.

Now I appreciate this topic has been discussed before and by people more articulate than I’ll ever be – for example disgraced comic, Louis CK with his ‘simpler times’ speech – however when you experience it, you realise the impact is far more powerful than words can say.

I loved being able to still look out for Rosie while I was far away.

Or at least, feel I was doing that.

Which is why for all my love of tech gadgetry, convenience and weirdness, its real power is realised when it enables your feelings rather than celebrates its function.

I know this is not new, but it’s amazing how few companies get that.

Even Ring – who literally made this happen for me – don’t seem to get it, which gives me the chance to reuse my fave Lucille Ball quote [and Colenso strat team sticker] to kind-of highlight one of the great issues with a lot of people working in marketing. And tech.

And for people who don’t know what the hell I’m trying to say, it’s this:

Listen to your audience more than your ego.

And with that, congrats on surviving this week and have a great weekend. To make things a bit sweeter, there’s no post on Monday because – drumroll please – THERE’S A HOLIDAY IN NZ.

I know. I know. We just had the World’s longest break, but not only is there one this Monday, we had one last Monday as well. Personally that would be my government campaign to attract talent to the country, but maybe that’s just me.

Beter go. Jill and Otis are in Australia, and as much as I miss them, I have countless true crime documentaries to catch up on.

Have fun.

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Media And Marketing Is So Lost, They Don’t Even Care What They Say Any More …

The media – and marketing – have perpetuated all manner of stereotypes over the years.

They spend enormous amounts of time and money painting psychological beliefs into society so they can profit from others shortcomings or vulnerabilities.

They don’t care if it destroys lives, to them that’s just canon fodder in the quest of riches, so everything is justifiable.

Which explains why we see so many things being labelled by the media and marketing industries … because it’s the perfect way to achieve mass social psychological manipulation.

You name it and they’ll have given a name to it.

Superfast.

Superfoods.

Superhair.

Supersoup

They’ll use a label to sell anything … from kale to self-help books to gender roles.

And while that is a fucking horrible way to behave, there is one thing that is pretty impressive and that’s their ability to not just never stop doing it … but to never stop inventing new bullshit labels to fuck with people.

Take a look at this …

A CEO body?

A fucking CEO body?

What does that even mean?

Do all CEO’s share a particular physical format?

I mean, I know Elon and Jeff went from dweeb to muscle mountains, but I’ve still met a bunch of CEO’s with very different body shapes to them.

Also, what sort of CEO are they talking about?

A CEO of a big company? A start-up company? A fast-food company?

Do they lead 3 employees or 33,000 employees?

Are they heading up a profitable company or a crypto disaster?

Do they write thought leader pieces on Linkedin or are they living in a social media blackhole?

And why are you only showing a man?

A white man.

Is it because you think only white men can become a CEO?

Have you inadvertently just explained the real reason behind corporate racism, prejudice and the glass ceiling all in one go?

And while I’m at it, can you explain what you mean by the term ‘midlife’ in your headline?

What is that?

Is it a specific number?

Is it 30?

What about 40?

I bet it’s a mid-number like 45 or something … just to mess with us.

Come on, don’t keep it to yourself. Is there a standard ‘midlife’ no one told me about.

You can tell me. I know at 52 I’ve likely passed it, but I’d still like to know.

Finally – and I really don’t want to be picky here – but why are you telling everyone what the 16 foods ALL men should be eating are?.

Is it CEO food?

Don’t CEO’s eat fancy and expensive stuff?

And if all men eat it, does that mean all men will become CEO’s?

How will that happen? Are there enough CEO jobs to go round to make that happen?

And what about the women who are CEO’s? Do they eat that food as well? Is that how they got to the top … they ate like a man and had a body like a man?

I’m so confused.

In fact the only thing that’s clear to me is how you’re using marketing labelling bullshit to add even more expectation and judgement on people’s lives just so you can attempt to profit even more from making society question how they are supposed to look and live.

All this coming from The Times newspaper.

The fucking Times!!!

Once the pinnacle of journalism and standards, now a peddler of utter horseshit.

Even more so when you think what their CEO’s body is like …

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure no one would want to look like that, let alone be like that.

And if The Times think they do, it may help explain why their readership keeps falling.

Dickheads.

Oh I really enjoyed writing that.

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Trouble Is Back …
February 1, 2023, 8:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Advertising, Attitude & Aptitude, Colenso, New Zealand, R/GA

Come on, you didn’t think I was not going to come back, did you?

I’m the cockroach of blogs. And advertising. And music. And good taste.

Besides, I really would love this blog to hit 21 before I blow it up.

Whether it will make it that long is anyone’s guess.

Whether I will make it that long is anyone’s guess.

But I’m going to give it a go because I’m annoying and pathetic like that … which means you still have 4 years to go.

I bet that feels so long away doesn’t it?

Probably as long as its feels you were enjoying the festive holiday season … but I do hope you had a good one.

I know I did.

Not just because in NZ we get a long time off.
Nor that in NZ people genuinely leave you alone.
But because I got to spend quality time with the family and that makes me enormously happy.

[I also got plenty of time to play video games, but that might ruin the ‘good husband/father/cat slave’ image I’ve tried to build up in this post]

That said, I’m back, feel fully rested and am raring to go.

I’ve also come back to 2 new/old brilliant planners in my team.

I say new/old, because they’re new to Colenso but old to me.

Martin and Meg were with me at R/GA in London and they’ve now come to be with me in NZ.

I say ‘with me’, but we all know the real reason they came was because they wanted to escape the madness of the UK. But that aside, I’m absolutely thrilled and – slightly overwhelmed/shocked – that they trusted me enough to come and deal with my bullshit all over again. What wonderful fools. So with them – and Shelly, who joined from the UK in December – the team is even more of a gang of talented misfits and that makes me happy and very, very excited for the mayhem we can cause.

I appreciate this is a massively indulgent post, but it is my blog and as I’ve still kept the comments off, I’ll assume you’re OK with it. Even though I’m pretty sure this will ignite the daily abuse of emails to start again from Andy, John, Dave and Baz [but sadly not you Lee or George], all telling me I’m only fooling myself.

Unfortunately for them, as far as I’m concerned that’s the only way to live.

See you tomorrow, with a killer of a post. And by killer, I mean you’ll want to kill yourself. Or me. OK, definitely me.

Ta-ra.

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