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


I’ve Got The First Day Blues …
January 8, 2007, 10:03 am
Filed under: Comment

Brews & Blues Fest Sat 10-02-04 053

It seems like I’ve been off for weeks [always a good sign of a good holiday] but today I am officially ‘back at work’ and as much as I love what I do, I could quite easily sit on my arse and do nothing for the rest of my life.

Now I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong … and my mate, Mark, is living proof that you can have a great life without ever working.

No, he’s not a dole-bludger, it’s because he won a bucketload of cash on the National Lottery [plus a further FIFTY GRAND on a scratch card about 6 months later] and he’s done nothing but ‘live it up’ for the best part of 5 years without giving even a second thought towards working again! 

OK … OK … he has invested his cash very, very, very well in property, but it’s hardly real work is it!?   The Bastard … hahaha!

Anyway, I suppose what makes my first day back even worse is that I have to fly to Malaysia to speak at a 2 day conference … which is hardly ‘easing my way back into it’ eh?

The last time I had to give a speech on the first day back at work was years ago, at a conference when we’d just started cynic

After I’d spoken, I asked if there were any questions and this bloke from DDB NYC said,

“That’s all very interesting, but given I’ve never heard of you or your company, why should I believe it?”

It was a fair question I suppose, and had he not had such a smug look on his face I am sure I would have answered it in a calm and professional manner … however, as he was obviously trying to look good infront of other ad agency folk – and I was in serious post-holiday depression – I found myself replying …

Fair point … Fair point … but I’ve been talking for 40 minutes and I think everyone in this room knows what cynic stands for … your agency has been around for decades and I don’t know what the fuck you stand for!”

Cue: Riot.

Seriously, there was outrage and it was only made worse when Andy started shouting, “RIOT, RIOT, RIOT” which the microphone picked up and amplified at 10,000 decibels!

Of course, like most things, it all ended OK in the end because …

1. It led to a big discussion about ad agencies and their [lack of] differentiated positioning.

2. The people who agreed with us were all at agencies/companies we loved and respected.

3. We were given projects from Virgin, BBC America, IKEA and NASA [yes, THAT NASA] almost immediately.

4. Crispin Porter, asked us about working on projects together.

5. It got our name out far more than we ever hoped … or planned for … hahaha!

So what does all that have to do with the conference I’m about to attend?  Well, put simply, it could be a hell of a start to my working year if any one of the delegates gives me a funny look … hahaha!

Happy 2007 everyone … it’s going to be a big one!  [Though maybe not, after I’ve answered my 10 evil questions which will be later this week. Unfortunately!]

PS: Well done to my beloved Forest for beating Premiership ‘Charlton’ 2-0 at the City Ground and thanks to Age for finding this great quote on the power/importance of ‘Understanding’.


20 Comments

Best conference Col and I ever attended and I am sure Alex feels the same.
Welcome back.

Comment by Pete

Can I use that comeback one day?? Fucking brilliant.

Comment by Age

Of course you can Age, but I’d recommend you have your own company when you say it. Or a death wish. We had both, ha

Comment by Rob

Joyous sarcasm.
Long may it continue…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

That is the best comeback I have heard in ages. Wish I had seen it. Hope you cause another riot in Malaysia!

Comment by Gavin Heaton

Maybe it was jetlag … maybe it was because I spoke to quick and they couldn’t understand me … but generally everyone was well behaved.

I say ‘generally’ because I did have a ‘minor tat’ with someone from DDB [what is it with them?] who questioned whether I would know Asia as well as him [an Asian] to which I replied, “I’m not a woman but it didn’t stop me being able to sell tampons to females” [He shut up then!]

I fucking detest this small minded attitude – it’s pathetic. Sure, I’ll never know Asia like a local, but does he think I just ‘take a guess?’

I/we spend soooooo much time getting a grip on the culture and the dynamics shaping it … and that can only happen by using the traditional research methods [data/interviews/field trips etc] as well as utilising the weird and the wonderful which include using Lonely Planet writers as ‘in-the-field’ planners!

Infact, given the cultural prejudices inherent within each nationality, I would say our ability to understand how each culture operates both independently and within different cultures, means we’re probably better equipped to make a call on how best to motivate people in Asia than some of home-grown experts. [They tend to have very prejudice views on nationalities because of how they’ve been raised]

A planner can’t express what they want to happen, their job is to represent the needs, wants, fears [etc] of the people.

By having an open mind … listening … empathising … understanding, then – and only then – can you develop an idea that will help clients business whilst almost meaning something of value to the consumer.

The clever bit of course, is finding the ‘key’ [read: insight] that unlocks fresh, interesting creativity [regardless of channel] whilst still being unbelievably relevant to the consumers needs/wants and the clients business requirements.

In truth, it’s still not that hard to do yet despite all this supposed planning intelligence out there, we have more bad communication than at pretty much any other point in history.

Maybe the creatives are right – we’re a fucking waste of space – and without doubt, we’ve made more and more creatives lazy, [too many now ‘execute’ rather than ‘create’] but that’s a story for another day.

Comment by Rob

And what a story it will be…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

i await your rant with baited breath and an iron baseball bat.

Comment by andy @ cynic

i didnt shout riot, i shouted “theres going to be a riot” and there would have been if it hadnt been for those pesky organisers stopping it all. this sounds awfully like a scooby doo episode doesnt it.

Comment by andy @ cynic

This should be a fun dicussion.
I’ll prepare my “there’s going to be an inter-cynic riot” cue card.

Hope your tagging is coming up soon Andy.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

1. You sooooooooooooo agree with me about the standard of thinking demonstrated [or should I say ‘not demonstrated’] by many of todays creative people. Hell, you rant about it over and over again. [Found a great example to make you froth at the mouth with!]

2. I stand corrected.

3. You’re not back till Monday so STOP BLOGGING or ‘er indoors will cut your balls off.

4. Happy New Year.

Comment by Rob

yes robert mortimer, i am going to do your tagging as soon as i am back at work, but it appear on robert (2) blog as ive been locked out of mine for not updating it for months. hope you like the fact i have made rob campbell number 2, i know i do

Comment by andy @ cynic

ok robert (2), ill let you off as i do agree. got to go before i turn into bobbet or whatever his name was.

Comment by andy @ cynic

Thanks Andy(9) … haha!

Comment by Rob

rob. welcome back. let’s see how you do when you play my beloved chelsea. i think the theme is going to be something about boys meet men…
great post to kick off 07

Comment by Gareth

How I wish it was Boys Meet Men – unfortunately with the situation Forest has gone through over the last 30 years, I believe Has Beens Meet Men would be a more appropriate description!

Comment by Rob @ Cynic

Try being a Leeds supporter…..

Comment by Northern Planner

Sorry Northern Planner – I’d rather be an Iraqi!

Comment by Rob

if you dont call me back in the next 10 minutes, youll be saddam, let alone an iraqi. clocks ticking.

Comment by andy@cynic

I have been but you’re obviously embarking on your favourite past-time … being engaged. Boom Tish!

Call me when you’re free again or just log onto the VC.

Comment by Rob




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