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

Not All Publicity Is Good Publicity …
March 22, 2007, 10:31 am
Filed under: Comment

Madness @ Guilfest 03 It’s Madness!

So recently I was given a quite interesting bit of news …

The film company who did our Walkman spots decided without our knowledge, to re-edit one of the ads [the weakness one, Calvin] and then – in a moment of quite stunning stupidity – put it into Adage for a creative review.

The fact they did this was bad enough … but given their re-editing extended to the storyline, the sound effects and the background music … we ended up with an ad in an International industry magazine that was about as bad as you could possibly get.

And Bob Garfield – the self professed God of creativity – obviously agreed.

He hated it so much that he wrote a massive article on it … scathing pretty much every single aspect of the spot.  Infact such was his loathing that he summed it up with the words, “So bad it’s embarrassing”

 bottom_2.jpg Bunch of Arse!

Now opinions are like arseholes – we all have them and some are pretty and some are pretty ugly – and whilst this was definitely on the ‘bad side’, he did raise some valid comments which need to be taken into account for next time.

Well, that is if there is a next time …

SONY are quite sensitive to this sort of thing and even though we had nothing to do with it … and it was reviewed by a man whose pro-Americana stance puts George Bush to shame … they are quite rightly upset, embarrassed and angry.

Of course we have professed our innocence but it isn’t exactly going down well with the ‘powers that be’.

So where does that leave us? 

Well … pretty much where we started … having to nurture a client who is paranoid of doing anything that could potentially put off a consumer – which is why they tend to fall back onto pointless, mindless, boring tat.

Look, I never professed the Walkman ads would change the brands short-term success, it was a starting point in making the brand relevant again – however because of the madness of one person, everything could now take a giant step backwards – which is bad news for us, SONY, Walkman and ultimately the consumer – because for the first time in a long time, SONY are developing Walkman products with the care and attention they deserve.

sidesplitting It’s side splitting!

Infact the only person who is finding it really funny is Andy – not just because he didn’t have anything to do with the campaign … but because he thinks being slagged off by Bob Garfield is [to coin a phrase from Margaret Thatcher] like being ‘savaged by a dead sheep’.

This blasé attitude isn’t just because Andy is a tough bastard … but because years ago he questioned Bob Garfield’s ability to review creative work after he gave a fawning review of a Levi’s campaign DESPITE it being a total rip off some GAP ads. 

Andy’s response was the stuff of legends which is why he laughs in the face of anything Garfield spouts. Now if only our client could do the same … ha!

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there is nothing that is more infuriating (especially for me at the moment) than people who react first and then think later – especially with fear!
it smacks of insecurity. and although one doesn’t want to walk around being a completely arrogant wanker avoiding any change as a result of criticism, failing to look at the wider picture of things is ridiculous – not to mention annoying when ones subordinates have to run around apologising for the ground they walk on.

the other thing is, consumers don’t read industry mags. if it’s really a shit ad, they’ll react to it, whether mr garfield thinks its attrocious or not: some of the most appalling artists get trounced by art mags, yet make squillions selling work to everyone else, because people want what they have, not because some hobnob has said it’s good.

Comment by lauren

and that arse picture is worse than those meatballs rob!! [retch!]

Comment by lauren

Ha!! I loved this other ‘story’ in the same issue as andy’s (excellent) rant..

Account Planner’s “British” Accent Proven To Be Merely

SAN FRANCISCO— Agency staffers were shocked to learn this week that longtime Planning Director Clive Merriweather was not actually British, but, in fact, merely Australian. “This makes us wonder about the validity of every ad we’ve ever produced,” said a distressed co-worker. “After all, how can we expect to delve deep into a consumer’s psyche without the guidance of a proper, London-born Planner? How?” Said another, “It’s amazing our ads made sense to anyone at all.”


Comment by lauren

Good on you for posting that Rob, it would have been easy to just hide it under the carpet.

I wouldn’t worry about it though, the “real” ads are great and a real improvement for Sony (though you’re right about the Calvin spot being the worst of the lot)

Garfield has a habit of slagging off “foreign” stuff, he’s as small minded and myopic as Bill O’Reilly so take Andy’s advice, ignore the bollocks and keep pushing Sony in the right direction.

And Lauren is right, the arse pic is disgusting though it does share a certain similarity to a Mr Bob Garfield. Coincidence?

Comment by Pete

Hi Lauren … the review doesn’t really bother me because everyone is entitled to their opinion and what he is reviewing is not what was made. Not only that, but some of his comments are actually quite fair – but [and I’m not just saying this] – I never liked the Calvin spot that much so I can live with his comments.

And whilst I really appreciate your support, I don’t know if people always buy what they want – free from the influence of what other people say. Sure, Garfield is a journalist on an advertising mag [oxymoron???] but he is still well known and for some sad sacks of shit, probably has a similar level of influence on people’s opinions as say Nicole Kidman did when promoting Chanel.

Anyway, I digress.

The ‘bottom’ picture is quite lovely isn’t it. I knew it was the right one when it made me feel quite ill just looking at it, hahaha! And no Pete, it was not chosen for any facial similarities to well known ad-journo’s, ha! [Love the Bill O’Reilly comment though!]

And finally, Andy writes quite alot of – up until now – annonoymous comments in various spoof admags, so if you come across similar types of thing, there’s a fair possibly it’s him … probably venting about something he is annoyed at us for, ha

Comment by Rob

you’re right rob. after i re-read the post and re-read my comments, i realised that i was off the mark slightly.. hmm reacting first and thinking later?? lol!!
i do, however, hope SONY can move on from this hiccup and use it as inspiration to develop good, solid product worth shouting about.

Comment by lauren

Thanks Lauren … so do I.

Given we have just put a concept to them which is basically Walt Disney’s ‘Fantasia’ meets the main battle scene from ‘Lord of the Rings’ … I guess we’ll find out soon enough, hahaha

Comment by Rob

Sony confuse me. They appear adventurous and innovative, yet in reality it’s safety and hesitant. Then again, in my limited experience I feel this is sadly, the norm.

Just shows what happens when a company like Honda go balls out, oozing BELIEF in themselves, their product and their customers.

ps. That Frodo VS Fantasia concept sounds pretty cool, and Andy, your Adweak article was hilarious!

Comment by Age

Hi Age – you are so right about SONY but to be a teensy-bit fair to them, they are also hindered by the Japanese cultural trait of evolution NEVER invention so if someone hasn’t done something before, they almost find it impossible to do it, especially as their goal is to please their bosses rather than their customers.

I appreciate that is one of the big issues – but you are fighting thousands of years of deeply held beliefs so you have to find ways to prove/encourage them to move forward or they will quite happily sit where they feel safe.

Just sent you a big email – hope it’s not too boring.

PS: Andy is not that funny normally – don’t want his head growing anymore, ha!

Comment by Rob

Reminds me of a point I may have read here on Fredriks blog re: asian culture dominated by finance and personal wealth, so your point on the cultural challenge makes total sense.

Quickly read your email, am about to head out and won’t be home all day tomorrow either (more grease!!!!) so will dig into it on the weekend. Am looking forward to it though… grazie mille!!!!

Comment by Age

I like this Tabloid style of posting Rob.

Comment by Marcus Brown

Thank You Marcus … well the Sunday Sport were my clients a long time ago!

Comment by Rob


Very sorry that my column has caused you so much trouble.
I just want to correct one thing: You totally misrepresent me as an O’Reilly clone. In fact, in my other life as co-host of a National Public Radio show called “On the Media,” I have devoted the last six years of my life to exposing the lies and trespasses against liberty of the Bush administration. My only connection to O’Reilly is that he’s devoted the better part of two programs to what a traitorous coward and left-wing propagandist I am.
Once again, sorry about the consequences of the bad review. If it’s any consolation to you, it’s the part of my job that makes me sick to my stomach.

Oh, one more thing — that picture. Couldn’t you have used my good side?
— Bob Garfield

Comment by Bob Garfield

Dear Bob … if that is you, thanks for writing – I really respect you for doing that and please note I did say I can appreciate your point of view because …

[1] the re-edit – which had nothing to do with us – was beyond awful.

[2] it WAS already the worst of the Walkman ads.

[3] you did raise some valid executional points.

I actually wasn’t the one who called you the Bill O’Reilly of Advertising – that was someone who commented on the post – and as you seem to be rather anti-Bush, I have to give you a ‘Good Work Fella’ salute and say that I don’t think your article wouldn’t be so damning if you saw the real ads AND knew the background behind them [Hopefully the other work we’ve done for SONY would make you feel happier – I hope so especially as we’re trying passionately to move the brand back into the relevant world again]

Anyway I’ll leave you be … I can appreciate you have a job where you can pretty much never win, so keep it up and next time I’ll make sure the ads you see are the ads that were made, ha!

Ta mate … you’re alright for a bastard 🙂

Comment by Rob

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