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

Sometimes, Small Things Matter Most.
April 23, 2007, 7:31 pm
Filed under: Comment

Inkeeping with my fast-approaching midlife crisis [ha] … I bought some Converse shoes at the weekend [in camouflage of course!] and the thing I really loved was that on the side of the box, were a couple of the lace-hole ringlets that are inherent in all Converse shoe designs.

I know it’s a little thing, but it’s a little thing that reinforces the brand – which ultimately makes you feel you are buying something abit special, something that has been made with care, attention and passion, something worth paying a ‘little bit more’ for.

Of course treating packaging as a marketing device is nothing new … but given this is on a pair of relatively cheap sneakers, you have to question why some of the bigger – supposedly more aspirational brands – don’t do it.

It’s not hard … it’s just about an appreciation of what your brand is, both to the company and to the consumer … but I guess this goes back to the point that too many marketing departments are filled with underqualified people and/or too focused on the bigger things [the stuff they can show off about] even though it’s the miniscule things that can make all the difference. At least to the consumer.

Something that is interesting is that Singapore Airlines have just awarded [after 30 odd years with BATEY] their whole advertising business to TBWA – even though the team that handled the pitch actually work for the below-the-line division, Tequila.

I think this is brilliant … not just because Tequila are a fantastic agency who are doing some of the best work around Asia at the moment [and I include ATL agencies in that declaration] … but because it implies Singapore Airlines want an agency who will pay attention to the small things as well as the big – which might give above-the-line agencies a much needed kick-up-the-arse … because for all their talk about being media neutral and 360 thinkers, the reality is they tend to focus the most energy on the ‘television spot’.

Well done Converse … well done Singapore Airlines … well done Tequila!

Take Over The Music World From Your Bedroom!
April 23, 2007, 8:34 am
Filed under: Comment

Talking of music … at the weekend I bought a BOSS BR professional recording studio system.

Now this might not mean much to you lot, but apart from the fact it only cost $400 [about 100 quid] … is lighter than an iPOD and just abit bigger than one too … this system allows me to record digitally upto 36 different tracks [ie: instruments], speed up/slow down/change notes/sections that aren’t quite right, mix them together using the onboard mass of digital effects and rhythm tracks and then master them into a top-notch, 5.1 sound, CD ready piece of music.


What you have to realise is that this little piece of electronic genius is top studio quality … and with some ‘real-world’ studios [like the Manor in Oxfordshire] charging upto a THOUSAND POUNDS AN HOUR … this is making quality recording a reality for the millions of bedroom musicians located all around the World.

[Not to mention some of the pro’s who don’t want to record 8 trillion instruments on every song they write. No use to Queen and Muse then …]

Given the internet already is undermining much of the record companies distribution stronghold … we can now safely say we are entering the age of music socialism, so it’s no wonder Mr Epic Records is so highly strung!

The Music Industry Hates Me … And Not Just Because I Played With Terrible 80’s Popstars!
April 23, 2007, 7:45 am
Filed under: Comment

So a while back I wrote a chapter in MTV’s “Collections Of Cool” about why brands should look to bands interms of how to market themselves and build real consumer loyalty.

While I truly believed what I said … I purposely wrote it in a rather tongue-in-cheek style [starting off with why Chris Martin from Coldplay hates me] to ensure the message came across without sounding preachy or arrogant.

Anyway its seemingly had quite an impact because not only are MTV using it as part of their B2B marketing campaign [see pic above] but the global head of EPIC Records decided what I was saying was an affront to the music industry and used it as the basis of his speech [read: rant] at the recent music industry conference.

Problem is, his argument was rather flawed.

You see he said bands were nothing like brands … because they were not formulated with the single goal to ‘sell shitloads of stuff’. 

Now while I sort-of agree with his point [which was one of the things I said brands should learn to do rather than just focus on the lowest-common-denominator for sales] there are 3 fatal flaws to this argument …

1. While most bands start with a view to play and create the music they love … they still dream of going on to sell tons of stuff – be it tickets / cds / songs / t-shirts.

2. The modern record company is obsessed with developing and packaging mainstream artists [often more driven by looks than talent … Pussycat Dolls for example] that can make lots of impact and money as quickly as possible.

3. It doesn’t matter if you are a one-hit-wonder or – as rare as they are now becoming – a career band/singer … you still develop into a brand, even if you are not purposefully doing anything to encourage it.

Don’t get me wrong … I am sure the majority of artists don’t start out with the intention of losing their individual identity and metamorphosing into a brand [though I think acts like U2, Madonna and The Stones may be different] but in the minds of the consumer – the people who have the power to make or break them – they associate with bands for more reasons than just a love of their music … it’s also about how they act … what they represent … what they believe in … what they value  … inessence they become a ‘badge of allegiance’ rather than just a creator of popular music.

I really should find a way to put this article up as I’ve banged on about it long enough … so if anyone knows of a site I can link to where you can download/read a .pdf file, can you let me know.

Anyway it’s nice to cause abit of shit on a wider scale – it’s just sad that the recording industry [whose members I was celebrating] are more upset about what I’ve written than the brands owners, who are most in need of a slap.

Oooooh it’s a strange world!

A Home, Not A House.
April 20, 2007, 5:17 pm
Filed under: Comment

This beautiful house belongs to Jill’s grandmother … a wonderful lady who bought it with her husband, over 40 years ago.

It is located in a Sydney suburb called ‘Woolwich’ … and while this location has now become rather grand and exclusive, back then it was a very working class area.

Yes, the house is very stately and impressive [it was built in 1883] but let me assure you that Jill’s Grandparents were/are very humble, down-to-earth people … and its purchase had everything to do with affordability and opportunity rather than them trying to move up the social ladder.

[Back then Australia was far more egalitarian in it’s attitudes and aspirations than today]

Anyway, Jill moved into that house when she was about 6 years old after her family emigrated from their home in Canada. 

While she only lived there for [I think] a couple of years, it developed into a place where – for reasons I won’t go into – she felt [and continues to feel] the most safe, secure and peaceful.

The sad news is that late last year Jill’s Grandad passed away, leaving Granny all alone in that big, beautiful house so with heavy heart and tears of sadness, she has decided to sell it.

Obviously it’s a massive wrench for all involved because it is where the family ‘essence’ was nurtured and developed over many, many years … so I am putting up this post so that Jill can pop into my blog whenever she pleases and revisit a place that has such a special place in her heart. [I wish I could buy it for you Jilly!]

Comments Off on A Home, Not A House.

Identity Theft
April 20, 2007, 5:11 pm
Filed under: Comment

Sherlock Holmes and Baker Street

We all know Marcus has decided to break/retire from blogging … but some NEW Marcus has come in, got rid of our mad friends blog and – using the same URL – has shoved up some GREEN rubbish instead.

Just what are you playing at false Marcus

Come on … come clean … you, you, you IMPOSTER!