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


Morning Makes Everything Better …
May 16, 2007, 9:16 am
Filed under: Comment

This is a photo I took from Jill’s Grannies house a couple of weeks ago.

It was around 5:30am and as you can see, the sun was breaking and shining brightly through the windows.

I’ve written about the power of sunrise before … but it never fails to blow me away how alive it makes me feel.

Maybe it was because I never used to get up so early in the UK … but I am sure this sort of thing didn’t really affect me until I moved to Australia – however I can honestly say the sight of a new day fills me with more energy, positivity and optimism than almost any other entity.

We have been doing quite a lot of work regarding optimism lately … mainly because it is such an important ingredient in being able to fulfil the Asian cultural value of ‘progression’.

You see out here … there are 3 critical elements that guide and rule society – elements that are immune from cultural, financial and technological evolution and have existed for thousands of years and will continue to exist for thousands of years.

1 Progression

The advancement of the individual/family – be it financially, professionally or educationally – because the belief is each generation should live better than the last.

2 Filial Responsibility

This is not just about ‘looking after the older members of the family’ [though it includes that element] … it is about not screwing up the family name of the last thousand years or the next thousand years.

3 Group Acceptance

The belief that any activity or opinion can only be expressed if a level of mass acceptance within a particular social group has been achieved. 

I appreciate these things may sound abit strange to you – especially number 3 – however they are the bedrock of Asian society and as much as it has the potential to lead to certain limitations in what people can do in their lives [however not in what they can achieve in their lives], I do value the fact this society has values – especially as the rest of the World seems intent on discarding all theirs at a rapid rate.

Anyway, while all these elements overlap and interlink, at the heart of them is the need for ‘optimism’ – because without that, people lose their will to ‘try’ to ‘carry on’ to ‘believe’.

Even interms of political choice, people in Asia [where there is a democratic vote] tend to choose what is right for the country and future generations rather than what makes life better for them specifically. 

This was best demonstrated a while back when Thailand staged the World’s nicest coup because the people felt their countries sense of ‘optimism’ was being destroyed by the actions of the [allegedly] corrupt leader.

Regardless of whether you were brought up in a Western or Eastern society, optimism is a vital component in being able to fulfil potential … and given many people seem to be living lives with less and less hope [resulting in actions like excessive material possession and/or moments of extreme] … then maybe this helps explains why brands like NIKE, Google and Apple are so successful, because on top of making great products … they represent an attitude/philosophy that is similar to the feeling I get when I see the sun rise.

I know you may think this post is funny given I am such a cynic … but my anger is not driven by hate, it is driven by a sense of idealism … so tomorrow wake up early, think about what really is important to you and then go chase it. 

Great things happen when you are optimistic … fight to keep it.


76 Comments

then you go and write something like this and i remember how fucking lovely you can be and end up having forgiving you for all your evil shit about my leg. you clever, manipulative bastard, no wonder you are so good at whatever you do. 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

Brilliant post.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

Rob, this is a great post. Just what I needed to start my day! I can’t see the pic, but I miss a nice Aussie sunrise – not that the sun isn’t always shining here.

Comment by Jade

Clever bugger. I love an early start, which is the only and I mean ONLY advatange of working in a printing company. I Just love getting up really early. Except for this morning, because I have a hangover – but I am optimistic that it will be gone by 11.

Comment by Marcus

Ya gotta be an optimist if you’re going to fill a hummers gas tank up!

Comment by Charles Frith

Good brands are usually optimists!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

australian sun makes you optimistic about everything all the time! – whether it’s rising, setting, or shining just so it points out the fact that you haven’t washed your car for 2 months.

thanks for the reminder about optimism, rob. feeling a bit creaky this morning and it’s much-needed.

Comment by lauren

You know what Rob – I don’t know if that is entirely true, however optimism certainly seems to help brands infiltrate society rather than just their category.

Saying that – I would question whether Coke will ever achieve the same level of ‘consumer brand belief’ as say Apple and NIKE …

Sure the ads from W&K are great, but the reality is Coke need to ‘live what they say’ rather than let their ego always get in the way.

Fine line … but it makes all the difference … PLUS NIKE and Apple have been consistent in their optimism attitude whereas Coke have changed to be whatever they thought the ‘youth’ wanted at that particular time.

Comment by Rob

Thats true.
Its not meant to be a detailed evaluation though, I just struggled to think of any popular pessimistic brands!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Easy Jet.

Comment by Marcus

Creaky? Alcohol or depression?

England can do both to you … ha

Comment by Rob

Lets face it, no brand will be depressive interms of their philosophy/attitude … however because they tend to use ‘fear’ or ‘problems’ to convey their product benefit … they can only engage consumers on a rather superficial level.

Brands like NIKE, Apple etc transcend their categories because they represent a deeply held human value/need/desire and as such can motivate the masses in areas beyond just sports shoes, computers etc.

Does that make sense? I’ve read it twice and I don’t think it does which is a complete bugger really, hahaha!

Comment by Rob

Yeah it does!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Amazing … you speak fluent Campbellshite.

Comment by Robert

I still say Easy Jet.

Comment by Marcus

Not fluent, but enough to understand that!

I think Easy Jet are very close Marcus, good thinking.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Oh and thanks for commenting on my blog again Marcus, been a while!

I have replied also.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

creaky ‘cos of the cooler temps, an impending cold and an uncomfortable bed. i gave up alcohol and deperession years ago… 🙂

Comment by lauren

Thank god the swearing is intact or I’d have to divert you to wannabe-nun.com

Comment by Robert

Pot Noodle, Tango, More Than, Direct Line – not optimistic brands.

I think there is room in this world for an Orwellian brand – though Ask.com’s attempts to do it over here have confused me a bit.

Comment by Will

I wouldnt say More Th>n are pessimistic; they are more preventitive pessimism.

Direct Line’s campigns recently arent pessimistic to me. They say “insurers are bad, but we are better”, thats hopeful and optimistic looking to me.

Pot Noodle is an interesting one though, you are probably right there.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Well, I wouldn’t describe any of them as optimistic, put it that way.

As I say, I think more brands should adopt a authoritarian/Orwellian view. It’d brighten up my day.

Comment by Will

As long as it fits the brand I agree!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I’m going to take this off topic Mr M.. and ask you a question:

If you were WCRS, how would you have kept 3 mobile.. what would you have said? I was asked this, and have some ideas, but I’m interested to hear what others have to say.

Comment by Will

Great question.
I loved the 3 ads!

I think the main thing they should say that the entire brand identity of 3 has come from their ads.

They turned the brand from a non-entity that people dont even think about when renewing their phones into one that people at least consider.

They had an unusual but distinctive image that made 3 look forward focused and modern.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

As for the optimism thing – what about Cravendale’s ‘The Cows want it back’.

Pessimistic? Not sure, but great and schlocky.

Comment by Will

And Rob – how would that manifest itself as a creative idea?

Comment by Will

Thats the hard part!
I dont think they demonstrated enough how 3 can do things other 3g networks cannot; and that if your friends are on 3 you KNOW you can video call them, you dont need to ask if they are 3g enabled.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Ah, now we’re cooking – sort of what I was thinking.

When I think of 3, I think of the visual identity.. but do I take the network seriously, and would I use them – if the ads are too odd, people think they won’t do their job properly. Should they, then, become more serious?

Comment by Will

Vodafone and O2 do mostly serious. I think the fun nature of 3 was what differentiated them from the rest. It was that differentiation that made then a consideration proposition. (if that makes sense!)

Their oddness always had relevance to the product, and though maybe they were sometimes a little too obscure; I think they have turned the brand around almost single handedly.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Can I get something straight – I am not saying ONLY optimistic brands infiltrate society because like some people have said, Tango / Virgin / Pot Noodle all can prove otherwise [all brands I proudly worked on] however interms of brands that touch society on a global scale [without changing who they are to suit different cultures], then optimism certainly seems to be one element that is common across the true major players.

[And before anyone says anything, as popular and well known as Virgin is – in Asia they have continually failed … mainly because the way the brand behaves is contrary to Asian values – though we’re working on changing that, ha.]

Comment by Rob

Even though they are lucky red? Shocking!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Obscurity was what I was trying to get it.

Though O2 seem to have become a wee bit more obscure, with their continued use of the bubbles.. very design led stuff, but they haven’t suffered from it.

I thought the first WCRS 3 work was too obscure, and lambasted it – but as it went on, I liked it more and more.

Comment by Will

I thought the ribbons ads and the music box ads were good, and the school notes ad was brilliant.

It stayed obscure, but the relevance increased to the product and brand. They gave the brand a very strong identity. 3 is not Vodafone, I hope they dont try to become that now.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

….can’t be arsed reading these comments though. Fucking good post,quite brilliant. Even better than your singing.

Comment by NP

They are worth reading though!

Why such a bad day?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

No, 3 isn’t Vodafone, you are quite right.

Ribbon was one of the best pieces of communication I’ve seen for a very long time.

I hope they continue the mythology – God knows WCRS did them a favour there.

Comment by Will

Absolutely.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Thank you Rob – nice to have a discussion on that.

Btw, when are you next in London – it’d be good to meet up..

Comment by Will

No problem, Im a big fan of that campaign!

June 6th, but not sure if i’ll have much spare time… will let you know though! If not its at Russells Interesting 07 thing.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

It’s not all about magic mushrooms folks.

http://sadvertising.blogspot.com/

Comment by Charles Frith

Last year I quit my job to work overseas, left my friends and family and went over there alone only to realise I wasn’t ready for it and that I’d made a terrible mistake. Came home jobless, in debt, and to the news that my girlfriend didn’t love me anymore.

It was a shit time but fuck me I learnt a lot about how deep I can go. (To be honest, this blog and the people who frequent it helped me quite a bit.) The most important thing I learnt however was that positivity truly stems from positivity.

Attitude is everything. I know this is might sound like a wank, but it was only during the moments where I really started focusing on being optimistic about my situation that things started to fall into place as opposed to spiralling into depression. The universe is a beautifully weird place…

Great post.

Comment by Age

Age – cracking story.

You are right.. attitude is everything.

Speaking personally, I’m currently unemployed, but I *know* I’ll get another job – I could wallow in despair, but fuck that; gritting your teeth, being optimistic and trying hard have got me this far.. and they’ll damn well carry me to another job.

Comment by Will

Call me anything you want… but this ad was what gave me the “fuck that; gritting your teeth, being optimistic and trying hard” attitude during that time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45mMioJ5szc

It still does.

Comment by Age

Age … that is a wonderful story and to be honest, whilst it might be painful for you, I’d love to hear about the emotions and feelings you went through and how despite all the shit, you came through.

I know I sound very ‘Hollywood’, but this human spirit is fantastic – which is maybe why I [and seemingly I alone, haha] like the ADIDAS ‘Impossible Is Nothing’ campaign – especially now they have got to a point of getting sportstars to talk about when they had to come through, despite all the odds.

I like the comments on this post … I like the people on this blog.

How the fuck did I get so lucky?

Comment by Rob

The trouble with getting up early is that one feels tired by 10.00am and it’s time for another nap ;-).

Anyway, in regards to Asian cultural values it’s interesting you bring that up. The Middle East is another region of long history and immense values. Unfortunately, they seem to be sidestepping that in search for ‘western style advancement’. I don’t think they have enough confidence to say ‘this is us, this is how we live, and we will progress whilst keeping our unique values’. Perhaps the shadow of terrorism broads heavily making them self conscious?

For some reason people travel to Asia and respect the cultural values there and regard them as ‘interesting’. Conversely, expats and tourists to the M.E only seem to nagg nagg nagg about differences.

I wonder why?

Comment by Brenda

That’s a great point Brenda – and personally I don’t know the reason though I would hasten to guess that many tourists and expats feel restricted because the cultural values of the region impacts on their personal choices like alcohol, dress and food whereas in the East they still have the freedom to live as they would want.

Not only that, but out here, regardless of your background in the West – you can [and probably are] feel rather wealthy which is fantastic for the ego and self-esteem whereas in the UAE, lets face it, you are mingling with some of the richest people on the planet which immediately makes you feel abit pauperish – which seems to be one the things most people pre-occupy their lives with avoiding.

Whatcha reckon? Bollocks or maybe something in it?

Comment by Rob

Hey Brenda, I’m looking at doing some travel throughout the ME and am wondering if this adoption of ‘western style advancement’ is as common in other areas. I haven’t been out of Dubai yet, so can’t comment on this. I think Dubai is a very interesting place to be, but it doesn’t seem to me to be a ‘real’ experience of living in the ME. When you look at the pecentage of expats – 80% – to locals – 20%, you don’t need to imagine why.

As for nagging expats, Rob, you might have a good point. Restriction of personal choice is something that takes getting used to. This combined with living in an area of such conspicious consumption could cause people to take a negative approcach to local culture and values rather than embracing them (or at the very least being interested by them).

Comment by Jade

It takes women to get this blog back on track … in the hands of the men, we end up talking about bloody Countdown and payrises. God bless women!

I like where this comment area is going – anyone else going to put in a point of view, and for once, could you keep it sort-of normal as I find this whole area interesting.

Comment by Rob

The British tend to be rubbish at respecting values sadly.

I think choice restriction does cause negative effects, but it shouldnt within reason.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You say that Rob – but when it goes against areas that you [1] are used to and [2] feel a fundamental right to do, you’d be amazed how it affects your attitude towards countries/cultures.

Not everyone is like this – but it is frightening how many are, especially those who haven’t travelled much or come from more prestigious backgrounds – but I am generalising with that too, ha!

Comment by Rob

Im sure it would, but I dont see any problem with (for example) not drinking alcohol in Dubai; just as I wouldnt expect people from Dubai to complain about us drinking alcohol when they visit the uk.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Hahaha … but you are a ‘normal’ person Rob, quite often the people who visit these places aren’t or are so used to being pampered [especially in a business environment and especially if they are from the US] that they fail to get the World doesn’t revolve around them.

Comment by Rob

Rob M, I kinda agree that restriction shouldn’t really cause negative feelings. As an expat (ok as me, a western, expat, educated woman who can choose where I want to live and work), I made the decision to live in another country so I should respect the culture and values, rather than wanting to change them. Or rather, I should find a way to live within them.

I wonder if I would be saying the same thing if I lived in a strict Muslim country where my lifestyle, dress etc was heavily impacted upon?

Comment by Jade

Oh, there is lots of alcohol here in Dubai. Trust me :).

Comment by Jade

True.
Really Jade? Is that just the expats?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I’ve just been talking to a Muslim colleague of mine who thinks her sister is a lesbian but is too scared to admit it because the implications are so enourmous.

To us, being gay wouldn’t be a big thing – but when you live in a society that views it almost as a cultural betrayal, then you start to realise how complicated cross country cultures are and why we are heading towards greater levels of prejudice and misunderstanding than ever before.

It is a situation that can definitely be made better – but it requires tolerance and understanding from all sides and sometimes I think ego stops us from wanting to let that happen.

I did a load of work on this in Australia and the findings were pretty frightening and stretched back to when the first convicts landed.

If prejudice can be passed down from hundreds of years, it’s going to require more than token Government measures to get it back on track again.

I’m inspired to write about this soon – thanks for that guys, and I’d love to hear your views.

PS: FOR GODS SAKE JADE, KEEP THE BOOZE NEWS QUIET, Ha

Comment by Rob

Please do write about it, would be good to read.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Well you know how long it took me to do the Microsoft WOW post …. ha!

Comment by Rob

Revenge post?
What did you use that scan thing for anyway?

*taps watch*

😉

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Oh jesus … I am a shit.

Will write that up soonish, promise. Whoops!

Comment by Rob

I hope so!
Its been months!!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Welcome to my World of broken promises Rob Mortimer.

Comment by Billy Whizz

🙂

Comment by Rob

Well, to be honest I dont mind so much as he is probably very busy (flying somewhere hot)… and he supports my job bids!

Besides, i’ll kick his ass at Fifa soon…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You will definitely beat him at Fifa, I can and I don’t understand the rules of soccer.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Haha!!
You are missing out…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Go on and laugh it up – I’m going home and yes, probably to practice on FIFA, ha!

Have a good day/night all and Billy, I’ll be calling about you-know-what in about an hour!

Comment by Rob

Dont forget to add me to Live!
According to that you have no achievement points on any game so far…surely not?!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

great post, comments, everything! my brain isn’t working so great, so i’d love to contribute on both optimism and cultural understanding, but it’s quite impossible today. love this blog!

Comment by lauren

Pro Evo is where it’s at. None of this FIFA nonsense.

Still need a Wii (;)).

Comment by Will

Im a Pro Evo person too, just got Fifa for the 360 until PES7 comes out (PES 6 on the 360 isnt very good I read)

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Oh – everyone – go here and support Seb’s quest for a job with W&K:

http://wklondon.typepad.com/welcome_to_optimism/2007/05/scary_pictures.html#comment-69756942

Comment by Will

It’s all about the PES. Been playing it since my Snes days of ISS Deluxe (quality game), then N64, now PS2.

Comment by Will

Ah yes, same here!
Still, back in the day nothing could touch Sensible Soccer…

Comment by Rob Mortimer




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