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

Don’t Go Out With A Girl With Glasses [If She’s Forgotten Her Glasses]
June 11, 2007, 7:22 am
Filed under: Comment

Before I start this post, I have an important message for my Mum …


I’m serious Mum, it’s not ‘your sort of thing’ … and it’s not the sort of thing ANY child should show his/her Mum.

Right … onto the post.

First, take a look at this …


Except it isn’t. 

Oh yeah, it’s something I’ll watch and probably pass on to a few mates … but then I occasionally read The Sun and watch Jerry Springer but that doesn’t mean I regard them as ‘homes for truth’.

While this is obviously not a ‘real ad’, the issue is that too much communication is still focused on using the old ‘shock entertainment’ strategy rather than doing something entertaining yet ‘interesting’.

But what is ‘interesting’ I hear you cry? 

Well as far as I am concerned, that’s where planners come in. Or should I say where REAL planners should come in.

Taschenrechner / Calculator

As many of you know from all my whinging, I’ve been in a conference for a couple of days and while I was there, I was mortified to hear many so-called-planners …

1 Don’t work with creatives

2 Don’t have any part in the creative process

3 ONLY rely on data

4 Never question clients briefs or make hypothesis on situations

5 Never know how consumers think about life … only their fucking category habit

What the fuck is that all about?  I mean, I knew the planning discipline was getting bad, but I didn’t realise it was getting THAT bad.

What these guys are doing isn’t planning … it’s reading.

You wouldn’t call someone who reads design books an architect, just like you wouldn’t call someone who administers band-aids, a doctor … so how the hell these people have the audacity to call themselves a planner is beyond me.

Of course, you also have to question the company/boss that allows or encourages this kind of behaviour – but then you also have to wonder why these people would be happy to rely on out-of-date, category specific data to make choices [never a decision] worth millions and millions of pounds/dollars/euros.

Is it lack of confidence … lack of time … lack of rigour … or just plain laziness?

Ronald Reagan

This isn’t about slagging off data because as any good planner knows, it can help liberate or validate great ideas/insights … however if all you do is look at the figures and [1] don’t understand what the insight BEHIND the figures is and [2] don’t go out into the real World and see how LIFE is currently for people [rather than focus on their category habits] then you are about as much of a planner as an accountant is an inventor.

As far as I am concerned, the above ad’ does the industry harm …

You see sex is the lowest form of communication ‘idea’ – it’s disposable advertising, you watch it then throw it away.

And while some people would claim this spot would ‘raise awareness’ [amongst other things] the reality is that awareness is a bullshit metric.  It was ‘invented’ by the ad industry to justify so much of the self indulgent rubbish they produced over the years.

That doesn’t mean sex as a ‘communication idea’ always means cheap and nasty … nor am I saying effective advertising requires boring and rational executions [I think we all know that’s not the case] it’s just this sort of cheap wank joke makes society [and industry] believe advertising is populated by a bunch of immature tossers which not only affects our credibility … but stops the next wave of talent wanting to come on board.

Of course there are tons and tons and tons of fuckwits in adland … but there’s are also a bunch of smart, interesting, decent people around the place – and it saddens me that often these guys don’t get nearly as much acclaim as the idiots behind crappy executions like the one above or the ‘planners’ who talk and act like they are fucking big business management consultants.

Planning IS a creative discipline … sure it is about solving business problems, but we do it by findings way that motivate the masses rather than ‘reducing the costs’ … and the sooner certain agencies/bosses and individuals remember that, the better for us all.

10 Comments so far
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GREAT post, Rob. Inspiring as always, and very timely for me.


Comment by Age

If we got rid of sexual innuendo jokes thered be about 50 clients up for grabs!

Planning seems to be stuck in that situation whereby what they say requires some risk, but bosses seem to be so completely scared of risk that they always take the safe option.

One thing about designers is that they usually tend to think of themselves as artists, and dont always understand business. The problem with advertising at the moment seems to be the opposite… they all want to be management consultants instead of creating work that identifies with people.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Totally agree Rob … though if a planner is doing their job right, they should be able to find ‘evidence’ that minimises the level of risk the client believes they are taking.

Of course it doesn’t always work that way, but too many planners [and agencies in general] seem to be second guessing what will be bought, rather than what is right – and as far as I am concerned, you should always fight for what you believe in and [if necessary] work backwards rather than work from a point of weakness and still go back.

Comment by Rob


There seems to be some kind of confusion between “insight” and “idea” in many places.

Planners should be able to show that something is less risky than it appears; but if agency management is like most other high level management, they they will always think they know best. Which is another example of thinking like a BMC instead of understanding people.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Great post, totally agree it’s worrying. I think it’s laziness plus lack of inspiration (and time) internally, to then find it externally.

I still love sex in ads though…

Comment by Angus

Not a ‘real ad’?

Oh yes it is. 🙂

It’s aired over here.

Comment by Will

Did it really?

Oh fuck, that pisses me off even more!

Comment by Robert

I had a similar reaction to you though – sniggered, forgot about the product, didn’t remember the ad until you brought it up.

Comment by Will

I hate this trend of joke or in this case, a ‘sex gag’ [excuse the pun] with a brand attached. It has no relevance at all other than to feed the sexual fantasy of the tossers behind it.

Comment by Rob

‘Aha, let’s make the client laugh. Maybe they’ll like a nob joke’

Yes, it is extremely vacuous, and no, I certainly don’t think any more of the brand as a result.

And aye, it did make me laugh the first time I saw it.

Comment by Will

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