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

Natural Optimism …
June 18, 2007, 11:32 am
Filed under: Comment

Rainbows. I love them.

No, I’m not talking about the kids television show featuring such characters as George, Zippy, Bungle, Rod, Jane and Freddie plus the host who ended up stacking shelves at his local Tesco – I’m talking about this type …

And why do I love them?

Well to me, they have a magical appeal – they signify hope, positivity and a belief that everything is going to be alright.

Without doubt this all stems from my childhood where a rainbow would inform me the rain that had kept me indoors was finally going and I should get ready to go out – be it riding my bike through the big puddles, going to the park and getting a wet bum playing on the swings or simply getting my trainers and pants filthy as I play football with my friends on the muddy sports fields.

And while I haven’t ridden a bike, gone or a swing or played footie for quite a while – when I see a rainbow it brings back a warm feeling – a sense all is OK or is going to be OK and a moment of inner peace.

Mad isn’t it.

The thing is, great brands/ideas/people should effect people in a similar way.  They should impact you from the inside-out … making you ‘feel’ something that positively affects your mood, your attitude, your mind, even if it is just for a split second.

For me, a great brand is one that attracts people regardless of heritage, distribution, price or innovation … and yet so many people think it’s simply something that has a recognisable look or logo – which is probably why so many ‘re-launch’ every 12 months. 

God that sort of thing pisses me off …

They go on about how ad agencies aren’t responsible with money and then spend obscene amounts of cash every 12 months in the hope that their completely new positioning will change their market success even though in the ‘real World’, it’s just more of the same old bland bollocks they’ve been peddling for years.

Think about brands like Apple, Virgin, Tesco, NIKE. W&K … all contemporary, relevant and exciting brands and yet they don’t ’relaunch’ every year. 

Infact they stand for pretty much the same thing they’ve always stood for which means the masses actually believe in them … trust them … fuck, LIKE them … which in these days of greater choice and information is possibly one of the most important advantages any corporation can have for maximising their chance of prosperity.

Maybe I’m daft, but I think it is quite easy to develop engaging brand ideas and as far as I am concerned, the basic rules are …

1 Develop an idea that is consumer focused [but based on a company truth – preferably attitudinal], means something [rather than just being corporate drivel] and engages culture rather than just the category.

2 Stick by that idea. For decades!

[Sure, you still have to ensure the expression is relevant and resonant to changing time, but you don’t change what you stand for every 2 minutes as part of yet another ‘Brand Relaunch’]

3 Keep track of what is going on in your category and your consumers lives so you can exploit or defend any situation

Don’t let your idea become diluted by mediocrity

5 Engage, enthuse, entertain, interest be fresh and honest in all your communication with society

[From your ads to your packaging to your promotions]

Live what you say, say what you live

OK … so there’s going to be other things you should/could do to make your brand mean more than just the category … but given we are in changing times with more and more cynical [yet informed] consumers, it’s time brands stood for something rather than continually tried to represent whatever it is they think the consumer wants to hear.

It’s about attracting, not chasing … sure we have to sell things … but to paraphrase David Ogilvy, the consumer is not stupid, the consumer is your wife / husband / partner / child / friend / lover / parent / grandparent / colleague! [Delete as appropriate] 

PS: I arrive in Cannes tomorrow which is why this post has sod all to do with the ego-fest. Expect ‘character assassination’s from around Wednesday, ha!

41 Comments so far
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“It’s about attracting, not chasing”

That is a golden quote, and not just because it’s true for brands but it’s true for EVERYTHING.

Sure you have to be prepared to go after what you really want, and THAT might involve chase… but there will come a moment when you present yourself in front of your target, completely out of breath, and at that moment the only thing that’s going to save you is attraction.

Great post.

Comment by Age

Its like plastic surgery, the odd bit here and there and you grow old gracefully. Too much and you end up looking like Michael Jackson…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

And that’s the difference between manipulating and inspiring. You can do this promotion, or that promotion, but in the end, the brands that stand the test of time are those that turn customers into fans.
And that starts with not making something crap

Comment by NP

On the subject of inspiration, NP, you were fucking brilliant on Saturday.

You too Mr M.

Sorry I couldn’t come for drinks, but I had an 80s houseparty to organise etc (linky:

Would have liked to have had more of a chat, but next time, next time..

Comment by Will

Indeed NP.

Thanks Will! I second the praise of NP’s presentation.

How did the party go? I wondered where you’d gone, then I remembered your house party…they were acceptable in the 80s. (and Noel Edmunds house parties were alright in the 90s…)

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Rob M – didn’t get to bed until 4am, which was fun. Up at 8am as well. Then a mass tidy.

To say I was tired would be a bit of an understatement..

Comment by Will

Does anyone know if Interesting is on video or something else where people who couldn’t attend can see? It’s sounds like it was wonderful and I’d love to hear what people had to say.

Comment by George

George, I think there will be a series of podcasts – you need to keep checking Russell’s blog.

And Mr Mortimer, you did the games industry proud. Well done young man.

Comment by Marcus

Ouch. Must have been fun though!

The whole thing was recorded George, not sure when it will be up though. Theres about 4million pics on Flickr already though.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Ouch, what’s ouch?

Comment by Marcus

Thanks Marcus, was great to meet you at last. Shame you didnt get to talk though. Did you say hi to Sacrum?

There was a guy from Sony there as well, ended up talking to him about games for a while! Also glad I wasnt the only person in the uk who owns electroplankton!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Will getting up early!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

George – here’s the pics:

Comment by Marcus

I missed Sacrum.

Comment by Marcus

Oh, my house party was a great laugh.

I’m also putting my interesting photos up. Check them out here in a few hours:

Comment by Will

Shame. He left before I could say Guten Abend…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Sacrum is a shy chap.

Comment by Marcus

Don’t worry Marcus, I have evidence he was in the building.

Comment by Will

Pity. Still, was great to see him.
I hope he will publish his photos.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Well, Mr. M, he’s put already put one up. Did you get a chance to speak to or have drinks him Will?

Comment by Marcus

Ooh. Ill have to have a look!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Sadly I didn’t. He muttered something about ‘walking the many mile’ and was gone in a haze of red.

I hope he manages to get home soon.

As for you – I hope the head is ok by now.

Comment by Will

The hangover I had that day was a circle of hell that Dante had yet to write about. Better now though.

Comment by Marcus

Pleased to hear it Marcus. Mine on Sunday wasn’t too wonderful either, and yet, I had to tidy up. That’s purgatory in my book..

Comment by Will

And my photos are up now, for your enjoyment. Some are a bit dark, unfortunately.

Comment by Will

Thank you Marcus. Sounds like you all had fun so I’ll check out the photos and hopefully see the videos soon.

Comment by George

yeah george, you check out the photos in your luxury fucking suite in cannes while you wait for rob to turn up and then you can both spend the rest of the week eating, drinking and having a fucking whale of a time while i hold the fort with my broken fucking leg and tight deadlines. dont come back unless you have an award, a bunch of fawning clients and a couple of bad stories about the washed up gods of advertising. and rob, i read your rant about putting creative back into advertising in media mag. well fucking done, that guarantees you more than a few diet cokes from the creative community. speak tomorrow and dont sound too happy.

Comment by andy@cynic

Any chance of pointing me to that Andy?
Sounds good.


Comment by Rob Mortimer


Comment by Billy Whizz

Billy, just give him a bloody sausage and tell him I love him and his ugly feet. Might work.

Comment by Marcus

Andy should really start that blog. Then we can channel his rage into some creative ranting genius that im sure he is capable of.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Or he could pick a fight with a small guy

Comment by NP

Good name for a blog that NP.

Comment by Marcus

i have a blog, we all have blogs, its just campbell is so anal he does his everyday where as most of us have forgotten what the fuck the passwords to ours are. might start a new one though, maybe call it ”drown an ex good swimmer” 🙂 and ill get someone to scan robs letter then get him to put it on his blog. its the usual opinionated rant but this time hes slagging off 90% of the industry by defending creativity so we all love him. for today.

Comment by andy@cynic

and i already am a genius, i dont have to prove it to you fuckers 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic


I think you should start the one i suggested ages ago. Which was something like

And thanks, i’ll look forward to reading it.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

its not all planners who should fuck off, just most of them

Comment by andy@cynic

thank fuck for rainbows and light. in fact, i’d go so far as to say that rainbows are responsible for the advertising agency: rainbows=light refraction=colour photography=shit ads.

[no prizes for guessing who else is in a foul mood]

Comment by lauren

Don’t make me make you two sit on the naughty step now.

*Hopes Lauren’s mood has improved by now*

Comment by Will

I think mediocre “me too” products and brands will never cease to exist…these are guys who just want to run a profitable business – ANY business , they don’t really care about being “Iconic” or anything.

Wish more corporates had the guts & brains to follow the “Number 1 or Number 2” rule…but in the long run the “irrelevant” brands do get weeded out, or so we hope.

I wonder- if Jimmy Choo wasn’t designing shoes would he have been an equally passionate & distinguished Football Player or a Rock Star?
Life’s funny that way, some people figure it all out so early and the rest , like me, keep wondering what we could be “world famous” at …

But hey, all this doesn’t mean i don’t love the cheaper airfares resulting from a crowded supply scenario!!

Comment by veena

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