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

[Dis] Respecting The Dead …
September 28, 2007, 8:15 am
Filed under: Comment


I’m sure John Lennon would be over-the-moon to know his music is now being sold by that global, mainstream coffee chain, Starbucks … especially given his arch-enemy/friend/colleague Paul McCartney got their first when his last load of self-indulgent, ego-maniac, about-as-relevant-to-modern-music-as-spam-is-to-modern-cuisine CD was sold exclusively through that channel.

Given this latest act of ‘brand exploitation’, it would seem this old, racist and highly prejudicial joke isn’t actually a joke anymore.

Q: What’s yellow and lives off dead beetles?

A: Yoko Ono.

Click here for another ‘feeding off the dead’ example – this time by Age.

AMEX Is More Effective Than A Fry Up!
September 28, 2007, 7:00 am
Filed under: Comment

Fried breakfast. Oh God Yum.

This is dedicated to one of my dear friends who recently went with some mates to a lapdancing bar and proceeded to get right-royally pissed.

That in itself isn’t particularly unusual [I mean the pissed bit, he’s normally quite a clean living bloke] however the next morning he woke up feeling – and I quote – “like someone had shat in his head” so he went and ate some food, took some Panadol and had a shower in a desperate bid to clean himself up. However this was the mother of ALL hangovers which is why 3 hours later, he found himself still feeling like death and looking like some sort of roadkill!

Anyway, because he couldn’t remember where he’d been or what he’d done, he decided to call AMEX to find out just how much he’d spent.

Neon poledancer

After the nice lady on the other end of the phone read him some numbers [which he initially assumed was his credit card digits], he realised that in about 4 hours, he’d spent the equivalent of Russia’s GDP on a night of sleaze … however on the bright side, his hangover had left him and he felt more alive than he’d ever felt in his life.

The best bit [for me at least] is that he still can’t remember a single thing about the night in question so it’s like he literally poured thousands of dollars down the drain. [or down some strippers pants more like, ha!]

God I absolutely love it when my friends make complete fools of themselves … this is even better than when George fucked up in India [Delhi-Belly] and Cannes [Vomiting on half of Crispin’s]

So there you go, under certain circumstances AMEX can be a more effective anti-hangover cure than all the other ‘medicines’ put together – so if I were them, I’d ditch all this “APPLY FOR A CARD AND GET A WATCH” nonsense and adopt this as their new, all-encompassing strategy.  [What do you reckon Angela, can you make the Yanks buy it?]

The Language Of Design …
September 27, 2007, 7:00 am
Filed under: Comment

130907 Balderdash and Piffle 001

I’ve written loads about the importance of design – and not just because I’m married to a designer – however one thing that I’ve never really enjoyed is listening to the bollocks they spout when explaining/justifying what they’ve come up with.

Yes … yes … I know advertising people – especially planners – can be accused of the very same thing, however compared to the design industry, we’re strictly 9th division.

Now what’s brought this all on is that I’ve just read the justification for the Australian APEC logo … and to be honest, it’s left me feeling mentally violated.

To make matters even worse, it was done by a company I used to work for – PRINCIPALS – however given I had the most frustrating time of my career [so far] there, I don’t feel too guilty about naming and shaming, ha.

[OK, it wasn’t entirely their fault I had such a bad time – they were smart and had some great people – however it felt like I was working in a mausoleum, both interms of the atmosphere inside the agency and their desire to do brave and exciting work/thinking]

Anyway, are you ready? 

Sure?  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you …

OK, first up the ‘brief’ … [as detailed by PRINCIPALS]

“The branding for APEC had to epitomise Australia – the optimism, the culture and the style of our nation.

It had to be upbeat and inviting. It had to tell a story about Australia, about Australia’s attitude to APEC and to our stance on cooperation.”

Jesus … that’s a lot isn’t it.

1 Epitomise Australia’s optimism.

2 Epitomise Australia’s culture.

3 Epitomise Australia’s style.

4 Be upbeat and inviting.

5 Tell a story about Australia.

6 Explain Australia’s attitude to APEC.

7 Explain Australia’s stance on cooperation.

That’s not the most single minded brief is it?

OK, so things like incorporating Australia’s culture, style, attitude to APEC and attitude to cooperation would have been easy because lets face it, they don’t have any [ha!] … however explaining Australia’s attitude to APEC whilst still being optimistic would of been a challenge given the average Aussie on the street probably thinks the whole thing is a pile of shit – and not just because they caused massive disruptions in the city for ‘security preparations’.

However thanks to the talent and brilliance of PRINCIPALS, they managed to come up with a design that answered all those requirements and here is the result …


I know what you’re thinking, “NO WAY IS THAT ANSWERING ALL THE ISSUES IN THE BRIEF” … but you’d be wrong because apparently, this is what it all means …

“The symbol is deceptively simple. It’s made up of 21 arrows that symbolise the 21 attending economies and it has an ‘aussie glow’, reflecting the warmth of the welcome extended to all delegates” 

And there I was thinking it looked like a cheapo Christmas decoration!!!

Alright I’m being a mean shit but I’m not actually slagging off the logo [even though I’m not a big fan of it], just its justification … though I do accept PRINCIPALS have created some work that has achieved more exposure than most agencies could ever dream of [On top of being all around Australia [including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and on Aussie currency] it also got tons of exposure thanks to global news channels broadcasting ‘highlights’ from the event] so it’s no wonder they’re right-royally chuffed with themselves.

Still think the rational is a pile of wank though 🙂

Instant Fuckhead: Just Add Advertising [Big] Ego [Small] Talent …
September 27, 2007, 1:23 am
Filed under: Comment

Scamp … the Dennis Wise of adland… found what I can only call an ‘advertising snuff video’ on the wonderfully evil agencyspy blog.

This clip is basically a ‘greatest hits’ of annoying ad-person traits  [though I admit his Missus/P.A./Whore is cute] and I’m showing it on here in the hope that someone recognises the star of the film, Harry Bernstein [or Harry B to his frat friends] and knocks his hat off when they pass him on the street. [Please Andy, for once do something useful!]

However it’s not all doom and gloom for Harry, at the end of the day I have to say I like him … but only because he has created a Youtube clip that makes my iPod Singing look almost cultural!  YAY!

One word of advice for the Woody Allen look-a-like, in the future may I suggest you leave all spoken words to your copywriter and you stick with the drawing – it’ll be much better for you, trust me …

[I’ve taken the comments off because to be honest, this guy doesn’t deserve any more breath spent on him plus all the really mean stuff has already been said on Scamps and Agencyspy’s blogs.

OK … OK … I’m sure you could all add a new dimension of evil, but save it for someone else who really deserves it – as long as it’s not me, ha!]

Comments Off on Instant Fuckhead: Just Add Advertising [Big] Ego [Small] Talent …

A Brand Is A Memory Not From The Brand …
September 26, 2007, 5:17 am
Filed under: Comment

So as I was walking through the streets of Barcelona, I passed a shop that I hadn’t seen for a long time …


Yep, C&A … the ol’ mass market clothes retailer that left the UK god-knows how many years ago.

To be honest the only things I can really remember about the place is …

1 There was a very rude joke about what C&A stood for – involving women’s pants. Take a wild guess …

2 Mum only took me there around the start of the school term.

3 The branch in Nottingham was huuuuuge.

On Saturdays, the friendliest busker in the World played there – a busker with talent and personality, which makes a change from the ‘statue’ trend that seems to be sweeping the World’s shopping thoroughfares at the moment.

5 A friend once pretended I was famous to see if the dumbo security guard would ask for my autograph. He did.

… and yet I still felt an irrational sense of warmth towards the place.

Of course I didn’t go in and buy anything … but I did find it interesting that an old looking logo for a brand I know little about [bar a bunch of associated memories] made me feel good inside.

And here’s the thing … quite often planners ignore the outside influence in the development of brand perception and focus purely on the relationship between consumer and brand.

Little Bad Habit #1

Many, many years ago I did a project with the jewellers Tiffany’s.  [Yes me, Mr Ugly Mug!]

Anyway, when we were doing the background research, the people we interviewed all kept telling us the same words as regards what they thought the brand represented: Classic, Sophisticated, Understated.

The thing that we found most interesting was that it didn’t matter whether they were male or female … a Tiffany’s owner or someone who had never set foot in a shop … they all pretty much felt the same way and we wanted to understand why.

Well after all sorts of research [which is a post in itself], we were able to prove that the simple answer to this ‘riddle’ was ‘associated memory’.

You see Tiffany’s was seemingly more closely associated with the movie ‘BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S’ than anything the brand had purposefully produced… and the star of this film, Audrey Hepburn, had come to represent all the traits people felt were the Tiffany’s brand – Classic, Sophisticated, Understated.

Now this was kinda scary for Tiffany’s because what we were saying was their brand had been created by factors outside of their direct control or influence, however this feeling was so prevalent within societies mind, that we just couldn’t ignore it in our brand development process.


Same thing happened when we were re-launching the Mini in the US.

When we talked to people about the car, the words we kept hearing back were things like [if memory serves me]  Mischievous, Fun, Fashionable, Energetic, Audacious … and where were these coming from? 

The movie ‘The Italian Job’ and 60’s model ‘Twiggy’ because she was the model [featuring photos that are still regarded as iconic today] when the Mini was originally launched.

Of course you can’t just take these elements and turn it into brand communication, however it can [in certain circumstances] form the foundation for the core brand idea – acknowledging you need to find category/consumer/competitive/cultural insights to make sure there is relevance and resonance with today’s customer. [Which in the case of Mini, all came together with a core idea of “Mini Puts The Fun Back Into Motoring”]

Lots of people talk about the need to be rigouress when planning – and by god they are right – but don’t just think that means you have to do the bare essentials well, it’s also means you have to think interms of breadth as well as depth.

I love planning, I love it when the unrelated actually proves to be related – but in my experience, that only comes about when you think, explore, talk, read, watch, collaborate, question and experience every aspect of the communication chain – including associated memories.

Planning is an outdoors activity – and by that I mean both physically and mentally.