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

If This Is Disruption I’d Rather Have Conformity …
March 4, 2008, 7:25 am
Filed under: Comment

What the fuck are you doing TBWA???

OK, I am sure SIA are mainly to blame [most airlines are hell to work on – bar Virgin of course, ha – even the brilliant BBH are having a torrid time with British Airways] but come on, where the fuck are your principals?

You are seemingly using “Disruption” as justification for all manner of bad ideas these days. Standing out is one thing – standing out for shit reasons is quite another.

This ad has no redeeming features whatsoever – but it does lead to a lot of questions, namely …

1 You’re celebrating the newest plane in the skies – a plane only Singapore Airlines has – and you use a layout that is firmly fixed in the 70’s.

2 SIA is one of the most forward thinking companies in the World and all this ad does is make them look like some hocky 70’s Asian Airline.

That SIA plane looks like some fucking 9/11 suicide plane.

Why are the streets of London paved with polished floorboards?

5 Why are all the bowler hat wearing Londoner’s performing a dance routine? London businessmen are hard nosed fuckers, they’re more likely to dance on your grave than dance on the streets.

6 Just what are the Air Hostess doing – and why have they got umbrella’s when you can tell it’s going to be a lovely day.

7 Why have you said “London London” twice in the headline?

8 WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT BLOKE WITH THE SUITCASE DOING? He looks like a John Travolta wannabe cock. With luggage.

And if I see one more fucking ad that pretends to be a movie/theatre poster – I WILL GO OFF MY FUCKING HEAD! 

It’s old … it’s been done to death … it’s not interesting and just implies you can’t come up with anything new.

Stop it SIA/TBWA – you are making a mockery of your great brands – let Fred do what he’s brilliant at and sit back and reap the rewards because the way you’re going, you’re heading towards a very slippery slope where they may be no way back.

Oh and for the record, here’s how you can make a disruptive ‘destination’ airline ad that still represents the tone and manner of the brand in question.

Virgin India

Hope that helps, though I acknowledge Virgin didn’t have a fancy-pants plane to talk about, nor did they demand their cabin crew be featured – which in SIA’s case is the essence of the brand even though now they seem to represent ‘women who hold umbrellas’ whereas once they actually had real meaning, significance and importance.

50 Comments so far
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are you and dodds the same person because hes just written something slagging off singapore airlines advertising.

have to say this post is much better because at least you show the fucking ad youre bitching about plus dodds is all serious with his online ego where you have no sense to maintain a modicum of professionalism.

i challenge fred to justify this bollocks or maybe mr dru. i like tbwa, i had a lot of fun at chiat but this isnt disruption, this is more like mccaans crap and they are capable of much better even if the client is a small minded twat. id go further than that, they must do better because otherwise their carefully crafted image will be fucked for good and people might start to evaluate them on more than just adidas and apple.

off to see lee hill and show him this shit, should up our fee somewhat.

Comment by andy@cynic

Well Andy, I must say that I had a lot of respect for Chiat Day as well, but as far as TBWA is concerned there’s nothing more to them than a well crafted image, that’s all it is an image, not reality.
The big idea in all Apple ads really are the Apple products…as for Adidas, if I’m not mistaken the whole proposition for it was developed by 180 Amsterdam not TBWA.

And this in no way is a reflection on some of the people who work there like Fred, God knows me and Rob also work in a place where everyday is a battle.

The reason I think Rob has even picked this ad for the sea of crap around, is simply because this and the work for Royal Salute Whiskey (which Rob loves, ha) all show up the TBWA behind the image of a creative hotshop.

Comment by Hari

Actually Hari the reason I picked this ad is because it’s bloody awful – no agenda against TBWA, I quite like the network and consider a number of people who work there, ‘mates’ … the reality is this ‘ad’ is bloody awful and can in no way be considered adding to the premium status of the brand that they [and probably TBWA] want it to be known for.

Comment by Robert

careful hari, youre in danger of suffering from “planner generalisation” disease and i hate that almost as much as campbell does.

tbwa may not be perfect but of the major networks theyre well ahead of the pack and even though theyre asian operation seems pretty shit they have certain offices (amsterdam, bangkok, south africa, london and la) that are real players which is more than can be said for all of wpp put together.

i know youll say that some of the offices i praise have been recent buys by the company but that shows they want to move creatively and commercially forward whereas most of the other fuckers go for the cheap bargain basement shit that no one else would touch with a bargepole.

wpp are lucky to have a few great people and agencies involved in their network but thats more luck than judgement so before you throw stones at the enemy, you should make sure youre not residing in a glass house.

Comment by andy@cynic

but that ad is fucking, fucking, fucking shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

I fully agree with you Andy and have mentioned in my post that I live in a broken glass house.

As I told our office head once, doing crap isn’t as bad as not knowing it is crap, or worse being delusional that it’s good… I think Disruption is a good tool, the danger is when it’s associated with bad work. This is more harmful to TBWA than me throwing stones at them, which as on today is a non event as far as they’re concerned.

And I personally think that Ogilvy as a whole has more consistent creative offices than TBWA, at least in Asia. I don’t know why I am getting into a debate with you given I could possibly get maimed, but this is simply my point of view, not a judgment, one which you are free to disagree with.

Comment by Hari

I think the issue is that at its core, disruption is an attitude, a philosophy, a mindset – and yet it has been “evolved” into a specific process which whilst good – does not guarantee the end product is relevant to the brand, the consumer or issue at hand.

Hell, a very VERY senior person in TBWA recently told me that one of the issues they are working on is making sure people don’t think that if it’s come out of the ‘disruption process’, it must be right because it’s obviously not and it ends up damaging all parties – client, agency, consumer.

To be fair, TBWA spend alot of time and money in making sure people ‘get’ what DISRUPTION is and whilst they obviously have quite a way to go in some markets, they’re still miles ahead of the complete misunderstanding most Saatchi’s people have regarding their LOVEMarks philosophy.

At the end of the day – both Disruption and Lovemarks are just positionings – because any adperson worth their salt would consider these elements in their day-to-day approach to their clients brands … but in an industry that tells clients to stand for something, it’s amazing how few agencies practice what they preach.

Now that is something Hari can be general about 🙂

Comment by Rob

Is it me. I can’t see the ad?

Comment by Charles Frith

The possible reasons for that are …

1/ You’ve suddenly gone blind
[though your touch-typing skills are legendary]

2/ Your computer has immeasurable taste

3/ Your computer is fucked

4/ The Chinese Government regard it as offensive

5/ All of the above

Seriously, be grateful Charles – it’s total balls. Oh, and I’ve been thinking about what we talked about yesterday and while I still think it needs abit more work [but I don’t know in what areas or why, ha] I am growing to like it more and more. Lets talk soon …

Comment by Rob

Can you see my ad Charles?

Comment by Lee Hill

Nice ‘avoiding the issue’ there Lee. Well done.

Comment by Rob

Where’s that “Huh” now eh?

Comment by Bazza

Wow, that’s some major league crap there.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Andy, I’ll ignore the fact that you ommitted the Manchester office from your list of players, but only because I’m sipping tea from a brand new mug with its own biscuit holder

Comment by northern

I think Andy’s excuse will be that the Manchester office WAS crap and then you joined and so greatness beckons.

Well I don’t think that’ll be his view at all actually, but I thought I’d get in before he did.

And you’re a proud owner of a tea biscuit mug eh? Maybe you can tell Mr M about it’s quality so his concerns can be put to rest and cynic’s integrity can be maintained.

Comment by Rob

He can’t respond – he’s picking up broken biscuits from the floor.

Comment by John

A mug either tastes great or it doesn’t. There is no sensible reason for this, it just is. Mr M, this mug tastes great. I rest my case

Comment by northern

Can we use that quote in our advertising NP?

And Dodds, there are no fucking broken biscuits because the mug has been formulated by NASA scientists [OK, that’s abit of an overclaim] to ensure the ‘stored elements’ aren’t placed under undue pressure or likely to fall out – unless you, the drinker, makes a fucking stupid mistake.

Mind you, maybe you were implying NP is a tight bastard and simply stealing the crums from the floor – and if that’s the case – I don’t feel I can mount a serious counter argument. 🙂

Comment by Rob

I hope you will make good on my lost royalty for giving Northern a free mug.

Comment by Bazza

It’s called investing in the product/brand success – you know that thing you bang on about to clients every day.

Jesus, instead of going to work at Apple, maybe you should of joined Price Waterhouse Coopers!

Comment by Rob

Quote all you like.
And I am a tight bastard, but I draw the line at crumbs.

Comment by northern

I’m going to be your client, can I have some respect please.

Comment by Bazza

What about peanuts? Do you draw the line at them NP?

And you are quite right Bazza – so let me rephrase my previous post …

“Jesus, instead of going to work at Apple, maybe you should of joined Price Waterhouse Coopers, Mr Baz”

Comment by Rob

That’s better, thank you.

Comment by Bazza

“Mr M, this mug tastes great.”

Surely you dont eat the mug itself?!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Well he is a tough-bastard Northerner Mr M!

Not to mention a self-confessed tight bugger.

Comment by Rob

Everything about that ad is terrible, from the idea to the art direction. Has Lee seen it Rob?

Comment by George

If you stopped to read the comments George, you’d know he had and unsuprisingly chose to ignore the SIA issue and just focus on his own ad.

Those airline people stick together – well, in public at least. 🙂

Comment by Rob

Try and get 3 children under 7 their breakfast Robert, then talk to me about reading comments.

Comment by George

this ad should be renamed: “when good concepts go bad”

Comment by lauren

Going for ‘Dad Of The Year’ are we George?

And Lauren, can you please tell me what the ‘good concept’ was because for the life of me I can’t see the bloody thing – all I get is ‘bad’.

Comment by Rob

i think ‘disruption’ is a good concept and it’s obvious that they were trying to turn SIA on its head. they just broke its neck is all…

and george – cup of black coffee and a bagel should do, right?

Comment by lauren

Trust me Lauren – there’s no way in hell TBWA will have any success in changing SIA’s campaign both because [1] the culture of business is about pleasing your boss, not your consumer and [2] SIA are the most profitable and successful airline of the past 30 years and the attitude [especially in Asia] is if it ain’t broke – don’t change it – even if the success has been down to everything other than the ads [at least for the past 10 years!]

It’s a tough one – but sadly, that’s how it goes out here – which is why the modicum of success we had with SONY was driven by need rather than desire.

Right, I’m off to be a Dad to a mad [but lovely] cat [which is less hassle than being a Dad to 3 mad [but lovely] daughters] so till tomorrow …

Comment by Rob

It’s a wrong, boring, lame and ugly ad.
And I don’t want to fly from London to London in an A380.
Not from City to Stansted, Heathrow to Gatwick or Luton to Nowhere.
That TBWA isn’t that safe and smart with their own disruption (you know that thing when you turn ideas 180° like in Amsterdam, or just zag when the world zigs) tool can be revealed pretty easily with everything they do for NIVEA.

Hello by the way. Hope you’re all right.

Comment by Seb

Though it would be interesting to know which London they head for from London. The nine Londons in the United States or the Londons ins Canada, Nigeria, Burma, Kiribati, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea or on the Philippines.

16 different destinations in one ad. Maybe that’s disruption…

Comment by Seb

Seb – welcome back – we [as in Andy and I] were just talking about you last night and were hoping all was good.

Of course neither of us sent you an email to ask, but I was going to [honest!] and I am so glad to have you back even if it could be a thinly veiled attempt to garner support for your ‘drink off’ competition, ha.

And you’re right – the ad does sort of insinuate it travels from London to errrrrrm, London. Of course given British Airways own the ‘London Eye’, this could be SIA’s attempt to go one better [The London Fly?] but somehow I doubt it.

Has anyone else noticed Fred has been strangely quiet today? Ha.

Comment by Rob

Maybe it should make me happy that Andy and you were talking about me last night but, to be honest, it frightens me. I hope you both weren’t sitting in a jacuzzi…ha.

And no, it is not an attempt to gain support for coffee. Haven’t done anything yet but will hopefully have time to do it tonight. But I think a saw something you are working on through flickr. Interesting that you use DC as an abbreviation. Is it Washington Diet Coke then?

Comment by Seb

rob, believe me, i’m not disagreeing with you. in fact, you proved to me exactly why their ‘good concept went bad’. they tried to apply disruption to a culture (organisationally speaking) that isn’t ready for disruption.

on a similar but slightly different note, with all the re-vamp of singapore and lee kwan yew’s 10-year ‘overhaul’ does SIA need to respond to that, or are they brought in on the ground level with that? does a country create tourists and the airline responds, or do the airlines and the country work together for a common profit?

Comment by lauren

I think the London London is a play on New York New York, but its so poorly done that its a struggle to work out why.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I’m kind of sorry to burst the bubble, but Disruption is no more of a ‘tool’ than a brief template or a MacBook Pro. It is a clever piece of packaging for a philosophy that the best of the industry have been practising for the last 30 years: when everyone else zigs, zag (black sheep, anyone?). It’s a great (if not exactly revolutionary) way of thinking. It’s a great process for brainstorming. It’s a great way of presenting a ‘zag’ idea. But it ain’t a tool. SIA would no more countenance ‘disruption’ in their advertising any more than they would allow a hostess above a size 12 on one of their planes; but that doesn’t excuse the unfeasibly appalling crapness of this execution. And that guy on top of the London line – I think he’s stumbling over a drunk on The Strand…

Comment by lofty

fuck you seb, i wouldnt share a meal with campbell let alone body water. fuck that sounds even worse, see what youve done to me. we were talking about you and it was good. well relatively speaking. now come back more often because only you and marcus (and dodds if hes in a pissy mood) keep this blog interesting.

and i have no fucking idea who this “lofty” character is but judging what he says (it has to be a bloke doesnt it) and how he says it, 2/1 hes an ex tbwa man, probably a brit who lives in asia and a planner.

am i right “lofty”? part of me hopes not or campbells relentless profiler lessons will be proved right and the last thing i need is that smug fuck being even more pleased with himself than usual plus i need another planner on this blog like a dose of georges delhi belly.

Comment by andy@cynic

and lauren can you please stop asking campbell questions where he can be all serious and grown up. christ woman, whose fucking side are you on? and for what its worth, your blog post yesterday was brave, beautiful, tender and raw. must be unbelievably tough to write but you did him proud. well done girl.

and yes that means i visit other blogs other than this pile of shit which also means im not as technically inept as campbell likes to claim. id sue the fucker but i dont know how to send the lawyer an e. boom fucking tish.

Comment by andy@cynic

I second that comment on Lauren Andy. (the latter bit)

Comment by Rob Mortimer

you parasite mortimer but then you are a planner and an “official” one at that

Comment by andy@cynic

Andy, I’m a Ukrainian social worker living in France who just takes a perverse delight in reading about this self-congratulatory nonsense you sad people call a profession.

Oh alright you’re 100% on the money – which unfortunately means you have to kiss Rob’s ring. Or something like that.

Comment by lofty

Pucker up big boy …

And I’m sure Mr Britton wouldn’t say no to seeing you crawl 🙂

Comment by Rob

And hello James [a.k.a Lofty] nice to see you here – especially as you have just helped me be get one over the man with the biggest ego since Bono 🙂

Comment by Rob

Oh I can see it now…..wanders off shaking his head …

Comment by Charles Frith

Bet you wish you hadn’t bothered eh Charles 🙂

Comment by Rob

[…] was wonderful, but the majority are the sort of bland, stupid bollocks I’ve ranted about from Singapore and Turkish […]

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