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

We Don’t Know How Lucky We Are …
February 27, 2009, 1:04 pm
Filed under: Comment

Thanks Age, you have no idea how much I needed this!

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Exaggeration: As Brought To You By Adland …
February 27, 2009, 6:46 am
Filed under: Comment

Now I know money is tight and so people are scrambling around trying to raise a few extra bucks to pay their bills.

And I know that if you’re really hard up, getting a sale would feel like a good thing … possibly even an achievement … but I have to say that even if you were on the cusp of bankruptcy, I doubt selling your 3 year old iron for $14.58 or getting a shelf stacking job at $2.46 an hour would give you the same level of satisfaction as Obama felt when he became the first black president of the USA.

But hey, not according to the Classified Post in HK …

I’m trying to work out if they’re trying to say Obama got his job after seeing it in the paper.

WANTED: US President.

If you are a motivated, conscientious, business minded professional with at least 10 years experience in government management, we want to hear from you.

You should be a team player, at ease with continuous and probing media attention and comfortable with social interaction.

We are offering a 4 year contract [with the potential of this being carried over for another 4 years] competitive salary, housing, transport and excellent pension scheme.


Contact: with your resume and references.

Hey maybe it happened …

Regardless of that, if you’re broke, jobless, depressed or lonely, all you have to do is buy a copy of the HK Classified Post and you’ll feel like a winner … not just any winner … but King of the winners.

I’m telling you, they are going to put Oprah and Prozac out of business within weeks!

If I wanted to be kind, I’d say the insight behind this campaign was that the residents of HK didn’t consider the Classified Post as a place to find career jobs, but having bought a copy, I’d say the reason they felt that way was because it’s true.





Presidents of Companies, let alone countries?


But hey, at least I noticed it – and as many people in adland keep telling me, especially media planners and buyers – that’s all that counts!

Are You Feeling Positive … Punk?
February 26, 2009, 6:16 am
Filed under: Comment

So research company TNS have done some work to gauge the level of optimism that various countries around the World feel.

They’ve detailed it by listing the most optimistic and the most pessimistic and I have to be honest, but some of the findings are quite surprising …

Data: TNS

I can only assume the reason Colombia is on the list is because they’re expecting a bumper coke harvest this year … probably because the American economy is so shot, they know there’ll be less Drug Enforcement Officers on patrol. But if that was the case, why isn’t Mexico on there as well?

And Kosovo and Lebanon? What the fuck???

Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to appreciate why Iceland is depressed – and if you’ve ever been there, you’ll know it’s not just because the place is bankrupt – but Singapore?

Sure the economy is tough, but those buggers don’t know they’re born.

Great standard of living, excellent facilities, careful financial management, superb infrastructure – in the big scheme of things, what have they got to worry about except the fact they might not be able to buy the latest Prada bag! Seriously, they need a big reality check – especially many of the kids who, as I’ve said numerous times – think they’ve paid their dues simply by going to University.

Getting back to the point …

Let’s face it, what TNS asked – “Do you think 2009 will be better or worse than 2008” – is hardly the sort of heavyweight question that can reveal powerful and groundbreaking insights … plus without any structure, any finding is going to be surceptable to the influence of ‘acts of God’ as well as major levels of ambiguity regarding the feedback, which is why these things annoy me when they’re presented as fundamental fact rather than just a moment-in-time viewpoint.

Saying that, I would genuinely love to know why the people of Kosovo etc are so optimistic …

Joking aside, the fact they’re so optimistic doesn’t surprise me.

Over the years I have found that the countries who have endured greater hardship somehow produce a more optimistic society.

This is not just pie-in-the-sky theory, it is something that many researchers are looking into and Oliver James – a psychologist – wrote a really interesting piece about it in his book ‘Affluenza

Maybe it’s about expectations … maybe it’s about appreciation … maybe it’s simply that they are so low that the only way is up … but in a World where so many people aspire to put themselves in a golden cage, it’s refreshing to know that some people out there still appreciate good ol’ simple pleasures … even if for them, it is the kind of stuff us spoilt and indulged Westerners take for granted.

Designers: The New Used Car Salesmen? [Or Adfolk?]
February 25, 2009, 7:07 am
Filed under: Comment

So yesterday I wrote a post that was kinda about the importance of visual identity and how many companies fail to give theirs any discernable meaning.

Within the comments, our dear Andy went into a frothing-at-the-mouth rant about a document that had ‘come into his possession’ … a document that was a submission by the Arnell group to update the Pepsi logo.

Now I had already received this document from a number of other sources and wanted to put it up – but I wasn’t sure if I could, however after talking to our lovely lawyer Stephen, he has told me that as long as I credit the organisation who originally created it [which I am glad to do because I sure as hell don’t want to be associated with it] and don’t make any ‘industry’ observations [just personal ones] I should be fine … so with that, I encourage you to look at – what is in my humble PERSONAL opinion – a crock of total and utter bollocks …


[Did you click on it? Did you? I know it sounds like it is more trouble than its worth but you HAVE TO check it out – it’s car crash magnetic and literally will only take you a few seconds to skim through. Fuck, I’d rather you check it out than the rest of this post … and you know how long I spend compiling my rubbish! Go on … click on it]

Now I’ve said many times that I regard design as being incredibly valuable and powerful in the development of a brand but this is just a joke.

Gravitational field?


I appreciate I am just some advertising hack, but I can’t help thinking it just looks like a bunch of squiggles made at random points of where a logo was previously placed.

And even if I accept there is some sort of genuine logic in all this – which I can’t – I still can’t see how this lead to them recommending an old Pepsi logo being twisted slightly to the left.

Are they fucking insane???

Then there’s the fact they are obviously trying to imply they’re fucking Einstein … but lets be honest, they’re more Tommy Cooper than scientist.

Don’t get me wrong, there are occasions where the lessons of science can help develop effective communication … but in my experience, the reason most agencies claim this [and adland is equally as full of shit] is because they’re trying to [1] justify their outrageous fee and [2] look smart given all they really are doing is making the sort of image we did as 3 year olds with a packet of Crayola’s.

Oh hang on, there’s more ….

What the hell was going through their tiny minds when they decided to show iconic images from past decades, centuries and millenium? Are they claiming their Pepsi idea means it can be hung up alongside the Mona Lisa or The Last Supper?

I genuinely thought this was a comedy doco – I just could not believe this was a genuine proposal – especially when I came across their ‘Trajectory Of Innovation’ chart.




An arrow pointing up representing the future is the sort of shit you’d expect some 6 year old kid to do, not a multi-million dollar organisation. And I have the sneaky – and worrying suspicion – that they are claiming the angle of the line pointing up has deep significance interms of how ‘optimisitic’ a brand is perceived by the masses.

To say this document offends me is an understatement – this doco makes me so angry that I want to destroy everyone and anyone who had something to do with it … ESPECIALLY the idiot at Pepsi who fell for all the bollocks and coughed up untold millions for the tilted logo to adorn every one of their bloody cans from now to eternity.

My only hope is that millions of people see this bollocks because like the Christian Bale mp3 clip, it might cause Arnell and Pepsico to hang their heads in shame and seek forgiveness for treating the World like a total bunch of stupid fuckwits.

There are times when I genuinely feel my little band of merry men are literally that – a little band of merry men [and women] but when I see the shit big international companies try and pass off as insightful, relevant and innovative, I come to the conclusion we might be some of the smartest people in the World – and I know that isn’t true, ha!

I think I’ll leave this horror post with Andy’s summation of the Arnell proposal – it seems to sum up my PERSONAL views perfectly …

“all they do in the end is make the pepsi logo look like a fucking smiley. makes planners look almost sensible. wankers”

A World Of Cardboard People …
February 24, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Comment

It’s all very well having ‘mascots’ to represent your brand, but like the Michelin man and Ronald McDonald, it can quickly become tired and/or irrelevant, especially when they are nothing more than an image rather than a representation of what a brand stands for.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many brands are re-doing their logos.

Apart from the fact they all seem to have ‘happy faces’ [because a packet of KRAFT plastic cheese with a manic smile on it is bound to make a financially challenged community feel better about themselves] you can tell they believe this is a cheap and viable alternative to mainstream advertising – not because they can justify it as ‘new news’, but because they think their customers are so bloody obsessed with them, that any change in look will induce the same level of excitement and pandamonium as a 5 year old kid on Christmas eve.

Iconography is incredibly important, but if you [1] don’t give it specific meaning [preferably backed up through the actions of your company] and [2] have an entire category that has copied your look and service to the nth degree without you progressing to any meaningful level, it’s about as useful as asking Steven Segal for acting tips.