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

Little Things Can Make Big Fuck Ups …
August 31, 2009, 6:29 am
Filed under: Comment

So we’ve just been doing some ads for one of our clients that features well known people media personalities.

Obviously, as part of the process, we have to get things approved, so we recently sent one of the ideas over to the client and ‘talent’ for their feedback.

Fortunately for us, everything was fine – but the talent did say he had to send it to his managers in London for their approval.

It was then we realised we had a potential disaster on our hands.

When we were going through the ideas, we realised that in the copy, we had said “she” instead of “he”.

Obviously it’s just a slip of a copywriters hand, but it’s not right and just because the ad was a ‘work in progress’ doesn’t mean we should be slack in checking things before we send them out.

Now you might think, “what harms done, the client and talent didn’t pick it up either” and you’d be right, but I don’t think that’s an excuse – however it gets worse. Potentially much, MUCH worse.

You see the talent who has been subject to our inadvertent ‘sex change’ is a very well known gay man … except he hasn’t actually ‘come out’ so I am waiting for the explosion when his managers see the mistake and think we’ve just been taking the piss.

Do I think they will accept it was an innocent mistake?

If it was anyone other than us, possibly – but something tells me I’m going to be buying a lot of dinners over the next few weeks.

I’ve always said it’s the little things that can make the difference and here’s proof –the letter ‘s’ has the potential to make my life very painful indeed!

Porno For Mormons? [Including Classic ‘Tangent’ Soundtrack]
August 28, 2009, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Comment

Because my previous post has been – quite rightly – treated like a piece of shit, I thought I’d let you spend your weekend contemplating …

1/ What sort of person comes up with a contraption like this.
2/ What sort of person would happily advertise a contraption like this.
3/ What sort of person buys a contraption like this.

As Thora Hird once said, “There’s nowt as queer as folk”.

Have a good weekend.

Let’s Act Like Kids Again …
August 28, 2009, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

The very lovely, supportive and kind John Dodds recently told me my blog posts are basically ‘one line of an idea, stretched to the limit’.

And he was right.

For a person whose job is to ‘simplify’, I don’t half go on and on and on sometimes.

Anyway, I digress. As usual.

So I was watching a program recently where it showed kids going off to play with their friends and that got me thinking.

Do you remember when you were young and when you wanted to play with your mates you just went round to their house and knocked on their door?

No phoning, SMSing, MSNing or emailing to check if they were in/available … you just got off your arse and ran round to see if they wanted to come out to play.

Or chat.

Or share a can of Tizer.

Do we do that anymore?

Putting aside the fact Tizer makes Red Bull look like natural spring water … I would hasten to guess, probably not – and if we do ever have unexpected visitors turn up on our doorstep, our first reaction is probably more likely to be one of annoyance than thrill.

Why are we like this?

Sure there’s many things we could throw up as excuses …

We are working harder and have bigger responsibilities than ever before.

We spend so much working, we need to spend time with our loved ones.

We’re so busy we never have time to do the odd jobs that need fixing.

… but at the end of the day, most of that’s a load of bollocks because popping in to see a mate unannounced a couple of times a month is hardly going to kill us is it?

I’ve said it before but this ‘planned spontaneity’ attitude that is prevalent amongst so many of us is pretty sad so here’s my challenge …

This weekend go and knock on a mates door just to ‘say hello’.

No pre-screening … just go over, say hello and then maybe suggest ‘a drink’ for no other reason than it would be nice to catch up.

I know they’ll probably think you’re about to tell them you’re getting a divorce or have cancer … but don’t worry about that … get back to a time when friendship was as much about just hanging out as it was having someone to copy your homework off.

Yes … I am aware that [1] this is an unbelievably bad post and [2] it say’s more about me than it does you … but if you recognise any of this in your life, then maybe you’re losing touch with some of the elements that make life great.

Oh the irony that this is all coming from a man writing it on a blog to a bunch of people he has never met … ha!

Why A Toothbrush Will Stop Me Staying At The Sheraton …
August 27, 2009, 6:29 am
Filed under: Comment

Before I start – I have a sneaky suspicion that I may of already written this post before.

I’ve done a cursory check, but can’t find it … however something is niggling away at me that this is ‘old news’, however as pretty much everything on this blog is old news, I guess you’re used to it.

I am a reluctant tipper.

Let me rephrase that … I am a reluctant tipper unless I feel someone has been especially good in how they have handled my request.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Brit … or a total tight arse … but I find it very hard to hand over a ‘bonus’ simply because someone passed me the salt. 10 minutes after I asked for it.

And yet I now live in a society where people expect to get given money regardless of what they have done.

OK … OK … I know in many cases these people get paid shit and a little can go a long way – however with so many hotels/restaurants already ripping people off with a ‘service charge’, I can’t see for the life of me why I should pay a tip on an already self-imposed tip simply because someone is doing their job.

It’s for these reasons that I am deeply unpopular when I go to the US.

I remember paying for a dinner where I was expecting about US$50 change and the waiter – who had been absolutely fucking shit – boldly said …
“Is the change mine?”

I couldn’t believe it, so much to Andy’s amusement, I replied, “No, but a whole dollar of it is.”

To say I was given stares of death is an understatement – but why the hell should I give more money to someone who hasn’t done anything to earn it?

Fuck, I sound like legendary tight arse Rod Stewart don’t I.

This is all coming out wrong … I guess I am just saying that I don’t subscribe to the ‘always tip’ mentality because I don’t believe in rewarding someone if they’ve acted [attitudinally or interms of their performance] like a total tit.

Hmmmmn, I think this has just about guaranteed no one wants to ever work with me again. Oh well …

Anyway the reason I say all this is because this ‘tip obsession’ has ultimately robbed the Sheraton Hotel in Malaysia of a customer.

Last week I was in KL.

I arrived late at the hotel and basically just wanted to go to bed.

Now I stay in a lot of hotels and apart from the Sanderson in London – who tried to charge me TWENTY POUNDS for a toothbrush kit – I have pretty much always found a basic amenities kit in the bathroom.

That was until I stayed at the Sheraton.

Oh no. You see, despite it supposedly being a decent hotel – they don’t put anything in your bathroom except some soap and toilet paper.

“OK, no worries” … I thought, “… I’ll just ring house-keeping.”

“No problems Mr Campbell” they said, “… we’ll send one to your room immediately”.

5 minutes pass.

10 minutes pass.

15 minutes pass.

20 minutes pass.


Finally …

I open the door and find a young guy holding my toothbrush like it was a javelin.

“Your toothbrush” he declared, like he’d just found the Da Vinci code.

“Thank you very much”, I replied … however, as I took the item from the guys hand, I realised he was rooted to the spot.

Had he accidently stood in a jar of super glue?

Was he standing on some chewing gum?

No, the cheeky bugger expected me to tip him.

For bringing me a toothbrush after 20 minutes!!!

And did I?

Of course … because my mind basically went through all the reasons why it wasn’t his fault.

1/ Maybe house-keeping couldn’t find a toothbrush and held him up.

2/ He was young and probably working to pay his way through university. Or look after his dying parents.

3/ I never feel I deserve to be in nice places so I thought maybe some of my guilt could be off-set by helping out this guy … someone I felt more related to than I did anyone else in the hotel.

And that is why I paid more for this toothbrush than if I’d gone to the shops and bought everything Colgate had ever produced for people’s gobs.

Yet I feel a bit pissy.

OK, so in the big scheme of things it’s nothing much, however the fact a hotel feels it OK to make guests order a toothbrush and go through – for Brits – the anguish of ‘do I tip/don’t I tip’ means I am much less likely to stay there in the future.

Maybe I am an anomaly … maybe I am a tight arse … but with hotels doing more and more outlandish schemes in an attempt to get customers whilst still charging outrageous rates for the smallest of items [Can of Diet Coke? $7!!!], they should make sure they get the basics right because I care a damn site more about having a toothbrush in my room than I do a bloody monogrammed bathrobe.

Is Ignorance Or Delusion, Bliss?
August 26, 2009, 6:35 am
Filed under: Comment

Believe it or not, there’s a lot of very clever people who work in brand consultancies.

No – it’s not April the 1st – it’s true.

The reason I feel I have to point this out is because if you were to follow some of the comments being made by some of the more ‘high profile’ individuals, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a home for fuckwits, used car salesmen and con artists.

My personal pet peeve?

When they take a company for fucking millions, claiming a new logo … and ONLY a new logo … can change the fate of a company overnight.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely appreciate the importance, value and appeal of a strong and memorable visual identity, but if the products shit, it ain’t gonna work – at least in the long term.

Let’s be honest, Google’s “logo” looks like some 5 year old with powerpoint put it together … however, because the brand actually lives a meaningful, demonstrable, motivating and infectious philosophy, no one really gives a damn.

Hell, some people actually think Google is cool … how weird is that eh!

So why am I saying this …

Because someone – I don’t know who – has said to SONY Ericsson, that the future of their company isn’t about making better products or offering superior customer service, it’s about recreating their logo in different colours.

Yes, that’ll do it … I have instantly forgotten that they treated me like a total prick when their phones kept failing … I’ve painted out of my memory the fact they lied and then called me a liar … I’ve moved on from the fact they continually create products that almost always has one key feature missing … they now have their weird logo in 5 lovely shades and so regardless of what tat they churn out, I’ll be queuing up for them.

Brilliant move Sony Ericsson … I wonder how much you paid for it?

Whatever it was, it was too much.

No doubt the pink symbol will be used for girl phones and the blue on boys. Green will be for business models and the brown and purple will be kept in a tin on the shelf till they find a way to make phones they can sell to dogs and lesbians.

[No, I don’t know where I’m going with this either]

I find it incredibly sad that so many companies genuinely believe a new visual identity – without anything to really back it up – can change their fate. Their belief that it signifies a ‘change’ to the market is astounding given most people won’t even notice it, let alone care.

I guess it is symbolic of a culture [from Governments to shareholders] that is continually looking for short-cuts to success rather than putting in the hard yards and facing their responsibilities … and the fact common sense flies out the window when a brand consultancy will happily perpetuate the companies delusion makes me sad.

Terribly, terribly sad.