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

Happiness At The Misfortune Of Others …
November 23, 2009, 6:33 am
Filed under: Comment

Many years ago, when cynic was a mere few weeks old, we were approached by Porsche to do some work for them regarding public opinion.

To be honest, we almost felt guilty taking the money because it didn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what the key viewpoints would be, but as we all had mortgages to pay, we did and decided to have some fun trying to work out ways we could get the info.

To cut a very long – and boring – story short, on top of all the traditional and professional methodologies, we ended up doing some other stuff that was rather left field.

George went out onto the streets of NYC with a man holding a video camera. He had to stop random men on the street on the pretext of wanting to ask him some questions about some economic viewpoint or other.

Within a couple of minutes, Andy – in a Porsche Boxter we had hired – would come screaming round the corner, playing music at Metallicaesque decibels, shouting at passers-by in a demented and random way.

It was at this point George would look at his interviewee and ask …

“What do you think of that?”

And almost every time, the interviewee would respond with a diatribe of clichés that included such gems as …


“Gets paid a fortune for doing nothing”

“Eats at hip restaurants with models”

“Snorts the average American’s annual salary up his nose”

“Probably lives in an overpriced warehouse apartment”

After a few minutes of hearing this character assassination, George would say the same thing …

“Sounds a pretty good life doesn’t it?”

To which invariably, the respondent would smile or laugh and nod in agreement.

Now is everyone who drives a Porsche a overpaid, model shagging, top restaurant eating, coke snorting’, apartment dwelling wanker?

No … however what we found interesting is that these clichés tended to be offered by pretty much every person we spoke to and yet, when we would say to them it sounded quite a cool life, they all nodded in agreement and laughed – as if they had realised for the first time their views were driven by jealousy rather than disgust.

A dear friend of mine – Juanita – calls this ‘projection’ [part of Jung’s theories / learnings / research] and whilst I don’t agree with all her/Jung’s views and theories, on this one I do … which is why armed with this information, we were able to develop some lovely ideas for Porsche based around ‘life’s not fair’ even though the German gits never ended up using any of them.


Still, this project helped explain to me why this Bentley ‘ad’ resonated so deeply with both Bentley and none-Bentley drivers alike …

As usual, I don’t really know why I’ve told you all this … especially because I’ve missed out a ton of stuff that was actually the heart & soul of the experiement … but it does possibly explain why this weekend – whilst out on the expensive streets of cold Hong Kong – I saw something that made me smile with sickening contentment …


And there I was thinking I was a socialist … no I’m not … I’m a wannabe [though some would claim I’ve climbed to the very top] wanker.

Well I do work in adland I suppose.

20 Comments so far
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so what youre saying is every fucker wanted to be like me. talk about state the fucking obvious.

and of course youre not a socialist, youre not even fucking social.

bit fucking slow these days arent you campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

That set up scenario is genius. Well done!

Comment by Age

Wouldn’t you guys of got the same reaction if Andy wasn’t driving a Porsche? 🙂

Comment by Pete

Are you drunk or insane Pete?

Eitherway, I like it.

Comment by Rob

I assume individuals who own and drive classic Porsche motor vehicles (in particular a 1973 911 Targa) are exempt from any negative public opinion. That is not a question Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

Funny you should say that Lee … 1973 Porsche targa drivers were universally accepted as being brilliant human beings. Oh yes … amazing eh.


Comment by Rob

So Andy was cast as an arrogant and obnoxious Porsche driver? Isn’t that like casting Clint Eastwood as a tough guy who polices society by dishing out his own unique brand of justice?

Comment by Bazza

I heard a story about a pitch for Porsche some years ago where they just just wrote the word Wanker on a board.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Amazing that the public could sum up Andy so badly. Just shows the true worth of qualitative research.

Comment by John

Yes … closely followed by the client walking out and calling the agency ‘cocks’. Possibly.

Comment by Rob

You won’t get any money off Andy with your compliments Mr Dodds.

Comment by Rob

I realise that – I was just reeling at the thought of George working the streets of New York with a video camera.

Comment by John

Of course George wasn’t holding the video camera … how could he channel his inner Jeremy Paxman if he was trying to be Spielberg at the same time?

If memory serves me, camera duty that day was handled by our very first employee, Tammy … who, if I’m being honest, was the only reason men stopped to talk to George, but we don’t tell him that for obvious ego reasons, ha!

Comment by Rob

am i supposed to give a flying fuck?

just wondering.

Comment by andy@cynic

am i going to hell if i say that this funny little experiment does demonstrate that methodology is important? i see a mother with a child driving around the corner listening to a winnie the pooh radio play. i guess you staged that thing to get some entertaining video underpinning research findings from an earlier stage. and whats happening to the ferrari? anyway, good news is i m going to be off for a while 🙂 have fun!

Comment by peggy

as campbell said, we did a fuck load of stuff but this helped show the situation better to the clients than any boring as fuck document could ever do. plus we could hire charge the hire of the porsche back to them. and look good to chicks. whats not to like.

where the fuck are you going peggy and why do you get to be away from this blog when we cant?

Comment by andy@cynic

I like it as an illustration to prove your hypothesis. Certainly more entertaining than a debrief document, though you must have been sure that your client was thick-skinned (and that this was indeed an accurate portrayal of opinion)

Comment by Simon Kendrick

why dont they have a car pool for screaming vip’s over there? 🙂

im going to hell. well, it feels like im already there lol… i m moving next weekend, which i ultimately decided last week… i guess if you would get yourself into a mess just because you can, you d have no other choice but to stay away from the blog, too… id rather hang out here though, instead of putting things in boxes… but since theres no butler doing it for me… lifes not fair lol

Comment by peggy

simon. if a company hires an agency called cynic then youd fucking hope theyd realise theyre not going to be getting work thats fucking cutesy, corporate toady and traditional.

didnt stop kimberly clarke from making a fucking expensive mistake though did it. lol.

hell you say peggy. might see you there then.

Comment by andy@cynic

Could you elaborate/write more on those early days? because the first sentence of this post is the most interesting and, I am sure, contains many a (business) lesson.

Would love to hear George and Andy’s thoughts on that period as well..

In fact I would not mind reading all the stories of all the people who work(ed) for you and visit this blog, on how they got there and what they got from it (besides working with/for the great one, ha!)

if nothing else it will give you some quality albums fillers when you run low on ideas or time

Comment by niko

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