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

I’ve Got A Time Machine …
December 3, 2009, 6:11 am
Filed under: Comment

I’m a bit of a girl.

I don’t mean in the way I fill out the front of my trousers … I mean it in the sense that occasionally, I have an overwhelming urge to splurge.

Yes, I am a man that likes shopping – not all the time and certainly not for things like carpet, kitchen tiles or cupboards – but the truth is that every now and then, I like to while away a few hours walking around shops and seeing what techno-wizardry I can waste my cash on.

Yes, I know you know I like gadgets – but it’s not all R2D2, Nabaztag’s and Aibo’s – sometimes I like things that are a bit practical and recently I bought what has quickly become something very precious to me, a Wifi-Radio.

Look, I know streaming radio via the internet is nothing new, but this box makes it much easier and – to be honest – more special, because by it not being directly linked with a computer, you are not distracted by incoming emails or a desire to check out some websites.

Anyway, the reason I call it a time machine is because I’ve loaded it up with all my fave stations from all the countries I’ve lived/live, so at the flick of a switch, I can be transported to a time and place that holds a whole different bunch of feelings and emotions – especially when the presenters at many of the stations are still the same old miserable gits that were on it when I first listened years ago.

To be honest it’s nice.

Very nice.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life but there is something very comforting about having a bunch of stuff around you that lets you still feel connected to your past.

And it’s even more comforting when you can decide when they are part of your life and when they’re not, ha!

Saying that, there is one station that affects my mood to a much greater extent than the others and that is TalkSport.

To explain why, I have to give you a bit of a background …

I left England in the 90’s and whilst I have continually popped back for holidays and projects with various agencies, I have not seen it as my ‘home’ for 15 years, even though it still represents a very important place in my heart and mind, and not just because my Mum and best friend live there.

Anyway, when I go back to visit, I always hire a car and more often than not, listen to TalkSport on the journey between Heathrow airport and Nottingham.

I love listening to it, not just because it helps pass the time, but because it lets me overdose on football news/trash … news/trash you just don’t get [at least in the way the British media present it] outside of the UK.

So when I’m at one of the other places I get to call home, I can listen to it and regardless of whether Forest have won, lost or drawn – makes me feel good because the frame of reference I have for that station is ‘holiday’.

Frames of reference are an amazingly ignored area for planning … so much focus is given to what is happening now, that we forget that first experience forms an incredibly powerful impression on people’s minds, be it good, bad or ugly.

The greatest advocate of this approach is the consultant, Clotaire Rapaille – who is famous for a number of things, including costing a fucking fortune for even breathing in your presence – however one of his ‘greatest hits’ is was when Nestle were trying [and failing] to sell coffee to the Japanese and he told them that because they had no cultural frame of reference for that particular ‘taste’ they should start creating a range of products where ‘coffee’ was a flavour variant.

Zoom forward 10+ years and those young people have not only got used to the taste, but have developed a coffee drinking habit resulting in Japan being the iced coffee drinking capital of the World.

Of course there’s lots of other factors behind the success [factors Clotaire conveniently doesn’t acknowledge] but understanding the frame of reference that someone has towards a particular taste/mood/feeling/brand can not only help drive a creative and effective solution to the challenge but can be the difference between living in the category of advertising or culture.

And finally, to all the people and agencies that now spout the word ‘culture’ at every opportunity – it only makes you look clever if you know what it is and what to do with it and an ad for beer with some blokes drinking and laughing isn’t going to cut it. Sorry.

12 Comments so far
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now youre showing off campbell.

yesterday you went from your spoilt brat christmas list to how adland should learn from bedroom fucking guitarists and today to show it wasnt a fluke you bridge r2d2 to clotaire “onion” rapaille.

marcus will hate it because you still end up wrapping it up with some adland reference but for once i quite like it.

alright i dont like it but the point you make, when you finally fucking get there which is longer than climbing the north face of everest on a fucking pogo, is cool.

its still too long, too fucking tangenty and filled with too much information about your fucking sad tastes and stupid spending habits, but emotions getting unlocked by discovering frames of reference is cool even though every fucker who reads this should know about it and if they don’t, they shouldnt fucking admit it.

i thought rapaille was a rip off merchant but at least he came up with ideas even if some were taking the fucking piss and thats why i like you and your culture tirade campbell, because you might be one of those fuckers who spouts “culture” in every pissing sentence, but at least you were one of the first to do it and still one of the only ones who links it to rapailles kind of thinking rather than ending up using it as an excuse to do an ad that gets shot in 20 countries or uses 20 nationalities in one ad. (are you thinking what im thinking rob? fuji film, lol)

thats a compliment campbell, not the fuji bit: thats me sticking the knife in but the rest of it is, so this is where you fall to your knees and feel like youve been touched by god.

but not in the irish priest sense of the word.

bad luck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Obviously I agree with your thinking because you spent years brainwashing me to agree but I thought I should mention that when I was reading this post the phrase “more money than sense” leapt into my mind except in your case it would be “less money than sense” but I’m not sure if that’s because you buy so much tech or because you’re really smart.

I’m sure Andy will have a view. 🙂

PS) I agree with Andy’s comment except for the Fuji reference which I assume is some in joke from before electricity was invented.

Comment by Bazza

a. too much tech.
b. cheeky twat.

Comment by andy@cynic

Another great post Robert (well the last 1/3) but it might be worth highlighting that frame of reference is only one part of the discovery process and should be treated as a guide rather than as a fact as initial interaction with almost anything will be unique to whoever is referenced.

I don’t mean to underplay its value and I am sure people already would know they should never rely on just one bit of information, but I thought it worth mentioning so when I look back at this post in 50 years time, I will feel comfortable I didn’t let an opportunity for clarification pass by.

Despite that, the concept of frame of reference is amazing and can give valuable insight into the deeply held emotional and cultural context of a brand and Robert in particular has been an advocate of this approach for many years and he is much cheaper than a certain French business guru’s I could mention.

Comment by George

Thought so Andy. 🙂

I miss George.

Comment by Bazza

george showing his dad of 3 creds again.

Comment by andy@cynic

I know this is off the subject, but did you not once offer to do an embarrassing dance if nottingham forest got promoted?

As for this post, Andy is speaking for me. 🙂

Comment by Pete

Totally sold on a wifi radio. I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about listening to radio and using a whole computer to do it but a wifi radio box is ossum. OK where do I go to take a look. I’m in Central in about an hour.

Comment by Charles Frith

@Elephant Pete. You’re right and here’s the proof.

Time to pay your debts Rob even if it might be a sight that will live with us to our grave.

@ Charles. The link Campbell has for his internet radio is but of course he’s chosen one that doubles as an international space centre so get any of the logitech range, I have one and they’re cheaper and do exactly the same thing as Rob’s without the overpriced wank bits.

@Rob Nice post but you’re preaching to the converted so I’ll stick with living out my Andy fantasies (only personality wise) if you don’t mind.

Comment by DH

When your expensive French advisor says frame of reference, I assume he means memory.

Comment by John

When you find out the frame of reference for porn stars, call me. Till then let me keep looking at how cool the back to the future car is.

Comment by Billy Whizz

[…] before you think I’m a total nutter, remember the brilliant – but slightly mad – Clotaire Rapaille believes your first exposure to brands and experiences frames and defines the way you look at them […]

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