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

Does Simon Cowell Do More For Humanity Than The Catholic Church?
February 25, 2010, 6:13 am
Filed under: Comment

One of the things that has always bugged me about cynic’s perception, is that people think we’re a bunch of miserable, negative focused bastards.

OK, so I accept some of that view is driven by the attitude of Andy and me … however the company has never been about undermining, destroying or humiliating, it’s actually been about trying to do the right thing for people, brands and us.

Our view has always been that our ‘clients’ are the general public and our role is to ensure that when companies try to connect with them, they do it in a way that is relevant, honest and valuable to their needs and life, rather than purely in the interests of the companies doing the advertising.

It’s for this reason we have been so active in areas that are now seen as the ‘in thing’, such as product development, freakonomics and social influence as opposed to just traditional advertising.

Maybe I’m saying to this to feel better about myself/ourselves, but my belief is that we’ve always been much more about justice than ridicule – however to achieve this, we’ve felt it necessary to explore the negative as much as the positive because we believe this leads to finding ways that will be much more relevant and pragmatic [our mantra: anger is energy] than the contrived Disneyland tone so many brands happily churn out.

This isn’t about us trading on fear … far from it … it’s about us trading on a real understanding of people’s lives as opposed to the marketing version so many companies like to embrace and promote.

Over the years we’ve been accused of all sorts of things, from being negative to courting the controvertial … but it’s never been about that … it’s just we believe you can’t move forward unless you have breadth and depth of information – and that includes the less favourable stuff as much as the uber-positive elements – and if people/companies don’t think that’s worth chasing, then we’d rather not work with them because ultimately what they want is delusion, not liberation.

I have to admit it really pisses me/us off when companies refuse to accept counter trends and views. Of course there’s going to be generalisation in our industry [even though there’s way too much] however there seems to be this unwritten attitude that the World all thinks/acts/dreams the same and that’s annoying to the extreme – especially as most of these views are based on very superficial levels of exploration.

As much as the World thinks Asia is a region obsessed with ‘face’, in my experience it is something that lives within everyone and by taking the time to find out the conflict that lives in people’s minds and lives … things they feel unable to openly express for fear of ridicule … you can not only understand the emotional elements that are dictating their choices and lives, but you can identify ways to make things better for them, whilst still working in your clients best interests at the same time.

I know that sounds weird or wrong … but it can be done … even though I admit it is harder to achieve, especially as it doesn’t revolve around traditional ad campaigns. [ala my social capitalism philosophy that I’ve been banging on about for bloody ages ]

Anyway the reason I bring this up is that I’ve just read a great book that is basically about liberating people from the emotionally delusional life we have all been encouraged to live.

The book, Smile Or Die, questions the value in obsessively thinking positive, regardless of the situation.

The author, Barbara Ehrenreich, argues that this approach often results in the creation of stress, depression, inactivity and a complete disregard for your own responsibilities.

I’ve read some reviews of the book that basically lambasted the author for being negative … but the people saying that are missing the point … because pretending everything is great doesn’t mean it is or will be, and whilst I am not suggesting there’s no value in thinking positively, this trend of one-dimensional thinking [or said another way, ‘entitlement’] does seem to be undermining the potential of people, communities, countries and companies as a whole … especially given the rise in activities such as drug and alcohol abuse indicates its more about denial than delusion.

Whilst I don’t agree with everything Barbara says, I think she has a very interesting – and valid – point of view so if you want to judge it for yourself, you can buy the book here.

19 Comments so far
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im not a miserable bastard but i am writing a sequel to babs book called smile and die.

subtle fucking difference in title, big fucking difference in message.

Comment by andy@cynic

half fucking decent post here campbell, whats happened to you this week?

ps) well done on making my ideas sound like your ideas. you and auntie make lloyd webber look original.

Comment by andy@cynic

the title of this post is one of those shit, grab cheap attention bollocks you planner types love to churn out because lets fucking face it, sars has done more for humanity than the catholic church so its not exactly a controvertial question is it.

if you really want to compete with some of the jeremy kyle wannabe planning blog types think more sunday sport and give your posts titles like “dogs are shit kill em”

just a bit of constructive criticism.

Comment by andy@cynic

This might be the first recommendation in the history of recommendations that puts people off buying the product that’s being creamed over.

Pretty sure babalicious Babs will back me but in future just say “this book is good, buy it”.

Don’t cry, it’s some more constructive piss taking which might save you being sued by the next author who you decide to destroy with one of your glowing reports.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Or I could see her talk about the subject. Oh right, I did that weeks ago.

Comment by John

Every day we release your comments from the blog junk box, you are sounding more and more like Andy.

Show off.

Comment by Rob

You should use this post as our creds, it sums up everything that makes us special, but I’d drop the comments if I were you. LOL.

Comment by Pete

all the fucking stuff that makes us so fucking special came from my fucking head so if anything should be deleted its campbells post and every other fuckers comments. starting with your example of total lack of fucking management respect even though i know i am your fucking god.

Comment by andy@cynic

Thanks Pete … they should consider themselves lucky I don’t send all their “help” straight to the junk folder like Doddsy, ha!

Comment by Rob

Great post Rob and an even better manifesto. I shall rip it off in the future 😀

Comment by rafik

Well given Andy says I ripped it off him, go right ahead, ha!

PS: Thanks.

Comment by Rob

well this post captured everyones fucking imagination didnt it campbell?

Comment by andy@cynic

more than you know andy.

Comment by niko

smile or die is published as “bright-sided […]” in the states. just because i rather order from us than uk amazon… havent read the book yet, so i cant really say anything, except, i think it is imporatant to think positive about your self. always. after youve done some reflection and got real reasons to do so. if there arent that many, it makes sense to face that instead of subscribing to delusion/illusion.

Comment by peggy

anything I have to say on this subject would be depressing so I’ll just say good evening and continue my beer.

Comment by Marcus

good evening marcus. stößchen.

Comment by peggy

worth remembering my dear fucking marcus, one mans depressing is another fuckers happiness. fuck me that sounds like planner twaddle but i know you know what the fuck im on about.

Comment by andy@cynic

indeed I do Andy.

Comment by The Kaiser

Sounds interesting. Unbridled positivity is just as bad as unbridled negativity… all about balance folks!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

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