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

Sinsights …
March 30, 2010, 5:58 am
Filed under: Comment

Sinsight: All businessmen wear suits & ties

So in what I can only assume is some sick joke, I have been asked to speak at an upcoming conference for CEO’s.

Big company CEO’s … not just Bill’s Fish & Chips.

They want me to talk about ‘insights’ … both interms of what they are, where you get them and why they’re useful for business … however because I’m sure the audience will be pretty disengaged listening to some bloke from adland, I thought I’d hire a comedian and get him/her to express my views and thoughts through a stand up performance.

Yep … I’m basically following the principals of Lego, but for boring adults rather than creative kids, haha!

To be honest I haven’t really thought this through – however what I do know is that I want to explain how insights should never be a bland general observation because if that is allowed to happen, we are basically placing an unreasonable over-reliance on the other aspects of business to get the results needed and the chance of failure increases dramatically.

With that in mind, I’d like you to contribute genuine bullshit insights you’ve heard as well as the brand [or category] they were for.

If you want to provide the link to the ads as well, that’s cool … but it’s not necessary … I’m sure they’ll be scary enough without a visual to drive the point home.

To get the ball rolling, here’s one I heard a while back:

“Mum’s love their kids”.

No … that’s not a joke … that was the insight that was supposed to drive both action and differentiation.

I don’t know what’s worse … the fact an agency/planner wrote it or a client accepted it … however that’s nothing compared to this one – where a reason to NOT buy was used as the driving force of a campaign.

Sadly this sort of twatdom is not that uncommon, which is why I want the real powers-that-be to know what’s going on because even though there’s the risk of them wanting to get involved in the whole process, it would at least mean we’re talking/dealing with the person at the top rather than some underling whose main decisions are based on keeping their boss happy rather than moving the business forward.

So ladies and gentlemen – let’s start the insight amnesty [even if you had nothing to do with them] – over to you.

54 Comments so far
Leave a comment

i thought you were a fucking comedian!?

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m your straight man.

Comment by Rob

this isnt an agency but i once had a chocolate client who said their core insight was “people like chocolate”.

Comment by Pete

I’ll start checking through your archives immediately.

Comment by John

That’s enough for a movie, let alone a sketch.

Comment by Rob

A tweet I read today – “The cash spent on describing the same audience groups again & again is just mind-boggling. ‘They like spending time with friends’ Oh really?”

Comment by John

Not bad Pete … not bad … but when we were working on a certain nappy brand, we were told by the client that their key insight [developed over 10 years of research] was:

“Mum’s want to know their babies are feeling discomfort”

No shit sherlock …

… though I did once see a planner who put forward the following nugget of genius [cough cough] for a television network:

“People watch a lot of television”

How I didn’t lamp the bastard I don’t know – but then Andy pointed out he worked for the opposition and so we stood a bigger chance of winning the business. He was right. 🙂

Comment by Rob

recently for an enhanced water brand, their insight was that “people want to live a healthy lifestyle.”

years ago on japanese motorcycle account: “racers want to win.”

on a golf brand: “golfers want to play their best.”

Comment by nguyen

Once had a brief for mondeo that said “families need a car that can fit them all in.”

Comment by Danny Fox

A couple I love: “people lead busy lives” (game changer there) and “everyone wants to be loved” (contentious huh?)

One that I did actually value: “because more than half the women in this audience wear lipstick every day, and feel ‘naked’ when they forget to put it on, it’s likely they wear it more to fit in than to stand out.”

But back to the comedy – my real favourite: “Insight: ‘people don’t trust advertising’. And with that, here are the creatives with The Work…”

Comment by eskimon

Hello eskimon … I actually like that lipstick one, especially as I once saw a brief that said:

“Women like colours” … hahahahaha!

… but the “people don’t trust advertising, here’s the work” is solid gold – thank you.

And Mr Nguyen … what a pleasure it is to have you come here with such epic sinsights. Now is this your new agency or the one you were at with Pat? Ha.

Comment by Rob

Pleasure is all mine.

Multicultural agencies/clients here in the states are notorious for committing sinsights.

Some examples from my recent stint at an Asian-American ad shop:
car insurance: Asians respect their elders
new mini-van launch: Asians dads want to protect his family
wireless provider: Asians want to stay connected w/their loved ones

Comment by nguyen

asians like asian food?

Comment by andy@cynic

“Bland general observations place an unreasonable over-reliance on the other aspects of business.” Just saying that should get their attention Robert.

A client you still have the occasional displeasure of dealing with once said some insight work we’d done was too specific and offered the alternative “people like cold drinks when they’re hot”, I always thought that was special.

Great idea, looking forward to reading everyones nightmares.

Comment by Bazza

@Nguyen – Ahh yes, I believe I worked on that same enhanced water brand last year. I’ve seen that brief.

I’ll see you and raise you one: I worked on another beverage brand that used as its GLOBAL core insight “What I drink needs to be healthy, but it also needs to be enjoyable.” I’m somewhat amazed that they didn’t also feel compelled to add that it needs to be wet.

As Truman Capote said: “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

Comment by Jason

That sounds awfully like “I want a car that’s sexy and yet family friendly” …

Mind you, have you seen Mazda’s fucking appauling ‘Now You Don’t Have To Compromise’ ad? I reckon it came straight from that bloody ‘sinsight’.

I reckon that i

Comment by Rob

The “media insight” that drove me to my sea change was that people who spend more time outside are generally more aware of outdoor advertising.

Comment by Angus

I had that too …

Though I also had a media person who said that television advertising was the way to go to talk to long distance truck drivers in the Philippines.


Comment by Rob

My Bronze favourite is “People want to become wealthy but don’t know to go about it”. Ergo, the campaign Let’s Plan To Get Rich. This is for a mutual fund brand in India.

The Silver goes to “Kids feel small doses of hunger at unexpected times of the day” for Maggi Noodles. To be fair, this was a client who ripped off the past year’s campaign line.

And the Gold. “Bikers believe that action is everything, thinking is a waste of time”. Japanese bike brand in India.

Comment by Sush

Hello Sush … nice to have you pop by.

Have to say, I reckon your BRONZE could be Titanium, but maybe I’m just missing something … but not as much as the clients who buy this shit.

Thank you.

Comment by Rob

I’ve just been reading a strategy by another agency for a job we’re working on and it has some great ones in it…

“A sporty looking car shows my style”

“People are looking to pay more for premium brand names”

“Young people feel excited about life’s opportunities”

I also love that the word “disruptive” is used to put a positive spin on “the majority of focus group members think that this is utter shit”

Comment by Age

Thank you for teaching me how to kill a sphere

One of my faves from this last year:

‘Everybody likes to be appreciated’

-Wellness products

Comment by Kaj

“kids get bored in cars”.
Was presented that one about 12 years ago, when I used to work in advertising.

Comment by Marcus

Did you counter with “People get bored in meetings”?

Comment by Rob

No. I asked how many people present had children.

Comment by Marcus

I love doing that, remember this one?

Comment by Rob

– Don’t. Be. Evil 😉
– the web has changed everything (pick any fucking brand)
– people want change (pick any fucking election)
– let’s train the Afghan muhadjedin to fight infidels (russians..)

Comment by Niko

When I was working on Nissan the strategy director had a global insight wankery session for the new Patrol SUV. The insight they got for the Middle East market out of this 4 day wankfest was “Sheikh, Entourage”. I shit you not. I laughed. And got fired a couple of days later. Boom.

Niko’s onto a winner, foreign policy insights:
1. Give Saddam WMDs to gas Iranians then invade him because he has them a little while later.
2. Give Bin Laden money and guns to fight the USSR, get mad when he uses them on us.
3. Set presidents up to farm oil.

Also see Nestle for great inisghts.

The End.

Comment by Sam Ismail

It could be argued – though I wouldn’t dare – that Google’s recent “issues” with China is similar to certain eras of US foreign policy … make friends with countries/people that go against your values but you actually need them and then, when things haven’t gone your way, create a reason to hate/attack them.

But I wouldn’t say that … oh no.

Comment by Rob

ive just seen this. fuck me campbell you like playing with fire. well fucking done, serves george right for living the fucking parasites dream.

ps/ i dont agree with him george/jonathan. can i have my money now please?

Comment by andy@cynic

from a telco (youth segment…drumroll):
‘my friends are important to me: we are constantly texting, on Facebook or instant messaging’

made me laugh in the briefing (particularly when it’s introduced Consumer Insight: ‘What can illuminate the plan?’):

People want to view (Company Name) as the trusted adviser, enabling them to grow revenues, reduce business costs and to run their business with more flexibility than ever before. (sure they do…that makes life easier…)

Comment by katiechatfield

By that reckoning, an insight for me would be:

“Robert wants to have dinner with Angelina Jolie … charm her, impress her, make her laugh”.

What a load of shit.

[Both my insight & the people who write the bollocks you rightly are slagging]

Comment by Rob

Their insight however is at least achievable.

Comment by John

Not a positioning as such, but ANY horribly cliched pen portrait:

“Jack and Jill are both mid twenty somethings who live in Clapham/Fulham/Angel/anywhere vaguely well to do. Jack works for KPMG and Jill works as a primary school teacher. They both like music, films and going out. In a few years, they’d like to get onto the property ladder”.

Most clients want to appeal to Jack and Jill, unsurprisingly.

Comment by Will

I remember once getting a psychographic [or however you spell it] saying that the embodiment of their desired ‘consumer’ was Sophia Lauren.

They didn’t really like it when I pointed out there was only one of those and not only was she a washed up star of yester-year [Forget that ‘Nine’ rubbish, it was shit] but her life and lifestyle was so out of the reaches of ‘normality’ that the client would be better off burning their cash.

I was off the business within a day.

Comment by Rob

You do realise you are writing your industry’s obituary?

Comment by John

No I’m not … the industry did it all by themselves.

Comment by Rob

I love how Doddsy is the ultimate advertising fence sitter. By association it’s your industry as well old dear. Welcome to hell. Get naked and grab a chair.

Comment by Sam Ismail

It’s everyone’s industry!

Comment by John

reading this shows the biggest bullshit insight is planners know what a fucking insight is.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hello Boucher.

Comment by Marcus

hello darling.

Comment by andy@cynic

Can I venture two I imagine are used a lot on daytime tv ads:

Van drivers are cockneys.

Anyone in the trades is a cockney.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

is that an insight or creative laziness?

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Rob Mortimer

Beer isn’t flammable. Testicles are.

Comment by Iainmcm

youre the mad irish fucker rob told me about arent you iain? then i probably could of guessed your heritage without the debrief.

good work you fucking eejit, campbell has been ordered to buy you a beer on me.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’d love to know the sinsight behind the gloriously descriptive tagline for GMPTE (the bus/tram/train folks).

“Connecting people with places”

Comment by Rob Mortimer

It’s not that different from Nokia’s “Connecting People” really is it … and why the wellington boot makers walked away from “Human Technology” [both as a line and as an internal philosophy] is beyond me.

Comment by Rob

Classic bad insight:

Target for Brand X => People who love Brand X

Too often, I see briefs that describe how much the target loves the brand already. Why the fuck are we advertising, then?

Comment by brianwaka

Moms are busy.

See every ad thats been made targeting women in the US ever for examples. And then see every new yankelovich deck every year to learn this all over again.

Comment by kevin

After laughing at all comments, I remembered that I’ve sold insights for a living for years now.

Then I laughed some more.

Comment by New High Score

Dare I ask what New High Score does for a living?

Please don’t say it’s running an Insight Supermarket. Or work for Grey.

Comment by Rob

I used to be in market research, but pulling insights out of my backside became tiresome. Given that I can’t do anything but work with numbers and cannot wear a tie, I had to end up in consumer analytics.

Comment by New High Score

Leave a Reply