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

Love Is A Rollercoaster …
July 5, 2010, 7:27 am
Filed under: Comment

It’s 6am as I write this, but I’ve been awake for at least a couple of hours … sat in my small serviced apartment with my wife and cat fast asleep beside me as torrential rain bashes against the window.

We arrived in Shanghai on Thursday and as moving goes, it was quite a breeze.

After getting up early to hand Rosie over to the animal transporter people, we had one final check of the apartment and then we were off.

Within 12 hours of shutting our door for the last time, we were sitting in our little apartment in Shanghai, bags all around us and a very nervous little cat going around sniffing everything she could find.

And it felt good.

The reality is all our ‘stuff’ … the computers, furniture, DVD’s, robots … will stay in HK for at least a couple of months, but as much as we like having our possessions around us, we know the really important things are the ones that give our emotions a workout – which in most cases means a living, breathing thing.

What do I mean?

Well, as we all know, love is a weird thing.

Whilst some in the marketing World would claim some individuals ‘love’ certain brands – I would say that in the main, to use that word as a definer of the relationship between an ‘individual and a brand’ is utterly and totally wrong.

Of course it’s not that surprising given love is probably the most overused word in history … but true love isn’t about single dimensional interactions, how fucking boring would it be if that was the case?

I love my wife when we row.

I love my wife when she forgets to pay the Visa card off.

I love my wife when she wants to visit old English castles.

I love my wife when she plays Elvis too long and too loud.

I love my wife when she buys me naff birthday presents.

I love my wife when she chooses shit films to see at the cinema.

I love my wife when she orders takeaway food that even pigs would turn down.

I love my wife even though she has the ability to make me feel angrier or more upset than the Incredible Hulk because she also has the ability to make me happier than Peter Pan on ecstacy … that is her power because that is what love can do …

Love isn’t always about being “happy, happy, joy, joy” …

Maybe it would be nice if that was the case, but I doubt it.

For me, the best thing about love is that underneath it all, you know the other person genuinely and deeply cares about you … they want to see you succeed … they want to do things that mean something to you … they want to grow and experience things together … which is why when I hear brand managers – and adfolk – claim people ‘love’ their work, I doubt they really understand the meaning of the word because offering a [contrived] moment of single emotion experience isn’t really love, it’s temporary escapism and whilst there is nothing wrong with that, there’s nothing better than being in love with someone that has pissed you off because that means that experience is real and in our plastic World where we spend so much time being politically correct, not saying what we really mean and pretending to be someone we’re not … having someone be able to give your emotions a real work out is a pretty amazing thing.

I do believe there are brands out there that have managed – over time and with a strong commitment to specific causes or values – to develop a relationship with society that, at a push, could be described as having the attributes of love … but far, Far, FAR less than the amount of brands that claim to.

Love and loyalty are very different things … but for me, one element that unites them both is the ability to fuck up.

I don’t mean it in the sense of selfishness … I mean it in the sense of trying to do something for the right reasons but not quite getting there.

Of course they need to have built up some ‘credits’ previously – to demonstrate their words are true – but once you’ve done that, failure can create stronger bonds which is why I believe if you keep investing in the relationship [ie: it can’t be one failure after another] and are open and honest about your situation [are you listening Mr Jobs and your iPhone IV?] you can create something that touches people on a number of levels which is far more meaningful and valuable than a single dimension experience.

As I have mentioned previously, Steve Henry once asked me what I loved most about my Mum.

Before I could answer, he said if I could define one single thing, she would probably be quite disappointed .

It took me a long time to truly understand what he meant by that but now I know – which is why when I hear clients and agency folk talk about wanting people to ‘love their brand’, I laugh because nine times out of ten they approach the market like prostitutes rather than someone deserving of a long lasting relationship.

53 Comments so far
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Love is $300 at the Gansevoort.

Comment by Billy Whizz

And they still turn you down don’t they Billy!

Comment by Rob

They respect me too much.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Nice to know you’re all safe and sound in Shanghai and the VPN it up and running. 🙂

This post is a bit rambly (but I’ll put that down to you writing it so early in the morning) but I like the sentiment, especially the bit saying brands can’t expect to be loved when they don’t offer a variety of emotional experiences.

Not sure if that is a 100% true, Disney are pretty one dimensional and they get a lot of love but I get what you mean and since Apple and Virgin have started to focus more on things that make them more money, my love for the brands has been impacted but I would never tell Baz or Lee that.

PS) You say you started writing it at 6am so how come it took you till 7:27am to post it. If it takes you that long to write a post, I’m amazed you have any time to do speak to your wife, let alone do any work.

Comment by Pete

The reason this post took 90 mins to write was [1] I kept having to go and sort out the cat who is still trying to work out what the hell happened to her home [2] do some emails and [3] try and sort-of make this post make sense … which I appreciate I sort-of failed in achieving but compared to what it could have been, is a massive achievement.

And I agree, what I am saying is not going to always be the case … but interms of brands that actually mean something to people – I believe the ones who only offer a single message/experience are unlikely to ever achieve it, at least in a way that could ever come close to being described as being ‘love’.

Comment by Rob

How come you can summarize your post on twitter using a few well placed words (People don’t love brands. People love people), yet feel the need to write War & Peace on your post?

Comment by DH

You’re just lucky I guess. Ha.

Comment by Rob

I’ll go and buy a lottery ticket.

Comment by DH

Glad to hear it’s all gone well Rob. The list of things Jill does that drive you mad made me nod my head too 🙂

Comment by Age

Did you used to go out with Jill then?

Comment by Rob

oh snap!

Comment by lauren

I nodded because I’m learning that real love is about compromise and shitty movies at foreign film cinemas.

Comment by Age

those fucking chinese were supposed to have stopped you writing this sort of shit, instead you start shoveling it out on your first fucking week. if you cant rely on the commie bastards who the fuck can you rely on.

id write more but im off to shack management. plus this post isnt worth any more fucking effort.

Comment by andy@cynic

i make you happy and angry. does that mean you want to shove it in my out hole?

no fucking chance pervert.

Comment by andy@cynic

i’m going to buck with the trend and say how much i fuckin’ love this post.

and i’m glad it’s long and rambly and it’s not 140 characters. it’s not a nice, neat and all-wrapped up like a beautifully controlled parcel. it’s a bit like love itself innit?

i loved the idea that the only thing that will give us an emotional work-out is a living, breathing thing. and i think i got a little bit sad too.

i don’t think it’s necessarily a terrible thing for brands to try to emulate the relationship that love, but thank you for the reminder that they will never really get anywhere close.

and i think you should tell andy that you love him. that will really fuck him up 🙂

Comment by lauren

I’ll ignore Pete’s moment of insanity and just say I enjoyed reading this post. I agree with Lauren that it’s not a terrible thing to attempt to emulate human characteristics in a brand but it’s never going to be able to be expressed in the same way for the reasons you detail.

Could this be the reason why brands headed by charismatic individuals often leave a greater impression on society than the committee based, flow chart managed alternative? That’s just a question which I’ve given no thought to.

Have to say I was nodding my head furiously while reading Lauren’s comment and then found myself shouting “hell yeah” when I got to her last line. Do it Rob, you know you want to.

Comment by Bazza

Why did you get a little bit sad Lauren?

[Note I’m passing over the ‘love Andy’ comment … I’ve moved to Shanghai, that’s more than enough shocks to the system for one week thank you very much!]

Comment by Rob

er…. realising that i’m kinda unfit in the emotional stakes. i guess. :/

Comment by lauren

every town has brand that ppl truly love..

How is life after the Blackpool asskicking 😉

and you know why ppl love them? cause the club don’t give a fuck about them. So it makes us more involved the less they care…

like ur cat..ppl say they want dog like brands, but in reality the biggest brands are cats

don’t say i am wrong, or i will make u explain the seasontickets u still buy and send u my bill for them focking tickets..

So i could argue that Apple has it spot on and that caring less about their fans, but just focussing on winning is what keeps the ppl coming back…(really it is a basic pimping strategy)

remember..the one who care the least controls every relationship..

Comment by paid4ticketsthatcostenoughtofeedfamilies4months

Let me guess … is the person who wrote this comment single?

Love isn’t about control … in fact I would say love is when you are actually happy to surrender some of your control over things either because you know it means a lot to someone to do that or you have met someone who actually wants to take some of that painful stuff away from you.

Not always … but often.

Comment by Rob

People only truly love that for which they can’t find an equal or superior substitute.

Comment by John

Stop watching Oprah Doddsy!

Comment by Rob

As far as ‘things’ go you might want to read to read Daniel Miller’s the Comfort of things – your stuff really matters, you define it and it defines you. That’s why I love books and hate the idea of kindle.
By the way, I didn’t know you and the Mrs row, are you her cox?

Comment by northern

Cue Boucher comment.

Am just beginning that book. So, in ignorance I ask are comfort and love synonomous?

Comment by John

as far as i understand love, it can give you comfort, and also discomfort at times. dont really think it works vice versa.

Comment by peggy

Lovely post. Shame it went all planner at the end.

Comment by Marcus

Apologies Marcus … if it’s any consolation, I did actually realise that but obviously didn’t give enough of a shit to stop myself eh!

Comment by Rob


Comment by northern

Yes, a little.

Comment by Marcus

good to read all is going well. does it give you a feeling of freedom and easiness being without your belongings? i quite like that about moving.

this whole brand love thing is… well, weird. i dont think people love brands. really not. at least not if its all about the products. its just things. objects. thats not really love, is it. i might say i love my ipod and the ads for it that ran. but i just like what i can do with it. and maybe the looks. but thats all. so if i dont ‘love’ the brand, theres no reason to be loyal and making compromises.
i believe its possible that people love a brand/the company/the people that work there and what they do. but well, theres more to love than brand babble and objects i think. you cant buy or sell love, can you.

paid4tickets… has got a strange idea of love, i think. no offence.

Comment by peggy

A brand is more like a prostitute than a loving partner … it might be able to give you a short term thrill, but it won’t be there when you wet the bed and need food blended to eat.

No, I’m not sure what I’m trying to say with that either.

Comment by Rob

i like that analogy. whilst a brand, i.e. the image of a company in my head – the company itself that consists of people that work there and make the brand with all the things they do, might not have the responsibility or commitment to do what a loving partner/family member/friend etc. does when you are ill (unless its in health care ; ), there might be other responsibilities they could take on to make the brand lovable. i can see that happening right now, in a parallel universe lol.

Comment by peggy

I’ve tried for years to get clients to do ads featuring employees of their competitors saying how shit their job, company and products are …

I know it will never happen, but I just like the idea that [1] it undermines carefully constructed ‘brand image’ campaigns and [2] forces companies to look after their staffs longer-term well being so that they are less likely to slag them off if asked.

I know I’m living in cloud cuckoo land, but I just like the idea of causing some professional mischief, especially as I’ve seen behind many of the curtains of the so called ‘uber-cool’ brands and very few of them live up to the hype.

Bit like when we did that campaign for the Body Shop asking if anyone had ever seen the Ponds Institute … except it got pulled off air within a day thanks to a lovely threatening letter from those nice folk at Unilever.


Comment by Rob

dont worry rob, im living in cloud cuckoo land, too. i bet there are many more people living there than it might seem lol

the ad asking (soon to be ex-) employees (how bad would that look eh lol) of competitiors is surely an effective thing to stir things up. but then, the company that would be brave enough to do that is ultimately forced to try and do the ‘right’ things in all other areas as well – for authenticity reasons, and the competitors maybe then going after them as well? nice concept of competition. i think its worth it (in financial terms too. no, i dont think im naive). point is, i personally dont know anyone who really believes all the things (big) companies churn out. they are all cynics or simply dont care. in the end, you cant expect anyone to care if you dont seem to care. so much for loyalty.
it is a mystery to me why not one ‘conservative’ (for lack of a better word) company, at least as far as i know of just now, has tried to tap that and changed. well, i think i know why. and those many reasons are short-sighted from my pov. actually, i must be living in cloud cuckoo cuckoo land hahaha.

Comment by peggy

“which is why when I hear clients and agency folk talk about wanting people to ‘love their brand’, I laugh because nine times out of ten they approach the market like prostitutes rather than someone deserving of a long lasting relationship.” deep words i say.

i’ve just started The Comfort of Things too, Doddsy – what a coincidence (wanted to reply to his comment but the silly snapshot thing kept coming up – please switch that off Rob!!)

Comment by Anjali Ramachandran

how about campbell sorts out his overlong mills & boon blog posts before he looks at switching off some bollocks on his blog?

just a suggestion.

Comment by andy@cynic

So given you are back to writing comments/threats, you’re having a ball ‘managing’ the refurb.

You poor bastard … but not as poor as the people who you are bossing about. Sorry, let me rephrase that … not as poor as the people you are paying to boss about.


And Anjali, I don’t think anyone has used the word ‘deep’ in connection with me, other than maybe muttering, “Is there somewhere deep we can chuck him” … but thanks anyway and I’ll try and find how to turn off that snapshot thingy just for you.

Comment by Rob

the bastards are driving me fucking nuts. every fucking screw they put in leads to them walking in shaking their heads like theyve just seen their mums explode with a grenade and announce some unforefuckingseen circumstance that will take 3 times as long as planned at 5 times the cost. wankers the whole fucking lot of them.

Comment by andy@cynic

are you pregnant?

Comment by truuskie

if he is, its the longest fucking pregnancy ive ever seen.

Comment by andy@cynic

i love that you openly declare love for your wife.
i love that you love the bad and the good.
and i love how you blogged about love!
what a tear jerker! group hugs!

go on andy! you too!

Comment by sky tao

what the fuck is wrong with you people? have you actually seen campbell? its all well and good talking about love and happiness but when you hear the words come out of a bald yorkshire ripper lookalike it wont seem so fucking sweet i can tell you.

Comment by andy@cynic

A bald Yorkshire ripper lookalike?

Jesus … that’s a bit harsh, especially when you’re more Arm Pit than Brad Pitt.

Still, it confirms what most people think, your insults are a thin veil to hide the fact you love me in an unnatural way.

Comment by Rob

i do love you in an unnatural way campbell. its called hate.

but i hate you less than most people so i guess you could call it love but id rather pour acid all over my cock than shove it up your arse though if i did that, id still have to pour acid all over my cock but dont take that as an offer you sick fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Paging Dr Freud.

Comment by John

i would rather call for chomsky who said he doesnt think psychoanalysis has a scientific basis. but he also said in that same interview that “Death and genitals are things that frighten people, and when people are frightened, they develop means of concealment and aggression. It is common sense.” whatever that could mean lol

Comment by peggy

Death & genitals scare people?

I would imagine Andy’s genitals would scare armies – and not [before he tries to say it] due to their size.

Which reminds me of a joke …

2 peasant women are picking potato’s in a field when one lady picks 2 enourmous spuds and mutters:

“These remind me of my husbands testicles”

“Wow …” say’s her friend, “… are they that big?”

“No …” replies the woman, “… they’re that dirty”.

Comment by Rob

the joke reminds me of this axe spot.

Comment by peggy

Wihch AXE spot?

Comment by Rob

okay, after that joke you made, im a little too frightened to name it. can you please stop trying to prove chomskys point now?! hows the weather? 😛

Comment by peggy

This post has taken a slightly surreal turn.
Andy, Harvey Two Cocks

Comment by northern

Just like old days eh Northern?

Comment by Rob

love is…

Comment by niko

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