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


Someone Needs To Tell The Australian Tourism Board They’re Smoking Crack … And I’m That Person.
October 22, 2010, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So Oprah is coming to Australia.

Of course she’s coming because she’s been paid a fuckload of money to do so … but she’s still coming.

There’s a load of hooplah surrounding this trip, not least because she’s bringing 300 of her ‘fans’ to see her being sycophantic with the likes of Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

Whilst I actually think bringing someone like Oprah to this side of the World is a great idea [one I actually proposed to a company in Malaysia, however they decided doing some shit ads was a better waste of their money] there are a couple of things that are being done that I think has the potential to fuck up the numerous benefits.

First of all, read this …

As I said, I think bringing Oprah over is a good idea, even though I think it would be far more beneficial if she went to less well known places than Oz [places that Americans have a more natural inbuilt prejudice towards] … especially when the land down under is becoming more and more like LA – all be it with some better natural surroundings & wildlife, at least in Sydney – by the day.

However there are 3 things that I think, if mishandled, have the power to fuck all Australian Tourism’s carefully laid plans.

1/ Tourism Australia’s belief this visit vindicates supporting Baz Luhrmann’s flop, “Australia”.
2/ The image Oz wants to present versus the image the World wants to see.
3/ The backlash towards brands who sell their soul for the Yankee exposure.

Let’s start with number 1.

To be fair, maybe this point is inaccurate as I’m basing it off the article above – an article that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, a newspaper so myopic in celebrating anything positive to do with Australia, that you could argue it was created by the Aussie Government to keep their people brainwashed into thinking they are the super-race.

Anyway, if true, there’s a huge amount the fuck-up fairy could come and screw up.

The article states:

“A PERSONAL VISIT & ENDORSEMENT BY ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BUSINESS WOMEN & COMMUNICATORS – YOU CAN’T BUY ADVERTISING LIKE THAT”

Errrrm yes you can, because the Aussie Government – and god knows who else – are paying for her to come, it’s not like she did it of her own accord. What it should say is …

“A PERSONAL VISIT AND ADVERTORIAL ENDORSEMENT BY ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BUSINESS WOMEN AND COMMUNICATORS – IT COSTS A LOT TO BUY ADVERTISING LIKE THAT”

… however that’s nothing, because the article continues to say:

“IT WILL BE THE ULTIMATE VINDICATION FOR TOURISM AUSTRALIA, IF [the millions they spent promoting the movie ‘Australia’] INSPIRED OPRAH’S VISIT WITH 300 AUDIENCE MEMEBERS TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD”

What the hell are they going on about?

As I said in the point above, the movie didn’t inspire shit – that pile of crap came out ages ago and so if it was going to have inspired visitation, we’d of seen that long before now – what inspired Oprah & her ‘audience’ to go to Oz is a big whopping payment to the Queen of Sychophant and a free Qantas holiday to 300 parasites.

That’s like claiming the cars Oprah gave away a few years ago wasn’t an [expensive] publicity stunt, but vindication for a car company to stick with their ‘hideous car design principals’.

Absolute bollocks … almost as absolute bollocks as Mr Closet Travolta being a Qantas ambassador, but I’ll save that for another day – even though he’s supposedly going to be the pilot of the plane bringing all the Oprah crew and audience to Oz!!!

Which leads to my next point – though it’s number 3 of the list above, not number 2. [You can’t call me predictable, oh no!]

Is anyone else a bit fucking pissy that QANTAS can justify flying over a plane load of over-excited, middle American soccer Moms for free yet charges their everyday passengers a fuckload of cash for a shit experience?

You just know the plane they’ll be flying the lardyarse Yankee ladies in will be brand new, with a flight crew that’s made up of the most glam flight attendants they could muster [which will be hard, given in my experience it is almost universally staffed by over 60’s with a bad attitude] serving a range of cuisine that doesn’t resemble the ‘beef or chicken’ mush the rest of us have to contend with in the slightest.

Personally I’d love the Aussie media to pick up on this point but there’s more chance of Osama singing George W’s praises so I guess I’ll just have to leave it with the cynical fucks who read this blog.

But here’s the biggest possible shitfight …

What Australian Tourism is keen to promote doesn’t marry with what foreigners want to see.

I’ve written about this point before, but as much as Australia wants to present itself to the World as a modern, dynamic, innovative country [even though the movie they decided was worth investing millions of tax payers dollars in – including my bloody tax dollars – shows it as a fucking dust bowl] the reality is the rest of the World goes to Australia to see sun, beaches, kangaroos, koalas and a few iconic buildings/natural sights [ie: Paul Hogan] and so if the guys at Tourism Australia insist on pushing their ego agenda, they might just find the visit of Oprah might do more damage to their business than even their beloved Baz Luhrmann film because let’s face it, the last thing American’s want to visit on holiday is the sort of place they drive through each day on their way to work.

Expanding a stereotypical view is one thing, throwing it out and replacing it with unwanted, undesirable images is another.



When Is A Reunion Not A Reunion …
October 21, 2010, 6:26 am
Filed under: Comment

In the last 10 years, we’ve seen a huge number of bands that were once successful in the past, reform to record an album and go on tour.

Whilst some of them are probably doing it for the sheer love of making music, it’s pretty fair to say a lot of them are doing it for the money.

Hey, I don’t blame them – if someone offered me a truckload of cash to play some crappy songs I originally wrote 30 years ago, I’d be dusting off my guitars before you could say “bandwagon”.

But here’s the thing, some of these bands are reforming with such a motley crue of members that it feels more like a Frankenstein version of the band rather than anything to do with the original line up.

OK, so when a member has died, it makes it a bit hard to get all the guys together [ie: Queen] … and the same applies to when one of the band has decided he wants to retire from the limelight and madness [ie: John Deacon of errrrm, Queen] but it amazes me just how many of these groups are getting huge bucks when it consists almost entirely of musicians who have little or nothing to do with the original line up.

Thin Lizzy, for example, seemingly is made up of more members who had nothing to do with the band in their heyday than genuine ‘names’.

Of course this is nothing new – there’s been lots of bands who have chopped and changed members without so much as a blink of the eye – but when you’re riding the nostalgia gravy train, I find it amazing that some bands can get away with it when the ‘iconic members’ are no where to be seen.

Imagine Led Zep without Plant or Page?

The Who without Daltry or Townsend?

Oasis without the Gallagher’s?

Even the fucking Smiths without Morrissey or Marr?

You can’t can you … well not in any way where you’d think they’d be as good.

The reason I say this is because I’ve just heard that the Faces are reuniting for a gig but instead of Rod Stewart, they’re getting MICK FUCKING HUCKNALL!!!

Yes, the ginger Manc of ‘Simply Red’ fame.



[No, it’s not Kim Jong Ill or even a fat William Hauge, it’s Mick Hucknall]

I know they’ve both sold a shitload of records and shagged ladies that are well out of their league but even with Rod’s recent foray into American Songbook blandom, he is still miles above the bloke who gave the World ‘Holding Back The Years’ and ‘Stars’.

I know there’ll be a good proportion of you who won’t even know who the Faces are, but trust me, Hucknall replacing Stewart is the equivalent of John Goodman replacing Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

The fact the concerts will no doubt sell out offends me to the core, not to mention puts my faith in humanity in serious jeopardy.

Now I am sure some of you are thinking this is a situation that is similar to brands like Virgin or Apple etc.

Let’s face it, those brands are so synonymous with their founders, that the thought of them existing without them around is hard to comprehend.

Except I don’t think it is.

You see whilst those guys have a huge influence in how their brand operates and develops, their thought process, focus and company growth means there are many other voices and factors that get taken into account when decisions are made whereas in the main, a band survives and thrives on the dynamics of the members within that group [+ their manager] and so when one is removed, it’s much harder to ‘capture the magic’ that made them work in comparison to companies who have had time to nurture and train people to take over when the time is right.

Of course people like Branson and Jobs are going to be as difficult/impossible to replace as someone like Mercury or Lennon, however I would argue that due to their companies size, diversity and development, their loss would have less impact on the brands day-to-day operation than when a pivotal member of a band leaves or is replaced.

Please note I’m not saying losing a Branson or a Jobs won’t have an impact on their respective companies – you just have to see what happened to Apple went when they got rid of Jobs the first time around – however compared to a band, I believe it would be less disastrous because they have a wider net of people and systems in place to minimise damage whereas with a band, with the exception of say their manager, what you see tends to be all you have to play with.



How Much Planning Do You Actually Do?
October 20, 2010, 5:55 am
Filed under: Comment

So I was talking to a copper friend of mine a day or so ago and he was complaining about how much paperwork he has to do.

He said that the volume is so vast that it basically not only undermines his ability to do his job, but has major ramification on the security of the city he works in.

Now whilst I would never try to claim planning is anything like being a Policeman – let alone as important or necessary – his comment struck a nerve.

Some days I think I get paid to do pointlessness.

OK, so I’m in advertising so you could argue that is exactly what I get paid to do … however what I’m talking about is the huge amount of unneccessary meetings and presentations I am asked to attend/write.

To be honest, I push back a hell of a lot … not because I don’t want to contribute – I do – but because I don’t want to be seen as endorsing the attitde that every meeting must be followed by a 600 slide powerpoint document or that every person in a project must be in attendance or it can’t move forward, even if what is being discussed relates to areas/issues that are of no concern to you or the job you have to do.

Planning isn’t about writing documents.

Planning isn’t about attending meetings.

Sure, both those things feature in the job – but they are a byproduct of what you do, they are not and should not be the focus – and yet I see/hear more and more agencies and clients thinking that is what planners ‘do’.

To be honest, that is as much the fault of the planners who are willing to accept this attitude [or the agencies they work for endorsing it] as it is their clients ignorance – however at it’s heart, I think one of the main problems is we’ve become a society obsessed with effectiveness.

Actually that’s not quite true – I think we’ve become a society obsessed with measurability.

Whilst the term ‘effectiveness’ – at least in my industry – is ambigious to say the least [ambiguities I touch on here], at least it has a reason for existing and whilst ‘measurability’ is a key element in helping determine ‘effectiveness’, it is now being so badly used and abused that I believe it contributes more to ineffectiveness than anything else.

As I’ve said many times before, we’re seeing more and more organisations seemingly focused on the process rather than what the process delivers – and even when they get it right, too many view ‘effectiveness’ as a way to identify how they can do things cheaper or more quickly in the future.

The issue of ‘what is effectiveness’ is a major one – especially as what one person thinks is effective [ie: adland] is possibly not what someone else believes [ie: the client … or vice-versa] and this is why we’re addressing this issue in the upcoming AME conference … however at it’s heart, unless we all [agencies and clients included] get back to addressing and contributing to the real business issues rather than being preoccupied, refocused or consumed by other people’s insecurities, ego or project irrelevant KPI’s … it’s not just going to get worse, it’s going to totally fuck up the future for everyone involved in advertising or the people who hold shares in companies.

This is not about finding excuses to not get your hands dirty – besides, that’s the best part of the job – it’s about ensuring you spend your time adding ‘real value’ … which contrary to popular opinion doesn’t mean doing stuff for free, but doing stuff that makes a major positive difference to the overall outcome and everyone can and should play a part in that.

It shouldn’t be like this, but if you want it to get better, education … or re-education … is down to you.



The Best Planning & Advertising Advice You’ll Ever Hear, Courtesy Of The One & Only, Vanilla Ice …
October 19, 2010, 6:00 am
Filed under: Comment

[As told/shown to me by W+K London’s baldie planning brain, Kevin Chesters]



Jill + Tiredness =
October 19, 2010, 5:58 am
Filed under: Comment

… you guessed it, it’s Jillyism time again.

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