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

When The Myth Becomes The Man [Or Woman]
October 14, 2010, 12:55 am
Filed under: Comment

So as I wrote yesterday, I’m in Amsterdam and as international meetings go – even one that took me about 23 hours of travel time to get here – this one was good.

Whilst it was really nice to meet a bunch of new colleagues, what I really was looking forward to was meeting some people who I’ve known of for a while but never actually met in person.

They say you should never meet your heroes because you always come away disappointed … and whilst I would never classify any of the people I met today as heroes of mine [sorry, they’re lovely and all that but they’re still in adland] I can say I held them in high regard so I was very interested to see whether they’d leave me feeling positive about them or underwhelmed.

Whilst it won’t be too hard to guess how they feel about me [that’s assuming they even knew who I was prior to the meeting … or even after for that matter] I can honestly say I’ve been left feeling I want to do more work with them and for them and that is a good thing.

This isn’t some corporatey toady shit – there were things said/discussed that I certainly didn’t agree with – however what I liked was that I was in a room with clever people who happened to work in adland rather than were defined by it – and so the views, knowledge and experience that was discussed didn’t resemble planner love-in bullshit in the slightest and infact we didn’t even look at one powerpoint slide the whole day.

The thing I really loved though was that through our chats I not only got to learn stuff, but some ideas/views came out that I genuinely believe are awesome. More than that, I also know they would have been unlikely to have come out had everyone not contributed or discussed various points leading up to their ‘apperance’ … and that’s when this industry becomes really exciting because even though what came up could sound ridiculously simple in concept, the reality is that sometimes those are the things that are the hardest to spot and it explains why planning should never be a job done in isolation, but in partnership – whether the other people involved are planners or not.

Saying that, I meet Niko for the first time tomorrow – here’s hoping he doesn’t come away feeling it was a couple of hours he’ll never get back. To minimise the chance of that happening, I’ll be paying for the coffee. [I’m counting on him being a cheap bastard]

Finally, this is for Kevin – a man who swears as much as me, but loses some cred points for linking them all together with words that sound suspiciously like they came from an Oxford education. That and he supports Stoke.

PS: As usual Andy you were right, I did write another post this week. Damn you.

Tulips On My Organ …
October 12, 2010, 5:59 am
Filed under: Comment

So I’m off to Amsterdam tomorrow. For the day.

Actually it’s not even a day – because the meeting starts at 11am.

Of course, because I’m leaving from Shanghai, it means it’s basically going to take at least 3 days to go there, have the meeting and get back home again.

So not only will it take 72 hours for a 5 hour meeting, but the chances of me updating this blog for the rest of this week are basically zero.

How will you all cope?


But here’s the thing, whilst that information might make a ‘time and motion expert’ have a shit attack, the reality is I always end up doing more work when I’m away than I do when I’m at the office.

Now I know a lot of you think I do no bloody work at all – but believe it or not, I do – however when I’m away and done all the things I have to do [work] and want to do [explore] I find myself in my hotel room either catching up on the stuff I’ve missed, or doing the stuff that I always want to do but never seem to have the time to finish.

I am sure part of this is because when I’m away, I’m away from many of the things that consciously and/or subconsciously ensures there’s an ‘end point’ to my day.

Even though I will Skype with my wife, knowing I won’t physically see her means my urge to be with her has to be put on hold until I am home. Same with the cat.

[‘Be with her’ being a phrase about love, not perversion – especially if I say the same thing about Rosie the moggy!!]

If I’m hungry I can call room service and have anything I want delivered to my room and there’s a never-ending stream of Diet Coke either in the mini-bar or at the end of the phone.

Hell, even if the footie is on, I can sit there and watch it while I’m tapping away doing some bollocks on my computer.

In short, being away gives my employers a better return-on-their investment than when I am in the office – and that’s taking into account the cost of airfairs, hotels and food.

While I would never try and claim going away for work is a pain, there is an element of sacrifice in it – especially when you’re booked on 6am flights – and that is why I hate it when some companies treat anyone they’re sending away as if they’re having a luxury paid holiday.

I remember when we were doing our WPP experiment, one of their accountants questioned how much work I was doing as I was flying so often for them.

His view was that if I was on a plane, it meant a day out the office which in his one-dimensional, petty little mind translated to me having an additional day of paid holiday.

When I pointed out that the workload doesn’t stop when I am in the sky he still looked nonplus … so to fuck him off, I wrote to Sir Martin – copying the penny-pinching accountant – to state he had an employee who was obsessed with eradicating all wasteful employee time, however as he [Sir Martin] had been away on more company trips than me in that current year, he should pull his socks up because he’s obviously wasting more shareholder value than he’s earning.

Sure I got a bollocking but so did the accountant [not Sir Martin, the other one] because while work is important and – occasionally – fun, it’s no substitute for being at home with people who really care about you and your well being.

Mind you, I get to see old friends – and hopefully meet some of my previously ‘virtual’ ones – so even if the meeting is pants, something tells me the overall trip won’t be, even with a head of jetlag & a stomach full of plane “food”.

Goodbye Shanghai. Hello Amsterdam.

Is This A Perfect Example Of Lovemarks?
October 11, 2010, 6:25 am
Filed under: Comment

So I was Mr New-Age-Man and shopping at the local supermarket when I came across this:

Given it features a woman suggestively biting a massive pseudo cock shaped chili while wearing underwear that has flames coming out her crotch, it would be easy to mistake this leaflet for promoting a night of spice with a dirty bint rather than a tanning salon, but I’m guessing that’s the point, especially when you remember that in Asia, ‘having a tan’ has certain negative cultural cues.

But the thing that really gets me is that the headline promises ‘a perfect golden tan in just minutes’ and then they say each session lasts 20 minutes.

Sorry to come across all John Dodds like, but isn’t 20 minutes quite different to mere minutes?

So what is it SunFX … does it take 20 mins to get a tan or just a couple and if the latter, do the remaining 18 get taken up with a hand job from some flame-wearing babe with spicy hands and a fondness for placing phalic vegetables in her mouth?

You’re not getting a penny from me till I know the facts.

Better Than Any Amount Of Cannes Lions …
October 9, 2010, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Comment

Proof that Old Spice reaches the parts, even Katy Perry can’t quite get too …