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

I Never Want To Be Cool … Which Is Handy As I’m Not.
November 10, 2010, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Comment

One of the things that really fucks me off are planners who are obsessed with being ‘cool’.

The clothes … the hair … the language … the music … the bars … the friends …


What makes it even more annoying is rather than focus on trying to do something that people – real people, not ad groupies and wannabe’s – think is cool, for a lot of them their goal is simply to be labeled as cool by their peers.


OK, so there are some planners who are genuinely cool [you can tell because they don’t make a fucking big song and dance out of it] and there are some accounts that require a certain type of planner associated with a certain type of lifestyle and of course, there are some guys who just find that subject matter really bloody interesting – however in the main, planners are supposed to be able to understand and relate and adapt to all segments of the masses, so if they have their head permanently stuck up their arse – or think no other group or lifestyle is as interesting or as important – the chances of them actually understanding what the real issues and opportunities are, is minimal and so everyone ends up losing.

And don’t give me any of this ‘but they could offer a fresh perspective’ bollocks.

What is a ‘fresh perspective’ anyway?

If I had to be specific, I’d say it’s when someone has an interesting approach to a particular issue – but that doesn’t mean ignoring the situation, it’s about really understanding it, which requires empathy with the audience, not distain.

Maybe I’m an old fuck, but if anything is ‘cool’, it’s when someone does [emphasis on ‘does’] something clever that not only shows a deep appreciation of the challenge, the audience and the opportunity but can somehow pull it all together and nurture the wider team to create something that infiltrates society because it’s relevant, resonant, interesting, exciting, energetic and effective … which is why I would put people like Mark Sareff, NP & Gareth, Jason, Age etc [and there’s a lot of ‘etc’s’] ahead of many of the crop of adlands ‘rockstar’ planners, even though I am sure many of them are clever and have done great things.

[Sorry if the guys listed think they’re cool, maybe they are and I’m just uber-shit at seeing it]

To paraphrase David Ogilvy, the masses aren’t irrelevant or uninteresting, they’re your mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and kids – so for these wannabe rockstars, my advice to you is to pull your head in and remember doing clever things is much cooler than simply trying to be seen as cool through a bunch of contrived actions and behaviours, statements and thoughts … of which often, most have been said and done before anyway.


PS: Please note this post relates to people currently employed as planners … the reality is I’m far more inspired by people who aren’t even employed in advertising, let alone planning … and for some reason, quite a few of them come and insult me on this blog. They know – and you know – who they are.

49 Comments so far
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you wrote this to try and justify your fucking love of queen didnt you campbell? it didnt work. but the fucking rest of it is quite fucking good. for once but then im pissed and tired so well see if i still feel the same way in the fucking morning.

Comment by andy@cynic

You saw right through me … bugger.

Actually you know perfectly well who this was written for – not just the hipster crew, but a certain person who is obsessed with how he looks rather than what he does, which is handy because for all his talk, he’s actually done fuck all.

Comment by Rob

i think you just described hipsters, possibly from the states

Comment by roli

Quite possibly. But not exclusively.

Comment by Rob

It does my fucking head in when you’re in the same time zone as me.

Comment by Marcus

How do you think I feel?!

Comment by Rob

Hipsters. All mouth no trousers.

Comment by DH

lauren likes this.

Comment by lauren

Your invitation to the television series grumpy old men must surely be in the post.

A very amusing post which I find myself nodding along with, though I particularly like the photo you used as the header.

Comment by Lee Hill

Yes, I thought you might …

It might possibly be the hippest thing in the whole of the British Airways organisation – but not in a good way, like their inflight catering.

Comment by Rob

True story Robert. It’s interesting. I work in Mumbai, India; and haven’t really run into too many planners who take looking-cool over understanding-learning.

I don’t think ‘certain brands’ need cool planners either – I’ve worked on Hennessy and Bacardi alongside Tata Motors (Nano) or CEAT (heavy trucks) – very different brands, same skillset needed – curiosity and empathy.

Comment by Aditya

Hi there Aditya …

First of all, I’m not saying certain brands need cool planners, I’m saying certain brands may need planners who are more connected within a particular lifestyle segment because they can translate and/or understand views/opinions and needs [which are less about advertising and more about life] better than other groups or parties who companies normally rely on to do this sort of thing

Saying that, I do believe a good planner should be able to find ways around this [note: ways around it, not always thinking they can do it themselves] though I appreciate that in many cases, their skill to explore, empathise and extract should be enough to get what is needed to create something that is relevant, energetic and motivating.

As for you not running into too many of the planners I am character assassinating in this post, maybe the segment I go after tomorrow will be something you relate to more, ha.

Thanks for coming by, please come back …

Comment by Rob

and they don’t got no sense of humor.. told one recently, while pointing to the cool table football, “you are literally playing with the owners balls, so better be carefull”..not even a wry smile…

oh well…

Comment by niko

Wannabe cool people don’t do humour – didn’t you know that Niko! Smiling ruins their carefully crafted image.


You around tomorrow for me to call?


Comment by Rob

planner humour? oxyfuckingmoron.

Comment by andy@cynic

I hate it when planners try to be cool. There are some that are naturally cool but still do a great job, but there are too many that think that being in a trendy bar makes them the purveyor of amazing insight.

It just does not work like that.

The first sign of the decline of a rockstar is when they start to take themselves too seriously, and start trying to be cool. That kids is what leads to Kiss doing disco and Queen hiring that bloke from Free, and doing a musical, and not punching Ben Elton while they had the chance.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Kiss and Queen weren’t cool in the first place.

Comment by John


But see also: Led Zeppelin, Oasis, The Smiths, etc

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Depends on your definition of cool Mr Dodds … for some, being uncool is actually what is cool, though I appreciate that coming from a Queen [and occasional Kiss] fan means it kind of loses any respectability.

Comment by Rob

on the fucking bright side campbell, this comment proves youll never be a fucking rockstar planner.

Comment by andy@cynic

I want to ‘like’ Rob (Mortimer’s) comment. Campbell, you should get some Facebook functionality. Go on, build it for comments. Be TRULY cool and DO it 😀

I’m only kidding. I’m trying my best to build stuff now as opposed to faffing (read: planning) but it’s a long, hard road, y’ know…

Comment by Anjali Ramachandran

I will get someone on to it immediately. As soon as I can find a job number I can assign it too.

Comment by Rob

not so fucking easy now you have to answer to dan the old man is it campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’ve covered all I could say on this issue Rob, really great post.

Comment by Pete

That’s it? No more?

Still jetlagged then eh? Ha.

Comment by Rob

age, did you hear that? rob said you weren’t cool. i’d be offended if i were you.

rob, age is so cool he doesn’t even need a fixed gear bike.

Comment by lauren

is he really called age or was he trying to be melbournes version of u2 baldie boring bastard, the edge? who isnt cool, hes a wanker.

Comment by andy@cynic

that was a rhetorical question, wasn’t it? just a vehicle for a mini-rant against the edge, mostly unrelated to anything we were discussing previously. welcome back lovely.

Comment by lauren

Age is ‘the edge’ of advertising.

Only being called the Bono of adland could be worse. It’s probably going to result in him putting a mafia hit on you, but it was worth it.

PS: Are you calling Age or The Edge a wanker? Actually don’t answer, it may cause more tears than have already been shed.

Comment by Rob

classic, haha…

sorry for the late reply, I’ve been too busy trying to get on The Sartorialist.

Comment by Age


Comment by Billy Whizz

Dodds does the one-worders around here Whizz boy.

Comment by Marcus


Comment by John


Is that when you sit in a car that has a soft top?

Comment by Rob

And Rob does the Butlins stand-up.

Comment by John

thats too fucking good for him.

Comment by andy@cynic

By that Billy, it appears you’re trying to position yourself as ‘cool’.

Well you are I guess, in the context of the people I write about in this post … if you mean ‘real’ cool, then I’m afraid the Queen Mother [in her decomposing state] is more cool than you.


PS: If it’s any consolation [which it won’t be] that is why we like you though.

Comment by Rob

another thing i agree with you on campbell. call norris fucking mcwhirter.

Comment by andy@cynic

woken up.
reread this post.
still think youre trying to justify your fucking sad queen masturbatory habits but you have a point. for fucking once. wont last though will it planner boy.

Comment by andy@cynic

Somewhere there’s a compliment in that insult. I don’t know where – but I have hired CSI to see if my hunch is right.

And if you sort-of like this one, I think you’re going to sort-of [+1% more] love tomorrows.

God, I bet you’re in a quiver of excitement and suspense right now aren’t you.

Comment by Rob


Comment by andy@cynic

Twat is an understatement …

I somehow got the time wrong to meet my clients [only the global heads of marketing] so instead of currently being with them at some restaurant [which I don’t know the name of and even if I did, I wouldn’t know how to get there] I am sitting in my hotel room awaiting unemployment.

Like you said, on the brightside, it ensures I could never be mistaken for being a cool planner, putting aside my face, fashion and music tastes.

Comment by Rob

you fucking tool. well fucking done, youre no corporate toady.

suppose youll be starting cynic up again then. i want double everything to come on board or i wont get out of my fucking bed.

Comment by andy@cynic

he’s cooking now Boucher. A meal. For clients.

Comment by Marcus

if you tried his food marcus youd know hes not creeping, hes fucking killing.

Comment by andy@cynic

Probably you all have seen this, but if not, you have to, here

I was so happy when i first spotted this video. It was good to know that i’m not the only one who is sick of this subculture. oh, yes and watch this this one also makes me calm down when i hear this man speaking.

Nice post Bob.

Comment by TOTOinTrouble

Nathan Barley… sadly still relevant.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Only planners could think they’re cool ! , because most creatives think most planners full of wank 😛 and suits don’t bother ! It’s probably because of the type of plannner you describe or the ones you will go after tom!!

Comment by bhaskar

I know I previously said you’d covered all my points but I do find it interesting that the creatives of today are like the planners of the past and vice versa. I don’t know what that means or even what I am trying to say but I’m saying it. 🙂

Comment by Pete

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