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

March 4, 2011, 6:26 am
Filed under: Comment

One of the things I’ve always loved is making counter-arguments to people’s claims.

I don’t do it to be a shit, but because I hate how people in adland generalise so much.

Of course I appreciate we’re in the ‘numbers game’ so we tend to focus on insights/observations/situations that relate to the largest number of people as possible, however by doing that, we often ignore other issues/needs/values that have the potential to either change our view or drive more interesting work for huge proportions of the population.

The thing is, as much as we like to ‘package people’ into certain groups, the reality is we’re all different and we all have our little quirks – be them public, professional or private – and I suppose I get a bit annoyed when the things that really engage, intrigue and motivate people are ignored in favour of blandom, simply because that’s easier or more convenient to build/sell your argument on.

Yeah – I know – it’s not always easy to do this, but the subculture of society is everywhere and I guess I just wish our industry embraced it a bit more rather than either passing over it or tending to focus purely on the latest and greatest ‘yoof’ trends.

OK, I’m rambling – I know what I’m trying to say but I also know I am not saying it – but I guess the reason for this post is this:

Yep, it’s those weird dolls that have been advertised all around the World for as long as I can remember.

On a personal note, I’d rather pour acid all over my nether regions rather than own one of these – but the fact is, someone must be buying them because the company, Ashton Drake Galleries, has outlived companies that were globally labelled as ‘superstars’.

I have to say, the ‘Kate Middleton’ doll is especially disturbing … I don’t know why, given they make baby dolls which in reality are far freakier … but the way they describe her in minute detail gives me the chills, it’s as if they’re professional stalkers.

Anyway, despite being 40 years on this earth, I’ve never met someone who either owns one of these things or even likes one of these things – same with those fucking weird plates that also get flogged in the back of Sunday Newspaper magazines – and yet, as I said, someone must be buying them or they’d not be churning out topical shit like this in their droves.

The problem with adland is that too often, if they haven’t done it, they don’t believe it exists … which is why I will always grudgingly respect Andy for the time he asked a particularly dismissive and blinkered client if he’d ever used a prostitute.

Unsurprisingly the client went off and said no, to which Andy replied …

“That’s funny, because I’ve never met someone who has said they had and yet it’s the oldest industry alive”.

I guess what he was saying – albeit in the most offensive way possible – was that if we only take life on face value, we can miss out on uncovering things that could genuinely captivate people and that’s why a lot of research bothers me, because an industry developed to find out what’s really going on has seemingly got a number of practitioners who are only versed in repeating back what’s been said.

In a focus group.

Where the participants are promised money for talking.

Anyone else see the potential flaws with this picture?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive fan of research and sometimes you do end up finding out nothing has changed from what you already knew [which can also be incredibly valuable, especially if you have people that want to change things just for the sake of changing them] however one thing I think is always worth remembering when you are about to embark on a project – regardless how ‘established’ the audience insights are – is the old adage made famous by ancient female actress, Thora Hird …

“There’s nowt as queer as folk”

34 Comments so far
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naturally my comment makes this post fucking excellent but even though youre making another of your planning wank statements, youve linked it to such a fucking twisted story im willing to let you off. for an hour.

wonder if that crack addled porcelain shit making company will have a charlie sheen doll that cracks when you place it next to pornstars or drugs?

and youre right about agencies going with the fucking easy way to sell shit. that would make sense if they were making something complex, easy for the client to understand and accept but instead they go with something so easy that no fucker has to even think which leads to a shitload of spoon fed bland bollocks saying shit like “buy this and youll be a good mum” or “man proof meals”. fuck off and die.

Comment by andy@cynical

thora hird has better insights than most fucking planners. and shes dead.

Comment by andy@cynical

Did she have better insights before or after her heart packed in? Don’t worry answering, I think I can guess the answer …

Comment by Rob

Loved this post, been there, experienced that, but mostly because I love the absolute intelligence (promise, not trying to flatter here) of Andy’s question. I reckon the majority of the shite that falls under the category of advertising is the result of not having the smarts/balls to ask those questions.
Knew there was a reason I liked Andy, despite the potty mouth, and the fact I’ve never met him.

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

youre only fucking human ciaran which is more than the fuckwit client i educated was. twat.

oi campbell, did i really say that without a single swear word? must have been fucked up from the night before.

Comment by andy@cynic

This is the type of stuff I was talking about yesterday Rob. I also think there’s a lot more to write about with this bit as a starter:

“The problem with adland is that too often, if they haven’t done it, they don’t believe it exists.”

It’s not only true of the ads they make, but also in the way lots of agencies behave. So, um, thanks, I’ll be shamelessly ripping you off 🙂

Comment by Rafik

go ahead rafik, the fucker shamelessly ripped me off and he did it financially as well as intellectually so steal everything the fuckers got, make him feel the pain i have had to endure. except he couldnt make a fat man sweat with a shotgun in 100 degree heat.

Comment by andy@cynic

for clarification, campbell has the shotgun. have to make sure you all know you pedantic fucks.

Comment by andy@cynic

I think you’re being way too kind Rafik, but thank you – and like Andy said, steal away, I probably did steal it from him and he probably stole it off George so all is fair in love and self promotion!

Comment by Rob

Oh, and Andy’s question is brilliant.

Comment by Rafik

My cousin has got a bunch of Elvis plates at her trailer outside of Memphis but she’s a weird bitch and no brand would want to have her as a customer.

Comment by Billy Whizz

the fat bird who ate grits?

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Billy Whizz

she was the blackest sheep of your families farm of black fucking sheep.

Comment by andy@cynic

I spotted the family resemblance between you and her in an instant Billy – she was horrible too.

Only joking, she was much worse than you.

Comment by Rob

On a personal note, I’m buying you one just to prove that you’re falling into the same trap when making your acid claim.

Comment by john

i like you more each fucking day doddsy.

Comment by andy@cynic

Only Andy could be a vulgar bastard and somehow be lauded as some sort of genius. Saying that, having been there when the deed was done, I can say it was one of those moments that I will remember forever, especially because he managed to turn a bastard of a client into a pussycat.

He might come across as the sort of man you would never want your daughter to see, let alone marry … but in reality, he is quite nice and far more of a planner than he would ever want to accept or admit.

PS: I’m safe from your threat John because you would never open your wallet for someone like me.

Comment by Rob

Andrew is a unique character with a unique approach.

Comment by Lee Hill

And the winner of ‘understatement of 2011’ is ….

Comment by Rob

Rob/Andy – That reminds me of a new business pitch I was involved with recently. The ‘objective’ was to raise awareness.

So, naturally, the second slide was a picture of Josef Fritzl with the lines ‘This man has high awareness’…’but I wouldn’t want to stay in his hotel’.


Comment by Will

Adland needs a balance between playing the mainstream and surprising them. When you only play with safe trends, you miss out on what’s exciting: similarly, if you constantly hunt outsiders then you end up as flighty comet-chaser, and eventually, counter-intuitively, producing dull and scattershot work.

What is unacceptable or undesirable today percolates to become acceptable and desirable – based on the origin of it’s outsider-ness. Its only exciting that way.

To reiterate the Thora quotation, as my dear ol’ Dad (another sage Northerner) says:
“Everyone is someone else’s weirdo.”

P.S Sorry I didn’t swear, like a courteous ****

Comment by Adam Sweeney

like your fucking style adam but the c word is banned on this blog, even for me. youll learn but keep the rest of the snide shit coming.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sorry Adam, I had to censor one word of your comment as detailed by Andy. Apart from that, nice to have you pop by and hope to see you around these parts again.

Comment by Rob

Interesting, Will. I am just wondering what this should be good for. Not every press is good press? Don’t be a psychopath? No-brainer, isn’t it. Andrew, I see why the quote would make sense, but basically, I disagree — as it is an expression of accepting intolerance, which I don’t want to accept :).

I have met people who admitted to me that they used the services of a prostitute. Once. But they said it was not as thrilling and great as they hoped for. Men. All the same ;).

Comment by Evolution

PS: “Andrew” = Adam. As I said, all the same.

Comment by Evolution

To put this all another way. If you can’t see the nutter on the bus/subway – it’s you.

Comment by john

is that a problem you fucking face often doddsy?

Comment by andy@cynic

Why would you care, you’re too rich for public transport, though not for living in dust laden squalor if your shared frustrations on domestic architecture are anything to go by.
Anyway, I don’t care, I’m now going on holiday.

Comment by northern

what is it with planners and holidays? you have more fucking days off than a scouser. and you so do fucking care. besides im home, back in nyc civilisation, so i dont give a fuck about your petty, shitty taunts, that canada wank is a distant fucking memory for 3 glorious, pissing weeks.

happy holidays for wherever your gps pigeon has told you to go.

Comment by andy@cynic

But at some point you will have to return to sawdust city won’t you?

Comment by northern


Comment by andy@cynic

Evolution – just to say that high awareness isn’t always something clients should be striving for. ‘Raise awareness’ is a bullshit metric. Unfortunately, it’s the mainstay of most PR briefs.

Comment by Will

[…] I wrote about the dodgy porcelain dolls, given these types of shows have been continuously on television for seemingly ever, someone must […]

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