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

Oops, I Did It Again …
November 5, 2011, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Comment

Remember a few months ago I wrote about the lessons I’d learnt regarding a presentation I wrote called ‘How To Be A Bitch’?

Well if you do, that’s more than I did.

So I’m about to go to Sydney to talk at the NINEMSN Digital Summit and as part of that, I was asked to speak to a journalist about my presentation.

Me being me, I was happy to talk about how I’ve seen some digital marketing that is – in my mind – developed for the wrong reasons or for the wrong purposes … however when I saw the article in print, I was shocked to see that it basically took my comments and made me sound like I was questioning the validity of the whole digital medium, let alone digital marketing.

Now while my presentation will allow me to put that right on Wednesday, the fact is that article will last a lifetime and without context, it would be easy to get a completely inaccurate view of what I am saying and what I believe and that bothers me.

Bothers me a lot.

Not because I work for a company that proudly and passionately believes in the power of digital.

Nor because a digital company has kindly decided to fly me out to speak at their event.

It’s because it’s wrong.

While I’m no digital expert – I have been involved in it for 18 years and have seen it metamorphosize from ‘new media’ to ‘media’ to ‘a part of life’ and I have been very vocal about how pervasive, persuasive and powerful it can be.

Hell, it’s infiltrated our lives to such a degree that it is the only medium that can get around the ‘personal firewalls’ we have put up to filter out all the unwanted messages and noise around us.

That’s power and influence.

That’s wonder and amazement.

The issue I have – and the issue I was talking about – was bad digital marketing.

The stuff that doesn’t reflect the audience.

The stuff that doesn’t add value to people’s lives or clients commercial objectives.

The stuff that is trying to brainwash rather than engage, delight, inspire and motivate.

The stuff that feels like it was done with the same approach as banner ads in the mid-90’s.

Digital is a part of life and it’s a major part of my life and while I question how some people approach it, there’s a ridiculous amount of stuff that gives a glimpse of what it is and what it can be … and given some of that stuff are things that I have been lucky enough to be directly part of or through the wonderful company I work for, I’m very proud of that.

Being sensationalized – accidentally or not – doesn’t feel nice.

I know they will say “but you said that” … but the thing is, when you only hear part of the story, the impression it conveys means what you said is pointless, because the message being heard is completely counter to what you intended.

As a comms person I know that.

As a comms person I should have known better.

47 Comments so far
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the australian fucking government put him up to it to get you back for all the shit youve been throwing their way.

Comment by andy@cynic

i dont defend you much campbell but that guy is a total fucking prick. obviously going for a job at the national enquirer because hes made a fucking mountain out of a pimple on an arse.

Comment by andy@cynic

you better smack him when you see him. and smack him harder than dan w probably wants to smack you in the fucking face right now.

Comment by andy@cynic

you ok? i hope the wk boys and girls know this is a fucking z grade hack trying to make a name for himself at your expense and on wks fucking name. id sue. no i wouldnt, id just kill.

Comment by andy@cynic

There have been some ‘interesting’ comments and emails being banded about – but fortunately [I think] they know the article as it is currently conveyed is not a reflection of what I think … but I wrote this post to give complete clarity. Even if no one sees it or reads it, it’s made me feel better and I’ll make sure I post the presentation on line after it’s happened so people can be certain about the full context of what I’m saying.

I’m certainly not saying the journalist is bad, maybe he just misunderstood me – but it might have been nice for him to check it before he sent it off for confirmation, because then I’d not be in the situation I am currently “enjoying”.

And stop being so nice to me, it’s disarming. Ha.

Comment by Rob

on the bright fucking side, youre going to be fired up like a bastard cage fighter for your presentation. is the fucker going to be in the audience? its like that india speech you gave all over afuckingain.

almost worth flying out there to see.


Comment by andy@cynic

I think I will take the high road Andy … which means clarifying stuff on stage with a loud mic, rather than adopt your approach, which would be to hit him around the head with it.

I know … I know … it’s the Italian in me.

Comment by Rob

I didn’t realise you were so good at acting Robert. I always thought you were excited and passionate about digital given the amount of digital companies, campaigns and ideas you have been involved with. Hollywood beckons.

Comment by George

not with that fucking face it doesnt. npr maybe. hollywood, no fucking chance.

Comment by andy@cynic

NPR? I take that as a compliment which I absolutely know you didn’t mean, ha!

Comment by Rob

Either did I … which is handy, because if I get sacked I’ll need a new career.

Comment by Rob

Is it that bad? Surely they know that’s not what you really think. Why would Microsoft ask you to speak at their conference if you were so anti digital? And they flew you to meet Balmer. They might be strange, but they’re not that strange. It’s the headline that’s the most controversial, the rest is fair but without knowing you, I can tell why some would feel it’s aggressive.
What about that video you did for Microsoft where you talk about digital? Can’t you put that up on the website to give more context? You around to talk?

Comment by George

cynic 2.0 anyone?

Comment by andy@cynic

Understandably some people – especially people who don’t really know me – are wondering what I’m going on about … but I hope there’s enough people who know me and my background to appreciate what is appearing in print is not a true reflection of what I believe or what I was trying to say.

That said, the fact I felt it necessary to write this post to put the record straight means I am suitably uncomfortable with some of the mutterings I’ve heard in the background, so who knows. Let’s hope not or Jill is going to kill me. Hahaha.

And yes, the video where I talk about ads in Asia … good one, especially as it gives context to my point about ‘social not being new’.

It’s this:


And yes, I’m packing my bags – but hopefully just for the week – so call, it would be good to catch up.

Comment by Rob

Andy, me !

Comment by toto

Rob, I am glad you wrote this as I had been a bit perplexed by the article. It sounded a bit like the statements bandied around at this year’s Caxtons. All the old (and not so old) cats leaning back and stressing the power of the insights, the good old Big Idea and (sic!) ‘the creative department being the powerful engine of a car, and developers being the tyre’.

Comment by Tim Buesing (@tbuesing)

Hi Tim and thanks for commenting. I’m even happier that you feel that you have a better understanding of where I am coming from because if you were perplexed, imagine how I felt!

That said, I do believe in insights and I do believe in a core idea/concept/thought … however the model of creative department and then ‘everyone else’ [as embraced by the people you describe as the ‘old and not-so-old cats’] is something I don’t subscribe to nor execute off.

Maybe it’s because I work for W+K … maybe it’s because over the years I’ve worked for and with Google, Apple & Microsoft [not to mention digital start-ups including a short lived tenure with] … maybe it’s because I’ve had some success with a bunch of digital campaigns/ideas/brands … but I like to think it’s because I appreciate and understand the medium and how getting the skills and values of the broad team to work together is far more effective and imaginative than creating a process where digital ends up as an ‘add on’ to a pre-determined campaign that often results in being nothing more than a Facebook fan page.

My whole premise was not about being anti digital … nor anti digital marketing – far from it – it was about stopping BAD digital marketing, which is something I am as passionate about as stopping BAD marketing, product development and advertising as a whole.

Seriously glad you wrote your comment and if you’re at the conference, I’d love to have a chat.

Thanks again.

Comment by Rob

Being part of perhaps the first generation that grew up exclusively with a semblance of modern computing – internet and GUI-based OS; my trouble with most people talking about digital marketing is that they’re talking about it like it’s something new; while to us it’s already kinda blah.

As Shirky keeps saying, it’s when the tech goes into the background, and the connections between people come to the fore, that technology gets interesting.

I suppose it takes a while for people to get their head around the tech and back to what you’re talking about. And it’s all too easy (and incredibly intellectually lazy) for the many in the press or the ‘profession’ to equate the two.

Comment by Aditya

The issue for me is that people call it digital marketing as if the rules for that are different to traditional marketing. They’re not.

Sure, how you can use the medium is different to how you can use other mediums – and it’s in ways that are glorious and wonderful – but the role and goal of using it is pretty much the same as marketing has always aimed to achieve which is why I passionately believe in digital, but I want to always make sure it’s meaningful, not just “digital marketing”, if you [hopefully] get what I mean.

Comment by Rob

si senor

Comment by Aditya


Comment by toto

If you knew him back in the 90’s Toto, you’d know he’s had stickier situations than this. And some were even of his own making.

Comment by Pete

I believe you Pete. When a man proudly repeats “anger is energy” It’s obvious that he’s seen a lot.

Comment by toto

RobertoInPurgatory more like.

Comment by Rob

Rob, I read the article and took it at face value. By that I mean my interpretation of what you were saying was that lots of brands are doing digital work for the wrong reason ie work that flatters egos but doesnt achieve marketing objectives. So whilst you may think the media is portraying you as a Luddite – I dont think

Comment by Rich Carr

It’s fortunate Andy didn’t say it.

Sorry Andy, I know you’re much better these days.

Comment by Pete

Well at least he sort-of admits he is a luddite, especially now he no longer has someone to ‘do all his tech shit’ these days.

I’m no digital demon, but I’m not exactly a double page spread and TVC guy either.

Comment by Rob

… Sorry. Itchy trigger finger…combined with sausage fingers on an iPhone…

I meant to conclude my comment by suggesting that most readers with half a brain wouldn’t interpret your comments as being anti-digital. Far from it.

Comment by Rich Carr

Thank you Rich, I do hope you are not the exception.

I guess the true test will be when I actually make my presentation and see how people react. If they feel the article was a true representation of what I think then I’m [1] screwed and [2] in need of help on how to use the English language effectively.

Comment by Rob

They wouldn’t. Unless you only read the title line and look at the picture next to it.

Comment by toto

Good post Rob. Shame you had to write it but that’s what is going to happen when you talk to a journalist who is trying to make a name or himself. Have you read his other articles? He’s the equivalent of a shock jock. Enjoy handing out justice and I’d love to see the presentation when it’s done.

Comment by Pete

He’s worked for a Newscorp rag earlier in his career so his approach isn’t exactly surprising. The way he calls it an “EXCLUSIVE” is particularly sickening.

Comment by Rafik

his ambition was to work for news of the screws and then when that fell through, he thought picking on campbell was the next best fucking thing.

normally id agree but not on shit like this. i hope campbell gets his side heard before the myopics make any fucking stupid decisions.

whod of thought campbell could be misrepresented more than this blog does for him. it would be fucking amazing if it wasnt so fucking fucked.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’ve just checked out the mag online. It’s like the brochureware of the 90’s so I bet they misquoted you so they don’t have to feel bad how shit their product is.

Good post setting the record straight but that journo seemed to have an agenda writing shit like that.

Comment by DH

I’ve just seen that he’s hosting the whole event. Now everything is clear, he’s trying to stoke up controversy to make him look good and make his job easier. You have every right to hit him Rob, that’s a pathetic sucker punch he laid on you. Hope all is OK with the bosses.

Comment by DH

Digital is powerful, over-hyped and, as yet, ineffectively exploited. Well, hold the front page.

Seems to me that people should be questioning the intelligence and critical faculties of those who made the “interesting comments”.

Comment by John

What’s digital?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Your only source of satisfaction?

Comment by John

thats northern groper, billy admitted hes a stuck pages kinda fucking pervert.

Comment by andy@cynic

I don’t even have broadband right now

Comment by northern

so campbell, whats happening? you ok? you know i fucking hate being concerned for you so want to get it over and done with as soon as fucking possible. is the hack going to retract or make amends or just get smashed in the fucking face?

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m actually quite surprised McIntyre took this line. He’s a good guy, a farmer actually and not, as some on this post would suggest, a News Corp hack. McIntyre actually wrote for Fairfax newspapers for years, not News Corp. I guess that’s the problem with print these days, it’s there forever. I prefer the online mantra – you’re never wrong for long. But anyway, good stuff Rob. Matt.

Comment by Matt

Hi Matt …

It’s just a misunderstanding, I know it wasn’t intentional – Paul has been pretty good about trying to change stuff after I wrote to him and explained it doesn’t capture the context of what I was trying to say.

There’s certainly not going to be any slapping or anything else being suggested on here … but that’s also because what people write on here is all pretty tongue-in-cheek because otherwise I should take the comments and conclude I am the most hated man on earth. Haha!

Comment by Rob

I sympathise and anyone who has experienced the rants on this blog knows you wouldn’t have said it the way they’re portraying.
I suppose it goes with territory when you put this stuff out there. Look at Kim Kardashian. She’s really well read sweet girl, it’s the media thay paint this erroneous picture.

Comment by northern

As you state Northern, Kim Kardashian is wrongly painted as a media whore just because she made a home porn flick that “accidentally” got leaked … appears on a “reality” television show … goes to the opening of a pair of curtains and splits up from her husband in less than 2 months.

It’s wrong and unfair and I now know exactly how she feels which is why she has given me the confidence to show this picture of me channeling my inner-Kim, because any negative comments will make me stronger by highlighting their ignorance and prejudice.

Comment by Rob

That picture makes me feel funny

Comment by northern

if its in your fucking pants im calling the fucking police. or gary glitter.

Comment by andy@cynic

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