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

Ban The Bullshit …
January 10, 2012, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

So this is the 2nd day of writing my blog in 2012 and I have to say I’m finding it hard.

It’s not because, as John Dodds say’s, I’ve had too much holiday … it’s because I feel numb to stuff.

Numb to planning.
Numb to adland.
Numb to brands and branding.

This is slightly disconcerting given this is how I make my income but you see, over the holiday period, I had a chance to read a bunch of stuff and overwhelmingly, I was underwhelmed by what my industry churns out – or celebrates – as ‘interesting’.

Of course not everyone was like that and – much to my dismay – some of the stuff that I found genuinely thought-provoking came from people who also happen to write comments on here [though never their thought provoking stuff I noted] however overall, I was just left feeling rather empty by what adland and planning and branding is becoming.

Maybe it’s because I can remember when it was truly influential on business and culture.

Maybe it’s because I’ve seen – and fortunately been part of – work that made a massive difference to everyone involved.

Maybe it’s because I’m just a thick bastard and don’t understand all the intellectualism being banded about.

Who knows, but as much as the industry likes to lay the blame for our declining commercial creative power at the feet of everyone from egotistical corporations to bad marketing managers to basically anyone or anything digital … I would say a lot of it is down to how we manage and promote ourselves on a daily basis.

While there are some that still are flying the flag for creating commercial magic – overall, the industry seems to have morphed into an excuse machine.

We can’t create magic under timeline pressure.
We can’t create magic under budget pressure.
We can’t agree with what clients may suggest.
We don’t think the public know what they want.
We won’t change anything from what we’ve produced.

OK, so I’m being dramatic and without doubt, there are a bunch of external reasons why we’ve suffered so much over the past 10-15 years – however instead of trying to compartmentalize or complicate what we do in a bid to derive more revenue from clients because we’ve sold the commercial value of applied creative thinking down the river for the past few decades … maybe if we just got on with what brands and society actually wanted and needed from us, we’d end producing more great commercially creative ideas than proprietary bullshit.

Wouldn’t that be amazing!?

Wouldn’t it be good to be judged on what we do rather than what we say we do?!

I know it’s easier said than done … I know that too many companies care more about the process than what the process delivers … but if we continue to play along with this attitude and approach, we’re contributing to our own demise in terms of value, respect and future and the thing is, adland offers benefits few other industries could ever hope to create or influence which is why I think it’s time we start remembering what we actually do because looking and sounding like clients isn’t working.

Oh I know why agencies did it.

They thought it would make our clients respect us more … however the irony is it seems to be making them respect us less.

We didn’t lose our seat at the boardroom table because of how we talked or dressed, we lost it because we stopped talking and caring about their needs, goals and dreams and that’s why I believe the only way to get it back is by proving we understand their business at least as well as them and their audience significantly better than them … and the only way that can happen is if we stop believing its about what we say and get back to focusing on creating success through what we do.

I’m not talking about creative awards or effectiveness papers that have made a ‘degree of change’ sound like the second coming of Jesus … I’m talking about doing stuff that fundamentally – and undeniably – shifts the needle.

And how would we judge this?

Well creative and effectiveness awards would still be important, but in my mind, some other ways to tell whether we are being successful in our goal is if [1] we start attracting clients rather than consistently having to chase them [2] we change culture rather than always trying to reflect it and [3] we help re-establish the power and importance of the marketing director at boardroom level.

Of course it requires both sides to make that happen but wouldn’t it be nice if the industry adopted that as their new years resolution.

Just a thought …

50 Comments so far
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fuck me campbell, you just might be fucking back.

Comment by andy@cynic

you should of led the year with this post, you know how anger turns me the fuck on.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’ve answered your own question why I didn’t start the year with this post.

Comment by Rob

if tomorrows post is about your cat, how pretty flowers are or your best mates cock im going to be severely fucked off.

Comment by andy@cynic

I plead the 5th.

Comment by Rob

you fucking bastard. hang on, youre not a yank, you cant use that as your get out of a fucking kicking card. answer me you prick, what the fuck have you done.

Comment by andy@cynic

when you resign you should use this as your letter. yes i fucking know w+k are one of the good guys but it just would be fucking cool. who the fuck am i kidding, youll never resign, theyll sack you before that.

Comment by andy@cynic

To be fair to me, the fact they’ve not done it yet does give me hope. Then to be fair to Dan, he has said “I’m fired” at least 5 times to me.

Maybe I am and I just haven’t realised it. Should check my bank account to find out.

Comment by Rob

1. seems dan stills fucking got it.
2. seems the twats at target havent.
3. you have to check your bank account to see if youve been paid to see if youve been fucking sacked. are you that fucking loaded? you prick. thats all my money that you stole from me. cock.

Comment by andy@cynic

unless dan tells you there will be no w+k car, then you might leave in a fucking huff over that you fucking big girl.

Comment by andy@cynic

Brilliant post Rob. Brilliant. I agree with every single word in here.

You are the antidote to pseudo planning intellectualism.

And that would be a great new years resolution for the industry except they’ve already broken it.

Comment by Pete

you toady fuck.

and you call campbell an antidote? bollocks. every fucker knows hes more like a fucking virus. a virus that kills through boredom.

good point on the resolution though. theres a bit of fucking hope left for you.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’d say this post is a fine highnote to end the year on.. unless you write about Piers and hipsters, in that special Italian-i-remember-everything-and-you-will-suffer-until-eternity way

Comment by niko

you mean this should be his last post of 2012 before he ruins it with his usual rants on planning bollocks? great idea. are you listening campbell? of course youre fucking not, you dont do listening. or pleasing. or anyfuckingthing. prick.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m hearing, but I’m not listening … can’t let all those posts I’ve pre-written go to waste.

Comment by Rob

it goes from bad to fucking supershit.

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s not Chinese new year yet so it’s still technically end of year.
P Dant

Comment by P Dant

Are you John Dodds in disguise?

Comment by Rob

In a few paragraphs you’ve summed up where adland has gone wrong. Good work. That said, there have been some excellent advancements in communication consumption theory but almost universally they have not been undertaken by advertising agencies and often overlook the basic requirement of having a brand worth buying in the first place.

Comment by George

is that the theory that no fucker cares about ads anymore except ad fuckers?

Comment by andy@cynic

One of them, yes.

Comment by George

and is the other is planners talk a load of wank?

Comment by andy@cynic

Brilliant post. Brilliant.

Comment by Kerrin Naude

Is it a brilliant post or just less shit than his usual rant?

Comment by Billy Whizz

good fucking point billy. seems i was still filled with the joy of christmas an got too fucking carried away. reread it. well reread the first 2 lines and its ok but hes said the same thing countless fucking times before, its just he linked it to new years resolutions so it seems more topical. at least more topical by his low as fuck standards. excellent work billy.

Comment by andy@cynic

Liquid linkage to big fat fertile spaces. That’s where it’s at.

Comment by Ad Guru

Isn’t that a Coca-Cola thing? If it is, it’s Rob’s point in a sentence.

Comment by Bazza

Thats what I do.

Comment by Ad Guru

Wait, advertising is supposed to make people do something and planning is supposed to know something? You learn something new every day.

Comment by DH

Rob says he’s numb to planning and advertising. How the fuck does he think we feel?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Just what I needed to blow the cobwebs of the festive period away. Great post Robert and I agree with Pete, you are the antidote to planning bullshit which is sadly increasing it’s share of voice against planning quality.

Comment by Bazza

Yes I did see what I did there. “Share of voice”. Sorry.

Comment by Bazza

Lucky …

Comment by Rob

saved by the fucking skin of your midget teeth.

Comment by andy@cynic

Agencies have become excuse machines. Brilliant.

Comment by DH


Comment by Pete


Comment by Jemma King

Advertising needs you angry Robert.
Good read, good points.

Comment by Lee Hill

I think there are people that might disagree with that Lee, but thank you anyway.

Comment by Rob

Excellent points well made. I tend to agree with Lee: advertising needs you angry.

When are we having dinner?

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

New year … new lease of anger, though at my age, it might run out by Thursday.

Working on dates, can’t wait to do another food destruction night with you matey.

Comment by Rob

new year, no fucking lauren.

how the fuck did she get so lucky to avoid this shithole so comprefuckinghensively?

Comment by andy@cynic

She’s a changed woman, wearing deisgner brand dresses and shit… ;p

Comment by Age

Excellent. Whatever put you in a bad mood over Christmas (not being in Vegas anymore?) it’s done the trick
There was always a few good agencies/people and lots of crap ones.
It’s just that now, since you can’t bludgeon people to submission like you used to, they haven’t bothered to get any better, they’ve just got better at excuses.

Comment by northern

campbell doesnt bludgeon people to death, he fucking bores them to fucking suicide.

Comment by andy@cynic

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While I don’t work in advertising, I agree with your sentiments and it is a very well written post. However, is this a new feeling. Could you have written this same post 5 years ago? 10?

Comment by Simon Kendrick

yes & he did.

Comment by andy@cynic

I do get the feeling sometimes that adland is at the equivalent point in its life where something big and brave is about to leap forward and drag us all in a new direction.

That definitely needs angry.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

if it is, its out of fucking necessity than ability.

Comment by andy@cynic

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