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

How Many Clients Genuinely Love Their Brand …
March 19, 2012, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Comment

I have been very fortunate to work with – and for – some awesome people.

Not just bosses and colleagues, but clients too.

And undeniably, the common factor with all of them is they absolutely loved their brand.

Sure, they enjoyed their job as well but it was more than that, they loved the brand they represented and fought for.

I don’t mean some contrived, corporate ‘passion’ that we sadly see far too often, I mean a relentless desire to celebrate and promote the company they work for and believe in.

Quite frankly, that is wonderful to see, addictive to experience and – sadly – getting rarer than rocking horse shit.

Yes, I know not everyone loves their job.

Yes, I know not everyone has to love their job.

But lets face it, if you’re in marketing, if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing there’s a major fucking problem.

And that’s my concern, in my time, I’ve met way too many marketing folk who aren’t passionate about their brand.

They’re passionate about their process.

They’re passionate about their executional deliverables.

They’re passionate about second guessing what their boss wants.

They’re passionate about saying ‘no’ to anything ‘different to the norm’.

But that’s about it.

Don’t get me wrong, passion can only get you so far, but I can tell you, it is difference between passive ‘effective’ and super fucking active awesome ‘effective’.

I say all this because of a recent situation that happened to me.

So I was at a NIKE meeting.

While we were waiting to start, I started telling the CMO about this taxi driver I’d met in Atlanta a couple weeks ago.

I told him how I’d hired him to show me the best and worst of Atlanta.

Yes, I know that sounds a bit weird, but as I was only in the city for 24 hours, I wanted to get a taste of the place and felt my perspective would be improved if I filled my limited time with a schedule that went beyond just ‘airport-hotel-client-hotel-airport’.

Anyway, I told him that I found out the cabbie was Nigerian and loved Manchester United.

I told him how we had talked about Dwight Yorke.

I told him how he’d told me his Dad was 90 years old and that no one should interrupt him when he is watching a football game back in Nigeria.

I told him how he had said his Dad “gets younger” when he’s watching his team play.

I told him how he hated ‘American sports’ and that football was the only game for him.

I told him that I was going back to Atlanta the following week and that because I’d found the cabbie so interesting, I’d emailed him to organise another exploration into Atlanta’s fortunate and not so fortunate society.

While we were chatting, a man walked into the meeting and handed my client a red package.

My client looked at me and said,

“Well if he loves Man Utd so much, maybe you should give him this.”

What ‘this’ was, was a Manchester United shirt, signed by Wayne Rooney with an official certificate of authenticity.


I’m obviously a loyal Forest fan [read: sad fuck] but even I wouldn’t mind that.

Of course, handing over something like this is going to basically ensure Mr Cabbie loves NIKE forever [not to mention, ensure I will do anything for my client in the future], but that’s not why he did it [well, maybe making me his bitch was quite influential] … he did it because he loves his brand and he loves the idea he can do something that will literally make some guys whole fucking year.

I love that.

He didn’t have to do it.

I didn’t even realise he had done it.

But he did it … and tomorrow I’m going to give it to Mr Cabbie.

I can’t wait to see his face.

I can’t wait to hear what he says.

I can’t wait to know he hasn’t called the Police because some random passenger has given him something super awesome.

Mind you, if he charges me for the cab ride, I might make him eat the thing.

But that aside, when you have a client who loves their brand so much they will make things happen simply because it makes ‘fans’ happy, you understand one of the reasons why that brand is so successful.

So thank you Simon, you’ve just become the most popular man in Atlanta. At least with one person, and maybe two, dependent on how much – or how little – you abuse my ‘bitch’ status.


PS: The good news for you is that because I’m in the US for most of the week, blog posts are going on hold till next Monday. I know I say that every time I’m away, but quite frankly, I’m too tired to write any more of the rubbish most of you could fart out in your sleep. Ta-ra.

32 Comments so far
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Fantastic post Rob. Great read. I’m impressed you’re not going to sell the shirt on ebay, you’d make a fortune.

Are you in Atlanta now? It’s 1:30am, shouldn’t you be asleep?

Can you come to LA, I’ll be here for a week. Let mw know.

Comment by Bazza

I’m not asleep because you know what I’m like when I’m on a plane … so my journey here has rested me more than a bloody 4 week holiday, hence I’m wide awake and will be a bloody mess tomorrow.

No LA this time matey, why don’t you come to Atlanta? Oh sorry, I forgot, you only do the ‘hyped cities’ don’t you, ha!

Comment by Rob

You know my view on this Robert, so I approve of this post immensely. Looking forward to hearing what Mr Cab Driver says about his gift.

Comment by Lee Hill

He’s become popular with a whole village in Nigeria I think, ha!

Football stirs the most amazing of passions; I see this every time I hand a Manchester plane ticket in any airport. Their eyes suddenly glow for a second (unless they hate the team/football) and then sigh a bit.

Awesome story. Enjoy the US 🙂 Show us a picture of the cab driver!

Comment by Andrea

Fucking awesome! Wish I could see the guy’s face when you hand it over to him. Nice work mate.

Comment by Age


Comment by toto

Fuck me you’re back here again? Sell the shirt and take the money to buy an early ticket back.

You’re not planning on coming to NYC are you?

Comment by DH

You’re safe Dave. For 2 weeks. Then you’d better start claiming you’re “washing your hair” or something.

Comment by Rob

Great story with a great point.

In my time I’ve met too many marketing people who seem to only be passionate about their process and their deadlines. As you mention, these are important things to manage but it doesn’t show a desire to make their brand infectious and part of people’s lives in a passionate, exciting way.

That taxi driver is going to be amazed.

Comment by Pete

What happens if the cabbie thinks you’re trying to get him to turn tricks with a fake signed shirt? Have you considered that Rob?

Comment by DH

Even a mentally challenged cabbie would realise it’s highly unlikely some English bloke from China would come all this way just to get some slap & tickle in the back of an Atlanta cab. Are you projecting again Dave?

Comment by Rob

joined up writing – definitely fake.

Comment by John

Good point John, you almost expect it in crayon. And miss-spelt. Wain Rooonee

Comment by Rob

I could be in Memphis on wed. I think that’s about a 5 hour drive from Atlanta. If you’re free we could try and catch up. When do you leave?

Comment by Pete

Are you fucking mad?

Comment by DH

Have you been to Memphis? If you don’t like Elvis, then meeting Rob is the only other option.

Comment by Pete

I take it that comment was to keep Niko happy in his quest to turn you ‘nasty’?

Comment by Rob

The only other option and yet, in many ways, the same option.

Comment by John

And I haven’t forgotten you promised a post on working with creatives and their role in your career.

Comment by John

Damn you and your elephant brain.

Comment by Rob

Excellent in the highest degree

Now please get me a signed McEnroe shirt

Incidentally I have bruise on my forehead the size of an apple, thanks to my demented son wacking me with a metal ladle.

Failing the Superbrat shirt, sign get Will a Nike contract for tennis, he doesn’t half hit hard

Comment by Northern

I love that you think I am that influential when – as everyone else knows – I’m just a flukey bastard who has some very kind clients.

On the bright side, I am happy to talk to the WWF about getting Will a contract – smashing someone over the head with a metal ladle is basically a job application that cannot possibly be ignored.

Comment by Rob

another fucking holiday in the usa.

another fucking business class flight and fancy fucking hotel.

another fucking freebie.

but instead of coming to see the most gorgeous creature on the whole fucking planet and bathing her in expensive goodies, youre in atlanta handing a fucking freebie man utd shirt to some random taxi driver you met for the first fucking time 2 fucking weeks ago.

you sad weird bastard fucking prick.

Comment by andy@cynic

Second most georgous creature Andy, Second.

Comment by Northern

youre right northern, im prettier but shes a very fucking close second.

Comment by andy@cynic

And to think I was worried becoming a Dad might make you nice for a little bit. Mind you, the fact you didn’t say “the best present you could give my beautiful daughter is staying away” means you are either [1] going soft or [2] desperate to show off.

Either way, it’s quite nice to read – or not read – as the case may be.

Comment by Rob

You were the one who made me aware that the fabric of a city is in its cabbies. Last week, in LA, I got chatting to my Ethiopian cabbie who appeared to be rather old – but on the subject of women, he was quite the authority. Showed me pictures of his two women – the one he keeps in LA, and the one he keeps in Addis. Old, sly dog.

Comment by Leon Jacobs

I can see what you’re doing there … you’re making sure that I am linked to your taxi driver questioning so that if one gets the shits and ends up having a fight with you, you can tell the Police it’s all my fault.


Talking of taxi drivers, my Mr Cab cancelled our catch up today because he had “family” issues. Bet they would have faded into the background if he knew what I had for him, instead I’ll have to wait till tomorrow now.

Comment by Rob

…and it’s precisely that kind of love for both the brand and the customers that makes nike one of the biggest, most valuable, and most respected brands in the world.

Comment by Andy Replacement Service

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