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

Never Underestimate The Power Of Charm. Or Humour. Or – At Least In This Case – A Cheeky Pun.
January 23, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Planners love to go on about the importance of innovation.

Of pushing boundaries.

Of finding that killer insight that can tap into societies heart and mind in ways that literally transform culture.

We go on about consumers journeys.

Transmedia thinking.

Cultural tension points.

I’m not saying it’s all bollocks … but I do think that sometimes we forget that for a lot of people, something that gives them a moment of laughter is more appealing than the best brand proposition in the entire Universe.

Imagine you are a company selling cheese graters.

Yes, cheese graters.

Do you hire an agency to help you position your product in a way that is better than the competition?

Do you ask the planner to uncover an insight that can engage – or influence – the broader culture?

Do you engage media experts to identify the ultimate touch points to reach your idea consumer?

Or do you simply do this?

Yes it’s cheesy [pun fully intended] … yes it is reliant on someone walking down a particular aisle of a supermarket … yes it loses all its charm the moment you have removed it from the packaging … but sometimes the biggest insight is there is no insight, or should I say no insight that will fundamentally grow/differentiate your brand from the countless others and if you want to stand out, it’s better to let go of all the rules and just make someone smile.

And yes, I do know that’s a sort-of insight, but not so much of an insight as the fact that going shopping with children is supposedly the 5th most stressful experience after death, divorce, marriage & child-birth … so anything that can inject a moment of joviality will be disproportionately appealing.

Which is almost as good an insight as planners are simply post-rationalisers .


how many words are there in this post? 700? 800? 1000?

how ever many the fuck it is, youve used them to write about a fucking cheese grater. a cheese grater campbell. what the fuck is wrong with you?

Comment by andy@cynic

My sentiment exactly.

Comment by DH

Yes, it is a bit tragic isn’t it.

Comment by Rob

and i dont know if i should be impressed or fucking scared that you managed to fucking link a cheese grater to some planner insight bullshit even though you started the post off by making me think you were taking a massive fucking dump on planners and their self important, pseudo yoda wank. i should have known, you conniving bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

He should be in government. No one would believe anything he said but he’d make excuses for them not doing stuff more entertaining to hear when he tries to link education cuts to One Direction being too popular.

Comment by DH

dont fucking encourage him. the only fucking saving grace is he wouldnt earn as much so i wouldnt have to endure him beyond this blog and when the fucker turns up unannounced at my house wanting free board and lodging.

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s too easy to say all a planner has to do is post rationalise. There are occasions where that is perfectly acceptable if you are trying to explain why a fresh approach to an old problem is worthy of consideration.

But sometimes, a planners role is to know when and where to tread. Understanding when there is no deep, meaningful motivation behind a decision or behavior is as valuable as recognising when there is. Resisting the temptation to add significance to insignificance is the skill of a confident planner. Rob taught me that.

Comment by Pete

That is a great lesson and you expressed it perfectly.

Comment by George

@DH … I could rationalise that challenge easily.

I won’t go into detail as I appreciate it was a rhetorical question, but it would involve claiming the education system has become too liberal, which has resulted in the young girls of the country failing to recognise what is and isn’t of quality and integrity. I may even add for good measure, that to not deal with it sternly, would be to commit the countries future to potential apocalypse.

Or something.

@Pete … if I really did teach you that, then apart from being pleasantly shocked, I would have to accept that occasionally, I can say something that I think has real value. Though I probably stole it off George and claimed it for my own.

But that’s great and utterly true. Though I would say that, wouldn’t I. Ha.

Comment by Rob

You know you’ve just admitted that all that planner stuff you talk about means nothing and the job is just about finding a way to post rationalise anything and everything. 10/10 for courage. 1/10 for career move.

Comment by DH

Good job no one pays attention to anything you say. Which is another truth about planners.

Comment by DH

“Adding humorous touches to kitchen utensils helps encourage a relaxed environment.”

Comment by John

what the fuck do you think youre doing doddsy? im going out for the rest of the day. i expect a fucking apology for your plannerlike behaviour by morning.

Comment by andy@cynic

I was quoting (not endorsing) a trendhunting website from 2012 whne this nonsense was first featured.

Comment by John

Is that what they said? Jesus. They could have justified that with a much more powerful rationale. They should of asked a planner for some help.

Comment by Rob

The post deriding planner insight by demonstrating the importance of planner insight. Though the real lesson I get from this post is the need to always live in the mindset of the true audible, not the one the marketing department wished they had.

Comment by Pete

Is this really a demarcation dispute about the roles of planning and creative and the client? Surely it’s simpler than that: a good idea doesn’t care who it happens to …

Comment by Ian Gee

Or you could say it is a process issue and that by creating a structure that works in sequence rather than in parallel, solutions get overwhelmed with complexity or dilution rather than revealing and nurturing the most powerful solution available.

Comment by George

And I chose the word “available” deliberately because commercial demands may impact the ability to identify the best solution possible. It is possible I am being petty by highlighting that, but I believe there is a difference.

Comment by George

Oh I like that George. That is bloody good … which also explains the times that I enjoy my job the most. Though whether my colleagues would feel the same way is open to debate.

Comment by Rob

What structure would enable that George? I hope you’re not going to say holocracy, but if you do I’d be interested in the reason.

Comment by John

There are many factors that determine success and many different models. Personally speaking, I believe creating a working leadership group of no more than 7 people, where their talent extends to recognising what their peers bring to the table, drives high quality process, collaboration and solution. That certainly was the case at cynic. I am now in a much larger organisation but still maintain the 7 person working leadership group approach. It is dependent on choosing the right 7 people, but this approach has worked for me for more years than I care to reveal.

Comment by George

This is the most depressing comment thread I’ve ever read.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I’m with you Billy, this is becoming far too serious for this blog.

Comment by Rob

Good grief! What have I started?

Comment by Ian Gee

I WANT THAT GRATER. Good morning.

Comment by Marcus

Work for Rob for 20 years and he might get it you as a leaving present.

Comment by DH

This is a grate post.

Comment by May I Offer A Very Different Scenario

I’ve just been on tgi and main shoppers who over index on cheese consumption also over index on comedy clubs and point of sale.

Comment by Northern

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