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

The Best Way To Look Smart Is To Keep Your Mouth Shut So You Don’t Say Anything Stupid …
May 29, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

I know … I know … having me write about keeping your mouth shut is the equivalent of Oscar Pistorius going on about why you should not be violent, but hey, it’s my blog so I’ll be as hypocritical as I want.

Anyway, the reason for that long title is because I recently watched this ad featuring Aussie Rock Legend, Jimmy Barnes …

OK, so the ad is nothing special … just the usual self-congratulatory ego piece you see telecommunication companies often put out. The reason for the long post is because I recently read the press release from DDB Sydney that went with that ad.

“People love to solve puzzles when watching ads and are curious to know why some of Australia’s favourite celebrities are now working for Telstra.”

Now excuse me for being a bit cynical, but apart from the fact that ad is about as much of a puzzle as a 4 piece jigsaw, I sincerely doubt Australians are sitting at home wondering why B-grade celebrities are appearing in a Telstra ad and even in the unlikely event they are, I would assume they’d suggest the answer is because they got paid a shedload of money.

Seriously, what were they thinking?

If the ad was genuinely pushing boundaries, then maybe – and it’s a very big maybe – people might be engaged enough to be interested in what is going on, but when it’s one of the most cliched type of ads you will ever see, the only consideration I would imagine going on inside the heads of Aussie TV viewers is:

“When the fuck does this rubbish stop so I can get back to watching the journalistic excellence of Today Tonight?

To be honest, that isn’t even the worst part of the press release, it also said:

“The punch line works really well, when a real Telstra staff member takes over from the celebrity, representing all Telstra employees who not only want to be famous themselves but are the people who are making it happen.”

Jesus Christ.

I don’t know the person who uttered this drivel but I’m sure he’s very good and this was just a really bad off day [hey, I have them every 24 hours, so it’s perfectly understandable] but claiming the way they [‘they’ being DDB Sydney] executed this ad actually elevated its power and influence is both questionable and ridiculous.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say it does them – and the industry – harm, because if they’re claiming this is what breakthrough communication is, then it’s no wonder business thinks adland talks a crock of shit.

From VW’s Snow Plough, to that Telstra ad.

Oh dear.

I bet Bernbach is spinning so quickly in his grave right now, he could power Shanghai.

Anyway, by all means be proud of the work you do – regardless what it is, finishing something is worthy of feeling a sense of accomplishment – however keep some perspective on it all, because if you have to explain why it’s breakthrough, it generally means it isn’t.

32 Comments so far
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People love to do pretty much anythng other than solve puzzles when “watching” ads.

Comment by John

Or the puzzle is how can they get away from all the ads trying to get in their face.

Comment by Rob

Another advertising industry own goal.

Comment by Lee Hill

It sounds like someone watched too many episodes of Mad Men. I know Australian’s like to play up the “down to earth” side of their cultural characteristics, but this doesn’t even do that, it’s only achievement is to be crushingly boring with a hearty side of embarrassing PR.

Comment by Pete

You’re so right Pete. The good ol, true blue, down to earth Aussie tends to only live in nostalgia and adland concept boards. There’s still a bunch of them around but they’re either dying out, being priced out or have far too much intelligence to fall for contrived rubbish like this.

Or at the very least, contrived rubbish like that PR thing.

Comment by Rob

“If you have to explain why it’s breakthrough, it generally means it isn’t.” Excellent.

Comment by Pete

if you have to quote someone else to look interesting it means youre a boring bland fucker. ill let you off because youve grown some balls recently but dont fucking let it happen again.

Comment by andy@cynic

Good thing the mountain view boys kept explaining why they had a breakthrough, given how many vc’s passed on them because it was just another search engine…

Imagine, No them, Rob is still your boss..

Comment by niko

thank fuck someone around here is consistently a little fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

Rather Rob than Andy. ; )

What I should have added to Rob’s quote is that if you have to explain to people within your own industry why something is breakthrough, it generally means it isn’t.

Venture capitalists are money men, they don’t speak “tech” which explains why so many passed on Google’s initial funding requests.

The DDB release is speaking to advertising people, they should be able to spot breakthrough without someone pointing at it saying this is breakthrough.

Comment by Pete

I have witnessed some of the documents that made up their original investment proposal and I’m not sure I would have invested either.

Comment by George

@George. Show off.

PS: Yes you would. You invested in potent and that was an unmitigated disaster. Wasn’t it Andy!! Ha.

Comment by Rob

I thought we agreed to never mention that again.

Comment by George

this blog is much fucking better when youre being a spiteful petty bastard. i remember the days when that was your normal tone but the good life has made you a fucking soft touch. i should shake the hand of the twat who uttered that bollocks for making you and this blog better than its been for fucking years. then karate chop him in the windpipe for talking complete shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

I was worried fatherhood had changed you. I should have known your powers can counter all forms of emotional calm.

Comment by DH

except when my daughter was ill. then i was fucking helpless. now shes recovered im a fucking genius monster.

Comment by andy@cynic

She’s tougher than all of us. And cuter. Waaay cuter.

Comment by Rob

Well said Robert.

Comment by George

where the fuck is mortimer?

first lauren, then marcus, then age then fucking mortimer. i dont miss any of the fuckers, i just want to know how they got so lucky to escape this shithole.

Comment by andy@cynic

Australia. Where his brain has probably been fried by ads like this.

Comment by Rob

It’s not as fucked up as the press release apple put out after buying beats.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Baz must be fuming.

Comment by DH

DDB can learn a lot from Apple about stupid press releases.

Comment by DH

and stupid fucking ideas.

Comment by andy@cynic

Is the “puzzle” that I can’t see any puzzle, just a bad ad with a terrible PR piece attached.

Comment by George

I believe it was Denis Thatcher who said “it is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt”.

Comment by Lee Hill


Comment by Rob

I always value the communication advice of a washed up singer who I had to look up on the internet to find out what he’d done.

Comment by Wayne Green

you have to look up on the internet to find out what the fuck youve done. or turn to the society pages you posh fucking fucker.

Comment by andy@cynic

You do know that the national bird of Australia is… The Fly! Just an observation.
Cheers/George “AdScam” Parker

Comment by adscamgeorge

i thought the national bird was kylie minogue. she used to be a swan but now shes a bit of an old fucking turkey.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

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