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

As Today Is Supposedly The Day Everything Scary Comes Out …
October 31, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Bank Ads, Comment, Crap Campaigns In History

… have a look at this.

Yes, it’s a bank trying to sound supportive and inspirational.

Actually, it’s not just a bank … it’s Citibank, the company who has been bathed in all manner of scandals from wrongful selling of financial products to the wrongful use of their customers cash and countless things in-between.

If you can’t read the copy properly [which in some ways, you should be grateful for], here it is in all it’s patronising, contrived horror-story glory …

If they were being honest, they would add the following at the bottom of all that fawning praise for the next generations potential:

“… and Citibank will turn down your dreams for helping the World with cures for illness or opportunities for technology because we only help the big boys unless you are willing for us to weigh you down with so much debt that you’d have to turn into the next Google to stand a chance of actually making your dream a commercial reality.”

Though now I come to think about it, the next generation won’t even get a chance to be turned down for a loan, because Citibank will have burdened their family with such high mortgage and credit card debt, they won’t be able to be sent to a school or university that can help them nurture their dreams, ambitions and hopes for a better, happier future.

I find it fascinating that banks – after all the widely acknowledged shit they have done and caused – continue with this head-in-the-sand approach to marketing.

If Citibank were as clean-as-a-whistle, I’d get it [though they should be telling people that rather than some meaningless, bland corporate-talk beigeness] but they’re not and they’d stand far more chance in getting people to believe them if they followed what I call the 8 Mile strategy and took on all the stuff people could say about them, to rob them of the power that they have over them.

But sadly the financial industry don’t admit failure or fault. They have been told by their highly paid lawyers, it’s better to stick it out, regardless of the anger it causes, than try to put the past right and face paying out money.

And that is why I hate banks.

I shouldn’t hate banks. What they do – in theory – is a wonderful thing … but those days are long past, which is why society has to put up with this sort of marketing bollocks that does more to alienate than attract. But they don’t care, because it’s to keep them in the delusional bubble they reside in which is why the only good thing I can say to Citibank about this campaign, is that at least they’re not HSBC.

Bank advertising. The scariest thing you’ll see this halloween.

Why Doesn’t The Daily Mail Just Call Themselves Buzzfeed And Be Done With It?
October 30, 2014, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

The Daily Mail.

A newspaper that celebrates quality, balanced journalism.

A newspaper focused – and committed – to report on the issues that matter for their readers.

Or so they claim.

OK, so I admit they have broken some major stories in their time.

Stories that needed to be told but required major investigative journalism to be revealed.

Which makes it all the more sad they also have told stories like this – possibly the most pointless news story of all time.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a journalist there.

A journalist that actually studied the craft rather than got where they are because they posted some weird shit online a few times.

They must feel similar to someone who studied robotic engineering for 10 years in a bid to one day work at NASA and explore the Universe only to end up in the R&D department of a consumer products company where they spend their days creating crappy pretend-robot toys that are bought by 40+, sad bastard, men.

Like me.

But I digress.

So a while back – for reasons unknown – the powers-that-be at the Daily Mail decided to show the World they could scrape the barrel of news journalism to a whole new level. Or should I say depth.

For a couple of weeks – amongst all the stories of the Kardashian’s or the prejudiced bullshit they like to propagate – they ran some stories about people or animals that looked like people or animals from cartoons, regardless of the fact that:

1. They didn’t.
2. Who the fuck cares.

In all honesty, can anyone tell me who would give a damn about this or this?

OK, maybe 5 year olds … but seriously, what the hell were they thinking?

Fortunately they seemed to stop, no doubt acknowledging the damage it was doing to their credibility, let alone internal morale … and then, just when you thought sanity had prevailed, they put out this.

Yes, a cat who they say resemble Tom Selleck from his Magnum PI days … a TV show that stopped in 1988.


At a push, I could just about see why putting Disney look-a-likes in the paper could work … maybe a Mum or Dad would show it their kid in a bid to get them interested in the news [OK, I know that’s bollocks, but I’m trying] … but to put a picture of a cat that looks NOTHING like a television actor who last appeared in a show almost THREE DECADES ago, is insane.


Daily Mail, just admit you don’t give a damn about news.

Go on, do it.

Your goal is to be an ad revenue hub, where you role is to get as many audience numbers – regardless how superficial – as you can so you can sell them to brands and media agencies who claim to seek efficient, targeted, relevant and resonant channels for communication, but would sell their grandmothers lung for 10% more audience reach.

I appreciate publishing is in a terrible position.

I appreciate you have thousands of people in your employment that need a monthly salary.

I’m not knocking any of that.

But do you honestly think you can ever do a serious story again now the population of the planet views you – especially your online offering – as as the British equivalent of Buzzfeed?

Maybe the powers-that-be should have refered to Newton’s 3rd law before undertaking this ‘downmarket strategy’ … for every action there’s a reaction.

But maybe the powers-that-be only care about what happens while they’re there, because – like many brand managers and politicians – they know once they leave in a couple of years, it will be somebody else’s problem.

An Ad That Made Me Pay Attention …
October 29, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: seminar ads

So I was on a plane recently, flicking through the in-flight magazine, when I came across this:

And I have to say I liked it.

Not just because of the [very true] provocative statement, but because it was clean, simple and centred around a clear idea which meant it stood out from the countless other ads in the magazine.

What’s even more impressive is that the company behind it, Karrass, are a seminar company.

Sure, they say they are a negotiation training company … but they do it through seminars, so for sake of argument, I’ll leave it at that.

Now normally, seminar ads – whether they help train your negotiation skills or your money management – are more likely to cause an epileptic attack rather than an appreciative stare.

They cram every inch of their ad with impressive quotes from various media or previous attendees or push the ‘ticket hotline’ more than a dealer pushes crack.

In other words, like this:

So well done to Karrass, not only did you use creativity to differentiate yourselves from the competition and the countless other communication that was thrust in my face, you also proved your credentials by negotiating with my brain so that it would give a shit about your company which is more than 95% of the stuff out there manages to achieve.

School Results …
October 28, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So yesterday I posed a question.

The question was, In a short and succinct manner, please provide an example of a risk.

Of course most of you ignored me … or insulted me … but some of you responded and to you I’m grateful.

Oh, and congratulations to Andy who demonstrated he still has the mental age of a teenager by being the closest to the ‘best answer’ … acknowledging ‘best answer’ is highly ambiguous and it really means just being similar to the answer the 15 year old student responded with – which is below.

As I mentioned yesterday, this all stemmed from an article I read about school exam questions and the reason I asked that specific question is because I saw how one student answered it and I thought it was evil genius.


And what’s better is the teacher gave the credit – which is doubly impressive.

For the record, I wouldn’t have answered it that way and that’s why this kids response made me remember that in an industry where we continually try to add layers of drama and flair to everything we do, sometimes, the most creative response to a problem is the most practical.

Of course, you can only do that if you truly understand the problem and the objective, but if you do, you can be utterly mischievous, creative and effective all at the same time.

A Little Test …
October 27, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So I recently read about school exam questions.

I was crap at exams so I found them both interesting and intimidating.

That said, one question in particular stood out, so I thought I would see – if any of you can be arsed – what your response would be to it so that I can compare it to what I would have said and what students have said.

There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s a stupid little test so that I can compare how you would respond with kids of 15. And me.

So if you are so way inclined, could you please answer this question in the comments below:

In a short and succinct manner, please provide an example of a risk.

That’s it, I’ll put up what I said and what student said tomorrow.