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

Laugh Yourself Wise …
October 16, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comedians

A very long time ago, I wrote a post about why I sometimes work with comedians.

I don’t mean ‘bad ad people’, I literally mean comedians.

Anyway, the reason I write this is because I recently watched an episode of Louie C K’s television show and came across a scene that was not only funny but was moving and incredibly revealing.

I love it.

I think it’s fantastic.

Apart from the writing, the other thing I love are the pauses.

Big, long pauses of nothingness.

To be honest, that technique used to be the domain of British drama … where directors appreciated a moment of silence could sometimes say more than a flurry of words, but over time – in these highly commercialised times – that trait has been lost so it’s wonderful to see it again in all its power and glory.

But back to the scene.

The reason I like it so much is not just because it reveals what truly goes on in the minds and hearts of overweight people [yes, it’s focused on women, but it also says a lot about men – especially middle-aged, overweight men], but highlights how many brands just get it wrong when they talk about health and vitality.

Hell, even when they’re trying to guilt-trip people into action, the points they raise are still a few degrees off truly connecting with where people’s heads are at.

The insecurities they face go way beyond how others judge them – it’s more how they feel they’ll never really get out of life what they believed they could … or should … especially compared to so many others around them.

Is this right?

Is this fair?

Is this changeable?

They are questions that – in some ways – don’t matter, because it’s not a rational argument, it’s almost entirely emotional.

As much as I hated Sex and the City, the one thing I definitely appreciated was their acknowledgement of insecurity.

That behind the face – whether it was young, fresh and successful or old, wrinkled and more humble – were opinions, thoughts and views that ravaged beliefs, attitude and confidence.

Or said another way.

Behind every face – regardless of how you may appear to the outside World – are dirty little secrets that conspire to continually fill you with doubt and anxiety.

You might be great at hiding from it. You may be well versed in ignoring it. But – as the wonderful Dove campaign from last year showed, you are never able to get away from it.

Of course knowing this offers agencies and brands 2 choices.

1. Exploit it for commercial gain.
2. Show how you can get passed it for commercial gain.

But as this sketch shows, at least to me, it’s not necessarily about highlighting the pain or showing the solution, sometimes the greatest thing you can do is simply offer a little gesture – like holding someone’s hand – because that shows you understand the situation without having to highlight the situation and for some, that can mean more to them than a World of [false] promises and hope.

As men – and seemingly brands and agencies – fail to understand time and time again, sometimes it’s not about offering a fix, it’s just offering an ear.

33 Comments so far
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Is this a reference to Bazza being encouraged to freeze his eggs?

Comment by John

They’d be very small eggs.

Comment by DH

Seriously, the last paragraph is so applicable to this so-called benefit.

Comment by John

whats the fucking betting they call them ieggs.

Comment by andy@cynic

I read about that. Is that true? Sadly I think it is because a few months ago, there was an article in Bloomberg that interviewed women doing it so they could extend their career. Each to their own, but it is sad we live in a World where your career is at jeopardy for parenthood.

But then I would say that wouldn’t I. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

It’s a technical solution where an empathic approach would be more appropriate. And the thing is, the implicit promise is not as guaranteed as might be assumed.

Comment by John

When did you become a DR? Is there no end to your brilliance?

Comment by Rob


Comment by John

Is this because you’re more woman than man?

Comment by DH

You didn’t hate “sex in the city” when you convinced the writer to do that beer project with you. You turn allegiance quicker than Hollywood.

Comment by DH

That’s what happens when you’re italian. His kid is going to be more stable than him from birth.

Comment by Billy Whizz

It’s sex and the city. I’m ashamed I know that, but I know that.

Comment by Pete

explains fucking everything.

Comment by andy@cynic

Candace Bushnell was great … but that doesn’t mean I loved her show. Jeez, you’re becoming John Dodds in terms of pedanticness.

Comment by Rob

It’s pedantry! How many times do you have to be told?

Comment by John

If anyone knows her, tell her to give me a call and I’ll give her the night of her life.

Comment by Billy Whizz

The woman is being honest not desperate Billy. But I don’t expect you to understand the difference. Grow up.

Comment by Mary Bryant

#ownedbymary is trending everywhere Billy.

Comment by DH

excellent rubbing it in dave. you evil fucking bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

Nicely said Mary, but don’t be too hard on Billy – we all know he’s got the maturity of a gnat.

Comment by Rob

Thank you for posting this and the words you’ve written Robert. I have no interest what it teaches brands, only what it can teach my young girls. Love to Jill.

Comment by Mary Bryant

And what it may teach a bunch of old men.

Comment by Rob

Great scene and great post Rob. I like how you remind us that little gestures can have more impact than major statements. A great perspective.

Comment by Pete

great fucking writing. not this post but the people behind the scene in the clip. fucking great. you try and explain why its so fucking good then ruin the whole fucking lot with bullshit about brands. who the fuck cares. even all the poor fuckers who are over being patronised with contrived bullshit dont give a shit. ck is a fucking legend.

Comment by andy@cynic

Sadly that is a great point.

Comment by Rob

Brilliant. And not because my wife said so.

Comment by George

Of course George. Of course. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Fantastic scene Robert. I am a big fan of CK and this post reveals a side to him that I had previously not been aware of.

Comment by Lee Hill

Even the brands that should know better don’t know better. Have you seen this Rob?


Comment by Pete

Funny you should show that because I saw it when I was in the states a couple of weeks ago and it really bothered me.

Now I appreciate that as a male, I’m entering dangerous territory but while the sentiment was positive, it not only felt contrived, by ending the ad by shoving a “look good” message at the end, just felt weird.

Of course I’m not suggesting the only reason women would wear make-up is to look good to men, but it just seemed to be an added element that diluted the message of being proud of who you are … something I think the Spice Girls did way better than most brands.

But whether it’s this or UnderArmour or countless other brands, they all seem to be talking AT women rather than with women. Worse, they are talking as if women didn’t realise all this stuff. They do and they want help, not just empty encouragement which is why maybe, as my post – and the CK skit shows – a gentler approach would be better than this and their “we will save you” rubbish that is being spouted, either blatantly or more subtly.

Comment by Rob

I nearly posted this into the mix last night, but belatedly here’s someone that strikes me as more inspirational.

Comment by John

As I recall JWT invented the fear strategy. Even worse than playing on insecurity they created it.
Although, as a Sir Sorell agency I fully approve this on second thoughts

Comment by Northern

yes they did and theyve continued doing it. have you seen the fucking shit they call an ad these days. petrifuckingfying.

Comment by andy@cynic

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