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

Corporate Punishment Is A Workshop …

Many years ago, I started a blog that showed photos of all the conferences that were being held in the hotels I was staying.

I [stupidly] thought that over time, you’d be able to get an idea of when companies were undertaking their strategic planning.

I very quickly realised I was wrong.

The reason I say this is because I recently attended a client conference and when I walked into the hotel, I saw a noticeboard detailing all the companies who were having a meeting there that day.

Nothing strange about that.

And then I saw this.


I would understand a writing masterclass … I would even understand a conference on how to develop breakthrough concepts … but a workshop on writing breakthrough concepts?

I wonder if L’Oreal understands this makes it sound like they’re admitting their products do nothing and it’s all in the fancy writing.

I can imagine the workshop now.

“This might be some $1.99 hand lotion from Boots, but through the power of the writing breakthrough concept, it suddenly transforms itself into a scientifically proven cell rejuvinator for elegant, smooth and soft hands”.

Seriously, when I see stuff like this, I die a little inside.

But not as much as the attendees probably are. Boom Tish.

26 Comments so far
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I was once invited to a listening and note writing workshop. I didn’t attend.

Comment by Lee Hill

What did you have to do … hear to someone speak for 4 hours then write down everything they said to prove you’d listened?

Comment by Rob

if you work for those french fucks youre already dead. every bastard ive had the misfortune to meet from that company has been a cold, pretentious, self important, self obsessed, sad, angry fuckhead. fact.

Comment by andy@cynic

Funny, someone told me a few days ago how they met someone from L’Oreal and they said the greatest skill they’d been taught was “how to be a witch” to everyone underneath them. Interesting work place policy.

Comment by Rob

And they use McCann. A match made in corporate culture heaven.

Comment by Ian Gee

I know people who once pitched for L’Oreal. I’ve never seen people work so hard for a pitch they didn’t actually want to win.

Comment by Anonymous Comment

but campbell, i thought you of all twats would know its not just what you say but how you fucking say it. maybe you belong in that workshop. after the one on how to stop talking like a planner.

Comment by andy@cynic

Now that might be the longest workshop ever.

Comment by John

Because they’re wordless?

Comment by John

Well said John.

Comment by George

Given the scale of the APAC region, maybe the first thing they need to teach is how to write in multiple languages.

Comment by George

I bet you wish you had attended Rob, just so you could be offended. Masochist.

Comment by DH

but not as masochists as we are for visiting this shit hole blog.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’d rather visit here than go to a client conference – whatever that is.

Comment by John

Think Guantanmo Bay torture but in suits and with polite applause.

Comment by Pete

And aspirational pie charts?

Comment by John

I misread that as ‘asparagus pie charts’.

Comment by Ian Gee

So what they’re actually learning is how to make up and write stories. Expect a new anti aging cream from them in the next few months then. Or a Harry Potter novel. Harry Potter and his age defying skin.

Comment by DH

So they’re learning how to be a planner.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Replicating Harry Potter would be far better than a planner could muster.

Comment by Rob

10 points for your honesty Rob.

Comment by DH

Well given I’ve worked with one client whose processes required them to brainstorm their insights before ever getting to the brief, and seen another who subjected a planner to a 4 day workshop just to demonstrate their supposedly ‘efficient’ new processes… I’m not surprised.

Comment by Rob (other one)

And about 1 hour a go, I got an email asking if I could attend a meeting with one of our partner companies about concept construction. This is your doing Rob.

Comment by Bazza


Comment by DH

As a person forced to attend a couple of “exclusive hangouts” like the one in your picture, I can confirm you that “dying inside” is an euphemism that doesn’t do enough justice to the horror that these meetings are.

And yes, they go exactly the way you’ve imagined, no matter the nature/category of the brand involved.

What makes them even more dramatic, provided that you’re mentally sane enough to understand what’s really going on, is that usually 8 out 10 attendees are genuinely convinced they’re producing great stuff.

As Frank Zappa rightly said, may their shit come to life and kiss them on the face. ‘Cause it would be a huuuuuge pile of shit and they deserve nothing less.

Comment by Someone_who_attended_crap_like_that

You will fit in here.

Comment by DH

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