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

When Clarity Leaves You Conflicted …
March 25, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Communication Strategy

Yes I’m back … aren’t you glad?

As I mentioned on Monday’s post, I’ve been in Singapore for the last few days and while I was there for work – well, judging the global Effies which I would imagine no one who reads this post regards as work, it was nice to be walk around the old haunts.

Sure, hardly anyone I knew there is still now and yes, there was still that feeling of being a stranger in my home town – even though it’s not my home town and I only lived there for 4 years – but I have a special place in my heart for the city state and it was good to see it again.

But I’m not going to talk about that.

Nor am I going to talk about the standard of entry I judged.

Nope … I’m going to talk about this:

It’s an ad for a laundry near my house.

When I saw the poster, I have to admit it stopped me in my tracks.

That’s a good thing isn’t it?

Hmmmmmmn … I’m not so sure.

You see while I get exactly what the poster is trying to communicate and I appreciate the cheekiness of how they did it … I can’t help but feel it’s a bit shit.

I don’t know if showing an innocent dog having its creases removed by a boiling hot iron really makes me feel good about the company it represents.

Of course I know they didn’t really do that and I also know you could easily argue that no one wants an ’emotional bond’ with their laundrette – they just want someone who will and iron their clothes effectively – but this poster bothers me because implied animal cruelty aside, I can’t help but feel it’s lazy rather than right.

If I worked for TBWA I would say it as a great example of ‘disruption’ … but I don’t and as I’ve said many times, disruption is easy, the real benefit for a brand is when it’s distinctive.

Or as Dan Wieden says, when a brand discovers the power of their own voice.

Maybe it’s because I’m an animal lover, maybe it’s because I’ve become a Dad or maybe it’s because I’ve lost all sense of imagination … but despite the clarity of the message, I don’t like it and I’d love to know if it’s just me or if you also have an issue with it.

And yes, I appreciate no one should think or write this much about a place that irons your bloody shirts.


Oh, and talking of sorry … I should warn you that after 2 weeks of temporary posts thanks to some work travel, I’ll be here all next week. What a way to ruin your weekend eh.

24 Comments so far
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The only thing that matters to me is your last paragraph. Devastated.

Comment by DH

Which ironically, makes me happy.

Comment by Rob

Your point about the literal nature of advertising is fair. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong and it can also mean clients are pushing that agenda but this is way too much writing about a poster for a Chinese laundry. But you write too much about every subject so I shouldn’t be surprised.

Comment by DH

They could have got the same point across with a before and after shot and no iron.

Comment by john

why the fuck is a man who has mastered the art of looking disheveled look talking about a fucking iron?

Comment by andy@cynic

I don’t wear socks but that hasn’t stopped me writing about them. Twice. Besides, have you forgotten that planners think they have the right to talk about anything. ALL. THE. TIME.

Comment by Rob

you dont know shit but it hasnt stopped you talking a lot of it.

Comment by andy@cynic

no work holiday next week? your blagging skills are slipping campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

What’s funny is that I got an invite today to go speak at a conference in Croatia. Another demanding work project for me to battle with.

Comment by Rob


Comment by andy@cynic

Bet they kill the dogs for food.

Comment by DH

Their logo are 2 dogs. They’re dog freaks. Dog freaks who burn dogs.

Comment by DH

I believe that is called ‘being racist’, Dave.

Comment by Rob

Welcome back Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

Good to have you back Robert. I don’t like the ad for the same reasons you raise. However regarding the title of this post. Isn’t one of the best strategies to leave your audience feeling conflicted? I believe it was you who taught me that.

I am not saying this ad made me feel conflicted. It did the opposite, it made me certain I didn’t like it. Maybe instead of saying conflicted, you should have said it made you confused.

Comment by George

I’m conflicted and confused by every post on this blog.

Comment by john

Yes … good point.

And sadly, so is John’s.

Comment by Rob

Trying to be clever, but comes across clumsy. Is it bad I “get” where they’re coming from though? Maybe that indicates something about me…

And yes, I, too, am bothered every time I walk by this.

Comment by AP

Of course it’s not bad, I’m the same.

The point is the message is clear and this is an industry that covets that highly. But while it does that, it does it in a way that I find uncomfortable. Like you said, they probably think they’re clever but it’s actually clumsy.

Comment by Rob

its obvious they wanted to get our attention (which, lord yes it did) but for me at least it fails because instead of admiring the ad as being attention getting my first thought is, ye gods, I hope no one tries this at home…
and the longer you look at it, the creepier it gets. brrr.

Comment by judyt54

Happy anniversary Mr and Mrs C.

Comment by Pete


Comment by Jemma King

Thank you lovely people.

Comment by Rob

you sweet lovely fucking bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

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