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

Where Will The Next Assignment Take You?
April 22, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Advertising [Planning] School On The Web

Later today, the wonderfully smart and talented Northern Planner [also known as Andrew Hovells] puts up the latest in the Advertising Planning School on the Web assignment.

It’s a corker.

We’ve been a bit slack with APSOTW assignments lately.

It’s not due to a lack of interest, it’s just the past 6 months have been full of good and bad surprises for Andrew, Gareth and myself … however it is something we all enjoy doing because we think/hope it makes a difference. In fact, we know it does because there’s at least 3 people that we know of, who are in their jobs because of one of these assignments.

Jobs that have given them the chance to travel and/or live in totally new countries.

OK, so they didn’t get this just because of the assignments – I concede their talent and attitude probably had something to do with it too [bugger]- however they all have said their career in planning started because they had tried one of the assignments, enjoyed it, learnt from the feedback and realised it was something they were interested in and wanted to continue doing.

I cannot tell you how happy that makes us feel.

However this is not just for people who want to become planners.

I’ve said it before, but I don’t think anyone should aspire to be a planner, they should aspire to be able to get away with the things a planner can get away with and trust me, if I can still be employed after some of the shit I’ve pulled, you most certainly can.

So regardless of your job, level, role or experience – whether you aspire to work in advertising or do something totally different – if you fancy learning or sharpening some valuable skills and then get some constructive feedback from people who are incredibly smart and well respected [and me], I urge you to have a go.

I have evidence of at least 3 people who did just that and now live a life they didn’t see coming.

In a good way. [I hope]

For more information, go here for details … though it might not be up till UK time.

Dear Adfolk. Please Remember Sex And The City Was A Television Show, Not A Documentary.

As I have written about many times previously, I read masses of magazines.

I always try and find a new title to check out every month – if only so it forces my old brain to look at new things.

Anyway, I was recently flipping through a US women’s magazine, when I came across this ad.

Now I could use this ad as the foundation for a post about how unfair and unkind it is that women are forced into a position where they have to choose between either having a family or building their career.

Or I could talk about the need for society to have an open and honest conversation about the unfair and prejudiced pressures, expectations and limitations they are placing on women.

Or I could talk about how we need to refresh the way ‘safe sex’ is taught in schools.

Or I could write about the issues I have with the way pharmaceutical companies are allowed to sell their products in the US.

Or I could just criticise the lazy and patronising way this ad speaks to the very people it is attempting to communicate with.

I could do any of those because they’re all worthy topics of ranting … but I won’t … because quite frankly, I can’t drag my eyes away from that ad.

You can see the brief can’t you …

“We’re talking to young, urban, white-collar women. They’re at a stage in their life where everything feels new and exciting and they want to experience it all. They don’t see limitations, they just see possibilities and are always looking for the next thing to stimulate their passions.

New Nexplanon ensures women can continue to plan on what’s next in their life by ensuring sex doesn’t give their plans any unexpected detours”.

Yep … some generalistic, contrived, cliched bullshit that – if anything – is patronising rather than reflecting the beliefs and opinions of millions of young women in the US.

And if you think I’m wrong, just look at that ad again.

Told you I was right. No wonder so many creatives hate planners.

So to the people at Nexplanon … 10 points for talking about an issue that needs talking about. But minus 200 points for doing it in the worst way possible.

How To Win An Award …
April 20, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude


We all pretend we don’t care about them, but if we enter them, we want to win.

Sometimes you realise you’ve been well beaten and the person who receives the accolades, genuinely deserves the accolades.

But that’s pretty rare.

Most of the time, you put on a fake smile and clap as someone saunters past you to get to the stage before you lean over to your colleagues and whisper – through gritted teeth – that you can’t believe those wankers have won and judges have just made a mockery of the whole competition.

Mind you, when you win, you’re just as duplicitous.

When you go to pick up your $2 trophy, you try and look humble while inside you want to run around screaming you’re the best before pointing at all the people who just lost to you and laughing loudly while trying to smack them around the head with your ‘prize’.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Which is why I like this video of someone picking up an award.

For those who aren’t British – or aren’t over the age of 40 – the winner is a guy called Spike Milligan.

He was a comedic genius. Seriously. He was also fearless and provocative.

While this video is from over 20 years ago, it is great advice on how to receive a reward – and judging by the audiences reaction – it seems they found the honesty of the recipient liberating and refreshing.

Shame I won’t have the chance to try it for myself, unless there is a ‘saddest man who loves Birkenstocks’ competition anyone knows about.

Earnest Without Irony …
April 19, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Marketing, Sentimentality

So a friend sent me this ad that he saw while staying in the US.

Despite there being no idea … no point of view … an attempt to show all the activities you can do within one ad, I must admit, I kind-of love it.

I love it for one reason … you can sense they’re really proud they were voted the ’53rd best resort in the World’.

You feel they believe this is a great achievement. And it is.

They’re not being ironic, they’re being honest.

Better still, it captures exactly the sort of charm you’d expect from Minnesota … which all goes to show, that if you’re honest, you can trump a whole lot of brands that shout a lot, but ultimately say nothing.

Authenticity Comes In Many Shapes And Sizes. Apparently …
April 18, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, China, Communication Strategy, Sport

I get a bit pissed off when people say ‘brands have to be authentic’ because it implies some brands choose to be inauthentic, which is plainly bollocks.

I also accept that in these competitive times, you have to think more boldly to try and stand out in a cluttered marketplace.

However, I question whether this move by New Balance China is the best way to demonstrate their brand credentials … unless they’ve discovered that having a [very ambiguous, not to mention very old] association with a member of the British Royal Family is more aspirational to runners than New Balance’s genuine and proven association with millions of athletes.

Of course, given I work with NIKE I may be missing the point.

I can’t wait to read their effectiveness case study.