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

I Have No Idea Why Business Doesn’t Take Adland Seriously?


The song that launched a thousand comments. None of them good.

Hakuhodo Singapore

Using the power of mandatory wackiness to explain they’ve moved offices.

Mindshare Europe

Taking a song about working hard for the money and showing they’re doing anything but that.

BBDO China

Highlighting the sexism of adland is alive and well. And yes, this is apparently a real video from people in the agency, but – as I understand it – not from the agency.

Ogilvy Greece

Showing that sometimes, honouring someone is actually killing them.

I wanted to put up the pitch video of Leo Burnett Sydney, simply because Todd Sampson – a man I am not very keen on – looks a tool, but they have removed it from the internet with the same efficiency and effectiveness as the CIA black ops team.

I also had Y&R Shanghai’s recent video of them singing/murdering Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ as part of their 30th birthday celebrations. However I stupidly put it on Facebook and tagged someone I know who was in it, which meant they could see what I was up to and quickly took it down. I’m gutted because it was an excellent piece of credibility suicide.

But putting all that aside, there are also videos that show why society might not take business or government that seriously either.

First of all, a genuine classic, where Bank of America execs take U2’s song ‘One’ and repurpose it to celebrate the take over and integration of financial organisation MBNA.

Part of me likes it simply because it must have utterly fucked off Bono for both musical and moral issues.

[Ignoring the fact Bono is one of the biggest champagne socialists on the planet]

And then – saving possibly the best for last – the utterly brilliant [for utterly bad reasons] Singapore Media Development Authority ‘rap’.

Even after all these years it brings a smile to my face.

Of course, it also makes me cringe like a David Brent music video but as comedy goes, it’s sheer gold.

Look I think it’s great when agencies and companies are excited about what they do, but these videos have nothing to do with that … they’re all contrived and cynical attempts to try make others think they’d be fun to work for or with.

Except it doesn’t work, because mandatory wackiness doesn’t fool anyone. Except the mediocre.

I have no idea why ‘song and dance’ has become the format to express your ‘human side’, but I can’t help but think that if you have to do this to show how much fun you are, you’re not doing your day-to-day job correctly.

Seriously agencies and companies. Stop it. Just stop it.

You’re not just embarrassing yourselves, you’re actually undermining a whole industries credibility.

Who the fuck will want to pay a premium for someone they’ve seen sing and dance like a one-legged drunk?

Worse, you all have some incredibly talented people in your organisations. This sort of stuff makes them want to die rather than to do the best for you.

But – and it’s a huge but – if you absolutely have to do it, then have the good grace to do it in private rather than use it as some not-very-well-disguised sales pitch … either for your company or for your corporate toadiness.

To paraphrase someone who once said something very unkind about Billy Joel’s and Christie Brinkley’s daughter, you all end up looking like you have the ‘face of her father and the voice of her mother’

And if anyone thinks I’m being a dick for showing companies at their worst, then I give you this as a means of compensation.

Trust me, if you thought what you had seen before was bad, this will kill you.

PS: If you know of any more agency shame videos, I’d love to see them, Ta.

18 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You excel at malicious humiliation. For once you’ve found people who deserve it.

Comment by DH

Thank you. That means a lot from you.

Comment by Rob

Business doesn’t take adland seriously when its exponents don’t spellcheck their blog headlines.

As for videos – this isn’t an agency, but you need to tell me if it gets better because I still haven’t managed to watch all of it

Comment by John

I bet they thought it sounded such a good idea in the event organizer meeting. At least the audience have the grace to remain silent throughout the performance.

Comment by George

It’s like the worst version of a musical ever. Even worse than ‘We Will Rock You’ which even as a massive Queen fan, I have to admit was pants.

Comment by Rob

The only compliment I can give your singalong you don’t try and dance.

Comment by DH

it makes snuff videos look like the sound of fucking music.

Comment by andy@cynic

and dont get me fucking started on your shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

I believe the thinking is that by showing vulnerability, you present yourself as open and fun. That may or may not be the case but it certainly presents you as lacking self awareness in a professional context. Individuals doing it is bad enough. Companies forcing their colleagues to do it is bordering on insanity.

Comment by Lee Hill

You have shown great insight there Lee. The people doing these videos didn’t. (Excluding Robert, because that’s just what he does and is totally self aware about it)

Comment by George

I agree with George, that’s great insight …

What the people involved in this madness fail to realise is that vulnerability only works if the intention is honourable and authentic and the singing and dancing going on is basically the total opposite of that.

Comment by Rob

I only come here for the poison.

Comment by Billy Whizz

FairPlay to the ones who killed a queen song dead though

Comment by Notthern

Low hanging fruit.

Comment by John

This is epic. Rob, may I borrow and tweet this? Lots of copywriter friends will apply to BBDO China. (And I haven’t even watched the other 23!)

Comment by raj dutta (@DuttaRajrishi)

Hahaha .. with pleasure.

You might like to add this to your collection.


Comment by Rob

[…] but I also think we often go to the other extreme with rubbish like this and the countless embarrassing singing bullshit so many of them love to […]

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[…] I’ve written about so many of these things over the years, my favourite has always been Singapore’s Media Development Authorities […]

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