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

Life Lessons From A Positive Pessimist …
May 24, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude

And with that positive statement to start the morning with – allegedly uttered by Kurt Cobain – the morale of that bleak story is to always go after what you believe in, because that’s much better than just wishing you did. Even if it all ends up in tears, failure and absolute rejection.

Because – as one of my favourite ever ads reminds us – at least you can say, “I have lived”.

When Brands Don’t Get Irony …

If You Can’t Beat Them, Make It Harder For Them …

So this is a sort-of continuation to my post about Peggy – the pointless tech peg.

And lets not forget the ridiculous buckwheat allergy tattoo.

While both of those have come from JWT’s Asia-Pacific offices, the issue is far more widespread than that.

So while this post is coming out today, it was actually written a while ago.

The day after I came back from judging an effectiveness award.

The day after I managed to get a submission chucked out. For being scam.

Everyone – bar the representative of the agency behind it – knew it was scam.

And yet, I was the only one who said it.

The only one.

And the only reason I got it removed is because I pointed out that based on their submission, they had failed to achieve the goals they claim they were asked to do on behalf of their client.

Now I’m not blaming the co-judges.

Nor am I trying to big myself up.

I just hate that this shit continues to happen.

And from the same bloody agencies, in the same bloody region, every bloody year.

[Since the last post, we’ve seen the launch of a whole host of campaigns with ‘questionable’ motivation. McCaan, Cheil, BBDO to name but a few]

The thing is I don’t actually have any problem with an agency wanting to show off their creativity by helping those who need help.

In fact I think that’s ace.

However, when they claim their actions are part of some genuine ‘business relationship’ with clear commercial imperatives, then I have a problem with it.

Look, I don’t want to screw anyone over or get anyone in trouble, but the way I see it is the people doing this – or more specifically, the people forcing their offices to do this – are basically trying to ruin mine, and anyone else who works in advertising’s, livelihood and so while I accept I’ll never be able to make it stop, I can try to make it a bit more difficult.

Or said another way …

I can try and make it a bit more beneficial for any NGO/Charity/Small Business that gets pulled into this annual farce.

The idea is simple.

No agency can enter a creative or effective award on behalf of an NGO, charity or business spending less than US$5000 per annum on marketing unless they can prove 3 years of continuous work … with each year covering a period of no less than 5 months.

That’s it.

I appreciate it won’t change things in the big picture … I know some of the guilty parties will find ways around it … but if we’re going to have to put up with this bullshit, let’s make sure agencies are doing something that gives back, rather than takes more away.

I’m sure there’s other ideas, other suggestions, that would be far more powerful [from creating categories that simply ‘celebrate agency initiatives’ to insisting all ‘effectiveness award winners’ are then audited by an external, independent force] … however as I appreciate that some of these NGO, charities and small business need all the help they can get … I feel this idea would aid their goals while forcing agencies to be a bit more engaged beyond just the 3 months leading up to the Cannes submission deadline.

So if you agree – or have another idea – I’d love to hear from you.

I Wasn’t Born Rich, But I Was Born Lucky …
May 19, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Daddyhood, Family, Jill, My Fatherhood, Otis

I am writing this on the 18th May at 9:50pm.

Everyone in the house is asleep and I’ve spent the last 10 minutes watching them.

Transfixed by them.

My family.

Wife. Son. Cat.

Each one breathing in and out in their own unique rhythm, occasionally interrupting themselves with a sigh … a sniff … a cough.

And it strikes me how lucky I am to have all this.

Three beautiful individuals forever entwined in my life.

Three beautiful individuals who seem happy about this fact.

Yes, even Rosie the cat.

It’s amazing.

And I am suddenly overcome with the feeling that if my parents were to walk in on this scene of filial tranquility, they’d look at me and smile … and that smile would mean one thing.

You’ve done well son.

And I have.


* Both of the photos in this post are old. I was going to take a new one but then I realised the moment the flash went off, this moment of domestic bliss would be replaced with a crying baby, a pissed off cat and a karate chop in the windpipe from the wife and I want this post to be something she can [one day] treasure, not bring up whenever she’s is angry at me.

Kodak Moments …
May 18, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Audio Visual, Family, Jill, Mum

I was recently looking through my Flickr account – casually browsing through images – when I came across 2 photos that stopped me in my tracks.

Not because they were anything dramatic, but because they highlighted 2 moments in my life that were emotionally, very special.

The first is this one.

That’s my Mum. In Singapore. Attempting to eat edamame beans with chopsticks.

She found it difficult, but she persisted, even though it meant every meal took an age to finish … especially when she had rice. Ha.

I believe this was her first time to Singapore and her first time meeting her not yet official, daughter-in-law.

She loved both.

I also remember that I picked her up from the airport, introduced her to Jill then had to get on a plane to South Korea for some bullshit meeting I had to attend. Both ladies forgave me, probably because they had a better time without me.

I look at that photo and my Mum looks so young.

I don’t mean by a few years, I mean by decades. Because it’s less about how she looks and more about the spirit she has in the photo.

A bit silly. A lot happy. Pleased to be together with me and see the life I was starting to create for myself.

I would give anything to have this moment again, but having not realised I had this photograph, I guess in some ways, I am.

The other photo is this.

It was taken in 2006 in New York.

We had just come from Memphis, because I’d taken Jill to see Graceland for her 30th birthday.

She loved Elvis. Still does. Her first ever tattoo was his name on her wrist.

It was also the World Cup … and I remember saying to Jill that I didn’t want to go round Elvis’ house a second time – even though I found it fascinating – because England were going to be playing the USA.

She didn’t mind, mainly because it meant she could stay longer with her true love without me being there as the third wheel.

Anyway, I remember this photo was taken on our first night in NYC.

We only were there because we had to wait 2 hours for a table at Serendipity.

I also remember this loud woman on the next table to us being in awe of our pizza. Both in terms of size and smell.

She was right … which is why we took this photo to make sure we captured the bloody enormous scale of this delicious pizza.

And my beautiful wife-to-be. Even though that was still over a year from happening.

It was an awesome night and I remember how we went from the Italian restaurant straight to Serendipity for one of their famous frozen hot chocolate, before walking back to our hotel in the wonderful summer evening.

Then the next day we met Andy. And Bazza …

The fact both these photos commemorate events that took place less than 10 years ago, blows my mind. They seem so much older than that … probably because so much has happened over this period.

Jill and I got married.

We moved countries. And moved countries. And moved countries.

I sold the company I started.

Then I sold another one.

We had a little boy.

My wonderful Mum passed away.

Big changes … life changing changes … which is why I am glad photos exist.

In some ways, they’re even nicer than video.

Sure it would be lovely to hear their voices, see their expressions, experience the energy of the moment again … but photos force you to engage in them, put yourself into the scene and by doing that, in some weird way, it makes the moment feel more real, makes you feel more connected to what is going on. Or at least it does for me.

I know this is an entirely indulgent post, but sometimes I need to do something that reminds me this is still my blog, not yours. Ha.