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

A Reminder …
November 17, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment

… and given it’s Friday, I’m pretty sure you’ll be living this mantra.

Especially at 11pm as you leave the pub.

Have a great weekend.

Creativity Can Find A Way …

One of the things that bothers me about my industry is how they always talk about creativity when most of what they create is advertising.Of course advertising has creativity within it – sometimes, incredibly creativity – but often, the approach is to communicate the problem rather than solve the problem.

OK, so there are occasions when the biggest problem is a lack of awareness, but that is most definitely the exception rather than the rule.

I’ve written and talked about this so much over the years.

From my PSFK talk back in 2009 to my distain of Cannes scam to my adoration of designers and an absolute shedload in-between … and yet I continue to see briefs where the goal was obviously to ‘make an ad’ rather than ‘create a difference’.

This is not purely the agencies fault, in many cases it comes from the client.

Sometimes it’s because they need to support the retailers.

Sometimes it’s because their KPI’s are based on executional delivery.

Sometimes it’s because it would affect their remuneration structure with their agencies.

Sometimes it’s because they are not empowered to do anything different.

Sometimes it’s because they don’t actually care about solving, just producing.

And yet even in some of those approaches, there’s an opportunity to create a solution rather than make some noise if only they’d asked the right questions.

A while back, I had a client that briefed us on an ad campaign.

Got to admit, as much as I love them, it kind-of annoyed the hell out of me.

For me, that was like going to the doctor and diagnosing your own illness and solution.

So we asked why they wanted the campaign and they said they needed parents to let their kids do sport which was hard as they were worried their precious [only] child may get hurt.

And so we said, “If we can find a way to get parents to feel good about letting their kids do sport, are you open to it?”And when they said ‘yes’, it gave us the right to create bandaids that worked as badges of honor and comic books celebrating the power of sport.

Don’t get me wrong, if we had done a TV campaign it would have been a brilliant TV campaign.

But by asking a simple question, it allowed creativity rather than advertising to be the solution.

Or said another way, it opened possibilities rather than closed them off.

The reason for all this is that I recently saw a brilliant creative solution to slowing traffic down.

This is something that has been done in many ways over the years, including the brilliant Speed Dial by Colenso [video here] … but this was something even simpler.


[Or if you’re too lazy to click on the link, the picture at the top of this post serves as a clue]

Now I know you might argue that once you know it’s not ‘real’ people won’t slow down, but I’d challenge that given the way the brain works.

But regardless, I will be interested to see what the data says after it has been in operation a while, but compared to a multi-million dollar ad campaign, or even the prices of stationing a copper there with a speed gun, I’m guessing it will be more effective.

And that is why our industry has to truly embrace creativity rather than just want to make ads.

My Friends Are A Bunch Of Bastards …
November 14, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Friendship

So a few weeks ago, I told you how my new car had arrived.

Well, the day it did, I posted this on Facebook:

If you can’t read what the status update says, it say’s this:

You know karma exists when the Audi dealer sends you a photo of the custom car you ordered 4 months ago to tell you it has just been delivered and will be ready to be picked up in an hour when you’re away from LA for the next few days.

As you can tell, I was excited.

Pissed off I was away so I couldn’t get it immediately, but excited.

As you can tell from the pic, it had literally just arrived which is why it still had the paper covers over the wheels to protect the alloys.

And how did my friends show their understanding of my excitement?

By doing this.

Fuckers. But I suppose they’re my fuckers.


Ends And Beginnings. Beginnings And Ends.
November 13, 2017, 7:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Death

Death tends to viewed as an ending. Where something – or someone – passes, finishes or leaves.

But sometimes death is a beginning.

We often don’t realise that for a while, but it can happen.

Where new journeys begin and new possibilities start.

That doesn’t mean we forget what happened.

It did and it was horrific and painful.

But with time, memories triumph over sadness and life will invite joy to return.

Not to replace but to restore.

I am there for you my friend.

I won’t let you fall too far.

Comments Off on Ends And Beginnings. Beginnings And Ends.

Embracing Your Truth Changes Your Outcome …
November 10, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, David Terry, RoObin

A few weeks ago I wrote about my friend RoObin Golestan who sadly died recently.

It has affected me deeply for a whole host of reasons and yet I can’t help but feel utter pride in how he lived.

I don’t just mean in his everyday life – though he definitely embraced that – I mean in his final months, when he knew his time was likely to be coming to an end much quicker than anyone thought or wanted.

To do that takes a special sort of person.

But then he was exactly that.

On the day I learned about his passing, I went through his Facebook.

He never hid his illness from anyone but neither did he make a big deal out of it, preferring to use it as an opportunity to celebrate life rather than its unfairness.

One of the things he wrote was a quote from Henry Miller.

“Every man has to own his destiny: the only imperative is to follow it, accept it, no matter where it leads him”.

Reading that quote and knowing RoObin posted it when he knew he was facing an uncertain future not only shows the graciousness of his spirit, but also his acceptance of his circumstances.

That doesn’t mean he gave up on hoping to change the outcome – or at least delay it – but that he was able to stop fighting against it to ensure he could use his time for more positive pursuits.

And he did, which makes me both happy and proud.

This attitudinal shift reminds me of a time I was with David Terry – the head of planning at Wieden Portland.

We were both going through some health dramas at the time and comparing notes.

After we had worked out Dan wasn’t trying to kill off all his strategists, we discussed how we were dealing with our issues.

David’s prognosis wasn’t great and as a high-octane jock, he kept talking to me about how angry he was about it and how he was fighting it.

That was until, with options looking more remote, he went to a traditional Chinese doctor.

“Why are you fighting your illness?” he was asked.

David didn’t understand what he meant because the only alternative to fighting it was to not fight it and that just wasn’t who he was.

But then the Doctor explained to him that his body wasn’t fighting against his will, it was telling him it was not well and rather than fight against that, he should be listening to it and embracing it so that he can focus on health not hate.

This kind of blew David away.

It was the polar opposite to everything he believed, everything he stood for.

But Dave is smart. Smart enough to know that when present approaches aren’t working, the most obvious alternative is to do something else.

And he did.

And he got better.

This is amazing for many reasons.

Part of that is because his illness was very severe and very few survive it.

The other part is David had to accept an approach that he previously would have probably called ‘commie thinking’, worked.

I love David.

I love RoObin.

There are many, many reasons for it, but without doubt one of the biggest ones is how they understood embracing their destiny would give them far more than fighting it.

How letting yourself be vulnerable is possibly the ultimate demonstration of strength.

Here is Dave’s incredible TedTalk from a while back.

It was done before he accepted his destiny and was just fighting it.

I hope one day he does another, the sequel, where he talks about the beauty of his destiny.