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

When It’s Unfiltered, It Might Leave A Nasty Taste In Your Mouth But It’s At It’s Most Authentic …

When I first joined Deutsch, I wanted to understand what the hell was really going on with American youth so I sent 3 of my team – Maya, Armando and Leigh [along with Sarah, a photographer and co-supported back at HQ by the wonderful Kelsey] – backpacking across the US to spend about a month in some of America’s most opposite cities.

Specifically the richest/poorest … fastest growing/shrinking … most/least diverse.

No nice hotel rooms.

No fancy travel.

Just a month hearing and learning from America in The Raw.

As you can see from this little text exchange below, it left a mark on the guys …

In all seriousness, while they loved it, there were some things they saw and went through that challenged them deeply on a personal level. So deeply, that I honestly believe they have all come back changed for the experience.

And yet overall, what they found was a nation full of young people who wanted their country to be the one they had been brought up to believe in.

A country that lets anyone succeed.

A country that cared for their own equally.

A country where it led by taking on the big challenges and issues and crushing them.

Now of course, you could argue America was never really any of these things – just a master of PR – but that aside, the country they have found is not the country they want and so the way they are approaching their life is basically one of survival.

And what do I mean by survival?

Well in essence, it’s how they can cope with what’s going on until it stops.

Their overall view is “I can’t control the future, but I can control the present”.

And while their behaviour is expressed in multiple ways, we believe they fall into 4 distinct territories …

Protect: Keep safe what you have and don’t risk anything to get what you want.
Disguise: Define your relevance by the topical things you want to associate with.
Escape: Physically create a [momentary] world you want to live in.
Fight: Push against the unfairness you face.

Of course it’s way more complex and complicated than that – and we have spent a lot of time exploring and uncovering the influences, attitudes and behaviours that drive it and define it – but it does seem those 4 lenses are consciously and subconsciously influencing how people are starting to behave.

In all honesty, this adventure has been fascinating – not just in terms of understanding what is starting to happen, but how the issues of race or equality are reaching points where you can feel major change is on the way. Whether that change is instigated by government or the people is still anyones guess, but what we know is that it won’t be able to be swept under the carpet as easily as it has in previous years.

They won’t let it, especially with the current administration doing all it can to prod and provoke them.

The implications for society and business are huge – both in terms of positive change and negative potential – which is why we have created a [coffee-table] book and a presentation and – when we get some breathing space – a short film to truly define and explain what we heard and discovered. But as much as all those things are exciting, the bit I love the most is my team have given a voice to those who are rarely heard in the purest and most unfiltered way you can get.

There’s a lot of things I’ve done in my career that has made me proud.

This is most definitely one of them.


If you’re interested in seeing/having a copy of the ‘America In The Raw’ book, let me know. I can’t guarantee we can accommodate everyone, but we’ll try.

40 Comments so far
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I have always found your books on culture fascinating and valuable, so if you feel this is on par with those, I would love to have a copy if at all possible. I bet your colleagues have found the project exhilarating.

Comment by Lee Hill

You’ve made more books than Harry Potter. I’ll have one.

Comment by Billy Whizz

campbell isnt a planner hes fucking penguin books.

Comment by andy@cynic

Can I have a copy please?

Comment by naoko adachi

What I’ve always loved about these projects is that your point of view is ahead of the curve. It’s never repackaging what people already know and the value of that is enormous. I would love a copy of the book. Not because I’d like my collection of your books to be complete but because I’m intrigued to learn more about the 4 ways you see youth culture starting to behave. A brilliant project. I’m as excited for it as it seems you are. Your impact at Deutsch appears to be all encompassing.

Comment by George

didnt stop potent pix being a fucking disaster for us though did it. and dont start saying it was my fucking fault again.

Comment by andy@cynic

Would pay handsomely for a copy.

Comment by Fergus O'Carroll

People shouldn’t behave.

Comment by John

campbells way of life.

Comment by andy@cynic

ok, ill take one off you. just to fuck off your holding company masters who will see each book as a hit on their bottom line. nice bit of corporate fucking rebellion there campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes please. Would you also be open to come present your findings to us at Cupertino?

Comment by Bazza

are you fucking mad!

Comment by andy@cynic

I’ll only let Rob’s colleagues talk.

Comment by Bazza

Have you forgotton who Robert is?
Sorry Robert, but you know it’s true.

Comment by George

His $2500 bonus has gone to his head.

Comment by John

bazza you fucking idiot.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Bazza

Don’t worry Baz, we both know it will be an excellent presentation which is why I asked them to come present at Mountain View too.

Comment by George

I would love a copy Robert.

Comment by Jonathan Rosenberg

Really interested in your learning, what you’ve written in this post is more insightful than most of the reports I’ve read in the last 12 months. You always do excellent books so I’ll even buy a copy if you can’t spare any.

Comment by Pete

I’ll have one. Then I want to know how/if it affected your view on America.

Comment by DH

I’d love a copy– the project sounds incredible. The industry needs more of this.

Comment by Zach Baze

I would love a copy, this sounds so fascinating

Comment by Brent

Would love a copy of this study. I am always a firm believer in understanding culture first and foremost. This is especially true when I worked in Malaysia. It is a country that has 3 primary race who are diverse, unique and culturally different from each other. So having the opportunity to have a scan through would help /inspire me with future work I will be doing back in Malaysia.

Comment by John Vernon

As a recent American expat working to gain more perspective, I’d love a copy.

Thank you and your team for the hard work!

Comment by Taylor Harvey

Thanks to everyone for their interest in the book. I hope we can find a way to make it happen – obviously we have to make sure the first lot goes to the clients etc – so if you could please email me your address, I’ll put you on the list.

Best email is rob dot campbell at deutschinc dot com

Comment by Rob

Long time reader but first time commenter. Looks like a fascinating project. Would love a copy.

Comment by Andrew Ryder

Hi Rob,

I find it very hard nowadays for agencies to do what you+your team did…from both time + financial pov. Huge congrats!
I’d love a copy, if possible.

Many many thanks


Comment by Cristina Sarraille

Hi Rob,

Even though I am still based in China, and never worked on the US, I would love to get my hands on that book to be able to compare that reality with the one we are experiencing here. After all, in some regards, this two countries are two peas in a pod, right?

Comment by Gonzalo

Hi Rob,

Desperate to get my hands on a copy of this, but late to the party and afraid I might have missed the boat! How many more idioms do I need to use to express that I’m chomping at the bit to read?

Thank you!

Comment by Emily

Hi Emily … thanks for writing. If you email me your info to rob at deutschinc dot com I’ll see what I can do. Can’t promise anything right now, but will try,

Comment by Rob

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