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

When Marketing Goes Bonkers …

So at the time of writing this post, we are all still in quarantine at home.

That means we are all still on endless zoom calls – where the only ‘entertainment’ we get is choosing some ‘crazy’ background, which – if I’m being honest – got old within 5 minutes of it happening so is now at near death levels of annoying.

But don’t worry, I’ve found something that is even worse.

This …

Yep, it’s Banana Republic rebranding their scarves as ‘video chat accessories’.

Seriously, what the fuck!?

What next, cups being sold as ‘video chat objects d’art’?

Or maybe pens being rebranded as ‘video chat conversation markers’?

Or even posters being pushed as ‘video chat mood enhancers’?


The worst thing is I can imagine a planner coming up with something like this.

You know the sort, the ones who sell toothpaste as ‘smile architects’ or some other bollocks.

Look, I get in these tough times, they want to exploit any opportunity to drive some revenue … but it’s just shit isn’t it?

It’s also bollocks.

Because if they were going to sell any video chat accessories, surely they would be better off selling trousers or skirts because if anyone is like me, they’ve been wearing nothing but shorts for the last 6 weeks.

Banana Republic. You slipped on your own banana skin with this one.

Purpose Before Purpose …

So I recently heard a story that should put companies who talk about ‘brand purpose’ to shame.

I’ve written a lot about this subject, but this does it so much better.

Hell, it may even make Mr Weigel – who hates the bullshit spouted about this area of marketing – nod in agreement.

So way back in 1939, the Kansas Wheat realised women were using their sacks to make clothes for their children.

Rather than consider this a strange byproduct of their product packaging, they decided they would start putting designs on the sack fabric so they could make nicer looking clothes.

For many companies, that would be enough … considering this a great way to ‘market their purpose’, but the Kansas Wheat company went one step further.

A step that proved they genuinely cared rather than cared more about looking like they did.

You see they printed their logo on the sacks with an ink that would easily wash away … so the kids wearing the clothes wouldn’t face any stigma they’re wearing repurposed wheat sacks.

Given how much has been said and written about brand purpose, I hope this stops people spouting shit that ‘purpose’ is new or that it means you have to relinquish your commercial requirements to demonstrate it.

Because the key to it is not about the scale you claim you want to achieve, but how you do what you do every single day.

And You Thought The Mouldy BK Burger Ad Was Provocative …

The fast food industry is having a hard time.

As tastes change and a more healthy lifestyle becomes more desirable, it is getting more difficult for them to operate as they once did.

While some brands are evolving their offering – like McDonald’s – others are taking a more pragmatic perspective.

The most famous, recent example is the BK Mouldy Burger which ignited all manner of debate – often with people quick to say it won’t work without anyone actually knowing what the goal of the work actually was.

Well in South Korea there’s a burger company that makes BK look positively innocent.

It’s not just how they used Supreme to inspire their logo in a way Uncle Martian would be jealous of.

Nor is it their audacious copyright infringement of famous cartoon characters to talk about themselves.

And it’s not even their proud claims of being ‘100% Beef Meat’.

No … it’s none of those, it’s their utter confidence of their product over their competitors.

Take a look …

Amazing eh?

Not just the aggressiveness … but the choice of words.

Linking the words ‘burgers’ and ‘shit’ makes a mouldy burger look positively appetising.

Then there’s the fact it’s in English.

When I lived in China, there were a bunch of stores that used English in their copy.

Sometimes it was for the audience it was targeting.

Sometimes it was because they thought it made them look ‘sophisticated’.

But a lot of the time – as I think is the case here – they did it because it enhanced their ‘authenticity’.

Given burgers are very American, I feel their idea was that by using English and being aggressive in their tone, they encapsulated the American spirit and as such, could say their burgers were authentic.

Of course, given Burger King and McDonald’s are also American slightly undermines that idea, but hey – it doesn’t seem they really put too much thought into how they came across.

I must admit, when I saw it, I couldn’t help feel it was like a Viz fake-ad from the 80’s.

Viz – for those who don’t know – was/is an English ‘adult-humour’ comic.

Years ago, I approached them about starting an ad agency.

They said no, which still disappoints me as not only were their spoof ads brilliant, but based on both Billionbox and BK’s recent work … there’s more and more brands seemingly trying to copy their style but without the brilliance, clarity, humour or memorability as them.

Monday In A Gif …
May 18, 2020, 6:45 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment

They say the word Monday is the shortest horror story you can get.

It can definitely feel like it at times.

Either because it signifies the end of the joy you enjoyed the days before or the start of 5 days of hell coming up.

Not always, but sometimes.

But this isn’t about that, this is about the unexpected.

Life is like a game of chance.

That’s OK, because it means it is filled with highs as well as lows – which makes things exciting and exhilerating.

But in most cases, you have an idea of what’s coming and so the real impact is whether the result is bigger or smaller than you expected.

Occasionally though, some things come from out of the blue.

Hit you like a ton of bricks.

Sadly, these almost universally are negative situations.

You feel lost.

You feel anger.

You question if you should have seen the signs.

You replay situations and conversations over and over in your mind.

It is one of the most debilitating experiences you can have in your life.

What makes it worse is that in many cases, this results in the people around you not knowing what to say … how to deal with you.

And while I get it, it ends up making the people feel worse. More alone. More isolated and helpless.

A few people I care deeply about have gone through this recently.

And while I know it was not about them, it doesn’t stop them feeling it was.

I hate it.

I absolutely loathe what they’re feeling and going through.

They’re insanely talented … good human beings.

Which is my way of saying, if anyone who reads this blog needs strategists in the UK or US – whether freelance or perm – can you let me know.

Look after the people out there, because as much as I appreciate a lot of what is going on ‘is just business’, it doesn’t excuse the fact it’s always personal.

Friday Fun Day …
May 15, 2020, 6:30 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude

With us still stuck in quarantine.

And every day feeling the same as the day before … even weekends.

I thought I’d add some adventure into your weekend with this …

In this photo are 66 movie references.

The most I’ve heard anyone find is 51.

Can you beat it?

Do you care?

Either way, it’s got to be better than what you have been doing most weekends.

You’re welcome.

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