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

Having An Opinion Doesn’t Make You An Expert …

So I survived and no one died. Yet.

Yesterday was wonderful.

Everyone was so nice to me, which means they don’t really know me.

Anyway, while I’ll be talking a lot about Colenso and New Zealand in the future, today I want to talk about something else.

A while back, the amazing Martin Weigel wrote an absolutely brilliant post about the importance of language in strategy.

Except it wasn’t just about the language you use in your work, but how you use it.

How you ensure you are writing a strategy that has colour, movement, clarity and provocation.

I’m doing it a disservice as it is basically a masterclass – as all Mr Martin’s brilliant posts are – on how to write strategy, with the end result being you not only have a greater understanding for how to do it, but a greater respect for doing it.

The craft.

The consideration.

The way to take people to a place they can see and feel and want to fuck with.

However, as brilliant as it is, I’ve heard some say, “it’s all obvious”.

And while there is an argument for that – because what Martin says isn’t a revolution on how to approach strategy, simply a focus on how to do it well – the reality is there’s a big difference between knowing the theory and actually doing it.

Which leads to my issue.

Our industry is filled with planners who talk about how to make world class creativity, but have never made any.

That doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to talk about it, but it does mean they don’t have a right to act like experts about it.

But they do.

And while I am not suggesting these people aren’t good at many other things and ‘world class creativity’ is about as subjective as you can get … in the area of actual making work that has defined brands in culture, I think if you looked at the reel Mr Weigel can put forward, it would be better than most agencies could present.

But here’s the thing …

World Class creativity isn’t specifically about work that has run across the globe.

Nor is it about work that is for a global brand … though, it should be noted, he has done this and done it brilliantly which is often far harder to achieve than work for a smaller client with far less politics.

It is simply about the actual work.

Not the theory of it.

The actual work and how it changed the way culture looked at the brand and how the brands fortune changed because of it.

Not one or the other.


That he has done this at the highest level and – arguably – on the most consistent level of any planner on the planet, means people who are looking to belittle it because ‘it’s obvious’ or because ‘he works at Wieden+Kennedy’ are idiots.

Maybe you can get to this level because of luck – especially if you’re male and white – but you definitely can’t stay there because of it.

Especially at Wieden.

What this piece of brilliance Martin gave us was an act of generosity.

Something designed to help the individual be better so that the overall work can be better.

Making work that fights indifference.

Making work that has a point of view.

Making work that we can all be proud of making.

So to all those who truly care about the work, follow the people who actually make it at the highest standards, because anything is easy for the person who never has done it.

13 Comments so far
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Disappointed you weren’t beaten up or bullied yesterday, but there’s still time.

It pains me to say it, but since you came back from your blog holiday, you’ve been writing some good stuff. This is another, even if it is mainly because of Martin. Many strategists feel like they’re imposters, what no one talks about is that maybe it’s because a bunch are.

Comment by Bazza

You’re in a feisty mood.

Comment by Pete

Bloody hell Baz. I mean … yes, but bloody hell.

Comment by Rob

This is a great post for the image alone.
I am sure you made a great impression on everyone. They are in for an exciting time. With moments of frustration. I’m happy for you and for Colenso. And this is the perfect pre-read to Martin’s incredibly good post.

Comment by George

Martin’s post is excellent.

Comment by Pete

It’s embarrassingly good …

I mean I know this blog is dodgy, but when I read his stuff it just makes it even more ‘everything for a $1’ style.

Comment by Rob

The way some people on talk on twitter and linkedin, you’d think we were drowning in world class work. Which says all you need to know about twitter and linkedin. Great post Rob. Hope your second day is even better than your first.

Comment by Pete

Oh yes …

And then some offer training to others to learn how to do it. Ahem.

Comment by Rob

twitter is still fucking twatter.

Comment by andy@cynic

the problem is most of the fuckers dont know what good advertising is, let alone fucking creativity. they wet their knickers about a chart or some tiktok fandom not something that actually has a fucking idea and craft in it. their only success is being paid well to be an imposter fucking hack.

Comment by andy@cynic

That last sentence is killer.

Comment by Rob

Like old times. Except I wasn’t commenting at 5am.

Comment by DH

Well said Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

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