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

When Your Whole Childhood Is A Lie, But Still Better Than A Lot Of Adult Marketing Truth …

When I was young, I was introduced to a whole host of iconic TV characters.

Six Million Dollar Man.

Wonder Woman.

Buck Rogers.


The Incredible Hulk.

Of course there were more, lots more – from cartoons to local kids TV – but the one’s from America just seemed to be more amazing.

Part of this was probably the production value of the shows, but it was also the imagination they triggered and celebrated in me.

It was so much more than just entertainment, it challenged, encouraged and introduced me to a whole new way to look and see the possibilities of the World.

These characters continue to hold a lot of sentimentality with me, because despite being over 40 years ago, they were – in many ways – characters that defined my generation.

They were OUR shows, even when they were a remake of something that went before.

I say this because when I look at Otis, the characters from his shows are so different.

For a start, so many of them are born through Youtube.

Plus there’s also a huge amount from games, like Roblox or Minecraft.

But the relationships are similar to the ones I had with the Incredible Hulk etc.

And that’s because they’re his characters.

They are badges of his generation.

He connects to people who share the same love and knowledge.

Which is a good reminder that in a world where we are continually going on about new possibilities, new opportunities and new technologies … the forces that make so many of them successful and valuable are the same things as they’ve always been.


Of course we should know this.

Of course this should be obvious.

But I don’t know if we do.

I read so much these days that seems to be focused on efficiencies, effectiveness, experience or eco-systems … and while they’re all important and have a role to play … they aren’t the reason people connect so deeply, they’re just tools to help make it happen.

In our quest to be seen as innovative, we’re re-making the wheel over and over again except it’s not as simple. Or as effective. Or as powerful.

Because we’re so desperate to look like we’ve done something new, we walk away from the things that can make something valuable.

Beyond price.
Beyond status.
Beyond superficial.

Somewhere along the line, we’ve forgotten the value of emotion.

We talk about it. We describe it. We even attempt to show it.

But instead, we have reduced it to a set of ‘research group approved’ actions and behaviours.

A set of research group approved actions and behaviours that are more focused on telling people what we want them to think about rather than to feel.

A set of research group approved actions and behaviours that are designed to minimise the potential of alienating someone rather than making it mean everything to them.

How fucking depressing.

More than that, how fucking laughable.

Because the holy grail for all these brands is to encourage loyalty beyond reason.

Where people choose you over countless competitors.

Where they will queue for hours to stand a chance to have a moment in your company.

Where people will willingly wear a t-shirt with your name emblazoned on it.

Where people will do this over and over again, regardless of time, money or location.

For all the money, research and ‘marketing guru tactics’ so many brands adopt these days … they still don’t come anywhere close to the impact bands, gaming characters and old 1970’s TV shows have on people.

And there’s one simple reason for it.

You don’t make people care talking about them, you do it by being for them.

Not in terms of ‘removing friction to purchase’.

Or telling them you really, really care about them.

Or saying you’re committed to their progress and success.

Or you want them to get the best value deal they can get.

But by recognising who they are, not who you want them to be.

And then talking to them that reflects that.

The good, bad, weird, strange, complex, scary, hopeful, uncomfortable.

It’s not hard.

And yet it seems to be the hardest thing in the World.

Which is mad, given a man painted green and a shitty rubbery mask was able to do it and 40+ years later, can still ignite more feelings of love and loyalty from me than 98.99999% of all brands with their research and marketing guru processes.

21 Comments so far
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This is excellent. Especially this -> “ In our quest to be seen as innovative, we’re re-making the wheel over and over again except it’s not as simple. Or as effective. Or as powerful.”

Comment by Pete

and I thought your obsession with queen was fucking bad.

Comment by andy@cynic

Of course Rob is a fan of a man with a hair trigger who gets disproportionally angry at the smallest thing. He is basically admitting he likes himself.

Comment by DH


Comment by George

Cheeky sod. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

nailed the fucker.

Comment by andy@cynic

do you remember that nasa guy who said adlands version of innovation was the kids morning tv version of innovation. he was a class-a prick but i liked him.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yep. Was he the one who tried to stop Top Trumps?

Comment by Rob

didnt fucking make it happen though did he. all those brains and he cant stop a bunch of twats with a brilliant stupid idea. no wonder the pricks havent landed on mars.

Comment by andy@cynic

Hahaha. Very true. We beat a literal rocket scientist.
One for the resume.

Comment by Rob

What I find laughable is how the ad industry version of innovation is slapping a label on a part of the process that they were doing already. And still they are losing money. And they think they have a right to tell business how to run their business.

Comment by DH

Hahaha … yes, there is a bit of that.

Especially in planning … which I ranted about here:

Comment by Rob


Comment by George

Nottingham has TV?

Comment by John

Stolen TVs.

Comment by DH

Blah blah blah …

Comment by Rob

Nothing highlights the superficial knowledge agencies and companies have about their customers than their commitment to finding more ways to sell product without having anything interesting to say.

Comment by George

As I said, the industry has become obsessed with the condiments rather than the steak. The condiments make the steak better, but the condiments without the steak are just clutter up the pantry with little reason to exist.

Comment by Rob

I enjoyed this.

Comment by Lee Hill

So did I, Lee.

Comment by Marcus

I find this interesting for many reasons, so thank you for writing it, Rob.

Comment by Marcus

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