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

Twisted Logic Is More Interesting Than Corporate Logic …

When I was living in Shanghai, I met a young guy who said to me,

“I think the Chinese government are rock n’ roll”.

Given I couldn’t imagine anyone less rock n’ roll, I asked why they said that. To which they replied:

“You told me rock n’ roll was about doing whatever you want to do, regardless what other people think. That’s the Chinese government”.

Mind. Blown.

Never in a million years would I consider the Communist Party rock n’ roll … and now that’s all I can think. I say this because recently I had another of these moments.

It was when I read this:

How amazing is that?!

Now whenever I talk to my friends named Tim, I keep imagining them as a moth.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

If you don’t leave space for conversations and understanding, you will miss out on these little gems of opinion. These things that can make you look at subject in a completely different way. That can take you to different place with even bigger possibilities than you could imagine.

And yet we – as an industry – aren’t leaving space for this.

We actually think getting into the real world is a hindrance.

Too messy. Too much time. Too many opinions.

So we actually advocate building creativity and brands from a weird sort of recipe book.

Where equal parts questionable data, brand assets and self-serving logic come together to make something that looks like a cake but generally tastes bloody awful.

Because we’d rather follow what everyone else does than create something everyone else wants.

Valuing attribution more than change.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I get the importance of all these things.

I agree and value their role in brand building and creativity.

But as I wrote a while back, it’s utterly bonkers that as an industry, we value the condiments of the meal more than the steak.

Recently, someone called me irresponsible for demanding my team spend time meeting, talking, listening and understanding people from all walks of life.

They literally used that word: Irresponsible!

Now I don’t mind admitting there’s many things I could be accused of being irresponsible for, but valuing the role culture has in liberating creativity and possibility isn’t one of them.

No wonder society is so bored of what we do.

No wonder brands have had to reframe bribery as loyalty.

Or membership.

Because while we think we have all the answers, culture has the interesting.

21 Comments so far
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“I think the Chinese government are rock n’ roll because they do whatever they want”. It made me laugh because it is so true. That’s top level insight.

Comment by Pete

When they said it to me, it literally stopped me in my tracks because it was just so perfect. Still is. Albeit the way they do it is more quietly than a KISS concert. But still Rock n’ Roll.

Comment by Rob

So Jack Johnson x Kiss? That hurts my head just thinking about it.

Comment by Pete

Interesting perspective Bert.

Comment by John

Hahahaha … say’s the man whose name is slang for toilet.

Comment by Rob


Comment by DH

When you write “valuing attribution more than change”, you sum up everything wrong with current marketing practices. Corporations are basically back to wanting awareness after years criticizing the advertising industry for the same thing.

Comment by George


So many of my conversations revolve around attribution and brand assets. And I get it. I understand the need to think about this stuff. It’s important and necessary.

Where it goes wrong is too many people think that’s the goal versus that being a byproduct – or expression – of something much bigger.

A real commitment to the brand, not a passive label and research label.

It’s possibly why so much advertising these days talks a lot … but doesn’t actually say much.

Comment by Rob

Your final sentence says it all. Validated by experts who have only ever marketed themselves.

Comment by George

George throwing grenades.

Comment by Bazza

I like this post very much Robert. I would like to invite you to a meeting and have you chat more about this. I hope you will agree. I will send an invitation.

Comment by Lee Hill

Do you hate the people at this meeting? Hahaha.
Of course Lee, just send it through, would be great to catch up.

Comment by Rob

When you wrote something that looks like a cake but tastes awful, I immediately thought of the cake Billy made for cakeoff. I’m still trying to get the taste of it out my mouth.

Comment by Bazza

That was the worst thing I’ve ever eaten.

Comment by DH

Hahahahahahahaha. I have a photo of that somewhere. Not so I could keep it as a memory, but so I could provide the Police with evidence of the murder weapon.

Comment by Rob

twisted logic and fuckers who triumphs over adversity is your version of crack isnt it campbell. almost a good post for once tho.

Comment by andy@cynic

Is this a compliment?

Comment by DH


Comment by andy@cynic

* screenshot *

Comment by Rob

Thank you for writing this Rob.

Comment by Jamie Ahn

Thank you Jamie.

Comment by Rob

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