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

Alive And Kicking Without Being Alive And Kicking …
September 5, 2023, 8:15 am
Filed under: Bands, Birthday, Brand, Comment, Freddie, Management, Marketing, Music, Queen

Today would have been Freddie’s 77th birthday.

That’s almost as crazy as the fact he has been gone 32 years.

And yet his fame may have never been so high as it is now.

Yes … I appreciate this has been ‘managed’ and certain ‘iconography’ has been drip-fed into society … but for someone dead, he doesn’t half feel alive.

A biopic movie [albeit with a to of creative licence] that made a billion dollars.

A Greatest Hits album that is the biggest selling album of all time in the UK.

More ‘billion played’ songs on Spotify than any other artist in the world.

Countless books, TV shows and tribute acts … where they always feature Freddie in his ‘yellow jacket’ phase, despite that being when he was more performer than rockstar.

Regardless what you think about the optimisation of Freddie as a ‘brand’ in modern culture, you have to say it has been brilliantly done.

I can’t think of many celebrities who achieved the same level of cultural presence, 3 decades after they died.

And he’s only going to be more in our daily lives as the auction of his personal belongings starts in a few days.

Of course, I can imagine Freddie would love it.

When he was close to death, he called the band manager – Jim Beach – and said this to him:

“You can use my image, music and memory in any way you choose … just don’t make me boring”.

Given he is more present than many people alive and on our screens, it’s safe to say mission accomplished.

Happy 77th Freddie. You’re missed even though you’re around.

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Never Been Prouder …
July 18, 2023, 8:15 am
Filed under: Agency Culture, Attitude & Aptitude, Birthday, Colenso, Colleagues

Last Friday I wrote a post about how Otis kinda trolled me like I kinda troll my colleagues on my birthday.

Well I wrote that before my colleagues decided to give me a birthday gift from them.

Obviously, having made them eat a years worth of cakes that celebrate their nemesis, flaws or fucked-up tastes, they wanted to get their own back.

And they did.

Unfortunately for them, their evil made me so happy it led to one of the best birthday’s I’ve had in years. And what – pray tell – did they give me?

Well, it was this …

And this [The T, not the Hula Hoop. I bought that for a colleague. Don’t ask]

And this …

It was all just so perfect!

It was also proof my team know me so well.

And they’re bastards.

Just so there’s no misunderstanding, if you click on the link, you’ll discover why Sharp and Ritson appear in my pressies.

They’re not my nemesis – I respect and appreciate their brains – I just don’t like how they’ve allowed clients to misunderstand the contexts of what they teach [though I appreciate this is not entirely down to them] so we’ve ended up with a common process to building brands that has left so many brands looking common.

As for Julian.

A quick look on Linkedin will tell you why I have issues with what he does. Or more specifically, how he does it.

I should also point out I’m not saying I’m right – far from it – I’m just saying there’s a lot of context and counter examples that can be given and far too often they’re not.

I get it, we all do that to a certain extent … but in this more competitive landscape and economy, having breadth of approaches and examples of brands who have found interesting and sustainably effective ways to move forward is, at least to me, more valuable than a single approach that ultimately ends up being more about fitting in than getting ahead.

God, this has gone heavy for what was supposed to be a post about cheeky-bastard fun, so let’s ignore all of this and focus on the Fuck U balloons … especially as they’re filled with the same amount of hot air as the average planner.

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Chip Off The Old Block …
July 13, 2023, 8:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Birthday, Daddyhood, Jill, Otis, Rosie, Sky

On Monday, I posted about why I’m a birthday bastard because I give my colleagues prick pressies in the form of customised cakes.

Well as you know, just over a month ago it was my birthday and my son, aged 8, did the same to me. Except his is less prick but definitely owning me.

You see Otis has a budgie called Sky.

To be honest, I’m quite shocked at how much I like Sky.

It has bags of personality, chirps happily every day and apart from tapping its beak on the iPad when let out its cage, is pretty perfect and beautiful.

Hell, even Rosie – my beloved moggy – likes her.

OK, maybe that’s too much of a promise, but she definitely puts up with her.

Anyway, the guys at Colenso think that because I never really talk about Sky, I hate her.

True, I don’t love her as much as Rosie, but I definitely don’t hate her.

Well one day I told Otis what my colleagues thought and last month – on my birthday – he presented me with matching t-shirts, for him and me.

And it says this …

How genius is that!

He designed it with his Mum and I loved it so much that I wore it while giving my talk with Martin and Paula at Cannes.

I had had another t-shirt made for the occasion, but this won.

Which means he’s a much better – and thoughtful – present manipulator and it’s another reason I love him from the top of his head to the tip of his toe.


Tomorrow we have the day off to celebrate Matariki.

It’s an important day in New Zealand and if you want to know why, click here.

See you Monday.

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Birthday Bastard …

Ever since I became a head of department, I have bought cakes on birthdays.

While you may think this is a humble brag, it’s actually an admission of bastardness.

OK, hint of bastardises.

Because like the badges, pencils, stickers, packing tape and fake dog shit I’ve bought for people in the past, I see the act of giving a birthday cake as much about satisfying my evil as sharing my love.

In the past I did this by simply buying cakes from the same shop, every single time … knowing it wouldn’t take long before people got sick of the bloody thing.

And boy, did they let me know about it … especially my Wieden mob and their loathing of yet another Baker and Spice cake. Hahahaha.

However, since moving to NZ, I’ve found a shop that lets you customize the design, which helps explain why Briar – our sour cream and chive crisp chomping champion – got the cupcakes above.

Sure Otis is seeing his inheritance get whittled away by his dad’s colleagues birthday’s … but it makes me happy and don’t I deserve that on their special day?

Cue: Evil, manic laugh.

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End The Week On A Low …
June 30, 2023, 8:00 am
Filed under: Birthday, Comment, Rosie

It’s Friday.

Even though I no one reads them, I appreciate this has been a week of very loooooong posts.

Worse, they’ve been extra self-indulgent … so with that, I thought I’d give you a gift of [1] a very short post and [2] a photo that gives you additional ammunition against me … even though from my perspective, it shows a level of self-awareness we should applaud.

But then I would say that wouldn’t I.

Oh, and before I go, a big happy 16th birthday to Rosie for tomorrow.

Yes, I know I wrote a long post to her yesterday, but she’s 80 in human years and if that doesn’t deserve a double mention, I don’t know what does.

I bloody love that Singaporean, street cat. – even though she’s most definitely now a princess – and while she’s definitely slower than she was before – when she gets frisks, she could beat Usain Bolt. Plus she’s still as loud and complainy as ever … which makes me bizarrely happy. So happy birthday to you Rosie and happy weekend to the rest of you.

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