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


Pitch vs Reality …

We’ve all been there.

Being promised the world.

Amazing service.

The involvement of the most senior members of the team.

Promises matched by effort.

So you agree and then …

Damp squid.

A cavalcade of unimpressive under-delivery.

From feeling important to feeling an irritant.

Now sometimes that is met with a ‘corrective’ intervention. A chance to get everyone back on track. Though they’re rarely as explosive as the time the account director at Saatchi & Saatchi called in the executives of their newly won Black & Decker business and told them:

“Your account has been in this agency for only a few weeks and it’s already a joke account here. And I’ll tell you why. It’s because you’re acting like a bunch of cunts.”

For the record, that’s apparently a word-for-word articulation of the conversation as captured in the wonderful Chutzpah & Chutzpah. While one of the clients supposedly fell off the end of the armless sofa they were sitting on, apparently the showdown did the trick and Black & Decker went on to become a very successful, award-winning client for them.

Now ad folk and estate agents often run a tight race for who is the least trustworthy …

To be honest, I’ve not met many who were like that, however in terms of false promises and social manipulation, this has to be one of the very best/worst I’ve seen.

Here’s the estate agent pitch …

Sounds good, doesn’t it.

You’re interested. In fact, screw the interest … you’ll just buy it.

It sounds exactly what you want and you know you have to be quick these days.

And the estate agent is so kind and helpful.

Running around getting you all the information you need for the bank.

Brilliant.

Everything is going so well.

As ‘moving in’ day approaches, your excitement rises.

The removal people carefully pack up your house into their lorry and you all drive towards your well presented, detached bungalow near the local golf course.

Then you pull in and you see this.

What. The. Absolute. Fuck.

OK, at least they didn’t say ‘close to ammenities’ in their ad but still …

That motherfucker estate agent.

Also known as a pitch vs reality moment.

[For the record, that house did sell … and for hundreds of thousands of quid. Cancer included]

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Leave Them Wanting Less …

Despite using examples that probably featured perspectives that were the opposite of every MBA case study they had read, it all went pretty well.

I got a bunch of questions and even received some lovely notes from people in attendance.

But the reality is, I kind of ensured that the end would be remembered better than the beginning.

You see Otis saw me writing my talk and asked if he was in it.

So I added this as the last slide.

Which means regardless what went on before, the ending was always going to be perfect.

#Strategy

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Depressing Inspiration …

Back in the 80’s, there was a real trend for companies to put up ‘inspiration posters’.

Corporate Yoda statements that were as contrived – and daft – as fuck.

Things like …

EXPLORE. Only those willing to leave shore can find new lands.

I’m not even joking. There was tons of them like this.

For a while they were all the range … so popular that a friend actually created a mass of pisstake versions in the early 90’s.

Here’s one of them:

They were soooooooo much better than the real thing.

And then, from the mid-90’s to around 2015, these empty statements died a death however – just when you thought it was safe – social media decided to bring them back with a vengeance.

However, if you thought they were bad before, they have reached a whole new level of terrible.

Or should I say a whole new depth.

So much of this is because of Linkedin …

I’ve written my views on the biggest fiction factory on earth before.

Seriously, it’s about as professional as me … that’s how bad it has become.

In fact, it feels more like a home for wannabe Tony Robbins than a place for professional interaction.

Nothing sums this up more than an ‘inspiration’ photo I saw on there a while ago.

Take a look at this.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I mean, just how depressing is that?

Sure, I know it’s trying to be deep and meaningful but christ almighty.

And they are using a photo of Jim Carrey to demonstrate the point.

But I’m not quite sure why him.

Yes, I know he has suffered loss and yes I have heard he supposedly doesn’t try to ‘impress’ people anymore … except he works in Hollywood and has a history of being an attention-seeking, approval-needing, soul-sucking individual.

Maybe he’s past that.

Maybe I have to stop using the term ‘Jim Carrey syndrome’ … which is how I used to describe people who are successful in one field, but are so desperate to win the respect of their peers, they change their actions and behaviour to try and win their approval, only to fail because that’s not who they are or what they’re good at.

I hope he is.

I hope that is the case.

That would be good and healthy for him.

But even with that … it still wouldn’t clearly explain WHY he is the star of this ‘grimperation’ poster, WHY the creator thought this approach would motivate people or WHY the person who posted it on their Linkedin, thought it may make them look like a guru.

That said, when I saw it, I genuinely burst out into hysterical laughter so maybe … just maybe … that was the whole point of the thing and if that’s the case, it’s bloody genius.

You wait. Depress yourself to happy will be on Linkedin status updates any day now.



Time Machines Suck …

I’ve written this blog consistently for 15 years.

FIFTEEN!!!

My god …

But it gets worse.

Because bar a few weeks of holiday, it is something that has been written every single Monday to Friday.

That means there has been over 3,900 posts of utter gibberish for over 780 weeks.

And as tragic as that all sounds, there’s an awful lot of people who comment on here who have been here pretty much all that time.

LOSERS!!!

Now, I have to say there are some lovely benefits to long term blog writing.

In some ways it’s like a diary … capturing what I was thinking or doing at any given time.

It also is a lovely way to see how my opinions and thoughts have evolved over time.

Plus there’s the hope that when I’m gone, Otis will still feel his Dad is close.

OK … OK … there are some posts I definitely DON’T want him to read, but there’s others I’d be glad for him to keep going back to.

Putting aside I basically write the same 3 or 4 posts over and over again … there is a lot of my life contained in these pages.

From getting married to losing my Mum to having my son.

Proper life-changing stuff … and that doesn’t even cover the moves to different countries, jobs and homes.

The best and worst of my life is detailed here which is why – despite all these big life events being sandwiched between endless amounts of shit – I still like it.

Occasionally I randomly click on a date and just see what I wrote.

Recently I did this and was reminded what a little shit I was.

OK, can be.

It’s this.

Yep, it’s the time I tried to auction off Martin Sorrell’s business card so people could send him stupid messages or texts.

On the plus side, I was offering to give any money to charity.

On the negative, I was working for WPP at the time.

If you think that’s stupid, there was the time I wrote a post featuring a photo of Sir Martin with a picture of Toad of Toad Hall under the caption ‘Spot The Difference’.

And the weird thing is that while I don’t agree with his approach to creativity, I do respect him. I have met him on a number of occasions and he was very, very impressive.

Though it’s fair to say that respect was only one way, Especially when there was an agency Q&A and I asked him ‘what do you spend all your money on?’

So Sir Martin … even though I know you would never read this blog [more proof you’re clever] I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for my stupidity. It was ridiculous … but if it’s any consolation, at least it wasn’t as bad as this.

I know … I know … this was a terrible post even by my standards.

So celebrate in the fact that tomorrow is Good Friday so I’m off till next Tuesday and you’re not going have to deal with any more of this shit till then.

I don’t know about you … but it’s the sort of news that makes you almost believe in God, doesn’t it.

Happy Easter, enjoy the sugar rush.



Attention To Detail Is A Not A Cost, But A Commercial Advantage …

The commercial exploitation of the environment crisis by brands makes me ill.

For all their claims of doing things to ‘save the planet’, the reality is:

1. It’s not.
2. It’s focused more on how they can make money from it.

Putting aside the fact many of these conglomerates have actually added to the environmental crisis rather than taken it away, many are now trying to burden the general public with the blame and the responsibility to sort it all out.

Now of course the general public have to shoulder a huge amount of responsibility, but seeing companies try to look innocent when they have resisted – and continue to resist – major change is revolting.

From a personal point of view, one of the companies who I feel have been one of the worst for exploiting situations for profit is Unilever.

While there are some amazing people who work there … while the company talks a great game about being a ‘purpose’ driven company … you don’t have to look too far to see the organisation have profited from promoting racism, sexism and exploitation.

A few weeks ago, I got sent this:

As you can see, the bottom shelf holds a bunch of Persil Automatic washing powder.

Now Persil has long had a role in British society that has transcended the category. Their iconic ‘dirt is good’ campaign helped celebrate the benefits of kids getting dirty in life.

Of course it was self-serving, because the dirtier they get, the more washing powder you need, but it was deftly handled and had a point of view that resonated deeply.

However over the years, they’ve tried to evolve that message to have a more ‘purpose driven stance’ and things like the environment have become a focus. Which explains why they have written USE LESS in massive letters at the top of the box.

However – and hilariously – it seems no one realised, or cared, that at first glance it says USELESS … which is probably a far better description for how Persil are really dealing and committing to the climate crisis.

So to whoever did this – or didn’t realise this – I salute you.

Not just for your mischief/stupidity, but for proving there is still truth in advertising, even when they’re trying to say a lie.