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

I Know Correlation Does Not Mean Causation But …

… but I love this chart.

Like all good conspiracy theories, there’s definitely enough to make you think it could be true. And it could be. Maybe not entirely, but definitely an influence … because the smartphone has become the modern day cigarette … where any moment of pause is a moment to scroll and I can’t think of any moment of pause like queuing up at a supermarket till.

I love this sort of thing.

Yes, I appreciate some are utter bollocks, but when they hit – they really hit.

Like the guy I met who started a TV shopping channel … who told me his goal was to ensure his channels were never anymore than 3 channels aways from sports, because he knew during breaks in the game, men would flick up or down 3 channels from where they were. He then ensured the products being sold during these times were sport/male relevant, which he said gave him a disproportionate opportunity to drive incremental sales.

Was he right?

He thought he was … and given he became a billionaire, there’s a good reason to believe him. Or at least not dismiss him out of hand.

Insight is getting a bad reputation these days. I get it … a lot of what is passed for insight, isn’t. Plus there’s rarely one insight that drives the whole business and it’s very rare to find something unique that others can’t claim. [Though there’s always the option to use them in a way that’s different to how others have interpreted them … which far too often, is literal translation]

But that doesn’t mean we should just dismiss the value of them … because when you do find them, the impact they can have on understanding or igniting a creative point of view is far more powerful than all the eco-systems, models and processes put together.

So here’s to the insight.

Rare, but worth pursuing or at the very least, remain open to them …

As long as you don’t fall for intellectual fiction or conveneient generalisation.

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I’m A Bit Of An App …

Yes it’s true.

I’m being ‘featured’ in a strategy app.

I can hear Andy now, losing his shit over an app for strategists.

However, on the brightside, it’s for 4+ year olds, which probably reinforces his point.

But better yet, it’s an app for strategic ‘models’ which – anyone who knows me will know – is my kind-of pet loathing. But the guy behind it, Ilya – not to be mistaken for the manipulative, wannabe-intellectual, bully from a previous life – is a top bloke and is doing it because he wants to help young planners feel they have something they can refer to given the industry has increasingly stopped investing in training and instead, outsourced it to people who teach solid basics but wrap it up as if they deserve an OBE for services to business. Or something.

Of course, this my rant is undermined by the fact I am being highlighted as ‘writing the forward’ … but I’m still dead chuffed and honoured to be asked, if only because it’s one thing Otis is slightly impressed with. And to me, that’s worth everything. So thank you Ilya and hope it is useful to all the planners out there with the title, but also the insecurity.

OK Andy, I’m waiting for your email/text/call of pisstaking.

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Media And Marketing Is So Lost, They Don’t Even Care What They Say Any More …

The media – and marketing – have perpetuated all manner of stereotypes over the years.

They spend enormous amounts of time and money painting psychological beliefs into society so they can profit from others shortcomings or vulnerabilities.

They don’t care if it destroys lives, to them that’s just canon fodder in the quest of riches, so everything is justifiable.

Which explains why we see so many things being labelled by the media and marketing industries … because it’s the perfect way to achieve mass social psychological manipulation.

You name it and they’ll have given a name to it.





They’ll use a label to sell anything … from kale to self-help books to gender roles.

And while that is a fucking horrible way to behave, there is one thing that is pretty impressive and that’s their ability to not just never stop doing it … but to never stop inventing new bullshit labels to fuck with people.

Take a look at this …

A CEO body?

A fucking CEO body?

What does that even mean?

Do all CEO’s share a particular physical format?

I mean, I know Elon and Jeff went from dweeb to muscle mountains, but I’ve still met a bunch of CEO’s with very different body shapes to them.

Also, what sort of CEO are they talking about?

A CEO of a big company? A start-up company? A fast-food company?

Do they lead 3 employees or 33,000 employees?

Are they heading up a profitable company or a crypto disaster?

Do they write thought leader pieces on Linkedin or are they living in a social media blackhole?

And why are you only showing a man?

A white man.

Is it because you think only white men can become a CEO?

Have you inadvertently just explained the real reason behind corporate racism, prejudice and the glass ceiling all in one go?

And while I’m at it, can you explain what you mean by the term ‘midlife’ in your headline?

What is that?

Is it a specific number?

Is it 30?

What about 40?

I bet it’s a mid-number like 45 or something … just to mess with us.

Come on, don’t keep it to yourself. Is there a standard ‘midlife’ no one told me about.

You can tell me. I know at 52 I’ve likely passed it, but I’d still like to know.

Finally – and I really don’t want to be picky here – but why are you telling everyone what the 16 foods ALL men should be eating are?.

Is it CEO food?

Don’t CEO’s eat fancy and expensive stuff?

And if all men eat it, does that mean all men will become CEO’s?

How will that happen? Are there enough CEO jobs to go round to make that happen?

And what about the women who are CEO’s? Do they eat that food as well? Is that how they got to the top … they ate like a man and had a body like a man?

I’m so confused.

In fact the only thing that’s clear to me is how you’re using marketing labelling bullshit to add even more expectation and judgement on people’s lives just so you can attempt to profit even more from making society question how they are supposed to look and live.

All this coming from The Times newspaper.

The fucking Times!!!

Once the pinnacle of journalism and standards, now a peddler of utter horseshit.

Even more so when you think what their CEO’s body is like …

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure no one would want to look like that, let alone be like that.

And if The Times think they do, it may help explain why their readership keeps falling.


Oh I really enjoyed writing that.

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When Life Gives You Angostura, Make A Cocktail …

Recently I read the story behind Angostura’s strange bottle.

For those of you who don’t know what Angostura is, it’s a bitters used in cocktails.

For those of you who don’t know what is strange about their bottle, it’s this:

Yep, that’s their normal product.

A bottle, hidden inside fucking massive packing.

The story – as told by Abraham Piper – is the business was taken over by the founder’s sons in 1870.

To help grow its awareness, they decided to update the ‘look’ and enter the finished product into a competition in the hope the exposure would drive the business.

They didn’t have much time so to maximise efficiency, one brother designed the label and the other, the bottle.

One slight problem … they didn’t discuss the size.

Another slight problem … they didn’t realise until they brought both sides of their work together and by then, they didn’t have enough time to alter things before the competition was due to commence.

So they decided to enter it anyway.

Unsurprisingly, they lost.

Except one of the judges told them they should keep it exactly as it was because no one else was going to be stupid enough to make that sort of mistake … which means it was unique and would stand out.

So they did.

And that dumbass mistake – the sort of dumbass mistake that captures Dan Wieden’s classic Fail Harder philosophy, perfectly – was the foundation of a business that continues to evolve and grow to this day.

Now there is a chance this is not true.

They don’t mention it in their history timeline on their website for example.

But history is littered with happy accidents … from making Ice Cream to making Number 1 hit records … so there’s just as much chance it is.

And if that is the case, I’d bloody love it.

Because in this world where everything is researched to within an inch of its life, the products/brands that gain a real and powerful role and position in culture – not to mention whatever category they operate in – are increasingly the ones who keep the chaos in, rather than actively try to filter it out.

Whether that’s because they know it’s better to mean everything to someone rather than something to everyone is anyone’s guess. There’s a good chance they’re just lucky-accident dumbasses. Or they might understand the value of resonating with culture, rather than being relevant to the category.

Whatever it is …

The brands with the strongest brand attribution, assets and audience are increasingly the ones who never have to talk about it, let alone spend their marketing dollars trying to create it.

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Peak Planner Cat Lady Who Is A Bloke …

As you know, I love my cat Rosie.

I have written A LOT about her over the years.

Like this.

And this.

Or this.

And this.

To name but a very, very few.

But recently, I got the opportunity to give a presentation about her to senior members of our clients.

Better yet, it was about what they could learn from her.

Yep … an entire presentation about my cats superior brand building capabilities.

Of course it went down well …

By ‘well’, I mean they didn’t report me to my bosses or the Police.

Which is why I am of the opinion I’ve achieved all there is to achieve and can now bask in the glow of having just achieved the top level of the classic planner game ‘things you can learn about brands from _________’.

And I can tell you, that is better than winning any Cannes, Effies or WARC Grand Prix.

Oh, have to go, there’s a knock on the door and I can Doctors and Nurses outside holding a jacket that has no arms in just my size …

Have a great day.

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