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


When You’re Always On, You May Find You’re Always Off …

Social media.

Or for some, digital marketing.

Oh the terms and the tropes.

The guru’s and the chancers.

The rules and the frameworks.

The DTC brand successes and the DTC product commodification.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of social media marketing. I think – done in the right way – it can powerfully drive brand, business and fandom in ways many other forms of marketing can’t hope to reach.

There’s countless amazing examples out there, but underpinning all of them is the inconvenient truth that they’re based on an idea. It may not always be what the ad industry likes to call a ‘big idea’, but it’s an idea all the same.

Something that holds all it does together. Guides it. Shapes what it does. Gives it a reason to exist and add to culture rather than continually try to steal from it.

But the problem is these brands are still in the minority because the vast majority still practice what my beloved Martin Weigel refers to, “the continuous production of social landfill”.

There are countless reasons this occurring …

The belief it gives them ‘free’ advertising.
Their fear they may be left behind or left out.
The attempt to look and act relevant to the times.

But without doubt, the worst reason is ‘people really are interested in who we are and what we have to say’.

Oh my god, that’s the worst of all.

A deluded state that manifests itself into some of the worst behaviour and marketing you can get … liked and supported by those who either work for the company or want to.

So what we end up with is an ever-increasing production of sheer shit.

Pointless, mindless marketing filth that doesn’t so much scrape the barrel, but is the scrapings of the barrel.

Things like this …

What. Is. That?

Seriously, how deluded and desperate must you be to think this is the sort of content the World is waiting for.

Yes, I appreciate they have almost TWO MILLION followers but come on …

And they’ve even incorporated a way to ‘vote through emoji’ to allow their ‘fans’ to interact with the content.

To paraphrase a comment once made to me by a client … sometimes, the people who like your stuff are the people you don’t want liking your stuff.

Pity the poor social media people who have to manage this stuff.

I say pity, because surely they can’t think this is good?

Surely they are the human equivalent of a battery hen … held in a small room and told to keep finding ‘ideas’ to churn out as content.

Stuff that is the very embodiment of social media landfill.

An always on strategy that turns people off.

But my god, what if they think this stuff is good?

What if they believe people wait with baited breath for the latest piece of content they literally are churning out?

What if the client thinks it is driving ‘powerful user interaction metrics’?

I know Colgate Palmolive make many products.

Some of which have become brands that are very, very popular.

But maybe someone needs to tell them that just because people buy them, doesn’t mean people care about them … certainly outside of the environment they inhabit or in the detail Colgate finds fascinating.

Or to paraphrase another old client of mine:

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

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Why People Who Believe In The Metaverse, Need To Be Dire Straits Fans …

After the amazing drama of yesterday, I need to calm things down.

Not for you, but for me … because my heart can’t take nerves like that.

And yet it’s going to have to do just that in a little over a week.

Bloody hell.

So to slow things down, let me take you back in time …

Back in 1985, the band Dire Straits launched a song called Money For Nothing.

It became famous for a whole host of reasons.

It was the first song of theirs that actually sounded slightly modern.

It had ‘modern’ day references in the lyrics.

It had Sting – from The Police – singing on it.

It had this video …

Did you watch it?

You didn’t did you?

You lazy bastards …

Well, to get back to the point of this post, here’s a screen grab from it …

Now while that image may not strike you as cutting edge, back in 1985, it was revolutionary.

Digital characters living in a digital world, where their universe was a blend of normality and possibility.

Hang on, does that sound like something else?

Something that a huge amount of the tech and marketing industry have been wetting their pants over?

Something that sounds suspiciously close to this …

Did you watch this?

You didn’t did you?

You über-lazy assholes …

Well, to get back to the point of this post, here’s a screen grab from it …

Yep.

Yep it does.

A music video from 1985 by the most snooze-rock band ever formed, not only communicated the metaverse, it did it in a style pretty close to what Facebook and every other brand have shown as ‘the standard’.

How terrifyingly embarrassing is that?

All these hip, technologists, futurists and strategists trying to look like they’re on the edge of culture creation and all the bollocks they’re banging on about was expressed by bloody Dire Straits 37 years earlier.

THIRTY SEVEN YEARS.

Hahahahahahahahaha.

I mean … when that Zuck video first broke, I wrote a post about how it was missing the point by showing things we can already do, but now – thanks to errrrrm, Dire Straits, I realise it was even worse than I imagined.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe technology and – the metaverse, even though what is being celebrated as it, isn’t what it is – will have the possibility to make a huge, positive difference to humanity. Eventually.

But making – and lauding – a film and idea that looks awfully similar to a bloody 1985 music video isn’t doing them any favours. If anything, it shows how much of this industry is filled with individuals who crave attention or adoration or just desperately seek relevance.

Not helped when you learn that, unsurprisingly, the main reason Zuck is so into the Metaverse is not for changing the world but upping his bank account.

Given how much Facebook tried to label Apple as ‘anti-business’ for the amount they charged creators and partners – which is a lot less than 47.5% – it makes the whole Meta situation even more laughable.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the new is often misunderstood.

And new technology should not be judged by the standards of established technology.

But when the ‘icons and industry leaders’ stand on soapboxes and stages to promote the future in a similar way that Dire Straits brought to the World almost 4 decades ago … it’s only fair to question if these people care about the future or simply their own career image.

Even though, sadly, we keep seeing hyping can get better career growth, than grafting.

If the Metaverse could fix that, then maybe we’d all sign up.

Then again …



It’s Not A Community, It’s A Clique …

Welcome back.

Did you eat copious amounts of Easter Eggs?

Well, regardless if you did or didn’t, this post is going to make you sick as a dog.

Long ago, when twitter first started, Andy pronounced Twitter, Twatter.

To be fair, in the early days it had a certain charm – like blogs – where there was a real community and it came together to support and encourage those around you.

But now …

Oh boy, now it’s either all out verbal warfare or chancers.

But there’s another group that has started making itself known.

The gurus.

Nothing sums up this group more than this:

Now Gaurav works for Clickup as their Chief Growth Officer … which means he’s no doubt, connected experienced and likely has a lot of things we could all learn from. Which is why I am confused he decided to write such a blatantly ridiculous tweet like the one above.

Yes, the ‘voice’ of Apple is an integral part of the brand, but the way he has phrased his words seems to suggest it’s the voice – not the technology, innovation or distribution – of the brand that has made it worth so much.

But even more bizarrely, he’s also insinuating his tips can help you be worth that much too.

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Now maybe he made a mistake – we all do it, me more than most. However when I checked out his other tweets, they all seemed to exist in this little universe of like-minded, self-appointed gurus all saying the same sort of things.

Here’s a couple of them.

Good marketing can never solve for a bad product.
Bad marketing can never solve for a good product
Balance is the only answer

Or this gem …

Over 3.5 billion tweets are posted each week.
But most people are reading the wrong ones.
Here are the 10 best tweets from the week guaranteed to make you smarter:

The problem with social media is that anyone can be a legend in their own lunchtime.

Where it’s not about the work you’ve done, but the ‘following’ you have gained.

What’s even scarier is I’m seeing more and more agencies going straight to Twitter to hire people as if they’re the only ones that count.

And that scares me for 2 reasons.

1, They’re not. The absolute opposite if anything.
2. It feels ‘profile’ is more important than real work.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure there’s way more great planners, creatives and suits NOT on twitter than there are on it. And while some of those bashing out their 280 characters are ‘proper good’, to think that is the only pool worth searching smacks of either delusion or laziness.

Once upon a time someone said, ‘those who can’t create music, write about it’ .

While that was pretty mean, I can’t help but think the modern equivalent of it would be:

Those who don’t create work, tweet about it.

Not entirely true – and also mean – but maybe something agency recruiters should keep in mind when trawling twitter to find their next twitter-famous hire.



When You Create Ads With Your Head In The Underground …

OK, I’m ‘proper back’ now and look at that – we’re in February!!!

Maybe I should just write a blog post on the last or first of every month and make life easier for all of us?

Nahhhhhhhh … where’s the enjoyment in that when there’s so much stuff out there to comment on, like this monstrosity of an ad that I saw recently …

Putting aside the fact anyone who wants to be ‘the most interesting person in the room’ is basically admitting they have an ego the size of Bono … or the average person working in adland, the choice of image for this ad is the most stupid I’ve seen in a very, very long time.

Since when were escalators at tube stations a room?

And I’m guessing the people behind it either don’t live in London because if they did, they’d know the first – and biggest – social cardinal sin in that city is speaking to anyone anywhere in the vicinity of the tube.

When I lived in London, I was told in no uncertain terms of this fact within days of being there by a bloke I was squashed next to, as we were on our way to Heathrow Airport.

He also had some luggage with him so I asked, “where are you off to?” and the look he gave me was as if I’d asked him to tell me his families home address and what times are they out.

He literally said, “don’t you know you’re not supposed to talk to people on the tube?”

Hahahahahahahaha.

So with that in mind … and the fact the image they’ve chosen shows people all in a row, all facing the back of the person in-front’s head – which makes having any conversation a bit difficult – maybe Curio should just change the headline of their ad to ‘be the most annoying person in the room’ and be done with it.

Let’s face it, it would probably be more a appropriate explanation of what the app supposedly helps you become, whether they use a visual of the London Underground or not.



Desperate For Friends …

A while back, Mark Zuckerberg announced to the world he was creating a holding company – that would house Facebook and Instagram etc – called Meta.

He launched it with this piece of underwhelming fanfare …

There are so many questions about this …

Why did Zuck make his avatar leaner than the real him? Why did he think showing a virtual room with some boring mates playing cards would excite the world? Why the fuck is his wife & dog making an appearance & why would his dad give a shit about receiving a clip of the pooch? Why was the “awesome virtual room” like a Sega Megadrive game background? Why are Facebook/Meta employees so cowardly they can’t tell their boss his acting is worse than people who appeared on that short lived BBC soap, Eldorado? Why did they think it would be trippy to show a flying fish to a generation who make TikTok videos far weirder, fancier and more interesting? Why did I watch the whole thing. Twice? Why did they make their logo a shot Zorro mask? Why does android Zuck still pretend he’s human?

It was, in no uncertain terms, fucking terrible.

But to show that Facebook have no shame taste, they then went on a social media tirade in a bid to drum up support and interest from brands.

Not people. Brands.

Asking them what they’ll be doing in the metaverse.

And while the social media account of a brand talking to another brand may be cool for the people working at the brand, 99.9% of the time it’s an act that shows a complete lack of self awareness.

Look at this …

It’s the equivalent of 2 old white dudes – wearing Yeezy’s & Supreme tees – thinking they’re the hippest, hottest dudes on an empty petrol station forecourt in Basingstoke on a wet Tuesday night.

Seriously, I detest this sort of thing.

I certainly detest every bit about this echo chamber, jock-banter, industry ‘in joke’, interaction.

I know some people will claim it is ‘hijacking culture’, but there’s 2 key issues with this.

1. How can it be ‘hijacking’, when this approach is so common, people literally expect it.

2. There’s a major difference between hijacking and boring them.

Putting aside the danger of letting a man like Zuckerberg have even more knowledge about our lives so he can profit from it … putting aside his track record of saying his company does good things then is found to be doing bad … putting aside Facebook ‘borrowed’ their Meta logo from another company … what Zuckerberg is showing is he doesn’t care about the people who use his products, just the advertisers who keep throwing money at him so they can find more and more ways to sell stuff to them, before launching ad campaigns saying they care about the environment and everyone should act.

Or some other blame throwing tactic.

Zuckerberg isn’t going anywhere.

And what makes it worse is that technology … specifically the metaverse and mixed reality … has the potential to do incredible good for humanity. However when governments allow this space to be ‘owned’ by egotistical billionaires, then the only ‘incredible good’ we can look forward to, is more blatant exploitation with no legal implication whatsoever.

Thanks Zuck.

Thanks for robbing us of the future we could have, but you want to dictate.