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


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.



The Fine Line Between Hero And Horrible …

Back from a nice long weekend.

Hey, if this makes you feel bad, imagine how my poor colleagues feel.

Anyway …

I recently read the book Hype, by Gabrielle Bluestone.

It is depressingly brilliant.

While it covers a huge range of topics, it centres on the actions and behaviours of Fyre Festival founder [or should I say, scammer] Billy McFarland.

Now I appreciate with worldwide coverage and 2 documentaries on the subject, you may think you know all that needs to be known, but apart from Gabrielle bringing some new information to the table, what makes it especially interesting is how she compares his actions to others who are regarded as business geniuses.

Like Elon Musk.

Now you might think that sounds like the actions of someone desperate to create hype for their new book. But no. It’s incredibly well written and researched … and as you turn page after page, with hustler/liar story after hustler/liar story, you come away thinking the whole world has fallen for the Emperors New Clothes trick.

Not to mention that either Billy McFarland is unlucky to be sentenced to jail or Elon Musk – and countless other business people and influencers – are lucky not to be.

Society loves its success stories.

It loves trying to ‘codify‘ the system.

But while only a few ever succeed, it doesn’t stop people blindly following some ‘proven’ rules. Often losing themselves in details rather than appreciating context.

All the while making the originator [or person who shouted the loudest, quickest] even more powerful and famous … before they end up a caricature of what they once were.

I’m seeing a lot of this in marketingland at the moment.

Now, I am not suggesting these people are doing it to ‘con’ anyone. Far from it. In fact their intentions are pretty wonderful. But somewhere along the line, their perspective has developed into a ‘system’ and that system now has a number of unquestionable and unshakeable rules attached to it which, ironically, is starting to negatively affect the very industry they want to help.

To be fair, they are not entirely responsible.

They are a bit … because they give their ‘system’ names that suggest intellectual superiority when it’s really ‘an educated beginners guide’, plus they conveniently turn a blind eye to how many of their students are executing what they learnt – without context or real audience understanding – so it ends up just being lowest common denominator thinking. But the real reason this situation is occurring is too many companies aren’t investing enough in talent or training, so they send people off to do courses with fancy names so they can all look and feel like they are.

Putting aside the fact this also highlights how many companies lack a philosophy regarding their approach and value to marketing, what this ‘one size fits all’ approach is doing is educating a whole generation of marketer/advertiser/company that talent, standards and creativity are not nearly as important as having people who can follow – and police – process, formats and parity.

We’re in danger of getting to the point where independent thinking is seen as dangerous.

Or weakness.

Or anything other than strength.

And while understanding how things work is important, creating a singular approach and process where building brands and creativity is approached like an airfix model – where the outcome is always the same, albeit with different brand names/colours attached – seems to be more about undermining the purpose of marketing rather than liberate it.

What makes this even more amusing is the brands who are attracting the greatest cultural momentum, loyalty and brand value right now are not following any of these ‘process rules’. More than that, they’re building their reputation and value through the creation of distinctive brand ideas that talk directly to their audiences rather than focusing on brand attribution that aims to be slightly memorable among their category.

[Please note, I’m talking about brands with a real business behind them, not just social hype]

Now I appreciate the context and circumstances of cultural brands and the brands who are adopting a marketing ‘system’ are very different … but what I’m trying to highlight is that we now find ourselves in this weird situation where the ambition for many brands is to not find ways to get ahead but to not be left behind – all the while bombarding the market with claims of innovation, new thinking, new opportunities.

And that’s why I loved reading Hype so much.

Not just because it pulled back the curtain on the hypocritical bullshit of so many self-appointed ‘business icons’, but it revealed where we’re all heading if we’re not careful … even though I know there will be people out there who read it and see it as their goal rather than their ruin.