Friday, July 31, 2009


If the rough definition of terrorism is:

"Using fear to manipulate people's actions."

Then there are plenty of things that we really should start counting as terror:

  • Tony Blair's lies about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction in order to gain support for invasion
  • George W Bush's use of terror and terrorism in order to change laws and create havoc throughout the world
  • "The medium of TV is dying... use our web agency!" Invest now or your company will fail! Faillll!!
  • If you don't dye your hair you will look old and that 25 year old receptionist won't take you home tonight.

Is Rob, I hear you (possibly) ask... comparing the illegal invasion of Iraq to an ad for hair dye and hyped up Web 2.0 speeches? No. Well actually yes. Yes I am. Sort of. They all use fear to manipulate people, of course this fear is on different scales; but the principle is essentially the same.

Whilst sometimes there is room for comedic/artistic licence in dealing with some silly/consumerite fears; or where good evidence backs it up: "Don't miss out on this deal", "Only this cleaner kills all bacteria" etc ... The playing of real fears in such an unsensitive way is frankly insulting. If the consumer is your wife, then she is going to be pissssed off with you for being that rude and patronising.

What I would like to say here is this: Manipulative hard sell should be dead. Stone cold dead. Cremated and thrown into the dead sea. There is no use, no excuse, and no need for it in this day and age. This internet age means people will talk about it and appearing manipulative will start to bring your brand down, no matter how big you are. I suggest a War on Ad Terror...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Grey of Sunshine

Ah the terrible wonders of Just for Men advertising. Creeping out of the sludge of hard sell manipulative dirty old man land is this new gem.

Yet another interesting NPD idea killed by advertising so terrible that even Gillette wouldn't touch it. (Though they both come from the 'state the obvious and then make it more obvious then scream it til you pass out' school of hard sell that I hoped had died out 10 years ago.)

The only thing that this ad says to me about growing old is that baldness isn't as bad as you think when hair topped over 50's have to put up with this shite.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How to be a Music Fan in 2009

[Warning - severely pissed off language ahead]

If you want to be a fan of music and support it then there is only one solution. Be rich, realllly fucking rich.

There is no other way.

Touts and promoters are ripping the heart out of the live scene and turning gigs into a battle of who can afford it. Going to see any band that has a national following is now like Chelsea and Man City battling to sign an overpriced British midfielder.

Ticket prices appear to have rocketed over the last 2 years. I am pretty sure that attending a small to mid sizd gig has crept up between £6 and £15 for about 10 years. Suddenly I am paying £25 a ticket, plus £3 booking fee and £5 delivery charge, and £3 credit card fee and quite frankly gig going has been forced into the realms of theatre going and holidays where you have to plan months in advance and can only afford to go once a month.

That isn't helped by bands who decide a UK tour is London and Birmingham. Not only does it mean we have to pay for trains and hotels in order to go, it means the touts smell an opportunity, and in the UK its oh so easy to screw real fans out of money.

Lets take today. I ordered a cd from HMV in order to take part in a pre-sale for tickets.
  • 9am tickets go on sale at £40 each.

  • I load the page at 9.00, choose tickets, and it won't let me buy them.

  • I try again at 9.04 and it says four left, and it won't let me buy them.

  • 9.05 - sold out.

  • 9.50 - Listing for two tickets on ebay at £400.
Mother shit eating worse than Hitler slimy evil greedy fuckers...

Touts are now an unlawful tax on gig going. Not only do they make a fortune ripping off real fans, they take the tickets we were going to buy in the first place.

It's not just eBay. Seatwave is a 'fan to fan' ticket selling service. Well, no matter what the intentions, when a £30 ticket is going for £130; that's touting, regardless of whether it was a genuine purchase.

I propose a new law:

It should be legal to strangle touts with guitar strings until they give you tickets at list price.

I would even vote for David Wormface Cameron if he agreed to pass that one.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Deutsche Leistungsfähigkeit

I love these new print ads for VolksWagon Bluemotion, simple but amusing, informative yet absolutely in keeping with the brand.

After so many years, I love how DDB still makes these ads snappy and funny. A perfect example of how sticking with something that works can pay off. No switching to a new strategy or agency every 6 months.
The agency has got such a good handle on the style and tone of voice that almost everything it does is of great quality. Few agencies and few brands can match the consistency of the DDB/VW combination, it is one I think we should be proud of as an industry.
In a time when we are all to quick to criticise clients; kudos should go to VW for not rushing to the latest fashionable agency or succoming to 'New marketing manager who wants to change everything for no reason other than to make their mark' syndrome.

Via Cheshire cat

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Making your mind up

I really don't know what I think of this ad. The first time I saw it I was pretty confused when the brand came up, but after more consideration it starts to make a bit of sense.

For me the execution says more than the line does, the idea of breaking through boredom and gloom says far more about the station than the endline. You could take the line away and the ad says just as much, if not more by removing the need to think about the link instead of just absorbing the wonderful mood it makes.

Shame the unecessary line tarnishes something that otherwise is great.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Is this how certain agencies think staff should be treated?

I am fucking furious, and before I start let me just clarify three things:

1. This is NOT the agency I work at.

2. This is MY opinion and rage, the person in question has taken this with good grace and maturity.

3. The person/agency will remain nameless because it may be the fault of one person rather than the company as a whole. It would be unfair to label the agency as always acting in this way when I do know others whom it treats well.

A planner I know very well just got made redundant by their agency, and the manner in which they went about it is frankly disgusting, as well as a little confusing.

It appears (in nicer terms than I use) that this happened despite having a workload so big that it takes up his entire week (and more), and having just won two new accounts (one pretty big, the other bless his honesty he won't tell me because it hasn't been announced yet), both of which he worked on and one of which he was sole planner on.

So despite working at capacity for weeks on end (including a week where he worked 6 days for at least 10 hours a day; he gets called into a meeting in mid afternoon and told he is being made redundant and to leave the office. No warnings whatsoever, no time to sort things out, not even a few days to sort out his projects. Just in, gone, out.

Now I appreciate that agencies have to make people redundant when they lose accounts or their clients are spending less; but to do it in this manner is frankly disgusting. How little regard do you wish to show for your staff? How little care do you have about pissing off other members of staff?

So if you know an agency that treats their staff with respect, who need a clever person to help them win business. Please let me know, and I will pass on their details.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Beat Don't Hula

I love the new Hula Hoops ad. So simple but shows off the product in an inoffensive and funny way.

The right side of silly, and not following the current trend of ads going on far far longer than they need to.

If this were from Fallon it would probably be 80 seconds... [/inflamatory sarcastic comment]

Link from If this is Christmas then a blog is a what??

Useless Organisations

Are all city councils as hopeless as Manchester City Council?

I have never found anywhere so soul destroyingly bad to deal with. And I've used BT.

Let's look at their issues shall we?:
  1. Not sending bills, so the first notice I have of a bill is the final reminder
  2. Not sending receipts for previous payments (as agreed with them)
  3. Not sending complaint letters as asked for
  4. Operating a hopeless phone system, where you wait 4 minutes of messages and pre records only to be told "We are busy try again later" and get cut off. I don't like holds but for fucks sake.
  5. Said call system only opens 8.45 - 5pm Mon-Fri, making it impossible to call on a busy day. On quieter days all you get is the above.
  6. Operating a payment system where because the amount you pay at one time is not EXACTLY what is on the bill it doesn't get credited to your account despite it being paid.
Totally useless hopeless waste of taxpayers money inefficient badly run piece of shit. If a business was like this (excluding former monopolies) they would go bust.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Economies of Scale

I always feel rather mean criticising work for brands that generally do great work, and criticising ads that PR people have sent with genuine enthusiasm. But I just don't get the new Economist ad.

I mean, its nice enough. Far too long, but despite the nice visuals Let Your Mind Wander doesn't feel right to me as a line or idea. As a colleague here mentioned, they read it for a year and never felt like they were wandering: "no-one wanders through the economist. it's serious. much like you wouldn't wander through the stock exchange. you walk with purpose."

To me it's much more "Let your mind focus"...

So why talk about wandering? Well they clearly are going after a wider audience, people who want to understand this new crazy financial era, maybe wandering is more exciting than focus. But clarity, and understanding are far more compelling actual reasons to read the economist.

Sadly, its 'nice video, shame about the song' on this one...