Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Have you heard about the new road safety ad? You're about to.

Have you heard about the new road safety ad? You’re about to.

Big ups for this road safety spot from China, via Volkswagen, who are to be warmly congratulated for a brilliant piece of marketing that is not only attention-grabbing but also very relevant to their market.

At a stroke they become a good corporate citizen and get millions of people applauding their brand.

Smart.

 

At the Wellthisiswhatithink marketing guru training school, we are becoming increasingly interested in the potential for these very localised broadcasts of text messages as a marketing tool.

As we understand it, you can send a blast of messages out to all people nearby who have bluetooth enabled on their smartphone. The opportunity to grab people’s attention as they linger in (or pass by) any given locale is interesting to say the least.

Alright, alright: no one wants dozens of unwanted text messages turning up on our phones all the time. But that simply means adhering to what we have always known.

To be accepted, all advertising (whether it’s a TV ad, a billboard, a radio ad, or a text message) needs to combine relevance, useful information, and entertainment value – when entertainment value doesn’t necessarily mean ho-ho humour, but always means what we call inherent interest, which is usually delivered via enhanced creativity. Rule one of advertising: be noticed. Rule two: no-one was ever bored into buying anything.

This great ad triumphantly ticks both boxes.

(Sorry that the YouTube video comes up covered in banner ads – now that IS annoying. Just click them away, peeps.)

 

workoutAs we work in a creative environment, we probably spend more time than most thinking about how to preserve and enhance the capacity of our brains. In the advertising industry, you’re often said to be “only as good as your last idea”. Which is why this research echoed with us. Anything we can use to keep our ideas fresh and flowing is good news!

But, a brain workout?

Yep, it’s a thing.

Fact: We are outliving our brains. Life expectancy in the developed world is now about 80 years old. And the trend towards longer living is speeding up. With better nutrition, shelter and medical care, girls have a one in three chance of living to 100, while boys have one in four.

And the problem?

Well, our cognitive brain performance actually peaks in our early 40s. That means mental functions like memory, speed of thinking, problem-solving, reasoning, and decision-making decline in the last 30 or 40 years of life. Ironically, as we accumulate “life wisdom”, we gradually lose the ability to access it and use it. And as our population ages, and we retire nearer 70 than 60, for example, this becomes critically important.

The truth is most people don’t consider their brain health until they’re faced with injury, disease, or simply getting old. But just as we’ve come to realise that we can improve our physical health through diet and exercise, we can improve our cognitive health too.  It’s simply a matter of engaging in the right mental workouts.

Science now strongly supports the fact that our brains are one of the most modifiable parts of our whole body. Our brains actually adapt from moment to moment, depending on how we use them; they either decline or improve, and which direction they go depends on us and the way we challenge them.

exercising brainA research team at the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas at Dallas is working on how to improve brain performance at all ages, and their findings show that making our brains stronger, healthier, and more productive requires actually changing the way we use them every single day.  And that’s where daily changes come in.

Before we can really perform at peak levels with our brains, we all must first abandon toxic habits that are depleting brain resources, and also incorporate complex thinking into our daily routines.

So are you ready to make your brain smarter? Here are a few scientifically proven ways to do it.

Quiet Your Mind

“Don’t make rash decisions!” In a word, slow down. And give your mind a break, now and then.

Somewhere along the line, we’ve all been given that advice, and as part of our career has been “helping people to make better decisions more easily” with the business “decisions, decisions” we warmly applaud the idea. Unwonted speed in decision making is often a recipe for failure, and sometimes those failures can cascade disastrously through an organisation, when if a little time had been taken for reflection, and we had employed tried and tested decision-making tools, we would have made our chances for success much greater.

Why take a break? Well, the brain can often better solve complex problems when you step away to reflect on ideas and crucial decisions rather than acting without weighing choices.

Shhhhhhhhh.

Shhhhhhhhh.

A halt in constant thinking slows your mind’s rhythms, allowing it to refresh.

Put a knotty problem in your subconscious, be confident that a solution will occur to you – indeed, say, “my subconscious is going to solve this” out loud – and then forget about it for a while. More often than not, a solution will occur when you least expect it. Your subconscious mind will pop out an answer without you wearing yourself out worrying the problem to death.

As a simple rule to give your brain a chance to help you, employ a “Five by Five” principle where you take a break from whatever you’re doing five times a day for at least five minutes to reset your brain.

When we let our brain work behind the scenes, we have our best “a-ha!” moments. And don’t we all want more of those?

In the Wellthisiswhatithink dungeon we find ours occur in the shower. So often, in fact, that we sometimes take a long, hot, relaxing shower when we don’t really “need” one, because the insights seem to flow so easily!

Translate Your World

Move away from surface-level, uninspired thinking and eschew predictable thoughts by pushing past the obvious and really think.

There is so MUCH to think about. How do you decide what you MUST think about? Answer: synthesise.

There is so MUCH to think about. How do you decide what you MUST think about? Answer: synthesise.

For example, if you were asked what a movie was about, you, like most people, you would often give a play-by-play of events that occurred, full of detail.

But to boost brainpower, think instead of the major themes of the film and relate it to personal situations in your own life and how they apply.

As an exercise, think back on one of your favourite movies or books from the past year and generate five to eight different short take-home messages you can glean from it.

This consciously analytical or critical process, which is called “synthesised thinking”, strengthens the connections between different areas of our brains. Our brains actually become quickly jaded by routine – by driving through the treacle of vast amounts of information – since they were actually built to dynamically shift between details and the big picture. When you’re a cave man being chased by wolves, it becomes unimportant to be able to describe each wolf in fine detail, and very important to work our which one is closest to you and likely to catch you, and what to do about that. Get the idea?

Our brains also hate information downloading, so it helps to think like a reporter. What really matters in the story? Don’t get overwhelmed by information flow – in fact, demand that you are relieved from it.

When taking in large amounts of information, try to explain it in a few sentences. Kick off your meetings with provocative big ideas. Power important email messages with simple but thought-evoking subject lines.

Stop Multi-tasking. Really. STOP.

We have written before about how we are inundated with more and more tasks every day.

Nu-uh. Not going to happen.

Nu-uh. Not going to happen.

Relentless simultaneous input and output fatigues the brain and reduces productivity and efficiency. You may think that by doing two or three things at once – like participating in “corridor meeting” on your way to somewhere else while tapping out a couple of emails on your smart phone –  you are actually moving faster through your day. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Our to-do lists keep getting longer while performance and accuracy slip. So, when working on higher-order thinking tasks that matter, allow your focus to be completely uninterrupted for at least 15 minutes at a time and then gradually increase the length of those intervals.

And remember – you can never do everything. There will always be “something” on your list of things to do. Worrying about the length of the list is a sure-fire way to increase your stress, and stress reduces your ability to think clearly.

So prioritise your lists, and be comfortable with the fact that “everyone dies with something on their list”.

Move Your Feet

Recently published research shows that aerobic exercise stimulates positive brain change and memory gains faster than we previously thought possible.

Adding regular aerobic exercise that elevates your heart rate to your routine at least three times a week for an hour won’t just help with physical health, it will also increase brain blood flow to key memory centres in the brain and improve our memory for facts. When you combine complex thinking with aerobic exercise, brain health benefits are amplified. You don’t have to become a gym junkie – a brisk walk round the block or your local park is an excellent choice.

Works just as well in an office as it does on a 747.

Works just as well in an office as it does on a 747.

And here’s a thought: if you really can’t get away from your desk, what about doing some of those “sitting in your place” exercises that they now recommend to help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis on aircraft?

Roll your neck, shrug your shoulders, shake your hands, waggle your feet, push them up and down.

Anything that improves circulation and muscle use will help your brain, too.

Action this day.

Until recently, we thought that cognitive decline was an inevitable part of getting old, but the good news is that’s officially not the case.

Toxic physical and mental habits and a life on autopilot are key culprits for unnecessary cognitive decline. Research has shown that healthy adults who use these strategies can regain lost cognitive performance, improve blood flow in the brain, speed up communication between its regions and expand its structural connections.

See results fast!

Just like all those ads for food supplements and gym memberships, you can actually evoke some of these positive changes in a matter of hours. Adopting this new, healthier way of thinking translates into immediate real-life benefits that support our ability to make decisions, think critically, reason and plan.

In other words, shaping your brain by engaging in the right kind of daily mental exercise has the power to reverse brain aging and actually make you smarter, more creative, and less stressed.

So boost your brainpower! You have nothing to lose, and much to gain.

This core of this article was originally written by Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD, author of “Make Your Brain Smarter,” who is founder and chief director of the Centre for Brain Health, and a Distinguished University Professor at The University of Texas at Dallas. Wellthisiswhatithink has added to it substantially.

 

Seeing as how, like, we work in the good old ad industry thingy to earn a crust, we have remarked many times how in today’s wired-up world one unhappy incident can turn into a worldwide embarrassment.

Ryanair: today, it's all about the, er, cock up.

Hmmmm.

We can spend millions on advertising and marketing, but it takes just one dis-satified, disgruntled customer to start a hare running that can cause lost custom, a trashed brand, and a story that could run and run for weeks or months, running out of control into the darkest and unreachable corners of the world wide interweb.

One such story about a complaint letter sent to Ryanair was posted to Facebook on April 25th, by James Lockley, and is rapidly going viral, apparently. Indeed, people are re-posting it on their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts pleading with people to help the story go viral.

Without commenting on the veracity of the content, the letter is also very funny.

Let us make this clear: we weren’t at Stansted airport with James and his missus so we can’t judge the bona fides of the story one way or the other, and in our experience there are always two sides to every story. Our interest is therefore not in the incident itself, but in how social media makes companies’ reputations vulnerable to customers with a gripe, and how they need to be aware of the risk and have plans to mitigate it.

The airline is apparently in touch with the customer. We await further news with interest.

For other F*** Ups just put F*** Up in the search box top left of the page – there are lots to enjoy …

And by the way, we would just like to note that this is the 700th blog on Wellthisiswhatithink – over the last couple of years we have enjoyed many thousands of hits and comments, with a more than healthy number of “followers” and lots of great interaction with you, our much-valued readers. We’d just like to say thank you, and keep reading!

police

 

This story in today’s Age (and many other newspapers around the world) is very amusing. Click the link if you have ANYTHING to do with business, advertising, marketing or communications.

http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/nypd-social-media-campaign-backfires-20140423-zqy75.html

We keep trying to tell people, you cannot do one thing in social media (or any other type of communications) and another thing in “real life”. It will come back to bite you. Big time. Just like NYPD, who got their “hashtag” hijacked, very embarrassingly.

Remember: the best “social media” your business or organisation can use is the oldest one of all. It’s called “Word of Mouth”. People who want to say nice things about you to their friends, family and colleagues, and do.

You don’t got that, you don’t got nuttin’. And if you got nuttin’, don’t broadcast the fact to the world.

Incidentally, social media messages are often left to the least senior member of a communications department while the marketing manager and other important people focus on the sexy stuff like TV commercials and big colourful press ads.

That would be a mistake.

To enjoy the full list of “F*** Ups” we have spotted, reported or re-reported, just put F*** Up in the search box on the top left of our page. Enjoy :-)

We only hope they’re ready for stiff competition.

 

Um.

Um.

 

When local water works closed streets to traffic, a pub sensibly decided to let customers know it was still open for business.

However, as this hilarious picture shows, it did not go exactly to plan.

As reported by the West Briton, its creator did not leave adequate space between the words ‘pen’ and ‘is’.

The sign has since been taken down from the pub, which is named after the local crown court. Nice looking spot for a pint, too.

 

wig-and-pen

 

To view our vast and growing collection of F*** Ups from the world of advertising, marketing, newspapers, packaging and a whole lot more, just put F*** Up in the search box top left. Enjoy.

I defy you to watch this without ending up in tears.

Utterly beautiful. Brilliant branding.

They deserve all the good that’s coming to them. If only – if ONLY – all marketing managers, and their ad agencies, understood why this is so powerful.

This is my “Ad of the Year” so far. What do you think?

Which one would you prefer, Sir? Left or right?

Which one would you prefer, Sir? Left or right?

 

Well, that’s the lad’s night in sorted, then. And all for under 25 quid.

We kew Essex girls were good value, but this is ridiculous.

 

I kinew the take away business was getting more competitive, but sheesh.

OK, so the take away business was getting more competitive, but sheesh. Strippers delivering your pizza? Really? (Come to think of it, that reminds us of a 1970s, er, ” movie” title.)

 

And hey – it’s not like a silly little SMS sent from an outlet in Southend is going to end up taking the piss out of our brand worldwide, is it?

For other glorious advertising, sub editing and packaging F*** Ups, just stick F*** Up in the search box top left. Enjoy.

One: do not put your ads where people can reach them.

Two: Never underestimate the genius of the common man.

20140330-121233.jpg

Put brain in here. Scrub thoroughly.

Put brain in here. Scrub thoroughly.

For years, I have been wracking my brains to tell people about a TV ad for whitegoods in the UK which I thought was utterly brilliant, in the way it used the brand name to drive home it’s core promise – which was durability.

But while I could remember the brand name and the kicker 25 years or so later … Ariston … and on-and-on-and-on … I could never find the ad. Now, thanks to http://www.headington.org.uk/adverts/index.htm I have finally tracked down the lyrics.

Released on New Years Eve, 1985 …

When you buy an Ariston Its guarantee is five years long, Last well past nineteen ninety-one … Ariston! And-on-and-on-and-on-and-on.

One million French think they’re très bon, Half million Germans can’t be wrong, From Italia to Bri-ton, Ariston … And-on-and-on-and-on-and-on.

Tune: Da-Da-Da by Trio

But wait, there’s more! To prove (if proof were needed) what a deeply obsessional person I am, I then found it on YouTube as well, although someone thinks it was a couple of years later. Anyhow:

Pure advertising genius. Enjoy. Better still, ask me to write you an ad as good as this.

Better still, ask me to write you a CAMPAIGN, instead of a just a one off ad. Like this:

(That’s enough washing machines – Ed.)

This Target swimsuit model has been the victim of some shoddy airbrushing. Photo: Jezebel

Ah, it’s been a while since we had a “F*** Up” column, so we gellefully (and rather irritatedly) report that American retailer Target has come under fire for digitally altering an image of a swimsuit model to make it appear she has a ‘thigh gap’.

A young model wearing the Target ‘Xhilaration® Junior’s Midkini 2-Piece Swimsuit -Leopard Print’ swimsuit has been the victim of some over-zealous and very clumsy Photoshopping.

Shoddy airbrushing crudely removed a chunk of the model’s crotch area to create the ‘thigh gap’, a supposedly desirable – but evidently very difficult to attain – physical feature for young girls to have.

The model also lost part of her right hip and the area under her armpit on the same side.

The eagle eyes of “Ethical Adman” spotted the retailer’s attempts to slim down its swimsuit model.

Critics have questioned the need to digitally slim down the perfectly attractive model in the first place.

And it’s no surprise that the image has been taken down from Target’s website.

It isn’t the first Photoshop controversy to hit the headlines this year. In January the decision by US Vogue to airbrush Girls creator Lena Dunham’s physique had everyone discussing the merits of digitally altering images that are published in the media.

While the jury is out on that one, Target’s poor treatment of its young swimsuit model is a clear Photoshop fail.

We say? Sack the agency. Sack the marketing manager. Well … at least chastise them thoroughly with whips of blazing fire. Both for the dreadfully incompetent work, and also for yet another silly and unnecessary attempt to create a world that doesn’t really exist – an effort which, across the fashion industry and retailers worldwide – creates body-image problems in girls everywhere.

Just for God’s sake stop doing it.

(From Yahoo and others)

Over here at the Wellthisiswhatithink dungeon we have made a living from writing for more than 25 years now, so we were fascinated by this excellent article from Carolyn Gregoire of Huff Post on the things that creative people do differently. Indeed, the Wellthisiswhatithink household comprises a writer, voiceover artist and speechmaker (er, that’d be yours truly), a leading glass artist, and an aspiring young actor with her own improv troupe. Close relatives have included an accomplished drawer of portraits, a member of the Royal Academy of Art, one of Australia’s leading watercolourists, and an amateur sculptor … so anything that explains the quirks of creative people is very helpful in surviving our somewhat unusual family!

When you work in advertising and marketing (areas where creativity, applied to a purpose, is supposed to reign supreme) people often ask us, frequently in a despairing tone, “what can I do to make my organisation more creative?”

In response, the Wellthisiswhatithink gurus always reply “Give your people room to fail.”

To be allowed to experiment and fail, even when that creates cost, is the critical pre-requisite of thinking (and acting) creatively. Thomas Edison, history’s most creative inventor and genesis of one of the world’s most powerful and profitable companies, tried over 1,000 filaments for the electric lightbulb before he found the right material to sustain light, and in doing so, made the world a brighter and safer place for millions of people.

He called them his “One thousand magnificent failures.”

egg crushed

So often, not always, but often, we observe the creativity being battered out of new joiners or junior staff by the (usually) older and more cynical bean counters that head up organisations. Creative people are not risk averse – bean counters and lawyers are.

When we let bean counters and lawyers run organisations they become increasingly stifled and fail to act with entrepreneurial flair.

People who create brilliant businesses are always creative thinkers. Sadly, as those businesses grow, as a result of the very risk-taking creativity that sets them on the path for success in the first place, they become riddled with ‘creativity cut outs” and increasingly bureaucratic, and much more prone to worried introspection than creative flair.

If you want to unleash creativity in your organisation, read this article and make a note of how creative people need to behave. And remember, they are the very lifeblood of your organisation, not a distraction.

Great article. Really. Read it. Specially if you run a company or anything else bigger than a knitting circle. Article begins:

Main Entry Image

 

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Neuro-science paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

They daydream.

daydreaming child

 

Creative types know, despite what their third-grade teachers may have said, that daydreaming is anything but a waste of time.

According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. McMillan, who co-authored a paper titled “Ode To Positive Constructive Daydreaming,” mind-wandering can aid in the process of “creative incubation.” And of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere.

Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 study suggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state — daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it’s related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.

They observe everything.

The world is a creative person’s oyster – they see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom “nothing is lost.”

The writer Joan Didion kept a notebook with her at all times, and said that she wrote down observations about people and events as, ultimately, a way to better understand the complexities and contradictions of her own mind:

“However dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I,'” Didion wrote in her essay On Keeping A Notebook. “We are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its marker.”

They work the hours that work for them.

Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up, and structure their days accordingly.

They take time for solitude.

solitude

 

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone,” wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May.

Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming – we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.

“You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it,” he says. “It’s hard to find that inner creative voice if you’re not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself.”

They turn life’s obstacles around.

Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak – and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art. An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically,researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and – most importantly for creativity – seeing new possibilities in life.

“A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality,” says Kaufman. “What’s happened is that their view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered at some point in their life, causing them to go on the periphery and see things in a new, fresh light, and that’s very conducive to creativity.”

They seek out new experiences.

solo traveler

 

Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind – and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.

“Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement,” says Kaufman. “This consists of lots of different facets, but they’re all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world.”

They “fail up.”

resilience

 

Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives – at least the successful ones – learn not to take failure so personally.

“Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein’s creative genius.

(Or as a Creative Director once appositely remarked to us, “Always remember, our job is to say “Imagine if you will …” to people with no imagination.” – Ed.)

They ask the big questions.

Creative people are insatiably curious – they generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.

They people-watch.

people watching

 

Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch – and they may generate some of their best ideas from it.

“[Marcel] Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books,” says Kaufman. “For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important. They’re keen observers of human nature.”

(And as John Cleese once remarked, “If you are calling the author of “A la recherche du temps perdu” a looney, I shall have to ask you to step oputside.” – Ed)

They take risks.

Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives.

“There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity and it’s one that’s often overlooked,” contributor Steven Kotler wrote in Forbes. “Creativity is the act of making something from nothing. It requires making public those bets first placed by imagination. This is not a job for the timid. Time wasted, reputation tarnished, money not well spent — these are all by-products of creativity gone awry.”

They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

self expression

 

Nietzsche believed that one’s life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life.

“Creative expression is self-expression,” says Kaufman. “Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires and uniqueness.”

They follow their true passions.

Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated — meaning that they’re motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.

“Eminent creators choose and become passionately involved in challenging, risky problems that provide a powerful sense of power from the ability to use their talents,” write M.A. Collins and T.M. Amabile in The Handbook of Creativity.

They get out of their own heads.

creative writing

 

Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work.

“Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present,” says Kaufman. “The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with theory of mind — I like calling it the ‘imagination brain network’ — it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking.”

Research has also suggested that inducing “psychological distance” — that is, taking another person’s perspective or thinking about a question as if it was unreal or unfamiliar — can boost creative thinking.

They lose track of the time.

Creative types may find that when they’re writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get “in the zone,” or what’s known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.

You get into the flow state when you’re performing an activity you enjoy that you’re good at, but that also challenges you — as any good creative project does.

“[Creative people] have found the thing they love, but they’ve also built up the skill in it to be able to get into the flow state,” says Kaufman. “The flow state requires a match between your skill set and the task or activity you’re engaging in.”

They surround themselves with beauty.

Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty.

study recently published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts showed that musicians — including orchestra musicians, music teachers, and soloists — exhibit a high sensitivity and responsiveness to artistic beauty.

They connect the dots.

doodle

 

If there’s one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it’s the ability to see possibilities where other don’t — or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.

In the words of Steve Jobs:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

They constantly shake things up.

Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane.

“Creative people have more diversity of experiences, and habit is the killer of diversity of experience,” says Kaufman.

They make time for mindfulness.

Creative types understand the value of a clear and focused mind — because their work depends on it. Many artists, entrepreneurs, writers and other creative workers, such as David Lynch, have turned to meditation as a tool for tapping into their most creative state of mind.

And science backs up the idea that mindfulness really can boost your brain power in a number of ways. A 2012 Dutch study suggested that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. And mindfulness practices have been linked with improved memory and focusbetter emotional well-being, reducedstress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity — all of which can lead to better creative thought.

One punch can killA 21-year-old Caloundra man has been charged with murder after the death of a Brisbane man on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Bruce Steenson, 53, died after he was allegedly punched in the head as he walked with a friend along the Mooloolaba Esplanade late on Friday night. He was taken to Nambour Hospital in a critical condition but his life support was turned off last night.

It is understood the attack happened when Steenson told a man arguing with a taxi driver to “give it a rest”.

Steenson was the former state president of the AFL Masters Football Queensland and a member of the National Hall of Fame.

His long-time friend Gary Mitchell says he was a great man and a mentor to many.

“For this to happen is just ridiculous. It should not happen,” he said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do about it but something needs to be done.”

boulevardDetective Inspector Daren Edwards says police are reviewing CCTV footage from nearby venues.

“This is an unfortunate one, it certainly didn’t occur in a licensed premises,” he said. “It happened down on the Esplanade on the street there. It’s a well-patronised area. Certainly it comes down to people’s own individual behaviour and actions.”

At Wellthisiswhatithink we are close to despair that the message that one punch can kill is simply not getting through to, and not getting through to young males, especially.

We need a cultural shift – and a cultural shift starts not with penalties and punishments but with public advocacy campaigns. And not just small, token campaigns – being seen to do the right thing – but massive ones, costing millions of dollars. This is a political issue, and it needs a political response.

We desperately need, as a society, to make “one punch” socially unacceptable. Government needs to do more than increase prison terms. We need to change the minds and souls of the young, for whom casual violence has become acceptable, for whatever reason.

This will not be done with half-hearted campaigns to quiet the critics. This will require a “whole of society effort”, led by the authorities. And the campaign needs to start NOW if we are to start to turn the tide. Before more people die, or are permanently incapacitated with brain injuries.

And before more 21 year olds throw away their life. And destroy their own families, too.

The bottom line? We should be able to take a stroll along the beach front – and we should be able to say “give it a rest” to someone being obnoxious – without risking death.

If you know of examples of anti-violence campaigns that have worked, please email them to us at steveyolland@yahoo.com.

(From AAP)

Sydney teenager Daniel Christie has died in hospital after being punched on New Year s Eve. 

Sydney teenager Daniel Christie has died less than two weeks after being punched to the ground on New Year’s Eve.

Describing Mr Christie as a “beacon of morality”, his family say he died on Saturday morning at Sydney’s St Vincent’s hospital.

“While no words can describe how crushed we are, Daniel fought courageously over the past 11 days which allowed everyone to say their farewells,” his family said in a statement issued by NSW police.

“His death has left us feeling completely destroyed and has torn a hole in the wider community in which he was involved.

“We have been overwhelmed by support and have felt the whole country experience our grief.”

The 18-year-old was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital in a critical condition after being punched in Kings Cross on New Year’s Eve.

Police say they expect further charges to be laid against his alleged attacker, Shaun McNeil, when he next appears in court in March. McNeil has already been charged with causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and three counts of common assault.

Police allege McNeil, 25, hit three young men before targeting Mr Christie and his brother, Peter, when the other young men tried to hide behind them.

McNeil, a labourer, allegedly boasted he was a mixed martial arts fighter before punching Mr Christie in the face as he shielded the other men.

Through his lawyer, McNeil has previously told a court that the first group of young men was trying to sell him drugs and he acted to protect his girlfriend who was with him at the time. He was unable to explain his actions towards the Christies, police facts previously tendered in court said.

A court has previously heard that doctors believed Mr Christie would probably have suffered a serious brain injury if he had survived the attack.

People have the right to go out without experiencing violence, the Christie family said.

“No family should be forced to deal with this situation, however we are not the first and we fear that we won’t be the last.

“We do not want Daniel’s death to be in vain and are committed to rallying for change. Daniel lived by the mantra: ‘If change can be, it’s up to me’ – and this is something we will always embrace.

Mr Christie’s organs will be donated, the family said.

Since Mr Christie was taken to hospital, there has been increased pressure on the NSW government to tackle alcohol-related violence on the late-night strip and introduce tougher sentencing for perpetrators.

In November, Thomas Kelly’s parents Ralph and Kathy started a petition calling for drunkenness to be a mandatory aggravating factor that must be taken into account in sentencing. 18-year-old Thomas Kelly died after being hit with a single punch in Kings Cross in July 2012.

The petition had about 25,000 signatures before New Year’s Eve.

But following the alleged assault on Mr Christie, that surged to more than 124,000.

Wellthisiswhatithink says:

We have urged Government before to take seriously the urgent need for community education on the issue of “king hits” and other assaults using fists.

The death rate from such events would now have to be categorised as “regular”. (See below.)

And each death is not only a life lost, but a family destroyed, and another life – that of the perpetrator – ruined forever.

Yes, one potential answer is to legislate for higher penalties. But frankly we doubt any stronger statutes need to be on the books. We need to be more imaginative than simply throwing away the key for longer. The Christie family have suggested that everyone should stop calling a “king hit” by that aggressive moniker and instead call it a “coward’s punch”. And that change in terminology may, indeed, help.

But Dr Paul Gruba, a senior lecturer in linguistics at Melbourne University, says changing a popular phrase such as “king hit” is not so simple.

“The crowd that is going to have to change are the ones pulling the king hits,” he told Crikey. “It’s going to have take government advertising and media support. And whether young males are going to change their discourse to shame one of their mates is a far-flung proposition.”

King hit victim Matt Pridham in Canberra Hospital, now trying to recover from brain injury. This photo was volunteered by his family in early December 2013 (Canberra Times)

King hit victim Matt Pridham in Canberra Hospital, now trying to recover from brain injury. This photo was volunteered by his family in early December 2013 (Canberra Times)

Gruba says the term would first have to find its way into the style guides of the mainstream press, but that would not be enough by itself to change the cultural argot. He points to the example of the term “sex worker” instead of “prostitute”, along with the way the media shapes its coverage of people with mental illness and those living with disabilities.

Gruba says the media is using “sex work” over “prostitution” in order to “make the individual more comfortable”. But he says even if the media began using “coward’s punch”, the general public would not necessarily do the same.

“I don’t know how powerful the media is any more,” he said. “It took years to change with feminism. The most successful cultural change was when George Bush decided not to call it global warming but climate change and he had the power to do it.”

Gruba says any change in the language of violence would have to come from the street. And he is right, in our estimation. But the first step is to get out on the streets, and learn how young people would phrase the campaign, and no one is doing that currently.

Whatever we do, there’s no doubt we need to address the topic of grog. Dr Jennifer Pilgrim, from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, agrees the community needs to change the way it views violence. But for her, changing society’s attitude towards alcohol and its misuse is more pressing than changing a two-word phrase.

“To curb alcohol-fuelled violence, we need to alter the drinking culture in Australia — particularly among young people,” she said. “Education campaigns, limitations on sponsorship and advertising of alcohol, and more research to support and guide prevention campaigns are key to a healthier future for Australia.” Pilgrim is the lead author of a report published in December that found alcohol was to blame in the majority of single-punch fatalities.

Whatever we need to tackle first, there is no doubt the scale of the problem. According to Pilgrim’s research, single-punch assaults have resulted in 90 deaths since 2000. That’s:

  • 3,450+ brain injuries from assaults, all people with families, all people with futures, every year. $24,760,000 in costs treating those people every year.
  • 394 faces repaired every year.
  • $1.4 Billion dollars is the cost to the Australian economy of assaults. Every year.

So where do we start? Well, the war against excessive drinking is going to be a long one, and will require a revolution in social organisation, especially in a country with a “nod and a wink” attitude to drunken-ness, and a climate which encourages both being outdoors while drinking refreshing beverages.

First step? In our opinion, quite simply, we need to make punching someone – anyone – as socially unacceptable as other anti-social behaviour has become over the years.

  • “Real men don’t hit women.”
  • “If you drink, then drive, you’re a bloody idiot.”
  • “Knives scar lives.”
  • “Real heroes walk away.” #heroeswalkaway

We will never eradicate all “king hit” tragedies, of course. But some we will. Which is why, as a communications professional, I plead with our State Governments to take the lead in implementing age-appropriate messages to the target market. I know the advertising agency in which I work would jump at the chance to suggest a campaign.

We know that public advocacy campaigns work, especially against the younger age demographics that consume so much media. So for the sake of the young men who will die if we don’t take action to turn this tide, please, ACT NOW. Back a no-holds-barred, hard-hitting campaign with serious dollars, in main media. Make the campaign at least as impactful as the crime they seek to avert. All puns intended.

Really. Enough is enough.

Enough is enough.

Enough is enough.

Related reading/viewing:

ABC Radio

Call it a sucker punch? HeraldSun

customersYears ago … deep in the last millennium … the Managing Director of the ad agency I worked for stuck a photocopied note on the wall outside the door of his office.

It read “If there’s anything a customer loves more than a reactive agency, it’s a pro-active agency”.

Time and again in the last 25 years we have had cause to reflect on those words, and to consider how right he was. Customers stay with agencies that don’t wait to be asked to help. Customers move to agencies that demonstrate initiative.

Then again, there was an interesting counter-intuitive moment in the Wellthisiswhatithink household over breakfast this morning.

Mrs Wellthisiswhatithink’s cellphone rang, and it was our local estate agent. About a year ago we asked them in to give us an idea of what the house might be worth, in case we decided to sell. (We didn’t.) Since then we have received Christmas cards, Easter cards, birthday greetings, and even once, chocolates.

After politely informing the realtor that we weren’t selling anytime soon, he obviously chanced his arm a bit and kept talking. “Look, we’re really not interested.” Mrs W warmed to her task. “Would you please take us off your list? Yes, off your list altogether. Thank you.”

customer puzzleSo much for “Customer Relationship Management” systems.

I can’t really fault the professionalism and interest shown in us by the poor chap.

We just popped up on his computer screen once too often and he tried a bit hard.

I have often wondered how much pro-active contact from companies is too much. It’s a fine balancing act, to be sure.

Anyhow, coincidentally, later in the morning, (when you’re pregnant all you see is babies, right?) at the Wellthisiswhatithink desk we wandered across these comments in a business2community.com discussion on the topic:

“As companies adjust to the emergence and convergence of both new and more customer service channels, reactive customer service remains the day-to-day norm for most organisations. But taking steps to move from predominantly reactive service and support delivery, to reactively proactive, to proactive can make all the difference in increased customer satisfaction and retention, establishing a differentiator for the brands that can (even at times) delight in this manner.”

Interesting. The article continued:

“According to a recent Harris Interactive survey of more than 2,000 consumers, 87% of U.S. adults are receptive to being proactively contacted by an organisation when it comes to service and support. Nearly three-quarters (73%) who have had a pleasant surprise or positive experience with proactive communication from a brand report they had a also positive change in their perception of that organisation; 62% said they took action as a result of that positive experience.”

Yet the same article reported that only 29% of enterprises are investing in proactive outbound communications, even though customer expectations for real-time updates and information may be steadily increasing, and new service channels such as social and mobile are making it easier than ever to reach out proactively at scale.”

The article went on to make these suggestions for making a move to more proactive customer service:

social media

1. Provide Alerts and Updates.

Use channels such as mobile, social, IVR messaging and Knowledgebase/FAQ updates to provide reactively proactive (great) or proactive (even better) information and updates about service and product statuses.

For example, utilities companies could use the above-mentioned channels to proactively alert and update customers on outages and estimated service restoration times. Retailers could alert customers as to shipping specials, price reductions, product availability or recalls, and airlines can proactively update passengers regarding delays, cancellations or weather announcements. In the USA Delta Airline’s mobile app, for example, proactively delivers flight notifications and allows customers to re-book without having to call or wait in line at the airport. All of these proactive communications can reduce high call or email volumes as well as social media complaints.

2. Make Money or Time-Saving Suggestions.

While predictive analytics have been a topic of conversation for many years now in customer service, the technology to make full use of them is now catching up. A great example of this anticipatory service is Google Now, which combines information that Google knows about you from the devices you use, your location and your online searches to suggest information you might need before you even need it, whether that’s weather, traffic information or the nearest metro station. Brands can apply the same analytics to dramatically improve the customer experience.

Historic analytics can also be used to save customers money, which typically results in delight. Whether it’s an adjustment in utilities usage based on the customer history, or notifying a customer who has placed and then removed a pricey electronics device from their online shopping cart three times that it is now on sale, this proactive customer communication can foster enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty.

3. Reach Out with a Random Act of Kindness.

Where brands can impact the individual customer experience and deliver delight is through random acts of kindness. Provide customer service representatives with a 15 to 30 minute window each day to reach out to at least one customer whether that’s by phone, email, social media or what have you, just to say thanks for being a customer, happy birthday, hope your day’s going well, or to even present them with a discount or small thank you.

The brands that make this extra effort to deliver small unexpected kindnesses with no expectations will master what customers are craving from today’s big brands: authenticity, care and delight created by a small human kindness.”

Well, we’re not so sure. We can’t fault the logic. We can’t fault the intent. And we’re sure pro-active marketing is going to employ a lot of people in coming years.

But we are tempted to also wonder whether marketeers risk merely adding to the information overload that we all suffer from, and producing the exactly opposite result to that which they intended.

Maybe it’s just that pro-active marketing is a bit like salt in the marketing stew. Just the right amount brings out all the great flavours of everything else. Too much, and the whole thing becomes inedible. And ensure the pro-activity suits the character, likes and dislikes of your audience.

Leave chocolates on my doorstep whenever you like. Don’t ring over breakfast.

(In his “day job”, the author of Wellthisiswhatithink is a marketing and advertising consultant working for one of Melbourne’s leading ad agencies, Magnum Opus, see:magnumopus.com.au. To chat to Steve Yolland about proper grown-up paid advertising advice or to sample his communications knowledge, or maybe to get an opinion on your organisation’s current public profile, just email him on yolly@magnumopus.com.au.)

One of the lesser known and more interesting features of the social media Leviathan that is Facebook is that every year they release some country specific data allowing us to see what different parts of the world are talking about.

They have just released their Australian data today, along with about 20 other major countries.

Most talked about topics (by Australian Facebook users):

1. Vote
2. Kate Middleton
3. Cricket
4. Kevin Rudd
5. Grand Final
6. Election
7. GST
8. Lions
9. Tony Abbott
10. Big Brother

Most talked about Global Topics:

1. Pope Francis
2. Election
3. Royal Baby
4. Typhoon
5. Harlem Shake
6. Flood
7. Miley Cyrus
8. Boston Marathon
9. Tour De France
10. Nelson Mandela

Most talked about Entertainment Topics:

1. Big Brother
2. The Voice
3. One Direction
4. Breaking Bad

Most popular Check-in Location in Australia:

1. Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

What does this tell us about ourselves?

Well, we’re sport obsessed. Duh.

We have an active and abiding interest in politics – read, in expressing our opinion – and social media is increasingly where we do it.

We seem surprisingly to still be very interested in “the Royals”.

And Miley Cyrus is, well, Miley Cyrus. We live in terror that the twerking popette will be chosen as Time Person of the Year.

Reviewing the full Facebook 2013 year in review is a fascinating glimpse into what “real people” are interested in.

Worldwide, our most commonly posted life event is a relationship. Getting married, engaged, or being “in a relationship”. How we perceive ourselves in a social sense is clearly an important part of our self-awareness that we wish to broadcast. And interestingly, sport in general seems markedly less important in Asia than it is in Europe or countries that “grew out of” old Europe.

Anyhow, you can checkout the Facebook annual report, including data from many other countries, here: http://www.facebookstories.com/2013/en-en

One of the quirks of this year’s results is the persistent success of “The Harlem Shake”. This silly internet meme was essentially tens of thousands of thirty second dance videos uploaded to YouTube worldwide. Always following the same format, the massive success of the videos was in part attributed to the anticipation of the breakout moment about halfway through the videos, and their universally short length, making them very accessible to watch.

The Washington Post opined that the meme’s instant virality by referring to the jump cuts, hypnotic beat, quick setups, and half minute routines. At Wellthisiswhatithink we were a little more cynical: the success is largely attributable to people having too much time on their hands and too little to do. Bah, humbug.

The Harlem Shake is technically very easy for fans to reproduce, as it consists of a single locked camera shot and one jump cut. Nonetheless, the simplicity of the concept allows fans considerable scope in creating their own distinctive variant and making their mark, while retaining the basic elements. In its simplest form, it could be made with just one person; a more sophisticated version might even involve a crowded stadium. Moreover, there is a level playing field for celebrities and fans alike, with no guarantee of success for either group. There is a strong vein of humour running through each video that is not dependent on language, further increasing its potential to spread virally.

Sample the best of the worst here. And a warning, this is four and half minutes you’ll never get back.

 

 

(In his “day job”, the author of Wellthisiswhatithink is a marketing and advertising consultant working for one of Melbourne’s leading ad agencies, Magnum Opus, see: magnumopus.com.au. To chat to Steve Yolland about proper grown-up paid advertising advice or to sample his communications knowledge, or maybe to get an opinion on your organisation’s current public profile, just email him on yolly@magnumopus.com.au …)

Have a look at this. Really, seriously, watch it.

This is what’s known in the advertising industry as a “demonstration” commercial. The simple point being made – unmistakably, single mindedly – is that Volvo trucks have good steering. Which one supposes is quite important when one is manoeuvering something weighing roughly the same as a small planet around congested roads.

But you know what? Almost every single truck and car executive I have ever met in Australia (and I have met more than a few) would have rejected this idea as “too cutesy, too clever, too obscure”.

They would have gone, instead, for some mind-numbing boring crap about trucks barreling round the Great Ocean Road while the 200lb nugget-jawed driver didn’t spill his coffee. And they wouldn’t let you make a 60 second commercial, either. Not enough rotations on the media buy. Oh dearie me, no.

A life revived. Hurrah.

A life revived. Hurrah.

So anyway, embracing a sudden and delightfully unexpected attack of advertising genius, instead Volvo went out and made this ad with resurrected martial artist and movie star Jean Claude Van Damme, famous for doing the splits between a pair of chairs and so on, and they stuck it onYouTube.

In an instant – well, in exactly one week, actually – 33 MILLION people have viewed it, (how’s that for a media buy, for free, huh?) and as a result will have re-evaluated Volvo in their mind into something approaching quite a cool brand, really, and they’ll have got the message about their trucks’ suspension, and, by the by, have revived their interest in JCVD himself.

Which is good, because the much-admired Belgian has beaten a severe cocaine addiction, a spell as a homeless derelict, and is getting his life back on track. If you’ll pardon the pun. So well done him, too.

And most of all, well done a courageous Volvo marketing manager, who just deservedly became a hero. The clip is called “The Epic Split”. I call it the Epic Idea.

All other truck companies, take note. Actually, all other advertisers take note, full stop. Pay your ad agencies to come up with truly creative ideas, and then get the hell out of the way and let them execute them for you. Stop writing your own tedious ads, and asking ad agencies to produce them, and then wondering why they don’t work.

So there.

One of the most famous “demonstration ads” of all time is regularly shown to advertising trainees, to encourage them to push and prod their clients for facts that they can actually include in their ads in an interesting manner, to make powerful messages that both excite and educate.

But in my certain experience, many companies then and today simply do not think hard enough about their competitive advantages, and encourage their ad agency to discover them and communicate them. They are risk averse, and unimaginative. Or their multi-million dollar ad budget is actually administered by a “marketing manager” whose status in the company is low – way behind the bean counters and lawyers – and who is straight out of an academic marketing course, and therefore cheap to employ, and very unlikely to “shake the boat” internally to argue for breakthrough creative work..

Marketing should lead a companies’ activities. It should be their ever-present obsession and treated with fanatical seriousness. For those where that is true, greatness beckons.

And if you’ve never been involved in advertising and marketing, (or, perhaps, especially if you are), we warmly recommend you take ten minutes and watch this genuinely hilarious skewering of the whole agency/client so-called creative process. Colin Mochrie’s character as the ultimate decision maker on the campaign is just a marvellous vignette. Mochrie is still going strong in the ever-fascinating ever-evolving world of Improv in which Mss Wellthisiswhatithink Jnr is now taking great strides. Funny, funny man. It was made in 2000, but was just as poisonously accurate in 1960 as it is in 2013.

Needless to say, and I hasten to add, no client or agency or production company I have EVER worked for or with in my 25 years in the ad industry has behaved like this.

Never, ever, ever. Ever.

"You know what, Jean? it's just ... just ... something's nagging at me ..."

“You know what, Jean? It’s just … just … something’s nagging at me …”

At the Wellthisiswhatithink coalface we are in a very generous mood today. It’s been a wonderful weekend, and we return to the keyboard full of the joys of Spring, and pleased to report that the little pump in the newly installed goldfish pond is working, thanks to the loving care and persistence of Mrs Wellthisiswhatithink when yours truly was more than happy to chuck the damn thing in the bin. Little tea lights now hang in the cherry tree over the new pond, and all the wonderful dark purple petunias have taken. It looks like a good crop of apricots this year too, thanks to excellent rain.

In short, all is good in the Wellthisiswhatithink paddock.

So, wiping out Lord knows how many future posts with complete abandon, we are chucking caution to the winds and are going to give you a whole bunch of advertising and layout F*** Ups, just to start the week off right.

We can’t believe how they just keep on coming. And thank you so much, Simon, for these.

Always remember, Dear Reader, all donations gratefully received.

Meanwhile, publishers, try and get your sub editors, journalists and advertising departments to talk to each other, you lazy buggers.

On the other hand, thanks for the laughs.

 

I've always had my suspicions about Winnie. Far too bloody nice,

I’ve always had my suspicions about Winnie. Far too bloody nice.

 

We are reasonably sure one was involved at some point, but do you have to rub it in. So to speak?

We are reasonably sure one was involved at some point, but do you have to rub it in. So to speak? No-one saw this? Really? Sheesh.

 

Or this? Poor girl. Her mother will be delighted.

Or this? Poor girl. Her mother will be delighted.

 

Memo to Russian newspaper. You have to put the photos in, not just the placeholders. Wonderful stuff, new technology, eh, Boris?

Memo to Russian newspaper. You have to put the photos in, not just the placeholders. Wonderful stuff, new technology, eh, Boris?

 

The dangers of asking your idiot ad agency for "web ready copy".

The dangers of asking your idiot ad agency for “web ready copy”.

 

She's very tolerant, obviously. How to take the gloss off a Royal Wedding.

She’s very tolerant, obviously. How to take the gloss off a Royal Wedding.

 

Hooray! Duck!

Hooray! And, er. Duck!

 

Yes, well. What else could one say?

Yes, well. What else could one say?

 

Sometimes, you even have to worry about how the article will stack in the dispense box.

Sometimes, you even have to worry about how the article will stack in the dispenser box.

 

We finish with our two favourites. This magnificent cover fail reveals, when read carefully, the importance of those little things like commas.

We finish with our two favourites. This magnificent cover fail reveals, when read carefully, the importance of those little things like commas. Little wonder Rachael looks so healthy with such a diverse diet. We think “Tails” magazine should be renamed “Fails”.

 

And last but not least, the power of the Leading Cap. I think you can discern the sub editor's view of these departing journos quite clearly.

And last but not least, the power of the Leading Cap. I think you can discern the sub editor’s view of these departing journos quite clearly.

 

More soon. Meanwhile, which is your favourite of this crop?

If you want to check out the whole history of the F*** Ups, try these:

The other F*** Ups we’ve spotted, if you missed ‘em.

Where words fail. Entirely. And wonderfully: http://wp.me/p1LY0z-H7

Naughty schoolgirls celebrated by Headmistress: http://wp.me/p1LY0z-zy

The world’s stupidest billboard placement: http://wp.me/p1LY0z-gX

Not the holiday anyone would really want: http://wp.me/p1LY0z-hJ

Two for the price of one: http://wp.me/p1LY0z-13P

Stores abusing innocent shoppers: http://wp.me/p1LY0z-j8

The most embarrassingly badly worded headline in history: http://tinyurl.com/7enukvd

Oh, those crazy whacky country McDonalds eaters: http://tinyurl.com/83vgpng

And a burger we think we KNOW you’re not going to want to eat. http://wp.me/p1LY0z-14r

The amazingly handy father: http://wp.me/p1LY0z-vM

When Boy Scouts go bad: http://wp.me/p1LY0z-1lC

What you really didn’t need to know about your chef: http://wp.me/p1LY0z-1Co

Enjoy! Please feel free to share.

So another week has hurtled by, and it’s Friday. Well it is in Australia anyway. Time for a laugh or three.

Some of the funniest Advertising F*** Ups aren’t visual. They are in the mis-translations from one language into another. No, not the mangled English on menus – though Lord knows they’re great – but what happens when a professional marketer just, er, gets it wildly wrong. Here’s a selection of the best of the best

1. Coors put its slogan, “Turn it loose,” into Spanish. Where sadly it was read as “Suffer from diarrhoea.” We all know to our costs that enough beer can do that, but really?

2. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.” What might have worked well and wittily in Europe definitely produced a wry raised eyebrow or two in America.

3. Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick”, a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that “mist” is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the “shit stick.”

4. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the beautiful Caucasian baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa companies routinely put pictures on the label of what’s inside, since many people can’t read. Oops.

5. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue … which was also, confusingly, the well-known name of a notorious porno magazine.

6. An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope`s visit. Instead of “I saw the Pope” (el papa), the shirts read “I saw the potato” (la papa). Unless they really meant potato, in which case, wtf?

7. Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” translated awkwardly into “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”, in Chinese. Given the cultural horror surrounding ghosts in Chinese culture, Coca Cola couldn’t have been more delighted.

8. Frank Perdue`s chicken slogan, “it takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” was translated into Spanish as “it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.” And … we’re going to leave that one right there, thank you very much.

9. When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, “it won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” Instead, the company thought that the word “embarazar” (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad basically read: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.” Phew.

10.  And, in Mexico, after a year of awful sales Chevrolet discovered back in the 1970s that “Nova” – the name of a popular car in the USA – in Spanish simply means “does not go.”

11. In an attempt to extend the success of its “Got Milk?” campaign from the U.S. to Mexico, the American Dairy Association’s Spanish translation for its famous “Got Milk?” slogan was “Are You Lactating?”

12. In a promotional campaign for UK-owned “Schweppes Tonic Water” in Italy, a mistranslated advertising copy encouraged thousands of Italians to mix their gin with “Schweppes Toilet Water.” Thirsty anyone?

13. In 1987 when American fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) opened their first restaurant in China, they accidentally translated KFC’s famous slogan literally and so “Finger-lickin’ good” when translated to Chinese read: “Eat Your Fingers Off!”. Nice mental image.

14. In Germany, when Starbucks launched its ‘latte’ and encouraged coffee lovers to ‘Enjoy your morning Latte’ many locals found it amusing because while latte means ‘milk’ in Italian, in German it is a slang term for an erection. Who knew? Well, someone should have.

15. Oh those crazy, wacky Swedes. Naming a work bench meant for children “FartFull” wasn’t the greatest idea in the world. In Swedish, “Fartfull” simply means “speedy” but in English …

But surely the best ever example was Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi naming a car the Pajero in spanish-speaking markets in South America.

In most parts of Central America and the Spanish Caribbean (and Chile as well) to masturbate is to pajearsePajero, or pajillero (“one who does paja“) in Spain, is therefore a masturbator (wanker) and also can imply a weakling or a fool, due to a cultural association of masturbation with mental weakness.

Worse: in certain regions, such as Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, pajero (fem. pajera) can also refer to someone who is lazy (similar to the American English sense of a “jerk-off”). And in Guatemala and Honduras it means “liar”. In Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, and El Salvador, hablar pajacan “to talk nonsense”.

Helplessly, Mitsubishi explained that Pajero was derived from a South American wildcat, but the car became a running joke. In the Americas and in Spain, the vehicle was rapidly rebadged as the Montero, but the mistake has passed into cultural history.

One can’t imagine why: “Buy this car, and announce to the world that you’re a lazy, weak, good for nothing, habitually lying wanker who talks nonsense” was at least original.

But it wouldn’t be Wellthisiswhatithink if we didn’t offer you a clutch of FAIL visuals as well. So here you go. Bonus time. Have a great Friday, everyone. And don’t write any silly ads.

Well, at least Police will know where to find them ...

Well, at least Police will know where to find them …

No, Mohammed. No, No, No. Badly advised.

No, Mohammed. No, No, No. Badly advised.

Always supervise your photographer closely.

Always supervise your photographer closely.

But the winner of this round is …

"Hey Boss, I got this great idea, why don't I put the headline over the water and put a reflection is, you know, so, like it's really there, in the water, you know ..." "Listen Son, you're the trainee, how you going to learn if I look at everything. Anyway, I'm off for a round of golf with the publisher now. Make a call, for fuck's sake." "Right-ho, Boss!"

“Hey Boss, I got this great idea, why don’t we put the headline over the water and put a reflection it, you know, so, like it’s really there, in the water, you know … it’d be cool.” “Listen Son, you’re the trainee, how you going to learn if I look at everything. Anyway, I’m off for a round of golf with the Editor now. Make a call, for fuck’s sake.” “Right-ho, Boss!”

crab.jpg

Ok, you know what the guy writing the ad on his home computer MEANT to say. He got his clip art sorted out, his rudimentary page layout programme was working fine, and he typed and typed for all he was worth, with all those lovely different typefaces and sizes, bless him.

And then right at the last minute, just as the rep from the local newspaper was calling round, he remembered that one last vital thing he had to say, so you know what? Let’s give it a screamer pull out! Brilliant!

Oh dear.

Oh dearie dearie me.

20130920-163636.jpg

There has been a lot of hoo-hah in Australia in recent days over an Elle McPherson Intimates catalogue that shows a woman in what some women argue is a demeaning position. The photo in question is here:

Elle McPherson shot creates uproar

The assumption is that the woman on the floor has been the subject of domestic violence, although some have also wondered if she was doing a “line” of coke or simply trying to get a stain off the carpet.

The furore reminded me of this billboard from a couple of years ago:

Voodoo Men Dogs

At the time, a complaint against the billboard (one of some 60 received) was dismissed because the powers that be regarded it as a “satirical comment on a patriarchal society”.

Which I frankly call “bullsh*t”. The billboard is clearly sexist, and in our view fighting fire with fire only results in, er, bigger fires.

For what it’s worth, I think the McPherson pic is yet another example of “Dom-Sub chic” neo-porn, which given the runaway success of a book (I use the word cautiously) like Fifty Shades of Grey seems hardly a surprising tactic, and which is popping up everywhere.

Fashion? Porn? Erotica? How do you tell? Does it matter?

Fashion? Porn? Erotica? Just great photography? How do you tell? And does it matter? Why?

The recent story from the fire brigade bemoaning how many times they’re called on to free people from handcuffs where they’ve left the key out of reach would seem to imply that what might once have been considered extreme has become more mainstream, albeit somewhat incompetently.

Heigh ho, Whatever gets you through the night.

What is clearly impossible to ascribe to any such image, of course, is any sense or understanding of “consent”, or otherwise. Because a woman (or man) assumed to be adopting a consensual submissive role might be acceptable, whereas a depiction of a rape or other anti-personal violence clearly would not. (Well, not in our opinion, anyhow.) But how does one know from a still image?

How on earth the reader or viewer is intended to work out the difference, sometimes, is quite beyond our ken.

Any thoughts or suggestions?