Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Quite.

Quite.

Ah, yes, the F*** Ups keep rolling in: this one from the Newcastle area, where they have clearly developed a whole new way of recruiting the teachers they need.

As always, it just beggars belief that no one paid any attention to this when it was in preparation.

We guess that’s what happens when you don’t empower your staff to pipe up when they notice a mistake.

Or maybe no one noticed it, which is perhaps even more worrying.

college

 

Any more for any more, people? It does remind us of one of our all-time favourites, below. For more F*** Ups, just put “F*** Up” in the search box top left of this page and hit Return or Enter or whatever your keyboard says. There are dozens to enjoy.

 

Oh, those crazy whacky British private schools ...

Oh, those crazy whacky British private schools …

We’re just going to leave this here. Never let the printer do your proof reading for you.


Er. That’s it.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-1-58-32-pmlam-roastSad news today from Hollywood that Naomi and hubby Liev Schreiber are splitting up after 11 years together.

We had hoped they might be one tinseltown relationship to actually make it, as they obviously have a lot of time for each other and both seem extremely nice people.

Anyhow, we wish their family well as they tackle the situation as well as the inevitable Hollywood insider interest.

It just reminded us that Naomi first came to the world’s attention in this iconic Aussie TV commercial.

Her nascent talent shines out in the thirty second spot as do her natural, fresh-faced good looks. And her Aussie accent, which has now pretty much vanished.

It’s time we had another F*** Up. This one’s a doozey. I suppose we could call it a Suck Up.

Dear Marketing Manager – please remember that watching EVERYTHING about your brand is important, even where you stick the sign on the new delivery vehicle.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 1.36.01 pm

For more advertising and marketing F*** Ups, just put F*** Up in the search box top left: there are LOADS of them to enjoy.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 1.41.15 pm

Oh, while you’re at it, make sure you tell your media buying company to think about WHICH ad (or news story) your ad runs next to.

D’oh!

 

Who you calling a goat?

Who you calling a goat?

About time we had another advertising and marketing F*** Up to report to you.

To celebrate Chinese New Year, and it’s the Year of the Monkey this year of course, Woolworths in Australia are thoughtfully selling Chinese lucky bamboo with a cute Monkey picture. Seems a great idea. But as our good friend She Cao asks on Facebook, why have they written the Chinese character for “Goat” under the cute picture of a cheeky Monkey?

We think the people should be told. Woolworths? Care to comment?

Update: latest reports tell us the mistake is in Coles, too. Crikey!

For more F*** Ups, just pop F*** Up in the search box on the top left of this page, and go for your life. There are dozens on the blog. Enjoy.

 

The 25-year-old actress will front a campaign called Collection Eyes 2016 and has already posed for photographs with acclaimed photographer Mario Testino.

According to the fashion house, Kristen posed “for a series of portraits that incarnate the different facets of a contemporary woman” for the new campaign, which will debut in March.

There is no doubt that Ms Stewart is remarkably photogenic. We would happily watch her read the phone book while biting her lip anxiously. And we are rather taken with her obvious disregard for some of the conventions of “stardom”, although we also note she doesn’t seem to shy away from pulling down a few mill per movie. Not that she should, but sometimes we think the lady doth protest too much the stresses and strains of being one of the highest paid thespians of the current era.

We are, however, yet to see a performance from her that we would consider, frankly, to be great acting, let alone one of the best of her generation. Still Mr Lagerfeld is entitled to his opinion just like everyone. But she has undoubtedly cornered the market in moody/gawky.

We look forward to the campaign. It will be interesting to see how Testino uses what has become such an iconic face in modern Western culture – primarily through the success of the Twilight series of movies – to represent the “different facets” of contemporary woman.

Yes, Stewart has made the pouty, icy stare her own motif. And the ingenue “grin”. But both are a relatively niche “look”, and have been somewhat done to death by the fashion industry. Mainly, we suspect, because it’s hard to photograph deeper emotions well.

Anyhow, it is to be hoped that the new campaign is more than variations on a well-worn theme.

We expect we’ll see evenings of sparkling glamour, fast cars, business, moody sunset shots, beaches, industrial grunge, street scenes yada yada yada. And all well and good. Fashion is about fantasy, after all.

When we also see someone like Kristen photographed up to her armpits in soap suds doing the dishes or cleaning her baby’s vomit off her blouse then we’ll be really impressed with the representation of all aspects of “the different facets of contemporary woman”.

What’s the perfect way for a client to brief a creative ad agency?

magnumopus-2At Magnum Opus we are often asked this question, especially with new clients or in agency pitches, but some clients are often surprised by the answers.

They expect us to say “tell us everything we need to know, what medium it’s running in, all the technical details, and so on.”

And yes, whilst your agency needs to know these things, they’re often secondary to the real task at hand.

A brief can be a beautiful, encouraging thing, or a horrid straightjacket. The more it leans to the beautiful, the more likely it is you’ll get great work from your ad agency. The more of a straightjacket it is, the more you will get back a mirror image of your own brain. And in that case, why have an ad agency at all?

So the first cardinal rule of great briefs, is “don’t buy a dog and bark yourself”.

Here’s a clutch of quick rules to ensure you get a great ad or campaign from your agency.

Make your brief “media neutral”

Don’t decide in advance, “we need a thirty second radio ad, or we need a TV ad, or we need banner ads” or whatever.

media neutralYour ad agency, even if it doesn’t do your media buying for you, are usually experts in all types of media.

Tell them what message you need to communicate, and who you think you need to communicate it to, and let them advise you as to which media you should use, driven by both their strategic insights and their creative genius.

A massive one-word headline billboard with a killer pic, for example, may be the most dramatic and successful ad you’ve ever run. But if you tell the creatives in advance to think of a radio ad, you’ll never even see it across your desk.

Especially, don’t get your media buying agency to tell your creative agency what they need to produce. Nothing generates more bad advertising than a great idea squeezed into the wrong medium merely because the media agency has locked in too much of your media schedule ahead of time and are inflexible about changing it.

Don’t be too restrictive about target audiences

Creative people aren’t just creative about generating content. They can be creative in a business sense too.

Dart on Target and People

Note in the previous section that we said who you “think” you need to communicate your message to.

Sometimes target audiences are very tightly defined – but sometimes they can be too tightly defined.

Expect your advertising agency to analyse your product and service and have ideas about who you could sell it to, and sometimes to people you haven’t considered. Consumers who are actually way off your radar because you haven’t thought about how your product or service could apply to them yet, or simply because you are thinking about what constitutes “success” too narrowly.

Ask your agency to make you nervous. In fact, insist on it.

You may be brilliant at your job. But you might not necessarily spend your entire life drenched in media, music, comedy, art, and culture. Even many marketing managers come from other disciplines, or may be excellent administrators but not necessarily the most creative people in town. (Some are, for sure, but not all.)

concernedSo expect your agency to put up ideas that seem, at first blush, to be “out there”, a little wild, or not at all what you expected.

Indeed, if you’re getting what you expected from your ad agency, you are either briefing them too tightly, or they may (which is even worse) be dumbing down their output because you are consciously or subconsciously sending them messages that you don’t want very creative content, perhaps because you feel it’s too “risky”.

Creativity isn’t an end in itself, but it is used to punch through the complacency that surrounds most advertising – because most advertising is, frankly, rather dull. Isn’t it? But the best advertising is exactly the opposite. It’s striking, impactful, and attention grabbing.

We even have TV shows dedicated to the best advertising produced around the world – they are some of the most popular TV shows on any channel!

So ask for the best, and you just might get it. And if you don’t, change your ad agency.

And remember, the riskiest ad you will ever run is an ad that no one notices. Because you risk losing every cent you invested in it, and risk losing the sales that it didn’t generate.

Don’t write the ads for them

Especially don’t insist on certain pictures, shots or copy unless there is a very strong reason to do so.

Of course you can tell them certain details are mandatory, but don’t try and write the whole ad for them or lock them into a shape, format or tone that is so prescriptive that you are essentially stifling their abilities.

Need-Help-EditingIn any good ad agency you will find highly skilled artists, and some of society’s wittiest (in the true sense of that word, ie: intelligent) writers.

They have great professional pride, and contrary to popular belief in any good agency you’d be surprised how hard they work: you’d very likely be amazed how many ideas they reject before they get to the ones they show you, and no good agency works 9-5. Chances are, your creative people are thinking about your business all the time.

And just about everyone in any good agency is skilled at understanding consumer motivations and behaviour – they live or die based on their understanding of the market and the insights they can offer you.

Mass communication is their thing.

So tell them what you need to achieve, then get the hell out of their way, and let them do their job. If you don’t get what you need, that’s another matter.

Let your agency fail. As often as they need to, to offer you greatness.

Some clients seem to treat each brief for an ad agency as if it’s a test – “Let’s see how you do with this one, (insert maniacal laugh here), and if you get any part of it wrong, watch out!”

edisonThat’s a guarantee you will receive safe, un-inspirational and un-criticisable advertising. Which is advertising that will very likely under-perform, at best, or not work at all, at worst.

So make it safe for your ad agency to come to you with ideas that might actually be crazy (not just sound crazy at first hearing) but which also show that they are deeply passionate about your business and have the will to push the envelope to achieve great things on your behalf.

Very few ideas have zero merit at all – your agency will have weeded them out before showing you. So oftentimes a first-time failure will reappear with judicious editing and re-thinking as a new and brilliant solution.

Remember: if your agency is anxious about showing you the first idea, you’ll never see that second, refined one.

Last but not least, do you LIKE the people you’re dealing with?

Great relationships between client and agency invariably produce better work. Sometimes it’s that wine-soaked lunch where a brilliant idea pops up at 4pm. (Not always – or even often – but it does happen.) Sometimes it’s an in-depth, heartfelt phone call at midnight.

trustDo your agency welcome your input? Do they plug you with off-the-cuff ideas, proactively? And do they simply love talking about your business with you, drilling down for all sorts of details you didn’t think they’d be interested in?

That’s how you spot an engaged agency, and an engaged agency will always respond better to any brief you give them. So encourage them by discussing your brief with them, not just emailing it to them with a deadline.

And by the by, do they treat your money as carefully as you do? That’s the sign of an engaged agency, too.

Most of all, ask yourself, do you trust them? Deep in your gut. Because there are always bound to be hiccups, in any busy relationship. When those inevitable hiccups occur, are you on the same side? If you can’t answer yes to this question you shouldn’t be briefing them at all. Find someone you do trust.

Follow these simple rules, and your relationship with your ad agency will be more productive, more profitable, harder working, and much more fun.

Go for it!

Stephen Yolland, author of this article and this blog, has worked in advertising for more than 25 years. He is Director of Creativity Strategy at Magnum Opus Advertising in Melbourne.

OK. This is enough reason to have Pay TV. But only just.

Over the years, those so-obliging and ever-so-clever clever cable people have gradually got me to add more and more channels to my box, until now I have a vast incoming feed of every possible type of TV programme imaginable.

I have been talked into every money-saving pack on offer. My monthly Foxtel subscription now rivals the Greek debt.

I can now watch re-runs of Iron Chef America on three different channels. (Bobby Flay, if you make that chipotle sauce one more time I have you taken out, I swear. And what the fuck is chipotle anyway?)

I have seen every episode of “Extreme Fishing”  at least three times. (Admittedly Robson Green does make me laugh a lot.)

And watching early episodes of Midsomer Murders before John Nettles’ face became so rigidly, brilliantly expressive that he could convey the guts of an entire scene with just the tweak of one facial muscle and an exhalation of a long-held breath does give one an interesting insight into the growth of an actor’s craft.

But in general, what is served up is total crap. Last night, at 10.03 pm, I had to concede that there wasn’t a single programme on I wanted to watch, on any channel. Furtively, my eyes even travelled across the room to the bookshelf. I couldn’t, could I?

This is the bread and circuses of today. Mindless, brain numbing, threatening to drag one down into a morass, a pit, an abyss, filled with mental confetti and candy floss, drizzled with sticky engine oil, in which we become stuck, never to escape. Cloying, suffocating, deadly.

You can almost hear the executives and politicians chanting their mantra quietly as they watch us sitting in traffic jams on the freeway, gazing affectionately at us from their gleaming glass and steel eyries. Work hard, spend up big, go home, switch your brain off. Work hard, spend up big, go home, switch your brain off.

You know why they don’t need troops on the barricades to keep us quiet any more. They have pay TV.

Emilia Clarke as the Khaleesi in Game of Thrones

Turn it off. Go outside. You know it makes sense.

And its not even good crap. For every Game of Thrones (“Oh! Khaleesi! Be still my beating heart!”) we have to endure a “Restoration Nightmare”, “Vanished”, “Jersey Shore”, “Teen Mom”, “16 and Pregnant”, even some unbelievable pap called “Entertainment Tonight” – surely that show should be done under the Trades Descriptions Act?

And, of course, those fucking Kardashians – a cipher for our modern age if ever there was one – in any one of 17 universally brain numbing, over-made-up but subtly different incarnations. ” Where are we doing this series, Hun? I know, let’s do Paris!”

Anyway. (Deep breath.) So when I saw the artwork below, I am afraid I could not resist reproducing it.

Feel free to do the same, on WordPress, Facebook, wherever. And well done to whoever is behind Ryotiras.com, who dreamed it up, I guess. One image can make all the difference.

Who knows, we could start a small revolution. Or a big one. I am even going to positively discriminate against advertisers who allow their ads to be run – ad nauseam, as if that helps – in the middle of TV shows with no redeeeming social, artistic, news or dramatic content, merely because the shows “deliver” an audience. The fact that the audience is half-sitting, half-lying, in a catatonic near-brain-dead state incapable of taking in information because their alpha and beta waves have been driven inexorably downwards to a negligible level is all the more reason to boycott those who support such nonsense.

Yes, I know it’s all a matter of opinion. But you know what? I’ve spent a lifetime honing my opinions, and they count.

A scientific survey will not be required. I will make my own mind up. If millions of us switched brands because we resent advertisers wasting their margin (which is passed onto us as consumers as increased prices, of course) by advertising in the middle of shows that merely pollute our lives then sooner or later they’d actually look at the schedules provided by their media buying agencies and express an opinion. Starved of funds, the worst shows would struggle. And eventually close.

Every act of resistance has meaning. This is mine. Join me?

You know it.

oh-really

 

It’s been awhile since we had a really good F*** Up to share, and we can feel your nervous anticipation, Dear Reader, so here is a new one for you. Ta-da!

 

cock flavour soup mix

 

Quality since 1922 indeed. We think that means since twenty past seven last night.

Believe it or not, this was seen on a BRITISH supermarket shelf by our eagle-eyed correspondent. Amazing.

As for which market segment might go hunting for this particular item, let us just say that our lips are sealed.

neuro-blissMeanwhile, I am not the only blogger driven nuts by the stupidities of packaging. The Flaklist kindly found this beauty.

As he says:

Oh good, my years of waiting have finally paid off.  At last, there’s a drink on the market that has married the shapely form of a butt plug with the distinctive colouration of a used condom.  That’s just what I’ve always said would make a beverage look irresistibly appetising.  Brilliant.

And you thought we are harsh!

Flaklist also takes aim at a series of packaging ephemera from Sainsbury’s in the UK.

Along the lines of health warnings like “Contains Nuts” being on a clear-wrap packet of peanuts, he bemoans the idiot extra comments advertising writers put on packaging in case we don’t, just, you know, get the point.

This is my favourite. Yes, when in doubt, say more. And more and more and more.

 

fruity

 

Refreshing and fruity.

Fruity (adjective) – having the taste or smell of fruit.

Raspberry (noun) – a type of fruit.

Incontrovertible (adjective) – using the term ‘fruity’ to describe a fucking fruit.

Junior marketing managers approving packaging detail, please note.

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.

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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:

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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.