Last Tuesday morning I lurched off the plane from New York and whizzed off to the City to make a speech for the Market Research Society. This was not deliberate; just bad planning by this old fool.
I began by commenting that I could barely understand half the programme, which was true because much of it was pseudo-intellectual gibberish designed to impress. Then I quoted a few examples of inane research given to me by my friend, Iain Murray of Marketing Week.
Iain is the world’s best (and only funny) marketing columnist and the only reason for reading that journal. Here is what he said about perhaps the most ludicrous of many silly examples:
“When we read that seven per cent of people in Norway change their underwear only once a week according to a survey conducted by AC Nielsen, we simply allow our lives to move on. The information has no practical value, other perhaps than that our nose might be telling us the person we are sitting next to on the train could be from Stavanger.”
Anyhow, today I saw research that says 21% of London companies reported a lack of sales expertise in areas such as telephone selling, negotiation, presentation and account management skills.
I am astounded that the figure is so low. Most people I come across in these areas are almost laughably incompetent. I would expect it to be nearer 99.7%. After all, not one of the thieves who have run our banks aground has any qualifications, none of the government have had real jobs of any kind and the man vastly overpaid for running the Royal Mail is an ex-space salesman.
But more to the point, after perhaps the longest period of what looked like prosperity but was largely sloth and self-indulgence, clearly far too little money has been spent on training. And as training is one of the things managements cut down on first, we shall crawl out of the great Bliar-Brown depression worse prepared to survive it than we are now.
But who is guilty? Who are the ultimate culprits? Why do have a nation of illiterate, innumerate, benefit-claiming, brawling, beer-swilling, vomiting Big-Brother watching sloths?
This may be the most dishonest, clueless, rudderless, stupid and unpleasant, but we can blame British governments going right back to the 1960’s, when Socialist minister Tony Crosland, then in charge of education, said: "If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to destroy every fucking grammar school in England. And Wales and Northern Ireland".
And so the foundations of national decay were painstakingly laid in the name of equality by a man who himself had had the benefit of the best education money can buy – but believed more in levelling down than raising up. What he should have been saying, the stupid bastard, was “I’m going to make all the schools as good as the grammar schools.”
Others can be blamed of course. Margaret Thatcher, in particular - not for shackling the unions, nor for letting moribund industries die - but for talking about individual responsibility whilst strengthening central control, which stifles the sense of local and thus personal responsibility.
But it is above all education that is the problem. In my talk to the Market Research Society I quoted Aristotle, whom no doubt half the population thinks plays for West Ham United.
He believed that knowledge is the key to happiness. He also said: “Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity”. Our refuge is shoddy and ill-constructed.
By the way, shouldn't we all arrange a giant party to drown "Sir" Fred Goodwin and all the others - not forgetting the Great Bloated Haggis - in the shit they've landed us in?
WELCOME TO THE DRAYTON BIRD BLOG - Commonsense about marketing, business and life
If you like, I'll e-mail you each new dollop of drivel when I publish it. Just
Saturday, 28 February 2009
Last Tuesday morning I lurched off the plane from New York and whizzed off to the City to make a speech for the Market Research Society. This was not deliberate; just bad planning by this old fool.
Thursday, 26 February 2009
This is reprinted with grateful acknowledgment to the selfless patriots who publish The Daily Mash - but whose language I find deeply shocking.
Nevertheless, I feel we should know these shocking fascts
THE government has written to the International Monetary Fund to ask it what its fucking problem is.
As the latest IMF report described the UK as 'a horrible old man, covered in bits of food and reeking of piss' ministers were like 'where the fuck did that come from?'
The IMF said that if anyone still cared Britain should probably be fed through a tube and forced to use the toilet rather than just doing it in a chair.
But last night chancellor Alistair Darling was like: "Hang on a minute, how come it's always us?
"The Germans are all fucked-up but you don't go round telling everyone that Germany's a spastic. Then there's the Italians. Are you saying we're worse than the fucking Italians? Oh, and in case you hadn't noticed, Iceland!
"What does IMF stand for anyway? International Mother Fuckers?"
The chancellor said you didn't get it from him but he heard Spain has been giving blow jobs to the IMF in a cubicle in the gents' toilets.
An IMF spokesman said: "Do you really want to know why? Fine. Your banks were the entire basis of your economy and now they're shite. Your currency is used bogroll, you don't make anything of any value, you're governed by clueless arseholes and 99% of your population is up to its tits in debt. That's why."
Mr Darling added: "Yeah, fair enough."
Posted by Drayton Bird at 17:43
My friend Michael Rhodes just pointed out that a piece in Management Today suggests the reason for the blatant greed and lack of apology from the procession of bank bosses questioned by parliament. It sems that, like Stalin and Hitler, they may be a bunch of psychopaths - http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/newsalerts/article/883246/mtsweek/were-big-banks-run-psychopaths/?DCMP=EMC-Daily%20News
But do you recall that the first firm to crash was AIG, the insurance giant? This occurred to me a couple of weeks back when saw a flood of posters all over the place featuring Iggy Pop – or Druggy Pop as I have always thought of him – selling Swift Cover insurance.
It seems this brilliant “concept” is costing £25 million. So I asked myself a few questions.
1. Is Iggy – an American musician with an appeal as limited as his talent - a credible adviser on insurance in Britain
2. How much testing did they do before rolling out the campaign? Or did they just say, "Screw it, let's just piss away the money"?
3. Do they insure musicians? (I have a couple in my family and they always find it hard to get insured)
I bet the answers to 1 and 2 are “no" and ”testing? What's that?" And Michael sent me a New Musical Express piece giving the answer to 3 - see http://www.nme.com/news/iggy-pop/42968. Check out the moronic commercial.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 08:22
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
If you want to know a) whose stuff I always read b) why the world's economy is up the spout - explained in simple language anyone can understand, here's the answer to both questions in two words.
Go and sign in to get his commonsense business newsletter. There is nothing better. Here's the address.
I have know Denny for quite a few years now. There is simply is nobody (including me) who knows more about direct marketing and business generally.
Go and have a look now. http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/article/bad-tarp-good-tarp-if-you-dont-have-customers-you-dont-have-business-period-403604.html
And no, he doesn't pay me to say nice things about him. We just happen to know each other. And no, I have never recommended anyone before like this in this blog, as far as I can recall.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 07:17
Sunday, 22 February 2009
If you were thinking with some relief that you hadn't heard a peep out of me, your good times are over. I'm back.
I came over to Washington where an absurdly clever and unfeasibly successful young man called Yanik Silver is holding an event which has been attended by about 400 people.
He and I have corresponded in a desultory way for a couple of years, always meaning to meet but never managing it, so he suggested I pop along to his big thrash. Then yesterday afternoon he suddenly suggested I do a talk, which I did this morning to a somewhat hungover audience.
When I finished they were so relieved they stood up and applauded. This was deeply satisfying, because the last two times I've been here things have not gone quite according to plan. Once someone arranged for me to speak but neglected (as far as I can recall) to invite anyone, so I found myself in a hotel room holding my dick, as the saying goes.
The other time I was invited to an event at the White House and got so drunk over lunch I never made it. Brilliant, Drayton.
Besides having a very forgiving audience, Yanik has had some very good speakers here. One, Bob Parsone, founded Godaddy.com - who run some of the best TV spots you can imagine every year during the Superbowl. Check one out: http://www.quickonlinetips.com/archives/2006/01/godaddy-girl-superbowl-tv-commercials/. If you don't like it, you've had a sense of humour bypass.
Yanik's event has been themed around James Bond; I think my job was to show what happens if you have ten vodka martinis - shaken but not stirred - in quick succession and have to talk the next morning at 8 a. m.
Just kidding - and for those of you I met today who said nice things afterwards - thanks. It was a pleasure.
So that's my news for today. Tomorrow evening, back to New York. Funnily enough, my old boss David Ogilvy worked in the secret service with Ian Fleming who wrote the Bond books, but who sounds as though he was a bit of a shit.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 01:14
Thursday, 19 February 2009
Too much overpaid energy devoted to trivial things.
This is a list of the people it was thought necessary by JWT in New York to make one wanky full-of-pointless-special-effects TV commercial for (what a surprise!) a firm of investment advisers.
Chief Creative Officer: Ty Montague.
Executive Creative Director: Andrew Clark.
Creative Director: Izzy Levine, Nate Goodson (it took two of them!)
Art Director: Orit Ben-Shitrit.
Copywriter: Giovanni Maletti.
Agency Executive Producer: Caroline Coleman.
Music Producer: Theresa Notartomaso.
Director of Integrated Production: Clair Grupp.
Director of Broadcast Production and Content: Joe Calabrese.
Missing: the executive in charge of wiping the client's arse.
What would it take to do something useful, one wonders.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 22:53
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Enter left, with Mediterranean tan, smirking, bearing a plastic bag full of souvenirs of Italy, Mr. Jowls:
"Guess what I found quite by accident in the toilets at Silvio's?"
Mrs. Jowles: "What is it, my masterful legal wizard."
Mr. Jowles: "It's £350,000. He won't miss it."
Mrs. Jowles: "Why, fancy that! Now I can stop worying about the mortgage and get on with my latest masterly wheeze. "
Mr. Jowles: "What is that, my pulchritudinous little political petal?"
Mrs. Jowles: "To end sexual bias in the Olympics! Why should the men just box other men? Why can't women join in?"
Mr. Jowles: "Brilliant! Er ... shalll I make myself scarce for a bit? People might ask how I happened to find this dosh."
Mrs. Jowles: "What dosh was that then?"
Posted by Drayton Bird at 22:56
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Opening my paper, I see:
Peter Drummond, who grabbed a heroin dealer's stash and flushed it down the toilet because he was "ruining my family" was jailed for two months by some legal twat instead of getting a medal.
He was told, "You should have contacted the police".
Why bother? They would have sent the guy for counselling when what he really needs is the shit kicking out of him.
Meanwhile, on another page I see the Golden Bliar got an award worth £700,000 for "leadership" - as in leading Britain into Iraq/Afghanistan/down the drain - whatever.
And now Mr. David Mills, conveniently estranged husband of Tessa Jowls our "Olympics Minister" is found guilty in Milan of accepting a bribe of some £400,000 from the Bliar's friend Silvio Berlusconi and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail. Of course, Tessa had no idea where all that money was coming from. As if.
By the way, why an Olympics Minister? Haven't we pissed away enough money without her help already? And since she seems to have such surprisingly little interest in money anyhow, couldn't she be given a job more suited to her ability - say, Minister for Toilets?
Posted by Drayton Bird at 16:42
Monday, 16 February 2009
Sunday, 15 February 2009
Some readers may feel I am a little excessive in my comments about bankers, but it is quite impossible to be too excessive about their antics.
Just when you think nobody, no matter how contemptible, greedy, stupid, conceited, self-centred or useless could be that bad ... along comes another revelation.
I think we are generally agreed, are we not, that of the whole sorry pack the worst must be “Sir” Fred Goodwin? (If the Great Bloated Haggis offers you a knighthood, ask what you’ve done wrong.)
Besides having an appalling haircut, he was not only the least competent of the lot but the most unpleasant, gleefully firing lots of people not one of whom, no matter how stupid, could have done as much damage as he managed.
And now I read that just before he scuttled off into an richly deserved but unearned, wildly overfunded retirement he was busy pissing away millions hiring people like Zara Phillips (good on horses, not famous for financial acumen) and Jack Niklaus (great on courses, not known as an investment expert) as “ambassadors” for his “brand”.
One of the first useful words my Italian partner taught me was “stronzo” which means “piece of shit”.
Even the smallest piece of shit will help you grow things, not destroy them.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 17:04
Friday, 13 February 2009
'The difference? Well Sir, the Barolo is ripe, rich and round, with lots of spicy, earth-scented black cherry and berry flavors, hinting deliciously at chocolate on the smooth finish, while The Blue Nun is more nylon underpants, skid-marks, ITV, thick crockery, hinting at being kicked all over the street by violent witless oafs for absolutely no reason.'
CAPTION CONTEST WINNER: EJ Ruane, Dublin.
The Oldie is a bloody sight better than most mags - and has just had a circulation increase. No wonder. It is infinitely more interesting than whether Madonna's poor kids will spend Easter with her or Guy Ritchie, whether Kate Moss got screwed/snorted coke/wore no knickers last night or how long Ed Ballsup thinks we'll all be in the toilet because of the Prudent Haggis's brilliant economic strategy.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 18:09
I got this from a certain Maurice Rice twice in the last two days.
Hello forex trader,
It is becoming increasingly easy for virtually anyone to enter the potentially lucrative game of Forex trading. With the advent of sofisticated trading robots such as FAP Turbo you don't even need to have a background in technical annalysis or understand complex strategies such as Elliot Wave Theory.
Trade Forex On Auto Pilot With This Proven Free Forex Trading System.
You don't need to be able to spell to sell magical money-making machines. Just enough idiots.
Come to think of it, Maurice, I know of some bankers who are a) idiots b) have too much money and c) deserve to be ripped off - repeatedly.
Even if they don't want to be customers they'd make ideal partners.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 07:52
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Being interviewed by M.P.s today, Sir "Fred" Goodwin - the man who fired so many decent hard-working people with glee but never felt he should take his own sorry useless grasping arse elsewhere - came out with this little gem.
"If bankers felt they were not paid enough, they would leave".
How bad could that be? A troupe of performing tadpoles could have left us in less shit. He got paid £1.46m for his sterling performance last year.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 15:04
Monday, 9 February 2009
Almost every time I do a talk I point out that if you want to get people to do anything you must tap into their emotions.
Everyone agrees. Then I point out that the dominant emotion in many people today is fury.
Fury at the mere thought that bankers we are subsidising should consider paying themselves bonuses. Fury at the thought that those who saved are having to subsidise those who squandered. Fury at the way people who run things - or would if they had a clue - are so utterly, blindly removed from what we are all thinking.
Here's an example. A sociable chap called John Turnbull in North Shields has been banned from having any visitors - even his own sons.
He had been charging an entry fee to youths as young as 14 to come and drink and take drugs in his flat. The row - which went on till the dawn - was driving neighbours mad.
Now get this.
The ban was imposed last week and was going to include Turnbull himself, but as he faces eviction proceedings the council has decided to give him one last chance.
Uh? This turd on the landscape doesn't pay his rent, drives everyone mad and he needs a chance?
Of course he does. "I hope Turnbull understands he must behave if he wants to live in this community," said Inspector Geoff Cross.
Well forgive my naivety, but where were Inspector Geoff's brave stalwarts when this oaf was breaking what to the uninformed looks a like a goodly selection of laws. I seem to recall phrases like breach of the peace, corruption of minors, supplying drugs and so on that fit the book.
Maybe they were just too busy filling in forms, or less worried about breach of the peace than breaching his human rights.
If he'd been holding prayer meetings they'd have been round there like a shot to stop him offending any Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Muslims, Druids or Rosicrucians in the area.
And imagine if a council snoop had caught him putting the empty bottles in the wrong bin. Hardly bears thinking about, does it?
What does bear thinking about is who the police ultimately report to. Yes, it's naughty Home Secretary Jacquie "Big Knockers,Tiny Brain" White, who's just been caught with her porky little snout in the trough to the tune of £116,000.
If you and I were caught trousering that kind of money on the quiet what would happen? And what will happen to her? No prizes, folks, because she's not the only one. Plenty of them have own snouts in the trough - Labour and Tory - starting with the Speaker. But the Home Secretary! Not so many years ago most politicians would have resigned for less - and did.
Now they're all busy trying to cover it all up. Four days ago the laughably named Committee on Standards in Public Life - aka The What We Think We Can Get Away With While Nobody's Looking Committee decided against launching an inquiry into MPs' allowances.
But this was only after failing repeatedly to get it made illegal for any scrutiny of what they steal looked at.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 10:38
Sunday, 8 February 2009
If you were to ask people who they admire more in this country, Jeremy Clarkson or Gordon Brown, it would be no contest.
His show Top Gear showing him and his crew doing lunatic things with fast vehicles is enjoyed all over the world. His column has an uncanny knack of saying what everyone thinks but few say as pungently.
So when Jeremy the other day described Gordon as a one-eyed Scottish idiot the reaction from most normal people was "I never knew he had only one eye".
It explains everything, really. The missing eye is the one he's been keeping on the economy for the last twelve years.
Mr. Clarkson handsomely apologised for drawing attention to what is true - that Gordon is a Scot, and what is true and unfortunate - that he is one-eyed, but not what is also true but infinitely more unfortunate for all of us - that he is an idiot.
He is not a nice idiot either. Maybe he should have a little black moustache painted under his nose and join the BNP. The other day he started bellowing about British jobs for British workers - echoes of Adolf.
His phrasing was revealing.
"It is time to train British workers for the British jobs that will be available over the coming few years and to make sure that people who are inactive and unemployed are able to get the new jobs on offer in our country."
This raises one or two questions from anyone without brain damage.
For instance, "What do you mean 'it is time'? Did you just get off the boat, Gordon? Was some other government ensuring we had enough trained people until now? In fact have not you and the Bliar not pissed away more money - by far - on useless training schemes that any government in history?"
And, "Was some other idiot responsible for a lunatic tax system that makes lower-paid people better off not working than working? Or was it your identical twin Wee Wullie Haggis?"
Or, "How come educational standards have so deteriorated that British workers are just not qualified to take many of the jobs available? Does it have anything to do with the succession of grinning muppets some other administration chose to manage these things?"
And maybe, "Is it some other other set of weak-kneed patsies that defers to European diktats that mean you can't discriminate against workers from elsewhere in Europe? Or is it the government you have been helping to run?"
Or possibly, "By the way, are you saying you favour discrimination? And if you do think it's a bad idea that all these foreign chaps come over here, did some other set of buffoons let them in?"
What is Brown's policy? Manifest incompetence praying that xenophobia will disguise its consequences.
How is Cameron responding? Hoping his bullshit will trump Brown's.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 09:38
Monday, 2 February 2009
Every so often here in Britain it snows. This usually happens in winter. We have a lot of people paid to predict these things, and plenty of others paid to prepare for them, but this always comes as an immense surprise to them all, giving rise to many bad jokes.
In those far chillier spots where I know some of you live, 15 centimetres of snow would be regarded as some kind of pathetic joke. But in the south of Italy, where my partner and her sister come from, the stuff is almost unknown, so they were in ecstasy this morning, throwing snowballs at each other and generally behaving like a pair of fools.
The pictures were shot nearby in Chelsea by Maura - the younger sister - who does our Christmas calendar each year. I adore the snowgirl, all very posh to suit the area. Maura's going through a moody black and white 1940's phase. Bring back silent movies!
Posted by Drayton Bird at 16:36