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Friday, 30 September 2011
Thursday, 29 September 2011
I had a couple of good laughs the other day – one about a love triangle, the other about a predictable display of political hypocrisy from the younger Milipede.
The first was a story about the wife of an MP who stole his mistress’s kitten, which has not been seen since.
Life is so often unfair don’t you think? A malicious soul might think the main female human characters, both carrying a fair amount of surplus avoirdupois could apply with every hope of success to play the Ugly Sisters and the MP looks well, weird. The kitten, on the other hand, is (or was) rather beautiful. In fact she was called Beauty, poor thing.
Young Ed was, I see, ladling out the schmaltz at his party conference – which if they keep him on may be a pre-emptive wake - about his dear old mum and dad, and calling for a less predatory society.
Perhaps he could set an example by donating the extra dosh he and his brother managed to finagle by avoiding tax when they inherited their dear old mum and dad’s house.
I apologise if all that sounded a bit waspish, but I had a bit of a thick head when I drafted it, kindly donated by a client who bought the extra, fatal pint when I wasn’t looking.
He also told me I wasn’t promoting my EADIM event with enough zeal, which reminded me that I haven’t said much about it at all here, and even worse, haven’t even mentioned something some people may really appreciate.
It is called buckshee advice. If you don’t know what buckshee means, watch this.
If you’ve got any question about your business that is driving you crazy, this is a chance to get some well-informed answers.
The question is, what is my buckshee advice worth?
One answer is that I normally charge £1,000 an hour for one to one advice.
But the truth is, only you can give the right answer. And to arrive at it you have to ask yourself the right question.
That question is this: how much would it be worth to you to solve that problem that’s driving you crazy?
· You could be wondering why your website doesn’t make you any money.
· You could be wondering why nobody replies to your emails
· You could be wondering that SEO you coughed up so much money for has made little or no difference
· You could be wondering why your direct mail flops.
· You could be doing well, but wonder how you could do better (the best people always do)
· You could even wonder whether you’re in the right business
Over the years my partners and I have helped just about every kind of business you can think of, and maybe some you couldn’t.
In the audience on that day will be a man who has built the second largest business of its kind in one of the largest countries in Europe – in a viciously competitive market.
He says he owes it all to an old video of me making a speech at Brighton University about how to market properly.
Maybe I can help you too.
So think how much the right advice could be worth to you – then come and get it “buckshee”.
I would be amazed if it’s not worth more than the cost of your attendance at EADIM.
Just to remind you what buckshee is all about, here’s that video again.
And if you just want to come for that day, well we can cut a deal for you if you hurry (seats are limited as The Cavendish is a boutique hotel).
Alternatively, you can always carry on as usual and hope the current economic nightmare doesn’t wipe you out.
If you’d like to attend, just email Chloe@Draytonbird.com one word: Buckshee.
P.S. And if you don't know what schmaltz is, it is yiddish slang for phoney sentiment.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 11:38
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Don’t you think it strange that someone you never heard of with not the slightest talent - just a desire to make a fool of themselves in a show you’d never want to watch - is called a “star”.
Yet such was the case when yesterday I was ploughing my way through my copy of the free paper, Metro. It referred to a participant in the exceptionally nasty TV show Big Brother.
I call this linguistic inflation and it’s everywhere.
It’s what they used to call hocus-pocus: words used to make things seem more important (and therefore valuable) than they are.
Take the new army of the overpaid. Senior bean-counters have become Chief Financial Officers. Managing directors are now Chief Executive Officers. The closest parallel I can think of is the uniformed commissionaires who used to stand outside cinemas – such a joke they were the staple of cartoonists.
Or take this new thing you’re aware of – even an old fogey like me is aware of – where you point your phone at a tag and find out about something.
It’s been around for quite a while but only now is it becoming really important as it depends on enough smart phones being around – with enough people who know how to use them (count me out for the moment; I’m just learning).
But if you were to believe something I read last night this is so much more. It means I can “engage in a richer, more immersive experience than was previously possible in today's highly efficient commerce environment.”
It sounds like one of those dunk the whole body baptism jobs, don't you think? But with a little less general ecstasy.
I’m actually planning to test it myself for something I sell, but I’m pretty sure that sort of tripe does more harm than it helps.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 12:31
Sunday, 25 September 2011
How does design affect results?
Take the 2011 Olympics logo - the visual equivalent of dogshit on a pavement. It's hard to believe it can have done anything but harm, managing as it does to combine so deftly the hideous with the incomprehensible.
This thought occurred to me because yesterday I read - or was it a freakish dream? - that the Labour Party, currently having a back-slapping get-together in Scotland, has been discussing its logo, a pretty red rose.
This visual masterpiece was introduced by Peter "where did all your millions come from, dearie?" - Mandelson. I doubt that it resonates much among the kilt-wearing faithful or the rugby players of Wales, but I doubt even more that cosmetic changes would help.
There was talk about whether the rose should have thorns on its stalk or no stalk at all, it seems. This is the sort of bilge that should be kept for meetings among advertising agency poseurs, but the fact is that no symbol can make much difference to the facts.
These are that with the unions about to run amok the Labour party is likely to end up in deep sewage for at least a decade. Last time they tried this on they let in Mrs Thatcher. But when eventually the country was fed up with the Tories nothing could have helped John Major - a much underrated man - as he came up against one of the best liars of the last century - the Great Bliar.
Nothing can undo the folly of the Brown years. And nothing can overcome the fact that Ed Miliband has all the charisma of a supermarket check out operator.
The only hope lies in Cameron doing something exceptionally stupid - always on the cards.
But you do have to wonder about someone so remote from reality as our boy Ed, who in a quite exceptionally deranged speech said of The Great McToad:
"He has an incredible legacy: he improved the lives of millions of people here and around the world.
I am proud to call him my friend. We should pay tribute today to Gordon Brown for his leadership of our party and our country."
After that came a steady trickle of oratorical vomit:
"I remember visiting Gordon at his home in Fife and looking over the River Forth where my father served in the Royal Navy during the war.
Along with my mum, he came as a refugee from the Nazis and built a life here.
It was his values - it is my mum’s values - that explain why I am standing on this stage today."
And so on.
I wonder how many who heard that had read Alastair Darling's damning description of what Brown is really like.
Or for that matter how many reflected that little Jug Ears is there not because of his Mum and Dad but because with the help of the unions he demolished his brother's chances.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 08:59
Saturday, 24 September 2011
Schubert and Beethoven were walking down a street one day when they heard someone playing Mozart.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 11:58
Friday, 23 September 2011
Who said rugby players weren't intelligent?
Phil Waugh "We actually got the winning try three minutes from the end but then they scored."
Jerry Collins "I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body."
Tony Brown "That kick was absolutely unique, except for the one before it which was identical."
Rodney So'ialo, Hurricanes, on University "I'm going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes."
Colin Cooper, Hurricanes head coach."You guys line up alphabetically by height." And, "You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle."
Chris Masoe (Hurricanes) on whether he had visited the Pyramids during his visit to Egypt ."I can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to."
Colin Cooper on Paul Tito "He's a guy who gets up at six o'clock in the morning regardless of what time it is."
Kevin Senio ( Auckland ), on Night Rugby vs Day Games "It's basically the same, just darker."
David Nucifora ( Auckland ) talking about Troy Flavell "I told him, 'Son, what is it with you... Is it ignorance or apathy?' He said, 'David, I don't know and I don't care.'
David Holwell (Hurricanes) when asked about the upcoming season: "I want to reach for 150 or 200 points this season, whichever comes first."
Ma'a Nonu "Colin has done a bit of mental arithmetic with a calculator."
Tana Umaga "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father."
Doc Mayhew "Sure there have been injuries and deaths in rugby, but none of them serious."
Anton Oliver "If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again."
Ewan McKenzie "I never comment on referees and I'm not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat."
Murray Mexted (clearly a contender for Mastermind):
(2) "He scored that try after only 22 seconds - totally against the run of play."
(3) "I would not say he (Rico Gear) is the best left winger in the Super14, but there are none better."
(4) "Well, either side could win it, or it could be a draw."
(5) "Strangely, in slow motion replay, the ball seemed to hang in the air for even longer."
AND THE "Piece de resistance'
Murray Deaker: "Have you ever thought of writing your autobiography?" Tana Umaga "On what?"
Posted by Drayton Bird at 08:43
Thursday, 22 September 2011
One sure way to get slapped by Google is having, crude, hand drawn arrows on a page with not much content.
I love them because they work a treat. Anything that interrupts visually does.
Google hates them because “they don’t enrich the user's experience”. So what was on yesterday's Google screen?
A bloody great big scrawled arrow to promote google+. Well, fancy that.
Was my experience enriched? Yes. I laughed, and remembered this:
"Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue - Oscar Wilde, I think.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 05:56
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
How the wrong tone (plus a dash of illiteracy and a little overpromise) can kill your copy. And why I like recessions
Well, I had an excellent evening yesterday with Sarah Shaw Tatoun who used to be the pub critic of a Prague publication. The job of my dreams
But before that I finished drafting a long interview piece for Australia's Direct mag, including this about how marketers are responding to the recession.
Many have switched more and more online (I have, for a start – 80% of my work and 95% of my own promotion is online).
Unfortunately very few have the faintest idea what they‘re doing and are easily seduced by promises that one magic bullet will solve all problems. Once it was the database; then it was CRM. Now it’s adwords or SEO.
I quite like recessions. They kill the foolish and encourage the canny; people are forced to try and get better results, which happens to be a speciality of mine.
But on the matter of tone mentioned in the heading, here is how not to get a reply - from me, anyhow.
We have a SEO discount offer going for the following package: -
1: Want to increase your Google ranking?
2: Want to get huge twitter followers and facebook Fans?
3: Want effective text for your website? Also Increase the social media presences.
4: We are a professional SEO company and can get you top ten google results for top five keywords of your choice within three months, with complete solutions for all your problems.
5: We also build websites... if you are interested please let me know?
Our Best rates for this are: - USD $199 per month per project at beginning of every month. if you are interested please let me know?
Why would I let someone who can't write presentable English loose on the text of one of my websites? Do you think that an attractive woman (which Sofia allegedly and improbably is in Facebook) would call someone they never met "mate"?
Posted by Drayton Bird at 03:18
Monday, 19 September 2011
Someone I never heard of just invited me to a "leadership development programme" starting with the usual bow to management-bollocks.
"Engaged employees deliver constantly better performance in business". What's the matter with the married ones?
More to the point, why do people who have never led anyone anywhere, except maybe up the odd beckoning creek think themselves qualified to teach others how to go about it?
And by the way, we don't need that many leaders. the ones we have seem to be fucking things up just fine.
H. L. Mencken strikes a chord with me: "The older I get the more I admire and crave competence, just simple competence, in any field from adultery to zoology."
Here's another, since I mentioned our current leaders.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 09:56
Sunday, 18 September 2011
Perhaps the first money I can recall making was cooking in my parents’ restaurant.
I made pork chops stuffed with ham, sage and cheese. Very few deaths were reported.
The restaurant which was above the pub was in the Good Food Guide from its very first year – 1952 – and I have always been a keen trencherman. So much so that I once wrote a piece for the Ogilvy house magazine entitled I lunch for England.
Back in 1952, Britain was pretty much hell for gourmets - few of my mother's dishes would get through the first round now, though her steak, kidney and oyster pie was pretty special, as was her Lancashire hot pot.
Now, however, the food is pretty good – though absurdly overpriced. (£100 a head? come off it).
One thing that mars Britain’s gastronomic revival (we were very good in medieval times) is the tripe served up by critics, who seem to delight in showy ignorance of the English language.
One word they all love is “unctuous”. Christopher Hirst in the Independent used it to describe some of the grub at The Black Swan in Helmsley – one of the only 20 British restaurants which has been in the Guide Michelin since its first issue a century ago.
Unctuous means ingratiating, sycophantic, obsequious, grovelling, smug, phoney, slimy, smarmy creepy or oily.
Uriah Heap was quintessentially unctuous, but I’m not sure I want my first course to be.
(If you want a phenomenally good meal at a sane price, go to Flinty Red, down the road from me in Bristol.)
Posted by Drayton Bird at 12:42
Friday, 16 September 2011
Posted by Drayton Bird at 10:17
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Well, do you really give a f**k? This little graph, clearly based on years of rigorous academic study, may give you the answer
Posted by Drayton Bird at 08:03
Judy Wallman, a genealogy researcher in southern California, was looking into her family tree. She discovered that Senator Harry Reid's great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889.
Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor.
The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory.
On the back of the picture is this: 'Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.'
So Judy recently e-mailed Senator Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle.
Harry Reid's staff sent back the following biographical sketch:
"Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory . His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."
I think this is all made up, but would you trust Harry Reid? The face is the mirror of the soul.
Talking of which I derived great joy from the story - definitely true - about our own dear Chancellor of the Exchequer's coke-snorting fun and games with a lady of the night. What a total dick he looks in the pictures. I wouldn't trust him to run a whelk stall, let alone what's left of our tattered.economy.
On the other hand, how could he do worse than the Bliar and Twat McBroon?
Posted by Drayton Bird at 06:44
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Curvin O'Riellly who used to work at Ogilvy and before that Y & R tells a true story relating to the one I posted earlier:
This reminds me of something that happened years ago at Y&R.
My creative director, Tony Isidore, and a couple of his partners, Bob Elgort and Marv Lefkowitz, had created an absolutely sensational campaign for the NY Urban Coalition. The tagline was famous: “Give jobs. Give money. Give a damn.”
Predictably, the network censors objected to the word “damn.” So the agency said, “Okay, tell you what. Go see Father O’What’s His Name (I was never told his name) at the archdiocese.”
The good father talked with the network censors, nodding his understanding of their problem with the word “damn.”
“You know,” he said in his brogue as he leaned forward, “I too have been having a problem with ‘damn.’ I think it’s completely inappropriate for a cause as serious as the Urban Coalition. I think the tagline should be ‘Give a shit.’”
What a pleasure to see idiot censors done down for a change.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 07:14
A crusty old man walks into the local Catholic church and says to the secretary, "I would like to join this damn church."
The astonished woman replies, "I beg your pardon, Sir. I must have misunderstood you. What did you say?"
"Listen up, damn it. I said I want to join this damn church!"
"I'm very sorry sir, but that kind of language is not tolerated in this church."
The secretary leaves her desk and goes into the priest's study to inform him of her situation. The priest agrees that the secretary does not have to listen to that foul language.
They both return to her office and the priest asks the old geezer, "Sir, what seems to be the problem here?"
"There is no damn problem," the man says. "I just won 20 million dollars in the damn lottery and I want to join this damn church to get rid of some of this damn money."
"I see," said the priest. "And is this bitch giving you a hard time?
Posted by Drayton Bird at 02:10
Thursday, 8 September 2011
Someone wise once said that life is not only stranger than you imagine, it is stranger than you can imagine.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 01:44
Monday, 5 September 2011
The other day John Walsh let fly a blast of condemnation in The Independent about the latest Diesel campaign, which he headed A dose of something unlovely.
Do you ever see an advertisement that really turns your head? I recently did, and not in a good way. I nearly crashed the motor while driving past a bus-stop hoarding that featured the new fragrance from Diesel.
It showed a tempestuous-looking naked woman clutching to herself a giant, heart-shaped bottle of pink perfume. It was called Loverdose.
Who in the name of God's holy trousers thought that a good name for a perfume? What marketing department brainstorm produced that misbegotten collection of syllables? But wait, here are the product notes: "Loverdose ... represents a woman who is sexy, playful and irresistible. She receives an overdose of love from those around her, but she wants more. She desires pleasure, adrenaline and passion."
Oh I get it, it's an overdose of love, do you see? Although, when you see the word, you don't pronounce it "Loaver-dose" do you? You'd say "Love-a-dose" as in the phrase, "Would you love a dose of the clap?" The marketing people go on to tell us that the Loverdose bottle "represents a beautiful but deadly weapon of seduction". I think I'll pass, thanks.
Posted by Drayton Bird at 14:03