Archive for January, 2009

A Gay PM…..

January 29, 2009

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Obama made history by becoming the first ever black person to become president of the United States of America, but surely that is now about to be topped by Johanna Sigurdardottir? Who is she some of you may ask, well she is about to be the first openly gay prime minister in the world. Not bad for someone who started off her working life as a flight attendant.  She is currently Social Affairs Minister in Iceland and is the preferred candidate of the Social Democratic Alliance Party to lead an interim government, until new general election in May.

Maybe this will bring some cheer to the poor Icelandic people who need some good news after the collapse of their banking system, and their rising inflation and unemployment.

Apparently she “is respected and loved by all of Iceland.”, and I am sure she will become an inspiration to many young lesbians.

By Colin MacArthur

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Just one Cornetto….

January 28, 2009

cornetto

I was on my way to the shop near work to get myself a fruit juice, actually the real reason was to get out of the office for a few minutes to revitalise my flagging morale, and I saw one of those sandwich boards that are used for on-pavement advertising. This one happened to be for Cornetto. Anyway, I just glanced at it really as I was walking past, it was some kind of promotion for vanilla Cornetto with a competition attached to win an MP3 player. I remember thinking to myself that “that would be handy”, not for me but for The All Knowing I, who is still using a portable CD player. However the thing is on the blink and seeing as you can’t buy them in the shops anymore, trust me we have looked, it appears The All Knowing I just might have to embrace this fandangled new technology after all.

 

But where was I, oh yes walking into the shop to get a fruit juice. I wanted a V8 Citrus Splash one, but they only had the vegetable juice and I would rather drink my own urine than drink that, ok that’s an exaggeration, but it gets the point across. So I decided to get an ice cream instead, and not just any old ice cream but a vanilla flavoured Cornetto. So you see having glanced at the board on the way in I now wanted an ice cream, proof if ever there was some, that subliminal advertising works. So I paid for my ice-cream left the store and ripped it open ready to take a bite, but instead of the ice-cream I was expecting it was a plastic replica of one!!!! I was outraged so, I stormed back into the store and demanded to know what the hell this was all about….

 

…..“eeerm you just won yourself an MP3 player”  was the response. Well, that’s all well and good I thought to myself but what I really wanted was an ice-cream! The nice chap gave me one after all. And The All Knowing I will be getting the Samsung Pebble MP3 player which according to the website has… “Very high quality sound, and it also leaves off on your last song and the exact place that you stopped at, the batteries last forever. The only downside is that there is no screen. If you want a good MP3 player, walk past the Ipod Shuffle, and spend a few dollars less and get the better quality MP3 player.”  

 

Maybe I will start playing the Lotto after all.

Sydney gets Sayer

January 26, 2009

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The lead news item here in Sydney last night was the fact that “Pop star Leo Sayer has become an Australian citizen”. Clearly THE most important event that took place on planet earth yesterday.  I hear there is a spot of trouble in the Middle East but it can’t be that serious can it? Surely not if Leo get’s top billing over it.  Now can they still call him a pop star? I mean, just how long has it been since he had a hit in the charts, anything since the 1970’s? Answers on a post-card please, the 2006 Meck’s remix of Thunder In My Heart does not count.

 

Leo was quoted as saying that Australia has given him a new lease of life, does this mean we should expect to see and hear more of him in the near future?  Leo was born in Sussex in the UK and I just bet they are devastated that of one of their sons has been lost to Australia, maybe they should try and encourage him to come home. Possibly the offer of a lifetime of clean and fresh underwear would do the job (he walked out of Celebrity Big Brother after a row over fresh underwear), I’ll even contribute to any repatriation fund they might set up.

 

Apparently people here in Australia make him feel like a “20yr old”, not bad for someone who is 60, which makes me wonder just what it is they do to him to make him feel so young!!?? Where as “In the old country” – his words not mine, they don’t seem to appreciate him anymore, “the old country” sounds almost colonial….   

Breakfast… The most hazardous meal of the day

January 23, 2009

I am not a morning person, now I know a lot of people say that but trust me I’m really not and a recent event has just cemented my opinion in this regard. Now I know there is lots of evidence to suggest that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and not one to be skipped but somehow I have managed to get to my mid (some would say late) 30’s without hardly ever eating breakfast. And it’s not done me any harm, ok so there was that minor health blip that almost put a premature end to things, but really I’m ok not having had breakfast for most my life.

 

I’m just not able to function in the morning, hence not having breakfast. I know I know, as the argument goes if I had the breakfast I could function. I do have a breakfast of sorts, it’s a black cup of coffee no sugar, when I get to work. And trust me until I have drunk every last drop of it I am not worth talking to. My mood in the mornings is so bad I just can’t be arsed, my team can testify to the dangers of trying to talk to me before that coffee has been drunk….

Team Member :”Morning Colin”

Colin: “whatever, what the hell is so *&(%&*^ good about it? Just leave me ALONE”

Team Member: “I only said morning, not good morning”

Colin” “Jesus H Christ will you just give it a rest, I’ve only been in the office two minutes and already your harassing me with shit, I don’t have the time for this right now”

 

Just to be clear, this has not actually happened (for a while), you see my team know that morning’s and I simply don’t mix.

 

Anyway, back to the recent event, for some bizarre reason The All Knowing I has started to make me breakfast every morning. Now god knows why having known me for so many years and knowing what I am like in the morning!  Sometimes it’s porridge with a sprinkling of brown sugar and blue berries and sometimes it’s scrambled egg on toast. I am woken up just minutes before it is ready so all I have to do is just stumble (it’s fair to say I do this in an early Neanderthal man sort of way) from my bed to the table.  The world is still all a bit of a blur to me at this point, but on the table there is always a freshly brewed cup of Green Tea. Naturally decaffeinated green tea I might add which is “packed full of antioxidants”, I know that because The All Knowing I told me. Anyway, recently, having stumbled from my bed to the table, I sat down, opened my eyes, and took a sip of my green tea. And what the hell…… it wasn’t green tea, it was Rooibos tea instead. Now if you ask me this was underhanded, slipping me a different taste sensation while I was weak and vulnerable, The All Knowing I got what was coming to him if you ask me.

 

I calmly put the cup down, and in my polite demur manner that I exhibit at such an un-godly hour asked why we had different tea to what we normally have?  Now I don’t really remember what the answer was exactly, but I do recall with shame that my reaction was very much like that of Glenn Close’s in Fatal Attraction where she goes nuts and comes screaming at Michael Douglas with a kitchen knife. So you see having breakfast, well with me at least, really is the most hazardous meal of the day….. and yet The All Knowing I still makes it for me.

 

You can read more about green tea or rooibos tea via these links.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_tea

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooibos

 glenn

Great Advertising

January 22, 2009

Do you like it?

January 22, 2009

we-love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems Tesco love mings as well….

tesco-minge

Are you being served?

January 21, 2009

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A real bugbear of mine is bad service, is it really that hard to get right?

 

I was out to diner last night at a very nice restaurant, Spice I Am, their new place in Darlinghurst not the Surry Hills one. Now the food was lovely, the décor stylish and the toilets were in keeping with the style of the place (an important aspect to any restaurant according to my dinner companion). However, the service was appalling, the maitre de was really arrogant, and it makes me wonder if this is a new recruitment criteria for some of the more “new and stylish” venues to open these day, the same arrogance is on display at The Beresford (more on that in a bit). When he spoke to us he didn’t quite look at us, he was talking to us but not really giving us his attention, a bit like “oh if I must talk to these people then I will but really I have far more interesting things to do  Like what I wonder! because ensuring his staff were doing their job properly was not one of them. My dinner companion was also a bit put out by the fact that he sat down at the table with us when taking our order, now you might think this sounds ok, hinting at a kind of intimacy between the customer and staff member. I guess it might have had he actually bothered to make eye contact and take his nose out of the air whilst taking our order. Clearly it was something he thought one of his waitress’ ought to be doing and not him.

 

To be fair, the waitress made an attempt at an apology for the bad service, actually she made a few, but the jist of it was “the service is bad because we are busy”. Now I know this is a radical thought, but wouldn’t a business that boast on it’s website of being “packed to the rafters” daily, plan for such an eventuality?

 

Now while I am on the subject of bad service, another venue that I have been frequenting is The Beresford in Surry Hills. This is another new venue full of style considered “the place to be” right now. But again the service is appalling, and I mean it really is shocking, it makes you want to write to someone to complain (oh look here I am writing about it). They have this great bar, which is about the size of a football pitch, but do they fill it with staff to serve all those customers that are flocking there, do they bugger. Seriously on a night out there you spend almost as long stood at the bar waiting to be served than you do stood with your mates.  They have this one girl who I swear is just pretending to be as crap as she is just to wind me up. I mean how hard can it be to get an order right? Admittedly last time I ordered three beers I did ask for two of one kind and one of another, which is I admit an incredibly hard order to process NOT, but did she really have to ask me THREE times which beers I wanted and then get it WRONG anyway? I know you are probably thinking, “well why go there then?” and you know what, I don’t anymore. I’ve gone back to The Green Park which at half the size of The Beresford but just as busy always seems to get you served nice and quickly.  

Brand Obama

January 20, 2009

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Today, Barack Obama will been sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. Having lived in South Africa as a child during apartheid I can’t begin to tell you how good it makes me feel to see a black man become President and what some would call the leader of the free world. Simeon Duckworth, futures director at MindShare, believes brands have a lot to learn from Obama, below is his take on just how brands might be motivated to act by Obama to face the challenges of the recent ‘credit crunch’……

 


As the new President takes office, can we glean anything from his example to help us prosper during a recession? Indeed we can. There are clear parallels between marketing in a recession and fighting an election. It’s highly competitive and contested; fought both on a national stage and among key groups of undecideds or switchers; aggressive and reactive; won through hearts as well as hard policy; frequently dominated by external events; and highly unpredictable.

There are three broad strategies to carry a brand successfully through a recession – you can play the long game, you can change the game, or you can stay in the game. Across a portfolio of brands, or even within a brand’s geographical and consumer landscape, some mix-and-match is possible.

Play the long game: WalMart

‘I was asked about the recession. I thought about it and decided not to participate.’
Sam Walton, founder WalMart

View: recessions are temporary
Aim: stick to long-term strategy
Success factors: robust strategy; strong brand; maintain advertising investment

 

This strategy is for brands with sufficiently strong identity – and deep pockets – to weather the storm. Brands are valuable, and over the long-term there is a strong relationship between share of voice and brand momentum. What’s more, recessions can be a cheap time to buy media share of voice and get value from media spend. Therefore brands that have the power to maintain consistent product and brand values and advertising spend through a recession are set to come out well-placed in their market.

Change the game: Kellogg

‘We have weathered several periods when times weren’t so good, and so I don’t think we’ll cancel our advertising now. In fact, we might even increase it.’
WK Kellogg 1929

View: recessions are an opportunity
Aim: permanently change the market
Success factors: exploitable advantage; strong brand; good competitor understanding

This strategy is for those brands that have an exploitable advantage and are prepared to ‘think murderous’ to make the most of it. Whether it’s waging a price war to permanently change market structure (such as Philip Morris did on ‘Marlboro Friday’ in 1993 or Barclaycard’s reframing of the value equation in the UK credit card market in the early 1990s), brands can employ this strategy to permanently change the value chain within a category.

Stay in the game: Southwest Airlines

‘I have predicted 11 out of the last 3 recessions.’
Herb Kelleher, CEO Southwest Airlines

View: survive
Aim: look for opportunities
Success factors: ability to take small risks; ability to break with the past

This strategy is not simply about retrenchment, but rests on realising that if budgets are cut, or the market is sluggish, it’s important to optimise opportunities open to you. This might involve flexing brand positioning, forming alliances, changing communications and media strategies or tactical acquisition. It’s about active investment and the need to reshape and re-evaluate knowledge to make the most of opportunities.

The coming months and years will be challenging for most brands and  organisations. As a media company you might expect us to stick to the old mantra that ‘you should spend more in a recession’. We realise it’s more complicated than that. We counsel that, in order to make the most of the opportunities that are open to you, you should stick to the core marketing principles, value knowledge, have a plan and, most of all, be flexible, informed and ready and willing to act.

Tom & Katie

January 20, 2009

Tom and Katie and morphed into one of those couples who end up looking alike…. So freaky I just can’t help looking at it

tom-katie

Lifesavers With Pride

January 20, 2009

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This is a blog I thought some of you might be interested in, and not just because there is some flesh on show. I helped out on this Mardi Gras entrant last year, no I was not clad in Speedo’s IO am far to English for that sort of malarkey. I was walking along side them (basking in their glory, and wishing I would look as good as they did) as they did the march getting media outlets to feature them. I have to say it was a real hoot, and they deserve all the support they get, remember these are volunteers and they give their time and effort to save lives on Australian beaches.

 

Click on here to find out more about the Lifesavers With Pride http://lifesaverswithpride.blogspot.com/

Light Lane

January 19, 2009

As mentioned previously cycling in Sydney is like being on an obstacle course, and that is in the daytime, at nighttimes it could be considered a suicidal act. So that’s why I think this gadget is a bloody marvellous idea.  Bike lanes have proven to be an effective method of protecting cyclists on congested roads. One key is that the lane establishes a well defined boundary beyond the envelope of the bicycle, providing a greater margin of safety between the car and the cyclist. Yet, only a small fraction of streets have dedicated bike lanes.

light-lane

The Light Lane system projects a crisply defined virtual bike lane onto pavement, using a laser, providing the driver with a familiar boundary to avoid. With a wider margin of safety, bikers will regain their confidence to ride at night, making the bike a more viable commuting alternative. Alas, at this stage it is just an idea, dreamed up by Alex Tee and Evan Gant of Altitude, and I don’t think there is even a prototype yet, so lets hope they get the funding they need to make this a reality

Narcolepsy

January 19, 2009

 NAHR-kuh-lep-see\, noun:

A disorder characterized by uncontrollable bouts of sleepiness during the daytime, occasional loss of muscle power and paralysis, and hallucinations during sleep… so that’s what I have, I just thought I was bored of working!!!!!

There are only two kinds of people…

January 19, 2009

smart-people

My New Shoes

January 18, 2009

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What’s great about this brand is that they have come up with something that is a mix between a trainer and a dressy shoe that is really comfortable and stylish, and what’s even better is that most of their shoes can be worn with a pair of jeans or a smart pair of trousers and they look good with both. The designer behind these is Maxime Rautureau, and he claims to have created a new “species” of shoe, it was in 2000, that this Paris-based shoe company was launched by Yvon Rautureau (farther to Maxime Ratureau).

The idea behind this brand of shoes is that you “Push your limits with Schmoove shoes”, and that is just what I did at the weekend when I purchased a pair of their Jamaica Easy Derby’s and it’s true they’re more comfortable than an ordinary pair of trainers (sneakers) and more stylish than the conservative shoes I would normally wear.

schmoove1

As a brand I believe Schmoove have done a great job at developing a neo-classic look and feel that is often hard to find (well here in Australia at least). For more info click here http://www.schmooveusa.com/

By: Colin MacArthur

Bettie Page 1923 – 2008

January 16, 2009

bettie

My god she was sexy