Temple of joy

If you were into grunge when grunge was big, Temple of the Dog is unlikely to have escaped you.

They were one of the original supergroups, before they were a thing.

They released only one album.

But it was a seminal album.

And it is now 25 years old.

So they celebrated with a gig.

Which has been captured for my/your viewing pleasure.



The brand and advertising challenge

Another excellent cartoon by Tom.  Advertising isn’t there to compete with other ads, it’s there to break the monotony of the mundane everyday life.  When 90% of all advertising goes unnoticed, the problem isn’t that other people are doing it better; it’s that consumers have other priorities on their mind.  And unless you break through that barrier you’re screwed.  As Bernbach said:

If your advertising goes unnoticed, everything else is academic!

Parodies are great

Most will have read the resignation from a Goldman Sachs senior honcho that has gone a bit viral today.  Whilst I won’t deny that it is a serious subject, those kinds of things will inevitable lead to some ‘tributes’ which are hilarious.

One such parody is from Darth Vader from The Daily Mash.

Why I am leaving the Empire, by Darth Vader


TODAY is my last day at the Empire.

After almost 12 years, first as a summer intern, then in the Death Star and now in London, I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its massive, genocidal space machines. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, throttling people with your mind continues to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making people dead.

The Empire is one of the galaxy’s largest and most important oppressive regimes and it is too integral to galactic murder to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of Yoda College that I can no longer in good conscience point menacingly and say that I identify with what it stands for.

For more than a decade I recruited and mentored candidates, some of whom were my secret children, through our gruelling interview process. In 2006 I managed the summer intern program in detecting strange disturbances in the Force for the 80 younglings who made the cut.

I knew it was time to leave when I realised I could no longer speak to these students inside their heads and tell them what a great place this was to work.

How did we get here? The Empire changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and killing your former mentor with a light sabre. Today, if you make enough money you will be promoted into a position of influence, even if you have a disturbing lack of faith.

What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s ‘axes’, which is Empire-speak for persuading your clients to invest in ‘prime-quality’ residential building plots on Alderaan that don’t exist and have not existed since we blew it up. b) ‘Hunt Elephants’. In English: get your clients – some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t – to tempt their friends to Cloud City and then betray them. c) Hand over rebel smugglers to an incredibly fat gangster.

When I was a first-year analyst I didn’t know where the bathroom was, or how to tie my shoelaces telepathically. I was taught to be concerned with learning the ropes, finding out what a protocol droid was and putting my helmet on properly
so people could not see my badly damaged head.

My proudest moments in life – the pod race, being lured over to the Dark Side and winning a bronze medal for mind control ping-pong at the Midi-Chlorian Games – known as the Jedi Olympics – have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts.

The Empire today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about remote strangulation. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.

I hope this can be a wake-up call. Make killing people in terrifying and unstoppable ways the focal point of your business again. Without it you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much non-existent Alderaan real estate they sell. And get the culture right again, so people want to make millions of voices cry out in terror before being suddenly silenced.

So long 2010, welcome 2011!

As I headed back to work this morning, 2010 was becoming a more distant memory with every mile I travelled.  I decided that I should look back at 2010 and note down what happened so that I don’t forget.  So, in no particular order, here is what I did in 2010:

  1. Zack (my 3rd kid) was born
  2. Got a new permanent job
  3. Became more social – started this blog, created a portfolio website and my Twitter account has got some proper use (up to a might 36 followers)
  4. Took the kids camping for the first time – and joined the Camping and Caravanning Club
  5. Worked on some interesting projects, including working with Facebook / LinkedIn and a re-branding exercise
  6. Undertook and (nearly) finished laying down new flooring in the house
  7. Unsuccessfully tried to sell the house and move somewhere bigger
  8. Did my first (and more than likely last) Best Man speech (I do have the video but am too embarrassed to share it)

So tchau to 2010 – I’ll remember you forever

On a barely related note, I read this over the holidays about NYE and found it not only funny but true to a T.

Top5 Xmas cheers

As it is Xmas, I thought I would do a top5 Xmas songs

Kicking us off at #5 is an old school song

In at #4 is a rock-y little number

Number 3 is a charitable record that engaged everyone in a cause that had been (until then) ignored.  BTW, only the original version is good – the remake is a pile of crap!

At 2 a slightly less traditional song

Top of the table is a song that takes me back to my childhood

Santa IS a brand

Whilst most people don’t see it that way, Santa is arguably one of oldest and the most powerful brands in the world.  Just because there is no one company that actually licenses its image does not mean it is not a brand – after all a brand is the sum of perceptions and experiences of people.

If you want a brief history on Santa, you can check out Wikipedia here.

The powerful thing about Santa ‘brand’ is that there is one interpretation of the brand that always remains constant – someone who brings children presents.  However it is also democratic enough that it is open to everyone.  Similar to Andy Warhol’s quote, the great thing about Santa is that the UK Royal family (in Warhol’s original quote he mentioned, amongst others, the President of USA) cannot get a better Santa than you or I or the bum on the streets.

The brand has a HUGE pull despite adults losing their belief in Santa. Parents still play up to brand through their kids and their kids’ belief in Santa has a (high) economic impact on them – Britons are set to spend c.£50bn over Xmas this year.

The other proof-point for how strong the Santa brand is the sheer volume of Santa-based products, advertising campaigns, songs and films that are prevalent in the world.  The pull of the brand is enormous.

Below are the two scenes below is from a couple of my favourite Xmas films.  They both extend the Santa brand in different ways but are great and highly recommended.

The people at Quietroom have also developed a pdf of what Santa’s brand book could look like – have a look HERE.

So, here is a ‘Ho,Ho,Ho’ to the great white-bearded man and all his iterations.

Have a great Xmas!

Brands I love 1 : We Built This City…

… on LEGO!!!

I love LEGO both as a product and as a brand.  I remember having a bucket of blocks that you just built.  There were sets but they weren’t as much fun.

I recently re-fell in love with it as I needed to amuse my eldest.  It’s so addictive just building it and we are slowly building up rather a big collection.

But taking a business view of the company, the reason it is great is that it’s core product hasn’t changed at all in over 40 years (in fact bricks from 40 years ago still link to new bricks – something very few companies can match) and the extensions they have made to the brand (Duplo, Legoland, retail shops, games and business consultancy) still all retain the essence of the brand which is all about creativity and exploration.

I certainly plan to continue to allow my kids to play with it and see what structures (good, bad and downright stupid) they can come up with.  Compared to video games where there is not ability to deviate from the confines of what has been programmed, LEGO allows you to just do whatever you want and see everything as a blank slate.  That is something that I hope my kids will learn from playing with it.

I did a little bit of digging around and found these rather incredible facts:

  • LEGO is abbreviated from ‘Leg godt’ which means ‘play well’
  • On average there are 62 bricks per person in the world!
  • There are nearly 103 MILLION ways to combine six LEGO bricks
  • Every year 6.5 BILLION hours are spent playing with LEGO

One of the amazing structures built with LEGO was a house for a programme for the BBC – below are videos of the programme

There are also some other pretty amazing LEGO builds

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Next on the list for me is X-wing fighter from StarWars!

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