Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Office Characters #3

The Cainer

What more needs to be said?

These people hang around like a bad smell. Flies drawn to the proverbial mess of the media industry.
Don't get me wrong, it's fun to have a good time, and get a few freebies, but these people give the industry it's reputation for laziness, drunkenness and selfishness!

It's fashionable to have a stonking hangover, 5 O'clock stubble (even for the ladies), wonky glasses, ripped jumpers, un-ironed shirts and a fuzzy mind.
It gives them a certain credibility. At least they know how to have a good time all the time and get away with it.

Grabbing freebies with both hands, asking reps outright 'when are you going to take me to a music festival?' 'Can't we go somewhere nicer for lunch'
They play people off against each other and maintain that their mistakes are caused by entertaining and networking too much.

The Cainer is never too ashamed to crack out the excuses for being late. Doctors, Dentists, train, the boiler, a death in the family, alien invasion.

The only noticeable downside for Cainers is the fact to booze and coke must be a real drain on the finances. They say opposites attract, and for Cainers it's a must. If one got married to another it would be like a scene from a sitcom. A sitcom about inept drunk unprofessional people.

Anyway, they are pretty fun to hang around with. Every office has one.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Office Characters #2

The Manchild

The Manchild is a curious breed of fellow, almost exclusively found in the Media habitat. Most often designers, these are people often with the body, debt and responsibility of a 35 year old, and the mind of a 12 year old. Fond of juvenile conversation (which I am partial too myself on occasion) and a slave to the Xbox360, these guys love a good office prank.

Yet with the mind of a 12 year old, they are not always the most sophisticated of office pranks. "Let's sellotape their phone down, that would be hilarious". "We could cover his screen with post-it notes saying wanker on".

What are the typical clothes of a Manchild, I hear you ask?
Well, an ironic T-shirt, baggy jeans and big white trainers of course. Shirts and thin black ties are reserved for special occasions.

Typical behaviour:

Getting over excited when office snacks (or free samples) arrive
Spending all of their money within one week of payday
Ordering burgers or a steak on team lunches
Drinking glasses of milk (meant to be used for tea) in the office
Flipping people the bird behind their hands

"I know you are, I said you are but what am I?"
"I don't like your attitude"
"Don't touch what you can't afford"

We all know one, and we love them, they are certainly characters. A bit like dumb dogs with unquestioning faith and love for their owner.

Some people just don't want to grow older.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Office Characters #1

Welcome to my new feature on characters in the workplace. Now we all have different personalities around us, but this executive has certainly noticed that within the media industry, many people have shared characteristics.

Yes yes, the boozing, the lies, the bullshitting, we all know, but read on if you are interested in finding out more and getting the inside scoop in the world of advertising.

So, on with Office Character #1 - The Glamour Director.

The Glamour Director, tends to be someone high up the chain, and used to enjoying the finer things in life. That's fine, but there's no need to flout it. GD loves to slide around the office telling everyone how he's 'so full up from lunch at the Ivy, how nice his new (free) watch is, or maybe about how good the Movie Premiere was last night in Leicester Square. It's not that we begrudge you Mr Director, just don't rub it in the faces of people who will never go. GDs are rarely in the office as they are entertaining (or being entertained by) high end clients. They are not the smartest bunch, but have got themselves into an enviable position.

A GD is the kind of person who has lost touch with reality. They don't know how much a pint of milk costs, because their au pair buys that. They don't like speaking to people who aren't celebrities - that certainly won't provide them with a pithy lunchtime anecdote. Last but not least, they do not like paying for things. They are not used to having to dip into their own pocket, and have to be oh so careful with their expense bills, that quite often, it's the Execs that get the drinks in. Scandalous!

Well done Mr Glamour Director.

bad ads #8

I have to say, this one made me laugh. It makes no real sense, and doesn't make you want to read on. You assume that it is an ad for Countdown, Setanta or whatever else Des Lynham is not on these days.

Surely Barry white would have been a better point of comparison for having a smooth sexy voice. I don't know whether it would be right to use Barry White since he's croaked it. I suspect he licked honey from a frog's back rather than a snake anyway.

Well done to Stomark for being yet another victim of the Bad ads revenge.

Rude words

When is it acceptable to swear at work? When you are really frustrated, for added impact or stylistic reasons?

These all seem to be acceptable in the media world. A director swore for no apparent reason in an email to all staff recently, I found it quite funny.

Constrained by suits, you should ‘tone down your language’, or at least star one letter to make use of the bad word “ironic”. To date, I don’t think I’ve sworn on this page yet, so here goes:

Tish and Fipsy
O’ Krakatoa!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Agony of others

Is it totally necessary to open you ears and mind to the outpourings of bile and woe from your fellow employees?
We all need to let off a little steam in the pub sometimes, it’s good for morale. There is also a need to accumulate gossip and information about your colleagues like there is no tomorrow. Media office politics are simply like a trading game with gossip as the currency. Throw someone some juicy gossip, and they owe you some. If you have some real dirt on a colleague, it may keep them quiet about your misdemeanours.

However, there comes a point where you realise you are an empty vessel, ready to receive the wails and moans and cries of ‘foul play’ from your immediate colleagues. Do you need to put yourself in this position, and how does it benefit you?

Well, I would say that unless you are too apathetic about your job to moan back, it gives you a pair of ears to bombard too. It doesn’t matter whether they are tuned in to your rabbitings or not. At the end of week drinks session, when the glass is raised to their lips, its your turn to unload.

Bad Behaviour

There are many times when people’s behaviour suddenly shifts from nasty to nice or vice versa in the office. There is something about a boardroom table, which sets people off, even in a normal team meeting, or brainstorming session. Suddenly, ideas are reinforced by fists banging down on the table from a great height and people standing up and walking around the room to impose some sense of seniority over the others, the seated.

Another great example of this is the office lunch. You know the embarrassing trip to a chain eatery (I think there must be a rule that office workers MUST go to Pizza Express for an overpriced nonsense of a Pizza. What the hell is a doughball anyway, and who would normally eat one?) Upon arrival there is a frantic scrabble for places as the execs huddle together for dear life, so that they avoid sitting next to someone senior, or that they don’t like. Whilst this behaviour is totally childish, this executive has come out from many a lunch with more work to do. Directors simply don’t know how to talk to juniors on a personal level, and before you know it, you’ve agreed to a new project or deadline.

My final example of behavioural changes are when two old fruits club together. I’m talking about the Media Oldies. Even if someone else is in the room, they will bang on for years about ‘seat of your pants’ campaigns in the 80s where the idea was conceived 30 seconds before the pitch. Or even when you could reach 95% of the population with one ad in the middle of Coronation Street. It doesn’t matter if you are there or not. These Media dinosaurs will be discussing the ‘good ol’ days’ until the cows come home. The might not be wiser or smarter than you, but they sure are older, and won’t let you forget.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Bad ads #7

A double entry this week. What a bonus!

The copy writing is attrocious. 'Diss is the cat's whiskers' - eh?

Small marketing companies must try harder to communicate their messages. And yes, the irony that I have cut this classified add out of the back of a magazine, and scanned it in is not lost on me. Clearly, I noticed it, but I needed to show it to you in my rogues gallery.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


It is difficult not to turn into a member of the Prawn Sandwich Brigade during an office lunch.
You know the ones where high powered executives sit around the table all trying to out-do each other with their lack of hunger.

When the clock strikes one everyone sits on their hands, refuses to eat and continues to talks about more irrelevant business. It’s like eating more than one quarter of a sandwich over lunch portrays you as a glutton only interested in food rather than your company. Of course a huge amount of lunch has been ordered as having left over is always better than not enough.

No one wins in this Mexican stand off situation. Directors go hungry, and the huge surplus of sandwiches are then delivered to other departments on their return from having just paid for lunch. Office workers can’t resist a freebie as we know and proceed to gorge themselves on said surplus.

Lunch meetings . . . no one is a winner.


Working in Soho has some benefits. The random events in the square, the proximity to good restaurants and shops, and of course the free samples.

Now all offices get given the odd free sample, you know, the kind designed to get you hooked on chewing gum, or more interested in porridge. Yet it seems that those of us in ad-land are bombarded by them. ‘Try them out on the cool kids, they’ll spread the word’

What is interesting is how free food changes the rational thought process of those in the office. People on £50k+ salaries elbow each other out of the way to get to their pot of yogurt.
Designers grab five to give to their mates – ‘that’ll make me cool, people respect yogurt’.

The funniest part of it all is that samples tend to come in mid morning, or mid afternoon and are instantly devoured by non-hungry workers. People who have just stuffed in a morning sandwich or a sit-down lunch get straight into their sample hungry or not. At least save it for lunch people, we have a fridge!

Never look a gift horse in the mouth, but sometimes things are free for a reason.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Bad ads #6

It's that time of week again. The time when I unleash some of my rapier wit and harsh criticism on some poor unassuming research company.

Not only does the image look like it has been sourced straight from the doldrums of 'clip art', but the ad simply is confused. Research Now is trying to paint itself as a company that listens, and has panelists from all around the world.

However, in the image, it is the world that is listening. What part is Research Now supposed to be?!? The world is listening to itself, and Research Now is making bold claims about how great it is.

Well I for one will be boycotting their services. Take that world!


That wonderful question – ‘what did you do at the weekend?’

Now this executive likes to relax as much as everyone, but you have to have something to show for your efforts after two days of freedom. There seem to be two ways of answering this tricky Monday morning question:

One is to go for the nice option – ‘I spent time with my family’, ‘I went out with my partner’And receive the ‘ohh lovely’ or ‘that’s nice’ response.

The other option is to get competitive – I went and got a massage, then quad biking, then had dinner at a really expensive restaurant, then we headed the club where we were on the guest list and got thrown out into a paparazzi scrum at 5:30am . . . and that was just Saturday.It is as if everyone tries to outdo each other come 9 a.m. Monday.

Every week you will catch the ‘borings’. The drones who have no excuse for having fallen foul of laziness and having no imagination . The excuse offered is always that they ‘chilled out’

Ahh ‘chilling out’ youth’s excuse for doing nothing.

I did nothing, but it was good because I meant to. It’s something we might see on the gravestones of the members of generation Y where god forgot to insert the personality chip. People who seem to lead mundane and futile lives. Here likes John Doe, ‘Basically chilling out’.

The key of course to answering the question of the weekend is to make much of just one thing you did, whether you loved it or not. It serves as just enough information for you to blend into the background of the office and continue to plot your world domination.