Sunday, 26 December 2010

A letter from the Queen

Transmission from Buckingham palace via email below

"Dear Executive Summary,

Congratulations on reaching your hundredth post. As you move into three figures you become part of a select group and have grown to be known a pillar of the online community. I wish you all the success you desire as you continue to entertain audiences worldwide.

Your pal, Lizzy II.

P.S. Play up Pompey"

n.b. Yes yes, I realise that this is my hundredth post so I wouldn't have received this communication from the monarch yet (even if it were real), but she preemts the 100th post OK?

Happy holidays everyone!

A big thank you to those of you that occasionally cast your eye over this page.
If you are reading this in the new year, then welcome to 2011, detox, colds and financial strain. Ahhh January

Well, I've been racking my brains about how to create a great hundredth post and nothing has sprung to mind. It's strange that I've been busting a gut to get up to three figures in terms of posts all year, and now I'm here I feel a bit deflated and blank. Well, in tribute to all of the 'what I've learned in my first year of blogging' and '5 tips to rake in the readers' posts, here are my thoughts:

Having a blog still has a bit of a stigma attached to it.
It turns out not everyone lives their live online 
Quality and Quantity - Whilst the quality of posts is important, you have to regularly post to hold people's interest. There are so many sites which amalgamate the best of the internet, of have strong readership bases already, it's difficult to keep up with the competition.

Keep it visual - Reading passages is simply not enough for audiences. They need images and videos to connect with and help visualise whatever you are writing about. Sourcing relevant, quality and funny images can be tricky, especially with so many posts bashed out at work.

Prompting interaction is hard - The best internet content is interactive, with discussion, voting and debate etc. You can incorporate tools to help audiences do this, but essentially, interaction doesn't happen unless; The article is frothy, funny and an easy throwaway share, you have a large readership, you are a trusted media source (e.g. The Guardian online).

This is not a Therapy? session - It is tempting to air your own grievances, but readers want something that they can connect with. Artistic license can always be used to make your situation or story more relevant to your audiences.

Anonymous writing doesn't work - Audiences need personal opinions to connect with, so inanimate voices don't always engage or inspire.

The Audience doesn't come to you - This is fairly obvious of course. Yet until you start blogging, you don't appreciate that blogs are essentially dead individual pages. Most known content on the web is connected by search, linking and sharing. Bloggers have to create this themselves, and this takes a lot of technical knowledge. Whatever 'Blog self help bloggers' say, promotion and search are the key to grabbing attention. Google search, Blog search engines and how to noticed by bigger media sources is still a complete unknown to me. Collective blogs are a much simpler way to get readers, but there aren't many good examples of these to use. Lets hope someone gets their act together in 2011 and makes this easier for us all.

Select a relevant topic - Office life is too broad a topic. I have not found too many office bloggers to connect with. I think many bloggers write on entertainment, something useful (i.e. tips and links on niche topics) or to keep a personal diary. Office drones seem to vent their spleins on Twitter and don't want a more in depth discussion. I guess in a way I'm unique.

Writing should be fun - I'm pretty tired of people asking if you can make money from it, or what your plans are. It's like asking someone who plays for a local hockey team how much they get paid for playing on a Saturday, or asking the old dears down at the parish how much they make a year from flower arranging. If you can make money from something you love, great. Unfortunately everyone wants to do something they love, and money doesn't grow on trees. I feel like I'm ten years too late to make money from blogging, I do it for the love of writing. When it stop being fun, I'll stop writing.

Executive Summary is becoming more ambivalent about his own ramblings. The new year holds more quality and less quantity blogging for me. When I do post, I will try to be more constructive and cover topics in greater depth.  This page may well morph into another blog, so watch this space. You've heard enough of my ranting for now I'm sure.

Signing off
Executive Summary

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Christmas party

The Christmas party was still going on in his mind

It’s that time of year, where every mediocre pub / club and hall in London is full to the rafters with Christmas partiers.

For many, the Christmas party represents a much needed opportunity to let your hair down, and enjoy a few drinks on the company. Unfortunately, a few drinks on the company doesn’t impress us media types, as that is what is normally consumed every weekday lunchtime and evening. Media Executives go into overdrive at the Christmas party, trying to have a more extreme (pic) time than normal.
Here are some of the things that can be expected from tonight’s party:

• Excruciating awards or speech by senior management
• Scrabbling around for drinks tokens when they run out. Alternatively sucking up to anyone with a bar tab.
• A lack of food to aid the drunken embarrassment. After nearly 5 years in media Executive Summary can reveal that canapés are not, repeat NOT an acceptable substitute for dinner.
• Somebody letting themselves down on the dancefloor
• Somebody letting themselves down with Karaoke
• Incredibly competitive drinking. It is all about who can be the drunkest, not who can enjoy the party.
Xmas parties.
Not as extreme as extreme ironing

• Two people letting themselves down with each other.
• Someone getting stung for an £80 cab ride home.
• Someone being witness to a fight in a fast food establishment resulting in them giving a statement to the police. 
• At least two AWOLs tomorrow.
• Thursday groans, as photographs are discovered and uploaded onto the network.

There are also a host of characters that come out of the woodwork every Christmas party that don't see to be around all year.

Clingon - a newbie who clings to whoever they know rather than drunkenly introducing themselves to others in the company. Run away if you don't want to get stuck with them all night.
Work Talker - someone incapable of making small talk. Avoid them if you don't want three extra projects on your desk in the morning. You are drunk and will agree to anything.
Singstar - Will sing, scream and shout along to the music all night regardless of whether they have a microphone or an audience.
Store Room Guy - An old guy you haven't seen before. He looks tired, and like he might have respiritory problems. He must work in the store room or something.
Darth Vader - a.k.a The big boss. Walks around with purposeful yet plodding steps with a forced grin on. The grin is to entrap executives into slagging people or the company off before busting their asses the next day. At least Darth Vader won't enjoy the party, he's rather drive his Merc home and read in bed for 2 hours.
The Jocks - Whoopin' and hollerin' animalistic executives. Competitive drinkers, daring each other to pull the 'fat chick' before high fiving each other and shouting 'yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh'
The Desperado - Sad, lonely and drunk, these desperate individuals wander around an emptying floor at midnight looking for someone, anyone to make them complete. The Jocks run a mile.
The Dweebs - Nerdy gang sitting in the corner. No-one knows what their entire floor actually does.
The Queen - The girl that all of the Jocks want to get off with. A very powerful individual, and she knows it.

Sensible executives like myself will be avoiding as many of the aforementioned characters as possible, and that's why we need copious amounts of booze to enjoy ourselves.

So expect a hung-over and grumpy Executive summary to be rolling into work at 9:05 tomorrow (that’s right, even the punctual have the occasional slip), after going in search of a hangover cure that will include some or all of the following:
  • A bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling water 
  • A smoothie 
  • Boost Guarana
  • Vegetable pasty from Greggs
  • Tesco ibuprofen (I want to get rid of my headache, but why pay £4.95 for Nurofen when you can get the same effect from a 60p box?) 
  • Two Raw eggs with tobasco
  • Candy Floss
  • A morning bike ride
  • A desk beer
  • Kinder Happy Hippos
I’ll also be starting work on my hundredth and possibly final post soon.
Merry fucking Christmas.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Bad ads corner # 3

Happy Friday people. If you are reading this today then you should be ashamed. Haven't you got better things to do than watch Executive Summary creep towards 100 posts with this thinly veiled attack on media industry publications.
You haven't? Then read on.

 - As you can see, this is rule 9/10. The penultimate installment of garbage ads in a series of ten. Executive Summary could have included the previous 8 'rules of low cost TV' as they were equally awful, however the scanner has been broken. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. The boxing analogy is very odd. Why is the man wearing a suit? Also, look at what is written on the gloves:

My Brand as seen on TV - why do you want to punch people in the face with your brand?
Sales lift - How does punching represent a sales lift?

I could go on . . .

In a climate of 'it's all about involving not telling your audience' why do you want to land a right hook on them?


ES loves this next one. The panda looks sad and still, like he hasn't been fed for a week. It's not very moving or loving. But don't worry if you commission these animation specialists to work on you TV series or high budget 30 spot they'll buy you a coffee. No expense spared. I take that back, they probably give you a polystyrene cup of black Nescafe because they ran out of milk

'Want to hear about our brand? Well look at this picture of an unhappy child. The baby has soiled himself and now has nappy rash. Interested, call 0800 555 7869'

And finally a good ad! After innumerate posts about the use of irrelevant cute and furry critters in ads for printers or recruitment firms, I have found this beauty. Stock dog # 5 is looking at the fascinating text about a job opportunity for the PDSA. Executive summary initially thought of the Profoundly Dumb Soccer Association (who recently awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar), but Executive Summary's sources confirmed that PDSA stands for 'something about pets and stuff'.
So the dog is relevant. Hurrah!

Weekend etc.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


The month of December is upon us. For most in media this means one thing - it's party time.
Numerous lunches will be pencilled in for the least important month for business. Can these be justified?

traditional media Christmas lunch

Christmas lunches, office decorations, charity hampers, media chocolates, and the office party all rest within this one month (which only has 17 proper working days in it for most).

Outside of work, media socialites will be travelling to concerts and shows, catching up with friends and chasing away the cold with plenty of booze. Executive summary will be keeping you up to date with all of the news, views and hangovers that December will bring.

Let’s raise a glass and join me when I say:

‘We’ll get back to you after the holidays’
‘We can’t start this project until the new year’
‘Their office closes down over Christmas’
'Nothing gets here done in December’

Bring on the party.