Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Shut until less shit


The last few posts really have been fucking stinkers, haven't they?

So I think it's best if I hang up my pen for a while. You know, until I get a bit better.

'What's this, Dave?', you may ask. 'A rare show of self-awareness? Humility even?'

Well, it may interest you to know that I am very self aware. (It's hard not to be when you're this fucking good! HA HA! I'm even funny when I'm serious!) And I am also incredibly humble. I'm terrifically, incredibly humble. I'm more humble than any other fucker out there.

For that reason, I want every post on this blog to be as amazing as I am. As you can imagine, that's not easy. (I'm not even sure it's possible.)

So, for now, take care of yourself, fellow marketing professional. Thank you all sincerely for tuning in. May your logo be bigger than your competitor's.

Naturally, it won't be bigger than mine.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Laurence Bellenderson and the secrets of product shots

Right. Normal fucking service is resumed. If you want to read the latest news about adland, there are millions of places you can go. I can't be a-holed. All I get is picky picky picky people chewing my fucking lugs. Bollocks and clackholes to the lot of you.

I'm going to post about something far more important: how my photographer takes the best product shots in the universe.

Laurence Bellenderson is my product shot man. (I know! His name is a riot. Fucking Laurence! What a wanker!) He's been my product shot man for nearly 20 years because he's the best in the business. He's also one of the cheapest. Well, he is when he works for me! HA HA!

The product shot is to marketing what the ugly one is to Girls Aloud. Nobody's really that interested, but if you took it away, it would look weird.

The product shot does the simple job of showing the consumer what they'll be buying, but can also add some very important 'sizzle' - and that might seal the deal. So what does Mr Bellenderson do that the others don't?

Shoot it from below
It'll make your consumer durable / bottle of booze / chocolate bar / cock cream seem bigger, more imposing and, therefore, worth paying more for. Check out this fucking monolith of added value.

Make it all reflecty
This looks fucking brilliant. It's all, like...pwish! Zzzzing! Super...you know. Cool and stuff. Woooooh. Like this.

Don't be afraid of your product
Is your product so deeply fucking tedious that you want to hack at your own throat with a rust-encrusted vasectomy scalpel every time you see it? DON'T RUN AWAY FROM IT! Show that fucker in all its glory. Like these. What the fuck are they? Who knows? WHO CARES? They are beautiful, no matter what you say.

These are the basic principles by which one Laurence Bellenderson has cemented his place as the nation's greatest pack shot man. Yes, they are simple. And maybe that's the point. Or maybe not. Or maybe it is. I don't know. I'm actually very, very, drunk.

Of course I am!

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

The Labour Party, crowdsourcing and a serious post for a fucking change

Looking back over the past few months of posts, I've noticed that I may not be doing enough to confront the big issues confronting the marketing and creative sectors.

As a blogger, I admit, that is my job. (A completely fucking unpaid job, mind.) So with this post I aim to change the direction of my blog, making it more up-to-the-minute, of-the-moment and ahead-of-the-curve.

Here goes.

My spies at Campaign inform me that The Labour Party will be crowdsourcing elements of its election campaign. They tell me one of the world's biggest agencies is opening the brief to the very voters themselves. This, obviously, has significant ramifications for marketing in this country as crowdsourcing has been more widely embraced in the US.

My spies also inform me that said agency views this as a major leap forward in political marketing, seeing the step as not only a way to connect more organically with voters, but also as a demonstration of transparency and honesty in a political era dominated by allegations of corruption and expenses abuses.



Oh, alright, alright - I don't have any spies at Campaign. I just read Campaign. Fucking happy now? Yeah, I bet you are, you cuntslot.

Er...yeah. Where was I? Right. The Labour Party, crowdsourcing their stuff and that. Er...yeah. It's fascinating because...look, I could have spies at Campaign, you know. You're not to fucking know. So why the fucking attitude? If I did have spies at Campaign, and I don't see why that idea is so fucking funny, would you know? No, you fucking wouldn't.

Anyway, I'll say no more. I'm a professional. I have to rise above that kind of shit on an hourly basis.

So. The Labour Party.

Seriously - do you honestly think I don't have enough gravitas in the industry to have spies at Campaign? Come on - fucking say it. Say, 'I don't believe you have enough gravitas in the industry to have spies at Campaign, Dave.' COME ON! Fucking say it!


Well, you're fucking wrong - I certainly DO have enough gravitas. I've got it coming out of my fucking gravitass. So put that in you're cunting pipe and smoke it. I suppose you've got spies at Campaign, have you? I suppose you've got a fucking ARMY of spies over there, all slipping you the inside story on...

Oh. You have.

Well, get this - I DON'T FUCKING BELIEVE YOU! How do you fucking like it, now? How do you like the taste of your own apples? (Apples? What's that American thing people say nowadays? How do you like them pies? Eat a slice of humble medicine? Fuck knows.) Anyway - in your face, cuntpie. I don't believe you have spies anywhere. You don't even have spies in your James Bond DVDs. You're a complete...

Oh. Well, I don't want their names. I don't fucking care. I'm trying to write a blog here, you twatend.

So. The Labour Party.

You know what really pisses me off? I have HUGE amounts of gravitas in this business! I am widely known! You'd be surprised how many people know me. Wherever I go, I introduce myself and people look amazed and say, 'Oh! So you're Dave Knockles.' And they take a while to look me up and down. And they're usually so overwhelmed, they make some phoney excuse and leg it. SO CHEW ON THAT, YOU SHITPICKLE! Who knows you? Nobody. That's who.

You have how many followers on Twitter? Fuck off - nobody has that many. Not even Ashton Kutcher.

He has HOW MANY? Jesus fucking wept. Amazing, isn't it?

Look - piss off. I'm writing a post about the Labour Party and the broad implications of their crowdsourced campaign. It's going to change my blog forever.




Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Anatomy of a Marketing Director

On a daily basis these days, I am asked a particular question.

'When are you going to get yourself a wife and settle down, boy? You're such a disappointment to me - me, an abandoned woman whose life was ruined by that unprincipled shit of a man who fathered you. It's the least you could do, give me grandchildren, a purpose in life, but no, you're just interested in whoring around with those dirty little harlots...'

That's my mother, when she's making my pre-breakfast breakfast. (She doesn't live with me, if that's what you're thinking - she lives 5 doors down, so piss off.) After I've managed to shoo her out the back door with my ironing, however, I leave for work where I'm regularly asked another question:

'What does it take to become a Marketing Director / Legend?'

It's a question I struggle to answer because, as you know, modesty is one of my many, many, many talents.

But enough's enough. I can dodge it no longer. Here is what I believe you, my fellow marketing professionals, will need to become a Marketing Director.

Huge balls
Decisions take balls. Huge decisions take huge balls. And if you don't have a pair, you can order another 100,000 business cards with 'Marketing Manager' on them because that's all you'll ever be.

(Well, unless you change career. Or move to a different department. Actually, maybe hold on those business cards, thinking about it.)

A massive wang
I'm not using the word 'wang' metaphorically here. To walk into an agency and demand perfection, to stand before a board and shock them with radical ideas, to command an entire department - it takes confidence. And, for me, that confidence is derived primarily from having a generously-appointed johnson. I'm being direct and honest here because it matters. I have a porn-standard love-baton. It makes a difference, in the boardroom as well as the bedroom.

(I know what you're thinking - everyone says they have a big one. But my measurements were taken from projections based on very accurate data. Basically, I measured daily between the ages of 10 and 15. Then I simply plotted that continued level of growth to my current age. It proves I have a mighty weapon.)

Massive intellectual girth
Given how much insight, inspiration, creativity, wisdom, business acumen and knowledge is required of you, you're going to need a brain the size of a fucking hippo. What's more, you're going to need to keep it constantly fueled with new ideas, new approaches and new ways of thinking - most of which you have to come up with yourself! In other words, you need a self-fueling brain. I find that pints of gin and WKD help.

A winning personality
People love me. This is a fact. NO agency has ever refused to work with me. Actually, they've all refused to work with me, but that's because they hate being shown how to do their job properly. They don't actually have a problem with me. I'm a popular guy, and you'll need to be too if you want to succeed.

(Yes, some of my colleagues have, I am told, started a sweep on when I'll die and it's attracted a lot of action. But that's because they care about me. It fucking is.)

An engine that never breaks down
This is the important one. I've got where I am today through total and utter dedication. Some days, I shit you not, I'm at my desk well before 10 (in the fucking morning, mind!) and I don't leave until gone 3.30 (in the early evening). Well, I have lunch, obviously, which normally takes no more than 2 hours, and there'll be a couple of half-hour shits in there too, but basically I'm a fucking workaholic business machine who never, ever quits.

Those are the fundamentals, my friends. Have you got what it takes? You may have. But will you have it in the same abundant quantities as me? I fucking doubt it!

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Dealing with creatives. A working example.

My post yesterday was aimed at helping less experienced and massively gifted marketing professionals than I learn the basics about creatives.

Following a meeting with my agency today, I have some real-life examples of how to deal with these over-sensitive, self-obsessed fucking cuntwaffles without causing them undue offence - and ensuring that you get the outcome you want, ie, your ideas in the fucking ads. That, we can all surely agree, is best for everyone.

Today was actually a hugely important meeting for the company. Top of the agenda was our marketing strategy for the next 5 years - a plan we've worked very, very hard to get right and which we are committed to sticking rigidly to for at least the next...oooh...8 months? (Well, call it 6 - you never know when you'll fancy a change, do you?)

So it was that I launched myself into my agency's lobby at 10am on the nose, bursting with anticipation for our 8am breakfast meeting.

'Have you ever been the judge at a fruit and vegetable show?' I breathed to the receptionist. As ever, she played it coy / offended. 'Because every time I see you I want to polish my plums.'

With a coquettish glance over my shoulder I was away up the stairs and into my meeting. First job: cheer everyone the fuck up.

'Don't stand up!' I barked, striding into the usual roomful of miserable fuckers and cold bacon rolls. 'Show me some work, and make it rock-fucking-solid!'

The account director gave me some guff about having no brief, or warning, or budget, or whatever, so I said, 'Let's fucking brainstorm it - right here, right now! Fetch me a pad, a pen and a person to use them for me. I don't write - I just think. Let's GO!'

(It has to be said, I really know how to light up a room.)

Lots of ideas got thrown about, then thrown out (by me, mainly) and on several occasions I had to manage potentially tricky situations.

Situation 1
One creative, a designer, tried suggesting a headline. I sprang into action. 'Zip it, Bumfluff,' I said, firmly. 'Stick to typefaces and marijuana.'

Outcome: one designer saved from being embarrassingly out of his depth. (I think he learned his lesson - didn't hear a peep out of him after that. He'll go far.)

Situation 2
A copywriter, after several minutes of sullen introversion, tossed a pad onto the table. On it was written a single headline. On seeing it, his colleagues veritably gasped in admiration.

Not me! A few swipes of my favourite red pen and the headline was rewritten, improved and, crucially, had the product name in it. (Also, I'd taken out the potentially confusing play on words he'd based the whole thing on. No need for that load of clack-gravy.)

He stood up, huffed 'We have human rights, you know!' and then walked out.

Quick as a flash I turned to his colleagues and said, 'Anyone know any writers? Because that cunt won't work again.'

Outcome: one copywriter spared from a career he wasn't meant for, and another job created when the economy needs them most.

Situation 3
An art director sketched out a TV concept he'd had bouncing around his nogging for a while, based on a scene from Fellini's La Dolce Vita as seen through the eyes of a character in The Matrix - but The Matrix imagined by Fellini himself! It was very interesting, very challenging.

It fell to me, then, to tell him to take out some / most of the elements he'd put in (the pictures, mainly) and replace them with at least one but ideally two birds with above-average bristolas. From there, it was easy to tweak / rewrite his script and, bingo bango, we had ourselves a fucking ad.

Outcome: one art director who could feel well and truly included in the creative process. He looked so pleased, actually, that he couldn't register it! His face went completely blank. A total result for me, because I love to develop people.

So, there are three ways to handle creatives. There are many more. But perhaps it would be best if you found them yourselves, fellow marketing professionals, as I had to.

Of course, you won't find them as fast as I did.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Creatives. The definitive guide.

In my many years of dealing with agencies, I have become something of an expert…actually, I’ve become a pure and unfettered expert…on the subject of creatives, or ‘scribblers’, as I prefer to call them.

(They love it, mind – I’ve never heard a single complaint about me, a client, calling them scribblers. Not one. Well, six or seven, but not really a proper one. At least, not a proper one that’s escalated beyond the point of mild violence.

Creatives like to think of themselves as a single species, one that is connected to each other, and to God, by a mysterious, indefinable and sacred ability to summon great leaps of imaginative thinking from the void that confronts normal people when they try to have an idea.

In reality, they can be broken down into several sub-species. And that mysterious ability to summon great leaps of imaginative thinking can be boiled down to one word: YouTube.


Traditionally, these were the intellectual powerhouses of the agency. Then computers happened, and they weren’t. They still aren’t. Somehow, though, they still act as though they are. Personally, I haven’t met a copywriter who could write words what are much more better than what I can do with my own wordings because I done English at school so what’s the point of them and that.

Art Directors.

Say hello to the Art Director. He is wearing black. He is an artist. When he’s not sullying himself with your ads, he is an artist. So think carefully before you question his taste because, in effect, you are questioning his very soul. He can draw. Can you draw? No. You cannot draw. You can only doodle a cock and balls, or a Chad saying ‘Wot, no handjobs?’. Be seated. Be quiet. Be art directed.


Most designers are very right-brained. Well, if that’s the bit that enables them to write your company’s name in one of the 5 billion typefaces currently alive in the world, and then add an unfathomable splat that represents ‘the dynamism of your brand’. Did you know that there are more designers in the world than there are grains of sand, molecules of hydrogen and DJs combined?

None of the above are necessary when you have a laser-guided mind like mine, but I appreciate that you, my fellow marketing professional, may not be similarly gifted.

So tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that, or sometime soon, or next month, or possibly never, I will give you my top tips on handling these precious show ponies without making them so angry that they draw unfeasibly unflattering caricatures of you to use, basically, as voodoo dolls.

(That hasn’t happened to me, by the way. They were using them for darts practice. Voodoo didn’t come into it.)

It will be unmissable!

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Agency Characters, no 7 - The Financial Director

It's been a while since I added to my, let's be honest, fucking legendary series of observations on common-or-garden agency characters. But a meeting on Friday with my agency's mugwumps gave me fresh inspiration.

Or, to put a different inference on it, fresh ammunition.

Right. Let me gather my thoughts, then begin.

(Just gathering those thoughts.)

(Still gathering. Indulge me a moment longer.)

Good. I'm ready.

Finance Directors at ad agencies are like gargoyles on castles. A completely and utterly repellent appendage that serves absolutely no visible purpose, apart from making the castle uglier.

They are, in my experience, vulgar little cuntbags, shitknuckles, jizzrags and fuckends who suck on the cock of advertising glamour to fluff the ailing hard-on of their own self-image because, underneath the very thin veneer of their phoney struttery, they are beancounting motherfuckers whose sole purpose in life is to make my advertising worse and their profits better.

Listen to me, you horrid breed of half-lit, pasty-fleshed ballbag-fondling candy-stealers: if anyone's going to make my advertising worse, IT'LL FUCKING WELL BE ME!

That's all I've got to say on the matter. And it's all that needs to be said.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Cutella & I. The love story continues.

Love, like a Triple Whopper with Cheese, like a pint of port, like a sneaky wank when you're stuck in traffic, cannot be resisted.

Its power has mobilised armies. How could one as weak as Dave Knockles deny it? (I say weak, but I only mean that in a very narrow sense - like with birds and that. In every other way, weakness is not one of my...you know...weaknesses.)

And so, on Monday night (which is the new Friday night - you heard it here first) I was drawn back to Delilaz, the scene of a true low in my life. A low that, without doubt, surpassed the several other lows I've been through in Delilaz. And they were fucking low, believe me. This low, though, wasn't down to my own occasional lapses into over-indulgence. It was down to the actions of a woman / dancer / actress / life drawing model / masseuse / erotic novelist / advice columnist in a bukakke enthusiast's periodical who truly captured my heart.

Seeing her cuddled up to my arch rival, Rupert 'I invented being a cunt' Abbott, is something I don't think I'll ever truly recover from. But I'm not a man who believes in running away from situations, unless those situations involve people who may cause you physical pain, or who may tell you something unpleasant, or who may want money from you, or who may look like a mugger, or who may be taller that you, or who may have overheard you call them a big fucking wankpipe with no idea how to run a company.

I must admit, I haven't ever felt as anxious as when I walked through Delilaz erotically-frescoed door. And this was with at least three...no, four pints of WKD 'n' Scotch inside me, and a couple of snifters of brandy. And a gin 'n' tonic (large), a double rum and a glass of barley wine with dinner. I know, however, that walking tall is the only way to play it when you're feeling small, so I strode in like John Wayne after a colonic. Eyes forward, no messing, right up to the bar (where the beautiful Wispa was serving) and got a drink or five.

Suitably settled, I surveyed the scene. Nothing usual, only Brian 'Just' Cummings from the printers getting the usual three-way from Nutella, Cadburina and Galaxia, like he always had on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. (Sunday he goes for a massage at Madame Flo's.)

I didn't see her sneak up on me.

'Where the fuck have you been, you cunt?' she sighed through the velvet air.

I turned to look at her. My heart stopped. She looked better than I have ever imagined, including when I imagine her looking fucking unbelievable.

'Been busy. You know, work. I'm a Marketing Director at the number two European producer of consumer durables relating to, or directly involving, the cleaning of clothes and or soft furnishings and or other fabrics,' I replied, deftly.

'I know. You told me.'

'Well. Anyway. You busy are you?'

'The usual. Straddling strangers for money. Sorry...I know you don't like me to talk about...'

'Not bothered, pet. Not bothered. Just business. Me and you, you and him, you and Rupert fucking Abbott...'

'Who's Rupert Abbott?'

'Who's Rupert Abbott she says...'

'Yes. Who's Rupert Abbott I say because I don't know who Rupert Abbott is. What's wrong, Dave? Are you...'

'Fucking smokey, isn't it? Fucking smoke in my eyes...'

'Smoking's been banned in here for years, you pillock. Sit down, Dave. There, there. You let it all out. Sit down, darlin'...'

It transpires that Rupert Abbott had been in Delilaz looking for participants in his 'Digital Outsider Art Imaginarium'. He'd been looking for low-lives and fruitcakes to populate some website with their artistic daubings as part of some social media thing he was doing. My beautiful Cutella told him she wasn't a low-life who needed to be rescued through art and that he should pay her to sit on his face or fuck off.

I love this woman.

Why? Because I am her client.

Monday, 15 March 2010


And on the 8th day, God had a look about and thought, 'You know what's missing? A collection of complete and utter cunt-portions whose sole purpose in life it will be to really ruin the life of anyone trying to get a TV commercial cleared for broadcast.'

And, lo, the Lord did bring into existence the BACC, which he later rebranded, because he was bored and had budget to use up before April, and they became known as Clearcast and verily they were a total bunch of shit-fingering wank-machines who God must have created in his own image because fuck me into a puddle, that's who they fucking well act like.

And soon did the marketing professionals and agency boys gnash their teeth and wail and cry unto the Lord, 'Why hast Thou created this legion of utter, utter, utter cuntblobs who do act without rhyme or reason or any semblance of responsibility or uinderstanding?'

And the Lord looked down and chuckled, for He just felt like being a bit of a cunt that day and, well, who's going to fucking argue anyway? You? Are you arguing? Do you fancy a fucking lightning bolt up your cack-barrel? No, I fucking thought not, tough guy. That's it - fuck off back to your phone and call Clearcast again to see if they could possibly, perhaps, just maybe, please have a look at the script you've resubmitted for the 34th time to see if the terms and conditions in 6-point type are worded correctly - though you know very, very well that the Clearcast cockhounds I have created will do nothing AT ALL to help you because I didn't give them the ability to reason, just a facility to say 'rejected' with a tone that makes you want to hack them into teeth and jam, though you can't because they'll never clear another of your client's ads ever again and your jizzmop of a career will get even fucking worse.

And the agency boys did weep, and the marketing professionals fucking stupid enough to try to produce a TV commercial themselves did moan, and everyone agreed that if they ever met one of these scat-felchers anonymously in the pub, they would fuck them right up, properly, not just a quick beating but a serious, sustained bout of violence that would sicken bystanders and call into question the humanity of the perpetrators but, fuck me, if those bystanders had to deal with Clearcast with any kind of fucking regularity, they'd be weighing with a crowbar too BECAUSE THOSE FUCKING A-PIPES NEED TO FUCKING WELL DIE.


Basically, I've been banned from airing the UK's first TV ad featuring VERY TASTEFUL full-frontal nudity.

That said, everything I've written above about Clearcast stands. It's an organisation formed out of malice, shit, bile, crow-spunk and wasps. I REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR SOVEREIGNTY ANY MORE!

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

To rebrand or not to rebrand? That is the 300-grand question.

In the light of Argos's recent brand overhaul, I thought I'd add my own insight / genius to the widespread discussion / rambling, ill-considered shitmongering on the subject of one of marketing's most widely ridiculed endeavours.

The public, bless them, see a slight alteration to one of their favourite brand's logos and hear six-figure numbers bandied about in the press - and what do they think? Well, in the case of Argos, they think a new typeface and the addition / purloining of Amazon's smile is, at best, a self-indulgent waste of time or, worse, a vulgar expenditure that will inevitably be passed on to them, the poor mugs who schlep through the door to buy bargain-bucket jewellery, ironing board covers and trampolines their idle, buttery children will look at vacantly from their bedroom window as they start another game of Grand Theft Porno.

(Of course, they're completely wrong. That expenditure won't be passed onto them because it was a rebrand. It'll be passed on to them because it's expenditure. It doesn't matter whether it's a rebrand or a new Merc for the sales director. OF COURSE we'll pass it onto them. Are they fucking stupid?)

Agencies, meanwhile, don't really help themselves. You will hear talk of a rebrand revitalising, re-energising, realigning, refocusing, repositioning or remaking a company in the public eye. All of which sounds very good until you see what that actually means in the real world, and how much talking of the purest, most unrefined bullshit it takes to get there. For instance, the last rebrand we went through took 19 months (partly because my mother, whom I consult on everything because she's nearly target audience, kept dismissing work because it was the same colour as a dress the woman who ran off with my father had) and at one point featured a presentation on the rotation of full stops.

Of course, they'll point to the amount of thinking, strategising, research, testing and retesting that goes into that slightly-rotated-but-not-too-much full stop and the addition of some shape or other. (Incidentally, these splats, squiggles, swooshes, shapes, swirls and blobs these fuckers add to logos are a much loved part of the rebranding process and, apparently, are 'devices'. This is where the bullshit really starts flying, but that's another post.) They will stand there and tell you that if they hadn't run 7 focus groups, spent 4 months 'developing' the creative and another 3 months 'deep-diving' into the brand, they wouldn't have got it so very, very right.

But here's the truth, folks.

There are only ever two reasons for a rebrand.

1. The client is bored of the logo.

2. The financial year is coming to and end and the budget needs to be used up, pronto.

Now don't get me wrong - I fucking love a rebrand. I love it as much as I love the soft, yielding caress of a big pair of bristolas wrapped around my face. But, unlike those bristolas, I don't actually need a rebrand. Still, that shouldn't get in the way of our enjoyment of the whole process. If you take out the endless, soul-fuckingly boring presentations, it's almost as good as finding a new agency. There are always lots of meetings with muffins, plenty of 'let's carry this on in the pub' and a fair degree of free lunches / monumental tear-ups.

(It has to be said, mind, that design agencies have none of the joie de piss-up of their advertising contemporaries. Designers seem to think - fuck knows why - that a meeting can be fueled by water and apples. I don't where to start.)

Back to Argos, then. I think this is a case of unspent budget. I mean, everybody's been bored of the old shitpile wankpit of a logo for decades, so somebody at Argos (possibly Mr Argos himself)) must actually like it. This bears all the hallmarks of a marketing manager who found 300 grand in a desk drawer while she was looking for a tampon.

And I should fucking well know.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

French lessons

I usually limit my laser-precise insights to the world of marketing. But today I'm broadening my horizons. Because horizons are meant to be broadened, just like envelopes are meant to be pushed.

Some time ago, I gave you the benefit of my knowledge as a veritable Caligula of cunnilingus. This time, I'll be helping you negotiate the minefield that is dining in French restaurants.

I was taken to one today and, putting it simply, it wasn't exactly plain sailing.

First, they DO NOT serve balti. I asked. I can't conceive of a possible reason for not serving balti, but there you have it - they don't serve fucking balti. If you find out why they don't serve balti, let me know. It's the very definition of nonsensical. I'll say it again, so you're in no doubt. They. Don't. Serve. Fucking. Balti. Un-cunting-believable.

Second, the waiters get very sniffy if you order something they're not used to. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but as the customer, I'm used to being king. So when I order a pint of claret and lemonade, I don't expect to have the manager called over. Likewise when I order a fried egg sandwich, a quadruple Scotch 'n' Malibu or a jar of peanut butter and a spoon.

Third, steak tartare is raw fucking meat! I know! Fucking amazing! (My delight was slightly dampened though by yet more sniffiness - this time at a request for salad cream. Fuck knows why - I was sure to ask for Heinz.)

Fourth, you'll find about 46 pieces of cutlery littered about your place at the table. Apparently, you start with the ones on the outside and work your way in with each course. Far more logical, I say, is to use cutlery that matches the size of the food you're eating. But oh no - that's an offence to some cunt called Escoffier. (I don't know who he is but he must have been a fucking nightmare to live with.)

Fifth, when you see the word 'flambee' in the name of a dish, it means a waiter will come to your table with a little pan, your food and a bottle of booze. He will then put the food in the pan, cover it with the booze and SET FUCKING FIRE TO IT! It's as good as it sounds! Sure, they don't get too chuffed when you (for a fucking joke, Pierre) dangle your tie in the inferno, but it's still a highly entertaining spectacle.

Sixth, they get very, VERY angry when you flambee food yourself. In fact, they get the manager over, who boots you out and calls you a 'pootan' or something. But, really, what do they expect? First, they set fire to food, which sets a pretty bad fucking example for a kick-off. Then they allow me to have a bottle of brandy at the table because it saves them bringing me a double every 3 minutes. It's just fucking asking for trouble.

Anyway, that's French restaurants. Raw meat and formally endorsed arson let down by fussiness, an illogical approach to cutlery and a refusal to serve balti.

I hope that clarifies things for you. Actually - of course it does!

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

I speak the language of success!


I have returned.

Back from an international marketing conference, am I basking in the glory of business success?

You bet your shitting boots I am.

Though it was only five (or was it four?) days long, too much happened at the conference to fit into one post. From intense pressing of flesh to prolonged bouts of high-level golf to sharply focused international discussions on just which half-pissed marketing trollop had the best Euro-bristolas, it was a heady, almost overwhelming, professional experience.

Here, then, are some of the highlights, hastily recalled as I sift through the many, many fond memories, recollections and assumptions based on the confusing evidence left in my hotel room.

My speech
It may have taken place at 3am in a part of the hotel usually used for storing soiled linen and corpses, but a hand-picked audience were truly stirred by my dispensation on 'Female Stereotypes in Advertising'. Several of the women present (both of them, actually) were visibly moved by it - to the point where they visibly moved, through the door. (Sometimes, marketing insight can be a truly powerful thing. On this occasion, it was too powerful.) It was widely agreed that my ideas on women and the vote (they'd actually be relieved to have it taken away - they don't have the fucking time for politics when there are houses to clean and children to feed), female nudity in advertising (has anyone actually proven that it's anything other than fucking marvelous?) and women's responses to advertising (tits, teeth, headline, price - in that order) were groundbreaking.

Nobody, the organisers told me afterwards, had expected anything like that!

Claka Slinkistrisdom is a very special lady from Iceland who, I can reveal, can chew her own ankles and likes being peed on. But I'll say no more than that to preserve her dignity.

The Europeans have taken what I thought was a British field of expertise - the banger - and made us look like a bunch of fat toddlers fucking about with some offal. On the second night the organisers held a Sausage Festival Meet & Greet which featured meaty delights from across the continent. And let me tell you, fellow marketing professionals, the Cumberland on Stand 12 was made to look a very sorry specimen indeed.

Mikkel Cockhammer
A marketing professional at one of Europe's best kept secrets in the electricals aftermarket, Mikkel and I discovered a mutual love of long-term strategies to engender consumer delight. And of golf. And beerz. And beerz during golf. And bristolas. And bristolas during golf. And golf during beerz / bristolas.

I will always remember Mikkel's cry, oft repeated, of 'Stop! Cockhammer time!'

He is a true gentleman. Here's to you, Mikkel, wherever you are. (I think it was Norway, but I can't really be sure.)

There's so much more to say, so I'll reveal more of my exploits as time goes on. In short, though, I think it's fair to say I came back a better man than when I left.

Actually, that's not true. I came back as fucking fantastic as when I left.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

What really happens at marketing conferences

I am currently ensconced in my plush executive hotel suite in an international location, ready to attend an international marketing conference.

Quite rightly, I've been given the VIP treatment because I'll be one of the conference's key speakers. At 3am on Sunday in the Herman Goerring Room, I will address a select audience on 'Female Stereotypes in Advertising'. (They couldn't have picked a better person, to be honest. I fucking love female stereotypes! I use them all the time!)

I'll post more on that when I get back, but for now, I thought I'd shine a light on the real goings-on at events such as these.

What do the various attendees want from the event? What do they bring in terms of insight and skillsets? What do they hope to take away with them?

The answer to all those questions is nothing, fuck-all and diddly-squat. But here's what they'll actually be up to.

Hello! My name is Dave!
The first couple of hours at big events like this give you a good impression of what it would look like if Champagne Drinking was made an Olympic sport. The gold medal usually goes to an ageing marketing manager from London or Milan who used to work in luxury brands but now flogs tyres.

This also gives delegates their first opportunity to put together a 'Bang List' of potential sexual partners.

Keynote speech
Someone very important will deliver the first speech, on a subject of massive importance to our industry. It's an opportunity to develop one's professional understanding and get into a frame of mind for learning, growth and development.

It's an opportunity nobody will take. We'll be waiting for our company's name to come up on the big screen at the back, at which point we'll cheer, then head for the bar.

First night party
There's always a disco on the first night. And this is where the marketing community really shows that deep down, it's not just shallow, vapid, witless and unoriginal. It shows it's shallow, vapid, witless, unoriginal and very, very horny.

The quiet girl who sits in the back of your department counting staples will, by 2am, have her knickers in the teeth of Geraldo from the marketing department of a Portuguese lift manufacturer. And that's just the cunting start of it.

Catch up on sleep. Simple as.

There are always large, gaping gaps in any conference's schedule that are plugged by the word 'networking'. On paper, this is the time for doing deals, establishing contacts and building careers.

In real life, it's the time for more shagging, sunbathing, golf, drinking, sightseeing, shagging, golf and sunbathing.

The only 'network' being built is in Suite 465, where a liberal-minded German girl from Dortmund's biggest cheese processing operator is engaging in a decidedly unerotic foursome with a nervous Belgian mother-of-two and three Finnish pickle-makers who cannot believe their fucking luck.

Grand finale
This is very much like the opening night party, but with massive amounts of regret, soul-searching, bitterness, resentment, fear and confusion. Delegates suddenly realise that they will be returning to their wives, husbands, children, boyfriends, girlfriends, desks and lives. And they're pretty concerned that they've picked up something nasty that's going to ruin everything. The solution? Drink very, very heavily. And, therefore, do some more ill-considered banging.

It's a strange evening for everyone. Well, for everyone except me. Personally, I always think this is when things really get going.

I'll do my best to post more while I'm here. But if I don't, it's because I've gatecrashed Suite 465 with Inga, Cecile, Frsk, Ingkl and Mreki. They'll be fucking delighted if I do.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Crowdsourcing the DK way

Crowdsourcing has interested me greatly since I heard it was cheap. But I've struggled to figure out how I can incorporate it into the game-changing, paradigm-shifting marketing I'm famous for. Until now.

(I am fucking famous, by the way. Don't listen to what that cunt-portion Barry Cockle says. He's just jealous because I've got an ergonomic chair and a window over the air conditioners while he has to sit on a standard issue pleb's blue three-wheeler and has a window facing the bricked-in office where Colin Balls hung himself. Get over it, Barry, you fucking wank-pole.)

With a new campaign beckoning for an as-yet unnamed product (without giving too much away, it's a consumer durable that will bring new levels of cleanosity into the low-to-mid range category, whilst maintaining strong margins into the medium-to-long terms - hope that doesn't spoil the surprise) I needed a big idea.

Luckily, big ideas are what I do best. I provided the genius juice for the Cleanavia campaign. And it looks like I've done it again.

I'm going to crowdsource my next star pair of bristolas.

Doritos can fuck about getting the great unwashed to make their next commercial for them if they want. Let's be honest, unless I enter, it'll be won by some mumbling Jasper or Giles from the dank creative corner of a London agency who's never quite had the dangle-bag to tell his creative director to let him have a crack at something other than BOGOF ads for elderly ladies' discharge management products.

I don't need the plebs to tell me how to make a great commercial! I make the fuckers in my sleep! (Well, at work - but that's where I do a lot of my sleeping.) I just need a muse for each campaign. For the Cleanavia ads, it was some girls I stumbled upon, through sheer good luck, at Delilaz. This time, it'll be a punter.

Now, a note of caution, my fellow marketing professionals. The commonly agreed rule in marketing is punters = munters. Many is the time an unseasoned marketeer has tried to make a consumer a star (they try it in PR all the time) only to find that Mrs Dawkins from Sevenoaks is actually a part-time gargoyle at her local gothic flying buttress and has a face that could curdle children. I'll make sure entrants submit a picture, ideally of their bristolas - and we know that a cracking pair of bristolas is at least 33% of a good ad.

We'll launch the competition with a TV spot. (I called the agency today to tell them that I'd come up with the entire campaign for them - AGAIN! - but they must have been in the middle of something. The account director just sighed and hung up. Weird.) It'll have a silhouette of a bird against a glitzy background where loads of paparazzi are snapping away, and a fat agent-type with a cigar is showering her with jewellery (not money - it's got to be tasteful). The VO says 'Could you be the face of the next Blah-di-blah from Blah-di-blah?' It'll be brilliant.

The prize - fucking get this - is a tour of the factory, a year's supply of mops, a voucher for knickers, a topless photo-shoot with a renowned glamour snapper (Big Andy Poleman's mate, Micky Porn), 5,000 points on their Tesco card and, of course, 25% off the consumer durable itself, subject to availability and at recommended retail price.

What woman wouldn't want that?

Well, I emailed all this over to the agency but there's been no response yet. (Fair enough. I'm always a bit stunned when I'm awestruck. Not that it happens that often! HA HA! I'm in a fucking great mood!)

We'll run it all online - and for me that makes it groundbreaking. Some people might say that making a customer the star of your commercial has been done so many times it could be Madonna, but I say this: listen again - it'll be online. It's virtually social media, for fuck's sake, and that's the future, today, now, yesterday.

So. How many of you will enter? Wouldn't you fancy being the new face of my consumer durable? I might even throw in a night with DK for the winner! It'll fucking work too! Now BRING ON THE TITS!

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

Monday, 1 March 2010

The Dave Knockles Guide to Assessing Creative

Being presented with creative work is perhaps the marketing professional's biggest treat.

After an entire agency has researched, analysed, pondered, deliberated and passionately debated your brand's specific marketing needs, talented creative minds will toil determinedly to create an original, motivating idea, like miners bringing a rare and beautiful stone from the darkness - and they will present it to you as though parading their own child.

Critically assessing the treasure they have unearthed is a privilege - but also a great responsibility. Great respect must be paid to the effort that has gone into its creation - and I find the following set of criteria help me thoughtfully determine whether the work is right or wrong.

Does it have colours you like?
Does the work you are being shown contain your favourite colour? This is important. You can never truly love work that isn't the right colour. Don't worry about upsetting the creatives - they can just change colours. I mean, what do they care? So what if it's blue or red or green or orange? I can assure you that it is no skin off their nose. Just make sure your favourite colour is in there. And if not your favourite colour, the favourite colour of your spouse / friend / less-qualified colleague.

Is it 'zingy'?
Zingyness is almost impossible to define. Zingyness, like the wind, is gone the moment you try to pin it down. So don't try. Does the work make you feel a bit, you know, sort of somethingy? All, like, woooh? Or not? If not, it isn't zingy. Creatives understand this term - I use it all the time. I say, 'It's just not...you know...zingy. Can you make it a bit more zingy?' And off they trot to up the zingyness. Of course, as you can't ever define zingyness, they may not make it more zingy when they try. They may actually make it less zingy. In which case, return them to the drawing board with the phrase 'I'll know it when I see it'. This is widely understood and respected by creatives.

Is the logo big enough?
The answer is always no. Make them increase its size until it can no longer be obscured by a fist.

Is the product name in the headline?
The answer is always no. Make them put it in. Somehow, anyhow. It is proven that putting the product name in the headline will increase sales by 17%*.

Does your target audience like it?
My mother is always the guinea pig in my litmus paper acid tests. She's nearly target audience and has strong opinions, which is important. The last thing you want is a 'don't know'. You don't want to go solely on your own judgement. It doesn't look good if things go wrong. My mother can always be trusted to offer sage advice like 'The girl has eyes like a butcher's step-child', 'The words are all very unladylike' and 'The red looks like the lipstick on that whore your father ran off with'. It's all valuable insight, because these are things most people would never consider. How would you feel if your ad went to the public before you'd noticed whorish colours?

Find yourself a trusted, opinionated sounding board from your target audience (or someone close enough) - and always trust their judgement, no matter what.

Treat these insights as a check-list when you judge the work from your agency. And remember - be confident. Your agency may be full of Oxbridge graduates and people who write widely acclaimed research papers, but remember what you bring to the party.

You're a graduate from somewhere like Keele or Derby, you got a 2:2 in Marketing (never mind the fact that you probably should have taken Business or Law, but you didn't quite get the A level grades, but, hey, Marketing isn't so bad, right?), you read most of The Tipping Point last year (most of the unboring bits, anyway), you have the word 'Manager' in your title and you know what you like, even if you don't know much about the product your company makes because you haven't been on the induction course and, well, it's soooo confusing and a bit geeky and you're more of a, like, creative person.

Don't be intimidated by all that carefully-considered creative work from award-winning agencies. It's your job to tell them what to do, not the other way round!


* Figures from The Knockles Index, my own qualitative research into ad effectiveness using interviews with my mother, Fat Yousef and Brian Danks.