Category Archives: Don't Write It Down


So following last week’s mini rant about the gobby twat who took on EE and won … this week we found out that @Terry_Finnegan “stole” his (not really) winning entry. I say “stole” as that’s pretty much what it looked like to me. Turns out that his original design of a Calvin Harris album cover, using lego, had appeared in tabloids at least 12 months earlier, attributed to actual original artist, Aaron Savage (@aarrsavage).

Following his huge campaign against EE, that garnered massive internet support including boxer Lennox Lewis, we all know that he is a campaigner for honesty and justice. Strangely though, with this revelation Terry has gone quiet. His Facebook victory speech has disappeared (twat) and his Twitter feed is now locked (twat twat) and all Glasto tweeters are blocked (twat twat twat)


My favourite tweet came from @TheNinjaRach – “If I’d made a twat of Lennox Lewis my tweets are the last thing I’d worry about protecting”.

As I said, twat.

Unfortunately @EE appear to be giving this lying little shit the tickets – as are @O2 who had offered him a year’s supply of Academy passes in light of the growing media storm. They appear to be too scared to say “no” to him for fear of a backlash. @EE allegedly assured Aaron Savage that Terry wouldn’t be attending the festival on their tickets … a false promise it appears. I’d be fuming if I was Aaron.

The fact that cheating Terry will be attending Glastonbury next week leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. As I said last week, I love hearing about people with a last minute success story but not when it involves lies, fraud, theft and an obnoxious sense of entitlement. If that was me I’d be walking through the gates with a massive conscience weighing me down and there’d be one hell of a donation going in the direction of Water Aid to compensate for my dubious admission. Gonna do that Terry, or too busy being a PROPER LAD?

It’s a seriously dangerous precedent for big brands – can we all now complain when we are runners up but don’t get the prizes we want, and hurl unfounded accusations that leave the PR teams feeling their only option is to back down? I’ve lost all respect for @EE and @O2 with their spineless reactions … thank God I’m a @Vodafone girl!

I have a lot more respect for brands that lay out their position and stick to it. Looking at reactions on Twitter and Glasto forums, I’m not alone. An own goal from @EE and @O2? I think so.


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Words words words, I’m so SICK of words

Being a grammar nazi and language snob, there are a lot of words that pop up regularly in marketing copy that do my head in. I have a major aversion to anybody who refers to their office space as “[name of company] Towers”. It’s particularly prevalent amongst media owners. Heat Towers. Absolute Radio Towers. News International Towers … well, probably not so much these days … I also find myself massively tutting and rolling my eyes at people referring to anything as “shiny” and “new”. If you work for the Royal Mint and have just launched a new coin with my face on it then, yeah, you may have a point. As that is not only shiny and new but also sycophantic enough to press all my buttons. I digress. My objection … you are highly unlikely to have a shiny new website. Or a shiny new Facebook page. Or, worst of all, a shiny new newsletter (too many uses of the word news to scan properly you see, grammar suicide).

But I’ll forgive you. My pet hate of the week is a word that should never be seen away from the pages of a 1950s children’s novel, filled with lovely posh kids drinking lashings of ginger beer and solving petty crimes. Or in a computer geek’s well-thumbed comic about a mutant handyman who by night wears his underpants outside his trousers and saves the city from evil.


Super? Really?

What on earth would possess anybody to use the word “super” in marketing copy that aims to engage young and intelligent people in social events?

Sadly, if you enter the word “super” into the search box on my company’s intranet (and disregard the techy stuff that nobody reads about super-users for new-fangled IT equipment), you will find the word used to the sort of excess that your stereotype tourette’s sufferer is alleged to use the “c” word.

Win a super Christmas hamper.
Come along to our super summer drinks night.
Take advantage of this super discount on theatre tickets.
Last week’s quiz was a super evening.
There is a super new range of sandwiches in the café.
I can guarantee you a super time.

It’s super annoying. And really lazy writing.

Unsurprisingly our social events are not massively over-subscribed. Probably because our 800 staff don’t live in the 1950s or a Marvel comic..

Like them, I don’t want to know that at Christmas the party will be super. I want to know about the free bar and the crap DJ.

Do I need my sandwiches to be super? Or do I want them to be cheap?

Was the quiz a super evening? Or was it quite funny to get drunk on free booze and watch the nerds from research get into a row with the office history buff over the date man first landed on the moon?

My rage at this inoffensive, twee little word has seen me logging onto the intranet from home and editing copy late at night. Unfortunately while I do this, our office “Super Man” is logging onto my brilliantly crafted articles and adding his five letters of doom. It’s a vicious circle. It’s a chicken and egg situation. I’m going to have to phone my intranet super-user to ask for a solution …

Next week I will mostly be ranting about swear word substitutes.

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Mum’s the word

I finished the latest paperback by Adele Parks this week. Called ‘Men I’ve Loved Before’, it is the story of a happily married couple who don’t want kids and are living in perfect harmony, slightly smug when they compare their state of equilibrium to their friends – womanizing Karl with his desperate bridezilla wannabee girlfriend Jen and hen-pecked Tim and his wife Ali, whose one focus in life is getting pregnant.

It all changes when he (Neil) changes his mind and decides he wants kids but she (Nat) hasn’t changed her mind and isn’t going to.

I picked this book up because
a) I’ve enjoyed Adele Parks’ previous novels
b) Any book about a girl who doesn’t want kids is alright by me. Nat is finally a positive role model for the woman (like me) who doesn’t feel the need to reproduce.

It’s a nice change to read a book that isn’t about a couple where
a) she wants kids, he doesn’t
b) they both want kids, but can’t have them
c) she has kids from a previous relationship and needs a man to accept a ready-made family

… you know the usual sort of chick lit fodder.

As somebody who absolutely doesn’t want – and never has wanted – kids, I could really empathise with Nat. Except by about page 150, I knew that by the end of the story, Nat would be happily displaying a baby bump and knitting booties. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Oh, except I was. MASSIVELY disappointed. Of COURSE no normal, healthy woman could possibly not want babies. And of COURSE there is a reason Nat has been reluctant. But it’s all OK in the end as she realises that being a Mum fulfils you and actually of course it’s all she’s ever wanted.

Pass. The. Bucket. And no, I don’t think I’m suffering from morning sickness.

What about those of us who don’t have deep, psychological reasons for not wanting babies? Those of us who don’t have vain and selfish reasons for not wanting babies? Those of us who simply DON’T WANT BABIES. Why not represent our choices and accept that not everybody’s happy ever after involves a stinking, screaming brat.

Looks like I might have to write that one.

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Filed under Books, Don't Write It Down

Social Media – as a consumer

This might be a rant. There was an article in PR Week today that said social media should not be handled by an in-house PR department.

I beg to differ.

If the PR team is not on top of company messaging, there is something wrong with the comms strategy.

I “get” that PR handled by a third party may have more credibility than the propaganda spouted by a voice that’s employed by the company. After all, PR is basically endorsement of a product or service through clever wordsmithery (yes, I just made that word up). If I tell you I am great and Bob Smith tells you I am great, chances are you will listen to Bob a little more than you’ll listen to my subjective bragging.

But, if you’re going to hand your social media over to a third party, the person responsible HAS to get under the skin of the organisation. Social Media is such a personal thing. Whether I’m following my mate Pauline on Twitter or following my favourite singer Kristin Chenoweth, I will read the tweets as something that has been put out there for me to read, enjoy, absorb, learn from and respond to. And that goes double for a brand. I follow Glastonbury for festival updates. I follow Campaign magazine for the latest news on what is happening in the advertising industry that I work in. And their updates are fairly authoritative.

So, if you’re representing a brand, for GOD’S SAKE

– get names right (Clare doesn’t want to be called Claire, Stephen doesn’t want to be Steven)
– get job titles right (don’t call a President a Chairman, it will piss them off)
– get your grammar right – I promise you I am NOT the only person who freaks out over inappropriate use of apostrophes, tenses, plurals etc. “The new Take That single. You can only here it here” = DEATH
– don’t put the same messages on Twitter and Facebook. Different audiences and different consumption. Use Twitter for your “trends”/strategy and Facebook for tactical work. Oh and when you’re using Facebook, set your moderators up so they can post as the organisation rather than individuals!
– If you’re running 2 Twitter accounts from your phone, make sure you tweet from the right one. While it’s funny to read a message that says “When Dermot says One Direction I hear Wand Erection” from my friend – it doesn’t really make me buy into a brand that has a serious and conservative identity when aforementioned friend has got pissed and tweeted from the wrong account
– bear in mind that the words “shiny” and “new” are best used by Heat Magazine, it doesn’t make aforementioned conservative brand “edgy”, it’s just lazy writing
– only re-tweet items that you have an opinion on – link to your blog, don’t just throw it out there – it makes it look as if you don’t have an opinion. Imagine D&AD has introduced a new award for social media? Before you re-tweet, why do you care?
– oh and if you’re going to start a blog – post on a regular basis. Once a month is not regular communication with your audience. And if you’ve got a blog, use it, rather than putting your blog postings on Twitter, Facebook, Forums etc.

I think ultimately companies need to acknowledge the importance of social media in their communications mix and allocate the resource to manage it properly. If you’re a complex brand, your online presence can’t be handled by a junior with 6 months’ experience. If the in-house PR team is senior enough (i.e. people who think, not those who just do – no, not my words) and in touch with the management’s strategy, then it will be in a position to create a credible online presence. With communication increasingly moving into the digital arena, management teams are missing a trick if they underestimate the input of their staff who “get” the importance of online.

Oh and those of us who can spell.

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Filed under Don't Write It Down, Rants, Social Media, Uncategorized

Do as I say, not as I do

This blog is called Don’t Write It Down. A warning, if you like, not to, well, write things down that can come back to bite you. But, to be honest, any opinion that you hold could come back to bite you if you come up against somebody with an opposing opinion and a big enough axe to grind.

Writing things down is therapeutic and also helps me to figure out why the hell I do the things that I do. So, I’m not going to take my advice. I am going to write things down in the hopes that the process will give me a little bit of focus while I get my life back on track.

Oh and I still don’t like dogs.

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Don’t Write It Down


This is what limited profiles are for. Look and learn.

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Filed under Don't Write It Down, Social Media