Category Archives: Rants

#DontgiveTerryhisGlastotickets

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)

Oops.

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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Filed under Don't Write It Down, Glasto, Rants

Whatever Next?

This morning I got up at a ridiculous hour. RIDICULOUS. And why? Because I have a stupid job that requires me to wear “business dress”. I have always worked in creative companies where business dress was not on the agenda so up to now my work wardrobe has largely consisted of leggings (when fat), jeans (when thin, well, when not so fat) and slutty little dresses (always). But now I have to look smart and corporate and, of course, my wardrobe can’t handle it. So this morning I headed for Bluewater to brave the horrors of the Next sale. Whatever you think of Next, the store does very good, reasonably priced and not too hideous “business dress”. And in the sale it is stupidly priced – in a good way.

TV ads told us to check the Next website for opening hours. Bluewater opened at 4am. That meant leaving home at 3.30am. Was it really worth going to bed? Probably not as I kept waking up to check how much longer I had to sleep. But at 5 to 4 I was at Bluewater, in the queue and ready. By quarter past 4 I was still in the queue. The sale at Bluewater is usually pretty well managed – store staff police the queues, stopping people pushing in and handing out the big plastic carrier bags to use inside and mints to keep us going. There was none of that this time. Just a growing queue and a suspiciously closed store. At half past four a young lad shuffled past giving out the plastic bags. “Why aren’t you open?” I asked. “We don’t open til 5,” he replied “the website got it wrong”. Off he shuffled. Updating a website is not difficult – and at this sort of ungodly hour an extra hour in bed makes a huge difference. It also makes a difference to the queue. By the time 5 o’clock came the queue was out of control – having been joined by those people who didn’t check online and assumed it was the usual 5am opening.

Another big issue at Bluewater is the number of people who just turn up at 5 to 5 and push into the queue -either joining their advance party or ignoring all the people shouting at them. Every single queue jumper could not speak English. Convenient that.

At opening time the “security guard” did a fantastic job … of standing by the door staring blankly past the queue jumping, pushing, shoving and general unpleasantness. My plastic bag was snatched out of my hand so I was limited in the crap I could buy. Once in the store people were throwing goods all over the floor, pushing, shoving, grabbing things from other shoppers. And yes, the worst offenders were the ones who’d jumped the queue. The “home ” department looked like a bomb had hit it with people chucking stuff on the floor and then trampling all over it. After 20 minutes I’d had enough – and went to pay for my rather unsatisfactory purchases – as always more suitable for the weekend than for the corporate environment.

The final blow came when I got home and found that I’d bought the wrong size for all of the corporate stuff as the store staff had put them on the wrong hangers. So now I’ve got to go back again to return it all.

Hideous experience. Terrible customer service. Note to self: save up and buy stuff out of the sales. It’s better for my rage.

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Filed under Kent, Rants, shopping

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

Snow Joke

When I woke up this morning I had 2 working days left to a long-anticipated week and a half’s holiday that I’ve booked because I’m singing in a musical. Last night’s technical rehearsal was not a thing of beauty as as well as 2 working days I also have a STINKING cold and a very sore throat. So I can’t sing. Not great when you’re doing a musical.

So, what I really needed today was a day off work.

“Call in sick,” I hear you cry.

Therein lies a problem. I have been in this job for just under 3 months. So far I have had 3 days off with flu – when I was only 4 weeks into the job, and a late start thanks to a vomiting cat. So calling in sick again doesn’t really give the impression of a healthy, dedicated employee. But I do feel bloody awful. So, what I really needed today was loads and loads of snow.

Scotland and the North of England have loads of snow. Surely it must be Kent’s turn to have a bit?

And lo and behold – this morning I woke up to loads and loads of snow. But not quite enough snow to justify me closing the curtains (well, blinds) and going straight back to bed. Instead, I had to go through the motions of getting to the station so I could phone in from the platform with announcements of cancelled trains playing in the background to show work how hard I’d tried.

It took me 40 minutes to do the 10 minute drive to the station. Unfortunately, the transport problems appeared to end here. Trains were running with delays of around 3 minutes, no more than that. RUBBISH. I had no choice but to get on the train to Cannon Street, vowing to myself that I’d leave early as conditions would undoubtedly get worse during the day. In fact they were getting worse already with the snow steadily getting heavier.

Most of Kent had decided to pull the curtains/blinds and stay in bed. So I got on the train and got a seat. We pulled out of the station on the way to work. One minute later we stopped. Fifteen minutes later we still hadn’t moved. At this point my boss phoned me and told me to work from home. Great. I’m on a train. It isn’t going anywhere. I’ll do that then, shall I?

At this point an announcement came from the driver. Two trains had failed ahead of us and the line was now closed. He was going to reverse back down the track to Barnehurst and terminate there. Excellent, I thought, in one minute I’ll be back at my car.

Wrong.

The driver did exactly what he said he was going to do. He reversed back down the line. Stopping at all the stations along the way? Don’t be ridiculous, why on earth would you do that? On arrival at Barnehurst we were greeted by the news that there were no more trains running. The problem with Barnehurst is that it’s not really a place. It’s one of those stations in between towns. And that means no lorries gritting the roads. Which means buses and cars slipping and sliding all over the place but going nowhere. A guy at the station pointed me in the direction of the bus stop to get me back to the car. Except he pointed me in the wrong direction. By the time I realised this the roads behind me were too slippery to go back. South Eastern trains really are the most utterly inept public transport “service” provider I’ve ever come across. Just when you think they can’t sink any lower, they do something ridiculous like reversing a train down a track without bothering to let people off. Bastards.

Solution? To do the thing I hate most in the world. Something I hate even more than dogs, babies and fish.

WALK.

To start with I thought I’d walk to the main road. On arrival at the main road I realised the traffic wasn’t moving so I walked to the centre of Bexleyheath. On arrival in the centre of Bexleyheath I realised the traffic wasn’t moving so I walked to Crook Log. On arrival at Crook Log things were even worse so I walked to Welling. Four sodding miles. In the snow. With a cold.

Three hours after getting on my train, I got home. I’ll admit it – I haven’t done much in the way of work today as the whole experience has left me feeling even shitter than I did when I woke up.

Worryingly the snow is easing off this evening which means I’m going to have to go through this bloody farce again tomorrow.

So just hurry up and blizzard damn you.

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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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The Marathon Rantathon

Today I’m mostly tweeting updates about the London Marathon and the progress of ad industry runners. The race has just begun and already it’s irritating me. This is odd as I think the Marathon is great and I think that people who train for it and have the sheer force of will to complete it are brilliant. But it does raise the ugly question “why are runners so bloody SMUG?” I’m not talking about your Paula Radcliffes and Usain Bolts here. I’m talking about people who run for “exercise” with no real goal in mind. I have loads of friends who are really fit (I don’t mean “fit” in a sexual way, although, of course, some of them are) – they play a variety of sports: football, volleyball, hockey, aerobics, cycling, tennis. I have loads of friends who dance to professional standard and put themselves through gruelling classes and train to a very high level of fitness. Then I have friends who run. These are the only ones who feel the need to bleat on and on and on about it. They’ll drop it into conversation or update their Facebook statuses to share with the world that “X has just been for a run”. Who CARES?

Running a Marathon? Brilliant. You are going to ache all over and feel like you’ve done a massive endurance test.
Race for Life? Fantastic. You’re doing it for a brilliant cause.

But just running? Seriously, NOBODY cares. Well, I don’t.

I think the runners think my aversion is because I’m jealous of their superior fitness. Trust me when I say, I’m really not. Admittedly I can’t run. My knees wont stand up to pounding pavements and my lungs wont stand up to miles of high impact aerobic exercise. But I’m really not that bothered about this. I can swim. I can cycle. I can dance (well I can’t dance actually but I can get through a dance class in my own rather special and unco-ordinated way) and I can spend an hour in the gym without collapsing.

So, my hatred of running is more to do with the fact that some people who run talk about their regular 5k in the same way that pre-recession city boys used to talk about their regular £5k bonuses. They have an evangelical glare that is meant to make you feel massively inferior and awestruck by their superior abilities.

So, good luck to everybody putting themselves through the London Marathon today. Next year I will not be joining you.

Blog done. I’m off to my 3 hour dance rehearsal.

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