Five things on Friday on Sunday #299

Things of note for the week ending Sunday, June 2nd, 2019.

Newsletter #299: Introduction


It’s been a funny old week.

You may recall from last week’s edition that I was getting over some kind of flu? Yeah, it wasn’t flu. Turns out it was sinusitis and it absolutely wrecked me for days. Days.

Today, Sunday, June 2nd, I am finally starting to feel human again. The headache is on the outskirts, the blocked up is leaving the party, and overall, I think I might not take any tablets today. Rough.

Brilliantly I just had to pause for a second while I had a coughing fit. Amazing.

Where was I?

Oh. Yeah. Taking the extended break from Twitter has almost completely changed my relationship with the platform. For the newbies, I jumped off Twitter around the end of April. It was around the time Jack Dorsey had his closed doors with his chief profit-maker and world’s most dangerous man/racist/misogynist (delete where appropriate).

It felt sickie to me, so I took some time out. Only returning from time to time for work-related stuff or sheer boredom.

Here’s what that looks like from an analytics perspective:

Interestingly, those blue blips on the right are both occasional tweets from me and days with no tweets whatsoever but somehow they’re still earning ‘impressions’.

Whatever.

The point is, this self-imposed departure from Twitter genuinely changed my relationship with the platform. And I wholly recommend it.

Visiting less. Tweeting rarely. The shift in perspective between what is important vs what Twitter want’s you to think is important has been refreshing.

I’m still there, on and off. A reply here and there. But if it’s client-free thinking or writing, 99% of the time you’ll find that here first.

Maybe I’ll come back properly when Twitter figures out whether or not white supremacy is ‘a bad thing’. Not a joke.

And well worth a read.

Right, enough grumps.

Shall we crack on with this thing? We’ve got a few things to get through, as well as a fully unfiltered unpacking of my One Question notes right down at the bottom. So, no more faffing.

Let’s do this.

1. EVERYONE’S A COPYWRITER, RIGHT?

“Grammar “rules” are guidelines, not rules.
This will split the sea like Moses, but let us go ahead and say it anyway.

Much like design, copy is subject to the tastes, preferences and aims of the reader. Every now and then, you (as the copywriter) will come up against a self-professed “grammar nazi”.

It could be your client. It could be your co-worker. Heck, it could even be legal. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong, but most of the time…

They’re an idiot.”


The above excerpt is an early paragraph in this excellent piece from Clare Barry. The article is two years old. You may have seen it recently. I re-read it this week and it made me grin as much as it did the first time around. If not more so.

On point. And worth your time.

Read it.

2. QUANTUM LEAP HAD A SECRET ENDING WHAT

Be still my beating heart.

If the two men above MEAN NOTHING TO YOU then a) you may as well skip this bit and b) who even are you.

If the two men above signify one of the greatest TV shows that ever graced your television set, then carry on reading.

Way back in the summer of ’94, we were told the following information:

There were definite tears.

I remember being sat in English with my school friends discussing it. Paul, Richard, and me. In pieces. Couldn’t believe it. I think this might’ve been the first glimpse that sometimes TV shows don’t have happy endings. This is not how it was supposed to be?! It wasn’t! Surely?

Turns out, we might’ve been right.

According to iO9, there was an alternate ending to the fifth season of Quantum Leap. One that didn’t end the show there and then. One that instead set up a plot point for a never-to-be-made season six.

There have been rumours of this for a LONG time. But someone on Reddit (of course) has found the footage.

A glimpse into something that was never to be.

A glimpse into a different universe where season six got made.

A glimpse into a different universe where Dr Sam Becket finally returned home.

Go. Read.

And dream.

3. BED JUMPING ‘GRAMMERS MIGHT BE A STRANGE THING TO GET INVOLVED IN

Maybe.

Strap in, this one gets weird.

“Should you pursue with your article and publish it we will be taking action” is a GREAT way to quote any article.

David Farrier pursued.

And as promised, it gets weird.

4. INDIANA JONES AND THE BEST WRITING LESSONS FROM TOM STOPPARD

This week I learned that Tom Stoppard pretty much completely rewrote Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

And he did a bang up job too.

Last Crusade was written by Jeffrey Boam, from a story by George Lucas and Menno Meyjes. So say the opening credits. Boam’s final draft, dated March 1, 1988 (ten weeks before production) differs drastically from the published script which reflects the released version of the film. Differences come as no shock, but with Last Crusade they aren’t just a few deleted scenes and some line changes. Whole sections of the Boam draft were reimagined, major set pieces were added, and the pacing and tone were markedly transformed. Whoever made these changes possessed a profound grasp of story craft.

So who was that? Spielberg himself made certain revisions, such as expanding the desert tank sequence from a few pages to over eleven – injecting some much-needed action into the story. Some scenes were filmed but omitted during the edit, like an extended chase through the Zeppelin in which Indy and Henry are pursued by a gestapo agent and a World War One flying ace.

And then there was the uncredited script polish by Barry Watson – you know, the Barry Watson? Never heard of him? Perhaps if we peek under his pseudonym… ah, yes: Sir Tom Stoppard, a four-time Tony winner who later bagged an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love. Since we can’t know whose pen revised which pages (although Spielberg did say that “Tom is pretty much responsible for every line of dialogue;” avclub.com), let’s just call it a collaboration of some titans of storytelling.”


I had no idea.

The article that this quote comes from isn’t just a news update mind, oh no. It also goes into an eleven-point dissection of exactly thematic details that Stoppard added/removed/simplified.

And it is a masterclass. Worth a read.

5. ONE QUESTION

Regulars will know I am a fan of the event know as One Question. On May 14th I attended the most recent edition, ‘Does purpose really drive profit?’.

For this section, I’ve grabbed my [unfiltered] moleskine notes and typed them up. A collection of quotes and thoughts from the day. Some make sense, some don’t. Some are longer than others.

Either way, they are below, divided into their necessary perspectives and they are yours now as well. I’d love to know what you think.

Oh, and there’s a prize for being the first to spot me in the crowd. See me? Tell me. Prize. Actual thing.

One Question, May 14th, 2019.
Does purpose really drive profit?
The Marketing Perspective

Kantar interviewing Tom’s (Shoes)

– ‘CSR shouldn’t be that hard’
– ‘Profit should drive purpose’
– Tom’s is a for-profit business that has a purpose at the heart of why it exists.
– ‘We describe ourselves as a social impact company’

There is an interesting dynamic here between walking the walk vs talking the talk. More so in Tom’s case as what they’re saying is that you can walk it as much as you like but the talking part – having a POV on the world, telling people what you are actually doing – suddenly that attracts attention and pisses people off.

HSBC example cited regarding the airports work, talking about the water charities HSBC supports in under-developed countries – but then asks ‘Does HSBC sacrifice any profit in the name of its Together We Thrive purpose and refuse to invest in companies that may work against the issues that its ads highlight?

Lisa Hogg – ‘Growth and Comfort don’t co-exist’

Love is an action.

You are what you do.

The Gillette issue. How different would it have been if they had started with the pricing? If you decide to go high with a statement, make you your business acts that way as well.

‘Relevance retention’ is nice – play with that.

The Advertising Perspective

Tom Roach, Managing Partner and Head of Effectiveness at BBH. “We fucked it up” he says, straight off the bat. We, advertisers, have ruined the future utopian dream with ads that follow you everywhere. Which leads you to brands with purpose. Conscious Capitalism vs PR. When you ask the question, the one question for the day, the answer is simple: yes it can be but not always and mostly it doesn’t.

Advertising about giving school kids training for interviews sells more mortgages than advertising about mortgages (citing a BBH/Barclays example). It doesn’t make sense. Roach suggest a model of three concentric circles of businesses that may pursue any kind of purpose. Founder-led businesses, those born with purpose. Then you have your corporate converts in the circle thereafter and then, outside of that, you have ‘woke’ advertising – the fakers. The likelihood of success decreases the further you get away from the middle. A good lens to apply when looking at any kind of purpose-led advertising; where would it fit in this model?

The other additional point that Tom made was the correlation of cultural commentary around advertisers and the current market themes around purpose:

“Brand purpose is arguably a result of advertising execs being told for nearly 150yrs that we are liars”

Purposeful marketing is an existential cry for help – ‘We matter, honest’

Given the way that advertising is nearly always portrayed in culture, is it any wonder that they’re embracing this new-found purpose way of life? Tom ended with the very end of Mad Men. The coke ad one (LINK). Makes sense to me.

The Health Perspective

The entirety of the NHS is (obviously) built on purpose.

This is very tech focused. NHSX mentioned. Good.

Discussion regarding reducing the high number of people that go to see their GPs every week (something like 12% of people see their doctor over 250 times per year – who are they and how can we use data to reduce, reassess, and better triage their needs.

The Environment Perspective

Tom Kay, Finisterre.

“Profit should be a result of purpose”

There’s an interesting dissection on purpose as a broad macro trend and the underlying companies that are already in existence that have been smashing it for years.

‘Success is 99% failure’.

‘Sea Tuesday’ is a thing at Finisterre. Come in at 10am but spend your morning at or with the sea. Bloody love that.

The Media Perspective

Not many notes taken. What is the purpose of the media? To inform to patronise? Media in the western world is free. We don’t realise how lucky we have it, I guess is what they’re saying.

Tortoise chap doing a great job of talking about Tortoise. Daily Mail woman being very Daily Mail. This is one third about Tortoise, one third a training course on how to sound more important than you probably are, and one third a debate on the purpose of The Media. Kinda fun.

An interesting trio of opposing forces put forward:

  • Identity Politics vs Freedom of Expression

  • Sustainability vs Capitalism

  • Democracy vs Populism

Best comment/question from Fred Bolza ‘This sounds like supply side anxiety’ – he was, of course, completely right. It was. And it was fun to watch.

Side point, there’s crunchiness between paying for journalism vs paying for information. Where do you draw the line?

The Human Perspective

Major Andrew Fox. Parachute Regiment. C-Company. His one slide was of him doing a backflip out of an aircraft. Standard.

When the purpose is the safety and security of the country, things change an awful lot. The ‘profit’ in this instance is the same as the purpose. So the answer to the question is a yes because, in this instance at least, the two are so intrinsically linked you can’t tell them apart.

A theme developing.

Major Fox was so incredibly out of his comfort zone but handled it like a pro and was one of the most humbling and brilliant speakers of the day.

The Political Perspective

Joe Twyman + Saradi Peri

Second talk of the day that redefines what it means to ‘profit’ – in this case, profit = votes/power. Eg: Nigel Farage, while having never held a parliamentary seat, ever, in fact has consistently lost, has proven to hold a huge amount of power and influence over the politics of the nation.

The constant pendulum swing of politics. Broad themes of trust throughout.

My pen ran out as this started and I missed a fair old chunk of it. Annoying.

The Business Perspective

Pamela Hutchinson, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) @ Bloomberg.

One quote and one quote only:

“You won’t get the value of diversity if you don’t value diversity”

The Brand Perspective

Alex Weller + James Scroggs

“Is purpose a realisation of the privileged?”
“Business for good”


“Being who we are while understanding that we are not perfect ourselves” is one of the best things said all day. It’s really interesting to hear and understand how Patagonia, oft-mentioned as the standard-bearer for purpose-led marketing, does not (and cannot) always opt for the sustainable option over making a product. And if/when that is the case, they will embrace the product over the ‘right’ choice, every time. At the end of the day it has to make product to make profit.

However, Patagonia ensures that if it has to take a push somewhere in the supply chain, it turns it into a magnified pull elsewhere. For example, using a non-carbon neutral supplier at point A but enforcing carbon neutrality on all suppliers by point B means that Patagonia takes the hit now but there’ll be a 10x output with the suppliers at a later date. For all the output, not just those that go to Patagonia. Smart. Leve-headed.

“This is who we are”

“Sometimes the own goals are there and you just have to kick it in”

There’s and elasticity to purpose it seems – and that’s OK.

——

One Question is the best event in the calendar every year. Bar none.

You should go.

THE ESSENTIALS:

The Essentials are the weekly links to the #MeToo movement. Any article. Any press. Any story. Any white male firing. If it happens, it’s here.

THE BONUS SECTION OF BONUS LINKS.

A FEW ADLANDY THINGS TO KICK US OFF AT FIRST THEN WE GO HEADLONG INTO THE RANDOM SHIZZLE THAT’S BEEN IN MY NIZZLE THIS WHIZZLE

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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x