Jonathan Staines

Sometimes I have worthwhile thoughts about brands, language, marketing and advertising. Any views expressed are entirely my own and nothing to do with anyone I work for or have worked for in the past.
You can follow me on Twitter if you like — @jonstart

RETAIL THERAPY

I was going to lament the lack of fresh thinking in UK retail when two things happened recently that gave me hope. One of them was only an advert but it was a bloody good advert. It made me realise that a certain British retailer is an unsung hero of the high street: Argos.

Read more on RETAIL THERAPY…

BRAND IS ALL YOU’VE GOT

So Wonga has finally got its comeuppance – as a result of action by the Financial Conduct Authority. I was interested to read that as part of its humiliating fall, it may change its name and for me, the story of Wonga is proof that brand is more important than ever. As a business, your name and your reputation (ie. your brand) are all you really have.

Read more on BRAND IS ALL YOU’VE GOT…

TOSSED: BLOWING THEIR OWN BRAND?

Tossed might be a good brand name for a social media platform for coin collectors. Or an app to help Scotsmen choose their cabers. But it’s a salad bar.

Without doubt, the name is hard (ahem) to forget. In many contexts, the word ‘toss’ has a perfectly innocuous meaning. And it is relevant to food. We toss both pancakes and salads.

Read more on TOSSED: BLOWING THEIR OWN BRAND?…

NO GOOGLE. NO WIKIPEDIA. NO INTERNET. NO BOOKS. NUFFIN’.

That’s me for this particular blog.

I swear to God I’m writing this with just my brain, my body and a laptop that is offline.  I know: I’m a radical.

I don’t know how to prove that I haven’t looked anything up  during the production of this piece of writing.

Read more on NO GOOGLE. NO WIKIPEDIA. NO INTERNET. NO BOOKS. NUFFIN’….

For meta or worse

When I recently asked myself which TV ads from the last thirty years had made a lasting impression on me and why, three ads immediately sprang to mind. Weirdly, all three were in black and white and they were all significant to me for the same reason. Read more on For meta or worse…

A Great British Brand

Like many strong brands, Russell Brand divides opinion. It’s easy to deride him. Just choose your epithet. Libidinous lightweight. Naive dilettante. Political poseur. Amoral chancer. Degenerate Essex Boy. You can belittle him but it’s difficult to ignore him. As a degenerate Essex boy myself, I like him. He’s a great British brand that others could learn from. Read more on A Great British Brand…

I’M NOT DAVE TROTT BUT YOU DON’T WORK IN ADVERTISING ANY MORE..

I thought I’d try to write a blog in the style of the venerable Mr T.
I’m well aware that it may lack his erudition, wit and insight.
I make no promises. After all: it’s only me.
I’m just copying Dave Trott’s typographic idiosyncrasies because I like to muck around with words.

Read more on I’M NOT DAVE TROTT BUT YOU DON’T WORK IN ADVERTISING ANY MORE…..

Now with added ‘personality’.

Innocent have got a lot to answer for. Now you can’t move in a supermarket for super-cute FMCG brands, asking if you ‘fancy a cuppa?’ and talking to you as if they’re your best friend leaving you a note on the fridge door. The words ‘tone of voice’ now fill me with dread. Read more on Now with added ‘personality’….

Brainstorms are likely. Take shelter.

I once heard someone leading a brainstorm say, “There’s no such thing as a bad idea…”. Ever since that, I’ve been sure that brainstorms are a bad idea.

Here are some other bad ideas: square wheels, sunglasses made out of cheese, umbrellas fashioned from toilet paper. Suggesting these ideas in the context of a brainstorm would not make them good ideas. To use some technical terminology, they’d still be crap and pointless.

Read more on Brainstorms are likely. Take shelter….

Do you value your opinion?

One of the most difficult aspects of working on the brand-advertising-marketing spectrum is the management of opinion. There’s even something ironic about writing this blog. It is ‘merely’ my opinion.

I am wary when I hear someone saying ‘Oh, that’s just subjective’. It’s fashionable to seek compromise and consensus but what isn’t subjective? I would argue that there’s really no such thing as objectivity. If someone believes that the moon is made out of ping pong balls and wallpaper paste, then for them at least, that’s the absolute truth. Read more on Do you value your opinion?…

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