Orange is dead. #OM4GEE

After whinging, whining, complaining, swearing and cursing about not being able to escape the #EE takeover of London this Autumn – I thought it was time for me to say my piece somewhere other than in the face of my poor friends/ colleagues/ anyone else I meet.

There is so much to exert here I don’t really know where to start… #WTF #WTF #WTF probably covers it! I mean what the actual fuck?

Firstly let’s start at the beginning shall we? Orange. Lovely Orange. One of the very absolute treasured few brands I have been loyal to since about the age of 15 no matter what the cost, there’s something special about that little orange square. Could it be the Geordie call centres who are so eager to help even if you are reducing your contract, or replacing a phone at 7am on that Sunday morning after the night before or even going into store every 2 years excitedly thinking about that brand new phone it feels like you’re getting for nothing? WHO KNOWS? We’ll never know now because even though little nuggets of life still exist within Orange Wednesdays, Magic Numbers etc. they all mean shit now they are smothered in the foul combination that is teal and illuminous yellow. Yes yellow, not orange. How can I now defend the beauty that is Orange against the haters from O2 when I have now involuntarily become part of a brand new cult phenomenon thrust upon me, my poor iPhone and any advertising space in London that can we bought??

Secondly the creative is shit. I usually have a lot to analyse about most brands and campaigns but this one really got me going, perhaps it is because whether I like it or not my 3G continues to suffer under the newly found #EE? Possibly. Perhaps it’s because the idea means nothing – there’s some loosely based concept around connectivity and the speed behind 4G. It seems to me as if the agency have gone yep that’ll do and then set their creative teams and mind numbing copywriters loose into the wilderness never to be signed off because how could someone possibly enjoy the phrasing “Quickadilly Circus” or “The waiting is over. Literally.” I mean blah blah blah.

So that’s what you’ll end up seeing around London wherever it may be; any inch of the tube (tracks included), any bus stop, bus, billboard, taxi and don’t think you’re safe once you finally make it into the office – oh no! Just have a little check on your Facebook ads, Google search, Twitter takeover, Skype display… #FO!! You’re maybe thinking, hey what great media planning… and yes, perhaps if there was any targeting there or if there was some understanding behind frequency campaigns and the point where people begin to get pissed. In fact it made me smile a little on my bus ride to work today to see a big ugly green billboard purposefully defaced #itsthelittlethings.

Of course I haven’t even touched upon when you may want to turn on your TV, I wouldn’t advise it at all unless you want to come face to face with the haggered mush of Kevin Bacon which you will learn soon is ‘actually back on the menu’ (this is them making a relevant link to all previous OOH, print and press advertising talking about speed and other such BS so long as it is # then its cohesive – see see!) Here he is representing the supposedly new face of my beloved Orange, which I note has never been referenced, no transition for us and T-Mobile children, no gentle cuddles to reassure us it’s OK that your parents Orange and T-Mobile have suspiciously died and now their evil, ugly sister is coming to look after you and turn you into Cinderella… bit much perhaps?

I digress. Here he is preaching to me about my new ‘mobul’ life (actually pronounced ‘mobile’ to me and you British people in which this company actually operates) and telling me about bacon, dogs, a bit more on himself and how good he is and then I think something about a film connecting with dots on the screen…. it’s all too much. I’m sure you’re not following at all, now can you imagine where I am!?

I’ve seen quite some interesting backlash from my fellow advertising buddies from uni; some exclaiming the close brand alikeness to two little ecstasy tablets, having a non mobile friendly website and like my point above absolutely no big idea in there at all. Where were the insights? I can’t talk for all but as a previous Orange customer I definitely wouldn’t have turned around and said, “do you know what I would do, fuck the nice warm orange thing – how about we go with some clinical looking shit and use some arrogant bastard to face it then throw a few #s in there to make it all digital/ mobile/ social/ insert new buzzword here.”

Well it certainly feels better to have that out onto sort of paper finally. Perhaps when it comes to my contract renewal in October, 02 will have bought the rights to 4G and I will get my switch on ending my almost 10 year relationship with Orange. Harsh I know but he’s dead, I will have to move on eventually I can tell you now it won’t be easy. Hopefully in the mean time EE will sort out their shit 3G coverage and will have run out of media budget for the whole of 2013. Here’s to hoping!!! #MerryXmas #OMFUCKING4G

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Why getting a job is like dating… especially in advertising!

After coming across an article (read here) hinting at the many comparables between the loving world of social advertising and dating, I was inspired to write this post however from a point of view a little bit more attuned to my current state of affairs as this too has struck me as resemblant.

You may or may not remember a post I wrote a long life ago with some top tips to survive an advertising degree, the main areas within that discussion still prove strong today and become relevant here. Why? You may ask… well if you have time please go and read through my tips here, if you don’t and you’re a desperately important advertisingy person it’s because as a said advertisingy person, you need to be in unconditional love with the industry and all its bad bits in order to; maintain motivation, keep ‘on the pulse’ (blaaahhh!) and get better at your job! This is where I feel the dating analogy starts to fit.

Of course the general comparison of advertising as an unconditional lover has already been made by me in a previous post, what I really wanted to point out was the interesting comparison with a job hunt and dating. Both of which I have recently experienced quite a bit of compared to a previous life within the education system and a long term relationship.

Let’s go by the rules in the article aforementioned as the inspiration and to keep some logic and momentum going…
1. It takes time to get to know each other and build trust.

I would say there should probably be a step before this, one which says you need to know what the hell you’re getting into and why! Do I want to marry this guy, is this client going to bring me new opportunities or is this agency going to grind me down? All relevant but politely missed here in this piece. Take my situation; I want a loving, kind and friendly… agency (ha so not ready on the dating front for THAT) anyway yes I need a new home – somewhere to call my own. I’ll trust my gut every time with this since ignoring it last time was a bit fat mistake!

I digress… get to know your potential agency/ date friend, do research/ Facebook stalk them, be interested and ask sensible questions, enjoy their company, love their offices/ body?, find a place for yourself in their ever so clichéd ‘family’ or friends whichever best fits my point here.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and trust is something hard to come by. Be honest about it though your new potential agency/ lover will probably be able to see through any BS or outright lies (you say it’s HOW big?)… sorry! If they can see from the offset you’ve been loved and trusted in the past and you’re honest enough about the good and bad it’s likely this can be progressed. This is the one good thing I LOVE about starting new relationships – clean slate scenario, everything starts new so try not to fuck it up!

2. It’s not all about scoring.

Calm yourself you randy muffins! Listen to the above advice and take heed…

Great example within this article – don’t just aim for the sack do the leg work first even if that’s the main goal. The same truth can definitely be said about obtaining a position. It’s not just a job this is your one true love! A place in this world you call home and would do anything for, being at this particular agency is only going to help you along but you must show this isn’t all they are to you. More than anything this place could nurture your very creative souls and up 2 or 3 steps throughout your career and you may just have a bloody good time as you do it – hello this is your life not just a job. There ain’t no clocking off in the ad world, if you remember from my tips this is a lifestyle choice and one must breathe it to fully succeed here. The bottom line here is even if all you want is casual sex/ a job then at least go for somewhere/ someone with some premise of a better existence because of that (make sure they are damn good!)

3. Don’t push too hard.

There are rules to this here game on both counts. Like the article points out wait your three days or play the first date curse (a current issue close to home) whichever you need to do. Allow some time to get them curious, after leaving that great impression from all this here leg work above, you need to give just enough to stay remembered but not so much that they’ve deleted your number and are already surfing the net for the next fishy. Less IS more..

4. First impressions can be deceiving.

We all know the referendum, the confident, cocky guys we all go for would make hideous husbands/ fathers but would probably be great in bed and the nice, lovely, take home to your mum guy is more likely a bit limp for some but would be ready to take you up the aisle in a flash (no pun intended). This follows the same consensus as the meet and greet situation, make sure you know what you want and why you want it. Certain types of agencies/ lovers are good for certain types of people but all within different contexts. For e.g. a fresh dumpee to the world of dating is not going to be looking for the one, whereas a fresh redundantee could be! Hint hint!

5. Self-promotion is a real bore.

We all know social media is a channel born within narcissism to some extent; I’ll write you a line about my best qualities, show you my best photos and write you my best spell checked posts. These cocky beasts in real life don’t really end up impressing as we all well know, this goes back again to the honesty anything other is totally transparent. In an interview don’t go in saying how you’re the best Account Executive ever to walk this earth, tell them how your lovely previous Account Manager said you were and how they still continue to love you forever! Obviously be confident as the article suggests, take your compliments and secretly agree inside ‘yes I am looking damn fine thanks, that two hour make up sesh was not a total waste of time…’

6. Different needs, different partners

Pretty much the same as rule 4 when it comes to the context of both dating and finding a new lovely advertisingy job, understanding the needs behind your move or motivations to move on will go a long way in both worlds.

7. Sometimes the best things grow with time.

Break your ridiculous one date curse and see the guy you aren’t sure about again, stop being a pussy and force yourself into the situation where yes you may have to admit this isn’t right but at least you’ll be damn sure. Easier said than done I so know!

Sadly I didn’t grow that much with time, I’m still only a little over 5″, but my 18 months experience within my beloved industry has taught me lots and the more you learn the better you are. Simples right?

8. Don’t try to make your partner someone they’re not.

I am a small currently red headed person (dyed not ginger) who often resembles a child and is nearly always ID’d, you cannot turn me into Jessica Rabbit anytime soon although I think she was a bit ginger. It would be the same to expect this from your date/ new agency, you should align your needs and desires with them and if it doesn’t work trust your gut I can tell you it’s nearly always right! You aren’t always going to get it right, but this can be a good thing it means you know what you don’t want. For me I know I need a small agency or at least that ethos to thrive as I get too easily lost in a top heavy process driven structure, I like the human element.

9. Know when it’s time to break it off.

Clashing with my first date curse policy however, but give your dates/ new agency the chance it deserves all the while knowing when enough is enough. Flogging a dead horse is not cool in any respect, but if you know when there isn’t budget for you or he cannot make the effort then it’s time to hit the road Jack. I am using way too many sayings here, very unlike me…

10. Be clear about your intentions.

I can’t help but feel we have covered this point several times, perhaps this article is a bit repetitive… Obviously there should be some tact in play when asked ‘so what is it you really want out of this date/ position/ relationship?’ don’t answer with no-strings sex, something to pay the bills or anything to keep me busy!

11. It’s hard not to smell a phony.

Once again with the repetition perhaps I should have written this article it would be much more condensed also who has 11 steps that really upsets my OCD?

Don’t lie, spout BS or give a false impression you WILL get found out. Honesty is treasured especially in such a dirty industry as advertising where every second person is stabbing something in the back to move up a scale. Go there and karma will get you! Be honest about your flaws and then you can only improve on them together – that works nicely for dating too I guess.

To summarise I think for me personally I align my life closely to a long term relationship with advertising because it is my true love, even when it’s stroppy or spurts out some crap along the lines of the new EE campaign. I can handle it and hopefully the job hunt/ dating endeavours will be a success. I know which I want to work out the most and hopefully from reading above you can too. Au revoir…

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Advertisingy bits and bobs (finally…)

I feel guilty. I have deprived you of some much needed exciting and inspirational advertising type wonders for some time.

I blame Twitter.

To make amends I thought I’d include a nice little collection of ‘bits and bobs’ I’ve seen about which made me smile, enjoy!

 

Also, here’s the Twitter so you don’t have to wait so long next time: https://twitter.com/kirstyyyyyy

Toodles!

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Diesel says “Be Stupid!” But why?

Here is an essay I did during my final year which I found really interesting, the question was;

With explicit reference to ideology, critically evaluate the extent to which the recent Diesel ‘Be Stupid’ campaign attempts to shape or mirror its target audience.”

…see what you think?

To introduce, this essay will critically evaluate the discussion as to whether the Diesel campaign “Be Stupid” indeed shapes or mirrors its target audience, with explicit reference to ideology. Initially this essay will explore the implicit intentions behind Be:Stupid and evaluate the methods that appear to have been used. Those methods such as narrative, stereotyping, commodity fetishism and reification will be discussed as to whether they assist Diesel in shaping or mirroring its audiences with close reference to ideology.

Firstly in order to critically evaluate this campaign, it is important to learn about what Diesel is in fact offering its audiences as a brand and also exploring into their exclamation to ‘be stupid’.

Diesel uses storytelling or narrative as a method to relate the images to the philosophy ‘Be Stupid’ within this campaign’s advertising strategy. Cobley (2001:4) quotes Appleseed from a Sunday Times article (1999) of storytelling within the context of everyday lives.

“We tell stories to ourselves; of our journey from birth to death, friends, families, who we are and who we want to be…they console us make our lives meaningful by placing us in something bigger than ourselves.”

Organised stories seem intrinsic to the “fabric of everyday existence” says (Forester, 1962) cited Cobley (2001.) It would appear that stories are as much a part of everyday human life as advertising is, and so it is not a coincidence that advertising uses them to their advantage. Telling stories requires a collective audience where everyone will then understand what is communicated quickly and easily. Diesel tells stories of a way of ‘life’ and has been told, in a way so that it appears attractive and aspirational to their target audiences.

However it could be argued that narrative is more likely the method Diesel has employed here,not storytelling as according to Cobley (2001) “narrative is different from ‘story’ or ‘plot’.” Narrative, he says, “is the showing or the telling of these events and the mode or vehicle for which that takes place,” in this case that vehicle is advertising.

Regarding the argument in debate, narrative chooses which elements it wishes to show and tell creating a strongly crafted message, essentially like all advertising. Controlling what elements are to be in and out of adverts could be said as attempting to shape audiences as their true reflection is not being clearly presented. It is what is being re-presented (Cobley, 2001) “which allows some things to be depicted and not others.” The notion of Diesel re-presenting images and retelling narratives of ‘stupid’, is creating a pop culture which its collective audience can recognise.

The advantage for Diesel is that narrative is often taken for granted or appears to be ‘naturalised’. Narrative is simply a sign that is portrayed within a meaningful sequence which audiences attribute meaning to. Regarding ‘Be Stupid’ Diesel has created a narrative to get its audiences to look at ‘stupid’ in a different way, by representing it as an aspirational marker using signification. Therefore advertising mythologises certain narratives to an almost folkloric status, Diesel’s version of stupid will never replace the actual adjective in terms of traits; but their advertising will maintain the myth to validate to their audience and themselves what Diesel has to offer. However regarding myths, the appeal to audiences is epistemological and so they see themselves in the narrative and stories told. This would support an argument that Diesel is mirroring audiences, including them in the narrative. An example from the campaign would be [SEE APPENDIX 4], the recruitment of 100 ‘stupid’ acts asked of audiences to contribute to a Youtube / Facebook competition. The winners are to be rewarded for their ‘stupid’ behaviour by being offered a place in their video catalogue at the end of 2010 (Tayebot, 2010.)

Marx refers to this naturalised and often taken for granted narrative as “reification”; a form of social consciousness in which human relations can be identified with physical properties of objects and ultimately acquiring a false feeling of naturalness (Burris, 2005.) Unsurprisingly ideology embraces ‘reification’ i.e. ideas of a naturalised social relation as “it can be argued as a reification all of itself” (Eagleton, 1996) validating its place within advertising and society.

“The pervasive influence of advertising within society has drawn many researchers to the view that advertising constitutes a powerful ideological force within consumer culture.” (Elliott and Ritson et. Al, 1997) cited Kelly, Lawlor & O’Donohoe (2005)

With regards to ‘reification’ and realism, Diesel has a portrayed a very abstracted idea assuming that “stupid” is how its audiences should be without questioning it. Integrating advertising ‘realistically’ into lifestyles is simply using narrative, by relying on representation and signification to control the reality which is conveyed. The way that audiences or readers understand and conclude meanings from texts is very significant as to how they interpret the advertising message on offer. This could see Diesel neither shaping nor mirroring audiences but simply trying to appeal to them through the use of socially significant, cultural references.

The iconography instructed by Diesel adds to the narrative it aims to construct; with many images young attractive models, fun loving and sexually liberated has collectively formulated a generation of ideas and integrated them within the commodities of Diesel products. For example, [SEE APPENDIX 2a] supported by the tagline,“If we didn’t have stupid thoughts. We’d have no interesting thoughts at all.” Presenting a young male perched on the trunk of an elephant, this evidently represents the visual idea of carefree and the linguistic idea of a unique point of view which Diesel is offering with ‘Be Stupid’.

It is believed by Marx, that commodities are consumed to achieve individuality and an expression of oneself much like what Diesel offers here. (Williams, 1980) believed that material objects were never enough as it was the premise of what goods mean that were sought to be achieved not the goods themselves. With reference to Diesel the promise to their audience is that of a lifestyle which incurs no responsibilities but acquires a life of free expression.

The idea or ideology of this told through Diesel’s narrative is illusionary and can never be obtained truthfully or physically through consumption of products. This is a promise reified through advertising and ideology, which Marx argued made the proletariat (audience) innocent and taken advantage of by capitalist society (Diesel) that will commodify anyone or anything it can.

For example [SEE APPENDIX 1a] the young couple appear playful and due to the setting and lack of clothing also assuringly promiscuous. The signification that Diesel has created through this imagery further backs up their claim, that being ‘stupid’ under their manifesto equates to less boundaries allowing a more creative and primitive self to exist without constraint. Referring directly to the ideological inferences through the visual metaphors provided, Diesel are guilty of attempting to shape their audiences.

This campaign relies heavily on the utter belief and reinforcement of the philosophy itself; admitting it too is ‘stupid’ and offering evidence of what a ‘better’ life its audiences could have. Proven through a story told about the Diesel CEO Renzo Rosso; who was initially ‘stupid’ for selling second hand looking jeans as new, leading to him to build the Diesel name (Tayebot, 2010.) Here it would seem that Diesel is even trying to shape itself in order to appeal to its audiences, by affixing the new philosophy of stupid upon their entire brand tonality. Would this mean then that it is more likely mirroring society and altering itself accordingly?

It appears that Diesel is attempting to create a social value within its audience; ‘behave non-conformist and you’ll be happy’ almost a Freudian analogy (Tayebot, 2010) by obeying the ‘id’. The philosophy seems to be determined much like an ideology, using the text i.e. this campaign, to structure its audiences beneficially for the brand (Lotman, 1982.) Marxist interpretation of ideology would argue the process of producing ideas and values such as this is producing culture, as demonstrated by the quote below.

“Advertising agencies are institutions where cultural meanings, where cultural creativity and commercial business objectives co-exist and collide and the discourses of capitalism and culture become enmeshed and intertwined.” (Kelly, Lawlor & O’Donohoe, 2002)

This quote highlights how intentions of brands such as Diesel are attempting to create culture to their advantage, and provides a pro argument for the idea of Diesel shaping its audiences for obvious benefits.

Diesel:Be Stupid consists of around 40 images each constructing situations of what Diesel believes to be ‘stupid’ behaviour and the benefits of this proposed lifestyle. These are further anchored by the 15 taglines that are often repeated over these images. For example “Stupid is Trial and Error. Mostly Error.” [SEE APPENDIX 1a] “Stupid Might Fail. Smart Doesn’t Even Try” [SEE APPENDIX 2b.] “Smart Says No. Stupid Says Yes.” [SEE APPENDIX 3b]

Diesel have formulated stories or wisdoms, even ideologies, of what ‘smart’ and ‘stupid’ are according to their beliefs. Essentially Diesel has reversed ‘smart’ to ‘stupid’ in its conventional known sense and through signification of models behaviour and appearance audiences will understand just as Diesel intends.

For example; “Be Stupid and you’ll have more sex” [Diesel Catalogue, 2010.] and “Smart may have the brains. But stupid has the balls” [SEE APPENDIX 3a.] both see ‘stupid’ as the more attractive, original, daring, exciting and popular as it is associated with perceived preferable behaviour and traits that could be obtainable to its audiences for example, “Smart Critiques. Stupid Creates” [SEE APPENDIX 1b.]

These stereotypes are very simplified and the campaign could be seen as ‘dumbing down’ audiences as a result of this. Marx made an argument for ‘stupefying the masses’ which he exclaimed was due to ‘false consciousness’ or ‘ideological consciousness” (McLellan, 1971.) False consciousness to Marx, was based on the idea that a capitalist society is misleading to the proletariat in this case Diesel’s target audience. As a result of ideological control from those with power i.e. Diesel, audiences are misled without knowledge or awareness of such occurrences. (Eagleton, 1996) Clearly Marxist thought would believe that Diesel are indeed attempting to shape their audiences into being ‘stupid’; because they hold the position of power over their unsuspecting audiences and disperse their created ideologies onto them through their commodities.

Audiences are hopefully not so naïve and can possibly understand advertisements for what they are. The idea of ‘smart’ versus ‘stupid’ seems to be more about changing perceptions of the terms involved, than blindly categorising and controlling consumers however there is still an obvious intention. Audiences can also use stereotypes as referents to decode adverts to quickly identify the stories being told, and therefore can decode the message as Diesel primarily intended.

The role of advertising here has been used to present imaginary lifestyles associated with the products on offer and follows what (Messaris, 2002) believes the three main roles of advertising are with regards to visual persuasion. Firstly to stimulate the appearance of real, in this case reifying the new meaning of ‘stupid’ audiences as a natural conquest of society. Secondly as photographic ‘proof’, reinforcing the creation of ‘real’ and incessantly attempting to prove it to audiences. Thirdly, to make an implicit link between product and image; the link being here to highlight the attractiveness of not only the models within the images but also their attitude and lifestyles and aligning with the product.

By also introducing an opposing way of behaving i.e. ‘smart’, incites an idea of ‘other’ [Saarni and Harris, 1989] and what the audience should negatively differentiate themselves from. During the industrial revolution the role of advertising was to educate audiences to become consumers to make sense of a new type of living through advertising texts at the time. Essentially this isn’t too different from what Diesel is attempting with ‘Be Stupid’. However being a consumer is so natural to audiences now, particularly young audiences, that it has almost become naturalised or ‘normal’.

With reference to the evidence so far, the way that Diesel has constructed its philosophy would appear very much an attempt of shaping its audience. The very baseline of this campaign is imperative; simple, short and to the point; “BE STUPID!” Aligning this with a proposed lifestyle or ideology of a lifestyle containing strong iconography and visual metaphors of: breaking the rules,loosening the boundaries and consequently having more fun, further reiterates Diesel attempting to shape its audience by offering them an image of a way of life that is imitable and glamorous.

On the other hand could the argument for Diesel be, if advertising promoting ideologies is naturalised within audience’s perceptions, would they see them as simply that, advertisements, and not necessarily believe them for what they portray. Within this line of thought could it be Diesel is in fact mirroring what is already there in order for audiences to relate to the reality they see in texts, but glamorised through methods such as sexual imagery and unrealistic narratives.

According to Williamson (1978) advertising intentionally reflects i.e. mirrors “human reality” due to its natural and overwhelming presence in everyday lives. Williamson (1978) provides an argument for a self-reflective advertising system which assigns human values to products in order to promote purchasing and satisfy a non-material need. Essentially the proposal Williamson makes is that; “…advertising sells us ourselves, or at least what we would like ourselves to be…” making a good case for Diesel constructing its advertisements within the Be:Stupid campaign to include human values alike those of audiences. Not literally likening its audiences to stupid people but to all those attributes it wishes to align with their new philosophy / ideology of ‘stupid’ i.e. brave, original, cool etc. and dismissing any qualities associated with ‘smart’ i.e. stuffy, geeky, straight-laced.

To conclude, Diesel has constructed a very controversial yet simplified campaign which will stand out and shout to their audiences. Understanding how they will respond is not for this essay to decide; however it must be noted this will have a large affect upon how audiences negotiate the desired meanings and how much they believe them to be real.

By deciphering what appear to be Diesel’s advertising objectives or intentions and exploring the methods, which seem most prominent within this argument this essay makes a stronger argument that in fact Diesel is attempting to shape its audiences. Firstly, looking at the narrative within the advertisements of Be:Stupid; these consisted of aspirational and imitable models who not only physically seemed appealing but their portrayal of Diesel’s ‘stupid’ behaviour also reinforced this. Using clear stereotypes and caricaturing ‘smart ‘against ‘stupid’ made the idea seem very contrived and a clear attempt of shaping its audiences, mainly due to the promises offered in return. Moreover through other methods added to the narrative such as strong iconography, visual metaphors and supporting this offered lifestyle.

As Ideology is largely a Marxist term, it was accepted that this illusionary lifestyle was portrayed to audiences as real or reified. Ultimately Marx would argue this was solely for the benefit of capitalism and that Diesel has created an ideological consciousness for which its audiences will follow, in the pursuit of the unobtainable promised lifestyle. Following Marxist ideological theory, Diesel has created culture by ‘inventing’ a new form of ‘stupid’ and then enticing or shaping audiences to adhere through false premise and fetishised commodities.

The strongest contra argument linked to the point made initially, how audiences relate to ideology within advertisements. Advertising is indeed a part of everyday lives and is more than likely taken for granted; however they can be understood as nothing more and so would not have the desired effect Diesel wishes. Whatsmore it provides the strongest case for Diesel having to mirror society and include audiences as they have with their Facebook recruitment idea.

Ideology and advertising are two words that some would argue do not function without one other; however is it that advertising portrays ideologies or that advertising is simply ideological. With regards to the Diesel Be Stupid, the campaign has gone out of it’s way to produce a new philosophy or perhaps ‘ideology’ at it’s audience with an imperative tone and encouraging a new perspective upon the behaviour of stupidity. This largely print based campaign has gathered approximately 40 images under 15 taglines all in the name of this philosophy portraying stupid against ‘smart’ with all assigned significations and stereotypes aligned as stupid becoming the most popular, original and ironically “genius” compared with that of smart as the polar opposites.

Diesel as a brand has a certain reputation for being particularly controversial, referred back to within this current campaign; in the form of an allegiance to Renzo Rosso and his success based on a so-called “stupid” idea of selling old looking jeans as new perhaps this was less stupid and actually more originality which is evidently what Diesel want their audience to absorb.

So does Diesel actually shape its audience or in fact mirror it? Well if you were to analyse the imperative style of copywriting one would have to agree there is a definite attempt in defining certain behaviours and adjectives that it’s audience ‘should’ be in order to qualify for the label of ‘stupid’. With examples of taglines such as “be stupid and you’ll have more sex” and “smart has the brains, but stupid has the balls” implicitly infers that without following the proposed behaviours idealised by Diesel audience members one will qualify as the opposite of what Diesel names ‘stupid’ i.e. stuffy, geeky, never trying, conformist and square. Ironically one must point out here that by attempting to shape it’s audience and calling for them to follow the rules as it were then unknowingly audiences will be doing exactly that, conforming.

In the early beginnings of advertising as we know it today, it is proposed that within the modernist era advertising fulfilled an educative role of teacher audiences to become consumers. One could argue that these implicit behaviour shaping from Diesel could be following a similar role for their advertising; educating their audiences what they need to be, look like and behave like in order to earn the brand’s associations. Modernist advertising followed this idea based on a community of shared meanings, much like today’s youth audiences which is the obvious target for this particular campaign.

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Everyone should have gone to Specsavers!

Enough of the droning bullshit, the next few posts on here are going to be all advertising focused. Having read up a lot more than usual lots of new and exciting things happening in my no. 1 favourite industry I feel I am taking him for granted and thought I’d give him something back by blogging again.

So this post is really to celebrate the utter ingeniousness of Specsavers, it occured to me the other day after being drawn into one of their amazingly quirky TV advertisements ‘wow’ this brand never fails to impress me. As far as I am aware most of their creative is done in-house which is really impressive due to the brilliance of their ideas without getting too lost in the brand (seeing past the end of their nose type issues) as some clients can do.

What inspires me is that their campaign is based on that very simple and wonderful ‘nugget’ (my old Lecturer would have said) that audience’s “Should have gone to Specsavers” and this idea has been carried through years and years however each demonstration of this pinnacle is pure brilliance. How can a brand get away with so many different ads all completely different style but all inferring the same very simple amazingly effective piece of information baffles me. Hats off to you, as a tribute I would like to offer some of my favourites below, enjoy!

 

 

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When I grow up, I want to be a… an advertising person?

The other day I was thinking, the story up until my current situation (fresh out of uni just about to undertake my graduation ceremony) is quite a confusing one and not so straight forward. So I thought I’d share..

When I was little I used to change my mind about what profession I was to end up doing, on a weekly basis. I remember the first was a teacher, but I guess when you’re in little school your teachers are sort of your idols and the first real job you heavily interact with beyond that of your parents. I know a lot of my friends were in agreement but as far as I know only one of them has gone on to do his PGCE, so welldone him!

Secondly came an interest in animals so obviously a vet was on the cards. I had two cats whom I loved very much, and the thought of handling animals like Pippy and Squeaky everyday would be fun. I knew I was clever at Science so that wasn’t an issue, but my mum used to put me off and say you’d have to put your hands up cows bums. Even after insisting I would be strictly a small animal vet, I soon realised even they have bums and also I wasn’t great with removing my emotions from the situation.

During my young teens I went through the familiar transition of many aspirational careers from an artist, actress and famous person of which I wasn’t hugely talented at. Apart from art, I was good at drawing but then I have a mind that falls exactly in the middle between the lines of creative and logical, that is where my brain sits. I didn’t have that flamboyant vision artists are supposed to have and it would take me a long time to think up something really great without using heavy inspiration from other artists I liked. In year 10 we did a Pop Art project which I loved, I recreated nearly all the Litchenstein pieces and really loved the whole simple yet incredibly powerful and bold composition of colours etc. OK so that made me sound like a flamboyant wanky artist type however that’s as far as I go, I am much more a “copy a good piece of art or draw what is there” artist and thats my logic and good supposedly photographic memory working not my creativity.

I do enjoy photography though even now, I know there’s no career for me there but I like to think I can do some good amateur stuff. Most technical cameras are totally baffling to me, but I can find my way around a Lomo and can do a mean hipstomatic on my iPhone. That’s all you need, I prefer photos edited I now some hate this and totally avoid it. But I think it can be fabricated into art with a touch of manipulation.

I guess the real truth behind my ending up devoting 3 years to and Advertising degree started in my studying of Media at GSCE. Occasionally everyone grumps at this as a subject but I found it fascinating, it was current and something that affects everyone’s lives nearly all the time. Why wouldn’t you want to learn more? To be honest I did do very well in this subject as many did; but it was so enjoyable I didn’t mind spending hours on writing an essay about Celebrities and the Tabloid press or doing a textual analysis of a film clip or even contrast film noir with westerns. This I imagine is how I will find my future life in advertising, finding it so enjoyable and therefore wanting to put my all into it.

Simple equation: work hard + play hard= enjoyable life, but with tired eyes and too many hangovers.

So after GSCE I took on Media at A Level, but this wasn’t the only thing I enjoyed. I was also quite good at languages particularly French. Having a good memory was very advantageous in this subject, especially when it came to oral exams. Languages make sense as they are quite logical, well more logical than English anyway. In the sense that each verb takes its own form depending on the subject and would have usually the same endings depending on them being Avoir or Etre verbs. Oh it’s all coming back to me, I really regret not taking this on and carrying it through uni as I had the option of studying for free and paying for the exams. However I was truly committed to advertising and as you saw by the equation there was much work involved there anyway.

Therefore when it came to the incredible task of choosing a course and uni to spend our degree time education at I was baffled. Media or French? Then I remember doing a really fun exam (paradox) for Media at GCSE about advertising. Very basic stuff but essentially we were given a brief and had to spend two hours writing a treatment for the creative ideas and a further hour drawing storyboards of the execution with the appropriate direction (camera angles and stuff). We had to colour them too, loved that, thanks GCSE Media!

Also, during A Level Media we were proposed with a very mini and basic type dissertation i.e. a research document covering one of the given topic areas. I chose advertising and the highly topical, at the time, debate with advertising to children. Ethics galore! There was no petty referencing just a bit of web links here and this google page here however I found lots out and it intrigued me further into the advertising world.

I was also countering the debate as to what I would do with a French degree, as in a career. It wouldn’t necessarily help my indecisiveness after uni as I would be plus a degree and minus a direction in life. Therefore I had a look for some advertising particular degrees, this was more difficult than it sounded. Several small Universities offered it but many weren’t asking for very high grades or were simply about the creative. If we refer back to my debate with my brain being slap bang in the middle I need the strategics behind there so I looked into Advertising & Marketing courses. I found my Bournemouth one and also applied as my reserve to Lincoln but secretly it was always about Bournemouth in my head. They were asking for 300 points (3B’s) and thankfully I received ABB and was accepted kindly into their arms.

Bournemouth taught me so so so much about this ever more intriguing industry and have guided my indecisiveness incredibly well. Giving us a broad outlook on the industry and then the very different roles and options someone with my degree is open to.

So here I am now, looking for some Account Executive positions and really excited about what could happen next.

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How to survive an Advertising degree…

There are many fundamentals when approaching the study of an entirely vocational subject through the eyes of academia, the first being ‘fundamental’ is now your favourite word use it as often as possible and in every essay you write.

Rule No.1 – Know Stuff

When beginning your advertising degree, whether it be solely creative, business driven or as mine was half advertising half marketing (whatever that meant) it is helpful to know a little about the basics first. As with our course it began extremely broad giving us an overview of marketing, advertising and PR in its most vast sense and throwing in a few scholarly extracts for good measure. However that’s not as important.

I have to admit as a complete media student before University, the whole marketing, 4p’s malarkey completely baffled me. I remember my first marketing assignment actually scraping 40 would you believe; but as a creature of repetition and with the help of living in a world surrounded by such an industry, I soon got the hang leading to a 70 in my marketing exam and a switch in me that can never be turned off.

Rule No.2 Love It

There’s no faking it, everyone who is in advertising is in for the long run. I like to think of it as a long term relationship; sometimes you fall out and it can be difficult to see the right solution, but your love is unconditional and consequently you will never be able to view the world in the same way once you’ve truly clicked (hence the switch reference earlier). You notice it’s face much more than ever before and that face never leaves far from your mind. Constantly thinking there’s a way to improve this relationship and be a better partner in this exchange often occurs and for me personally, I am always curious to find out what it does next. If you have not experienced at least one of these feelings then perhaps you haven’t fallen in love just yet but keep going it may just happen. Don’t force it though sometimes things aren’t just meant to be.

Rule No.3 Never Shut up

I have to admire those on my course who were always heard and always making themselves known, I have to say they are in a better position than I am in now. Employed and such. However for me I am a chatterbox in other ways; I know it’s fundamental (there you go again) to be heard and network but I find all that a bit fake. There’s a word this industry doesn’t hear enough – if you are a big faker you may get far go try you could be a good creative! Being inquisitive and always learning is how I like to make myself heard.

Being naturally social helps a LOT. I don’t know if you ever heard this but students drink a lot and Advertising students drink even more; it’s good practice for them in the real world you see? I remember a nice lunch we went on in Smiths of Smithsfields at Chancery Lane, London courtesy of Facebook and the best way to do business here is to ply poor placement students with wine then send them back to work for the afternoon. Interesting.

Do believe the famous old saying “work harder, play harder” it couldn’t be more true of any other industry or degree.

Rule No.4 Make Friends

As with the above rule this should come naturally to those destined for a life in advertising related jobs, network network network you know the saying “It’s not who you know, it’s..” hang on I mean it IS PRECISELY who you know. I must have applied to hundreds of positions for placement and the one I got was through University, through tutors being amazing and using their networks cheekily.

The tutors really are fountains of advice and knowledge here, they have lived the lives you are so eager to pursue so talk to them they are actually pretty interesting and love to help out baby advertisers anytime they can. Hopefully I wish to return to Uni to be one of those pretentious “I was a student just like you, now beg me for a job” type people to give a talk and feel like I have achieved a mini personal goal!

Rule No.5 Mr Motivator

BE MOTIVATED. As someone who this doesn’t come naturally too I have found ways to defeat my inner lazy and stay focused on the task in hand. Here are my top tips to stay motivated.

-Have many scheduled tea breaks with optional chocolate biscuits
-Walk around every 30 minutes (or when procrastination kicks in)
-Ban Facebook (or use as optional reward for so many words work)
-Listen to music (this works well for me but for others silence could work)
-Allow for mini daydreams about the elated feeling of handing the work in and/or the celebrations which follow
-Separate work from home (dedicated area of study e.g. library etc)
-Work with friends (this may sound contradictory, but my days and nights spent in w403 with some fellow course mates really spurred me on)
-Exercise (the only acceptable excuse for not working)

Those are the main ones which for me personally really helped with those feelings of “oh god I hate this, let me go home”. Hopefully they will help other fellow inner lazies to push on and get them 1st’s that I only dreamt of.

Rule No.6 Make a Plan Stan

When it comes to planning I am a bit over keen, sometimes my over organised ambitions are hindered by my inner lazy as mentioned above but I know for a fact that those who started early and really worked on there stuff rather than cranking it out last minute did better every time. Promise. This is a personal failure on my part and something I need to work on however give me something more interesting my inner lazy usually cooperates (honest!)

Rule No.7 There’s no advertising in team

Clearly this statement is total rubbish, advertising is built on teams people teaming up doing teamwork in different agencies also built in teams. Therefore it is inevitable that group work forms a huge part of your advertising degree (assuming it’s as good as mine!) and during this you will learn a lot about yourself, other people and what a good team needs, especially regarding advertising.

The main lessons learnt through succeeding and failing throughout group work on this course are as follows;

-Know your strengths and weaknesses

This can help you immensely with deciding on roles and can probably only be discovered through trial and error, it is a process which everyone on this degree will go through. Some realising they are made for copywriting others planning it’s just a matter of putting your natural flair to what fits best in industry.

-Choose the best people for your group, not just your friends

You may get along just fine but get put into a group situation and you are suddenly dependant on each other for a good mark and ultimately your degree education, not mentioning the skills you need for industry. So CHOOSE CAREFULLY I know first hand what this can do to friendships if you rely too much on the friendship bit and not the work bit it can be really quite devastating.

-Don’t underestimate time needed for group projects

The most time spent working (and not sleeping) and group projects only means the better you all understand it and consequently a better result is obtained. My house mate and her group probably spent a good 12 hours a day everyday for a couple of weeks leading up to their pitch, she was physically exhausted (another perk of advertising) but they got a mark of around 80 so it was all worth it in the end.

Rule No.8 Be Optimistic

It may have sounded all gruelling and a bit down in the dumps so far but trust me there’s a reason that this industry is still so sought after and apart from the long term relationship commitment, the true enjoyment of seeing a whole pitch come together and go well is so accomplishing. Even better I have heard when the agency wins it! There are long hard hours but they are fun also and the perks and playtime easily equates it I am talking now about the degree and also in real life. Optimism comes naturally to me but to others just hang in there you’ll see it was worth it eventually.

Rule No.9 Breathe Advertising

Knowing campaigns, political opinions and points of view about advertising can express a true interest to an interviewer; reading journals and endless text books is all part of the syllabus but any extra you add to that are all really good to talk about in interview situations. They love hearing about what you read in marketing week or what you have seen in the trade press about their agency and “ooo isn’t it doing well” chances are if they are hiring you then yes they are doing well so research it.

Knowing things about anything relevant that they don’t which you can really talk about is a big thumbs up and it proves to them you have that long term relationship with advertising and they will employ on the basis of that.

Rule No.10 Be You-nique

Stand out. So cliche but so true, there’s so many grads applying you want to be there with them but also to be the one better than all of them. I have heard of applications and CVs being delivered on cakes, obviously that was for some fancy creative job but just don’t let them forget you.

Also hope you noticed the pun but I severely believe you don’t need to be fake, often you’re hired because the interviewer likes you and that’s all down to you. Be different but don’t be something you ain’t lover!

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Invisible Advertising.

So as a desperate attempt to wander my mind elsewhere from dissertation I came across this video. Even though there is quite a strong resemblance to what i am doing as it makes sense to highlight the problems advertisers have here. Basically the video follows through an average commuters journey showing only the advertising they come across, astoundingly even to me they make up the entire world (practically) no wonder advertisers are attacking online to build up relationships and make longer term friendships with consumers. At least then perhaps they may spare the time to give them their money’s worth…

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The end of the mission.

So after lots of crying, sweat and tears we finally made it to the end of Campaign Planning; this was an interesting unit, great advantages for real practice and much more life like situations than say dissertations… I couldn’t help but think how after the pitch that was what everything was for, almost as an anti climax. Obviously there are things I would do differently and I got a little too nervous but I like to see it as a learning exercise! The more I do with regards to pitching and groupwork etc the more I want to better myself and get out there and make a difference and not just be treated as students helping out whom have been crowd sourced. I am thankful for the skills this unit has allowed us to improve upon and it has helped me realise what and what I am not good at plus it has taught me a lot about team work.

Somehow I wish I could feel like it was more of a BAM! ending to this unit however I feel a little deflated by it all, perhaps because it is all over and I am already ready for the next client. Get me out there!

In the meanwhile, back to dissertation…

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Conceptual Photography.

Stumbling across this bizarre yet hugely creative style of photography has given me cause for writing about it here. I would definitely wish to try it when I have the time to spare and spend on editing a good concept. It reminded me of how creativity in advertising is supposedly made; in terms of marrying two completely different concepts together in order to create a resonant message. In fact some of the examples I found could be used as an advert quite easily;




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Advertising is evil and malicious, apparently.

Today we have been talking quite heavily about the ‘myth’ of advertising especially with regards to sex. It turns out that largely sex in advertising is not all that bad because it is simply a sexual mythology. Advertising is ultimately the discourse of desire and in ads which show sexual imagery, the desiring part is already taken care of; or as David Alder liked to phrase it (a ready meal). Of course some may say, especially after these examples that sex in advertising shares similarities to those in pornographic images however in advertising there is a clear intent to sell which ultimately differentiates the two.

See SEX in the ice cubes…

18-30s club taking the joke of subliminal advertising to their executions…

An article written by Carrie McLaren was a true insight into how certain individuals can truly look so close at advertising that they end up seeing something completely fabricated, in my opinion anyway. To a certain extent I do believe that the examples above have clear indicative subliminal messaging however Wilson Bryan Key had other ideas.

It has been stated in this particular journal that Key is a crackpot however I will let you the reader decide upon that. Here is an example of what he wrote about in one of his 4 very similar books on subliminal advertising merely stating how consumers must purchase it in order to actively ‘protect’ themselves from the subliminal evil angst of advertising.

On one particular occasion, Key and friends went for food after a lecture and whilst chatting amongst each other were asked to order by the waitress. Without thinking they all ordered the clams, to which Key remarked shortly after he did not like them, so why did he order them. After looking around he decided it was the advert upon the place mat for the clams, clearly ignoring any conformity that may have occurred with his friends orders or any other subtle influences.

Here is, word for word what Key saw in this advert of clams namely “clam plate orgy”;

The place mat illustration is not a photographic representation of actual clams, of course, but an airbrush painting. It includes nine caricatured human figures as well as a donkey astride a human figure. The donkey seems to be licking the stomach of a figure whose lightly shadowed face is a long moustache. To the left of the prostate face-up male figure appears a female figure with a highly piled coiffure. A head can be seen between her legs. Who would believe a sexual orgy, oral sex and bestiality could be so deftly incorporate into an innocent restaurant place mat?

No-one. Simply put. This man clearly has exaggerated the rules of which advertising has implemented here and in fact ended doing more good than bad for the industry now that students use his theories in advertising teaching as an example of extremist views of which I believe are overtly disillusion-al.

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Absolut join the Content wagon…

I stumbled across this trailer / advert through the idents of TVCatchup Online; I found it quite interesting primarily because for so long Absolut have relied on print advertising. So to see some ad funded content being introduced is, mind the cliche, but a breath of fresh air…

I am looking forward to the finished piece and intrigued as to what they plan to do with this content in the long term media planning sense.

UPDATE

Go see! Out now! http://www.imheremovie.com/

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The Power of the Slogan.

Today in a seminar for Creative Analysis, we were given the task of firstly coming up with slogans having been presented with only the brand name and proposition…

Our choices were;

– Cyprus. The beauty of an isolated island.

“Get away with anything”

– Launch into a rewarding career; become a chiropodist

“Like Feet? Try something more rewarding…”

Our solutions were limited but OK nonetheless we only had 10 minutes!

Next we were tasked with having to guess slogans and come up with our own for specific adverts which may / may not have had slogans already. Unfortunately I cannot find the examples as they were international ads however I will work on this… Keep in touch!

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Sexism in Advertising.

Having had to look at Ideology in advertising and the political statements made in advertising, I came across the largely talked about case of gender and sexism in advertising. I searched for some images in order to help me with my theoretical assignment to exemplify what those French theorists meant… and I was a little shocked and humoured by some I came across. Take a look below!





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Ambient Advertising.

Ambient Advertising is my most favourite type of advertising as I personally believe it requires much more creative intellect, than with other campaigns which rely on the medium to do the work. There is a talent required to have that special way of looking at everyday objects and items in a different way which resonates so perfectly with products being advertised. It is possibly due to ambient which inspires me mostly about the advertising industry and keeps my faith!  Beneath are a few examples I found which caught my eye, comment and tell me what you think of them…






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I love augmented reality!

OK so sometimes it can be rubbish and has been trialled by many brands. But look at this one, it seems much more integrated into life and would amuse me, I think, no end. Note how much advertising has been packed in such a small space and the constant murmur as if they are really cluttering our heads? Almost making it nicer when there is the ‘escape’ type part to wait for the kettle. These little things are only small but still novel and I like em’…

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Amazing Viral…

Enough said…

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Pictoral Metaphor…

Interesting stuff.. our seminar for Creative Analysis today led us onto thinking about this as a creative strategy using Absolut as an example.

Here are a few we looked at:

So it was then asked of us to come up with some also for the flavours; peppar, original and mango. Here are some of the ones we came up with…

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Our Dragon’s Den attempt…

As a set and assessed task, our course was asked to come up with a new concept helpful to a rich Russian investor that would help the future of advertising, media and / or marketing communications. From this… in groups we had to pitch our ideas within a dragon’s den scenario with the best 4 having to conduct a ‘live’ version in front of the whole course. Unfortunately we did not win, however we got 66 so I am happy with that! Here’s our video, minus the complimentary AMAZING presentation!

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Some ads I reviewed this term…

Here are several reviews I have done for the course and some just for fun… feel free to argue anything I state.

>>Cravendale Slurp

One of many in this campaign using the same type of animation, stop-motion. Very simple yet very effective and extremely random; Cravendale have always kept to this slightly hyperbolic and humorous approach. If you think back to their previous creative, whereby the ‘cows where coming to get it back’ you can understand the point I am making here. Brilliantly executed ads like this deserve praise as without the creative meaning too much about the message of ‘milk matters’ it still works perfectly.

>>Persil Dirt is Good

This advert has such a nice touch to it, using no dialogue but music anchored by great images it connoted exactly what it set out to. In terms of strategy this advert uses the problem as the solution which is quite refreshing and so takes it a little further than simple demonstrational ads you get with Vanish for example. It adds a novel message allowing children to be children and enjoying their younger years. It makes a change to see no maternal figure in this ad, as in many of the past advertisements right back to the 60’s this has generally been the case. I assume this was in order to shift focus once more onto the problem, appealing largely more to adults as a whole because of this. Overally, it is nice to see a different and fairly refreshing approach to advertising from this market sector.

>>Levi’s Mermaid

This advert gives reference to a very fantastical experience, that creates an intrigue around what the product actually is throughout the body of the ad. Quite typical of Levi’s to think this far outside of the box and create something completely unique and visually tantalising, in my opinion anyway. The storyline based on mermaids in itself is a very questionable approach; as it brings in elements of fantasy collaborating with visuals that appear quite ghostly. This evokes quite a strange emotion of intrigue and fear which supposedly is what mermaids are quite significant of. There is an art form to this advert that most Levi’s adverts tend to capture which provoke such emotions from viewers causing them to notice and remember. This advert in my opinion is one of Levi’s classics, as it marries simplicity so well with the art and symbolism it holds tightly within the message. It is a rare combination which sees all of these elements put together to create wonderful memorable and unique advertising.

>>Tango Fat Pigeon

This ad as I am sure you remember came as part of a few similar story lines each with differing scenarios and all incorporating the same infamous creative concept of “you know when you’ve been tango’d”. This is one of my favourite adverts of my lifetime. I think this is due to the style of the humour in this advert mixed with it’s utter simplicity. It uses a very dry, almost sarcastic humour which parodies drinking Tango as a commentary sport. Unusual notions to link together however interesting nonetheless and to me an incredibly memorable advert, even after around 10 years. I am also a huge fan of simple ads that amalgamate ideas to truly represent the brand; allowing the advertisements to be very creative without losing focus of the message or prominence of the brand name.

More to come…

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Life without mobiles

So the worst thing happened… on Saturday night due to unforeseen circumstances my phone ended up being left in a taxi.

I am not the type to be mad about my phone I generally just like to have it on me, it gives me a sense of reassurance that I can always contact someone if I had to for whatever reason. I guess this provokes a whole lot of privacy issues of which I am well aware of; however even though someone can always reach me and probably search for me through GPS I much prefer the benefits to having a phone as personally I feel it outweighs the hideous surveillance issues.

So Sunday morning, suddenly, I was left without this contact to the ‘outside world’ and I did feel a strange sense of freedom that no-one could find me unless I saw them in person or has pre-arranged. I still can’t really remember how it was before we had such a convenience however I became ridden with that familiar frustration of reliance on prior arrangements.

The worst part was realising just how used to having my phone I was, and how much I have taken it for granted; I found myself looking in my bag and going to check for messages and having to remind myself I was without. I almost hate the way I feel technology has such an important part in my life without equal realisation. I only went from Sunday morning to this morning (Tuesday) and it felt like a lifetime.

I guess the main points this brought up for me was how much dependence we put onto technology and take for granted that it will always be there for us when we need it. It is strange to think that most of the world’s largest organisations rely heavily on computers and databases etc. Evidently technology has helped us however perhaps we should make more of a realisation as to how much importance we are giving something so fickle and increasingly temperamental.

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Second Life Failure…

I am not sure if it is just my laptop rejecting it but after three failed attempts I gained no response from the programme when making a profile on Second Life… I have to say they don’t make it that easy for those people desperate to live their lives elsewhere in cyber space!

After having to fill in the obligatory signing up information and security email, I was required to create a name for my second life person, I suppose it was naive of me to think that they would let me use my own name and everyone would go around as themselves but online. However it would seem that in fact they are indeed second lives whereby they can have as little relevance to our person as our real life selves as we wish! Talk about escapism!

I was also surprised by the fact that I couldn’t even choose my own second name, I was given the option of picking one from a set template which I would have preferred to decide on my own!

There are many aspects to your person that you can change; such as their appearance where the go who they talk to etc. I find it unusually similar to the Sims however taken a little further by some out there who possibly get up to more than just chatting with other people’s second lives.

Something feels a little bit wrong in this and it begs me to ask the most important question of… how far do we need to experience escapism before we actually forget about our original real lives? This is something the internet has allowed us to do and is probably unlikely to ever catch on too largely… let’s hope so anyway.

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Limbo, limbo, limbo…

Hello to you again, coming to you from a strange place between the world and I. Sort of limbo.. Don’t panic though I’m not off my face or anything, just had a cheeky ginger beer that’s all (well it is Saturday night after all).

Here’s the thing, I tend to check back as to what I wrote the last couple of times before boring the ears off you again; just to make sure I’m not just about to repeat myself from 3 months ago. Unlikely as my life seems to be so up and down these days, here’s to hoping post 25 things begin to settle slightly.

So last time I was in a fucking good place. Fresh promotion, the BEST weather in the UK we have had over summer in my entire life (don’t quote me on that). Chilling out on a well deserved week off back at the motherland, with the cat of course. What I didn’t go into detail with then was the man sitch was lot better too, well I had my pesky little fingers in a couple of hot pies anyway (which I’m aware sounds bloody hilarious!) The time before I was in a grey cloud of anxiety and emotional turmoil, in great need of what followed and so so ready for it.

Now here we are, mid-September already! Fuck! I can’t quite decide if I should be just as happy or if I have lost the rails a little again and need to sort out shit. Limbo. Limbo means I’m pretty much doing OK; work’s good, home life is respectable but what I like to call above-the-line only, family is a bit messed up but fine(ish) and the boys, well that’s still kind of in the same place if not a little advanced even.

So what the fuck is up? I mean yes OK so I’m not really being entirely honest about the things saddening me but what’s the point in dwelling?? I have loads of things to look forward to; Autumn, Halloween, Bonfire Night, winter clothes, Christmas shopping, potential snow, NYC… I know I’m lucky for such wonder to befall on me but something is niggling.

I’m feeling a big fat slate clean is needed at the end of this year, finally things are settling a bit at work and I want to remove all turbulent entities that don’t belong in my oh-so-mature 25 year old self. I’m going to move, I’m going to have more tattoos (woop) and well I guess I have to wait and see on the other bits as they are annoyingly out of my control.

I can feel myself slipping into an impulsive overdrive which usually sorts me out. Shows me what I take for granted and let’s me self destruct a little, releasing any inner frustration I can’t quite bring to the world yet. That’s most likely the solution here… if you see me daydreaming in a corner, best to just jump on me!

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I think this Quarter Life Crisis rather suits me…

Well what a beautiful summer we’re having here in sunny old England?!

I’m writing to you stinking of cocoa butter sat in one of my mums lovely cuddle sofa chairs feeling pretty good about myself for once (very good considering I have a mahussive spot attempting to escape through my chin!)

I’m also writing to you appreciating the desperately miserable post that preceded this one, and for that I apologise. I will not delete it as it forms part of the journey that is formerly known as my life. This new chapter however really is quite exciting, and I don’t know if my almost hitting 24 and a half has done something to my head but I feel ever so mature these days.

Friends tell me it’s a quarter life crisis (QLC) and maybe that’s it, but suddenly I’m excited about the thought of setting up pension schemes, visiting the dental hygienist at £65 a pop and the mere mention of mortgages tends to get me going just a little too much these days.

So I got promoted to start. Fuck yes. Now I’m a little Account Manager and I actually love my job which is a really nice thing. Sometimes I hate it but I have a lovely agency and thank god all the shit from last year went down as it made way for all the goodness that I am now experiencing 🙂

Dating is a bit on and off at the moment as a direct result of the above being a bit more important for the moment. However I’m able to step back a bit from the whole dating sesh and just be fucking honest about stuff. Ok so I like you or yes I like someone else but I need distracting while that develops or even just it’s been too long and we should bloody do it again! Maybe this is also to do with my QLC but its very liberating to know what I want and to just ‘grab the bull by the horns’ as it were.

I’ve also booked a trip to NYC for my 25th. What better way to start my maturity than waking up on 39th St overlooking that amazing horizon with all that American goodness. Canny effin wait!!! I’m also looking at stage 2 of the tatts. It’s been too long and I like to get them around good times in life so they help tell the story of me at its best parts.

I’m planning on leaving clapham too – it’s time to live somewhere I don’t to have jump to avoid vomit on my Sunday morning runs. It’s been good but I’ve always wanted to go east and that is where I’m headed. My ever so mature self is considering living alone dependent on how well I can budget but either way a change is very much needed and its all very exciting 🙂 I’m heading to the land of Dalston/ Highbury and no it’s not just to be on the ginger line but its also to be nearer where I spend all my evenings drinking, gigging etc. I’m very tempted to even get into cycling but let’s deal with one thing at a time. Babysteps Clegg.

Bring on the rest of 24 I say! It’s a year for change and finding my little feet. I won’t be letting much stand in my way though, I can you tell you that for sure!

Love to the homeboys..

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Wooooah misery..! Where did you come from?

What the actual fuck is wrong with me? What the actual fuck!?1?!?!?”

It could be something to do with the fact this summer is one big dry hump, and it’s not even that dry! Rain, cold, rain, cold… anyone unfortunate enough to follow my Twitter will know the weather is integral to my happiness. I have truly got S.A.D. and it’s at a right effin’ low at the moment, the shitter.

I realised I haven’t been here for a while and that’s because I was busy being happy; loving the life, the job and even had a tasty bit on the side going on. But oh no no no Kirsty, calm the fuck down, soon everything has to die a death… (and I think this is where the weather got sucked into the black hole I created!)

Seems it comes in threes (as they say) so now my life, work and non existent boy sitch are all on the downward slope, if not downwards then they are at least grey, living under grey. I’ve given up the online dating too. My last date was wonderful and he was beautiful and all, but the same festering disappointment followed. So as a preservation control, even before the date, it was declared over.

I believe part of my problem is I’m always busy helping others, giving all my efforts and guidance objectively yet empathetic, being there for them at their lowest despite how desperately miserable I am inside. I put a face on and decide they don’t need to hear my boring problems.

Then I watch as their lives supersede my own because I’ve dedicated all my life to it. What a selfish, bitchy hideous thing to say though!? I haven’t even got girl stuff to blame my malevolent melancholy madness on either, this is pure non-hormonal-causing misery. God help when the hormones kick in, check back in 2 weeks…

I’ve even looked into how I can help others more constructively (charity etc.) to shift this ridiculous magnifying glass from my oh-so-terrible #middleclassproblems scenario, but nope. Nothing. Niente. De rien! This is NOT how I want to reflect on my 20s, but maybe the problem is I’m spending most of it in denial shedding light on everyone else’s issues and never sorting shit out.

Why am I always so clear when I come and rant to you? Potentially because you are the only one I bother to bear my soul to, even though it’s carefully edited with lovely boundaries and air-tight walls. Not very helpful that I only feel I can preach to a rhetorical audience. Blast!

I am so out of control right now and I hate it. What can I do to regain this? I am too OCD and obsessive to be this surrendered to my feelings. Usually we get on just fine buried within lovely British reserve, wrapped up in nice English cotton wool. Emotions get stuck in my throat and I can’t coax the little fellas out… Not even now, not even after too much red wine.

Steps/ objectives I’m taking/ going to put in place to get through this shit month (sometimes Account Handling applies to life);

-Be celibate for a month (absolutely no penises allowed!)

-Exercise twice as much as normal (doing Race for Life which covers charity too)

-Be very strict with eating (control lovely control)

-Make an effort with appearance (to feel better on the outside at least)

-Get out as much as possible (for as little money as possible)

OK so let’s see how that goes! If I’m not a quivering wreck next time through hormonal tweaks or lack of other things listed above, then it would appear I have survived the month that is May (i.e. the month of shit). What’s two Bank Hols with no money? Pishty pish… Laters!

 

 

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Sunday morning epiphany

Good morning and welcome to the grey grey Sunday I awoke to this morning. Not only the weather either, it feels as if I’m a bit grey too – hence the posting – apologies in advance for the pessimistic touch to today’s entry.

So the epiphany, yes that’s what you want to know.

Well it appeared to me this grey supposedly Spring morning that dating is a bit shit and more specifically online dating is a bit shit.

So OK, I get it. London is full of people that don’t want to talk to each other (except for not-so-great-looking guys approaching you in bars when with friends or those who want a little extra loving before their heads hit the pillow that night). But does that really give reason for this massive industry to lead poor unsuspecting individuals through a cocktail of emotions and ultimately leave them in endless despair or disappointment?

Despite my negative overall experience here, I do know of some fairy tale endings that came from online dating; however none of these happened in London. It feels as if there are so many options to choose from, nobody can commit to deciding on any one person as there could always be someone better in that bloody iPhone app of theirs. When did we all get so god damn complacent? These are actually human beings we are casually scrolling through like a meat catalogue… I too am guilty of this.

So to those not so familiar, it’s generally quite a pain staking, time consuming, admin heavy process, on top of a busy London life filled with friends, drinks and of course, work. I’ll take you through it.

First you begin with the search period. You weigh up your options, decipher all alternatives by viewing the meat market catalogue or sifting through messages from said meat. Then begins the laborious task of the ‘first message’, this allows you to find out more information about and/ or get a feel for them as a ‘person’ (using that term lightly there). This can be quite a stressful occasion, especially if you think you’re onto a ‘winner’ i.e. someone who appears to be a normal functioning human without psychotic tendencies and/ or massive commitment issues, while being semi-presentable to the human eye. This sounds terribly vain and hugely insensitive, it happens, and I don’t care what anyone says – you HAVE to fancy them – if only a little.

Next comes the fun part, swapping numbers. If you’re lucky enough to have had a response or several and they don’t appear to be scared off yet, this is for when the messaging has become a frequent occurrence. Giving them your number pretty much means a guaranteed first date is on the cards and number swapping only facilitates this further. Then comes a similarly stressful occasion of organising this date – where to go, who asks first, food or drinks, or both? Etcetera!

The first date is the decider, this is the easy bit. Once you’ve done the awkward phone call at the train station entrance, trying desperately to keep your hair in place while fumbling with a phone and umbrella, and simultaneously scanning the area and hoping to god they are as good looking as their photo. You’ll know instantly if they aren’t.

You’ll also know instantly if you’re into them or not – gut feel is important. I’ve tried flogging dead horses and it’s almost as bad as leading them on. If you’re anywhere near as indecisive as me then letting your gut choose for you is vital.

So after the first date if it went well this is where the anxiety kicks in. Presume this state of constant anxiousness will be with you now for the foreseeable future. A million things will go through your head ‘this time it may actually go well, is there going to be a second date, when will this be, do I ask or let them, how often should we message now… ETC!’ For me I get bored too easily if there is no anxiety and I know they will be there at a click (yes I’m aware of what a dick I sound but this is how I was built…) however if there is too much anxiety or I start ‘seeing the signs’ they are about to drop off into thin air (happens more than I could tell you) then I’m left without, so you need to watch this balance!

If you get through a second, third of even fourth date the anxiety will remain however you may now start to consider the foreseeable a bit more. Friends may have been introduced, you may have told your mum/ hairdresser and have probably already done the dirty. So this for me is where I leave you. For I have not made it past this mystical barrier or commitment issues. This is where ‘seeing the signs’ and predictable events occur and we start from the beginning again.

So my epiphany today is online dating is a bit shit, summarised by efforts above. Is it really worth it? I believe that you could actually be more likely to bump into your true love dropping your books everywhere in the street, and all that film fluff; than actually meeting someone worthy online, who doesn’t then get the itch to browse ‘just in case’ for a back up mate.

Of course what the issue could be is me, but I’m not willing to admit that just yet.

From this point on all apps have been deleted and I’m heading out into the world with a bit of lipstick and my head held high. Good luck to all my fellow daters, I hope you have better luck than me. Next stop – speed dating! x

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Don’t Panic! I’m mature now…

Hello, good day and all that jazz!

So yes I’m old now, yesterday was the big day and even though I was dying a little bit of man flu and had to work until 8pm I enjoyed myself.

People talk of birthdays as if they just stop once the day is over however any girl will tell you they need a good 7 days to celebrate and also life goes on (I’m probably going to be 24 tomorrow as well). So why stop now? I’m going to bring my new me into every day I can be bothered to and try to embrace the growing and maturing me.

I realise my last ‘personal’ post on here (according to the categorisation) I was a bit of a miserable bitch and for that I apologise. I find it quite therapeutic to write on here when I’m either in some weird personal transition, be it physically or from within, or just plain fucked off. Writing my 2013 new year post pissed off at men was perhaps not the best way to go about things however I was touched about the concern I received from friends who (I didn’t actually know) read it. This has led me to come to the burning realisation that I often get stuck in my own bubble and even though yes last year had its ups and downs I concentrated way too much on the negatives!

The way I now see life in February is; I am getting in better control of finances which leads to exciting plans such as me and my lovely bud Helen jetting off to NYC for my 25th, I am making way more effort in expressing myself through appearance and hopefully eventually doing more to express from within too – just to note this is not for anyone else’s benefit (call me a narcissist if you like, what’s more narcissistic than writing a blog? The Libertines wrote a song about it so I can handle that). Dating is getting a bit easier because I’m trying to be more laid back about things, a very exciting chance encounter in January taught me I have no fucking idea what’s going to happen so I should stop letting that dirty pessimism wash over me and be bloody thankful for what I have!

So after much soul-searching within January and with some mature ageing sprinkled on top I’ve come to coin the mantra for 2013 (because advertisers LOVE to coin terms) and this is, wait for it:

“Whatever happens, happens.”

In the not quite so famous words of Ellie Goulding, ‘anything could happen’ and yes it can sometimes be shit, but that’s what makes the good times better right? There’s so much to explore, do and experience and I’m getting on a bit now (not sure I mentioned?) so plans are being made! It’s all very enthralling (what an old person term!?).

Starting with my wonderful home, I am going to make the effort to enjoy London more – one new thing/ place/ adventure a week – I believe that’s perfectly manageable don’t you?

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Encore, do you want more?

Post correct at October 2012 – forgot to post!

My my my how life can really throw you out of sync. What the hell happened I don’t know I’m simply at the mercy of life and its treacherous path laid ahead of me.

So things to update you on from my elated state a mere few months ago…

1. I’m a little bit unemployed. Lost and alone after being accepted into the arms of a large agency with a great name, I gave up the small agency life ethos to take on this name. Unsurprisingly it wasn’t for me and I wasn’t for them. Nothing felt natural and I may have lost half a stone through worry and stress but I did learn a fucking lot. So next steps, kick ass SAE at a medium sized (pref digital) creative agency. Confidence if a bit knocked has grown, skills have sharpened and as a person I have aged a good year. My optimism will help me through and hopefully the bank and my landlord accept this as currency, more to come on that.

2. I hate dating. What the hell? I have no idea why anyone wants to put themselves through such elation, excitement, nervousness, anxiety, pain, rejection etc. Enough is enough I am suffering from a one date curse. I literally couldn’t tell you what goes wrong perhaps a marriage proposal will work better on the next one? Pish. Sticking to being single and alone is much easier and considering point no. 1 a lot less time consuming.

So sadly not much to shout about there really. Apologies for the undertones of morbid feeling however from similar times you know I’m a yoyo of optimism. Fingers crossed for better news soon…

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Now that’s what we call a year…

Hello and Happy New Year! Well it is sort of, certainly a lot happier than the last however still, I’m in such an up and down place right now I can’t tell if I’ve really shed all of my 2012 baggage like I had hoped.

Let me explain…

As you know from some of the previous posts, last year didn’t necessarily start with a bang. Its started with a break up. A teary goodbye at the train station on New Year’s Day ended an almost 5 year relationship and left me with 3 hours of trying to not look like a dick crying on the train all the way back to King’s Cross.

There it was. January. Big ugly January. Oh and on my first day back at work one of my friends had been cruelly laid off with nothing but a ‘thanks for everything but BYE’. So I spent the month pretty much hating life, trying to adjust to being alone and worrying for my job. February came to save the day with a 23rd birthday and what felt like a new start.

March arrived with a moving in to the new home which was a blessing in disguise but underneath all this was my first (or second) man interest in singledom! This wasn’t satisfying however as it was all guess work and game playing. Things which I have now learnt to see the signs of all too well. Anyway April and May brought me to the conclusion that I needed a new job, I could not handle 13 hour days without so much of a well done or promise of promotion. You can throw money at me if you like but I’m still going to leave if I’m not happy. The man interests sporadically continue but of a similar expectation.

Thankfully June gave me the hope I thought I was owed! A job, an amazing opportunity found all by myself at a well respected and renowned agency. A month of goodbyes and ‘hooray finally’s. July was very exciting, a high point I’d say, ending work at a job which drained me dry of life but also gave me great new friends for life. A casual trip across to Paris on the Eurostar (which is always exciting) with my lovely friend Lauren who had only just turned 21 (bloody children) followed by lots of Olympic joy. At this point my boy whoring had to come to an end as I was becoming concerned this wasn’t quite lady like behaviour. I mean they should at least buy me a drink first, or even pay for the night bus home right?!? Ha! Oh dear…

Then there was August. A very weird one. The beginning of my new promising high flying career job and also dating in London as an adult for the first time ever. So at first the job was going fine, and so was dating actually. The majority done online, so no cretins allowed and sensible meet up venues with adequate exit plans, gave me comfort that for once in my life I’m in fucking control. But September came and cocked this all up… dating wasn’t going so well and when I actually met someone I liked, it was reciprocated for the date and for a couple of days after. Then nothing. This brings me to what I have deemed, owned and patented: THE ONE DATE CURSE. My house mates will tell you I’m picky or ridiculous but it’s fucking true I tell you!

So then came October and as if I wasn’t miserable enough from the dating disasters, the big exciting promising job was slowly killing me softly. Nothing I did was right, or at least it felt that way. I could not relate to my work friends and felt like the tiniest fish in a big agency being beaten and bashed by all the corporate sharks. I was a shadow of my former self and even my MUM was worried; probably because when I went home for some well deserved r&r I told her I didn’t want to go back to London town (my obvious home and true love)! This was not like me at all, to choose the barren land of sheep and no public transport where my oyster is about as much use as a chocolate fire guard – I was in a bad place. Not to worry though as 3 weeks before probation on one of our monthly free bar nights within the building (one of the many perks they tempt you in with) I was called into a meeting with HR and told that basically it’s not working out. They broke up with me! Even though I hated it and would happily have chosen unemployment over coming back in on Monday, I did not actually have the funding to support such a pipe dream. But hey ho that was the situation anyway.. Oh I didn’t actually mention it was my house mates’ birthday too and it was my turn to buy toilet roll. So with an 18 roller in one hand and the phone in the other I balled my eyes out to my concerned mother for what felt like forever.

November was hard, you may not know but Christmas is a huge excitement to me, but I wasn’t allowing any such ridiculousness until I was sorted out. I was ON IT. I threw myself, sometimes quite literally, at all recruiters I could and applied to everything I could find. My LinkedIn had never been so god damn up to date and this particular blog in question got its’ highest viewings in one day EVERRR so gee thanks to whomever I bored that day! Suddenly the stars changed for me and finally a position within the most kind and lovely agency you have ever known, a brilliant mix of the small town loving from my first place with the structure and systems massively missing from the first place but hugely populating of the second place, offered me a job. Not to mention lovely people and an equally exciting client. Fuck yes! They offered me the job after much pushing through my recruiter and not a moment too soon as a week later and I would not have been able to support myself any longer..

December then came as a relief, I was working finally. But as you can imagine 1 month’s salary with little savings already been used for one month’s bills and rent, not to mention the interview travel and food (the amount of fish finger sandwiches and cereal I lived on was truly questionable), did not cover me very far. It meant living off further fishfingers and cereal and lots of 35 bus journeys (my usual nightbus of choice but now commuter vehicle of choice). But at least I was allowed to enjoy Christmas, which was backed up a lot at work as of course my agency is wonderful and lovely. With a trip back home for the holidays it was so nice to enjoy time off and not be stressed out of my arse! Topping this all off with a very exciting NYE party organised and decorated by me and my housemate we had a fucking awesome time – partying until 6am. So here’s where it gets interesting, I turned back to a bit of dating, only because I met someone worthy, well, beautiful at least and could actually hold a conversation. HARD TO FIND COMBO.

So here we are, New Year, and my recent dating dilemma is back to the original one and only ONE DATE CURSE. I got my one date’s worth and now I’m being greedy trying to get any more. That is where the up and down is currently emanating from. Sigh Sigh Sigh. But hey ho what the hell can I do? I thought New Years were meant to bring all sorts of opportunities, not more shit from the past?? So this January I had hoped it was starting as it mean to go on but the stars are being cruel bastards.

The way I’m seeing to deal with it is simply put all efforts into oneself and my lovely new work. This year is about ME! And woooah it’s only my mother fucking birthday next month. Bloody 24! Seems so young still but really I know it’s not. Time to get my head out of the clouds and my ass up for grabs. Or not… I have been toying with the idea of celibacy. I mean then at least I can say it’s out of choice right? Just a little semester to swot up on the new grown up me who wears red lipstick in the day, always does her nails and wears heels even when it’s not a night out. That’s the plan anyway, fuck knows what’s going to happen as I couldn’t have predicted any of that shit last year!!

I like 3’s though. 2013 is much nicer! But before you panic 24 is OK too because my birthday is the 4th it’s good luck and exempt from my weird numbers rule. Until then – AHOY!

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