Social Marketing Gods

Happy Valentines… my love is like a Red Red Rose……

I’m a hopeless romantic. I’m hopeless at being romantic. It seems like I ain’t alone here. We’ve done a bit of a straw poll (okay, we asked all the punters in the studio here) and it appears that NOBODY actually likes Valentine’s Day. So, how come, in the face of this overwhelming abhorrence of this crass commercialisation and over-inflation of all things ‘D’Amour’, do we continually get erm…sucked-into it, every bloody year? Love isn’t just blind, it appears to be terminally stupid.

Personally, I thought ‘Valentine’s’ was a ‘Day’ invented by some red-braces-wearing, enterprising, PR person back in 1980’s London, while he was waiting the three days for his mobile phone to charge up. A bit like ‘National Sausage Week’, ‘Hug An Asylum-Seeker Tuesday’ or whatever else they dreamed-up, to gain what used to be called ‘column inches’, when we had things called ‘newspapers’.

But no! Our in-house romance research team (wackypeedia) has told us that Valentine’s Day has been kicking-about since Roman times and really got rolling about 300 years ago! For instance, in Victorian times, some lovers (mugs) regularly shelled-out around £10 for an elaborately-created and hand-crafted Valentine’s Card. £10? Way back then? Sheesh, those Victorian geezers had money to burn! No wonder Fagin and his boys had such rich pickings.

Sadly, jumping forward a Century, no-one has got any the wiser. It’s the lambs-to-the-slaughter, submissive attitude that everyone adopts that pisses me off. People just accept it. They don’t rebel, they slavishly comply.  It’s not fun. Is there anything LESS romantic that filling the coffers of your local Trattoria on the day in question, surrounded by loads of other people TRYING to be romantic? In any given restaurant on this, the unsexiest of days, 50% (depending on who wears the trousers in the relationship) would definitely rather be somewhere else altogether. A root-canal dentist, Ikea on a Bank Holiday, a Glasgow prison shower block…anywhere.

It’s just SO forced and if you force someone to love, it’s usually immoral, Illegal or never really works out and they steal half your house off you. There’s the flowers, anything in pink, heart-shaped-everything, the fucking appalling Valentine’s albums that re-issue some of the most heinous crimes against music to poison the minds of a whole new generation. It’s just NOT romantic, it’s definitely not sexy. Some bloke with a frigging acoustic guitar, singing a ‘love’ song in you lughole, that’s usually actually about unrequited love, someone dying on a cruise ship or a stalker anyway.

After all, if you were REALLY in love on this special day, the last thing you’d be doing would be sitting in a crap restaurant eating ‘themed’ food and drinking horrible pink ‘champagne-esque’ rot-gut, eating oysters and trying to pretend it’s not like licking cold spittle off a tortoise.

You’d actually be at it like knives, writhing-about in unbridled ecstasy in the comfort of a mystery Travelodge or atop a mound of empty cans and bottles and un-ironed ironing, in a squalid flat, which you’ve not tidied-up because you’ve been shagging for an entire week.

You’d maybe walk, John-Wayne style, through to the kitchen for more ice cubes or to the loo for more Vaseline but planning a hugely overpriced Chauteaubriand ‘a deaux’ alongside dozens of other embarrassed and sad buggers, to the background music of a constantly printing chip and pin machine? I don’t think so.

I say, rise up and declare war on those forcing a love day on you! Love is free! Love is eternal! It’s not just for February. The only beneficiaries for the un-sexiest day of the year are florists, teddy fucking bear shops, restaurant owners and petrol station supermarkets, who save the bacon of the real last minute-Larries by offering sweatmeats and floral face savers.

This year, don’t take part….just tell everyone you’ve got a fucking terrible headache.

Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together forrrrr…Aleks Bochniak!

As he’s half-Polish, it’s a bit disturbing for our new Digital Strategist, Aleks Bochniak to be describing Glasgow as a ‘frozen wasteland’! However, as he’s also half Australian, it’s probably a bit understandable. It’s minus EIGHT in City Centre Glasgow today, so Pret a Manger porridge was an absolute must to kick start the day. We live in a beautiful, heritage building, which unfortunately comes with beautiful, heritage, single-glazed windows and beautiful tiles and marble corridors ….brrrr…

However, when everyone eventually arrived in here, courtesy of Scotrail or First or whatever they are called now (Tom and some disgruntled commuters had to resort to commandeering the ‘cage’ wagon, usually used by the post and the guards, to get on a train!) a warm welcome was supplied. Well, a rather chilly welcome but you know what we mean.

Sadly, there’s still lots of chat in the studio on how is it that in Germany and France and even Italy, the transport system manages to function in Alpine weather? We ALWAYS seem to struggle…Never mind, we’re beginning to repeat ourselves here.

So, in spite of the weather, a tropically warm welcome to Dunning – Aleks Bochniak-Digital Strategist!

There will be much more on this later and you’ll be able to see Aleks’ very obvious effects on all our work, including this blog and website!

Creating Sparks in 2010

Well chaps, that’s us closing the doors on December 23rd, for them to re-open, in a shiny new decade, on January 5th 2010. It’s been a very ‘interesting’ year for us, culminating in Claire Dunning being appointed to the International Board of Trustees for the Charted Institute of Marketing. Further to this, Julian Westaby has been appointed to the Board of Skillset Scotland. It’s clear we’ve got talent, experience and now, a nice little bit of Kudos to start a New Year with!

We’ve also secured a fantastic new member of the team Aleks Bochniak, who starts with us on January 7th. He’s a digital strategist par excellence and will be hitting the ground running as we’ve ALREADY got a number of major new projects in the pipeline. We’re also looking to meet with other talented and interesting people who could add to our ‘360 degree’ offer.

It’s going to be very exciting in 2010 but we’re quite honestly needing a wee break and as some of the Champagne offers in the supermarket are almost too good to be true, we’ll be be ‘creating sparkling’ for the next week or so.

A very merry Christmas and Guid New Year to you and yours, when ‘the bells’ arrive.