Now please don’t get me wrong; there are many great creatives walking this planet.  Granted, most of them strutting around Hollywood. We still have some stunning creatives in certain Advertising Agencies and although rare these days, sometimes some of the output is allowed to fly. However, most is not and like such a lot of media it is  ‘take the money and run – do whatever the client comes up with.  So many in agencies are really just in a job which they hold no qualifications for, because the industry is seen as ‘easy money’ and those running the show don’t see creativity as having any qualifications needed. Worse still, account executives now calling themselves ‘Account Directors’ are not only getting in the sales and servicing the client, but writing the scripts and even directing the friggin production. (Well, deluded that is what they think they are doing). Quite possibly worse than that in most cases would be the company not hiring an agency at all and someone put up as Marketing Manager doing the whole shebang.  Oh yes, have you ever been to Bahrain?

As I work this morning on trimming the ABAMA jingles which you might hear on Dubai Eye soon (Second run as far as I know), a wad of paper was thrust in front of me which contained 5 different scripts emailed in from various marketing departments of the related companies.  The batch consists of 3 English, 1 Arabic and 1 Hindi. Two of these incredulous ‘Shitspeare’ scripts are for high end fashion outlets, the other three are for Zain promotions.    Each script begins;  ‘ENJOY UP TO 75% OFF…  or ‘ENJOY SHOPPING NOW AT…   or “ENJOY UNLIMITED CALLS BETWEEN 12 and 6…  and so on.   If it is not ‘ENJOY”, then the script generally begins with ‘EXPERIENCE….. blah blah blah.”

Next comes the argument as I give short very sharp shrift condemning this crap, which is followed by more adamant client instructions; ‘But you have to use this because Marketing are using the same on the billboards or in the magazine”    Like the PRONOUN VIRUS, it never ends and it drives you mad and has absolutely not a gram integrity with the listener or viewer for that matter. Written elsewhere on this blog and others; all over the world we have been bombarded and anesthetized with this constant babble with the “ENJOY OUR LATEST LIFE WE ARE GIVING YOU FROM OUR EXPERTS WHO UNDERSTAND YOUR NEEDS” and “WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITHOUT US”.

Have you heard this HSBC drivel on all channels now.  It started on National Geographic, now I hear it spreading and recently it seems to be getting a sizable airing on SKY NEWS.  The voice over sounds like my late mum (as she is now) and is probably one of the sweetest ladies on the planet, but as a voice over darling, you make a good fishmonger.  The ad is not so bad concept wise, but suddenly we break into all this “WE UNDERSTAND YOUR NEEDS” dung hill. I’d take a guess, but I bet the copywriter is one of three categories:  a) A first or second generation Asian immigrant working for the Ad Agency  b) An upstart young Essex gal with ants in her pants, know it all, go ahead working in the marketing department. c) The marketing manager him or herself who ordered the campaign, supplying the minutes of the meeting to the Ad Agency and instructing; ‘This is what we want to portray’.

Ashwith Fernandes, (Ash the Smash) now her of Marketing Manager status  for Samsung Canada is a sweet girl quite dedicated and for sure very capable.  I just wonder now what sort of copy she is putting out for this company having had me bend her ears for so many years while she was at the Dusit Hotel in Dubai. Secretly, I think she thinks I am a bit of an A-HOLE of the first order but she is too decent to tell me. However, one day I was ranting about the Pronoun Virus and these pretentious and deluded advertising agency wallowers who claim to be copywriters, churning out the same old, same old absolute dirge.  2CT’s as we call them (Two C**ts Talking) or outrageous, condescending and  patronizing screed full of WE – US -OUR.  Ashwith politely says; “But Geg, not everyone agrees with you’.  Well I rest my case.  A stunning revelation!  Of course the culprits would not agree and continue their sales talk full of white wash. Ask normal everyday people and at first they go with the flow, not concerned, but then suddenly the penny drops and most wholly agree with you, deciding that it is stupid in the first place.

So today I speak of here of concern for my own company’s reputation (or me for that matter as I am the producer)  as far as standards of output and the correlation between that which the public listening or seeing perceive and what is not actually done here, rather forced on us.   Take Zain Saudi for example. This is good, the many systems we do from here and although most of you probably only ever get a welcome message, busy or main menu, there are thousands and thousands of deep system prompts which all sound as if they came from the same womb.  Within our trade, people know that my team and I do this. The systems are all loud and clear compared to anything else you will hear for thousands and thousands of miles,  or should be, unless some carefree technician has messed with them.  The content is precise without yuckspeak or condescending language and no Pronouns.  Go anywhere in the world and you will not find better. Rare stuff.

The reason we insist on a contract is to literally establish a standardized output, which means across all systems. Well Zain Saudi got very impatient and bit off more than they could chew just before Haj in 2008 and implemented an Urdu system running side by side with the ADmaze Media Wll stuff.  It is of course well inferior and if a potential client is listening (and all our work comes from recommendation or samples) they will hear good and suddenly aaaah!  So the first reaction would be; ‘Oh for a minute there, we were going to enquire as to who did this, but suddenly it went very bad so no consistency’.  It is all perception!  I love my mates and colleagues in Zain and they are good guys, good at their jobs, but they couldn’t give a monkey’s stuff about something they cannot see or touch or my concerns in that respect.

I am not actually sure this is all about ‘me’, as I think it is more about my ability than my person, so let’s branch off subject a bit and let me see your future right this minute.  From the stats, I can tell that many log on to this blog and will not doubt read this post. I mean read like this far,  as you are now. Many will enjoy and be at peace and empathize or whatever, but some of you will be having a brain quake now as the hate fluid builds in your cranium, but oddly,  even you don’t know why.

My aura must be terrible for some and such a lot has been written and said about me and still I leave a scar or a legacy among those that are familiar with the name and I don’t have to be there. The ‘I hate Geg Hopkins brigade’ who gave rise to my sort of success I suppose.   The expression; ‘You come into my space’ has been slammed at me a few times by those intimidated, but at least honest with themselves.  If I can do that through a radio, then perhaps the person listening should be looking much closer at one’s self.

As some of my ‘REVELATIONS’  to come will; um, er; reveal, I really am not quite like anyone else that I have ever met or heard about and first impressions are rarely favourable. Some label me eccentric, but I’m not intelligent enough for that league. I have become accustomed to it now and unlike an actor’s ego, or DJ’s deluded big fish bravado, you really cannot put me in any labeled box. It is a funny old thing which I have had to live with and been utterly confused by, because I really am not a nasty or bad person, but somehow I create such strong reactions of absolute love or hate and always have.    It is not delusions of grandeur, as I have no desire to be rich or famous, or I might have taken up acting as a career, plus I’m not fully left handed. I just know I am somewhat of an oddball and one of a kind as there are many one of kinds out there and perhaps it is a madness within, so maybe this is why I remain on the outside of everything. There is nothing extrovert about me either as I like the light off!   I’ll will get on the radio or TV in front of millions, no problem, even if it does make me look fat.

To top all that joyous assessment, amazingly, the so-called elite find me to be particularly good at radio in all aspects which includes production of commercial material and programming. It is not -not believing in myself either or the lovely and often frequent glowing compliments I receive about my work, as those are unrelated, but still a lot DO NOT seem to like me around them! I remember once chatting to a really good bloke who I call a friend although we were not socially linked.  A German by the name of Siggy (called Ziggy) who was the Sales Director of the Gulf Hotel in Bahrain, moving to Dubai to Jumeirah Beach or some hotel near and might still be there.  It was a particularly bad day in the press with lot of vicious, made up letters in response to yet more sensational media hate of me. I grabbed a cup of coffee in Ziggy’s office and I asked; ‘Why do people, even ones I don’t know, never met, react this way about me?’ He said; ‘Because they wish they were like you’. I’d never thought of it that way before.

Of the few decision makers that have crossed over and get to know me; as far as I can tell, most invariably find me to be  almost ‘normal’ and some say even charming, but by the time they assess all of this, it is often too late.  If I get past the initial solid barrier friends say I am dangerously helpful to others at my expense and detriment, generally funny in the everyday sense and a few grams of wit, along with a lunch box to die for. (Ok so the last bit is an exaggeration and it is more like a pill box).

Actually, I used to think it was because I am not Politically Correct in anyway shape or form? I apparently say it like it is and this upsets so many as they feel I should be more respectful, more luvvie and I am sure some feel the world would be a better place if I just shut the hell up and died! Whatever, I don’t really care and I am too ancient and near heaven to change now.  The funny thing is, nobody calls me a dinosaur despite my old seat of the ass radio appeal. I even like the new house and techno music scene, some of which I often produce in my own studio when I get time. So am I so out of touch and radio is really the ‘monkey see – monkey do’ pap we have now?

The last word;  A splendid chap by the name of Graham Nugent of ABAMI, Dubai thinks I am akin to ‘The Spectator’ low-life. Maybe I should go for ‘Life Coaching’ and follow his scripts to the book.  By the way, they are his scripts, not mine, I only did the music jingle. Tally Ho!


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