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So many are either like shampoo ads (showing the same gleaming visual from different angles over and over again) or beer ads (basically a sponsored joke, probably relating to how stupid a man is or some other pile of sexist, low-rent, unimaginative twaddle).

They used to be so good - from Volkswagen to Rolls-Royce - but now, apart from the odd exception, they're all about as bland as their overall design.

In some respects, that should be good for the smaller car brands, because there's a real chance to stand out. But, no. Instead, so many go for the same bland and boring approach as the big boys, as if they think that, by acting like them, they'll be perceived in the same way as them.

I remember once being kicked out of a Hyundai meeting - and told never to come back - because I dared to suggest they should be positioned as "the Robin Hood of cars".

My basic premise was that the general public thought they were cheap and nasty, and we could change this perception by suggesting they "borrowed" their thinking and technology from the wealthy and well-respected competitors and say this is what allowed them to build a great car at a fraction of the price of brands like Volkswagen, Ford or Toyota.

#Fail. Instead, they ran a campaign that said something like "$15,000 on the road" and cemented their reputation as nothing more than cheap (built) metal.

OK, so I can sort of understand why they would be pissed, but ignoring the "cheap metal" label that had been bestowed on them wasn't going to do any good either.


I've been struggling to decide whether to open up a can of worms on planning and international planning that can never be fully resolved. As with most things in life, it's a case of the dynamic, so putting it down in black and white often leads to intellectual obsolescence quite quickly. But a start must be made and I think a warm-up post on gender equality might be a good way to begin the proceedings.

It's probably just as contentious.

A long time ago, I realised that all the most well-known chefs are male and I couldn't figure out why something so intuitive and creative could be represented mostly by men rather than women. Is this because of men's inherent superiority or some perverse misrepresentation that, when it comes to running a kitchen, women are best and then leave the fellas to the superior execution of creme brulee and blow torches in a restaurant?

I was just ordering some food here in Beijing and had a thought because, a long time ago, I had the good fortune to work in one of the best kitchens in Hollywood, Los Angeles, while on vacation from the marketing degree I was doing. That place was stuffed with guys too.

So I just noticed at Bread Talk (where they do the awesome Crouching Tiger Hidden Bacon) that all the kitchen staff are guys.

And all the service staff are women. I've only just figured this out, so maybe I'm just late to the game, but it has nothing to do with culinary superiority - it doesn't take that much skill to learn a set list of bread products (good as they are) - but it does take something I observed in a kitchen of macho Mexicans. Brute strength is required to cook. I know this because lifting out a tray of chickens from a sizzling oven with boiling hot oil and juice takes not only strength but endurance, doing that and a hundred other demanding tasks each and every day. Maybe the reason for men's dominance in the kitchen and as celebrity chefs is more down to a strength advantage, which makes me think that perhaps we're missing out on some tasty talent out there. What do you think? Am I off on one or does it make sense?

Or are men simply superior?


Imagine three shit-eating, post-preppy, Daddy-via-Harvard-educated dickwads. They vote Republican, play golf at the weekend, walked into golden-hello marketing jobs in Manhattan courtesy of their old-school ties and are vaguely racist ...

You can imagine these people if you need to. Or you can watch them in action in the new Pepsi Max ad.