Top 5 Television Adverts of 2012

So last year I spent some time going through all the adverts I could remember from 2011 and shared my top 5 selections with you. Hmmmm, well I think I started something that would just be totally uncool not to continue, and see how things develop over time. Don’t you think?

As always, 2012 was filled with a mind bogglingly huge selection of commercials to choose from. There was really great ones, okiesh ones, and of course the epic fails that continue to plague us through the year. The Go Compare team still fail to understand the concept of great advertising, and for yet another year we’ve been subjected to hours of some operatic twits warbles in a vain effort to convince us to partake of the offerings from Go Compare.

Compare the Market have milked Aleksander for as much as they can get out of him for a while I think, and while I loved the concept at first, their range and ideas have become rather stale and bland through 2012 in my opinion.

Cilit band continues to torture us with Barry Scott and his ludicrous claims that Cilit Bang is so powerful that it even has a turbo boost , which it advertiseses by parking a jet in a hanger with a couple of shelves of Cilit Bang around it. Turbo Power? I didn’t know jets had turbo’s!!

Of course the list of painful, dull and lifeless adverts is endless. As I have said before, I like to be wowed by a commercial. Made to think or made to chuckle. Keep it fresh, keep it relevant and entertain me. In this way, maybe I am really actually interested in checking out your product or service.

There are some companies that you expect to produce a great advert. Places like British Airways, or John Lewis. Marks and Sparks and some of the big name Corporate Brands. I think John Lewis totally missed the mark with their Christmas advert this year, which was a disappointment, and in a year when so much was going on in the UK, BA really missed an opportunity too. But even though some of the big boys on the block didn’t feature, there are some pure beauties still.

So for this year, these are a selection of the five best adverts in my opinion. I am not sure which one is the best, so there is no specific order to them.

1. E.ON Best Deal Advert

2. Pedigree Denta Stix Advert. This makes me chuckle every time.

3. The BBC 2012 Olympic Coverage Advert

4. Cartier Long Form Advert

5. Matalan Christmas Advert

Compared with last year, it was not easy to choose my top five this year, and that was not because there were too many too choose from. I guess that the lack of money is even hitting advertising budgets ey? So of the five presented, which is the best in your opinion then?


Going back to my Roots.

There come times in life when you need to take stock and evaluate your progress. Very often we are caught up in the daily rush of keeping up with the world, trying to keep our head above water, earn enough money to survive and keep up with bills, keep the bank manager happy, and try stay in touch with one or two of the people that are important to us. I’ve noticed lately that some people are far better at this than others. For whatever reason some of us just seem to be able to focus on the most important things going on around us, while others seem to be able to keep up with their own chaos while attending to half a dozen other peoples issues.

There was a time in my life where I used to thrive on sorting out the problems of everyone else, but I’ve learnt to be honest enough with myself, and accept that by throwing myself into everyone else’s issues I was only putting off my own issues for a while longer, and it was very often the case that when everyone else’s lives were all sorted and everything was hunky dory for them, I was left holding the can with my own life still in bits and pieces. I learnt to be selfish and it’s taken years to get to a situation where I have faith in myself to be strong enough to be able to acknowledge when things need my attention. What good is it to be there to fix everyone else when your falling apart at the seams yourself. You have to be at the right place in life, in the best state of mind and supported by the right people to be most effective at helping others.

Opportunities have presented themselves in Wales, and I sit at a bit of a cross roads. It required me to take a step back and pay close attention to the essentials of starting a business. In business planning is a critical part of making sure that any venture is prepared for any eventuality, and that kind of preparation does not happen overnight. It takes time and effort. I always remember Sam Levy one of the most controversial business men in Zimbabwe telling me that “Failing to Prepare was Preparing to Fail.” I recently was asked by a close friend to prepare some presentations for a seminar on Starting a Business when a member of her staff failed to meet her deadline. I spent a couple of nights putting together some information referring to resources on the internet and my old course notes, and suddenly became aware that so many of the fundamentals of business, those things that are critical for success in business, were things I was not doing. While at the time I was intensely irritated by a certain individuals ability to manage their time effectively, I am thankful that my friend asked me to do the presentations for her, because it took me back to my roots and showed me that there is a proven procedure and course that I should be following.

My mother always tells me that things happen for a reason, and I guess that this is just proof of how good can come out of something that was initially a pain in the neck. It’s true that we so often go charging into situations and forget all the knowledge and foresight that we gained along the way. One of the greatest lessons in life is learn to keep your ideas to yourself. I have watched people walk away with ideas time after time, having pretended to be your friend while quietly lining their nests with information and ideas.  I recall recently finding out that someone I’d discussed something with accidentally telling me in a discussion a few weeks later how they’d discussed my ideas with someone else, only to discover from someone else a few weeks on that the very same idea is now going ahead with help from another avenue. I’d advise anyone with a business idea that is looking to develop the idea to be very careful indeed whom they discuss that idea with. Friendship means nothing when an opportunity presents itself to make money. I’ve seen families rip themselves apart over money and making it. Its remarkable how ruthless someone is willing to become when a substantial amount of money is at in the wings. It’s sad to think that siblings can become so caught up with the idea of money that they would consider someone in their own family could become a potential blood sucker. But we hear of these things happening all the time, so I guess when you’ve climbed over, used and abused everyone and anyone on your way to the top, that you would naturally be rather suspicious of anyone wanting your friendship. Or maybe it’s something else!

Another lesson that I learned is to never trust anyone. Even your own Bank Manager is out to screw you as much as he can. Be thoughtful, aware and observant in business. Be willing to go away and research when you’re unsure. Do not be afraid to stand your ground and don’t be bullied into what you are not willing to commit too. I remember talking with a General Manager at Tesco’s once. I was amazed when he admitted to me that he didn’t trust a single member of his staff. It shocked me that a man in charge of over 400 people didn’t trust a single one of them, including me who worked on his security team. Yet this man had one of the most profitable and successful stores in our region. The reason? He had his fingers in every pie, knew everything about what was happening in his store, had a the memory of an elephant, and when it came to his business, he knew the buck stopped with him and if there was anything you wanted to know about his store, he was in the know. That’s how to run a business man.

I’ve learnt too that to earn respect don’t be afraid to charge what you are worth. Someone that was big enough to challenge me earned my respect told me that work I did for her was valuable to her and cost me time and effort that if I didn’t charge her for she’d not order through me. I was shocked but I learnt a lesson from her. There are no friends in business. We work damn hard to make a living and if you’re not making that living then forget it. I recall discussing starting a business with a friend once. He was considering starting an eBay store. He was talking about selling computer components. In the particular example I use, he told me he could get a certain clip for £6 for 20 of the clips including his post and packaging costs. He then aimed to sell the clips on eBay for £0.50. Considering that there were 20 clips a quick calculation meant he earned £10, a £4 profit. He was enthusiastic that £4 profit when multiplied over a certain number of items would begin to add up, and yes anyone could be forgiven for thinking along these lines. However this is where the wheels begin to fall off in so many business ventures. We fail to plan. We get caught up in the possibilities of profit without considering the route to profit. When you look further beyond the £4 profit, I asked my friend about post and packaging and costs. He stated that the customer would pay for it, but missed my point. I then asked him how long he’d spend putting the information onto eBay and he said about 1/2 an hour. I asked him where the post office was and he said 5 min down the road. Ok, so let’s examine it. 1/2 hour for data entry, internet connection costs, time spent packaging clips, travel to and from post office, plus time spent… Let’s assume that after you’d sold all 20 clips you’d spent maybe 2 hours, not an unbelievable figure. Suddenly £4 profit for 2 hours work. Erm, sorry I’d not get out of bed for £2 per hour. Yes you have to start from somewhere, but your time is valuable and must earn you what your time is worth or don’t bother charging for it and go back to working for a salary.

Yet another lesson is be careful who you lend money too and for what! I remember talking with a friend once. She told me she’d leant money to a member of an organisation we both belonged to for them to attend a meeting for the organisation. I recall thinking to myself at the time how much of an insult it was to ask for money to attend the meeting when the person in question is a full time nurse earning well over ten pounds an hour and working in excess of 40 hours a week. It was even more of an insult when the person in question arrived late to the meeting having taken a detour to another city to collect a friend not part of the organisation, and then when the meeting was concluded to have the cheek to ask for even more money to return. I was discussing with my friend a few weeks ago, and she told me that this person was upset at having been left out of other organisational stuff, but as yet had not even bothered to repay the loan given to him many months before. Is it any wonder he’s been excluded? I ask you. The nerve of some people, yet if I am honest I have done this to people in my past, and it’s not till it’s done to you that you realise how much it hurts. Sometimes returning to your roots reminds you that you’re not so perfect yourself.

Yeah, sometimes going back to your roots is the best thing in the world. I’ve come to realise recently that in order to make an impact I need to rethink my approach and rework my theory. I’ve realigned my priorities and made some difficult decisions. I realised when a friend told me that someone I barely know hates me, that I was trying in vain to please the wrong people. It matters not to me one iota what the woman in question thinks about me, what is of priority is that my efforts are concentrated on productive ventures, and clearly wasting my time with such driftwood is totally pointless. Going back to grassroots level and interacting with people means I am better able to spend my time more productively meeting people that will help me to grow, learn and make a difference in areas I choose to channel my efforts, and one day I’ll smile back at a woman poisoned by hatred and thank her for waking me up to the reality of how futile and pointless my efforts to win her respect were.

Tonight my post has taken a swipe at a few people in particular and I hope as they read it they will feel pride as they recognise themselves. If there is one thing that I hate in life its hypocrites. I’ve always believed that to make a difference don’t be a speaker. Yes we need speakers to get people enthused and encouraged to participate, but true success comes from action, and if you’re not a person of action then please don’t waste my time lying about how much you can do when you’ll eventually prove you can’t deliver. Don’t offer your assistance to me if you know in your heart you have no intention of helping out. Don’t promise a world that is not yours to offer. And if you cannot see beyond the colour of your skin then don’t judge me for the colour of mine. I am a human. Yes I get it wrong, but I’m big enough to admit when I do. I am not perfect, but then again perfection is overrated. I have met so many people recently who have promised us so much and delivered so little. I work with Barbara Nyagomo who can stand next to me and confirm how frustrating it has been to learn that people who lead us to believe were as passionate as ourselves were actually only going through the motions. I know for a fact that she has been hurt, used, taken advantage of and disappointed even more than me. Yet unlike me she perhaps more gracious to give people a second chance and is less inclined to stand up and say listen, if you can’t be honest shut up, I don’t want to hear it. In choosing to go back to my roots, I realise that it is through interaction with people, and getting to know them personally that will enable me to know their heart, understand their feelings, and be in a better position to be able to find the people I need around me to be positive, make progress and change our world. Yes indeed, going back to my roots, learning from ground level is sometimes the best way forward.

Don’t Listen to what Other People Say

Thinking of starting up business? Is your idea a little strange or different from other ideas? The goal to success in business, especially when you think you have a great idea, that will give added value to the customers you serve, is personal drive and commitment. Confidence is a winner, and it distinguishes you from the crowd, so put your chin up, smile and take on the challenge.

Risk can be strange. Human nature is driven by adrenaline, and we are often caught in that effect of chasing the thrill, becoming in a sense addicted to the excitement of getting our blood pumping and enjoying that heart stopping thrill that excites us and gives us such a buzz. In truth people who are addicted to the rush often roam the world seeking that next thrill, be it a rollercoaster of surfing the mighty Zambezi River. I too have experienced this effect, know people that suffer the same affliction, and have watched people chase their dreams. We all have a different outlook on life, and I am often amazed the lengths that some people will go to meet that desire. We put our lives at risk in that strange human way, yet when it comes to something like starting out in business, our heart stops, we get cold and clammy, and run for the hills. We rely on what others think about us, our ideas, and how we look in people’s eyes. This is the strangest part of risk, as very often we choose to turn away from a great idea, procrastinate endlessly, and more often than not the chance of a life time passes us by as risk conjures up a new fear within us.

Why is it then that launching a new venture is such a worry to us? Well assume you’re really good at something. That something occupies a large part of your free time, and you are frequently searching to expand your knowledge, or improve your skill in this area. It is only natural then to assume that taking a leap from something you enjoy doing to something you do for a job, it would be natural to assume that if you chose what you enjoy and are good at as a business venture, you are on the right road. Naturally there are many things to learn about operating a business, but why waist an opportunity to take something your good at and use it to grow? Leave the confusing stuff to other people that can do it for you on your behalf. Accountants, service support, bank managers, they are all there to lend you a hand.

Secondly you need to close your ears to what other people are saying. Take no heed of their opinion, stay away from doubt and pesimisim. Remain positive. We are far to prone to accept negative advice and think things through too much. If this was true in life, you’d never buy a car, never own a home, never leave the house for fear of an accident. Every day you live you take risks, and starting out in business is no different. You will learn daily and in no time at all, you’ll be surprised at what you have accomplished and what can be done.

There is a very British program on television that inspires me every year when it comes on. Britain’s Got Talent is often described as a hallmark of British Talent and the home of people who are slightly nutty. Yes we get a lot of laughs out of some very strange people, and quite often cringe at the alarming things people call talent, but let’s just stop for one second and look at three people who I regard as inspirational people. The first and probably my favourite success story of BGT is that of George Sampson. When we first met George he was a shy little 13 year old who danced on the streets of Manchester and believed he had a shot at winning with his moves. I remember being devastated when I watched him get sent home that first year. But did he listen to what everyone said? George went away, worked hard, came back and won the heart of a nation, and very possibly the respect of a world.

George went on to win. Deservedly so. He had a belief in himself, was doing what he enjoyed in life, knew he was good, had a chance and NEVER gave up. I respect him for that, and admire his courage and skill. My next example would be Stavros Flattley. What a duo they turned out to be. I remember the day they first came on the stage wondering what disaster this would be, and how wrong I was. A father and son who loved each other enough to go out there and just have a great time, even though in reality they were crap shows us how incredibly infectious enjoyment can be. If people around you know that you enjoy what you’re doing they feed off your energy. Don’t do something because your forced to do it! Do it because you love it.

My last example is one that comes from close to home. Paul Potts, lives in the next town over from me in South Wales. I use the example of Paul as I am not a very big fan of Susan Boyle, but she is just as successful now as a result of her belief in herself. Paul’s wife was the one who downloaded the entry form and gave it to Paul to enter. She was sick of hearing him serenade the mirror in the bathroom and knew he had talent. For once in his lifetime he listened to her, even though he still had to flip a coin to eventually make the decision to post the entry form. And today? As a result of his belief, and the fact that he listened to those around him who believed and supported him, he has become a household name. You talk to people in America about Craig David and they have to ask who he is, but mention Paul Potts and he is instantly recognised as that guy with an awesome voice who sang for the queen.

If you can dream it, you can do it. Everyone looked at Susan Boyle and jumped to the conclusion that she would not be successful. They were dead wrong. If people look at your idea and doubt you or doubt that you can be successful in a down economy, they’re wrong. You are your success. Grab the opportunity by the horns, drive your success and take control of your life.

Watch this video and be inspired.