Just because we’re bored, doesn’t mean everyone is

A couple of years back I went to the Tower of London one Friday evening. It was after it had shut and all the crowds had gone. It was twilight and very atmospheric.

Walking through the Tower of London at night, with no crowds, is walking through history. You can hear your footsteps echoing off the outer walls the Romans built. You can smell the stone as you walk through the gateway the Normans built. You walk past the tower where Richard III buried the little Princes, and wonder if their bones are still there. You walk where Raleigh must have walked while waiting to die.

For so many people, once they entered under the portcullis they never left. You can feel the sense of dread everywhere.

I was with a small group of people who were there for a ceremony to mark the new monument placed where the chopping block used to stand. This was the chopping block that was used to behead the nobility (commoners were beheaded publicly, nearby on Tower Hill).

As the last of the sun died we stood on the spot where, among others, two Queens and a Saint had been beheaded. The service itself was conducted in the chapel nearby, built by Henry VIII.

Under the ground where we would be standing were the bones of those beheaded (as traitors they weren’t allowed a proper burial or tomb).

The music we were to listen to was songs composed by them, the night before their death. And while we were soaking in all this history and atmosphere, the Beefeater who was leading our little party round spoke to us.

He said, “Are you all watching ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?’ on the telly?”

None of us had a clue what he was talking about.

He continued, “I hope you’re all going to vote for that Naomi, she’s streets ahead of the rest: beautiful girl, lovely voice. That’s who me and my wife are voting for.”

We couldn’t understand why he would interrupt this moment with such trivia. But to him, it was the other way round.

You see everything we were fascinated with was old news to him. He walked around this every day, this was just work. So he wanted to talk about something more interesting.

Like a TV reality show he was looking forward to watching. Because he was bored he automatically assumed we were bored too. What was going on with him must be what was going on with everybody.

That’s the attitude which summarises advertising at present. It’s bored with the process of selling. It’s bored with the products it has to sell. So we assume consumers must be bored too.

So let’s change the subject to something we’re not bored with. Let’s make a big budget extravaganza, or huge stunts instead. Or let’s do something so whacky and zany no one will even understand it. We’re bored with advertising, let’s make entertainment instead.

Look at Gorilla. Gorilla wasn’t about selling, it was just about doing something strange and fun and whacky that made no sense. And that was fantastically successful.

So that must be the brief for everything from now on. The brief must be to avoid looking like we’re selling anything. The brief must be to do something strange and fun and whacky that makes no sense. It could be the new Gorilla luv. Could it?

Or is it just a Beefeater who’s bored with his job, so he’s looking for something more interesting?

  • Adrian Langford


  • http://www.scramitsthefuzz.com Jack Gardner

    Boring is the right thought at the wrong time
    Page 69 WANT

  • Bill Turner

    *cough* drench *cough*

  • http://www.sellsellblog.blogspot.com/ Vic Polkinghorne

    Couldn’t agree more, Dave.
    Most people in advertising today seem to have decided selling the product isn’t ‘cool’ or interesting. The irony is, most of the advertising that they look up to from the past had the start point of selling a product or product point at its core, and the people who made those ads found a way to make it cool or interesting.
    But that’s not as easy as just doing something wacky or stunty,or just entertaining.
    These days most people take the easy way out.

  • http://www.engagingideas.co.uk rob fox

    Is boredom bad?

  • http://www.scramitsthefuzz.com Jack Gardner

    Rob. We think we are being interesting to others when we are being interesting to ourselves.
    Page 45 WANT

  • zikeksvar zikeksvar

    Is boredom bad? -))))))

  • zikeksvar zikeksvar

    Rob. We think we are being interesting to others when we are being interesting to ourselves.

    Page 45 WANT

  • rachel carroll

    ‘Gorrilla’ did make sense when the endline was ’90 seconds of joy’ in the online version. But the TV line changed to the incomprehensible ‘a glass and a half of joy’. If time length was an issue couldn’t the line have become ‘A little bit of joy’. Or even ‘ Little Bits Of Joy from Cadburys Dairy Milk. Maybe it’s just me…

  • James

    Isn’t this a bit too simplistic? Perhaps the Beefeater was just more in touch with public taste than most advertising folk. We do enjoy self-reverence. Look at the figures for Britain’s Got Talent. It’s what the public is interested in.
    I think there are myriad reasons why advertising has become boring, not least because we have far less time to indulge in creative flights of fancy. I wouldn’t base a hypothesis either way on one Beefeater’s judgement but I suspect there’s a lot more to it than mere boredom.

  • rachel carroll

    That Beefeater obviously had no passion for his work. Nor do those whose advertising tries to distract people from the product. When I see such work I know the people involved hate themselves for being in advertising. Not a good look. However I think ‘Gorilla’ did make sense with the original online endline ’90 seconds of joy’. ( Or maybe it’s just me that can eat a bar in 90 seconds.) And could’ve worked on TV with ‘A little bit of joy’. But instead they did ‘A glass and a half of joy’ which makes no sense.

  • rachel carroll

    That Beefeater obviously had no passion for his work. Nor do those whose advertising tries to distract people from the product. When I see such work I know the people involved hate themselves for being in advertising. Not a good look. However I think ‘Gorilla’ did make sense with the original online endline
    ’90 seconds of joy’. ( Or maybe it’s just me that can eat a bar in 90 seconds.) And could’ve worked with ‘A little bit of joy’. But instead they did ‘A glass and a half of joy’ which makes no sense.

  • http://www.scramitsthefuzz.com Jack Gardner

    Talking about Britain’s Got Talent, and 90 seconds of joy, I think once again the Basildon Blogger speaks for us all when he wrote

    Another Basildon dawn
    The hum from the motorway
    A stinking breath yawn
    The trash from the takeaway
    Tesco by the station for more devils spawn

  • http://www.scramitsthefuzz.com Jack Gardner

    I have just had a look on the website and it appears that devils spawn is in fact BB’s name for cider. Don’t want misunderstandings creeping in do we?

  • Kevin Gordon

    Hi Dave,

    Britain has become a homogenised piece of Eurotrash gunk. Just like it was before Bill Grundy interviewed the Sex Pistols and started another revolution.

    Mods with Scooters, Skins with Bad attitude, Headbangers with excessive noise. What have we got now? Terrified Teenagers, cursed with digging trenches fro themselves to answer questions in a politically correct manner to pass exams to survive interviews to get jobs. Stalin. Yes, Josef Insalovich Stalin, once said: Initiative is punishable. Yet we can all see how it has crept into modern day life with horriffic ease. Education is good. Intuition is better. Initiative is great. Teenagers: “Just do it”.

    Damien Hirsts’s Shark in Brine caused a sensation.
    Elvis Presleys hips (the bit they never shot) got the girls fired-up.
    The Who smashed up their guitars.

    What do we have now?

    Latest EEC initiative: There should be handrails in Strawberry patches to stop people from slipping over. My reply to that is unprintable! I’ve got a much more creative idea of what to do with a piece of scaffolding, but that is unprintable too. The control freaks need locking up. Our freedom to be ourselves is being slowly eroded into a homogenized euromilsch unidentity. The only way to freedom for the youth of this country is to express themselves once again in a way only they can do.

    Great Britain is a nation of seafaring pirates, renowned for its vitality in British youth, but their identity is being swallowed up by Euro-integration. Our youth are like a toothless shark. We need to give them their teeth back. It’s time for Mums and Dads to cringe. As you point out, It’s well overdue, and I’m sure ‘out there’ somewhere is someone who will take up the challenge. We just don’t know who it is yet.

  • http://www.scramitsthefuzz.com Jack Gardner
  • Kevin Gordon

    Get this Jack.
    Eurononsense Part 2:
    Chippies now have to wear gloves, ear protectors, and glasses to use a saw. You can just see the new Health & Safery film:-

    Health & Safety Bloke: ‘Oi mate! Watch out for the falling 4×2′
    Chippie: Eh?
    SFX: Whack !!!!!!!!!!!
    Cut to Chippie in hospital bed.

    Eurononsense Part 3:
    Builders must now wear long trousers on site in case they get sun burn.

    Eurononsense Part 4:
    Open air swimming pools must now be closed to swimmers in rain because lifeguards cannot see drowned swimmers at the bottom of the pool.

  • John W.

    Went round there last summer with a Beefeater who was the spit of Will Hay.

  • Kevin Gordon

    Well done John!
    Beefeaters like Willl Hay for Euro MP.
    They need a bit of good old British organization:


  • John W.

    “Spot on”, Kev but maybe it’s more like this:

  • Dave Trott

    My favourite Will Hay line is when he’s a schoolteacher…..

    WH: “Jones you stupid boy, go to the bottom of the class.”

    Jones: “But I am at the bottom of the class sir.”

    WH: “Then go to the top of the class and remember you’re a lap behind.”

  • John W.

    I’m always reminded of those wonderful words of Woodie Guthrie, who said: All about a human being is, it’s a great big hoping machine. I think when you think back to times when things have been more difficult than ours, you know black slaves or when people got the vote for the first time… trade unions being ripped apart and lynched. I think there are the possibilities now of great progress. Fifteen years ago people who talked about global warming were seen as cranks and idiots. So I don’t think anything is inevitable. I think it depends on us making decisions and organizing. I think we have to be massively creative and look for opportunities and work together. If we lose faith on that notion of collective effort I think we are sunk.

  • Kevin Gordon

    Collective effort in a world that thrives on differentiation. Kids on the street demanding respect without working for it. A generation of angry people still to come who will spend their lives financing the elder members of the population and harbouring grudges for the next generation to come.

    These are the social burdens that our children have today. The inability to afford a home to live in due to lack of employment, lack of stable home life. The best way to get a home in the UK now, is to get a girlfriend pregnant and wait for the council to move you in, then buy the home at low cost from the council. This is the reality for millions of young people. this sad existence is their hope, their dream. That’s the reality.

    I hate to keep quoting Stalin, but after the war, he built homes for everyone in Russia so nobody was ever homeless again. That was in 1945.

    64 years later, and the situation has not improved in a country that has had no war on its own territory since 1066.

    Perhaps Global Warming is something that everyone will rally to. Except the French of course, they couldn’t even remember that the Queeen was present at a recent ceremony after our soldiers gave their lives to help free their country for them. Even some of the French were up in arms about it.

    The first step is to get rid of this Eurotrash bureaucratic gravy train of a Euro-parliament and return control to states to self-govern and self-determination.

  • Michael

    Dang it Kevin! “Nation of Pirates”, “No war on its own territory”, “Eurotrash Bureaucratic Gravy Train”, and (my favorite) “except the French of course’!

    Kev, you sound like a friggin Yankee.

    Don’t know if you take that as a compliment or a knock, but next time you are in Boston let me buy you a Sam Adams ale and we’ll toast the perpetual revolution.


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