Who's blogging like it's 2005. Hello Dan.
Someone's been having some fun at Gail's Bakery. These simple, fun posters have started appearing in their shops this year. I like them. There's nothing too clever, no laboured ideas, just a playful bit of graphic design. You can still read it and it's (mostly) black and white. Lovely.
Keep going anonymous designer!
He leaned out of the upstairs window and shouted, "She's gone!". I should probably write that as "SHE'S GOOONNNEE!!!" because that's more like how it sounded.
Talking of innovation, here's the first innovation in waste disposal since the wheelie bin. Massive see through public bins so you can see how full they are and, more importantly, you can see whether they're for cardboard or plastic.
This also highlights the failure of the graphics. Don't get me started about the inconsistency of bin colour coding. Green meaning normal waste, garden waste or recycling depending which local authority you live in. Don't get me started on that because that's another blog post.
Good article in The Guardian, why free-kick vanishing spray is football’s great modern invention.
Cycled to Cambridge the other day. On the outskirts of the city, as part of a science park, they have a shared cycle path called Francis Crick Avenue.
The internet says, "The path is decorated with 10,257 colourful stripes which represent the four nucleotides of the BRCA2 gene. BRCA2 (Breast Cancer Type 2 susceptibility protein) was discovered at the Sanger Institute by Prof. Michael Stratton and Dr Richard Wooster in 1995. Each end of the path is marked by a sculpture of the DNA double helix magnified 750,000,000 times."
It's a nice path and a nice idea.
Worth remembering: more people than Crick discovered the first model of DNA, notably Rosalind Franklin.
Red, blue, green.
I've had two fully electric cars for 5 years now and I've noticed lots and lots new and evolving behaviour. But I haven't documented it because I'm not as smart as Russell. Or as good at blogging.
Both happen to concern government.
1. Biden highlights the hypocritical Fox anti-vaxxers.
I don't now how to embed videos anymore so I'm showing a screen grab and linking to the original tweet here.
In the video Biden is speaking at the White House Correspondents Dinner (wikipedia entry), a fancy annual dinner they have at the White House for the journalists that cover politics. The clue was in the name. It's become famous for jokes. Successive Presidents have used it to poke fun at the journalists and show a humorous side. There's a guest comedian who mocks the audience relentlessly. A jolly time is had by all.
Occasionally Presidents miss it. Truman missed it because of the start of WW2. Reagan missed it because he'd just been shot, although he did telephone in a joke about the assassination attempt. Donald Trump missed it three years running saying it was, "so boring, and so negative".
In the video clip above Biden says, "I know there are questions about whether we should gather here tonight because of COVID. Well, we’re here to show the country that we’re getting through this pandemic. Plus, everyone had to prove they were fully vaccinated and boosted.
So, if you’re at home watching this and you’re wondering how to do that, just contact your favourite Fox News reporter. They’re all here, vaccinated and boosted — all of them."
This is notable because some on Fox News have been questioning the requirement for vaccines and have given airtime to anti-vaxxers. In one short and funny paragraph Biden highlights the hypocritical stance of some on the channel.
It's a skilful rebuttal of misinformation. Elegant, funny and unarguable. Nicely done.
2. Why 'other' is failure of rigour.
In this thread Damian McBride, ex Gordon Brown special advisor and not without controversy, explains how a government comms grid works. I'll copy the text in full below. The original tweet is here.
"Harry’s thread here is catnip for those of us who like to monitor the evolution of the grid under different governments, and this latest development is obviously a reflection of the fact that the current team around Johnson are now in permanent campaign mode. However....(1/5)"
It’s important to remember that one of the most important functions of the grid is to force every bit of government to tell you what they’re planning on doing, on the basis that if they haven’t told you and it isn’t in the grid, then in theory, they’re not allowed to do it. (2/5)
This latest iteration of the grid is doing something slightly different. It’s saying to departments: if what you’re doing doesn’t fit into one of these five categories, then it won’t be part of our news agenda and you’re not allowed to go out into the media announcing it. (3/5)
But here’s the problem. That doesn’t mean those things won’t happen. The wheels of government still have to turn. They’ll just be done quietly, without press releases or media attention, until that is, one of them causes a big political problem and all hell breaks loose. (4/5)
At which point, No10 will say: why did no-one tell us this was happening, why wasn’t it cleared with us? And the answer will be: cos you got rid of the one process specifically designed to ensure you don’t get blind-sided. At which point they’ll add a sixth category: OTHER. (5/5)"
This demonstrates why 'other' is a failure of rigour. It demonstrates the link between comms and strategy. It's the perfect illustration of why it's not 'just comms'. I've been lucky enough to work with people who have the discipline to not let a category of 'other' slip through. Always hard to explain at the time, always worth it in the end.
It doesn't. NATO is an acronym for North Atlantic Treaty Organization. OTAN is an acronym for the French translation of that - Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord.
If you are able to please consider donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee to help the people of Ukraine. The DEC pools the resources of 15 leading UK humanitarian relief charities to raise funds quickly for overseas disasters and get aid to the people who need it. This article explains why it's important to donate money rather than supplies, and to give to reputable charities.
I think about this all the time. How ridiculous it looks in real life. How great it would have sounded in the meetings, in the powerpoint. How barely anyone would have noticed in the stadium (it's after the warm up when people are still arriving at the stadium) but then how this tweet blew up and did some numbers. Marketing eh?
Although pitching can be a brutal process that leaves you feeling like you've given something valuable away, this headline in Campaign is one for the comedy section of the end of year presentations. This is talking about a pitch to win the work promoting organ donation but what a terrible piece of writing.