A lot of years ago (I have to be sensitive here and not say how many, for fear of offending others mentioned in this story) a young goateed hot-shot was introduced to me as the new Deputy MD of McCormick Intermarco-Farner (Now Publicis) where I was working at the time.  Although we had very little direct contact (and I hate to further inflate his ego), John Ward made an impression on me that has lasted to this day.

At that time I was strugging to find my fit in the wonderful world of advertising agencies.  Sure, I was doing OK, but I lived with the constant nagging feeling that I saw things differently to everybody else.  It wasn’t until John turned up with his irreverence for institutional industry practices and viewpoints that I realised that different is good.

In fact, seeing things differently has become my greatest asset and one of the facets of my professional character that I value most is my natural instinct for de-mystifying the crap that a lot of people in this business seem to worship.  Over my years in the business I have developed a hatred of intellectual clutter.  We are in the communications business. Communications drive society and are what is supposed to elevate mankind above pond-life.  The thing about communications is, the more complicated you make them the less they work.  It is this belief that fuels my disdain for “experts” who construct a fug of mystique around their subject, I assume, in the paranoid conviction that if anybody actually gets to understand their stuff they’ll be out of a job.

From time-to-time I have tried different ways of describing, what I see as my mission to relieve the world (of marketing at least) of intellectual crap.  Then, a couple of weeks ago I happened upon the profile on LinkedIn of an author who in the “specialities” section had entered “Deconstructor of bollocks”!  Perfect!

Yes, the paths of John Ward, author and wit and I have very happily converged again.  Is this fate’ s hand?  I’m not sure, but I have since become an avid reader of John’s daily, tell-it-like-it-is missives.  In fact, today has been particularly trying and were it not for John’s hilarious piece on farting and the chuckle I had over his F11 story this morning I may well have pressed F11 myself (well, actually, it would be more my style to press someone else’s F11).  Don’t get the wrong idea about this bloke.  His expose of Gordon Brown’s drug dependence and the revelation that our PM’s poor eyesight isn’t wholly attributable to the fact that he’s a total wanker, sit alongside a terrific insight into what’s really happening to the relief effort in Haiti, to create a rarely balanced and infinitely sensible view of life.  I wish I had come up with “Deconstructing bollocks”, but more power to your elbow John and more visitors to your “The Slog” and “Not Born Yesterday” communities.

Michael Weaver
January 19, 2010

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