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“Don’t blow it all at once.”

This is good advice, but there’s no point giving it.

You watch your mother, their grandmother, give your child £20 for its birthday and you give the advice that you know won’t be heeded. Appreciating the benefit of delayed financial gratification has to be learned the hard way.

“Don’t blow it all at once.”

In my experience this good advice applies as equally to paternity leave as it does to hard cash.

But, once again, it’s good advice that there’s no point giving.

You’re given your extra days off as a lump sum, just like money on your birthday.

When Molly, our first daughter, was born I blew my paternity leave all at once and immediately after her birth.

I spent two weeks basking with my wife in the shared doting afterglow. And, to be honest, I don’t regret that at all and I’d do the same again.

But, from a practical point of view, I was bugger all use. As a newborn, Molly fed and then slept for extended periods. Fed and slept. Fed and slept. She was low maintenance.

It was only a little later, when she became a sentient being, that my extra pair of hands, and my extra pair of nocturnal eyes could be put to good use.

By then of course I’d blown my paternity leave. Spending even more time off work meant spending holiday allocation. It was also frustrating for colleagues who’d coped with an expected fortnight’s absence only, unexpectedly this time, to have to cope again.

We were older and wiser when it came to the subsequent kids. We struck a better balance between shared afterglow doting and hands-on paternal usefulness.

But I’ve never dared to suggest to other first time fathers that they might benefit from our experience.

It’s good advice that there’s no point giving.

I’m starting to feel the same way about social media.

If you are an “advertiser”, it is almost certain that you will enter social spaces with an advertising mindset.

For which read “target audience”, “proposition”, “messages”, “brand idea”, “call to action”, carefully quality controlled “tone of voice” and, yes, “media”.

The very term “social media” invidiously plays to an advertising mindset that is not fit for social purpose.

Branded message in a "medium" with a call to action.

It’s formulaic and sterile. A lot of counter-productive effort has gone into making a human sound like an advertising brand. When actually they should be trying to make the brand sound like a human. They look at the pages of other brands, their peers, and assume that “that” is how it is done. It all looks comfortably on-brand, on-message and in-medium.

Human response to branded stupidity (I mean message).

There is plenty of good advice you can give to new branded entrants to these spaces, but I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s worth giving.

And another. Well you did invite people to "engage" with your call to action Heinz.

Maybe we should just give them their metaphorical £20 and let them blow it all at once. Learn the hard way.

My gosh, these humans are pesky aren't they?

Sooner or later someone at Heinz (and just about every other FMCG brand with a Facebook page) who doesn’t have “marketing” in their job title is going to ask someone who does, “Why are we doing this?”

Maybe that kind of deceptively naive questioning from within will create a market for good advice that might just be worth giving.

 

 

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