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This was presented in June 2012 at the APG's 'Noisy Thinking' evening in London. It was part of a debate on 'Global or Local Planning - Which Would You Rather Do?' with Guy Murphy and Jackie Hughes. The accompanying short teaser is at

Published in: Business, Technology


  1. 1. Research among global/ wandering planners John Shaw, Rapier From the APG s Noisy Thinking event on the topic ofGlobal or Local Planning ‒ Which Would You Rather Do?
  2. 2. 49 planners (mostly heads/CSO) with experience of global planning or working abroad (mostly both) (speaker notes in italics throughout)
  3. 3. Most valuable things about global/ multi-country planning(cultural variation is important: but so are big challenges like scale & complexity)
  4. 4. Dirt authentic and gritty to Western youthold-fashioned and undeveloped in Chile coal dust in the lungs to Australian miners
  5. 5. watch?v=G1latJ7K8zc(This is also a story about dirt…)
  6. 6. (The Sprite campaign was originally developed for a small number of Asian countries including China. It was very successful and eventually ran in over 50 markets.However, the original commercial did not run in China. Its gritty, urban, slightly dirty feel was not considered culturally appropriate and a cleaner version incorporating bright colours, celebrities, and a helicopter was successfully used instead. To many in China at the time, dirt symbolised lack of development. Although some younger urban Chinese understood the reverseaspiration that might come from grit, Sprite is historically strong throughout China, partly because it tastes better than Coke unrefrigerated. Not stuff we knew at first.)
  7. 7. the US team viewed us with fear and suspicion to start with but by the end they were producing brilliant work and drinking as much as the Brits of an evening(when the British travel, we feel it is our mission to persuade citizens of other nations to drink as much as we do)
  8. 8. Discos in Mexico City, Latam parties in NY, F1 in Rio, coffee on the hill looking over the Forbidden City, Grand Hyatt 86th floor restaurantwith Tokyo as backdrop, lying by thepool in Rio...what more could a poor boy from Manchester wish for? (an honest view, possibly shared by more than admitted it)
  9. 9. No one is quite sure where I am or ought to be(I know this feeling. You may not be in control of your schedule but there is a strange freedom in being nowhere to be found.)
  10. 10. Microsoft launch of windows 95. 5countries asked about what they think about the future of computing. Women all worried about the impact on creating a deeper divide between the have and the have nots. Men, excited for possibilities of a more competitive tool that will help them and their children get ahead. (doing global work can make it easier to see what the really big human themes are)
  11. 11. and to think that it all happened withthe planner in SG, the creatives in Lon and the client in Chicago!(to some people this would be a nightmare, not a positive. But it s satisfying when it works.)
  12. 12. Interviewing a young lad in hisMumbai apartment where a mattress was his only real possession other than a Sony digital camera. His pictures were amazing…(global can give access to new experiences like this. Butyou have to fight hard to get into the real world, not just the hamster wheel of airport/office/bar/hotel). My own version of this follows on the next two slides…)
  13. 13. (when I got out for a day in Mumbai, the helpful people at Ogilvy Outreach took me to a chaul , a not strictly legal dwelling that can nevertheless be bought and sold. This one contained three generations in two rooms and from the outside it looked a bit doubtful. But inside I found a kitchen a lot more orderly than my own, and a family working very hard to pay for private education. It was a good reminder that appearances can be deceptive, and of the value of first-hand experience.)
  14. 14. My first day on the global xxxx business, the singapore client asked me to apologize to the entire room because she said I made them feel stupid they did not understand my strategy. That was a pretty unusualstart. From there, I realized a strategy was only as good as the culture that can absorb it. (again more nightmare than joy, but valuable)
  15. 15. Worst things about global/multi-country planning(you d expect the travel, but you d better also be prepared for bureaucracy andpolitics, and for many challenges in getting great work. The work featured morein worst things than among the positives. LCD = lowest common denominator.)
  16. 16. out to watch groups on the Concorde, back that night on the Redeye
  17. 17. Just those huge meetings, inwindowless rooms with cookies the size of your face to break up the boredom.
  18. 18. Way too big meetings. Way too many layers of people. This absurd business of comments; that just encourages people to comment usually negatively. No decisions. A sense that youre notactually developing ads to run out therein the real world but just developing ads for a good meeting. (this was one of the bleaker views, and there s satisfactionwhen those things are overcome. But sometimes it feels like you have at least one hand tied behind your back)
  19. 19. At its worst, working on a multi-country business is like having to host a successful dinner with the Borgias, the Simpsons and the Adams Family as guests. Keeping a coherent conversation and reaching a consensus on anything are only partof the challenge and sources of stress..
  20. 20. Most valuable things about working in a different country(there was quite a variety of response here and some of the themes are big ones; learning, personal growth, a new life)
  21. 21. being much more connected to creative work internationallyan appreciation from first hand of iconic and world class things
  22. 22. The weather, food, feeling liberatedand free from the rules in this country. A feeling that anything is possible. In the UK people talk you out of doingthings unless you are amazing. We area very critical nation. In the US people respect you for having a go, even if youre crap at first.
  23. 23. Probably not what you mean, but:apparently Im a lot nicer in French. Acreative director I only ever spoke to in French, was taking a new job that meant he had to learn English. He asked me to speak to him in English, but quickly asked me to go back toFrench. Apparently Im a softer, more gentle person in French…(so if you re ever getting mad at your French colleagues,remember that they probably sound nicer in French too)
  24. 24. you become part of a tribe of peoplewho get it - they are an open, curioustribe of people. to be an immigrant isa universal mindset, whether youre in advertising or you drive a cab. for most its hard to go back to living in the same way when you go(even if this sounds a bit elitist, for me there s truth in it. You always feel a bit different for having adapted to somewhere else)
  25. 25. Worst things about working in a different country (actually, not that much, from our movers, except someloneliness at times and the need to stick with it for a while.)
  26. 26. living an E.T. kind of life - land in a strange place, get distracted by new things, get marooned, get adopted by kids who dress you up in strange clothes, manage to learn enough language to get by, and eventuallyescape being cut open by the dissectors (I suppose if I d wanted to I could have inserted an imagehere of someone being dissected. But I decided against it)
  27. 27. Being effectively deaf, dumb and illiterate (in China)
  28. 28. I had a very cool pair of retro slacks that I thought made me look hip. I later learnedpeople thought they were incredibly daggy. (Like a good globalist I thought I should look up what daggy means, exactly )
  29. 29. (it s probably the first time the phrase neglected sheep s anal region has been used in an APG talk. See, global means you learn stuff)
  30. 30. It was just a lot more difficult for yourpersonality to come through. It took a long time to be able to use charm, humour, irony or nuance of any description. (I think it s a myth that Americans, for example, don tunderstand irony. But we Brits may not get to use it as much as we love to)
  31. 31. god this is like therapy. forcing everyoneto speak YOUR language when you are the only English speaker present. I know English is the business language, but it puts a strain on building a strong relationship. We work in comms, yet they couldnt always express themselves as fluently as they deserved to. (my plan was for it to feel like therapy, so it worked. But it isindeed embarrassing to see really smart people forced to use English when it rarely works the other way round)
  32. 32. Global is not just about the cultures, it s about the scale. It s big time. But the costs are not just personal(there are compensations) but in howyou work, and often in the work itself
  33. 33. Actually going to live and work abroad is a bigger step It might change your life
  34. 34. But you re curious aren t you? (because you re a planner)
  35. 35. (for my own views, see