Monday Musings: “I’m not a cat”, but let’s keep going

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It wasn’t four years ago that a mortified Professor Robert Kelly had his live Zoom interview with the BBC about South Korean politics gatecrashed by both his kids.

Without a care in the world, four-year-old Marion hopped into the scene with her bumble-bee yellow jumper, closely followed by her baby brother James, rolling in with his walking ring, seconds before the professor’s panicked wife burst into the room on all fours and desperately tried to coral them out the room so he could continue with his interview… “South Korea’s policy choices on North Korea have been severely limited…” blah blah blah. Bring back the kids!

The “BBC Dad” went viral – at the time quite possibly because we identified with how easily this could have been us. Thank God it wasn’t *snort*, you may have thought at the time. Hands up if you’ve ever locked yourself in the bathroom for some peace and quiet during a virtual meeting.   

That was before COVID.

Fast forward a few years and a global pandemic. Gatecrashing little angels singing “I like banaaaanas” at the top of their voice have become as ubiquitous in our daily lives as the phrase, “you’re on mute”.

And then this week, after almost a year of epic Zoom fails which have made us all rather blasé about our new normal online – I heard a dog snoring last week on Zoom and didn’t think twice – Texas Attorney Rod Ponton delivered joy in great abundance by categorically declaring he wasn’t a cat.

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“Mr. Ponton, I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings,” said Judge Roy B. Ferguson with admirable solemnity, addressing the 394th Judicial District Court in Texas virtual session.  Ponton’s feline eyes flicked back and forth forlornly, a slight edge of terror in his voice as he realised he may well have to argue his case fur real if his assistant wasn’t able to remove the cat filter that had somehow converted the serious Texan lawyer into an adorable white kitten.

You could choose to see this as a valuable lesson in checking your filters before connecting your video to Zoom. I choose to learn from Ponton’s stoicism. In admirable “show must go on” fashion, Ponton put aside his feline features and offered to get the hearing going regardless, crucially clarifying that he was indeed live and, in fact, not a cat.  

Thank you, Mr. Ponton. Inspired by your example, I’ll pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep going whatever filters 2021 throws at me.

On with the show…

Mindful Musings

But of course, the Memes were out in full force…

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Marketing Musings

Step aside pineapple on pizza, this Valentines week saw two unlikely breakfast bedfellows sharing a bowl.

It started innocently enough: “Brighten up your breakfast with yoghurt, fresh berries and edible flowers #HaveYouHadYourWeetabix”. “Perhaps a spot of Marmite on buttered ‘bix’? #HaveYouHadYourWeetabix”

But, when Weetabix deigned to chuck in some #ItHastoBeHeinz baked beans for brekkie with a twist, the Internet said categorically, “hell no”.

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The US Embassy in London tweeted: “This is not the US-UK collaboration we were hoping for”.

Specsavers responded: “*removes glasses*, *puts on blindfold*”

And, from Tinder UK: “Trust us, this is not a match”, to which cheeky Weetabix said: “We’d swipe right”.

Brands from Krispy Kreme to KFC and Nandos to Virgin Atlantic dived into the social media diatribe. We love it as an example of clever, edgy marketing – the result of reading the mood in the room, provoking a discussion and entertaining your audience. Well done Weetabix! (P.S: I still won’t eat it, with or without baked beans)

7 components of a brand

Did you know, the tone you use when posting and commenting on Facebook, or what shade of red you choose for your logo are not what makes your brand successful. A brand is much more than the sum of its parts and the strategy you put in place for your brand affects all areas of your business over a long time.

Our colleague Babajide Olowookere shares his insights on the topic for our readers.

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What the world was musing over this week

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We love her

Ahhh…. What would Valentines week be without all that warm and fuzzy marketing that reignites your love. Get ready for all the feels and watch as our friends at Londolozi declare their undying love for Africa. We know you love her too.

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And the award for most annoying English accent goes to…

Oh dear! It’s one thing having to listen to a pretend South Efrican accent on a low-budget B movie, quite another to read that our cultivated English talents were voted second-most annoying to listen to amongst women, according to this “global survey”.  No guesses who won the most annoying accent. “Ag Shame”

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Delightful Designs

Step aside Marie Kondo – the neat freaks among us will love the proposition of a perfectly square month. With February starting on Monday and ending on a Sunday, the days of the month form a highly satisfying quadrilateral in whatever calendar you’re using.

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Drive-Time Fun

From Berlin to Belfast, nothing quite like listening to some local tunes when you’re going on a road trip. Now you don’t even have to shift in to first gear. Simply click on this handy Drive and Listen app and you can pretend you’re somewhere other than behind your desk. It’s raining in Lisbon by the way!

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Behaving badly

And then there were our favourite furries that tend to behave better when they’re travelling than most humans we’ve bumped into. We spotted them on the metro, on the train and even on a ferry. True story, I have one of them sleeping next to me right now.

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The big, bad SA Variant

We’re as peeved as our colleague Sue van Winsen about the Afrophobia of the ‘big, bad’ South African variant. Perhaps it’s time, as Sue suggests, to tell the story of South Africa’s incredible scientific community that rallied together and used cutting-edge technology to study the variant, thereby equipping vaccine manufacturers around the world with data to adapt and develop effective booster jabs that went on to save millions of lives?