Marketers should get less hung up about the need for positive thinking and focus more on being open-minded. It means placing more emphasis on life's possibilities rather than probabilities, be', psychologist and performance coach Jamil Qureshi told a breakfast meeting hosted by event agency Pluto.
Positive thinking - which we're all told to do - is "a bit Utopian". By all means avoid negative thinking, Qureshi says, but people should not fool themselves into believing positive thoughts are the panacea for all ills. Positive thinking comes in all shapes and sizes. Take Wonderbra and its famous 'Hello Boys' ads with supermodel Eva Herzigova.
The Wonderbra ads weren't selling lingerie, they were selling confidence. Qureshi points to what he calls "an inner dialogue". He says people 'speak' to themselves at the rate of 80 to 100 words and images a second.
To change opinions, you have to change the words and pictures in heads, so people act differently. With a new business, the entrepreneur must be motivated by what makes things happen and less about what must be avoided. Qureshi worked with Wales football captain and manager Gary Speed. Whenever Speed stepped up to take a penalty, he knew he only had two seconds in the run up to the ball. He wasn't bothered about keeping the ball low, or slotting it into roof of the net. His one thought was in which direction should he go to celebrate after scoring.
As the first psychologist to work with Europe's Ryder Cup team, Qureshi says the world's top golfers keep their egos in check by being absorbed in the sport. A loyalty to themselves and the team, combined with a desire to beat the US, gets them over the line. "Mind you," he joked, "some players have more self-regard than team spirit."
A fireman who Qureshi knew once said to him: "I allow the future to happen... I shape communities." He meant people go on to live who would have otherwise perished and buildings stay upright which otherwise would have been burned to the ground. It's not about what we sell, it's about the value we create. PayPal could never have been invented by a bank. Qureshi says attitude and instinct are more valuable than IQ. Uncertainty and improbability are facts of life. People delete, distort and filter depending on their views. Happiness is about devoting your life to something bigger than you.
* Showing high energy commercials around serious TV dramas should be avoided. A study by the University of Oxford, based on interviews with 900 consumers, found TV viewers watching costume dramas like Downton Abbey, top, find it hard to process ads with upbeat tracks and car chases - resulting in shorter viewing times and lower brand recall.
High energy TV commercials comprise 80pc of ad breaks, but laidback dramas are becoming more popular and account for 40pc of programmes. The report's authors say media buyers should avoid running fast-moving ads around TV dramas where viewers feel sad and relaxed.
Where advertisers are buying bulk airtime and have little advance programme information, a safer bet would be to run less pacey ads.
* Two Irish teams will enter campaigns for Multiple Sclerosis Ireland in the Young Lions competition at the Cannes international creative festival in June. Ogilvy's Robert Cummins and Mickey Chan will submit a media entry called Oh, My MS War Cry. Laura Rice and Paddy O'Mahoney from The Social House will enter a cyber concept entitled Remove a Skill. Young Lions is organised by the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI). IAPI also announces its Doyenne and rising young talent winners this week. Launched last year, Doyenne has its critics. Mind you, it seems odd that as we prepare to vote on gender equality in marriage, adland promotes awards exclusive to women.
* Carat's marketing co-ordinator Vicky Shekleton is leaving the Dentsu Aegis media agency for Communicorp One. Shekleton joined Carat in 2010 as a market research intern from Newstalk where she was a broadcast assistant. Communicorp One is the recently-established sales house for Today FM, TXFM and Newstalk, with Ray McKeon as CEO.
* Agencies pitching for KBC Bank can expect a decision by the end of March. Vying for the business are GroupM's Mindshare, Dentsu Aegis's Vizeum and the incumbent, Core's Mediaworks. Electric Ireland-ESB is expected to choose between Carat, GroupM's MediaCom and the incumbent, Core's MediaVest, next month.
Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: firstname.lastname@example.org