I originally started writing this blog post with the title “When training budgets go large”.
I began with an anecdote about working in ‘Corporate Culture’, and how such corporations always have ridiculous budgets for crazy projects and that they always make their staff attend corporate training events. And my personal experiences of when the to colide.
I was writing this in response to watching two videos produced for a ‘Microsoft UK training event’ by Ricky Gervais an Stephen Merchant as their characters from The Office. Apparently they have been ‘leaked onto Google Video’ (here and here – note the in inverted commas, by the way)
“Isn’t it crazy that they decided to spend their money on this?” I proclaimed. “Wow, Gervais couldn’t have been cheap, either. Ha Ha Ha.”, etc.
It also bought back memories of similar BBC videos (which invariably involve similar celebrities because they have the contacts with the BBC I guess).
But then I stopped and thought about it. Something wasn’t right. This actually didn’t bring anything to a training event – it wasn’t a clever combination of corporate rhetoric mixed with comedy. It was just comedy.
At the end, the video credited a bunch of people and ‘Creative Direction’. I
googled searched ‘Creative Direction Microsoft‘ and discovered that ‘Creative Direction’ is a marketing and PR company.
Sure, maybe this had nothing to do with them, maybe ‘Creative Direction’ was an internal Microsoft department which wouldn’t have a public presence. However Creative Direction is based in Thames Valley (near MS UK HQ) and their front page has Ricky Gervais on it.
Why would a marketing and PR company be producing an internal training video?
Is this a clever public marketing campaign – and if so what was it supposed to achieve? It can’t have been cheap yet I can’t see what it’s trying to sell.
Microsoft, as a company, doesn’t need an awareness push in the UK. And whilst I remembered that MS are about to launch a new version of Office – an ‘a ha’ moment… I then sadly realised that it’s not due out yet and there was nothing, even subtle, to connect these videos to the product.
So by linking to these two videos I am unintentionally pushing some Microsoft product I guess. Well, here goes:
If you know what the product is, or more about these videos, let me know.
Two funny quotes from the video that are particularly apt about the subject matter:
“Residential training events are great because you get a night off from the wife and kids. Or if you work in Software Engineering, a night off from your mum and nan.”
“What I would say to these engineering dweebs: too much thinking makes Jack a mental case. That’s what turned Stephen Hawkins mad.”