Being chosen as one of fifty people to pitch an idea for the cover of the D&AD’s 50th Anniversary Annual is great for the ego. What a great list to be on: Terry Gilliam, Sir John Hegarty, Bob Gill, Wim Crouwel, Sir Paul Smith, Phillipe Starck Neville Brody, Dave Droga, etc. AMAZING! Then comes the anxiety. What the hell am I going to do? The results will be very public and I’m up against 49 of the best people in theRead more
Month: December 2013
A year or so into Leagas Delaney, I found myself writer-less, Tim threw me together with another loose end; writer Dave Hieatt. Here are a few of the things we did. In between writing Adidas ads, Dave asked me if I wanted to make some T-Shirts with him. I would be the third partner, aside from Dave, there was a City-boy, business type, (I can’t remember his name only his goal; to own a house with a drive in driveRead more
THIS I KNOW: Agency: AMV/BBDO. Writer: Sean Doyle. Photographer: Nadav Kander. THIS IS WHAT I DON’T: What the hell are they talking about? Or for that matter, what do TimeBank do/sell/make? Can anyone help? Answers on a postcard to P.O. Box …. (I will now pay Google a visit and ask them what they know of these TimeBank people.)Read more
BUDWEISER: Heritage isn’t sacrilege.
This was a very popular ad when I turned up at Bishopsbridge Road. When the client asked for more they were told the cupboard was bare, it was a one-off. New fangled beers were popping up in the more fashionable bars every week, Budweiser needed a campaign to give them a bit of cache. Sean Doyle and I were briefed on a campaign aimed at readers of the Face, Wallpaper and ID, what’s the technical term for them? Fashionistas? Opinion formers?Read more
O’CONNOR DOWSE: A successful ad.
It’s one of the first campaigns I ever made. The agency was Cromer Titterton, my writer was Alastair Wood, the typographer was Andy Dymock and the photographer was Duncan Sim. But the key person involved was the photographer’s assistant, a scruffy, curly-haired Brummie called ‘Malc’. We shot for three weeks to get the three shots above. Malc was treated like a 17th century slave. We shot in the freezing, windy Highlands of Scotland, at the end of the day DuncanRead more
HANDS UP WHO’S HEARD OF: John Fuckin’ Knight?
A few years ago I needed an old beer poster for a presentation. I knew the Art Director’s name – John Knight, so headed to Google – nothing! I then searched the agency name, the year, the writer’s name, the photographer’s name – nope! Desperate, I googled every every miss-spelling I could think of – diddly squat! I eventually found it after trawling through a ton of old awards books. While leafing through all those award winning ads from theRead more
VERTU: Handle with care.
I once pitched for Vertu. I’d never heard of it either, it turned out to be a luxury mobile phone brand. And when I say luxury I mean luxury; some models were £100k. The brief was, and I kid you not, to “Take the bling out of the brand”. Some of these phones were made of solid gold had diamonds stuck on them. We looked at their previous advertising, it had tried desperately to justify the price; ‘thousands of hours…Read more
RULE OF THUMB: The 1 second rule.
Whether it’s about humans, products or a companies, people make judgements first and post rationalise them later. As Oscar Wilde and Head & Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo put it; ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’. To control the impression you make you need to control the elements that go into creating it. Avoid sending out conflicting signals with elements that aren’t aligned, all the element that makes up a company’s personality need to point in the sameRead more
BBC NEWS 24: Safe is sometimes best.
It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when rolling news wasn’t a thing. Whilst at AMV/BBDO, Sean Doyle & I got the brief to explain that not only was rolling news a thing, called BBC News 24, it was a good thing. It occurred to us that 90% of news was unplanned, random acts, terrorism, floods, accidents, things you just couldn’t predict or plan for. It seemed like a good angle; news doesn’t stop happening, so BBCRead more
POSTERSCOPE: Selling empty spaces.
‘‘I’ve just had lunch with someone who used to work at Simons Palmer, I told him he needed some advertising for his company, Posterscope, and you’d do it. You could do something good like that old Mike Shafron ad?’’ – Mark Denton.I remembered the ad well, the ads within it were great. But the more I thought about it the more I had an issue with it – the ideas within it were too good, who can think of ideas as goodRead more
VOLKSWAGEN SHARAN: Wrong and right.
BRIEF: Dads need a break, Volkswagen Sharan’s roomy interior is the perfect for them to enjoy a bit of ‘me time’. The Sharan was essentially a transit van with windows cut out of the side panels and seats welded into the back. A Creative Director’s job isn’t to just oversee the creative work, it’s to be the conduit between the creative and other departments. So, if a brief comes in that you don’t think you can turn into credible creativeRead more
ANTI-SMOKING: Free can be expensive.
Every so often, a newspaper or magazine will call up asking for some ads. These can be anything from ‘If drugs were legalised how would they market themselves?’ to ‘How should banks communicate post 2008?’. Strangely enough, one such brief helped me secure my first job in advertising; ‘How would Vets advertise if it became legal for them to do so?’. (The concepts below ran in Marketing Week, probably helped turn my trial into a job.) (Hang on a minute… ‘HowRead more
AQA: Have a bottom drawer.
As a rule, I like campaigns that can only be used for the client they were written for. Take ‘Compare The Meerkat’, if that client doesn’t buy it you chuck it in the bin. It’s a good test of whether it’s own-able. If you can swap the logos for competitors and it works just as well, generally that’s a bad sign. But, not everyone has something unique to shout about. Sometimes you find yourself on the same brief for differentRead more