ANNUALS: D&AD 2012.

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

HOWIES: Anti-Advertising.

  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

TIMEBANK? HELP!

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 tried to find an old beer poster for a presentation. Fortunately, I knew the Art Director’s name: John Knight, the agency name: TBWA and the client name: Bank’s. I googled all the combinations, variants, even trying misspelling some of them. Unfortunately the chaps at Google couldn’t find it. So I trawled through all the old awards annuals, eventually finding it. But what struck me along the way was how under represented an influential figure likeRead more

VERTU: Handle with care.

In 2009, DHM were invited to pitch for something we’d never heard of, Vertu. A luxury phone brand, and when I say luxury I mean luxury, some models were 70k. Ironically, the brief was to “Take the bling out of the brand”. I kid you not, the task was to make these solid gold phones, with diamonds stuck on them, appear less blingy? We looked at their previous advertising, it had tried desperately to justify the price; It takes thousands ofRead more

ANNUALS: D&AD 2004.

In 2004 Nick Bell became President of D&AD, one of his first duties was to choose the designer for the next annual. He chose me, or CDD to be more precise. Back in 2004, the D&AD Annual was one of the few places you could get a concentrated hit of good advertising and design, consequently they were collected. Getting the chance to design one was a great honour. 1st IDEA: If a thought is printed in the D&AD Annual it’s considered out ofRead 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