THINGS I’VE GLEANED, Pt 3. 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 ownable.
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 different clients,
sometimes exactly the same brief in a completely different category.

I first had this idea at AMV/BBDO, whilst working on The Economist.
This is why it was right for them; The Economist gives you knowledge > the knowledgeable have less questions > The Economist are making the question mark extinct.

photo 4 (1)

But I could never quite put it over in a way I was happy with.
It always seemed a bit basic, not clever, and as clever was almost a mandatory on The Economist, it felt off brief.

photo 2   photo 1 copyphoto 2 (1)

Cut to a couple of years later, Ask Jeeves came to talk to CDD.
Ask Jeeves was a search engine – type in what you’re looking for and Jeeves will fetch it.
So we post rationalised – Ask Jeeves a question and he answers it? No more question marks.
Jeeves could literally go around killing question marks.

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True, he’d have to run around committing murders left, right and centre, not exactly on brand, but ironically it might make him more likeable, stop him being such an unctuous little twat.
For a start, he could kill on the homepage in a new way every day, Google doodle style.

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He could be seen fleeing the murder scene on posters.
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We got a fancy illustrator to do some fancy roughs for us:
cdd_2
cdd_11cdd_6cdd_10
The Ask Jeeves bods weren’t keen to turn their brand icon into a murderer.
Weirdos.
Then, six months later, the BBC asked for some trailers for BBC Learning.
Learning? That’s knowledge > less questions >less questions means fewer question marks.
Bingo!
“Draw it up!”
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They liked it.
While they were liking it their budget was pulled.
Flip.

Eight months after that, two chaps from a new tech company turn up in Primrose Hill to ask us whether we’d produce some advertising for them in exchange for some equity. (A tiny, weeny little bit of equity.)
(One of them read the last post, hi Paul.)
They were building a website that could answer anything you threw at it within a minute, on average.
“What’s this company going to be called?”
“Any Questions Answered.”
THANK YOU GOD!
Ironically, we tried not to use the question mark idea at first.
We produced a logo and some ads:

Logo;Logo board 1Logo board 3Logo board 4Logo board 5

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The logo was rejected.
Which was a shame, I really liked the idea.
Certainly better than the one I ended up doing.

AQA Logo

The advertising, which we saw as clean, minimal and would jump out from the
clutter of newspapers, was seen as plain, boring and wordy.

Start again.
Endline
This is why it was dead right for them; AQA literally answer questions, that’s all they do, it’s in their name, so they are making the question mark extinct.
Or…killing them.
We delicately removed Jeeves from the executions.
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And then we set about thinking up some new ones.
photo 1

photo 3

photo 2
Now that Jeeves had been ditched we restricted ourselves to only two scenarios; the murder or the disposal of the body/question mark.
This new found freedom was great, for a start they needn’t all be murders, the culprit could be Mother Nature:
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They could also be a bit more esoteric:
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They could be post death set ups:
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We presented them:
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“Don’t get it?”
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“Too violent.” (But it’s a sodding question mark!)
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“Don’t get it?”
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“Don’t get it?”
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“Er…?”
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“Too depressing.” ( But it’s a sodding question mark!)
Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 13.46.03
“Don’t get it?”

But they approved quite a few.

We started with the campaign with the ideas that were easiest to get.

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Then they got a bit cleverer.

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You had to think about them a bit more, but when you got it, it was rewarding. A bit.
Take this one, inspired, or robbed, depending on your point of view, from a scene from a film ‘Kentucky Fried Movie’, where a white man is dropped into Harlem.
Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 13.25.05
Here’s the first rough.
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Client: “What’s with the blood…and RATS? Bit scary.”
(But it’s a sodding question mark!)
Final version. (As you can see, we cleaned up the ghetto.)
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We produced their business cards too, here’s an example.
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We produced a little giveaway booklet…
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which ended up being a book.
(You can still pick one up on Amazon, for 1p, it appears.)

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And finally, a few posters to go into the loos of colleges,
for some reason ignoring the question mark altogether?
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4 thoughts on “THINGS I’VE GLEANED, Pt 3. Have a bottom drawer.

  1. You forgot to scan the card that the client hand drew of a question mark in a pram for our card when Louis was born. Long after he was your client. I have it. You taught me how to horde.

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