AMERICAN AIRLINES: Hey, you never know?

  ‘Wanna do some 48 sheets? They’ll probably get rejected?’ Who could turn down an offer like that? 100% honest and also throwing down a challenge. BMP/DDB used to adapt American Airlines work dreamt up in the States,  simply making their ideas fit our quirky British poster sizes. But the feeling in the agency, was that we should at least offer to do creative work occasionally, if only to justify the fees. So here was one such offer, who knows it mightRead more

TURNING STORIES INTO ADS: Panorama.

  THE PROBLEM: Panorama’s audience was shrinking. We knew where to find a potential audience; The Guardian, Times and Telegraph. But how do we approach ads for one of the BBC’s most respected programmes? PANORAMA’S PERCEPTION: Serious, straight talking and truth-seeking. ADVERTISING’S PERCEPTION: Bullshitting, tricking and spinning. We couldn’t do anything about advertising getting itself a bad name over the last century, but we could avoid looking like we’re in that gang. Ads tend to look like ads; a small logo bottomRead more

LOOT: Scruffy product = scruffy ad.

Capture or create a brand’s personality? When you’re producing a new campaign they’re your options. Although it’s not always possible, I prefer using what’s there, either physically or perception to fabricating something. Your work has more chance of resonating with the public if it feels to authentic, to feel authentic to them it needs to tally with their views of the brand. E.g. If your bank, for so long the sensible, staid pressence in your life starts talking like aRead more

THE ECONOMIST: Venn diagrams.

The Economist was an open brief at AMV.  It meant that everyone in the creative department worked lunch hours, weekends and in downtime on posters for The Economist. This had been going on for about ten years. I turned up as Creative Director on the account, about ten years into the ‘Red Campaign’. I’d estimate that on average I’d approve one out of every fifteen ads I was shown. We’d need a campaign of ten posters to run every threeRead more

NIKE: There is no finishing deadline.

Simons Palmer was the home of the Nike poster, they produced endless great posters which produced endless awards. So getting a brief for one, even a little 6 sheet for the Rugby World Cup, was like getting a ticket to the ball. When I first got there I was handed this approved line written by my shiny new writer Mark Goodwin. I didn’t really get it to be honest, I’m still not sure whether I’m missing something? But I toiledRead more

TURNING STORIES INTO ADS: The Guardian.

Newspapers deal in stories, they have to find them and write them up every day. If they find good ones their sales increase. So when agencies try selling them brand campaigns, they tend to think it’s a lot of namby pamby nonsense. Instead they prefer their marketing to be based on specific content. That could be anything from a scoop to a serialisation of an autobiography. The problem is that the stories are rarely on brand, they are often theRead more

THE ECONOMIST: Idea generator.

Not long after setting up DHM, we got a call from Media Guru and all round clever clogs Mark Palmer, he asked whether I could help The Economist out with a presentation. Of course I could, they’re The Economist. Essentially, I put together a fancy looking PowerPoint presentation for them to take around the world. Titled ‘The Ideas People’, it set out the argument that The Economist wasn’t a dry, factual business publication, it was stimulus for creative minds toRead more

IPA POSTERS: Investment opportunity.

It’s tough for newbie creatives to get noticed. If you aren’t in an agency that produces good work it’s hard to produce good work. If you don’t produce good work it’s hard to get a job in an agency that does. One of the ways around this is to find a client that will accept good. Up and coming copywriters Mike McKenna and Alastair Wood spotted one of these opportunities back in the late eighties; The IPA Society, they heldRead more

MERRY DOWN: Year 1.

“We have a bit of an image problem with Merrydown, its main constituency appears to be students and street tramps.” Chris Carr, Merrydown Chairman. These were the only Merrydown ads we could remember seeing. (Written by Chris Wilkins.)Six sheets and fly posters were booked, so posh, long copy ads like those were out. The creative department came up with various routes, some good, some less so. Who’d have time to look at a picture, read the explanation below, then check out whoRead more

TURNING STORIES INTO ADS: G.Q.

Something struck me upon finding this little batch of GQ ads; What magazines would run 48 sheet posters today, just to promote the August issue?My writer, Tony Barry and I had three stories to turn into posters. a) 101 things to do before you’re 30. b) Foreign women reveal all about British lovers. c) Mick Jagger at 50. It’s easy to see why these two were rejected, it’s never good business to start ‘outing’ Royals and pop stars. This was theRead more