SELLING BREAD FROM A BIKE. Mike Everett.

FINALLY, A POST ABOUT AN AD THAT’S CAN BE SEEN TV TODAY. CHAPTER 2 OF MIKE EVERETT’S BOOK ON ADVERTISING. The famous Hovis ‘Bike Ride’ commercial was relatively easy  to write. But, boy, did it take perseverance to find somewhere to film it. In order to understand why the famous Hovis campaign was created it is necessary to return to the dark days of the early seventies. This was a time when Britain was in a mess. Its slow post-warRead more

The Wall Street Journal’s CREATIVE LEADERS SERIES.

The haircuts have dated. The clothing looks dated. The puns feel very dated. The page layouts look dated. The screen treatment of the photographs look dated. But a lot of the thinking, not so much. As Bill Bernbach said “It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop. It will take millions more for them to even vary. It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive toRead more

THE BENEFITS OF LONG-TERM BAND CAMPAIGNS.

Played at 78rpm, one side of a 12’’ shellac disc could play up to five minutes of music. In 1948, Columbia Records came up with an alternative; a PVC disc with finer grooves that, played at 33rpm, could play up to 22 minutes a side. It not only changed the way we listen to music, it change the music we listened to. First, these ‘Long Players’ were seen as ideal for theatre musicals and film soundtracks. Consequently, one group dominatedRead more

PODCAST: Adrian Holmes.

One of the nice things about doing these interviews is getting to know people who you’ve only previously knew though their work. So, when I write one of these intros I try to reflect on what I’ve learnt about the interviewee, to capture the characteristics that have helped them create such great work and succeed in such a competitive business. But as different as they all are, they all share the same characteristic; They care. When they commit, they’re allRead more

GREEN BOOKS: New Yorker Ads 1.

‘‘Alright fatty, what you after?” How do you react? I’m guessing it would taint your opinion of that particular bookshop, making you less inclined to buy. Nobody likes being disrespected or patronised. What about if that bookshop owner had said “Oh, just to let you know; the new Proust collection is just in”. Sure, you’d look behind you to check that they were talking to you, but you couldn’t help but be pleased that they’d presumed you were intelligent. ItRead more

PODCAST: Evan Stark.

Artificial Intelligence is going to change the world. Cross-referencing mountains of data, learning, opinion and statistics from the whole history of mankind. In terms of advertising, it’ll be very useful. It could offer up the insight that adults try to look youthful. Or that some people do this by dressing inappropriately.  But it’ll never offer up a sentence as succinct and memorable as ‘A woman of 40 will never look 30 by dressing like 20’. It would be great to understandRead more

PITCH: David Abbott/BT.

“Hey Dave, I’ve got something you might want to share on your blog. It’s 30 minutes of David Abbott pitching the famous BT Bob Hoskins campaign, direct to camera, apparently for some BT big-wigs who missed the original presentation. Not only is it a lovely piece of advertising history, it’s also a masterclass for any creative about to step into pitching. I found it when I was at AMV and had to present a re-pitch for the entire BT account.Read more

PITCH: Innocent?

The creative pitch: Companies invite agencies to present creative proposals on how to improve their marketing and therefore their bottom line. Best proposal wins. Wrong. For a start, clients run only one campaign for every 16 they are presented in pitches. (Thanks Martin Jones, AAR Guru & Brighton fan.) How can it be that fifteen of the sixteen agencies get the brief so wrong that they end up throwing their time, energy a work in the bin? Because, as I’mRead more

GREEN BOOKS: New Yorker Ads 2.

These ads from 1960’s copies of The New Yorker are weird. They’re just so, well, New Yorker ads from the sixties. As evocative of their era as a Blockbuster membership cards and the sound of fax machines were of theirs. That’s not a criticism, some are great. But it’s striking just how different they feel. So different that it got me thinking why and what unifies them? 1: $’s. Look at the ads and you’ll notice that they have allRead more

GREEN BOOKS: New Yorker Ads 3.

Another batch of fertilizer. That’s not a euphemism by the way, just a reminder that ideas grow from ideas, they rarely appear out of the blue. I sometimes hear people say ‘I’m all about tomorrow, I never look back…I’m like an arrow heading towards the future’. It sounds bloody exciting. Then I look at their output, and it often feels so…so, soul-less  gimmicky…nothingy. Like it or not, the truth is that jobs, like most jobs, are less about inventing thanRead more

PODCAST: Richard Foster.

Read any article on good copywriting and you’ll find the same names appear. David Abbott and Tony Brignull usually battle for the top two slots, Tim Delaney and John Salmon fight it out for third place. But talk to writers about the same subject and another name appears; Richard Foster. Richard is the only one of the five who has worked under the other four. (He may well be the only writer to have worked under the four?) For aRead more

DON’T BE ASHAMED TO S***! PART 2.

First, it seems that Part 1 hit a bit of a nerve. I got a way more feedback than I usually do. Maybe it was a contrast to the science, pseudo science and plain bullshit around our business at the moment? But reducing the process down to a simple, human form seemed to really resonate, one person said it was like ‘advertising unplugged’. Which was the point. But you never really know how people will respond, often the posts IRead more

PODCAST: Sir Frank Lowe.

“Frank Lowe single-handedly cajoled a whole generation of writers, art directors and film directors into revolutionising British and world advertising.” – Sir Alan Parker. It seemed a bit over the top. I know he was very good and had a big impact on the business, but ‘single-handedly’? But I guess Alan is his mate, so he’s probably bigged him up a bit. Having just spent three hours nose to nose with Frank, I got a taste of what Alan was talking about.Read more

PODCAST: Dave Hieatt.

Since he quit advertising, Dave has had a big effect on it.First, with Howies.His mail order catalogues built up more than customer base, they built up a fan base.They were, and still are, traded on Ebay.Not for their clothing, for their vibe; that decent feel-good, smart, happy, moral life is for living, do the right thing voice. (Dave: Did I miss anything?)Their writing and ideas were ripped them off mercilessly by ad agencies, constantly being used as reference for tone ofRead more

PODCAST: Carlos Bayala.

My first South American. One of the most thoughtful creatives I’ve come across. We worked together for a bit at Mother and I loved that he was forever curious about what the people in the real world were thinking, would they give a shit about our little product or dumb ad? Not surprisingly his new agency is different, its New. That’s not a typo, that’s its name. It’s also appropriate because he’s teamed up with a Rocket Scientist from… actually,Read more

AUTHOR seeks PUBLISHER for short-term RELATIONSHIP.

I’ve found a great book on advertising; ‘Methods of the Madmen’. The only problem is it’s not available. It’s been written by a friend of mine, Mike Everett, as well as writing the book Mike wrote many great ads whilst at Collett’s and Lowe’s, including the Olympus David Bailey campaign, the freaky ‘Wrangler. That’s what’s going on’, Birds Eye’s ‘Dishonest woman’ and a bunch of Hamlet ads to name but a few. He’s kindly allowed me to feature a few chapters hereRead more

PODCAST: Chris Wilkins.

‘Chris is one of the few very, very bright people around.’ – CHARLES SAATCHI. ‘On his day he’s a much better writer than I am.’ – DAVE TROTT. ‘He is intelligent, witty and versatile and I’d say he’s probably one of the best three copywriters in the country.’ – JOHN WEBSTER. ‘He’s just done a podcast with me!’ – DAVE DYE J. WALTER THOMPSON. Guinness. BOASE MASSIMI POLLITT. Bambi Nappies. Pepsi. The Labour Party. Cresta. Cadbury’s Smash. Southern Comfort. SAATCHIRead more

David Abbott Talks.

Le Corbusier – Dinosaur! Coco Channel – Granny! Paul Rand – Has-been! Irving Penn – Neanderthal! Saul Steinberg – Silly Old Fart! Looks weird doesn’t it? Because we’re not used to seeing those people disrespected, they’re lauded for their part in elevating their profession. Especially by those in the same industry, who study their every idiosyncrasy to inform their own creative output. It enables all of us who follow to start further down the page. It’s why all creative industries striveRead more

UNADVERTISING.

Successful companies rarely take chances. Why would they? Often, it’s hard to pinpoint why exactly why things are going well, so they’re careful not to rock the boat. It makes advertising them tricky, because the whole point of advertising is to stand out. To do that you have to be different from the things you are trying to stand out from. But looking different can feel risky. ‘Why take a risk? Especially now, when everything’s going so well?’ It’s why theRead more

Hands up who’s heard of Jeanloup Sieff?

Cultural trends are difficult to spot when you’re in the middle of them. They look like ‘normal’, it’s only with the benefit of distance can you join the dots. It’d be useful to recognise current trends because generally they are followed by the polar opposite. In fashion, plain is likely to be followed by pattern, natural by synthetic, subtle by loud. When type was set on film and photographic paper, Art Directors and Designers were obsessed with sharpness, because perfectionRead more