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: 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

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

INTERVIEW: Jay Maisel.

I’ve worked with, met, written about and interviewed a lot of photographers over the years. But only one has made me run out and get the same camera he uses. Going through his work again for this interview reminded me that photography needn’t be big, complicated or scientific, it can simply be about the joy of seeing. Photography can be anything; two colours vibrating next to each other, light bouncing off a wall or simply someone doing something unusual. IRead more

PODCAST: Me (Pt.2)

When I interviewed Sir Alan Parker he kept saying ‘take that out, take this out!’. I tried to explain that these ads were part of his journey, they shed a little light on his journey from the mailroom to Hollywood. He was having none of it ‘I’m a less is more guy, you’re a more is never enough guy’. He’s right, well, in terms of ads I’m definitely a less is more, but in terms of the blog, interviewing peopleRead more

The bit between the Me Pt. 1 and Me Pt. 2 podcasts.

Usually when I do these an interview or podcast, the challenge is trying to find the persons work, some people have not a scrap. (Yes, I’m talking about you Jeff Stark! And I haven’t forgotten you either Sid Myers!) I also like to add a bit of ephemera, for some colour, but it’s rare to come across that.   The challenge this time was what to leave out; the CDD phone lists, the Mercedes meeting notes or internal memo? InRead more

PODCAST: Me. (Pt. 1)

A lot of people have suggested that I do a podcast on myself. Aside from the obvious difficulties of trying to ask yourself probing questions, it felt a little bit indulgent, particularly as I did a whole series of them with my friend Ben Kay, (I think we recorded more episodes than the latest season of Game Of Thrones). But when someone who’s kindly agreed to be interviewed by me asks me to be interviewed by them, it feels rude to sayRead more

Hands Up Who’s Heard Of Bill Brandt?

I think Photoshop gets a bad rap. Yes, it can make models thinner and teeth whiter, but it’s not Adobe’s fault. I wonder whether it being associated with cheating and fakery may be behind the current trend for real. Take #NoFilter, fine if you’re taking pictures of a crime scene or for medical records, but being so pure can lead to some very bland images, and for what gain? Surely the goal should be to create the best image possible?Read more

Len Weinreich’s corkboard.

One of the side-effects of putting out this blog has been the people I’ve met. Take Len Weinreich, whilst trying to find Paul Leeves work for an upcoming podcast, I came across Len, it turns out he lives down the road from me. Alan Parker had referred to him as ‘the bloke who taught me everything I know about advertising’, Dave Trott said he gave him the best piece of advice on advertising he ever got and Paul Leeves simply saidRead more

In Front Vs Behind.

“In this, one of the most epic of Adam’s landscapes, humanity is signalled by a field of scattered crosses in the near foreground. The settlement itself makes an irregular diminishing rhythm from left to right, in contrast to the flowing horizontals of the mountain range and the swift, painterly markings in the sky. The whole of this musicality is related to the imperceptible slowness of the moon rising.” – Ian Jeffrey. I don’t know whether I agree with that, but it’s veryRead more

Working for fruit.

A few months after setting up Campbell Doyle Dye a publisher came in for a chemistry meeting. Before we’d set up I’d been at AMV/BBDO, The Economist was one of the clients I looked after, so I was excited to share the work Sean and I had produced as it was not only relevant, it was arguably the best campaign for a publisher ever? “Did you do those here?” “Er…well, no, that was at our last agency, Abbott Mead Vickers”. “Oh?”Read more

Hands Up Who’s Heard Of ‘Environmental Portraits’?

Not me. Well, not until last week. Don’t get me wrong, I knew portraits had been taken in environments, I’m no fool, but I didn’t realise it was a genre with its own name. Environmental Portraits are portraits that have been “executed in the subject’s usual environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject’s life and surroundings”. It turns out that one of my favourite portrait photographers, Arnold Newman, was it’s father of Environmental Photography. (Although he hatedRead more

TOP TEN TYPE TIPS.

I find this whole Facebook situation really disappointing. Sometimes you just have to do the right thing, regardless of cost.  I mean, how much money do they need? FACEBOOK: YOU HAVE A MARKET CAP OF $494bn, hire yourself a typographer! I keep spotting my mate Dave, (a future podcast guest, when I can pin the fucker down), and at the bottom of the ads I’m reminded that overhanging punctuation hasn’t hit Facebook yet. It got me thinking. Maybe someone elseRead more