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

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

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

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

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 Saul Leiter?

The of most important part of photography isn’t anything technical, it’s where you point the camera. It’s why 99% photos look dull, everybody points in the same direction. Often it’s because people don’t think that they have other options, or they feel too self-conscious to point their camera in the ‘wrong’ direction, it feels so unnatural. “Seeing is a neglected enterprise.” as Saul Leiter put it. He must’ve looked weird whilst doing his seeing; his camera would be pointing inRead 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