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

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: 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

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

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

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

PODCAST: Graham Fink. (Part 1.)

Context. It’s the word that comes to mind every time I think about writing one of these intros. What seems familiar today was once considered very left-field, risky or just plain crazy. Each pushes the peanut along for the next generation. Take the 1988 D&AD Annual, it’s hard to believe now, but all but one ad in the press and poster section had black headlines, the one that didn’t was Graham Fink’s Metropolitan Police campaign. I was a generation behindRead more

IN-CAMERA 8: Geof Kern. (Part 1.)

Like most people I’m a fan of the likes of Cartier-Bresson, Don McCullin and Martin Parr, photographers who go out into the world and record it in a ways we may not have seen or imagined. But I LOVE photographers who go out and create their own world using their own unique, idiosyncratic set of aesthetics. I recently posted lots of my old green scrap books and one name that kept coming up again and again; Geof Kern, one ofRead more

INTERVIEW: Sir Alan Parker.

Sir Alan, where did you grow up? I grew up in Islington. Ours were the first council flats built after the war and I moved in aged about three or four. Ironically, the flats overlooked the street where my Dad was born and brought up. (My Grandad was the local barber and the family were evacuated in the war when a bomb hit St Mary’s Church close to their shop. He was also the local bookie—illegal then—and so they movedRead more

100th post. (Well, nearly.)


Full disclosure; it’s actually the 113th. But I noticed that when blogs or podcasts hit a significant number they do a kind of round-up, like a kind of house-keeping thing, so here’s mine. 10 THINGS I’VE LEARNT ABOUT BLOGGING. 1. BLOGS HAVE A LIFE OF THEIR OWN. MAY 2002: My friend Paul buys me davedye.com. OCT 2013: I decide to bung all my old work on it, for easy access. NOV 2013: It’s a bit chaotic. Having presented the workRead more

PODCAST: Tony Davidson Pt. 2.

The Wieden years. It’s weird, I only interview people whose work I really like, but whenever I lay their work out end-to-end, I’m always surprised at how much better it is than I’d remembered. It could be that there’s much more of it, the sheer consistency of it or that it appears better with the benefit of time and a bit of distance. All three are true of the work in this post. Tony does a good job of shiningRead more

PODCAST: Mark Reddy.

‘Art Director’ is an unhelpful title. It has nothing to do with Art and very little to do with directing. Some think it’s about making stuff look cool, I think it’s about communicating at speed. We work in a medium people are actively trying to ignore, so we can’t hang around. Art Director’s can only communicate quickly if the understand: a) Their basic toolkit; photography, film, illustration, editing, cropping, fonts, colours and the rest. b) The world around them: how humans behave,Read more

GREEN BOOKS: Type 5.

Obviously there’s more Fred & Fabien, but probably the most interesting things in there are the bits of old typesetting I rescued from the Leagas Delaney bin. The studio was going all digital, so PMT machines, drawing desks, wax machines, art-workers a and bits of old setting were dumped. I managed to save a few bits of setting, if you eat a lot of carrots and have 20/20 vision you’ll be able to spot a few cut marks between someRead more