YE OLDE ADVERTS.

Before we start, full disclosure: I’m not anti old ads. I quite like them. But weirdly, a surprising number of creatives leaders don’t. At least, they say they don’t in public, I’m sure in private they must have a cheeky flip through the odd One Show annual now and again? They put out phrases next to their profiles like ‘All about the new’, ‘Future facing creative’, ‘Forwards, not backwards’ ‘I never look back’.
 It sounds so cool. Frankly, it makes meRead more

GUT v NUMBERS.

Whether it’s qual, quant or O.T.S, ROI, A/B testing or big data, when numbers turn up in marketing they must be obeyed. They’re distilled and translated into ‘rules’. Everyone wants their next campaign to be better than their last, but applying these ‘learnings’ to creative work often kills it. It can feel uncomfortable, because what’s being said makes total sense, but the effect is to complicate and make your ad more like every other ad out there. The ones youRead 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: 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

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

ADNAMS: Words.

Agencies and clients generally shack up together after a single blind date, (or a pitch, to give it its technical name.) As a result, the relationship is a marriage of convenience; ‘‘Do you, Least Bad Agency In The Process, take you, Client Who Needs To Look Like They’re Shaking Things Up?’’ But when an ‘old flame’ comes back the dynamic is different, you feel you have to do everything you can to justify their decision. Or at least I did when this happened back in 2009.Read 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

VERTU: Handle with care.

I once pitched for Vertu. I’d never heard of it either, it turned out to be a luxury mobile phone brand. And when I say luxury I mean luxury; some models were £100k. The brief was, and I kid you not, to “Take the bling out of the brand”. Some of these phones were made of solid gold had diamonds stuck on them. We looked at their previous advertising, it had tried desperately to justify the price; ‘thousands of hours…Read more

POSTERSCOPE: Selling empty spaces.

‘‘I’ve just had lunch with someone who used to work at Simons Palmer, I told him he needed some advertising for his company, Posterscope, and you’d do it. You could do something good like that old Mike Shafron ad?’’ – Mark Denton.I remembered the ad well, the ads within it were great. But the more I thought about it the more I had an issue with it – the ideas within it were too good, who can think of ideas as goodRead more

VOLKSWAGEN: ‘Abbo’.

In 2009, we pitched for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. As the recession was just starting to bite and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles were generally dearer than non-Volkswagen commercial vehicles. I thought we needed to find a writer who could write. Someone who could put together a reasoned argument as to why businessmen should pay more for something they could buy for less. It’s a tough brief. I tried to think who’d fit it, but couldn’t think of anyone. I’d recently picked thisRead more