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

GREEN BOOKS: Dave Hieatt

This book was glued and cellotaped together before Hiut Denim, The Do Lectures, Do Books and Howies were even a glint in Dave’s eye.It’s nearly 30 years old.But it’s so them.It features the same ingredients that shine through those companies today – humanity, ecology, wit, positivity, a wide-eyed curiosity and a kind of folksy down home vibe.In fact, if you wanted to make a Dave Hieatt pie, here’s the recipe book.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

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

PODCAST: Tim Riley.

Words. Boy, they’ve really fallen off their perch. They used to be so respected, as were the people who knew how to use them. They could breathe life into cold, dead facts, in their hands ‘our beer costs a lot’  could become ‘Reassuringly expensive’. Better and shorter. Writers would often burn the midnight oil in an effort to get the maximum meaning from the minimum word count. It’s odd, because people have never read more than they do today, Facebook, Twitter,Read more

PODCAST: Tony Davidson. (Part 1.)

Sometimes, it’s difficult writing about people you know. On the one hand, you don’t want to offend them with a flip remark, like ‘no filter between his brain and mouth’, or ‘certified nut-job.’ On the other, and probably worse, you don’t want to get all gooey with guff like ‘only about the work’ or ‘incredibly consistent* since day one’. So I won’t bother, I’ll just let you listen and make your own minds up. (*Except for ‘Captain Chaos’.) STUDENT. BMP.Read more

LESTER BOOKBINDER: Advertising.

The third and last post on Lester Bookbinder, unless by some miracle I get to interview him. If I thought finding the pictures was tough that was nothing compared to finding the words. But here’s what I’ve managed to discover. a) He was born in New York City in 1929. b) He trained with the photographer Reuben Samberg. c) He opened his own studio in 1955. d) He moved to London in 1959. e) Long before the New York Police Chief Bill Bratton started talkingRead more

BOSS No.6: Tim Delaney.

  Why advertising? I wanted to be a hotel bell hop boy when I left school at 15. But when I looked in the newspaper want ads – Junior Opportunities – they only had 2 ad agency messenger jobs. I went up to London and one of them offered me a job. What was your first job in advertising? A messenger- in a tiny basement room with 4 others. Quite Dickensian,when I look back. Did you try and get intoRead more

INTERVIEW: Andy McLeod.

Why advertising? I was quite quick tongued, bright at school, without being very academically gifted or driven. I cared about ‘stuff’ in general, zeitgeisty stuff; trends, tribes, what was cool what wasn’t, what was funny what wasn’t. I liked art and English at school and not much else. Got not very good A-level grades, which led me to Bristol Polytechnic to do a two year course in Business studies with advertising. The advertising bit of it was 1 hour aRead more

ENGLISH HERITAGE: Wiggly lines.

I used to love those long copy Leagas Delaney ads. True, I never read the copy, but the theory at the time was that if  you write a thousand words on, say, how a boot was made, you’d appear like a very well made boot. Showing a thousand words of copy was like a bit like a quality mark. But I liked them because they looked nice. Well, sophisticated, to be more precise. In a sea of price flashes, exclamationRead more

TURNING STORIES INTO ADS: Panorama.

  THE PROBLEM: Panorama’s audience was shrinking. We knew where to find a potential audience; The Guardian, Times and Telegraph. But how do we approach ads for one of the BBC’s most respected programmes? PANORAMA’S PERCEPTION: Serious, straight talking and truth-seeking. ADVERTISING’S PERCEPTION: Bullshitting, tricking and spinning. We couldn’t do anything about advertising getting itself a bad name over the last century, but we could avoid looking like we’re in that gang. Ads tend to look like ads; a small logo bottomRead more

TURNING STORIES INTO ADS: The Guardian.

Newspapers deal in stories, they have to find them and write them up every day. If they find good ones their sales increase. So when agencies try selling them brand campaigns, they tend to think it’s a lot of namby pamby nonsense. Instead they prefer their marketing to be based on specific content. That could be anything from a scoop to a serialisation of an autobiography. The problem is that the stories are rarely on brand, they are often theRead more

TURNING STORIES INTO ADS: G.Q.

Something struck me upon finding this little batch of GQ ads; What magazines would run 48 sheet posters today, just to promote the August issue?My writer, Tony Barry and I had three stories to turn into posters. a) 101 things to do before you’re 30. b) Foreign women reveal all about British lovers. c) Mick Jagger at 50. It’s easy to see why these two were rejected, it’s never good business to start ‘outing’ Royals and pop stars. This was theRead more

ADIDAS: Running ads.

These were the first Adidas ads I did. Loud, aggressive and very yellow. I wasn’t a big fan of the look that had been created at the time, I felt it killed the images and came over like Nike, only less sophisticated. (To be fair, they stand up surprisingly well today.) I got the chance to break away from this style with some running ads Tim Delaney had written. It helped that he’d written ads that were tonally very differentRead more

HOWIES: Anti-Advertising.

  A year or so into Leagas Delaney, I found myself writer-less, Tim threw me together with another loose end; writer Dave Hieatt. Here are a few of the things we did. In between writing Adidas ads, Dave asked me if I wanted to make some T-Shirts with him. I would be the third partner, aside from Dave, there was  a City-boy, business type, (I can’t remember his name only his goal; to own a house  with a drive in driveRead more

VOLKSWAGEN SHARAN: Wrong and right.

BRIEF: Dads need a break, Volkswagen Sharan’s roomy interior is the perfect for them to enjoy a bit of ‘me time’. The Sharan was essentially a transit van with windows cut out of the side panels and seats welded into the back. A Creative Director’s job isn’t to just oversee the creative work, it’s to be the conduit between the creative and other departments. So, if a brief comes in that you don’t think you can turn into credible creativeRead more

ADIDAS: Rough Vs Polished?

I used to work with a very smart writer called Alastair Wood. One thing he said left a lasting impression on me; ‘None of my proofs are as good as the roughs’. I realised it was a common complaint amongst writers. Ideas, when first expressed have an energy, vitality and humanity, because people only write or draw the key elements. There’s no fat. The process of bringing ideas to life often kills them. Firstly, because it’s easy to get seduced by hotRead more