THE LOOKY-LIKEY AMALGAM.

I few months back I recorded a podcast with Richard Shotton, one of the brightest people in the business. Whilst preparing I read Richard’s book, The Choice Factory, it’s great, full of fascinating insights and observations on human behaviour and how we respond to marketing. Whilst taking in all this intelligent insight an interesting theory occurred to me; why don’t we just create ads that people like? Granted, it’s no theory of relativity, but it’s odd that it’s barely aRead 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

PG TIPS: Encounters with Monkey.

Over the last couple of months I’ve had quite a bit of feedback from colleges; ‘Do more posts that go through the decision making process, we like them best’. It’s flattering that the colleges are using my blog, but weird for me, because if I’ve got the choice of interviewing say…Dave Trott or talking about why I picked Futura over Baskerville or preferred the word kerfuffle more than brouhaha, I’d choose the former every time. But I’m going to try and post a fewRead 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

BOSS No.5: Mark Denton.

Why advertising Mark? It all happened by accident. I was quite good at drawing as a kid and my Uncle had gone to Art School and had ended up as a Silversmith. The Dentons weren’t that imaginative (they all worked in the Family Scrap business) so ‘good at drawing’ meant that I should go to Art School too. My Mum thought I could get a job as one of those people who paint the patterns on the edge of platesRead more

GREEN BOOKS: Photos 3.

Another green scrapbook. (For the young people out there, a scrapbook is a kind of pre-internet, analogue way of bookmarking web pages, only heavier and, as it turns out, longer lasting.) This one is full of photographic reference. It’s from about 1993/4, when Satoshi Saikusa, Raymond Meier and Rolling Stone Magazine were all the rage. At least they were in my world. There’s a couple of images in there I’d forgotten all about. They are screaming tortured heads. Almost like Francis Bacon,Read more

PENHALIGON’S: The joy of reference.

  After twenty top ten hits ’58 and ’62, Neil Sedaka’s hits dried up. His publisher gave him one last shot. Neil, anxious, sweaty, his weave starting to unravel, decided to order in every No. 1 record from around the globe. He played them over and over, analysing every detail. He then borrowed, or as we say in Advertising ‘was inspired by’ the melody from one, the hook from another a guitar sound from another and so on and soRead more

FINDUS FROZEN FISH: Copying is good.

I wanted to do that ad. Everybody who saw it laughed. Why the hell didn’t I do it? It was so bloody annoying. I wanted to create something effected people it had effected me. Basically, make them laugh. So whenever I’d get a brief I’d do something in that style, something that felt like it was from that world: funny models of animals making a single product point. Then, over at BBH, Chris Palmer and Mark Denton started producing adsRead more

SHORT FILM FESTIVAL: Ideas ruined.

‘Can you do me an ad for Rushes Short Film Festival? it’s to go in my Gongs magazine, it’s an opportunity!’ – Mark Denton. DISSOLVE TO THE FOLLOWING YEAR. ‘Can you do me a campaign for my Short Film Festival? it’s to go in my Gongs magazine, it’s an opportunity!’ – Mark Denton. (The Therapy Short Film Festival was one of a number of ideas Mark has had over the years to redistribute money he’s built up in his savings account.) LookingRead more

NIKE: There is no finishing deadline.

Simons Palmer was the home of the Nike poster, they produced endless great posters which produced endless awards. So getting a brief for one, even a little 6 sheet for the Rugby World Cup, was like getting a ticket to the ball. When I first got there I was handed this approved line written by my shiny new writer Mark Goodwin. I didn’t really get it to be honest, I’m still not sure whether I’m missing something? But I toiledRead more

O’CONNOR DOWSE: A successful ad.

  It’s one of the first campaigns I ever made. The agency was Cromer Titterton, my writer was Alastair Wood, the typographer was Andy Dymock and the photographer was Duncan Sim. But the key person involved was the photographer’s assistant, a scruffy, curly-haired Brummie called ‘Malc’. We shot for three weeks to get the three shots above. Malc was treated like a 17th century slave. We shot in the freezing, windy Highlands of Scotland, at the end of the day DuncanRead more

ANNUALS: D&AD 2004.

In 2004 Nick Bell became President of D&AD, one of his first duties was to choose the designer for the next annual. He chose me, or CDD to be more precise. Back in 2004, the D&AD Annual was one of the few places you could get a concentrated hit of good advertising and design, consequently they were collected. Getting the chance to design one was a great honour. 1st IDEA: If a thought is printed in the D&AD Annual it’s considered out ofRead 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