Discounting premium products can be risky. It can take decades to build up a premium positioning for a brand, to give their products a value beyond the materials and man hours that have gone into their making. Once you start discounting you risk making it feel less special, because people know that, generally, products get discounted because they aren’t selling, if they aren’t selling it must be because nobody wants them. MERCEDES-BENZ PROBLEM: A stock-pile of C-Class Sports Coupe’s. They decidedRead more


BE UNAMBIGUOUS. BE WARM. BE SLOW TO PASS JUDGEMENT. According to psychologists, these are the keys to good communication.
 Broadly speaking, we follow similar rules in our business too, nobody wants to create a brand personality that’s a bit vague, unfriendly and mean spirited. To increase the chances of our messages being well received, rather than rejected, we torture test them. You need to imagine you’re the most skeptical member of the public, then you question like there’s no tomorrow. ForRead more

CHANNEL 5: Under-claiming.

Subject:’IMPORTANT!!’ I didn’t recognise the name of the sender, let’s call her Nadia Johnson. What could it be? What have I missed? Is it the bank? Tax office? Maybe it’s something good? A publisher with a huge cheque wanting to turn this blog in to a book? What could it be? Should I be worried? Excited? Turned out ‘Nadia’ was a student looking for a job. So it was a kind of trick. I guess Nadia thought that if she put ‘IMPORTANT!!’ in theRead 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

THE ECONOMIST: Bouncebackability.

I just found this batch of rejects for The Economist. I was surprised at how many shots we’d had at the brief. I knew the work was getting past the Creative Director, because I was he. It must’ve been the client. I can’t remember who first coined that phrase ‘bouncebackability’, (I think it was a footballing Ian, Holloway or possibly Dowie), but it’s a crucial, if unglamorous skill every creative needs. Your ideas are torched every single day. As good as youRead 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