Another post about radio advertising. (Sorry.)

There may even be another one, along with Paul Burke I’m trying to track down the 100 best radio ads. (If you have any send them in.) But onto this one, one of the surprising joys of doing this blog is unexpected things that turn upon my doorstep. Proofs, agency brochures, old DVDs, all manner of ephemera. (Or ‘crap’ as my wife calls it.). It’s lead me to post blogs on David Abbott’s BT Pitch, Fallon McElligott’s Rolling Stone campaignRead more

PODCAST: MARY WEAR

‘Remember how seriously we all took it? Not that we took ourselves seriously or that we didn’t have fun, but we just tried so, so hard to make great work. It may be chip paper to most people, but we’d really sweated every last detail. Even on the bad ads, we’d stay lat trying desperately to improve them. Like we were on a mission. It seemed so important.’ I enjoyed chatting to Mary. Although afterwards, I must confess, I wasRead more

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

PODCAST: Alan Brooking.

I’m guessing you’re not as familiar with that name as were with others I’ve posted? But you’ll be familiar with his work. Saatchi’s ‘Pregnant Man’? BBH’s ‘Black Sheep’ poster? CDP’s ‘Wolf In Sheeps Clothing’? Yes? All shot by Alan. Because they’re such a fantastic ideas, they look as though anybody could’ve shot them. The images are so simple and clear you can’t imagine done them any other way. But each is the end result of a series of choices. TakeRead more

GREEN BOOKS: Ads 2.

I have a confession to make; not everything on this site is from the loft. Apologies to those of you who feel cheated. I feel such a fraud. The good news is that this post is 100% loft. Not mine, my old partner Mike McKenna’s. I started putting these green books together when Mike and I worked as a team at Publicis, back in the early 90’s. They were our internet. We’d split the cost of the pricey books fromRead more

Hands Up Who’s Heard Of Frank Budgen?

We’re smack bang in the middle of the age of collaboration. Any press release for a creative hiring now contains that reassuring phrase ‘Known for being collaborative’. (To me it always reads ‘We’re pleased to announce we’ve finally found a creative who will listen to us’.) The feeling the team had creating the work is as scrutinised as what they created. But collaboration means different things to different people. For most of the team it conjures up enjoyable meetings onRead more

GREEN BOOKS: New Yorker Ads 4.

The Advertising Standards Council wouldn’t let that title pass. I guess it was my intent when I cello-taped it to the cover. There are a few old New Yorker ads in there, but the majority are English, from the early seventies. It’s odd collection, looking at it now is a bit like wandering through a car boot sale. There’s the finds that have famous attached, so may be worth something:   1. Illustrator/Artist Glen Baxter’s Gilbey’s Gin ads. 2. Photographer ArtRead 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: 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. 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

INTERVIEW: John O’Driscoll.

Where were you brought up John? Before I answer that question are you sure about this interview? I don’t give short answers and have a tendency to go on a bit! Ask my family! Yeah, I’ve heard that. I was born and bred in a Surrey village called Hersham. Birth place of Julie Andrews and Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69. What was the first ad you remember? It wasn’t until I was 13 that I remember seeing an advert thatRead more

INTERVIEW: Mike Cozens.

  Where were you bought up? Farley Road, Catford, S.E.6. Mr Smiths was where the Richardson Gang had their 1966 Gangland slaying. My Mum worked there. Frankie Frazer used to escort her up the Road. He famously said ‘I’ll take you home Lilly, you meet some dodgy characters around here’. That’s where I was dragged up. Was advertising your first choice? Not exactly. I was invited to leave Haberdashers Askes at the age of sixteen. Fortunately the only teacher whoRead more

PKL BOOK: The first year.

A few months back, I chanced upon this. It’s an ad by George Lois. It caught my attention because I’d never seen it before and it looked ,from the photograph, like it was from a large, sharp image. I followed the link. More Papert Koenig Lois ads! I could see these weren’t tiny pictures from an early New York Art Directors Club. Where the hell were they from? I read the text underneath: “Some months ago, Julian Koenig died. He wasRead 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