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

Hands up who’s heard of MARY WELLS?

Bernbach, Lois, Gossage, Chiat, Wieden and McElligott. In over twenty years I can only recall hearing the name Mary Wells once; Tim Delaney referenced her in a tone that implied he thought she wasn’t completely useless. (Obviously something like that sticks with you.) I started reading her biography a few years ago, but had to stop, her chest thumping and name dropping was so loud the neighbours were complaining.“Sure I had in me what it takes to lead the agency intoRead 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