Diversity is about how good we can all be

Diversity is about how good we can all be

  My life has many privileges. And without doubt one of the most extraordinary privileges I enjoyed last year was dinner with the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Jesse Jackson is a hero of the civil rights movement, marched with Dr King at Selma and twice ran to be the Democratic nomination...
Adland's dangerous addiction to awards

Adland’s dangerous addiction to awards

The advertising industry has a serious problem with addiction. Addiction to awards. Everyone in adland loves a good award. Used recreationally they can be fun, illuminating and uplifting. Sure the people that you get the awards from can be rather un-savoury, but as long as you keep the habit under...
In every form of content there is an optimum technology and an ideal experience

In every form of content there is an optimum technology and an ideal experience

The resurgent UK bookseller, Waterstones, recently stopped selling Amazon’s Kindle. For all Kindle’s convenience in accessing and consuming printed material it is a terrible way to read the books you love. Part of this is its Soviet era aesthetic but in the main it’s because printed-paper books remain the ideal...
Most advertising is rubbish, that's what I like about it

Most advertising is rubbish, that’s what I like about it

And so it begins, another year at the coal-face of global advertising. And a moment to reflect on why I keep at it after all these years. Why commit myself so wholeheartedly to a profession legendary BBH planner Jim Carroll, recently described as “a trivial career for serious people”. Of...
Ad blocking is our fault

Ad blocking is our fault

I have never understood the belief that advertising dollars should follow people’s time. The assumption that if people spend 50% of their time some place or other means that 50% of the advertising budget should go there too, seems to me to be arrant nonsense. This is despite the fact...
The marketing truths we are all in danger of forgetting

The marketing truths we are all in danger of forgetting

  Ask most secondary school aged kids how to prevent scurvy, a disease they will have had little contact with and they will tell you, with Vitamin C. The use of ascorbic acid, or at least citrus fruit that have high levels of one of the few vitamins our bodies...
Latest entries
The state of digital advertising right now

The state of digital advertising right now

I’ve been having a pop at digital advertising recently. About how ad blocking is the fault of all of us that create online advertising. No one really took me to task over this. And so I thought I’d go a step further. And see what happens. These ten statements represent what I think about the...
How I got into advertising and what happened next

How I got into advertising and what happened next

I was recently asked to write about my career in advertising for students at my old College – St John’s, Cambridge. I thought I’d post it here in case its useful or enlightening for anyone thinking of an advertising career. I’m not exactly sure of the moment in which I though a career in advertising...
In praise of Dinosaur planning

In praise of Dinosaur planning

The greatest insult you can throw at someone in this industry is that they are a dinosaur. Being a dinosaur not only implies that you are slow and stupid but also that you are in imminent danger of being wiped out by an asteroid or similar calamity and not before time. That’s the narrative of...
Think like a CSO

Think like a CSO

I’m not going to pretend that speaking at the APG’s inaugural ‘Think Like a CSO’ (Chief Strategy Officer) sponsored and hosted by Mintel was anything other than phenomenally intimidating. Of course, I jumped at the chance when the Account Planning Group asked me, I’m a huge fan of the APG and increasingly impressed with their newfound...
Dump the dogma

Dump the dogma

I think rather highly of Paul Feldwick’s new book – ‘The Anatomy of Humbug: How to Think Differently About Advertising. In fact, I’d suggest that it should be required reading for anyone involved in advertising – clients, creatives, suits, planners and students. More than that, if you haven’t read it you should do so immediately,...
Does every brand need a purpose?

Does every brand need a purpose?

Gold Blend coffee has a new campaign. You’ll know if you live in any remotely built up part of the UK because the media buy is impressive. And it has to be said that it has caused a bit of a stir in the planning community. Now I accept that a bunch of North London...
Forget Big Data

Forget Big Data

People in our industry love big data. Or at least they love the idea of big data. It’s one of those hot topics that fills our feeds, our conference agendas and the pages of our trade magazines. But it’s a hot topic largely because we have been told it’s a hot topic. The reality is...
Advertising is as powerful as we allow it to be

Advertising is as powerful as we allow it to be

Adam Lury, the co-founder of HHCL, believed that advertising was too powerful simply to be left to people that didn’t care about it. In other words to people that cared little for this power beyond its commercial value. I was reminded of this recently by one of HHCL’s other co-founders, Axel Chaldecott. He was quoting...
Motherhood is not a job

Motherhood is not a job

Motherhood is many things and many of them are at the frustrating, nerve shredding and just sheer hard graft end of the spectrum. But one thing motherhood is not is a job. That’s the conclusion that I have come to following the work that we have done with Mumsnet to prepare for Mumstock 2015, the...
Put an end to guano marketing

Put an end to guano marketing

Do you ever find that a word, a particular word suddenly starts to really irritate you? Perhaps a word that previously seemed rather innocuous, useful even. And once it starts to irritate you it seems to appear everywhere and all the time. Like the way that kids using the word ‘like’ as a form of...
There is no such thing as a bad client

There is no such thing as a bad client

There is one subject that people like me on blogs like this rarely address. While we devote acres of prose and polemic to everything from innovative brand models to brilliant new technology we give little thought to the people and organisations that commission the work we do. Without clients nothing would be created by our...
Can any planners still plan?

Can any planners still plan?

Something has started to distress me about the future of planning and strategy in advertising agencies. And that is whether there will be any one left that can actually do the job. I mean the real job of being a planner, the job of imagining new futures of the brands that clients ask us to...
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