Adliterate has been delivering radical thinking for the brand advice business for over a decade. It is concerned with the future of advertising and marketing, the impact of technology and the nature of potent brands. It takes a radical view in order to solve deep seated problems and it sets its self against orthodoxy in any form. It also aims to be deliberately provocative.

Because life is more fun that way.

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Why worship one brand god when you can worship many?

Why worship one brand god when you can worship many?

I’m no great fan of monotheism The idea that there is one true god, one answer to the entirety of life, the universe and everything has always struck me as rather arrogant. Indeed, I am deeply suspicious of certainty in any guise, religious or otherwise. Certainty seems at odds with...
Advertising only ever works by consent

Advertising only ever works by consent

All of a sudden, the world of marketing has got very polite indeed. For years we have taken absolutely no notice of whether people actually want us to communicate with them and instead have deluged their letterboxes and inboxes with communications, willy-nilly. And then overnight, four letters that sound like...
Monopoly, the commercial dividend of powerful brands

Monopoly, the commercial dividend of powerful brands

My favourite episode of South Park is ‘Gnomes’. Not only is it properly funny, if you like your humour puerile and immature, but it also holds a small cautionary tale for marketers. ‘Gnomes’ tells the story of a gang of animated garden ornaments that live beneath South Park and steal...
We need to think more about advertising

We need to think more about advertising

Adam Lury, one of the founders of the late, great and greatly missed HHCL, is perhaps one of our least recognised planning legends. The exponent of a radical approach to strategy that helped make the agency’s work so distinctive in the 1990s, like many great planners, he was also immensely...
Latest entries
In praise of passive planning

In praise of passive planning

One of my favourite ads of all time is Honda Grrr. A Wieden & Kennedy classic, it’s still fresh and powerful a decade on, albeit the subject matter is a little out of time, as we tend to frown upon diesel these days. As much as the work is lovely, it’s the planning that I...
We need more 'non-working marketing spend', not less

We need more ‘non-working marketing spend’, not less

There are many phrases to which I take exception. I hate dead metaphors such as “Achilles’ heel”. I hate euphemisms that are designed to disguise their true meaning, such as “collateral damage”. And I hate out-and-out lies such as “we will give the £350m we save from the European Union to the NHS”. But one...
Banishing unconscious bias from your planning

Banishing unconscious bias from your planning

To celebrate the 55th series of Have I Got News For You, the show’s team captains, Ian Hislop and Paul Merton gave a now infamous interview to the Radio Times, a publication not normally used to setting the news agenda. Amid a conversation with ITN anchor-man Tom Bradby, the duo offered a highly criticised answer...
Can brands help the cohesion of divided nations?

Can brands help the cohesion of divided nations?

It’s Winter and that means one thing these days. The National Health Service is in crisis. A perfect storm of seasonal pressure, changing demographics, advances in healthcare and chronic underfunding have conspired once again with predictably disastrous consequences. And yet for all the challenges that the NHS faces, it remains an undeniably central part of...
Orthodoxy is toxic

Orthodoxy is toxic

All my heroes are equal but George Orwell is more equal than others. I’m not taken to affection for old Etonian propagandists, after all there are enough of them stuffing the country up at the moment. But I make an exception for George. You may love him for his life-long opposition to totalitarianism but my...
The real genuis of 'and'

The real genuis of ‘and’

There is one word the advertising industry really hates. In this word lies the root of all perceived evil. It’s only a little word but its sends shivers down our collective spines. The advertising industry hates the word ‘and’. Instead, if we are really honest, we much prefer the word ‘or’.  We tend to be...
No more 'millennial' twaddle please

No more ‘millennial’ twaddle please

Peter Mead, the co-founder of Abbott Mead Vickers, had a profound dislike for one particular word. An old school ad man from a modest background, Peter had huge respect for the ordinary people that bought his clients’ products. And as such, he absolutely hated those that worked for him calling people ‘punters’. It wasn’t quite...
Why hire an advertising agency?

Why hire an advertising agency?

David Ogilvy famously asked clients of his agency wanting to write their own work, “why keep a dog and bark yourself?” Half a century later it appears that for some clients the answer is “who needs a bloody dog?” Which brings us to the thorny question of why use an advertising agency at all. One...
The year ahead in planning

The year ahead in planning

Ok so its March and this is rather late off the rank. But better late than never. It just means we have 9 months not a year to sort this stuff out. If 2016 taught us anything, it is that prediction is pointless. It may be desperately tempting, it may feel like a commercial imperative,...
Who will buy our goods if every job has been automated?

Who will buy our goods if every job has been automated?

During an early 1950s tour of the recently modernised Ford plant in Cleveland the President of the United Automobile Workers Union, Walter Reuther, was shown the latest car construction robots. His over zealous guide turned to him and said “Walter how are you going to get all these robots to pay their union dues?” To...
Have we reached peak purpose?

Have we reached peak purpose?

It’s quite possible that 2016 marked peak purpose. The year in which the idea of corporate or brand purpose reached its zenith from which its grip on the collective consciousness of the business world may slowly wane. You see purpose has a rather patchy rep. For every Unilever, celebrated for their commitment to both corporate...
The seven deadly sins of planning

The seven deadly sins of planning

Recently I was asked to talk to the Open Strategy Group about planning bad habits that should be addressed in 2017. And so I aimed off at what seem more to me as sins than simply bad habits. The seven deadly sins of planning. Here is the slideshare from the event, each point illustrated by...
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