The media shall inherit the earth

The N.W. Ayer buiding in Philadelphia, an art deco masterpiece. N.W. Ayer was founded in 1869 and was the first advertising agency to create ads for clients rather than just book space for them.

I had a terrible premonition the other day.

I was waiting for a meeting at a prestigious London media agency. Their reception was wonderfully swanky, all extreme sports on the telly, big bowls of sweeties on the coffee table and agency propaganda smeared all over the walls. And I clicked.

We, the so called ‘creative agencies’, are not future of advertising, they are.

The curious case of the mushroom cloud

Peter Sellers in Kubrick’s 1965 film, Dr Strangelove. Image from

A light little post for you after the death of planning ding dong.

Ever since I had my statcounter installed I have been able to tell the proportion of people coming from different countries. On the average day about 40% of my visitors are from the UK, 40% the US and 20% from the rest of the world.

But one of the other advantages of Stat Counter is you can tell whether a visitor has come directly to you or via another site. Every day around 10% of these US visitors come from Google Images and, rather worryingly, they are searching for one thing…. mushroom clouds.

Is blogging killing planning?

Image courtesy of MrTruffle

There is a mood abroad, often fostered by non-blogging planners, that the emergence and popularity of planning blogs is killing the discipline.

I certainly feel that the community, like all communities, has begun to coalesce around specific ‘new marketing’ ideas that are in danger of becoming an orthodoxy every bit as dangerous as the antiquated ideas about brands and communications that it is seeking to replace. Specifically it encourages a view that the marketing landscape has already reached a kind of utopian future without offering any clues about how brands and the clients that own them should get there.

But is blogging really ‘killing’ planning?

Now this I like


Quick mini advocate ladies and gentlemen.

I think the holiday category is tough on the strategist – a commodified marketplace with loads of me too players driven by price.

But Lastminute’s latest campaign is a real gem – they are encouraging hard working Britons to take 5 holidays and breaks a year. I’m sure it is probably just a damn good promotional idea for January (making light of the 5 fruit and veg a day message) but if I were them I’d adopt it as their central brand idea. Its nice to see a travel agent with a point of view and so nice one Farm

As I please No.1

“Announcing that the board of trade is about to remove the ban on turned-up trouser ends, a tailor’s advertisement hails this as ‘a first installment of the freedom for which we are fighting’. If we are really fighting for turned up trouser-ends, I should be inclined to be pro-Axis. Turn-ups have no function except to gather dust and no virtue except that when you clean them you occasionally find a six-pence there.” Geroge Orwell discussing the war aims in some detail in ‘As I please’ 4th February 1944.

‘As I please’ was the title George Orwell used for many of his articles whilst a contributor to the left-wing publication Tribune during the 1940s.

These articles covered a vast variety of topics from the defeat of fascism to the makings of a really good cup of tea, such was the eclecticism of Orwell’s writing.

At best they demonstrate Orwell’s supremacy in radical thought – by which he would have meant the facing of uncomfortable truths.

One of the best examples of this , if now rather shocking,is his defence of the bombing of German civilians. For Orwell, in meeting one’s war aims, it is better to kill a broad cross section of society – the old and the young, men and women – rather than to desimate the entire population of one group such as fighting age men. His arguement was that a society will recover more quickly form the former course of action than the latter. An unpalatable thought but probably true.

And I have decided to appropriate the title ‘As I please’ for a number of occasional trips off topic I intend to make this year. A kind of homage to Orwell.

The only rule will be that they attempt to offer a radical piece of thinking in an Orwellian tradition.

First up is a thought that the death penalty is the surest form of escape from punishment.

We are all doomed

A while ago I stole a chart from the planning chief at Grey, John Lowery, and posted it. Well John can’t have been too miffed as he has updated it for the 2006 data and sent it over. If you work in advertising (like me) the message is blatantly clear.

I should probably say that this is data from the very wonderful TGI and they will probably ask me to take it down. But maybe if they realise that this is as blatant an attribution as I can create and you are all potentially extremely valuable clients for them they will be nice and give me an opensource break.

The adliterate address 2007

Scream if you want to go faster.

Normal service has been resumed here at adliterate towers after an exhilarating yet restorative christmas break.

I for one have been itching to get back to the business of figuring out what to do with this business and throwing it at you bones and all.

What I can promise you this year is a quicker pace, more radical thinking, some big issues brought to heel and crankyness galore.

Along with the Advocate (suggestions for January if you please) there will be two new ‘features’, a monthly brand focus that points up an interesting and newish brand worth mentioning in despatches and an off topic thread called ‘As I please’ in honour of George Orwell. But more of those later.

And of course this year its an APG Creative Thinking Awards year with some big changes we have been working on including a more internationalist approach, a Strategy Agency of the Year award and big prizes. And in true Advocate stylee I’m not going to sit around waiting for you to enter your genius thinking I am going to come and hunt you down with a big stick and wrestle the entries off you.

And to top it all I will turn 40 in June and will have absolute freedom to be as surley and cranky as I like.

Ladies and gentlemen, hold on to your hats and scream if you want to go faster.

Photo coutesy of From Afghanistan With Love

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