Author Archive
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...
A question of value

A question of value

I have been thinking a bit about value recently. Agency people don’t like thinking about value because they associate it with having to create tragic price advertising and the kind of discounting behaviour that great brand building is supposed to protect you against. However, the truth is that every single brand has a value position...
The United Kingdom of Advertising

The United Kingdom of Advertising

Without a doubt the finest radio programme is Today on BBC Radio 4. What it lacks in the imaginative title department, it more than makes up for in rapier like analysis of the news agenda. However, there is one tedious blemish on its contribution to current affairs broadcasting, something called Thought for the Day. For...
Positioning is over rated

Positioning is over rated

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou In many ways the primary role of the planner is to create positionings for brands, in any case it is often what we are most valued for. But I have increasingly...
A new picture of affluence

A new picture of affluence

The well off and wealthy may not take up much bandwidth as you dash out another digital banner on two-for-one sun cream but the plain fact is that they are a critical audience for brands looking to find growth in a sea of stagnation. You don’t need to be Jaguar, Land Rover or Burberry to...
Interesting versus right - revisited

Interesting versus right – revisited

If there is one defining philosophy of my approach to planning and strategic development it is the mantra that it is vital to be interesting but merely important to be right. This is based on the observation that those that are preoccupied with finding the right solution very rarely turn up anything remotely interesting. While...
How we slowed down the connection between consumers and creatives

How we slowed down the connection between consumers and creatives

Nothing, I repeat nothing connects a planner and therefore an agency to the people that its is trying to understand better than qualitative research. Instinct is always a great starting point and data is often incredibly powerful but qualitative research, the beliefs, attitudes and stories of real people, told directly to the planner is the...
Don't call me mum

Don’t call me mum

It’s been a busy week at Saatchi towers. On Wednesday I unveiled the results of a project that I have been working on with the online forum for mothers, Mumsnet at their inaugural Mumstock conference on marketing to mothers. This project aims to challenge a whole set of myths about marketing to mothers that seem...
Television is still the king

Television is still the king

Breaking Bad, a fully paid up member of Kevin Spacey’s ‘Third Golden Age of Television’ The legendary Steve Henry once told me a joke about advertising awards. He said that he had hailed a cab from outside the Grosvenor or some such venue and the cabbie had enquired what he had been up to all...
Maths and magic - the secret of Bletchley

Maths and magic – the secret of Bletchley

Colossus was the World’s first electronic digital computer. Built from Post Office spare parts, it was operational from February 1944 at Bletchley Park, the British Government’s code breaking headquarters. Colossus followed on from the work that Alan Turing had done decoding the signals encrypted by the German Enigma machines. It was essential to the latter...
Facebook's nineteen billion admissions of defeat

Facebook’s nineteen billion admissions of defeat

Why did Facebook acquire WhatsApp for $19bn? For the same reason dog’s lick their balls, because they can. There are few organisations on earth that could rustle up $19bn dollars (mainly in cash) for anything let alone a service that at a maximum can only be turning over $450m a year and Facebook is one...
Should CSOs become CEOs?

Should CSOs become CEOs?

In the 1990s Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse performed an appallingly misogynist sketch series called ‘women know your limits’ in which mock mid-century public information films advised women not to mess with things like driving and intellectual debate. And I wonder if sometimes the same advice ought to be given to planners, especially when presented...
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