Articles and columns
Made in Britain

Made in Britain

Heatherwick studio’s cauldron for London 2012. Provenance has traditionally been the last resort of the strategic scoundrel. If you fancy an early lunch at the Delaunay and you simply cannot think of anything else to say about a brand you fall back on where it is from. Australian lagers, German cars, Scandinavian furniture, French sexual...
Crimes against social

Crimes against social

Image courtesy of freefotouk 2012 may not have be greeted by the industry with a great deal of enthusiasm, after all the big Olympic event that should have marked the end of our economic woes will now merely record their nadir. Nonetheless, it is a fresh, crisp, virginal new year so not only is it...
‘Tis the season to obsess about trends.

‘Tis the season to obsess about trends.

  Image courtesy of SonOfJordan. For those of you frustrated by the lack of sense my trends presentation makes when you only have the charts, here is the story. I wrote it as a column for Brand Republic so its not identical but covers much the same ground.
Crisis, what crisis?

Crisis, what crisis?

What’s the plan for planning? Image courtesy of see_another_side. A few years ago in an orgy of self-congratulation and a pithy monographs invoking the spirit of King and Pollitt, planning turned forty. The second great advertising innovation of the twentieth century alongside Bernbach’s pairing of creative teams seemed confident and cocksure with a rosy future...
Keeping the magic alive

Keeping the magic alive

Image courtesy of last.fm Arthur C. Clarke, the legendary science fiction author, formulated three scientific laws over his lifetime. Apparently he stopped at three on the basis that three laws had been good enough for Newton. His first law suggests that when a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost...
Are Superbowl really that super?

Are Superbowl really that super?

Image courtesy of BeckyAV This is an article I wrote in the week after the Superbowl. So it lacks a little in the topical department. Thought I’d post it anyway. In the distant past when advertising was a simpler and somewhat more lucrative business the wine bars of Adland would fizz with excitement every third...
More sex please, were British

More sex please, were British

Image courtesy of Dave Gorman I have long believed that advertising is not a profession. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not embarrassed about what we do and I certainly have little sympathy with the sentiment of that terrible old joke. You know the in which someone asks that his mother is not told that he...
The price of everything and value of nothing

The price of everything and value of nothing

Image courtesy of Neato Coolville As brand builders we have always instinctively felt that the sales lever so beloved by consumers, the price promotion, was not just grubby but also rather damaging to the long term health of that brand and business. That said, we have rarely been able to articulate our dislike of price...
Shock and awe

Shock and awe

From 30 ways to shock yourself. Image courtesy of Bre Pettis If there is one enduring fascination the mainstream media has in our business it is with shock advertising and specifically whether shock advertising actually works. Other preoccupations of the journalistic classes come and go – greenwash, teaser campaigns, neuroscience and the like – but...
Who is to blame?

Who is to blame?

Image courtesy of Planoscorpio Say what you like about Cannes but at its best it still serves as a barometer for where our industry and our product is heading. Most notably the Titanium shortlist, packed as it is with the coolest work from the coolest agencies and representing the new creative dividend that is on...
Is it the end of the line for the digital agency?

Is it the end of the line for the digital agency?

Image courtesy of Ackers-Schoolboy Hero!!!! Some time in the early summer the Met Office rather confidently predicted that this would be the summer of the BBQ, so hot, dry and altogether splendid was our weather going to be. Alas it turned out to be a rather different meteorological kettle of fish and once again this...
Brand respsonse - a case of having your cake and eating it

Brand respsonse – a case of having your cake and eating it

Image courtesy of Blake E. Marquis. Eddie Izzard has a standup routine about how useless the Church of England would have been at the Spanish Inquisition, because everyone appearing before it would have been given the option of cake or death. Naturally most people end up choosing the cake option.
683736