Articles and columns
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.
The summer of the comeback

The summer of the comeback

Image courtesy of Dave van Hulsteyn This is the summer of the comeback. Blur are back, Oasis are back, Abba have been approached to take part in a tribute to Wako Jacko and Glastonbury almost saw Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young harmonise with each other once more. And just six months after Woolworths finally threw...
Nostalgia Blackmail

Nostalgia Blackmail

Image courtesy of Old School Paul One of the defining features of this recession is the number of brands immersing themselves in utterly self-indulgent nostalgia trips in a desperate attempt to curry favour with increasingly cynical consumers.
Reasons to be cheeerful 1 2 3

Reasons to be cheeerful 1 2 3

Image courtesy of Max Ferguson Gripped as we are by the bloody teeth of recession and now with conclusive proof from ICM that Britain, of all leading nations is the most miserable and pessimistic about its economic future, it is perhaps peculiar that the most potent buzz word in advertising is optimism. We see it...
Context is king

Context is king

Out of context is viewing online commercially valuable? Image courtesy of papa’rocket. As we career head long into the economic car crash that is destroying jobs, crushing consumer expenditure and ripping the confidence and profitability out of both client and agency organisations, one performance metric has emerged above all others to guide us through these...


Image courtesy of badjonni I have a very cruel, but accurate, joke about why planners have adopted social media with more enthusiasm than others in the advertising business. In advertising only planners blog, account handlers have nothing to say and creatives have better places to say it.
Calling time on digital's cult of accountability

Calling time on digital’s cult of accountability

Occasionally I have the enormous pleasure of judging New Media Age’s Interactive Marketing and Advertising Awards. And a very splendid awards scheme it is too, with this year’s kings of the digital castle crowned in some style last month. I get invited to fill the ‘enthusiasm-over-experience’ role of digital-curious advertising outsider. This usually involves gobbing...
Great ideas can come from anywhere, my arse

Great ideas can come from anywhere, my arse

There are many terrible cliches that lurk like sewer rats in the daily effluent of the advertising industry. And much like sewer rats they are always close to the surface, wholly unpleasant and bloody difficult to eradicate. By far the most pernicious and destructive is the now widely held belief that ‘ideas can come from...

Telephone research must stop. Full stop.


Image courtesy of Old Telephones

Let's agree this now everyone. There are some things marketing and communications should steer well clear of and the telephone is one of them. So lets have no more telemarketing spam, lets have no more political parties ringing people up with an automated message and...

Problems wanted


Mad Men, a simpler time of real men, real problems and lots of sex on mid century design classics. Image courtesy of Slate.

Unfortunately much advertising is self indulgent nonsense that simply serves to waste the client’s money and the consumer’s time.

Are our start ups a let down?


Image courtesy of Fiat Luxe

The start up plays an almost mythical role in the world of advertising. Start ups are not simply an outlet for the professional and material ambitions of the best in the business, they are absolutely essential to the health and vitality of the industry. If...

Fast Strategy


Image courtesy of Combined Media.

This is a little piece I did to publicise the Fast Strategy Conferencethat the IPA Strategy Group is running in a couple of weeks. It's about the need for us to think faster if strategy is to be of continued value and about the death...