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Don't let your marketing become famous

Don’t let your marketing become famous

In August 2003 Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s Director of Communications, resigned. For some months he had been at the centre of allegations that the intelligence dossier that created much of the case for the invasion of Iraq in March that year had been doctored. Whether or not this was the case, the reality was that...
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 a genuine search for truth,...
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 underpants while its residents are...
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...
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...
Why we need to adopt whole puzzle thinking

Why we need to adopt whole puzzle thinking

A while back the good people at Admap asked me, along with a bunch of other strategists to contribute to a bumper September issue on the future of Strategy. It’s rather long but here it is for your delight. The skills of the strategist are, with the best will in the world, unnecessary. In any...
Brexit: The segmentation study to end them all

Brexit: The segmentation study to end them all

Good news is thin on the ground right now but in the world of marketing, there is one massive benefit of the Referendum. Thanks to the 23rd June no organisation need bother commissioning a segmentation study ever again. There are few concepts in marketing that promise more and deliver less than segmentation. Segmentation is the...
Start up tips, six months in

Start up tips, six months in

I guess it’s in the nature of our business that after years looking after other people’s brands you crave to have one of your own. Not an agency brand (though the thought remains intoxicating) but a real brand, something out there in the world that’s living and breathing. Over the past six months and after...
Dump the dogma

Dump the dogma

I think rather highly of Paul Feldwick’s new book – ‘The Anatomy of Humbug: How to Think Differently About Advertising. In fact, I’d suggest that it should be required reading for anyone involved in advertising – clients, creatives, suits, planners and students. More than that, if you haven’t read it you should do so immediately,...
Motherhood is not a job

Motherhood is not a job

Motherhood is many things and many of them are at the frustrating, nerve shredding and just sheer hard graft end of the spectrum. But one thing motherhood is not is a job. That’s the conclusion that I have come to following the work that we have done with Mumsnet to prepare for Mumstock 2015, the...
Put an end to guano marketing

Put an end to guano marketing

Do you ever find that a word, a particular word suddenly starts to really irritate you? Perhaps a word that previously seemed rather innocuous, useful even. And once it starts to irritate you it seems to appear everywhere and all the time. Like the way that kids using the word ‘like’ as a form of...
There is no such thing as a bad client

There is no such thing as a bad client

There is one subject that people like me on blogs like this rarely address. While we devote acres of prose and polemic to everything from innovative brand models to brilliant new technology we give little thought to the people and organisations that commission the work we do. Without clients nothing would be created by our...
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