Planning
Orthodoxy is toxic

Orthodoxy is toxic

All my heroes are equal but George Orwell is more equal than others. I’m not taken to affection for old Etonian propagandists, after all there are enough of them stuffing the country up at the moment. But I make an exception for George. You may love him for his life-long opposition to totalitarianism but my...
The real genuis of 'and'

The real genuis of ‘and’

There is one word the advertising industry really hates. In this word lies the root of all perceived evil. It’s only a little word but its sends shivers down our collective spines. The advertising industry hates the word ‘and’. Instead, if we are really honest, we much prefer the word ‘or’.  We tend to be...
No more 'millennial' twaddle please

No more ‘millennial’ twaddle please

Peter Mead, the co-founder of Abbott Mead Vickers, had a profound dislike for one particular word. An old school ad man from a modest background, Peter had huge respect for the ordinary people that bought his clients’ products. And as such, he absolutely hated those that worked for him calling people ‘punters’. It wasn’t quite...
The year ahead in planning

The year ahead in planning

Ok so its March and this is rather late off the rank. But better late than never. It just means we have 9 months not a year to sort this stuff out. If 2016 taught us anything, it is that prediction is pointless. It may be desperately tempting, it may feel like a commercial imperative,...
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...
The seven deadly sins of planning

The seven deadly sins of planning

Recently I was asked to talk to the Open Strategy Group about planning bad habits that should be addressed in 2017. And so I aimed off at what seem more to me as sins than simply bad habits. The seven deadly sins of planning. Here is the slideshare from the event, each point illustrated by...
Stand up for strategy

Stand up for strategy

The work, the work, the work. That’s the mantra by which we live and die in advertising. Good agencies are measured by the work they win and the way that they work. But great agencies are always measured by the quality of the work they make. CDP, BMP, BBH and Mother all brought innovation to...
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...
In every form of content there is an optimum technology and an ideal experience

In every form of content there is an optimum technology and an ideal experience

The resurgent UK bookseller, Waterstones, recently stopped selling Amazon’s Kindle. For all Kindle’s convenience in accessing and consuming printed material it is a terrible way to read the books you love. Part of this is its Soviet era aesthetic but in the main it’s because printed-paper books remain the ideal way to read oneself a...
How I got into advertising and what happened next

How I got into advertising and what happened next

I was recently asked to write about my career in advertising for students at my old College – St John’s, Cambridge. I thought I’d post it here in case its useful or enlightening for anyone thinking of an advertising career. I’m not exactly sure of the moment in which I though a career in advertising...
In praise of Dinosaur planning

In praise of Dinosaur planning

The greatest insult you can throw at someone in this industry is that they are a dinosaur. Being a dinosaur not only implies that you are slow and stupid but also that you are in imminent danger of being wiped out by an asteroid or similar calamity and not before time. That’s the narrative of...
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