Planning
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...
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...
In defence of war

In defence of war

  The first recorded use of the acronym OMG doesn’t appear in a text from an over enthusiastic adolescent but in a letter from a crusty old sea lord to a future Prime Minister. In 1917 Winston Churchill, then Minister of Munitions, received correspondence from John Arbuthnot Fischer complaining about the progress of the war...
Give brands what they deserve not what they want

Give brands what they deserve not what they want

In 1964 the new headquarters of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) opened its doors, the fifth building the venerable organisation had inhabited since its foundation in 1518. Not only was the location at end one of the Nash Terraces in The Regent’s Park, somewhat of a departure for the College (having previously inhabited buildings...
A ready reckoner for good planners

A ready reckoner for good planners

When people ask me what I am looking for in a planner the list of important attributes has traditionally been exhaustive. So in an attempt to simplify things and shorten interviews I have recently taken to issuing a three-point description.   1) Safe looking people with dangerous minds.   This is an old phrase we...
A decade of Moleskines

A decade of Moleskines

The passage in Songlines in which Bruce Chatwin names the Moleskine. Image courtesy of Songlines. The biggest cliché in advertising is not lunching at the Ivy, drinking chilled rose on the Carlton Terrace or doing coke with the intern in the toilets at the Christmas party. The biggest cliché in advertising is the Moleskine notebook....
No more heroes any more

No more heroes any more

  The original Forward thinking motherfucker. I gave a little talk at an APG (Account Planning Group) event recently. It’s a regular series of talks called Noisy Thinking and I shared the bill with Craig Mawdsley, Rachel Hatton, Russell Davies and Malcolm White, a pretty impressive line up in the world of planning. I talked...
You had to be there

You had to be there

My style of presentation is rather frustrating. Not only is there a lot of dancing around, swearing and nonsense at the time. But the slides never make any sense – they are designed for talking to not reading. So putting them on slideshare is rather pointless since you had to be there to understand them....
What planners need

What planners need

Image courtesy of Identity in Newcastle. We have finished the Summer Scholarship for 2012 at Saatchi & Saatchi. It’s a programme where we take ten or so young people into the agency for the summer and then give the best candidate a job at the end of it. Going through this process made me think...
The future of planning

The future of planning

A short while ago I figured out how to record the voice over to Slideshare presentations. This a good thing as my slides never make the slightest bit of sense without the narrative that goes with them. And to test it out I used a presentation I gave at the APG’s first Noisy Thinking Debate....
What's your problem?

What’s your problem?

All great marketing solutions start with a well and accurately defined problem and a correct diagnosis of the course of action that needs to be followed. So I thought I’d talk a little about this to kick the new year off in a back to basics style. There is a very basic diagnostic tool I...
‘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.
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