Can any planners still plan?

Can any planners still plan?

Something has started to distress me about the future of planning and strategy in advertising agencies. And that is whether there will be any one left that can actually do the job. I mean the real job of being a planner, the job of imagining new futures of the brands...
A question of value

A question of value

I have been thinking a bit about value recently. Agency people don’t like thinking about value because they associate it with having to create tragic price advertising and the kind of discounting behaviour that great brand building is supposed to protect you against. However, the truth is that every single...
The United Kingdom of Advertising

The United Kingdom of Advertising

Without a doubt the finest radio programme is Today on BBC Radio 4. What it lacks in the imaginative title department, it more than makes up for in rapier like analysis of the news agenda. However, there is one tedious blemish on its contribution to current affairs broadcasting, something called...
Positioning is over rated

Positioning is over rated

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou In many ways the primary role of the planner is to create positionings for brands, in any case it is often what we are most valued...
Latest entries
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...
Brands should be needed not needy

Brands should be needed not needy

Needy is a wonderful word to describe someone that craves rather too much of something from us rather too much, whether attention, help, love, sex or friendship. Someone who is needy exhibits desperation for attention that is inappropriate given the relationship that we have with them. They crave and cling and in short their neediness...
Trust: Every brand wants it but few know how to get it

Trust: Every brand wants it but few know how to get it

One of the murals depicting the Battle of the Bogside (August 1969) in Derry Londonderry, an enduring records of the conflict in Northern Ireland. Image courtesy of Paddy’s Wagon. Trust. There can be no rarer and more eagerly sought accolade in the world of brands and businesses right now than the trust of our people...
Guest Post: Can advertising be too good?

Guest Post: Can advertising be too good?

In this very rare guest post John Shaw, Chief Strategy Officer at WPP’s Team Red, asks whether sometimes advertising can be too good, not for the brand but for the consumer.   Long, long ago in the mid- 1980’s, Levi’s 501’s created a moment for me – a fashion moment, a music moment, an advertising...
Trust teaser

Trust teaser

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about trust over the past year. And a lot of time becoming truly frustrated at orthodox approaches to trust – the endless league tables of most and least trusted brands and the sterile alliterative advice from PR firms about how to be trusted. So I called...
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...
Why 'always on' is such a turn off

Why ‘always on’ is such a turn off

When you have fireworks like this who needs bonfires. Image courtesy of Fernando Castaneda. In recent years the business of marketing has been assailed by a litany of new buzzwords and phrases that often gain extraordinary momentary popularity and spawn a slew of new job titles and agency offerings. However, increasingly this ‘new marketing’ jargon...
Stop confusing targeting with relevance

Stop confusing targeting with relevance

Advertising is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, for most of us inside and outside the industry, advertising is seen as commercially vital, economically important and culturally essential – funding and subsidising vast tranches of the media and many other facets of our lives. But there is a big if. And that is if advertising...
If you can successfully avoid tax you know your brand is healthy

If you can successfully avoid tax you know your brand is healthy

  From horsemeat in the lasagne to Libor fixing in the blood, not to mention industrial scale tax avoidance, brands have to put up with a hell of a lot at the moment. By which I mean that brand reputations, painstakingly pieced together over years, suddenly seem on the line in a way they have...
How to love presenting as much as sex

How to love presenting as much as sex

I tend to try and channel Eddie Izzard when presenting – find your presentation hero? I love presenting, its one of the greatest aspects of the planner’s job as far as I am concerned – getting up there and letting rip on whatever subject you are required to hold forth upon. But I am aware...
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 little bit of politics

A little bit of politics

“The results of the experiment are now in and they are consistent: austerity doesn’t work” Mark Blyth, Austerity: The history of a Dangerous Idea On the day that the Queen’s Speech offered few answers to the real political question of our time, here are a few personal thoughts about the way that Labour should be...
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