Diversity is about how good we can all be

Diversity is about how good we can all be

  My life has many privileges. And without doubt one of the most extraordinary privileges I enjoyed last year was dinner with the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Jesse Jackson is a hero of the civil rights movement, marched with Dr King at Selma and twice ran to be the Democratic nomination...
Adland's dangerous addiction to awards

Adland’s dangerous addiction to awards

The advertising industry has a serious problem with addiction. Addiction to awards. Everyone in adland loves a good award. Used recreationally they can be fun, illuminating and uplifting. Sure the people that you get the awards from can be rather un-savoury, but as long as you keep the habit under...
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...
Most advertising is rubbish, that's what I like about it

Most advertising is rubbish, that’s what I like about it

And so it begins, another year at the coal-face of global advertising. And a moment to reflect on why I keep at it after all these years. Why commit myself so wholeheartedly to a profession legendary BBH planner Jim Carroll, recently described as “a trivial career for serious people”. Of...
Ad blocking is our fault

Ad blocking is our fault

I have never understood the belief that advertising dollars should follow people’s time. The assumption that if people spend 50% of their time some place or other means that 50% of the advertising budget should go there too, seems to me to be arrant nonsense. This is despite the fact...
The marketing truths we are all in danger of forgetting

The marketing truths we are all in danger of forgetting

  Ask most secondary school aged kids how to prevent scurvy, a disease they will have had little contact with and they will tell you, with Vitamin C. The use of ascorbic acid, or at least citrus fruit that have high levels of one of the few vitamins our bodies...
Latest entries
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 brand has a value position...
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 Thought for the Day. For...
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 for. But I have increasingly...
A new picture of affluence

A new picture of affluence

The well off and wealthy may not take up much bandwidth as you dash out another digital banner on two-for-one sun cream but the plain fact is that they are a critical audience for brands looking to find growth in a sea of stagnation. You don’t need to be Jaguar, Land Rover or Burberry to...
Interesting versus right - revisited

Interesting versus right – revisited

If there is one defining philosophy of my approach to planning and strategic development it is the mantra that it is vital to be interesting but merely important to be right. This is based on the observation that those that are preoccupied with finding the right solution very rarely turn up anything remotely interesting. While...
How we slowed down the connection between consumers and creatives

How we slowed down the connection between consumers and creatives

Nothing, I repeat nothing connects a planner and therefore an agency to the people that its is trying to understand better than qualitative research. Instinct is always a great starting point and data is often incredibly powerful but qualitative research, the beliefs, attitudes and stories of real people, told directly to the planner is the...
Don't call me mum

Don’t call me mum

It’s been a busy week at Saatchi towers. On Wednesday I unveiled the results of a project that I have been working on with the online forum for mothers, Mumsnet at their inaugural Mumstock conference on marketing to mothers. This project aims to challenge a whole set of myths about marketing to mothers that seem...
Television is still the king

Television is still the king

Breaking Bad, a fully paid up member of Kevin Spacey’s ‘Third Golden Age of Television’ The legendary Steve Henry once told me a joke about advertising awards. He said that he had hailed a cab from outside the Grosvenor or some such venue and the cabbie had enquired what he had been up to all...
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...
Facebook's nineteen billion admissions of defeat

Facebook’s nineteen billion admissions of defeat

Why did Facebook acquire WhatsApp for $19bn? For the same reason dog’s lick their balls, because they can. There are few organisations on earth that could rustle up $19bn dollars (mainly in cash) for anything let alone a service that at a maximum can only be turning over $450m a year and Facebook is one...
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...
Independent London

Independent London

Separatism appears to be the flavour of the month in the UK. The SNP can’t bear to be British, UKIP can’t bear to be European and the BNP can’t bear to be anywhere near their fellow countrymen and women. But if you are hell bent on separatism why choose the nation state? If there is...
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