2016

2016

One of my all time favourite ads is Asshole for Holstein Pils. It was written by Robert Saville and Jay Pond Jones at GGT and I think it’s by far the best drink driving ad in history. God knows why it’s not on every year. If you are familiar with...
Anxiety maketh the planner

Anxiety maketh the planner

“Let’s face facts, Perce”, as Edmund Blackadder was constantly saying to his hapless companion, the division of labour in advertising agencies borders on the bizarre. In no other industry is the thinking, creating and doing delivered by different people, with different titles, often in different departments. You don’t see the...
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 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
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...
Think like a CSO

Think like a CSO

I’m not going to pretend that speaking at the APG’s inaugural ‘Think Like a CSO’ (Chief Strategy Officer) sponsored and hosted by Mintel was anything other than phenomenally intimidating. Of course, I jumped at the chance when the Account Planning Group asked me, I’m a huge fan of the APG and increasingly impressed with their newfound...
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,...
Does every brand need a purpose?

Does every brand need a purpose?

Gold Blend coffee has a new campaign. You’ll know if you live in any remotely built up part of the UK because the media buy is impressive. And it has to be said that it has caused a bit of a stir in the planning community. Now I accept that a bunch of North London...
Forget Big Data

Forget Big Data

People in our industry love big data. Or at least they love the idea of big data. It’s one of those hot topics that fills our feeds, our conference agendas and the pages of our trade magazines. But it’s a hot topic largely because we have been told it’s a hot topic. The reality is...
Advertising is as powerful as we allow it to be

Advertising is as powerful as we allow it to be

Adam Lury, the co-founder of HHCL, believed that advertising was too powerful simply to be left to people that didn’t care about it. In other words to people that cared little for this power beyond its commercial value. I was reminded of this recently by one of HHCL’s other co-founders, Axel Chaldecott. He was quoting...
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...
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 that clients ask us to...
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...
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