Remain was advertising's lowest moment

Remain was advertising’s lowest moment

This is an article I wrote for the second edition of the New European. The New European is a fascinating publication, it was set up from idea to first publication in 9 days. It’s kept its costs very low and exists to serve the 48% of people that voted to...
Start up tips, six months in

Start up tips, six months in

I guess it’s in the nature of our business that after years looking after other people’s brands you crave to have one of your own. Not an agency brand (though the thought remains intoxicating) but a real brand, something out there in the world that’s living and breathing. Over the...
Stop faking it - Creating more meaningful connections with mums

Stop faking it – Creating more meaningful connections with mums

Mumstock is the only marketing conference in the UK devoted to improving the woeful standard of marketing to mums. We have been at it for three years now along with our partners Mumsnet. And each year we have tried to deliver a new take on the subject through an unorthodox...
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...
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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...
Oxbridge is not the problem

Oxbridge is not the problem

I went to a very nice industry do recently full of some really smart people taking about youth, including the wonderful Shaun Bailey. For some reason the conversation got onto what the advertising business is doing for young people given the appalling levels of youth unemployment in the UK. And two things really pissed me...
Advertising's moral responsibility

Advertising’s moral responsibility

Advertising and ethics have never been close bedfellows in the popular imagination. When I entered the industry it was characterised by a culture derived from the bar (not the agency one the legal one) – that all businesses deserved representation as long as their product was legal. This may sound perfectly sensible to you but...
Supermarket success - it's a question of class

Supermarket success – it’s a question of class

For a time of loving and giving this Christmas saw a bloodbath in British supermarket retailing. As retailer after retailer reported their fourth quarter trading figures we have become used to the sight of a shamefaced chief executive mounting the podium to rustle up this excuse or that about why they haven’t met analysts’ expectations...
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...
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