The year ahead in planning

The year ahead in planning

Ok so its March and this is rather late off the rank. But better late than never. It just means we have 9 months not a year to sort this stuff out. If 2016 taught us anything, it is that prediction is pointless. It may be desperately tempting, it may...
Who will buy our goods if every job has been automated?

Who will buy our goods if every job has been automated?

During an early 1950s tour of the recently modernised Ford plant in Cleveland the President of the United Automobile Workers Union, Walter Reuther, was shown the latest car construction robots. His over zealous guide turned to him and said “Walter how are you going to get all these robots to...
Have we reached peak purpose?

Have we reached peak purpose?

It’s quite possible that 2016 marked peak purpose. The year in which the idea of corporate or brand purpose reached its zenith from which its grip on the collective consciousness of the business world may slowly wane. You see purpose has a rather patchy rep. For every Unilever, celebrated for...
The seven deadly sins of planning

The seven deadly sins of planning

Recently I was asked to talk to the Open Strategy Group about planning bad habits that should be addressed in 2017. And so I aimed off at what seem more to me as sins than simply bad habits. The seven deadly sins of planning. Here is the slideshare from the...
Latest entries
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...
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...
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