Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Coke Hero

CPB show the UK how to produce good work for Coke Zero.

Coke Hero.

Blogs You Should Know...

Here are a few assorted blogs you really should check out:

Morts N All - My brother who is worryingly good!

Here Be Monsters - Great up and coming agency, nice thoughts but should update more!

Almost Always Thinking - Gemma, a regular of the Northern Planning Meetings, and extremely clever.

Love - Great Northern Agency

She Sees Red - Aussie art type Lauren

Wannabeadman - Will, briefly a planner at United... second in line after me for most deserving person for an adland job ;)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Leveraging the Proactive Mindset to Help the Bottom Line

ARGH! What is it about certain business people and a complete failure to understand the English language? Cynic Rob posted on this, and it really needs further discussion.

So many businesses send communications that are full of management buzzwords, jargon and completebullshit. It's like Gus Hedges is running corporate communications...

99% of Business to Business contacts I see are PURE bullshit. Its like many businesses seem to think that other businesses only appreciate selling on an absolute blatant hard-sell level.

A perfect example is investment ads. They always look and sounds ibloodydentical (not a new apple product..).

Jeez. Business people are just like normal people but much harder worked. The very LAST thing they want is to use a dictionary to translate your shitty cold-call email for a service they probably dont need or are already getting for less money than you charge (because all your jargon filled emails make your company think it is better than anybody else).

I write for over 15,000 small business people and they always go for the simply written, easy to digest things.

Make it simple and they spend more time thinking about whether they need your product instead of spending time trying to understand your wording.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bingoing Mad!

My brother is currently studying advertising and brand management (something like that!) at university; and has started a new blog.

His first post talks about a project they did on Virgin Bingo (which they showed to the agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine). Id be very greatful if some of the clever people who read this blog would take a look at his new blog and leave some comments on the work that he was involved with!

Thanks :)

My Brother's Blog : Morts-N-All

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Power of Dreams

(No not another Honda post!)

I was thinking about all those weird ideas and half-dreams we have in our lives.

I was contemplating a wish of mine to open up an arcade cafe/bar with all retro games and classics in...(I have a list too, but I wont add it here!) something that would be different to a modern arcade with all the gambling and toy machines, just a pure gaming haven. I hope one day I can have enough money to do it!

I remember when I was younger (like 6 or 7) I had this odd idea of opening a petrol station (I think I was fascinated by their logos and brand identities). I drew a logo for it and pondered how someone who had no scientific knowledge could make petrol!

What dreams have you had? And would you act on them if you had the chance?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mental Hondaism

So! Another Honda ad, and this time with surprisingly little fanfare... which is rather odd as I think its the best one they've done in a while.

That fabled red Honda badge is always a sign of dedicated passion to speed and driving, to taking (relatively) ordinary cars and making something extraordinary out of them.

The new ad only hints at what it's for with the badge at the end, but any petrolhead will see that and know straight away what is coming (I assume a Civic Type R)... and the ad itself carries across the passion perfectly.

Image from IGN


Thanks to everyone who asked questions about me!
I'll be happy to answer anymore if you have them :)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Questions about Me ...11

Rob @ Cynic: Why does advertising excite me?

Its quite difficult to answer because its something i've always been interested in. I can remember in detail some ads from when I must have been 3 or 4!

I love creative things, music, graphics, film etc... and advertising combines all of those things. I've always been into writing, and it's always fascinated me about how advertising talks to people (tone of voice, the words they use etc).

Now that people can spread messages in minutes, the prospect of joining advertising at a time when it is both more restricted and yet more open than ever is a thrilling one.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Question About Me 6-10


1. How do I cope with failure: It depends on the situation. I dont like failure, but i'm not one to give up without a fight (metaphorically speaking). Ive not yet got an ad job but im still here blogging and reading ad blogs every single day. Im still searching.

Its cliche, but you only fail when you stop trying.

2. My Middle Name: James

3. Biggest Disappointment: Hard to know really. I think the second ad job I went for. As I still didnt know that much (compared to now) at the time, but I thought I had done really well... then was gutted when I didnt get it!

4. Where do I see myself in 10 years: As a good account planner/manager, hopefully I will have developed and be looking up that proverbial ladder!


1. what is the one question you hate answering about yourself? and then answer it:
Nice question! Normally its people asking me what I do, as because its a small business I do about 5 things...even then I have to explain what we do before I answer!

Essentially I write guides/articles for small businesses. I also do some PR writing. (As well as other bits!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Questions 1-5

Here are the first set of answers to questions submitted to me!


1. I love lots of films including American Beauty, Fight Club, Garden State and Chungking Express

2. Where id like to live in London? Not sure. My dad is a cockney so maybe north of the river somewhere!

3. Last Holiday: Hong Kong, wonderful place. My first visit out of Europe, so many amazing things; lots of future family places (my fiancee's family are from HK). I cant wait to go back.


1. Biggest adland disappointment: In terms of places ive visited, most definitely M+C Saatchi. It felt much more guarded and stuffy than any other agency ive gone to; which is probably why it seems to be quite prehistoric in its thinking. One guy who interviewed me acted like he wasnt at all interested in what I was saying!

Im sure there's good people there, but my experience was not positive. It's the one ad job ever I didnt care if I got.

2. How I feel when something impacts me: Im hard to impact, but if something does I find it both inspiring and thought provoking. All of my favourite films above are those that impacted something on me.

Personally speaking...

After my recent post on Risk taking and determination, it has been suggested to me that I wrote a bit more about myself.

So id like to find out what people want to know about me (if anything!)... so please fire away with questions!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Apparently Leo Burnett has resigned the Nintendo account in the US.

"Weeks before the Wii launch, it insisted that ads for the console were reshot to 'look more like ads', rather than the documentary-style spots Leo Burnett had created (Marketing, 22 November 2006). Leo Burnett had subsequently been unhappy with the lack of creative authority it had on the account."

Which is ironic as they are the best ads Nintendo had in years...

From: Kotaku

Courage... and not the Bitter

After reading one of Rob's posts (as usual) I was inspired to post about determination and braveness to take risks; as although its rarely spoken of, you need a LOT of determination to get into advertising.

I realised two things:

1. The vast majority of people I admire and get involved with in ad-land are those who take risks for the sake of better work and better results. Maybe thats because some of them are in ex HHCL child agencies; or maybe its just because thats how advertisers should be.

Think of the best ads you can remember, then think of the most effective ads that inspired you to act, the odds are they all took risks to be that good. Whether a budget risk, media format risk, message risk, or execution risk; not taking risks will always (over time) result in a level field of mediocrity.

2. I never thought about how much determination I have had to put in to getting an ad job, and I dont even have one yet!

I had to find out about the industry myself after university. I have spent hours and hours blogging and talking to people about advertising. I was part of the group that started the Northern Planning Meetings. I started this blog which I update every week at least. (for example, now is my lunch break).

I have a good job. I have a nice house. I get paid pretty well and know I can earn more over the coming years; yet I am still trying every day to learn more about advertising to help me get a job in adland.

I hope I can keep that same determination once I get that job. I also hope you wont let me stop being that way!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Attention to Detail

Annoyingly I cant find it to show you, but I love the current Egg tv ad with the Guinea Pigs.

The first ads were great, and on this one they try to find out their opinions so put in robots with furry wigs on. Its amusing, and its also a very well produced world within the ad; down to little details like the clothing and the places they go.

One of my favourite bits is the art gallery where (for example) the terms and apr details are written as if on a piece of art by Barbara Kruger (and they have her style exactly right).

Its a nice ad, but it has such good attention to detail, which elevates it higher in my view.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Debt Ads Matter

Radio ads are so polarising. Some are great and some are awful.

While others are just diabloodybolical.

An ad for Debt Matters is currently on our local station all the time. (im not linking to them as I would hate to promote their site based on this ad).

It goes pretty much:

"Did you know you can pay off debts without a loan?
Do you?
Oi, stupid, are you listening?
Look, you are in debt, therefore you must have a brain the size of a pea.
(aside) Idiot.

I really hate this kind of hard sell ad, and I hate the assumption that everyone in debt is ignorant and stupid even more. I speak to people who use these kinds of services on a regular basis, and most of them seem just as intelligent as anyone else. So why do this company (among others) not understand that? Honestly...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Following on from Russell...

The Account Planning School of the Web has moved (for this task) over to Rob Campbell's blog.

Its a great task based on a car brand, and requires thinking in a different mindset to how most of us probably do.

Those who have taken part before I wholeheartedly recommend you do now. Especially with the amazing judging panel he has put together.

Side note: Great quote from the NME.

Define Irony: The Kaiser Chiefs' new single called 'Everything is average nowadays'...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Its something Richard touched on a while ago, and now Rob Campbell has brought it up again, and I think it is really worth discussing:

What Happened to the Ad Slogan?

You can tell the age of many people by the ad slogans they remember; Beanz Meanz Heinz, Heineken Refreshes the Parts Other Beers ccannot Reach, etc.

But for a while now it has been fashionable not to have a closing slogan in tv ads, and they have been much less obvious in print ads.

I think a lot of this is because they were seen as "hard sell" rather than what they really are, which is just part of the copy.

Good slogans capture the meaning and essence of the brand, as well as tying into the ad execution.

What are your favourite ad slogans, and why? Did they make the ad funny (I think thats what he said, but I need to hear it on a Maxell), or just make you remember?

I am glad though that despite some rubbish examples (Im Loving It, Where in the world? PC World) good slogans are starting to make a comeback. The two big campaigns of recent years had them (The Power of Dreams, Sony Like.No.Other); and others are bringing them back too (McCain - Its All Good).

What do you think is the future for the ad slogan?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Read All About It!

So. Finally I managed to finish Then We Came To The End (by Joshua Ferris), sent to me very kindly by Penguin. Delayed much by engagement, wedding preparation, illness and so forth; it may appear like I struggled to get through it.

However the opposite is true, I kept reading it, and every time I went to bed too tired to read it I kept reminding myself to read it the next day.

Its a great book. It has all of the office conflict and gossip that we see everyday, along with the nice touches of humanity and kindness that we are capable of.

Often funny, and at no point less than believable; even when odd things are happening. Ocassionally sad, but not in a sentimental way. You really get the sense that these are real people living real lives. It's advertising based, but not in a way that makes it less accessible to anyone else.

I love the way it is written, scattered in and out just like the stories and gossip of a real workplace. Sometimes you lose track and then it reminds you where the conversation got diverted.

Not a life changing book, but a very good one nonetheless.
Its out now and well worth reading. Buy at Amazon.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mr T, I Pity the Fool Who Doesnt Like....He

Snickers has felt for years like a product with no real positioning, kind of wedged in a sub space around Mars. Now finally Snickers is back, with tacky but effective style.

Mr T brings the pain.

Its silly, but it uses him in the best possible way; as an iconic character rather than just a substanceless celebrity picture.

This ad also succeeds in mocking the diving footballer idea far better than the shitty Coke Zero ads. Positioning Snickers as a masculine snack is a sensible idea considering the way Mars has been pushed towards women in recent years (Including the softening of the typography on the wrapper).

I hope this campaign can continue with more original ideas, because in execution it is great.