Friday, January 30, 2009

Lunar Bizzle's Shizzle Sizzles

Please head over to LunarBBDO's blog where there is a truly excellent rating of big ad agencies by comparing them to the world of hip hop.

It's a gem, with statements like:

AMV = The Beastie Boys
White, middle class, been doing the business for a long time, but just when you think they've faded a little, they're back with a hit.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mind the Inbox

I get 3 or 4 PR emails a day now promoting new campaigns, they come from pretty much anywhere in the world and provide me with useful first looks at things.

But most kudos should go to the folk at Immediate Future. While most others send brief summations with huge attachments included that fill my inbox up, the guys (and gals) there send polite emails that provide useful information on the ads and offer images and futher info if I wish to get it.

Perhaps more importantly, they only contact me about ads that seem interesting; as opposed to shoving every new campaign at me.

The bit that really makes the difference though, is that the people who contact me actually read my blog first. It might only be a scan through, but it makes me feel like I am personally contacted instead of being a name on a cc list.

That's how this kind of blogging pr should be done.

Man City Fans Look Away

Fresh from referencing him about the Eyebrow ad, Kaka is making an appearance in the new Sony Bravia ad.

It features something called the Bravia-drome, which is apparently the world's largest Zoetrope... what ever that is.

But the ad looks like something interesting, that might make the Bravia campaign swing back to its heights. Lets hope!

La Clio.. erm... el Responsivous

A while back I asked both of you for some questions to put to the director of the Clio awards, Wayne Youkhana. He has kindly got back with some answers:

1. With all the award schemes that have risen up in the last 10 years do you think advertising awards have devalued their own currency? And if so, how do you maintain the value of the CLIO against the other major awards?The value of an advertising award is only as good as the credibility and respect it carries within the industry. CLIO has worked hard for 50 years to create and maintain the highest level of both, and is a leader in the Awards show arena.

2. What criteria do you use to judge creativity? Which do you think is the most important criteria?The highest levels of creativity entail fresh, simple, and well-executed ideas born out of the product. Each part being just as integral as the next. Examples of these award winning creative ideas will be on display in May at the 50th Anniversary CLIO Awards Festival in Las Vegas.

3. Do you think the industry is in danger of forgetting what its actual purpose is from a commercial perspective?No, because there’s always the client there to remind them of that purpose.

4. Do you think we're (as an industry) getting more or less creative - and why?I believe the industry is getting more creative as it works harder to make the client’s message stand out from their competitors. Powerful creativity is one way to achieve this.

5. Who do you think is the advertising industries’ real competitor? [from a commercial imagination perspective, not from a client remuneration side]Last year the industry was responding to consumer generated videos on sites like YouTube. This year it’s social-networking. Next year it might be something different. Regardless of what it is, at some point it becomes part of the industry as they will use it as yet another tool in developing solutions for their clients.

6. How come all the examples used in presentations and other material is about companies who's lead the majority don't follow (Apple, Nike, etc)? And why do you think other don't follow them despite their success?These are examples of big brands that take big risks that often reap big rewards. There’s a lot of fear out there, now more than ever, and some companies choose to play it safer than others.

7. Has the mainstream acceptance of advertising as a profession, tamed it?It has given it the legitimacy needed to allow for more risk-taking.

8. Why did no advertising company invent Dopplr, twitter, flickr for any of its clients?That’s the question that many agencies are asking themselves, “Why didn’t we think of that?”

9. Why Vegas and not Miami again?A survey of 1,800 respondents conducted in August 2008 found that Las Vegas was the most attractive and affordable option for the 2009 50th Anniversary CLIO Festival, because it is a city internationally renowned for its bright lights and great entertainment – a truly appropriate venue to showcase all talent and creativity within the industry.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Monday Meeting

Quick update to let everyone know that Monday sees the return of the Northern Planning (and Creative, and Australian artist) Meet Up.

7pm at The Northern Pub in Manchester's Northern Quarter.

If you need anymore info shout me: rob (at) ad -pit dot co dot uk

Friday, January 23, 2009

Raised Eyebrows

Welcome back to the Cadbury's Dairy Milk campaign. A campaign crushing under the weight of more expectation than Barack Obama.

Yet despite some glowing reviews elsewhere I struggle to like the new ad. The idea of setting the Dairy Milk moment as that moment of glee when kids are left on their own to cause mischief is nice; and far better than Trucks. The use of humans is much better than inanimate objects (unless you Pixar them).

But as my colleague Steve mentioned today: The ad sets its stall out to be entertainment, so we judge it differently. And in this campaign the benchmark is very very high.

The problem seems to be that the tone of the humour doesn't quite fit with the idea. It's trying to be Vic and Bob with serious faces and silly movements, but it just feels too forced and lacks the emotional quality that made Gorilla great. Besides, the joy of Gorilla was that you felt the joy of the moment even if you didnt understand the message; but here that joy just doesn't hit.

That said, the balloon is great and the music is spot on. A disappointment, but not a catastrophic one. This is better than Trucks, better than average, but just nowhere near Gorilla. Which, unfortunately for Fallon, all these ads will be compared to.

Best analogy I came to so far is Manchester City. They wake up expecting Kaka, and ended up with Craig Bellamy. Not a bad signing, but not what they were hoping for.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chaos Emerald

Looks like As If By Magic got hit by chaos today.
He makes a surprisingly good evil clown/comic villain.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And Justice For All

We should all remember the past 24 hours. Remember where we were and what we were doing. Today is one of the most momentous days in recent history, the world came together in hope and happily so did the USA.

Regardless of what happens next it gives me hope that the world is not always at the mercy of idiots and bigots.

Obama will never live up to the crushing expectations, but if he gets halfway he will be a hero to us all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Do The Mashed Potata

The new ad for T-Mobile has been causing a bit of a stir on the web. A nice (but very long) video featuring some contagious dancing on Liverpool St station. (Why are these things always in central London...)

The choice of music is good, the execution is good, and the idea and feeling it gives off seem much better than the stuff T-Mobile have done recently.

The only thing that makes me unsure is where the line of genuine moment and rehearsed performance fits in. Regardless its a good piece of film, but the message feels less special if its not a real moment.

The best Liverpool St video however is still this one:

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I was speaking to a researcher yesterday who asked me if I was cynical. I replied no, well a bit, and then I think quite aptly described my way of thought:

Positive Cynicism

Yeah that's me alright...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tasty Friendship

Now this is more like it for Burger King.

The new Whopper Sacrifice promotion in the US works on a brilliantly simple idea, install the facebook app and delete 10 of your friends to be rewarded with a Whopper. So far over 200k friends have been deleted.

I love it, just love it. It's an online idea that offers something free, but is so silly and easy to pass on that you could imagine it going round millions of people. It's a promotion that makes you think, and that reinforces a positive product view.

If this is CPB, then welcome back to form.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pizza Cake

Hurrah! Our new ads for Chicago Town Pizza launched this week.
Having seen them develop from pitch level it's great to see them appear on the screen.

Although I am biased I do think they are great. Engaging ads that get the point across whilst keeping a sense of fun and silliness.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Load of Insight

Also worth a look is a really interesting post from Richard Huntingdon on what an insight is.

I always think it's a wonderful privilege that blogging allows people like myself (less than a year in adland) to freely and easily see the thoughts of clever people like Richard.

It would be a bit like being able to go and read a blog from Stephen King when planning was just starting.

New Years Revelations - Adliterate

New Direction

A great new feature from Scamp, director of the month is a chance to see the reels of up and coming directors.

Director of the Month

Monkey and Wise

To be honest i'm not quite sure whether I like this or not. It's parodying (whilst copying) something very old but classically ingrained in our tv history.

It does it quite well, and is silly enough to get away with it; but I do hope we get something more (as good as their first ad back together) from Monkey and Al soon.

Iggy Played Guitar

And now fronts an ad for Swiftcover...


Friday, January 09, 2009

When Two Tribes go to War

It's been a while since we heard from the epic battle between BA and Virgin Atlantic. Years of bickering and fighting have made it one of the UK's most interesting brand contests.

Well wait no more, Virgin are back, with a brilliantly shot ad featuring lots of comic retro references; and a perfect choice of music in Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Relax. But the question everyone in adland is asking is: Is it sexist?

It certainly flies the 'women as objects' flag more than most; but no more so than Lynx has been doing for years. There is no subtlety in it, but then looking (in brand/product terms) at what Virgin were compared to BA at the time it seems quite accurate.

Does the inclusion of a male pilot help by objectifying the man as well? Does the lack of male cabin crew make it worse?

What about the fact it was (apparently) thought up by a woman creative?

At Last. At Long LONG Last

Finally after so long and so much rubbish, we finally have a good price comparison website ad.

It has been a battle to get here but Compare the Market has done it with the magnificent Compare the Meerkat campaign.

Ok ok. It's probably not the most durable campaign, and it isn't executed perfectly; but it's amusing, silly, and full of details that make it work. The website for example is excellent, even down to the mock logo with two meerkats instead of £ symbols.

Watch the boring crap by Money Supermeerkat (great pun by an anon poster on Scamp), Gocompare etc etc... and you'll appreciate this more. In it's market its miles ahead.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

From Dire to the Diabolical

Update - Happily this is apparently the work of a Rolex jeweller, and not (it appears) the brand itself. Lets hope so.

Thanks to RobCampbell for pointing this out.

Sometimes, very rarely; outrage is not enough to describe a horrific event. 9/11, the killing of Martin Luther King, the lack of killing of George W Bush, the Israeli treatment of Palestine and the absence of world intervention; to name but a few.

But its very rare in the world of advertising and marketing that something can be SO bad, cause SO much offence, and be SO completely awful in every sense that it makes you want to physically hurt those who created it.

Step forward Rolex's PR agency.

Apparently the y are the brand to pick if ever you feel like killing yourself.

Yes, you may not believe it but Rolex helped to save the life of Owen Wilson.

"I know!


Just shows you the power of capitalism and brand loyalty!"

ARGH! What absolute fuckheads. No wait, that is too good a term for the person who crafted this. This is possibly the single most despicable piece of marketing seen in the 21 century. A showpiece of arrogance, of a complete disparity from the normal world, of completely and utterly missing the whole point of mental illness and suicide.

Unbelievable. I hope for the sake of the PR world that this is a fake. Rather like most Rolexes. (Schmolex my brother calls them)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Famous Robs Review of 2008 - Part 6 (Final!)

Famous Robs Review of Famous Rob's 2008.


This has been an extremely interesting year for me. I finally (fiiiiinally) got a planning job.

After so much effort, time and money it was frankly a relief to know that all that work was worthwhile.

8 months later I feel extremely glad to have made the choices I did (both in role and agency). I have enjoyed working here so much that I think I am actually glad I didn't get a job earlier; it sure as hell taught me a lot by not walking straight into something.

A slightly self indulgent thank you to everyone who has made me feel welcome, and everyone who backed me/helped me/gave me advice that got me here. Especially: Rob C, Northern, Charles Frith, Russell Davies, Gemma, Graham, Steve, Lucy, Hrizzle, J&D, Matt & Reg (turkey). (Please don't be offended if you aren't here, I don't wish to type out everyone I know here..!)
I also jointly won the best agency doppelganger from Matt's picture of me drawn on a slice of Turkey. Thaaanks!

The Ad Pit

It's been an unusual year for this blog. For the first time I have experienced being involved in the process of making ads; and I think its impossible not to alter your judgement of bad ads from it. You realise just how often what you think is great doesn't get through for one reason or another.

That said, I have always tried to look at ads as I would do at home flicking channels/pages/webpages/etc.

In terms of posts I have found an issue this year that I need to look at over the near future. No one wants to read a passive blog, and I am highly passionate about making good ads and criticising bad ones... but by knowing so many (and growing) people in adland it is inevitable that I end up strongly slagging off ads worked on by people I respect (as has happened at least once this year).

Now I don't want to change the way I write, and especially not my praise/fury at the output of adland (harsh but constructive usually!); but I need to work out how best to manage that line. It might take a while... so please bear with any changes that might happen.

Readers (both of you) please do let me know what you think!

Famous Rob

Please note I am only referring to myself as Famous Rob for a while as I found I was no longer top of the search rankings for it... and it was a nice thing to show people!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Famous Robs Review of 2008 - Part 5

Lo and Behold, its time for my favourite ads of the year in the wittily titled:

Best Ads of 2008 Award!

I'm happy to say that there have been plenty of outstanding ads this year, and as normal I tend to focus on TV ad because of the convenience of You Tube. But don't let that make you think I haven't enjoyed the good press work by Harvey Nichols, The FT etc etc

Runner Up - John West - Row

Maybe its a little biased to put an ad from the agency where I work, but I don't care. This was possibly the first bit of tv creative I saw on joining; and it absolutely made me feel like I had made the right decision.

It's a quiet, understated but beautifully shot ad that shows what can be achieved by good creatives (waves to the guys across the desk from me) on a small budget.

Runner Up - Natural Confectionery Company - Trumpets

THIS is how you do irreverence in ads. Funny and lovable ads with the tone spot on.
Its practically a benefits list with a gag or two but it works perfectly.

Runner Up - Drench - Brains

Nailed a retro moment right in the bullseye. Perfect song choice and produced brilliantly.
...and just as you think its being irreverent it smack you in the head with a magnificently simple thought that pulls it all together.

Runner Up - VW - Fight

A nice ad, and a late contender for ad of the year. It isn't, but its certainly worthy of a mention here.

Winner - TIE!
Hovis - Go On Lad
Toshiba - Time Sculpture

I just couldn't decide. Two ads that have taken outdated brands and brought them bang smack up to date. One is heartfelt and sweet, the other technically brilliant; one is harking back to brand image past, and one to the future, but both are outstanding reinventions of brands we had probably all stopped caring about.

Grey deserve absolute credit for being the first agency (to my knowledge) to put Crystal Castles in an ad. Its a perfect music choice for Toshiba, retro yet futuristic; the sound of everything puzzling and technological harnessed into something melodic and visionary. A perfect encapsulation of everything the ad is trying to say about the brand.

No doubt you've seen them both already, but do yourselves a favour and look again. Two outstanding pieces of work that personally have changed how I see both the respective brands.

Famous Robs Review of 2008 Part 4

Ok. Ok. I didn't have time to finish my review before Christmas or the new year, but it shall be done very soon!!

The Non-Ad Awards

Best Thing to Happen

Barack Obama elected President of USA

Favourite Album of the Year

Tie between Crystal Castles, and Late of the Pier. Buy both, they are amazing.

Song of the Year

Late of the Pier - Focker

Film of the Year

Wall-E. Unusual and slow, but with a characterisation and sense of fun that makes it absolutely amazing entertainment. In my favourite animated films ever list alongside My Neighbor Totoro and South Park...