Thursday, December 22, 2011
For decades now advertising has worked on the pitch system, where the vast majority of projects are won by doing the majority of strategic and creative work upfront.
I'm starting to think that this system is (in this economic climate) completely broken, and that it is not only damaging agencies but clients too.
In the crazy old days, agencies were making gigantic profits, and a pitch system that ensured you had great ideas before being thrown piles of money was completely logical. Why risk paying huge sums of money on unproven creative risk takers?
Except now there are very few creative risk takers, the industry has been made more business-like, more efficient and more money focused than ever before. There are very few reasonable or bigger sized agencies that will give you rubbish unless you brief them badly.
Perhaps more importantly, agency profit margins have dropped (especially outside London) massively from those days. I would take a large bet that almost every agency in the UK has at least one account that runs at a loss. Yet we are being forced to keep spending on pitches that have no compensation whatsoever. Not only that but pitches have no guarantee of any actual work; you could spend £30k on winning a £25m account only for them to pull the plug with no warning and no compensation, and you have no comeback whatsoever.
You also have the problem of clients using pitches as a cost-cutting tool, holding a pitch each year to drive agency margins down. How can you expect work that cuts through and drives sales if you don't give us the time or money to develop it fully?
Agencies used to have it too easy, but the weight has shifted too far the other way.
Instead of agencies working with time to think and properly plan out the right way forward; they are being asked to generate an entire strategy and campaign in an increasingly short space of time. Even though you develop the campaign, the cornerstone is being set way too early. This means agencies don't get to produce their best work, and clients don't get the most for their money.
We all want to make great work that makes the client a shedload of money, but in many cases the current system holds us all back.
Maybe in 2012 it's time for the IPA to consider if there is a better way, and if not how can we at least make the pitch system fairer for all agencies and clients; in order that we can produce the clever, effective work we all want to.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Yeo Valley - Boyband - Nicely shot, well placed ads that have made people take notice of the brand.
Canal+ - Bear director - Great work from a campaign that keeps on delivering.
John Lewis Xmas - A xmas ad is the best ad of the year, remarkable. This ad takes everything the brand is good ad, a huge chunk of audience understanding and combines it with some excellent production and creative work. Truly brilliant.
Worst Ad of 2011
Confused.com - Dear god this is bad on every level.
Colmans - Moo - I can see how it might have sounded like a funny idea. In execution though it is just cringeworthy.
Go Compare - What else would you expect? Another year of advertising that makes the lowest common denominator look like it's ten miles upwards. The only bright spot was the 'silent movie' ad which showed by being the most recalled ad in the series that the song is its' weakest point.
Most Improved Brand
Dreams - A sweet ad that made this DFSesque retailer seem a little bit John Lewis for a while. The hard sell returned, but the whole campaign was a good step forward.
Biggest Use of Budget to Hide Apparent Lack of Idea:
Muller - This ad gets away with much by being likable and engaging to its target audience, but there is still no escaping the fact that the whole ad appears to be a gigantic process of chucking budget at a script without there being much thought behind it. It's not pure entertainment, and it's not really an ad... If there is a good idea somewhere in there, Muller really need to focus on it next time instead of producing the advertising equivalent of the Expendables.
Best New Idea to Tackle Old Problem:
NZ Drink Driving - Legend - A smart turnaround of the old drink driving issue. A witty ad that actually manages to talk to young adults without patronising or lecturing them. Great work.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Ralph Lauren Fragrance Collection - I think probably hits the target audience right, but personally I see this and think 'I would never in my life want to be associated with those people'.
Prada - An ad so annoying that I ended up shouting at the screen to just show me the bottle and end this madness. It's so obviously a perfume ad. It has only minor style, no class, no edge (it's attempts at edge look comically bad), and just cheapens the brand.
CK One Shock - Now this is better. It's still random enough to feel like a perfume ad, but it at least has a sense of style and personality that matches the product. Contemporary and edgy compared to most of the others.
DKNY Be Delicious - Looks nice, fantastic product design... but is anyone really going to stay interested in the overly exagerrated fawning til the end?
David Beckham - What do you need to know. It shows Beckham in a vaguely stylish way then says 'a perfume by David Beckham - winner of 'Chemical engineer of the year 2004.'
Lancome - This looks great and at least tries to DO something with the big budget star (Emma Watson). Must have cost a fortune to make, and will it sell a lot more perfume?
I just don't get it. This is a category with often gigantic production values, the kind that most brands would kill for. Seriously, a brand manager is on his round with a machete as I type this. Yet the end result is typically tacky, crass, and somehow doesn't seem to either look good or add any desirability to the product whatsoever.
Surely if you are selling premium fragrances with brands linked to style and in some cases very high end fashion, you should be producing work that doesn't feel exactly like the competitors.
I know it's hard to put an idea in a perfume ad, so you end up with ridiculous statements about masculinity or femininity; but the people making these clearly have talent, so why not use it?
The winner here is clearly CK Shock. An ad that stands out, doesn't feel as much like a perfume ad, and has a bit of an idea that fits with the product.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
I've seen this recently. [Obviously I am not going to say who for.]
A client for whom I recall discussion stating that we 'have to do X' and 'Cannot do Y', no matter how much we gave convincing arguments and details they said there was nothing they can do.
Suddenly their new agency work comes out... no sign of X, lots of Y.
Well hang on just a minute...
It's less about the individual frustration of one piece of work, more that it makes it look as if we weren't even trying. "Why didn't we think of that?" ... Well we did. We argued and created and debated, we had even better work but it was never allowed to see the light of day. I feel bad for the creatives, planners and account people who worked damn hard to come up with great ideas, even harder to create something from within the stifling restrictions... only then to see an agency given a much better creative opportunity.
Now either they had incredible account handlers (that they would better than these particular ones I doubt though)... or the client changed their mind. Either way it’s disappointing to see your hard work go to waste.
This has emphasised a point I always strive to remember, work isn't always bad because the agency is bad. New work isn't always better because the new agency is better. Creative work is NOT made from a level playing field, even sometimes with the same client.
Monday, November 21, 2011
What starts as a nice idea is spoiled by a seeming desire to describe in full detail the booking and ordering process. The 1m version does so in such an obvious way that it switched me off from the whole ad. I wish CHI had focused on the entertaining part of the idea, and made the whole piece absorbing rather than trying to stick a couple of jokes in to make up it.
I don't think it's a strectch to say this ad is very much based on the Smash Martians. Aliens observe the human way of doing things and comment on it... the difference was that John Webster made the Smash Martians lovable and silly, the benefits and message were wrapped up in a way which made them feel part of the idea. They were ramshackle and cheap, but that made them engaging. The writing was natural and you couldn't help but follow along. Nothing wrong with being inspired by one of the best ads ever made, but don't forget to be influenced by what made it so good too.
The Argos aliens look too polished, too human; and instead of feeling like characters you can laugh along with or relate to, you feel like every word they say is being targeted at you as a customer, not as a person watching TV. It's as if a client wrote the copy, and that's rarely a good thing.
It's a shame really, the idea is there; and being from CHI the talent is clearly there, but this ad just doesn't achieve what it could. I hope that they can take the idea and do something better with it, it has the potential.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I get the feeling from some of the comments that the latest John Lewis ad is suffering from this. After the fantastic 'Always a Woman' ad, and some other good pieces, this year's Christmas ad has a lot to live up to.
Lucky then, that the ad is absolutely brilliant. It shows beautifully the impatience of a child at Christmas, how their perspective on time changes. It's funny (the bit where it cuts to the nativity dress made me laugh out loud) and surely would make anyone smile and feel positive about the brand.
The nice little twist at the end is brilliant, and several people I know with kids said it made them cry. Those who know the unconditional love that kids have for their parents seem to get hit like a bullet at that moment; that the kid shares the joy of giving. But you don't need kids to be moved by this ad, you just have to be able to remember what it was like being a kid.
Despite some criticism I think the song is spot on. The cover fits the style used previously by John Lewis, and the words are totally apt. Who cares if it's a Smiths song? Clearly they were happy to let it be used so why should you care?
An ad that blazes a red hot trail right throught the traditional bright red stodgy promotional Christmas fare, and truly captures the spirit of the season for families everywhere. No artificial cheerful bollocks here, this is full on brand understanding of its audience and the people they are buying for.
Somewhere a brand manager asked 'Please please please let me get what I want'. Santa delivered.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Oh. My. God.
I have never seen nor heard of a hotel like the nhow Berlin. It's bright and bold and stylish and colourful. I saw it online and knew I had to stay there... as a huge music/architecture fan it looked like a great place.
My first impressions were good, the reception is amazing. Then they said as I was staying a long time I had been given a free upgrade! I walked into a decent sized room, decorated in a way I can safely say matches no other hotel in the world. Mental, but bright, bold and comfortable.
Then I realised that I had four big windows with a view of the river Spree in three directions!
Sure the bright colours will annoy some people, but if it was done so everyone liked it it wouldn't be half as good.
Even better, the service was brilliant throughout. With nice staff who spoke English very well (despite my best attempts at German, I am by no means a good speaker), and were always happy to help in any way they could.
I have to mention Nadine and Caroline who worked at the bar. They were cheerful, nice to talk to and always happy to help. They even avoided laughing when I left a full glass of beer when the evening's drinking caught up with me quickly and I nipped off to bed before I fell off the stool!
When I turned up to the bar with my luggage for an apple juice they both pulled sad faces, which is exactly the kind of friendly service I like, not the straight, upper lip service most hotels aim for.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
I've had a lot going the past few weeks so apologies for the lack of posts!
I'm off on holiday for a week or so, normal service shall resume when I return; in the meantime there may be some comments from Berlin, if I stop partying long enough ;)
Friday, October 28, 2011
Unlike most ads that tackle drink driving, it feels like there is a true understanding of how the problem actually works in real life; that they see the difficulty involved in telling someone who has had a few not to do it. They don't patronise, they don't come at you from a higher moral ground or use shock value to create impact. Instead, they created something surprising. An ad for drink driving that might actually have an effect.
To rework it so that the core message is about the positive outcome of not drink driving, but still referencing what could happen in a different and entertaining way is brilliant. Telling a sober person not to drive when they get drunk is never going to be easy to do, but turning you into a hero (even in your own head) for doing the right thing is a great way to try and reframe the problem in a way that might actually change the overall behaviour, even if it doesnt stop someone wanting to drive drunk initially. This ad fully deserves the praise it is getting.
Good government advertisers... legends.
Monday, October 10, 2011
The new Yeo Valley ad is just brilliant. Who would have thought they could top comedy farmers rapping? Well they have.
Everyone knows the boyband cliche's, but they are done superbly here; mocking in a loving way the poses and styles (even harmonies) of these kind of groups.
The idea of singing farmers is strong, and the branding is nicely either underplayed or part of the humour so it doesn't feel like you are being shouted at.
When we talk about better engagement, being bold and building emotional connections, this is the kind of thing we mean.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
I am well known as someone who stays away from the hype around apple products. I have never owned an iPhone, Mac nor iPad. Yet it is impossible even still not to be saddened by the death of Steve Jobs at just 56.
When google and Microsoft link to a competitor's homepage, when people are genuinely sad at the passing of someone they never met, when millions of people learnt about it on devices he created; you realise this was someone of the like we will probably never see again.
Whatever your personal view on their products, it is hard to get away from the simple fact that Steve Jobs changed the world. His personal desire and intelligence brought the world products that simply stood out a mile from the competition. His confidence in his beliefs meant he never backed into launching products for market gaps, he acted like a great planner and took insight and used it to see the gaps no one else could see.
Not only that, he allowed the creative people around him to use their creativity. He respected their work, and as long as it met with the vision he trusted them to do their job. You only have to look at the work Pixar do to see the effect. He may have been tough to work for, but how many geniuses were easy bosses?
The use of intuition and his innate understanding of how people work were characteristics that any planner would be proud of; it's great to have the data, great to have the facts and figures, but the ability to take a leap from there is what seperates the great from the good.
We need more brave planners, more leap planning. To show the world (and especially our creative departments) that what we do isn't all about charts and numbers, it's about insight and pushing the industry forward. What better role model? Instantly any creative will understand what that means and how you want to work; that you want to help creatives and make people respond better to your campaigns and ideas.
It's easy to be the same, to do what everyone else does. Being different takes bravery, strength and belief. It's not just about thinking different, it's about doing different. Just like Bernbach, just like Webster.
So let's be insightful, intuitive, bold and determined. Let's progress our industry, and in a small way take inspiration from the man who took the computer from a scientific machine to what we use every day in our homes and our pockets; and who gave us the best film studio of the last 50 years.
Let's plan like Steve Jobs.
Monday, October 03, 2011
One line made me laugh though: "But if you thought the commercials were the product of some trendy Soho ad agency you’d be wrong."
Oh dear. No folks, not for one second did I think that the latest monstrosity was conceived by an agency. If it was they were either juniors on a total off day, or terrible.
I am rapidly getting to the stage where i prefer GoCompare's ads to these. At least GoCompare has an idea, this feels like a brief given a visual and sonic treatment. You can practically see the brief in the script:
ARGH! All this does is make remember that I never want to visit a site that is producing this kind of ad.
Seriously, the people making these need to study the work of Dave Trott. The guy is an expert at creating memorable and enjoyable ads that made you remember the brand, but in a positive way. Ariston, Toshiba, Access, all strongly brand name focused but with creativity, a strategy, and an actual idea.
If there is a better demonstration of why we need planners and creative directors I am yet to see it.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Of all the Old Spice style ads appearing, I think one of the best is the TheExpert from Loreal. Funny and devoid of the product fawning the ladies' make up ads have.
You can pick a colour and name it by making a donation to Unicef.
It gets across the brand values of Dulux, but in an interesting and positive way that people are bound to want to share.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Does that sound familiar? An agency doing good work and heading in the right direction, only to be fired or chucked into a re-pitch for no good reason? A new marketing director taking over and wanting to stamp their authority? Either way the work gets changed, the ideas diverted, the strategy altered and instead of building up a long term result they get stuck with short term spikes and no loyalty.
Mind you. At least there is a reason for those sackings. You could be like poor Chris Hughton, doing an excellent job in difficult circumstances and let go on a whim by the shambling management team that you just dug out of a Championship sized hole. As thanks for the good work you get treated like an inconvenience and kicked out halfway through a campaign where you were doing well.
Of course it would be bad if like poor Everton fans, you had to put up with all your best players being sold, and then no money being spent on new ones. Imagine having your budget cut in half and then being expected to get the same results. How bad must it be to be trying your best to make communications work, but there is never enough budget to actually achieve anything. I wonder who will be the one to get fired?
Still, it could be worse. Abramovich is reported to constantly meddle in the team affairs, undermining the manager and making decisions for him. Wouldn't it be terrible if bad clients did that to ag...oh. Next time you get given a gigantic chunk of bad copy or a list of features, or are given some bad art direction you can't refuse, that's what we call a Torres.
Thank goodness very few clients are like this though. When you think about who you could be working for, it makes you better appreciate those you already are.
Disclaimer: I am West Ham fan who lives near Old Trafford.
P.S.: I also have sympathy for the poor client that hired what they thought was a good agency and ended up with Steve McLaren (Sorry Rob C)
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
"Don't you think you should be paid for them using your work?" I am asked. Well, if you look at it on a basic level I can see the similarity between a magazine printing my writing and them printing a column by 'another planner' (E.g.: One whom I would never claim to be anywhere near as smart as!).
However, I wouldn't be writing this content if I didn't want to do so anyway, this content is here because it is something i want to express an opinion on. I didn't start my blog to get paid, I started it to get my voice out there, which appearing in magazines helps to do. The blog served its' key purpose of helping me get into planning, and it helps me to keep thinking and to talk with other intelligent people in adland.
The other works are columns purposely constructed and paid for, they have to hit deadlines and need to meet much better editorial standards than my rantings. If I was writing to those timeframes and contraints I would want paying, but the point of a blog is the freedom not to be limited.
So the answer is: not really no. I don't mind not being paid when my blog writing appears in magazines, it's always credited to me and treated with editorial respect so I don't see the problem.
The other good thing is the amount of exposure this kind of thing provides for planners outside the London circle. I have seen planners in Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and other places included recently; for an industry that too often silo's itself into small areas I think this is very healthy. A small step towards breaking the out of date perception that (even in a digital world) not being based in London somehow makes you an inferior agency or talent.
No one in America claims CPB are rubbish because they are in Boulder, Colorado; no one dismisses W+K because they are in Portland not New York; the sooner we all start to respect each other the sooner we can start fixing the problems of our industry and regaining real creative trust from our clients. The prevelance of northern planners being published is a good start.
Monday, September 05, 2011
Funny thing is though, WKD have gone and shown on a fraction of the budget and creative spend that they can do this type of ad better.
The ad isn't exactly stepping into new ground, but it's actually funny instead of just cringeworthy; and it actually comes at you with a sense of warmth and fun rather than corporate sponsored mischief.
Yes, I know I was criticising the 'three guys in a bar' setup, but at least this ad gives the idea the space and time to work instead of filling it up with taste and pouring shots. We are actually allowed to see the idea develop and get a proper gag or two in there.
It just feels like WKD know their audience, know their brand and its' tone of voice, and have used it properly; whereas the Pepsi work just feels like it's trying too hard to be mischievous, too hard to be attractive and cool, and it just falls down.
The strength of Pepsi was always that they didn't care about looking cool, which is why they always seemed cooler than Coke. Recently though Pepsi ads tend to just feel like Coke ads with a little more edge (if you can call it that).
So Pepsi marketing team, try watching this and remember what used to make your communications good.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
A button for those with an interest in functionality and user design that says a site is bad.
I call it:
The 'This Site is a Piece of shit' Button
Offenders I have seen this week:
- Facebook apps that force you to like them and then don't work.
- Web pages that link you to someone elses link, which takes you to someone elses link, which might (if you are lucky) take you to the place you actually want to go.
- Pop unders? In 2011??
- Brand sites that make you register before you can engage with them
- "I just spent 5 minutes getting my QR reader to work for this?!"
- Mobile sites that are big enough to strain a home Wi-Fi connection
- This video is not available in your country (even though the content is)
- The Ben Terrett Award for bad typography
- (From Nick) "Let me just resize your browser window for you, as our site is so awesome it has to take up your whole screen!"
- (From Nick) "How about some fancy music? No? Well, I'll play it anyway, and hide the 'mute' button in the top right hand corner for you."
- (From Miss Heather) An intro page. Still? Really?! Do you not see why this is such a bad thing?
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The idea is nice too, and apart from feeling a little overdone they come across well.
I haven't had gin in about 12 years though, going to be a fair job to sell it to me...
Annoyingly though, Campaign are now paywalled, Visit4info won't let you embed, and YouTube don't have it... so here it is.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Surely the whole aim of these programmes is to make them part of popular culture, to get people talking and sharing so that viewing figures and ad spend goes up?
So why are they so obsessed with the antiquated idea that having it online will cost them money, if anything it is the other way around. I understand not putting full episodes up, but little clips and gags are surely the best trailers you can get? It was seeing Family Guy clips that got me watching the show again after a while of not bothering.
I've been waiting a decade for Warner to release Animaniacs on UK DVD. Watching clips online is the only way I can see and talk to people about these shows. Hellllooooo Nurse. Still, at least i can still find clips from the underrated The Critic, until they take them down.
So the only way i can now get clips of the Simpsons and Family guy is to rip them or download them (both technically illegal). Or I end up with crappy bad quality shorts that do nothing to sell the show.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
1. Flora Buttery
Nice product, terrible packaging. The lid doesn't fit well onto the tub. It feels half on, but if you press it down it rips and then doesn't stay on at all. Useless, to the point where i don't want to buy it.
2. Nestle Ice cream mini tubs
I bought one of these the other day. I pressed the lid down and it didnt go, until the whole tub scrunched up into a mess. Useless.
My wife went to buy a load of muller yoghurts yesterday. Normally they are colourful and you can pick them out easily. Except someone at Muller decided it would be good to rebrand all of them blue, making it ten times harder to work out the flavour you are looking at.
In addition, they were all stored in those cardboard containers, which were all the same blue with a Muller logo. What used to be an easy to navigate range became a total wall of blue. After looking around for 30 seconds my wife gave up and didn't buy any. I bet she isn't the only one, horrible case of design that doesn't check for usage.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
After such an event it is inevitable that many people will swing their social views to the right and demand tougher punishment, less benefits and tougher police. But the question we have to ask here, is why are there so many people who feel so out of touch with society, so absent of trust or hope in our society that they think it is acceptable to do this? How have we allowed people to become this way, if they are scum, they are scum of our own making. We cannot start taking heavy handed action on the symptoms if we continue to do nothing about the real causes.
This isn't just about bad parents and social media, this is about 32 years of government in which groups of people have been so left behind and ignored by society that we can refer to them as the 'underclass' without irony or insult. How else do we get a system that manages to take the worst of the left and worst of the right and combine them? No future, no jobs, no support, no propects combined with a dependence on social benefits; is it any wonder people are addicted to benefits? If money from the government was all you could expect to get for your whole life, is it any wonder you are both reliant on, addicted to, and angry at, the system?
It's no coincidence the trouble appears in poorer areas, places left behind. Always the first to get cuts in a tory government. If you leave food out in the open, it will go mouldy; whose fault is it if it then makes you ill?
In the words of Megadeth, 'Peace sells, but who's buying?' I read one report that 2000 black people protested peacefully in London a few weeks ago with not an inch of coverage in the press, one burning building and the world is at the door. I'm not saying these people were doing anything with a political point, but the fact they do it in the first place is a bigger political point.
No government wants to tackle it. This is our modern equivalent of dragging families out of the slums and into council houses. We won't get there by focusing on the symptoms. If it was us, how would we approach this problem?
Friday, August 05, 2011
Is this a good ad? Is it a product of the time?
Either way it's been lodged in my head for 18 years.
Is this a borderline racist display of outdated black stereotypes, or is it a cool piece of animation that makes a random beverage seem a million times more attractive than a dull Robinson's fruit drink?
I for one never saw any offense in it, it seemed very very cool; and if it did use stereotypes, it did so in what seemed a mostly complimentary way.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
A thought on how we can gently make a statement about good advertising, trying to inspire better work to be allowed through.
The idea is The Good Ad Club
Essentially it's a club in which we decide which adverts are the best in their market, and then members use that decision to influemce their buying decisions.
In other words, if you were being strict, then no other factor would affect your brand decisions other than whether the advertising was good or not.
So this month for example:
Weetabix for breakfast with Cravendale milk
Insurance from Compare the Market
Alcoholic drinks allowed: Stella Cidre, Fosters
Charity donations to Cancer Research
An odd idea I know. but it would be an interesting one to do!
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
From a planning point of view we can say 'has this worked?' or 'has this changed behaviour?', but we have to remember that advertising is both a creative industry and a sales industry.
What do they have in common? Neither have an answer that is perfect for everyone. No salesperson will have a patter that everyone responds to, not even the best in the world. Just as no creative will ever work for every single person. It's just impossible, we don't work that way as human beings.
There are great ads that have done extremely badly, just as there are good ads that have done unbelievably well. Sure media spend plays a part (Go sodding Compare), but there is never a guarantee that good creative means success.
In a perfect (hah) world Weetabix would be flying off the shelf right now and people would be buying car insurance from Compare the Market; while DFS and Gillette would be going bust.
Our job is to get as close to the theoretical sun as we can, both creatively and effectively. We should never try to be perfect as it cannot happen.
This is another reason why I believe in flexible thinking. If a creative has an idea that isn't on brief but is potentially better in ther ways, we shouldn't throw it away. Sometimes this even justifies post-rationalisation; if you have a random idea that is very good, should you spend another 3 weeks trying (and maybe failing) to get something a little bit better, or do you spend the 3 weeks making the current idea work brilliantly, and fitting it into a sound strategy?
Of course, having seen some clients holding full creative pitches at 48hours notice; maybe we all would get closer to perfect if we had more time... but we need to know when to stop searching and start developing.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Friday, July 08, 2011
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Well, they judge creativity without a benchmark of where the ad came from. No idea of how tough the birth of this idea was. It also tends to be based around a fixed set of creative principles.
To me, judging agency awards based purely on their creativity is rather like judging the quality of a school based only on the final grades of its pupils. Is the 10 A's averaging school in a rich area better than the 3 A's school in a poor area where English isn't always a first language? Surely understanding how hard it has been to get to the results, and the starting point going in are more than relevant to the success?
If you don't understand the initial problems and the process involved in an ad, is it not a little unfair to then reward only the outcome.
To me, an agency that gets a half decent idea out of a really difficult client is just as, if not more deserving of reward than the agency that makes a great ad for a great client.
It's why I keep hoping for good ads from DFS... when they get a good ad through we will know it deserves praise because of how hard it has been to sell in good work (so it seems at least!).
I am also a hater of the term 'regional' agency. A term that seems to brand agencies outside the M25 with a semi-rural status that is sometimes used in quite a demeaning way. I'm not criticising 'regional' awards, but it seems wrong to me that supposedly national/international awards ceremonies often fail to truly be so. We may have smaller clients who need more direct work in much less development time up here, but that does not mean we are less creative.
Judge based on the full story.
I'd like to see awards that balance out the skew towards those with great clients and challenger requirements:
- Best ad to get through a difficult client
- Best squeezing of ad copy past BACC
- Most creative incorporation of mandatory product features
- Best price / product ad (Aldi - Tea!)
- Most warmth created for monolithic soulless mega-corporation
- Least soul-destroying daytime TV direct ad
- Most improved advertising
Friday, June 17, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
So don't stick doggedly to the words on your creative brief when someone suggests something better, or work off brief isn't just great, it's a better strategy. Don't dig you heals in if someone who doesn't have 'planner' in their job title, or from another agency or, a client, has a suggestion that's better than yours.
The job of the planner isn't to DO all the best thinking, it's to make sure the best thinking emerges. A crucial difference that is lost on too many. So leave your ego at home and remember that changing your mind isn't a sign of weakness, it's a source of strength.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The new Head and Shoulders ad featuring Jenson Button is worse than that.
Funny thing is, I like Button. As an avid follower of Formula 1 (at least until Murdoch gets his mitts on it), I have a huge respect for his skills and abilities, as well as his loyalty in sticking with the Honda team even though it was slower than a royal wedding procession (topical!) hitching a lift on a tortoise (internet topical!).
However this ad is just awful. A strange idea that doesn't seem to ever gel into anything coherent. From the half arsed ryhming that gives up midway through the ad, to the cheese factor that stinks out any of the moment that might be considered comedy.
There is plenty of creative potential to the thought of other things being on his mind, but it comes across as a safe, riskless, joyless, passionless piece of work that not only embarrasses Jenson but embarrasses the brand. Maybe it works better in other languages (I believe it's not a UK ad), maybe their sense of humour fits this better...
This is a perfect example of where agencies and clients need to watch the ad like a real person. Stop thinking in your roles and imagine this came on while you were watching TV, would you go and buy it?
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Let's start by saying I quite like the new Drench ad. However it does appear that the script idea is quite familiar...
Tango Drench Script
We want to recreate the effect of being
We take a documentary voiceover guy doing deadpan.
We show people in an ordinary environment.
The family is hit with
No, I mean really hit with
fruit water. In a big way.
But it's not as good a
tango rehydration effect as Tango Drench You know when you've been Tango'd That's Juicy Drench
Friday, April 15, 2011
In it's defence, I can see how they might have thought it was funny to pastiche the royal wedding (and done well it would have been); plus i like the idea behind Life's for Sharing.
However, the execution just is not funny. It fails to be entertaining, taking off a recentish net video, but with none of the self-awareness or light-heartedness that made the original so touching. It looks and feels like actors mugging, there is no sense that any of the expressions or actions are natural. Moves planned and set out wholesale.
It robs the video of likeability, and stops it being anywhere near as engaging as it could be.
Worst of all, I said before that T-Mobile had done a good job to avoid making the overused flashmob idea look old. Now it does.
Where next T-Mobile? We know you can do much better, I hope next time we get to see it.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
This got me thinking... The internet has become this all purpose location where all various aspects of your life are stored.
A place where your friends, activities, thoughts, actions and interests intertwine and tangle up on a daily basis.
It feels like the'internet' is such an old style name for a modern thing. Like looking at the millions of things your desktop can do, and still calling it a 'computer'. A name that even predates the warehouse sized leviathons of the 1940s.
'The internet' (or 'Teh Interwebz') implies linked networks and computers in a way that no longer happens.
I want to start a campaign to change the name to something more appropriate. A name that describes the intertwined nature of our online prescence.
Or, more specifically.
Noel Edmunds' Beard
Think about it: "I'm browsing the Edmunds" "Surfing the NEB"... what's not to like?
Friday, April 08, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
1. If thou does not question the morality of advertising now and again, you shouldn't be in planning
2. If there is no client that you would rather resign than work on, you shouldn't be in planning
3. If you feel happier about a small pay rise than producing world class work, you shouldn't be in planning
4. Always be nice
5. Always be honest
6. Treat people as people, not consumers
7. Never stop learning
8. No matter how good or clever it is, a strategy that only produces bad (or ineffective) work is bad strategy
9. Learn to both love and be wary of research, treat it with respect but never without scrutiny
10. Don't hold onto thoughts and ideas for yourself. Sharing promotes caring.
I find it staggering how many online retailers forget that the whole point of online is doing things quickly; sites for whom 24 hours is an appropriate time for an email response.
Today's pain in the fucking backside is Direct2Drive.co.uk - A download gaming site owned by the media company IGN.
Anyone who uses Steam will know that outside of sales, buying download games costs a fortune compared to instore or boxed prices; but D2D had a couple of brilliant offers on Dirt 2 and Split/Second.
I ordered the games and went to pay for them, but mistakenly used a credit card that had been cancelled. They don't accept cdebit cards so my wife retried using her credit card. It came up that I needed to contact them, so (with no telephone number around) I emailed them.
The next day an email arrived saying they were looking into it... Several hours later an email said I should retry the purchase. So I went to do so, except that the offer had finished and the games were now 4 times the price, and they hadn't saved the basket at all.
I emailed back explaining this, and (16hours later) got an (admittedly very polite) email saying: "I regret the sale you are inquiring about has ended. We have many exciting sale prices for games on a regular basis, with many top titles to choose from, so please check back often!"
Yeah... Direct2drive.co.uk you can fuck right off, I'm going to Steam.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sure, there are plenty of people who would like their air freshener to be shaped like a plastic version of a stone; but enough to make a key line out of the phrase "If you could design your air freshener..."
What did they do, carry out a quant survey of 300 housewives and say If you designed your air freshener, how would it look? To which 151 people said "Like a cheap plastic copy of a stone... even though my living room has no real stones."
By all means tell us it's the nicest looking air freshener around, that it fits neatly into your room, it doesn't look like an air freshener. All those things are valid. But really, to imply that a piece of grey plastic is what we would create is just damn annoying... unless you have some good evidence to back it up!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
While the latest ad is a little more traditional in its' make up (reminding a bit of the old 'so good the cows want it back' ads), it absolutely works in giving the brand a leading yet silly tone of voice.
At first glance it felt like using cats was a concession that 'this thing will be online, so what do people watch online?' Yet the humour, detail and execution lets the campaign avoid any notions of being contrived.
Any cat fan knows that their cat would clearly like to take over the world. There is no exaggeration at all, but Bertrum Thumbcat is being used in a witty way that reminds me a little of the excellent Pinky and the Brain. Cats are fascinating creatures, and I hope the campaign continues to explore this (as they are doing online) and avoids falling into the trap of repeating itself.
You just cannot argue with advertising like this. (Especially now the cats are read up on military strategy)
Monday, March 21, 2011
It takes something however to make an ad that is so bad that it makes me consider not buying a brand I have been loyal to for over a decade; just to object to being made to watch it.
Unlike the ads for Colgate sensitive, which (whilst being flat and direct) told a new piece of information that was interesting to learn, and were at least a bit interesting; the new Colgate Total ad commits too many sins to be forgivable.
It's flat and direct, it looks dubbed, it features a hideously bad personal trial mechanic, it has nothing to engage the viewer with at all.
The brand has a history of straightforward ads, but this is the weakest I can remember. The old stuff about 'More dentists use Colgate Total' was genuinely interesting and persuasive, the demonstration of how Colgate Sensitive stops tooth pain was informative... this just feels like being lectured.
When people talk about the internet and how a one-way monologue is no longer relevant; it is this kind of stuff that they are talking about.
I won't subject you to it, so here (about 3 ads in) is a better ad from the brand in 1995.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
In Shaoguan (on an exertion with a guide who spoke no English) kids chuckle and point, people turn their heads in surprise, and old ladies give you evil eyes... really scary evil eyes.
I almost wish I had been there the day after to see the local paper, page 14 "Westerner spotted in town!"