Monday, January 30, 2012

Time for some big ups...


My brother was part of the team that created this excellent campaign for Virgin Media. Having seen the Speedy Gonzales work and now this, I'm not sure why they moved the account away at all.

They have taken a category full of price ads, annoying comparisons and customer confusion and just said "FAST". You can't fail to take speed away from this ad. That it does this whilst being funny and likeable is a great combination. When you think of the brand you think of fast, and Speedy and Usain who are fast.


This is war...

Mr Dobbie (aka Dobbothy, aka Dobbie the House Elf), one of our former creatives was part of the team that made this nifty competition campaign for Kit Kat. The TV ad sets the scene, but the online videos are where it comes to life.

Web episode number one introduces the characters and the premise with a silly but very funny use of the mad boss idea. These ideas tend to live or die by the writing and the acting, so far so very good; with some quotably funny lines, it's a great way to start. Props! (As they say...)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Judge thy creative, not thy profitability

I do wonder sometimes about the cost of entering ad awards, and whether the current processes are actually fair; or if they (either deliberately or unconsciously) restrict award entries to the big agencies.

I was speaking to a freelance planner about this the other day, how freelancers, small agencies and clientside planners are left out of the IPA awards. Sure a cost of £1-2k is fine when you are part of a global network, but how many small agencies can afford those kinds of entry fees? If your agency employs 5-10 people then that is a huge chunk of money to throw into an award entry.

Given the IPA's role is to promote the industry, agencies and their work, the IPA should be encouraging smaller agencies to join and take part, if their awards (and they aren't the only ones) process is excluding a large part of the industry, surely that needs looking at?

Any awards process that is truly about rewarding creativity should be making allowances and understandings for those that don't have the budgets of the massive agencies; otherwise we don't do ourselves justice. It might also help correct those people who still have this perception that agencies outside London are insignificant and talentless. Just because they aren't in your awards books, doesn't mean they are rubbish - but maybe we should look at how they can have a fair chance to get in there.

It will also help to widen the pool of talent that is known to everyone. This cost-drag stops people in smaller agencies getting their names known and being rewarded, even if they do amazing work. It's not unheard of for agencies to only want to employ people who have won awards - so everyone should have a chance to do so on merit not whether their agency has budget this year.

So what do we do? Should we have an effective tax balance where by the bigger agencies pay more and smaller agencies pay less? I don't see why not. But at the very very least there needs to be some kind of support criteria that allows those that struggle to afford award entries to be able to. We are a creative industry, anything that makes money and finance a factor in judging that creativity seems wrong to me.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


When I think about the concept of this new ad by Thompson, it feels a little like an attempt to "Make me a John Lewis ad"; however in this case I think it's a good job they did.

Sure it has a descriptive voiceover and is far less subtle, but it works with the idea and manages to actually get across the joy and togetherness of a good holiday in a way that feel fresh and full of character that the sector usually lacks.

Then there is that soundtrack. Where is my mind by the Pixies is one of those songs that can absolutely transform something good into something amazing. See the end of Fight Club where it manages to help sum up a crazy scene in one the craziest films ever made. But a cover? Well yes. The delicate piano manages to take the heart and soul of the melody, and make the melancholy sound delicate and moving. Against a market full of travel cliche's and standard tourism shots this stands out a mile. The whole point of most holidays is calm, relaxation and getting away from the clutter and bustle of everyday life; this ad gets that across in a way that feels like it actually means something. A brand making travel feel meaningful and important in a market full of price competition.

So is this as good as John Lewis? No. But it's the only ad by a travel agent I can ever remember seeing and immediately thinking 'Where would I go..?', and that after all is the whole point.