Friday, December 28, 2007

Review of the Year - Part 2

Still to come are my picks for worst ads of the year, along with some other ads worthy of mention.

Most Improved Advertising

Two picks here. The first was just totaly unexpected, and really went a long way to removing the horrible memories of their past ads from my mind.

The second was BGR Bloomers radio ads (forklift, executive driver) for making injury solicitors ads that aren't patronising, were decently written, and not a misplaced ladder or kitchen slip in sight.

Best Agency

Difficult. Most people would say Fallon for their numerous successful ads, and it would be hard to disagree with that. Though I think that BMB have had a great year, and if W+K can be treated as gods after 2 Honda ads then BMB can tie this category after two brilliant Carling ads and some other good work.

Best Blogs

I can hardly pick a top 10, let alone a single winner. So in no order, here are my 5 favourite blogs of this year.

Charles Frith - Punk Planning - Intelligent, not afraid to think differently or say things people won't like. Now providing us with a fascinating look at Beijing.

Rob Campbell - Musings of an Opinionated Sod
- That he is. But this is the only blog where you can take part in fascinating ad debates, controvertial and bold marketing theory, and yet still debate the merits of sausages vs bacon.

Northern Planner - Brilliant posts on getting into planning, plus great recipes and tea tips. If advertising was astrology he would be the North Star.

The Kaiser - Marcus is back, and despite moving frequently, he always omes up with the goods. Excellent posts on agencies and the internet, plus the genius of Charles Stab.

Scamp - He isn't campaign's number one ad blog for nothing.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


The BBC News review of the advertising year is up, and features comments from moi!

It's also good to see the comments and find out how people who aren't obsessed by advertising see things. :D

Ads of the year - BBC News

Review of the Year! - Part One

If I have time I still hope to organise the blogosphere ad awards for 2007 once people are back online, but in the meantime here is my personal review of the year in adland and marketing.

Best ads of the year:

3. Irn Bru - Snowman. Alright, technically it was from last year, but I never saw it; and it is a perfect pastiche in every respect. It commands your attention, and the moment when you hear the music and get the joke is just wonderful.

2. Cadbury's - Gorilla. Ok, I like it more now than I did initially. Having thought about the message hidden away it's cleverer than it appeared. But the real magic is in the CGI, timing, choice of music, and the direction. Admirably subtle, jumping on the 'big ad' wagon whilst keeping a sense of compactness and personality (unlike Guiness Domino for one).

1. Carling - Space / Igloo. This might be controvertial in some circles. But I stand by my comments in campaign. This ad singlehandedly expands the Carling brand without alienating it's core users. It's almost perfectly produced, the atmosphere, the timing, the writing, the way it understands male friendship without being patronising or stereotypical (*cough* Carlsberg). I finally see the distinction between BMB and TBWA under Trevor Beattie, this has the humour and disruption of old, but with a subtlety and message that is significantly better.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Let's Facebook It.

Watching the Money Programme talking about Facebook and the huge amounts of data they are collecting and able to use for marketing purposes; I was rather puzzled how they seem to completely miss the point of how to make these things work.

People go to Facebook because it doesn't shove ads in your face all the time. Yet all their plans (from what I've read) seem to involve doing just that. The pressure of those sky high valuations appears to be clouding their judgement.

Have they not seen what has happened to Myspace? The decline of Myspace as 'the place to be' is almost directly proportional to the increasing amount of overt advertising and Fox promotional links that have appeared since Rupert Murdoch took it over.

Have they not worked out that THE reason for Google making so much money so quickly was that it found a way to display high-income ads without disrupting the user experience.

The only advertisers that have really worked on Myspace and Facebook are those that embrace the community instead of standing there with Golf Sale signs in front of their way. We can do that in the outside world, but these are places people come to get away from that...

Thoughts anyone?

Also: Though the different gadgets and tools you can get on Facebook massively enhance it, they are also quickly increasing the thing that is now choking myspace. Namely "Forward this or you crush will hate you", "Pass this to twenty friends and something cool will happen", "This picture says I am your friend please pass it on". Argh! People who come up with these things deserve to be rounded up and chucked off a bridge...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sofa, so good

I know I know... bad headline ;)

I was shocked at DFS' new cinema ad yesterday, it features no product shots, as far as I recall no mention of the word sofa, no prices, three penguins, humour, and did 'i say no product shots?!

It's not the greatest ad in the world, but it is a: a bold step for furnishing ads, and b: a bold step for DFS. Normally ads for furnishings (especially sofa's and soft furnishings) leave you with a cold clinical taste, or poor celebrity endorsements, or sale overload, etc. This ad leaves you with a chuckle and a positive memory, especially (on second viewing) the penguins.

DFS have started to get it right in 2007, firstly with their idea of the importance of a sofa in the house, then with the (initially shaky) introduction of humour and self-reference (Another sale!), and now with relative subtlety.

I hope this continues into 2008.

Stop Look Listen

It's not very often that a podcast is a must listen event. But the meeting of the Kaiser and George Parker (of AdScam fame) is something of which advertising legends are potentially made.

Both pull no punches, so might make uneasy listening for people who don't like swearing or who enjoy making bland ads!

I haven't heard it yet (no speakers right now) but if it's half as good as it could be it is absolutely essential.

Kaiser and George Parker on Werbeblogger

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Dan from Innocent posted recently about a piece of direct mail he received from a company selling marketing services. It is bad for so many reasons, perhaps chiefly for being completely contrasting to how you would expect to have to be if you were trying to sell to Innocent...

Bad Direct Marketing

Awards Time

I am looking into running a blosophere ad awards for over the coming couple of weeks.
The idea being that each award is 'sponsored' by another blog, which then promotes the voting page in return.

Just an idea I am working on, but if anyone is interested please let me know.

Clear to See

After criticising their recent TV ad, I am glad to say that the current radio ads for Specsavers are much better. Nothing specifically amazing, but they are funny and well written.

They talk about competitor sales, how they exclude pretty much everything. A choice quote "I'll have these." 'Sorry, those aren't in the sale' "What about these?" 'Sorry' "These?" 'No.' "These?!" 'No..'

Much better.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Was Ist Das?

Been enjoying a debate with my favourite AngloDeutsche head of state over his interesting ideas on the future of content and how traditional ad agencies might not be able to cope.

I think its well worth joining in on:

The Kaiser

Monday, December 10, 2007

What in the World??

After discussing the brilliance of M+C Saatchis latter BA ads (see bottom video) on Facebook, I was reminded of how any brand can have good ads if the agency and company tries hard enough. How any agency can make good ads.

It saddens me then, that these awful PC World ads are still appearing. Ads that not only are horrible and cringeworthy to watch, but fail to get across a positive message about the brand other than "good value" (which they aren't, usually).

I wonder, what could be done with the brand if the agency or company (or both) were to realize there is so much more they could say and do. (Hell, even a better ad with the same strategy would be alright..) We know from the BA ads that M+C can do better; so why is it they aren't?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Knock it Off Nigel

Piracy funds drug dealers and Al Qaeda!

That's been the typical anti-piracy ad in the UK over the last 20 years. So it make a change to see something else that while not perfect certainly seems to be part of a better strategy.

Knock off Nigel.

See, the problem with telling everyone piracy funds criminals is that most people get them off their mate Terry at the market. They don't see Terry as having any connection whatsoever to organised crime.

The "pirate dvd's have rubbish picture quality" ads in cinema's are useful as they remind you what you could be missing out on.

However, despite some flaws (It could be funnier, wittier, and make more out of the song) the idea of Knock off Nigel is by far the best anti piracy ad I can remember.

Making people who buy copied DVD's out to be cheap scroungers is a bold step really considering how many people do it. But its done just well enough to get people talking; that if your mate buys copied DVD's you might just be tempted to call him a Knock off Nigel for a laugh. It slowly gets the message out there and could actually make some difference in an area that is extremely hard to crack.

This is also a chance to show the excellent parody of the old style piracy ads from The IT Crowd:

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Its a good week...

For people I know in the blogosphere.

Just found that not only am I in Campaign's best of the blogs again this week for my comments on the new Carling ad, but Chimp and Scamp are in there too.

While one of the best ads Rob C has ever been involved in (see below) is listed in Campaign's top ten bravest ads of all time.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

You Say Potato I Say Fries.

In addition to my interview tomorrow I am now meeting the planning director of a (mostly) digital agency as well about a possible job. I love those kinds of emails, out of the blue when you are waiting agonisingly for graduate responses!!

In investigating their site I found out they are behind this perky piece of potato presentation. A great example of how simple ideas can get people talking. It also nicely matches the brand's image. And no, I am not going to use the V word...

Potato Parade

Monday, December 03, 2007


Another interview :)

Still waiting on several though, it's a remarkably frustrating process sometimes... but it will be worth it in the end!

Wish me luck! (You don't actually have to post every time I get an interview! I know you wish me well!)