Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Brains

Let me interrupt my summarising for a nifty new version of the Drench ad featuring everyones third favourite Thunderbird.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Famous Rob's Review of 2008 Part Three

(Parts 4,5,+6 to follow before xmas)

The Misc Awards!

Ad that should have worked but didn't quite

Ford Focus - Ode

A nice idea, which didn't quite come off as well as it should. Though its not bad, it could have been magnificent.

Best Ad Ripped Off From Something Else

TFL - Bear

This TFL ad worked really well except for the fact it was someone elses footage that they copied without asking permission. Tut.

Best Retro Moment

Drench - Brains

Snap was back for a little while off this piece of brilliance.

The 'I wish I'd Thought of That' Award

New York Pizza - Damn Tasty

I think almost everyone in our office wished they had come up with this. Brilliant stuff.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Famous Rob's Review of 2008 Part Two

Sometimes brands get stuck in their way of doing things, and often advertisers get pulled into that trap. This award is for those who have taken big steps towards freeing their brand from bad ads...


Winner - Microsoft

Traditionally Microsoft have been the butt of every Mac owners jokes, and also of PC owners jokes. Their branding and packaging has been at best boring, and at worst diabolical.

Over the past few years though they have made big strides, and this year saw two campaigns that really demonstrate a change in the M$ behemoth.

The ads with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld didn't change the world, but it really boldly pushed Microsoft into a new territory. Self parody is dangerous, but they struck the fine line well.

(US version, can't see the UK cut)

Then they followed with a more upfront ad, but one that actually makes Apple look a little like the bad guy. It almost reminds me of 'being number 2' (as someone, possibly Northern said this year), Microsoft speaking from second place; a remarkable change to what has come before.

I'd love to think that this will continue, and that Microsoft will keep developing in the right direction.

Runner Up - Toshiba

One brilliant ad, compared to... erm I can't remember anything else they have done since ello Tosh. A dull safe brand brought bang up to date in a few weeks. That's an improvement I like. Also shows good progress at Grey, which is more good news.

Runner Up - Tango

BBH, as good as they are; have always struggled to make Tango ads live up to the quality of what HHCL did. It's always lived in the shadow of slaps and blackcurrant patriotism.

Not anymore. BBH have embraced their inner orange man and woken up a dying brand with the wonderful Save Tango campaign.

Welcome back Tango. Can Fist!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Famous Rob's Review of the Year - Part One

Worst TV Ads of 2008

Winner: Renault - Remember When

Not only did this ad fail to make me notice how nice the new Megane is, it put a huge doubt in my mind about the entire brand. "Remember when you said you'd never buy a Renault?" ... No. I didn't, but now i'm not sure where that came from... who said it? Why wouldn't they buy one?

It's also a bit patronising and a little bit insulting about how we live our lives. But this gets the award for singlehandedly scaring me away from a brand. Quite a remarkable achievment for an I've only seen three times.

Runners Up: DFS - Rockstar

Patronising, irritating, cringeworthy, throw your sofa at the TV to make it go away annoying.
If it hadn't been so good at catching the bland AOR rock shitegeist it would have won...

By the way, actual quote from the band: "You know you've made it when your song's in a fucking sofa commercial" ... Not a DFS sofa commercial mate.

Runners Up: Iceland - Cold Outside

Wow. This is bad, so bad it goes beyond being 'so bad its good' and into 'so bad its horrific'.
Only saved from worst ad of the year because it at least attempts to play it silly, and without Kerry in it might have worked. Jason and the Nolan aren't that bad, but Kerry just proves that she can't cut it with acting or singing showstyle.

Runners Up: Gillette - Tiger Thierry Tennis Bloke

2 ads for the proce of one.

A cheesy sports montage followed by a crushing barrage of unhindered sales pitch, beating you over and over the head with its desperate pleading for you to buy a more profitable a better razor than the Gillette one you have strong brand loyalty with already.

Three expensive sportsmen joining in the fun makes it even more of an assault on the eyes and ears.

Saved from winning for two reasons: 1. They are still better than the 'dad razor for xmas' ad from a year or two ago. 2. Thierry Henry is a footballing legend and I'd hate him to win worst anything.

Perhaps ironically, Thierry was spokesperson for the last great Renault ad. The man has va va voom. Maybe the two could get back together and save themselves from ad hell...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Raw like a lion

There is currently an interesting battle going on in the world of cola drinks. The fight over nature. And perhaps the most interesting of all is that for once the product strategies of the two main brands are very different.

Pepsi have introduced raw, an all natural version of pepsi. Whereas coke have simply started saying that coca cola is already made of all natural ingredients.

It will be fun finding out whether introducing a new drink makes normal pepsi look artificial, or if it puts its own stake in the ground that cokes claims can't quite match in perception.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Save Tango!

Looks like BBH has rediscovered its inner HHCLness with the latest campaign for Tango. After years of declining sales they have launched the save tango campaign; which along with a brilliant website, appears to wholesale bring back the tone of voice much loved during the era of orange slappers and Ray Gardner fights. (In fact they even have them as classic ads to watch on the site)

Its all done with tongue in cheek and with that brilliantly sarcastic yet witty voice. The opening video is magnificent, with wonderfully written lines like: "that utterly senseless and irresponsible act was to illustrate a point, that a much loved brand is being beaten from existence." and "Even local schools are helping out, St Enids has introduced child labour to the curriculum." The 'can fist' symbol is a brilliant bit of hookery.

Games such as 'click as many times as you like, the more you click the more you help us'; in which cans constantly appear as you click; are brilliantly done.

The soprano voice for titles, the desktop images with 'Rainforests can grow back, save tango', the Tangometer sitting at 'Up the creek'; its all produced and thought out so well that it actually does remind you of the brilliance of their past, and how sad it would be to let it go.

So people. Can Fist. Save tango, if not for the drink, for the ads.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Worst TV Ad Of All Time?

I challenge you to top this for a piece of dated cliche ridden shockery. It is frankly one of the most eye gougingly bad pieces of advertising I have ever come across.

The creative sat opposite me was lost for words when I showed him this.

A 1984 Toyota Corolla ad from South Africa, the worst ad of all time? Please prove me wrong...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Va Va Voom

Hi everyone! You know this blogging lark doesn't just allow me to get angry at ads I dislike, it ocassionally passes along interesting opportunities to do things and speak to people.

The Clio Awards are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year in Las Vegas, and the online entry system has now opened; allowing the cream of adland to submit their best work.

As part of this, I have been given the opportunity to speak to the director of the Clio Awards, Wayne Youkhana. I thought it would be nice to open up this interview to questions from my wonderful readers!

Please add your questions to this post, and the best selection will be put forward in a week or so.



Tuesday, December 02, 2008

And before I finish my lunch

It's time to rejoice at the return of annoying stereotype cookery sauce ads. Did I say rejoice, sorry I meant smash the tv in annoyance.

The latest Uncle Bens ad depicts Indian folk in the only way possible (apparently), as Bollywood stars desperate to get their hands on the yummy sauce. (Cooked of course by a middle class white couple)

Why not go all out, show them all working in call centres? Or packed onto trains (oh no wait, they hint at that).

Next up is the Chinese soy sauce ad featuring children being forced into Olympic training, the American BBQ Sauce ad with Texas rednecks shooting their guns in the air, the UK Steak sauce ad with beefeaters sharing tea with the queen, and you get the idea.

Please can someone come up with a better way of advertising foreign influenced sauces than resorting to annoying stereotypes in cliched situations.

Priority for O2

An interesting idea for O2, text a cameraphone pic of the shiny I in their latest 'Priority' to 63333 with the letters NYE and you could win tickets to events at the O2 in London. (aka the Mobillium Dome)

It's a nice piece of interaction to get people texting in. How well it will work I don't know, but its the sort of idea I'd like to see more companies trying.

Business Blogging

You should all go check out the new blog for Breitenbach /Brown, the new venture from Marcus Brown. If anyone deserves some success it's him.

Breitenbach / Brown

Thursday, November 27, 2008


It's been a while since I last saw a great ad spoof. I have to say I am quite impressed with the latest one from Specsavers.

It's clearly been done quickly, but it does the job; and is well worth a view.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Discomfortingly Good

I received one of the many PR emails I get each week yesterday, and opened it expecting another disappointing piece of work (on the whole about 50% of what I get is average, and only 10% worth posting).

Instead what I got was something nice, interactive, clever and sweet.

Creature Discomforts - A new range of flash games animated by Aardman animation to spread the word on Leonard Chesire Disability; and promote the idea that we should see disabled people for what they can do, not what they can't.

Each game has a character with a disability, with my favourite being the Tortoise jumping game.

There are also some tv ads in the creature comforts style, working just as well as it always has in getting across gentle but powerful messages from disabled people on their lives. They are sweet without being saccarine, and you can't help but admire the people who have made these statements. My favourite being: "I have standard reply to people who say I can't do things... Watch me."

Great work.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Brilliant. I can't think of people more deserving.
Edit: Forgot the link... LolGriffin

Vote for Something

The battle over Manchester's congestion charge has become quite farcical really. I personally am undecided, but leaning towards yes; but were it based on the advertising and campaigning, the vote should be non-existent.

The no campaign has all the subtlety and balance of Jeremy Clarkson's Big Book of Speed Cameras. A jagged C logo, VOTE NO! NO MORE CHARGES! JUST DRIVING YOUR CAR! Jeez fucking get a grip. It feels like the sort of campaign put together by UKIP to save the pound, a reactionary agressive campaign which is based on opinion not fact; run by the sort of people who would vote to nuke Iran if it meant their car tax came down a few quid.

That said, the Yes campaign isn't much better. Clearly ripping off an NHS ad style, with mug shots of people with blatantly contrived "Quotes". It just looks embarassing. "80 more trams, then the charge comes in? Sound fair to me." Except it doesn't. Because there is no way on earth that these people have said these phrases, it is ad speak of the worst kind; attempting to sound like someone but failing miserably and ending up sounding like a council trying to sway people with fake opinion.

In fact the only people who have come up with anything reasonable are First, the local bus company. Their on-bus posters and booklets at least explain the benefits in a rational way, and are the only persuasive thing I have read in the 'battle' period.

Vote Yes? Vote No? Vote for better advertising!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Well, one shop certainly found a way to ensure I never ever buy from them ever again.
They fitted that Mosquito device designed to stop kids hanging about outside their shop.

As I walked past the shop, a gigantic bee decided to start drilling my ears with a rusty dentist's drill. Through a megaphone. Through another megaphone. Through a PA system.

That's the equivalent of the next PC World ad using the Voiceover: "Hey, you ignorant little bastards with no knowledge of computers. Why not buy from us so we can rip you off after waiting in line for three hours to speak to an advisor who hasn't yet learnt what RAM is."

Ouch. Stupid shop.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ello Tosh

The first few seconds of the latest Toshiba ad reminded me of the classic Trott branding opus of Hello Tosh Gotta Toshiba.

The rest of the ad was raised eyebrows and daft smile. It tries to fit an idea in there, but falls a little flat; but flatter squarer tube the execution works. There is so much going on you want to see it (or at least don't object to seeing it) again and again to make sense of it.

With enough post production to keep ILM moving in crunch Britain, it ain't half built well.

As a planner I suppose I should be complaining about the lack of strategy in there, but frankly this ad is a good argument that true planning also involves knowing when the execution is good enough to get a message across on its own merits. This is. That's good.

And its from Grey. Grey... Grey! Next you'll be showing me an M+C Saatchi ad with some subtlety.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Big Update Part 3: In the hands of the god fearing

Let's not underplay this. The fate of the whole world rests on today.

Today America decides whether to let intelligence or fear win, whether to let ignorance and racism beat truth and change.

Today we find out whether America is the intelligent, caring nation that we all believe is hiding underneath the layer of ignorance that we have seen for eight long long years. Or if it is actually as stupid as we fear in our worst imaginations.

This affects us all. Our jobs, our security, the welfare of humankind around the world. The survival of the human race as we know it.

Frankly if John Mccain wins today then the USA might as well be wiped off the face of the earth, for it will have no respect left, no credibility left, no rightful place in the world left, and no justification for ever ever declaring how they are free.

Barack Obama is no Nelson Mandela, but then Mandela is no Martin Luther King. But after the last eight years, the potential impact Obama could have on his country and the world is greater than either of those two great men. BBC News last night showed clips of southern American women declaring 'I know for a fact that Obama is a terrorist.'

Maybe, just maybe after 8 years of Obama, they might realise the terrorist was already there; and Obama kicked him out.

Big Update Part 2: The New Fella's

You know what will help us sell pizzas... the bastard lovechild of Barry White and Chuckie from Childs Play. That's who.

It feels like a blatant attempt at creating something that kids will latch onto and repeat in playgrounds. It might work too, but the scary looking puppet distracts from the charm it might have had.

There doesn't feel like any longevity in the idea. At least the best character based ads had creations with more rounded personalities, whereas although this has grown on me, it feels like it will get dull quickly as well.

Big Update Part 1: Nathan Barley

So apparently Carling is made from 100% British Barley.

*tumbleweeds blow across adland*

Really? After the brilliant Belong campaign, this is what follows it? Yes Carling has been in dire need of an improvement to its perception of quality. But Belong was doing that, it was moving it away from being the cheap beer of pissheads to feeling like the nation's lager place that it occupied in the 80s and early 90s.

The client may want to get the message out there, but I seriously doubt if anyone will actually care.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's Beer O'Clock Gentleman

No it's not Miller time. It's not Hammer time, nor even Morphin time. Apparently it's Guinness time.

1759, their birth year you see. Which is a nice idea, if not wholly original. What I don't get however is what on earth the ad is actually saying! At least Kronenbourg's ad (chopping bubbles) made sense in terms of a message, this just feels like some random attempt to create a human representation of Guinness. I hope its not just me on this one...

I hope AMV find somewhere better to take this idea as the history of Guinness advertising is so good that it should never be sullied with anything below top standard.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nickleback: An apology

I may, in a previous post suggested that Nickleback's Rock star overlaid with DFS sofa's was the most irritating soul destroying piece of shit I had ever seen. I wish to apologise reservedly to Nickleback for any offense this may have caused.

Mariah is back. Miss (is she still miss?) why sing one note when you can sing 347 and sound like a police siren over a bland as dishwater rnb ballad with sleigh bells to signify christmas. Yes the DFS christmas ads have begun in mid October. Terrorising us repeatedly with a song that will be rammed down our throats by most radio stations and music channels anyway.

I imagine DFS must be a hard client to work with, what with their pricing and sale strategy; but please someone tell them just how awful these are. And they are. So awful that I won't inflict them on you dear readers. Imagine 'all I want for christmas' with some sofas and lots of low priced 'its mid september but I am celebrating xmas now!' jolity.

Nickleback, at least you play your instruments and write your songs, and make money for Roadrunner records that is channeled into decent bands. You are terrible, but you are not the worst DFS ad music ever anymore.

Admittedly this is like being Stalin instead of Hitler, but it's still one rung down on the ladder of 'hunt down and kill you for enforcing this shite on our screens and radios you fucking bastards ness'.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Piers Morgan on M&S Steak

It is my opinion, and therefore fact; that this ad is a pile of useless steaming shit. (Pardon the Parkerism) 'I know' said someone... I hope to god not a creative. 'Let's take our highly effective, culturally renowned, much imitated, sector leading ads; remove the good bits, add a celebrity no one in their right mind could possibly be influenced by for food, and give him some rubbish script that starts off with what sounds like an insult to our customers intelligence.

Campaign's turkey of the week? More like a Bernard Matthews bird flu contaminated turkey farm.

What the fuck were you thinking RKCR? Oh right...

Links update!

I have needed a links update for some time. So will anyone who would like to be linked to let me know and I will add the best bunch to my links section.

Gemma - I will be adding you finally also!

Coco Conflict

The new Kelloggs Coco Pops ad... is a little familiar. Someone clearly saw the Drench ad with Brains dancing and said "I want one of those". It even uses the 'other' single by the same artist!

As an execution it lives in the better shadow of its blatant influence. But that's not to say as a kids ad it doesn't work.

After initially despising it for its lack of effort to distance itself from Brains, a heated debate with James (creative sat opposite me) followed. Whilst I still think it is a blatant rip off, I am slightly calmer to see that it does work, and is the kind of thing that kids will pick up on.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Great post from Scamp asking creatives to think about what HHCL would do. List of product benefits mixed into an amusing scenario? Brilliant.

It's also an opportunity to replay a phenomenal ad that deserves a place in HHCL and indeed the UK's finest ads of all time. Count the product info here, but you barely notice it. Their ads are the FedEx arrow (design in-line there).

What would HHCL do?

Beating the Drum

(Thanks for that title Graham)

The Drum, advertising magazine for those outside the M25 bubble. Not always the most exciting of publications but it does a good job of giving the 'rest' of adland the attention it deserves.

However, they suffer from a slight flaw. Their website is the most useless piece of shit I have ever come across. It simply never works.

Having worked with small businesses I have seen some thought forsaken pieces of 1993 clip art based unusable search tag free wastes of bandwidth. But at least they bloody worked.

I get the regular news email from the drum, click it........... ......... ....... ....... ...... nothing. Or sometimes a header, the first line and a log in request. I enter my details... nothing.

I know its not just me, so why isn't something done about it???

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Northern Northern Northern

The Northern organised Northern Ad Meet, at the Northern Pub in the Northern Quarter of Manchester went very well last week.

As well as the regulars, a couple of folks from my work turned up, as did my brother, several of Love, and numerous new people from the area. In fact everyone seemed to know everyone via a degree of seperation, indeed one guy joined in whilst waiting to meet some of my colleagues without even realising what our meet was...

A lot of discussion centred on me oddly, people asking how I was getting on here; and they were pleased to hear that (bar travelling) its was great so far :)

After 6 months away it felt like a great return to a friendly and always interesting evening. May the next one be much sooner!

Monday, September 29, 2008

A theory...

(please note the sarcasm before complaining)

The credit crunch, its a horrible state of affairs.With banks and financial institutions that couldn't give a shit about their customers or the government a year ago now out begging hand in cap for the sake of their customers.

Frankly I think the whole thing has been coming for years, and is really a response from nature to those who make shit ads.


Halifax - Shit ads, need rescuing
HSBC - Decent ads, merely job losses
Bradford and Bingley - Rubbish ads - bank rescue
Nationwide - Decent ads - buying out two failing competitors

Even outside banking, MFi has had to be rescued. A payback surely for years of rubbish ads that change every month. PC World are also on hard times.

Watch out for DFS going under...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ford Better or Worse

The new Ford Fiesta ad from Ogilvy appears to make no sense whatsoever. It's screens moving around a city, its slightly abstract, well shot and engaging, but I just have no idea what it's trying to say apart from a vague technology/its flashy and stylish type message.

Happily its looks in this case are enough to make a good ad. Just not a great one.

Catch the Train Fever

Honestly, you'd think East Midlands trains had an active vendetta against my brother and I. First the trains are two carriages instead of the supposed four, so they are always packed by time we get near work. Secondly, they close the station outside my house for three months to fix a small bridge, so we have to travel 3 miles each morning to catch it from a later station, meaning that we never get a seat in the two stupid carriages. Then they put up the prices (my brother has been charged a different amount every day despite getting the same train from and to the same place.

My brother emailed them three weeks ago, no reply.

East Midlands Trains sure know how to improve their brand perceptions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tea Time

The new APSOTW (Account planning school of the web) task is upon us. It's a cracker put together by Northern based on the best tea in the world wide world.

This task is all about inspiring creatives rather than finding insight, and I can't wait to see how people tackle it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Born and Bread

The new Hovis ad is a staggering 122 seconds long, once for every year they have been around. But you know what, it fills every one of those 122 seconds whithout losing its way or feeling like it is buying for time.

It is essentially a run through the recent history of Britain, but done in such a way that it never feels contrived, cheap or sappy.

The kid playing the lead role is excellent, he gives it the northern charm that we all sort of associate with Hovis. The ad is well shot, the music is good and it really gets across the reliable and timeless nature the brand aims for.

And as Scamp rightly points out, the ad is all the better for showing sombre moments of our history, and the client deserves credit for letting an ad like this get through as it is.

122 seconds well filled. If only other agencies could get the same quality into their 1min ads.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

John Mugabe

As someone who works in advertising I am more than aware of the power we sometimes have to put fear into people. Fear that you might smell, be ugly, have no friends, be uncool. I hate it when ads play on those fears, but quite frankly it seems we have nothing on the ads of American politics.

John Mccain's campaign ads so far have been shocking, doing the Republican thing of playing on peoples fear of the unknown. America is a divided country, and the Republicans are masters of manipulating people that are not (as much as we like to believe) totally stupid, but in most cases just very badly misled.

Frankly with ads like these (below, ads with explanations) , pushing fear, outright lying, manipulating facts, its no wonder that people who don't know any better vote for these selfish cheating scumbags.

Please explain to me John Mccain how you are any better than Robert Mugabe? A tyrant you say, fake democracy you say. Is he not just doing the same as you, using fear to make people vote one way? Scaring people and lying to them in order to win an election that everyone else around the world knows should be won by the only candidate with real ideas for a better country?

Fuck you Mccain. Fuck you Republican party. Frankly America has no hope when the world lets a country be dominated by this type of campaigning. We should have acted on Mugabe, we should have acted on Darfur, we should act on this. The most powerful country in the world should not be run by people who are happy to cheat and lie and manipulate the people they are supposed to be helping.

Image from Stu's Views

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bonnie Wee Ad

Ah the user generated mash up. Party to a million you tube views, promoter of good ads and rubbish manga with MOR rock mixes.

Fallon have seen fit to air a user remix of the Gorilla ad, featuring Bonnie Tyler's total eclipse of the heart. Nice idea, except it doesn't work anywhere near as well. The build up is weaker, the payoff is weaker, the drumming is weaker.

Also, if (like me) you hadn't seen that remix before seeing it on tv; you watch it thinking its a spoof, or they have tried to change it, or make another ad on the cheap by using a different song.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

100 Channels and there is nothing on

I have been wondering for a while about my lack of desire on some days to 'surf' the web in that 1999 style of old. Googling random topics to see where I go. Spending hours looking at random sites in fascination.

All that has gone, and I think I have worked out why.

You remember having 4/5 tv channels, you always found something to watch. Then multi channel tv came along, and it was a realm of choice, every possible subject and whim catered for through the wonders of satellite technology.

Then we got settled, then we chose favourites, then we flicked... we flicked some more... then we never stopped flicking. Our standards became so high that suddenly that half interesting documentary or obscure Indian film became wastage instead of the only thing on. We said 'there's nothing on!' even though there clearly was lots of things on.

Well that's what is happening to the net. Facebook, twitter, blip, blogger, your news site... thats it. You are done. No time left to random surf, and even then you do it on wikipedia.

iGoogle makes it worse, you don't even need to go looking for stuff. It's all right there.

Web 2.0 has become multi channel tv. Suffering from our RSS favourite comfort zones.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Crazy Crazy Nights

No I am not a Kiss fan...
I am merely referring to the comedic mayhem of work's annual outing to Glaramara in Cumbria.

I arrived at 10pm (straight from a meeting via a long train/taxi combo) to be greeted by 30 colleagues with 'Rob pulling a silly face' masks on!

There followed a night of general silliness including a rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody by myself and three creatives; which set standards for comedy... probably.

It was really nice though to feel like part of the group after less than 6 months here, indeed the boss commented that he couldn't remember anyone getting this kind of reception. After the hard work it took to get here, that's a nice pay-off for me.

Trains... bloody trains

Good news for me and my bro (planning brothers on two enemy sides), the train that gets us to work everyday will not be stopping at our station for three months...

I am so glad I am getting a lift in a month or so, as frankly it looks like our house ain't gonna sell until hell gets frosty; and using public transport is just soul destroying!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

He's Just That Good

Now THIS is how to use Tiger Woods in a bit of work.
Wonderfully responding to fan comments on glitches in the previous game, and promoting the new one in a nice and subtle way.

Best bit is where he fishes with his club in the water.

EA making good promotional material? Remarkable.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Beg a Man Can Get

"Pleease buy Fusion Power... Puurleaaase" is pretty much the summation of Gillette's new ad. Extoling the virtues of the price premium over the standard. The second such ad aimed at making people switch within a few months.

The combined might of Tiger Woods, Thierry Henry and some other guy hitting balls at someone who uses a Mach3 razor sadly contains not the grace and poise of Henry at Arsenal, but instead feels as subtle as being hit with Wood's five iron. Which ironically is probably still more comfortable than using the vibrating sliceathon that is Fusion Power.

Those huge price premiums are more shaky in this climate, let alone paying more for something that makes shaving harder and more painful (it bloody hurts enough thank you).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tune into Famous Rob Radio

Through the wonderful Blip.
A cross between Last.fm and Twitter.

My new work time music site of choice.

Blip.FM invite

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Can You Hear Me Yella.... Stella!

It was either that (from the Simpsons' Streetcar Named Desire musical) or "Lowe Lowe Lowe your boat, sinking down the stream, throw your best known client out, junior staff all scream...ARGH!"

After such a long relationship this seems a strange parting. The recent campaign change combined with Stella's reduced image (wife beater juice, excessive discounting, 25 random variants) have spoilt it a little... but I wonder where both the brand and the agency can go from here?

Ok, so this isn't the most famous or best of their ads; but what other brand or campaign could have got away with such a long abstract piece of film?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bring it on...

My favourite brass instrument related ad since Lurpak's trombone dude.
Delightful characterisation, great direction and a gleeful sense of fun.
The natural message comes across clearly, and apparently kids love the ads; win win.

Found from Faris

Monday, August 11, 2008

One World One Dream

So the Olympics are here, but in adland you would hardly know.

You might think I would enjoy not seeing tie-in ads with vague Olympic themes to promote the "Official stock cube of the Olympic Games 2008". But you know what, I miss them; I miss their optimism and cheerfulness at a time when people are droning on and on about China's human rights and Tibet whilst seemingly looking the other way at the progress they have made and the fact that other Western governments do exactly the same thing except more covertly.

I laugh at George Bush decrying China's human rights record on the day a Guantanamo Bay trial is concluded. Honestly its so mind blowingly hypocritical that I wonder how Bush can even say it without chuckling to himself.

Yes the Beijing 2008 games are political; but do you think 2012 isn't political? Every bloody Olympics is political behind the scenes, but the spectacle and joy they bring make it worth every backhanded shake and finance deal.

Of course China's government isn't perfect; but look at ours first. The only thing worse than being wrong is being hypocritical.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Just for Laughs

Apparently the new in craze for kids is asking your father to dye his hair and remove his grey.
Kids up and down the country are emploring their fathers, no more "I want a bike, a Wii, a Doll!"; its all "fix yo colour paps" and "dynamic fade resistant colour y'all."

And so goes life in the abysmal world of Just For Men.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A-Z of Famous Rob Part 2 - Music

A: A-ha - The sun always shines on tv (wonderfully dark pop with a great video)
B: Bo Diddley - Hey Bo Diddley (THE innovator, RIP)
C: The Cribs - Mirror Kissers (Singalong gig genius)
F: Flock of Seagulls - Telecommunication (a band whose output is seriously underjudged by history)
H: Honour by VNV Nation
M: MIA - Paper Planes (the proper version, the best song from the best album of 2007)
O: Open Your Heart - The Human League (one of those songs that just musical oozes emotion, and probably the best song of the early 80s not made by a band with Bernard Sumner)
P: Paint Nothing - Idlewild (The first song I ever heard by my favourite band ever)
S: System F - Out of the Blue (still the most dreamy tune I think I've ever heard, responsible for a several year long love of trance)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Advertising Awards are a Joke

I love controversial titles, but really they are. I know this topic was about a few weeks ago but I just got reminded of it and had to mention it.

Award ceremonies are supposed to be about things that get made. Oscars are not awarded to actors who did well in rehearsal, or to films that never got released.

So why do adland's big awards all seem to consist largely of concept ads that ran in one local newspaper on page 47, or in one case this year, was produced by for a client by a competing agency!

It's all well and good if you seperate concept ads from ads that actually had to get through the client; but frankly its time the adland awards folk sat themselves down and admitted this is wrong. Why should work that has never had go through critique, relevance testing from client, or any of the other procedures of everyday advertising be judged above those that have.

And to agencies that submit concept work or unapproved work to awards shows: shame on you. Really big fucking shame on you.

In the words of Graham at Words and Pictures: Celebrating your ghost ad's triumph over ads that actually had to go through client is like beating the shit out of a Down syndrome kid and calling yourself a Special Olympian boxer. You didn't play by the rules, it wasn't a fair fight and your victory is worthless. Worse, you've devalued the award of every legitimate winner.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh nuts...

The new Snickers ad has been banned for being offensive (supposedly) to gay people. Sure I understand where its coming from, the dialogue has a couple of lines that might be construed as dodgy. Yet at no point is there an actual reference to sexuality, people are just reading far too much into things.

But there are countless other ads that have the exact same 'real man' message, McCoys crisps for just one example; and no one seems to care about them. So what is it that makes ad worse?

Well it isn't the production, the over the top destruction and comic gun firing are as good as the first ad; and the concept of trying to speedwalk away from danger is funny.

And the best irony of all, this ad is by the same agency that did the Heinz ad that was banned featuring two guys kissing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


The new VW Passat CC ad is pretty nifty. A simple ad showing the water from hosepipe travelling over the car like air in a wind tunnel. It nicely demonstrates the cars shape in a simple and fun way.

Except, the ad is identical to one for the Pontiac G6 in the US in 2005. I hope they didn't know...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

When people fail to think things through...

Morrisons have started putting special offers in the middle of their aisles.

"What a good idea!" someone probably said, we can show them our special offers while we put up our other prices.

Except... noone looked and realised that with these offers you can no longer get two trolleys down one side. Creating confusion and distraction as people try to avoid rsmming each other!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A to Z

For some reason this posted yesterday instead of saving... here it is finished!

A is for : Aquafresh (3 in one protection)
B is for : Bear (Hoffmeister)
C is for : Cog (Honda)
D is for : Dee, Jack (John Smiths Penguins)
E is for : Esso Tiger
F is for : Fat Chris (Gamestation)
G is for : Grr (Honda)
H is for : Hello Tosh, Gotta Toshiba?
I is for : It's frothy man (Cresta)
J is for : Jif Micro liquid where are you?
K is for : Kia Ora (We all adora)
L is for : Lemonade drinker (Secret) (R Whites)
M is for : Martians (Smash)
N is for : Need to hear it on a Maxell
O is for : On and on and Ariston
P is for : (Bill) Poster Wins Lott... (Red Bull)
Q is for : Quite smart (I thought they were) (Carling
R is for : Row (John West)
S is for : Slap - You've been Tango'ed (Tango)
T is for : Thunderbirds, Brains (Drench)
U is for : Um Bongo (They drink it in the Congo)
V is for : Vimto (Purple Ronnie)
W is for : Watch out there's a Humphrey about
X is for : Xtra (Who gives you?)
Y is for : Yes (The bank that likes to say, Del Monte say ... to the best)
Z is for : Zzzz ... erm... rats

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Aka: A lesson in hard sell.

I am coming to the end of my mobile contract, and had my heart set on one of two phones. I decided to start looking at them in advance of my contract expiring.

I went into Vodafone, who were helpful.
I went into Orange, who were helpful.
I went into Carphone Warehouse, who frankly appeared to not notice my existence.

Then I went into Phones4U.

Having been a customer of theirs for several years whilst at university I was well aware of their hard sell tactics. I asked if I could take a look at the phone, and explained that I was looking for when my contract ran out.

So not only did they get the phone and give me as much time as I wanted playing with it, whilst I was doing this they checked with Orange to see if there was any way they could get me the phone before my contract finished. Guess what.

Orange would cut the last 3 months off my contract if I signed a new one, on the same money as I pay now but with better minutes and texts.

Orange could have done the same thing but didn't. Vodafone probably could have, Carphone Warehouse probably could have, but neither did.

So instead of waiting 3 months, I get a new phone now for free, and no longer have to pay the last three months of my old one.

Hard sell? I call that bloody good customer service frankly. They want my custom, they went to a lot of effort to demonstrate that to me; and thats why they have it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Going up?

Woo! Up to 304 in the Ad Age power blogs list.
That's about 30 up from last time I checked :D

Don't Stop Me Now!

Hurrah! Today I officially pass my three month probation period in my new job. It's been three months of crazy busyness and learning, but with the bonuses of meeting some fantastic people and helping out in two great (and winning) pitches.

To add to that, last week I got the first 180 on our agency dart board...

I really like being in Manchester, I look forward to being able to live here as well. 6am alarm clock and 8pm hometime really leaves no free time! Good thing the job is worth it.

Oh and my brother David starts a week placement at another Manchester agency today, if they have any sense they will keep him there!


"Hey Rob

We know you enjoy blogging about , so we thought you’d enjoy being the first to see Snickers and Mr T’s brand new Get Some Nuts TV ad."

You had me til the html insert tag...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Advertising that should burn in agency hell for all eternity Part 1

Combine a brand famous for terrible tv ads with the band most hated (and by hated I mean violently disgusted by the sheer awfulness of) by the rock community.

What do you have?

DFS and Nickleback. Singlehandedly lowering the bar for ad music, creative relevance and cliche handling. I understand the idea of being influenced by a video, and it works in that respect, but dear god get a better band to utilise.

Hell, if you get some Machinehead into your next ad I will singlehandedly start the campaign to get it into Cannes next year.

DFS ads were improving... were.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Yo Yo Yo Yo!

Best PR event ever. The opening of Yo Sushi in Spinningfields Manchester.
Free sushi and drinks, my idea of food perfection.

In the battle for online commentary, unlimited free salmon nigri is my price...

In defence of Orange...

The print ads for the new Orange campaign are much much much better than the tv ad. They get the sentiment right without the patronising and contrived feel.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Future is Shite

I am bored.
I am too long.
I am pretentious.
I am mind-numbingly dull.
I am obvious.
I am still too long.
I am blatantly obvious.
I am still far too long.
I am so obvious you have already got the message and have changed the channel, unless of course:
I am about to reveal a witty and delightful end line.
I am still going on and on and on.
I am fucking annoying.
I am trying so hard to be meaningful
I am completely failing
I am sounding very contrived
I am taking my audience for idiots
I am STILL going on
I am not going to give you that impressive end line, despite the expectation of one being the only thing keeping you watching
I am finally fucking finished

If you must...
Come back Kronenberg ad, all is forgiven.
Fallon, come on now. We know you can do better.

via Scamp

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New Links

Came across this blog the other day, like me a few months ago Anjali wants to get into planning; she was formerly on clientside.

Her blog looks interesting, its certainly worth checking out:

One Size Fits One

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The World Is Made of 57 Varieties

So Heinz have pulled their Salad Cream ad featuring two guys kissing after 200 complaints that it might be unsuitable for children etc etc (whining drone of Daily Mail readers wishing away their pointless lives).

Stonewall, the gay right group (who did a great ad recently also) have now asked people to boycott Heinz for giving in to the whining brainless misinformed wankers.

I understand both for taking the actions they have, but really the problem is much deeper than that.

Surely even Daily Mail readers wouldn't now (explicity) complain about black people kissing, nor would most complain about two women kissing. There seems to be a subset of equality that says "except for gay men", as if squeamishness is a suitable excuse for homophobia.

I mean really, is this ad THAT offensive? It's sweet and funny, and portrays a nice message about the tolerance and acceptance of kids that those sad whinging people could learn from.

Well done Heinz for letting it through in the first place, as for what happens now, I suggest we burn down the Daily Mail offices. Thats a far more suitable solution than cancelling it or boycotting Heinz.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

RIP George Carlin

I just read that George Carlin died on Sunday. That's such a shame.

A comedian who stayed funny, insightful and edgy right until his death. The sort of brilliant genius Bill Hicks might have become.

Like Bill, Carlin showed contempt for the vacuous forms of advertising most of us also hate; and possibly his most known routine takes shots at religion, brilliantly condensing the 10 commandments into 2.

So go watch some George Carlin, and be grateful that not all edgy and dangerous comedians die young or go mainstream. Some grow old and never lose it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Row Row Row Your Boat...

Our new John West ad launches today in Northern Ireland, and although I wasn't personally involved I think it's something that I can point to as a damn good example of why I want to be at this agency.

I love the lack of voiceover, the charm of the idea, and the fact that (unlike many agencies) when we found an existing video that was similar to our idea, we gave the director a break with her first ever ad shoot instead of just copying it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cheap as Chips

The new £6.50 Doritos ad is here today, and despite having a budget smaller than the Cillit Bang ads, and despite being user generated content; its actually pretty good.

It has a sense of fun and a sense of amusement that nicely fits the brand. And though a bigger budget would improve the animation, the actual content is pretty good as it is.

So score one for user generated content...

New Doritos Ad

Monday, June 09, 2008

...and the beat goes on... and on...

Oh dear. M+C Saatchi, what were you thinking?
Do you really need this long to tell such a simple story?

Dragggggggged out over 1 minute this ad just falls flat on its small bubbled arse; its a great choice of song, but as the lyrics suggest; the ad goes on, and on, and on.

It all feels like the milliseconds have been eeked out of everything. Why?

I thought the M+C motto was Brutal simplicity of thought; maybe they need to remember the brutal simplicity of short.

At least the 30 second cut should improve things.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Coor Blimey

Look at this load of top forty over here.
Looks like too much Flight of the Conchords mixed with a lack of charm, lack of wit, and some criiingeworthy attempts at writing do equal a rubbish ad.

This ad is stewed to taste shite...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Job Update

So, seven weeks down and I am still really enjoying my new job.

Been doing lots of interesting work and getting involved in the nitty gritty of pitch work and the like.

The people are still great and there is a nice sense of teamwork across the agency.

It looks like being a great place to be a planner. Until HuntingdonScampDavies opens its doors at the very least!

Bless You

Richard Huntingdon is back with a great piece on multiple routes and Tissue meetings.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with Tissue Meetings, I do worry that being asked to do multiple routes regardless of need is wrong.

A: It means the agency might be wasting time they could be spending on the best idea.
B: It means the client could be wasting money on ideas that aren't right just so they have more than one to look at.

As one planner here mentioned the other day: "I would never take anything into a meeting that I wouldn't want the client to buy."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Sky's the Limit

As usual when I find an exciting thing to post about, Scamp manages to post about it before me..! (*mumblegrumble*)

This ad however is just genius.

Honda will show a live three minute ad featuring skydivers. The line is 'Difficult is worth doing.', and in this case, it bloody well is. It's in plenty of papers this morning.

Another example of how W+K are masters at creating impact with small media spend.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Follow the Bear

His name is always mentioned in advertising creative circles, but as one of the most inspirational figures to me in advertising I think its time to put a Planning mark of respect out there for John Webster.

Not only did he create brilliant ads that captured people's imaginations, he made them work. He got the planning message across, he got the sales message across, but did it in such a way that you never felt like a salesman was shouting at you.

He was one of the first creatives to really listen to planning. To really listen to what they said, and to consider what people liked to watch in the same way as early planners did.

At JWT we talk about making people want to spend time with brands, well no creative ever did that better than John Webster. 6 of the top 100 UK ads of all time are his (that I know of), including the regular number 1 and 2 slot filler.

I talk a lot about how good brand characters can work brilliantly, and if you look at Webster's work; it's full of great characters that work both as message vehicles, but also as engaging entertainment. What was different about Webster was that he created full back stories for every character, they weren't just there for the ads, and that made them feel infinitely more real and likeable.

Take the first Hofmeister Bear ad, it literally tells you the story of the character.

Webster is quoted in Sam Delaney's book Get Smashed "Increasingly, people were using celebrities. Famously CDP had used Leonard Rossiter for their Cinzano campaign. I'd heard that most people in research thought their ads were for Martini so I realised that a celebrity could be a distraction from the product. But if we invented our own characters then we could own them. Plus, they wouldn't age and they'd be a great deal cheaper too"

Sugar Puffs eventually published a full biography of the Honey Monster, written by Webster.

Webster also said "With all the characters I invented I liked to imagine where they had come from and what their upbringing was like so that they'd be real, rounded characters as opposed to flimsy advertising mascots."

With the internet a sense of honesty and realism is more important than ever before in brands, and these rounded likeable characters have been rediscovered by older generations via You Tube. After 20-30 years they still remember them, possibly better than they remember the products themselves...

So Close...

The new ad for the Ford Kuga is here, and like the last Ford ad, it shows potential without ever fully realizing it.


The music is great, it really conveys the ad idea.
The execution idea is good, a world that is blank has a lot of possibility.


The idea of starting from a blank canvas is good, except it doesn't really match this car. The Kuga looks (I've seen it close up at a display stand) pretty much like every other pseudo-MPV/4x4 crossover out there. I cannot convincingly believe that this car started with anything like a blank canvas.
The actual execution is in no way the best that could have been made of this idea. It feels too heavy handed, the expressions too forced. Instead of feeling like natural surprise it just feels a bit like a "thirt quench" shot on a Coke ad. Which is a shame.

Overall it tries too hard to be a bold and unique ad, but if it had just been treated with a bit more of a light touch and freedom it would probably work a lot better. Still, on the upside. Ford ads are still moving in the right direction.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008


The Scottish invasion of Manchester was so nearly a success. I'm not talking about the game itself, but the attitude and personality of the Rangers fans the day before the match.

After meeting a few and seeing their cheerful attitude I thought they were going to singlehandedly prove that Scottish fans aren't as bad as their reputation says.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Worm has Turd

I know I know, I spent time talking with people about how good brand characters can be effective. I'm sure I secretly miss a good jingle.

But dear advertising lord (I think technically that's Sir Martin Sorrell) please make this go away.
It's the first ad by Manchester based driven, and reminds me of everything that regional agencies shouldn't be doing. It's tacky, the character is dull, the writing is suspect and the ad as a whole is borderline unwatchable.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pepsi Meh

A while ago I talked about how the difference between Pepsi Max and Coke Zero was that CZ was trying too hard, whereas PM had a natural assurance.

Not here though. An ad with some nice ideas (Fabregas' shrug with the guitar), and even a 'product shot' gag (ruined by cutting it down to 0.2 of a second) ends up feeling a little contrived.

It's a shame, as the idea is much better than the usual star endorsement fare, and extended out by a few more seconds it would probably improve several-fold.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Benchmark is Raised

Another 1.30 ad? Oh good grief.
An old tv character? Please no.
90's throwback music? Give me a break.


This is officially our planning department's favourite ad of the year so far. It seems utterly pointless in its comedy brilliance, and then goes and adds a completely unarguable insight that makes the whole ad even better.

If you don't wish you'd made this ad, you probably shouldn't be in advertising...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Spot on.

Precisely why Mario Kart (an otherwise wonderful game) pisses me riiight off.

More proper posts v soon...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I found it really interesting considering the outcry over stolen ad ideas to look at the controversy surrounding Uber-producer and hitman Timbaland.

Watching the numerous You Tube videos of tracks he has stolen from makes it pretty hard for him to deny any wrongdoing... yet he is doing just that.