Friday, June 29, 2007

Sin Of Omission - Now Rectified

In my run-through of the very fine creative directors we have here at BBH, I forgot to include Alex & Adrian, which is very bad.

However, this now gives me an excuse to post their Lynx 'Billions' ad, which is very good.

p.s. Marc Hatfield and Pete Bradly are great too.

As are Steve & Ian, Paul & Adrian, Brad & Dan, Dale & Hamish, Chris & Gary, Wes & Gary, Steve & Justin, Ben & Nadine, Richard & Graham, Claudia & Verity, Jim & Toby, Matt & Dave, Vic & Will, Mark Reddy, Richard & Andy, Chalu & Glenn.

And all the Planners and Account Handlers.

And Project Management.

And TV.

And everybody else.

Absolutely everybody in the building, with no one missed out.

That should do it...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Boss Off

Russell Ramsay, the Executive Creative Director here, is leaving to take up the same role at JWT.

We only arrived at BBH recently-ish, so we haven't spent that much time with Russell - one curry and a couple of creative reviews - but after 5 minutes with the guy you realise he's a great bloke, and a great CD. He'll be missed here, and do well there. No doubt about it.

However, we do have lots of other talented creative directors...

Like Rosie Arnold...

...Nick Gill...

...and Mick Mahoney.

Then there's the small matter of Campaign's creative director of the year for the last two years, John O'Keeffe.

And someone called, oh... can't remember his name... it's Sir something. He's not bad either.

So you know what? I think we'll be OK.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

3 New Planning Blogs

A commenter on yesterday's chart introduces me to three new planning blogs.

You may well ask - 'Does the world need another planning blog?'

Well, apparently the answer is yes, because all three of these are quite popular.

Neil Perkin is a big strategic cheese at magazine group IPC, and his thought-provoking blog Only Dead Fish (short for 'only dead fish swim with the water') offers "Thoughts on media, communications, planning, magazines and life". Today he features a rather nifty chart of webtrends.

Planning For Fun, from agency planner Graeme Douglas, is a nicely personal planning blog. A recent project for Cravendale gave Graeme the excuse to post the famous 'Accrington Stanley' milk ad, which I guess gives me an excuse to post it as well.

Charles Frith's Punk Planning is not nearly as nihilistic as the name might suggest, but consists instead of an intelligently-written take on current events in the world of communications and the world in general. A recent post asks 'Is Blogging The New Tamagotchi?' Check him out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Ad Blog Charts For June 2007

Here are the world's most popular ad blogs, as measured by traffic rankings from Alexa.

Top 25 Ad Blogs (world
1     (new)Houtlust2,769
2     (1)AdRants18,173
3     (2)Advertising/Design Goodness  36,164
4     (5)Adverbox61,129
5     (3)AdFreak63,841
6     (4)Adverblog64,913
7     (6)Logic + Emotion90,542
8     (8)Coloribus99,458
9     (new)Duncan's TV Ad Land109,208
10   (7)Adland130,410
11   (9)Ad Punch141,768
12   (10)Jaffe Juice160,892
13   (11)AdPulp170,412
14   (13)Copyranter193,799
15   (12)Twenty Four213,048
16   (14)Experience Curve269,124
17   (16)How Advertising Spoiled Me293,153
18   (18)AdScam300,520
19   (new)AdArena303,179
20   (15)Beyond Madison Avenue336,889
21   (19)Make The Logo Bigger360,726
22   (21)Welcome To Optimism394,562
23   (17)Hee-Haw Marketing414,128
24   (20)Advertising For Peanuts421,817
25   (22)American Copywriter455,291

Three new blogs this month.

In with a bullet at No.1 is Houtlust, a site I've only just become aware of but which is massively popular - even bigger than Adrants. It covers communications for not-for-profit advertisers. Must be a highly valuable resource for people in that sector I would say.

In at No.9 is Duncan's TV Ad Land. Duncan Macleod is an advertising enthusiast who lives in Australia. He keeps a very detailed record of what he considers to be the best new work, with commentary too. For a while I wasn't sure whether to class it as a blog or not, but he does post every day, so why not?

Coming in at No.19 is the fast-rising AdArena, from Radovan Grezo and his team in Slovakia, again covering 'best of new work', with a specific emphasis on new media, guerrilla and viral campaigns. Radovan sent me a wonderfully complimentary e-mail about Raining Time, so I'm happy to welcome him to the chart.

So three blogs drop out of the chart - Scamp, Hidden Persuader and BrandFlakes for Breakfast.

An ↑ means a blog's traffic has gone up by 15% or more in the past month, and a ↓ means it's gone down 15%.

Top 10 UK Ad Blogs (world
1   (2)Welcome To Optimism  394,562
2   (4)FishNChimps516,586
3   (3)Scamp536,700
4   (5)Adliterate749,555
5   (6)Living Brands799,790
6   (8)Faris987,096
7   (9)Northern Planner1.3m
8   (new)Meme Huffer2.4m
9  (10)What If...2.7m
10  (7)Beeker3.7m

I've removed AdScam from the UK chart, as I've belatedly realised that George Parker is based in the US, so he doesn't count. Fun blog though.

New in at No.8 this month is Meme Huffer by Jason Lonsdale, a Kiwi planner transplanted to London. He keeps an enjoyable and eclectic blog, with the tagline "a deep breath of ideas, culture & stuff".

UK means UK-based. Ad blog means ad blogs not marketing blogs, so that excludes Gapingvoid. Paul Colman doesn't class Life In The Middle as an ad blog and Russell Davies claims he no longer blogs about advertising, though the odd observation about our benighted industry does creep in. Also, I'm only counting English language blogs.

If I've missed anyone out, please tell me and I'll put them in next month.

Monday, June 25, 2007

So Who Deserved The Grand Prix And Who Didn't?


I love the idea of a solar-powered billboard providing electricity to the local community. Incredibly original, and truly altruistic. However, the line doesn't work at all. Since when did any bank claim to give power to the people anyway? Would have worked much better for a political party, or a power company.

Scamp Score - 5/10


Not a vintage year for print. These ads are good, but not great. The fact that they're from Procter & Gamble is probably the most impressive thing about them.

Scamp Score - 7/10


The winning ad is an original idea, with rather witty writing. However, at 2 minutes it's a bit self-indulgent as an ad. Yes, the length would make it stand out. But unfortunately, it did start to drag somewhat. Also, I couldn't hear all the words clearly. I only got all the jokes when I downloaded a copy of the script (it's at the same link).

Scamp Score - 7/10


Bonded by Blood is complete genius. Playing rugby means being ready to spill blood for your brothers, so it fits the sport perfectly. There's even a sniff of Maori racial pride in there, which is wonderful. And the way it connects fans to the poster, by literally letting them have their heroes' DNA on their bedroom wall... phenomenal.

Scamp Score - 10/10


The young people, they love burgers. And they love video games. Putting creepy icon The King into his own series of X-Box games is a perfect marriage of the two. Apparently the games were even quite good. They made a shedload of money for BK. And one of them became the 3rd highest selling X-Box game ever. You just can't argue with that. Watch the film here.

Scamp Score - 10/10


Who were all these idiots saying this was a weak year for film? Dove Evolution is an absolutely incredible piece of communication. Subtle, beautiful, and powerful... I'm willing to bet this had a huge effect on the Dove brand, and what's more, on the psyches of of women worldwide.

Scamp Score - 10/10

Overall: some witty ideas, a lot of originality - albeit occasionally for its own sake, perhaps - and one piece of work (Dove Evolution) that will still be remembered in 30 years' time. Not a bad year at all.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Gems From Cannes

Been looking through the Cannes winners.

And what gives me the most pleasure - aside of course from the schadenfreude of seeing friends do less well than expected - is the Bronze winners.

They're often ads you haven't seen before, things that are maybe a bit more quirky and not totally immediate, like a Gold winner has to be.

Here are some of my favourite bronze-hued gems.

Just click on the image if you need to make any of them bigger

The UK: Are We Crap?

Grim news from Cannes, chaps.

British agencies are winning hardly any gongs at all.

Harvey Nichols 'Catfight' (above) is the only ATL gold so far.

We are on course for our worst-ever performance.

Does this list make you feel any better?

Winston Churchill, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Charles Darwin, William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, John Lennon, Horatio Nelson, Oliver Cromwell, Ernest Shackleton, Captain James Cook, The Duke of Wellington, Paul McCartney, Alexander Fleming, Alan Turing, Michael Faraday, Stephen Hawking, Emmeline Pankhurst, William Wilberforce, David Bowie, David Beckham, Thomas Paine, Bodicea, William Blake, Charles Dickens, Sir Frank Whittle, John Peel, John Logie Baird, Aneurin Bevan, Francis Drake, Florence Nightingale, T. E. Lawrence, Alexander Graham Bell, Freddie Mercury, Edward Elgar, David Attenborough, George Stephenson, Charlie Chaplin, William Caxton, Bobby Moore, Jane Austen, Charles Babbage, Geoffrey Chaucer, James Watt, David Hume, Walter Raleigh, Barnes Wallis, Richard Burton, Tony Benn, David Livingstone, Tim Berners-Lee, Marie Stopes.

From the BBC poll of 100 Greatest Britons. N.B. I didn't put them all in, just the ones I like. For example, I left out Enoch Powell. And Elton John. Not that there's anything wrong with Elton - I just don't think he should have made the Top 100.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Man Gets Post-Natal Depression

The Vodafone campaign has been such a big part of my working life. Now it's gone out into the world I feel, well, a bit bereft. Does anyone else get this? How do you deal with it?

This is what Picasso would have painted, if given the brief 'Scamp was feeling a bit blue.'

Taken from a fun art mash-up competition.

Here's another entry.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Babies

I've slagged-off plenty of ads here in the past.

Well, now you can slag off mine if you want.

Here are four press/poster executions, and a TV ad, all for the launch of Vodafone's mobile internet service.

Director: Simon Ratigan at HLA

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Man Gives Birth

The campaign I've been working on for six months breaks tonight.

I'm 50% excited, 50% relieved it's over, and 100% too close to the whole thing to know if it's any good...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Swearing Is Funny. Puppets Are Funny. And So Are Big Flapping Willies

Oh man, I laughed so much. AND I'M A REALLY SOUR HUMAN BEING.

Go immediately to Fish 'n' Chimps to see this hilarious perversion of the Free Hugs campaign.

Voiceovers - Is It Better If They're Famous?

Sorry, still got voiceovers on the brain.

But this time I'm thinking not about what to say, but who says it.

Is it better to get a famous person? After all, I like the Tesco ads a bit more because I recognise the voices of people I like on them - Terry Wogan, Ronnie Corbett, Cilla Black.

Or is it only important to get a great performance? Louis Mellis and Garrison Keillor were unknown (in the UK) before they lent their voices to Guinness and Honda, arguably the two best VOs of recent years.

The only thing I'm sure of is there's no point using somebody famous if their voice isn't recognisable.

Here's an example of what I mean. It's the most recent Nike running ad.

Could you tell the VO is by Edward Norton? I doubt it. Great read. But... much money spent, and no star-power added.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How Long Should A Voiceover Be?

Currently finalising the voiceover on this commercial I've been working on for six months.

My initial instinct - make it as short as possible. Aren't voiceovers just some burbling sound that goes on in the background, completely ignored by one and all?

The Skoda 'Baking Of' ad doesn't have one at all. Nor does the new Sony ad. (Yes, I know some of you hate it. Screw you! Heavy-metal poodles rule!)


A very influential person here at BBH thinks the public is now bored of what he calls "57+3", by which he means a 60-second ad that consists of a 57-second visual metaphor followed by a 3-second super at the end which explains it.

Also in the 'voiceovers are good' camp you might find the wonderful new Golf ad and, going back a bit, Guinness "Surfer".

(Although you could argue these are 'soundscapes' not genuine voiceovers.)

So what to do? Well, the fact is that our ad does need at least some explanatory voiceover (it's a relatively new product we're selling).

And given a certain groundswell here against "57+3", and a wholly understandable desire at the client end to say some impressive things about their product, it looks like the voiceover is going to be fairly long.

At first I was gutted. But then I realised that, if I could make the words interesting enough, maybe it can work.

To paraphrase Claude Hopkins: "People don't listen to voiceovers. They listen to words they find interesting."

So, fingers crossed. (When they're not typing the 100th draft of my VO...)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Better Than Balls

I can't believe I'm saying this, but in my opinion, the new Sony ad is even better than Balls.

Balls was beautiful and impressive, of course, but I always found it a little po-faced.

This new epic, however, has even more visual daring, but adds a delicious sense of humour - in fact it's camper than a priest in a disco. You can't beat a poodle getting his car washed to an Iron Maiden soundtrack, can you? Didn't think so.

Agency: Fallon London; Director: Pleix; Production Company: Blink

Friday, June 08, 2007

Incredible Flying Car

I've found a wonderful new specimen of that rare beast, the Creative Blog...

It's called Incredible Flying Car and is by Smollensky & Blake, a creative team at Y&R London.

Here's two examples of their consistently innovative and amusing content:

Homeboy or Homeless?

Jiffy Bag Disco

Keep up the good work, guys.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What A Smoke-Out!

I can't help it, I'm addicted to The Apprentice.

Last night's episode was classic TV drama. Sirallan first of all offered Katie a place in the final. Then more or less asked her to swear on her kids' lives that she really wanted it. Result? She pulled out. The man is a master.

And this story proves him right. Seems Katie was planning a media career all along.

One thought: any half-decent Account Man could win The Apprentice, couldn't they?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Looking For Music

As I've mentioned before, looking for music is the hardest thing in the world.

Why? Well, with your edit, you have a limited number of shots to choose from - you can more or less try every combination. But there are literally millions of music tracks in existence. Although I think we've found the perfect track now, you can never be 100% sure.

So although listening to loads of music is fun, it is also frustrating.

Especially with music sites as knowledgeable as the one above. Gratifying to see the search only took 0.334 seconds though...

Olympic Update

Here's the best comment going around about the new logo...

Thanks to Anna Tozer for the tip.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Worst Logo Ever?

This is the new logo for the 2012 London Olympics (by Wolff Olins), released today.

A sad day for our advertising/ graphic design industry, I feel.

Read Seb Coe's justification here.

Apparently, it comes in a series of shades of pink, blue, green and orange (euurrrgh) and will "evolve" in the run-up to the Games. Perhaps it evolves into a logo that's actually good...

Thanks to Paul Silburn for the tip

UPDATE: There's an unintentionally hilarious video that goes with it.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Digital And The Emperor's New Clothes

"handed out like candy bars in online"

I've been wanting to write a reaction to last week's D&AD awards.

Now someone else has done it for me.

Here's a wonderfully thought-provoking guest post, by award-winning DDB London creative Rob Messeter.

I know it's the future and everything, and everyone seems to be wetting themselves with excitement over it (particularly marketing people) but, is it me, or is most online advertising really pony.

I’m not just talking about the big shouty garish banners, or the annoying pop up things, I'm actually thinking of the supposedly award-winning stuff.

For instance the Virgin Casino campaign that last week picked up a silver Pencil in the online advertising category. Let me refresh your memory, you click on the word 'Spin' and a chap dressed like a croupier, wait for it, spins around. In another execution, you click on the word ‘Stand’, and a man stands up. Genius. If I presented anything so woeful to my creative director he'd laugh me out of the room.

Have a look for yourself.

Of course this is just one isolated example, so lets look at another. Another pencil winner in the same category. The Mercedes GL Banner. It’s a shocker. Car drives around bumpy terrain, and glass of water doesn’t get spilt. Ford made a TV ad like this almost a decade ago.

But, these campaigns are over a year old, and things move quickly in digital. Lets look at something current. A recent campaign from the same agency that created the Virgin Casino work.

This time the work is for COI/Anti-Smoking, 'There's never been more ways to get rid of cigarettes.' Now, lets skip the 10 word endline and move straight to the series of 'games' a term used very loosely as in fact they weren't games at all. One of the ways to get rid of cigarettes is apparently to drop an elephant on them, or lower them into a vat of acid. The hottest campaign from the hottest digital agency in town? Hmmm. A strategy that will never make a smoker stop smoking wrapped up in a series of 'games' that would only engage/ challenge/ interrupt a 3 year old.

I think we need to get some perspective. Digital is still relatively in its infancy. As time goes on I’m sure we will begin to see more maturity in the work. But for the moment, everyone please calm down. Clients, throwing all your money mindlessly into digital might not always be the best answer to your business problem. And awards juries, please try and be a bit more critical. In a year when the brilliant Nike St.Wayne poster didn’t get a look in at D&AD, pencils were being handed out like candy bars in online.

There’s something not right there.