Monday, March 31, 2008


I didn't really want to post about this, because it's a bit tawdry.

But let's face it, this is what everyone is talking about this morning (along with 'Trucks').

What happened is that someone at CHI sent round an e-mail from a work placement PC with details of everyone's salaries. That's right. Everyone's.

It went round late at night, so I.T. managed to get it deleted before too many people had seen it.

But then the next day (Friday)... it was sent round again.

Personally I think the idea of the rogue hacker is almost more interesting than the details of everyone's wages, which are pretty much what you would expect.

Companies are notoriously secretive about pay - I've always thought it might be a good thing if they were open about everyone's salaries. St Luke's always were, and the effect on their morale was said to be very positive.

I wonder what effect it's having over at CHI...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cadbury's Trucks - The Verdict

First of all, I'm pissed that Juan's used "Don't Stop Me Now" - I've got a car ad in my bottom drawer that only works with that track, so it will never get made now.

But let's face it, this is a very, very good ad.

The trucks are full of character, and there's a moment - when the flames shoot out and the song kicks in - when even a cynical old hack like me feels a tingle.

Sure, it's not quite as good as "Gorilla", but it's closer in standard than "Paint" was to "Balls".

Has any one Creative ever had such a run of success - bearing in mind that these ads are not just hits, they are mega-hits?

It's Juan's world, folks. The rest of us just live in it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

They Call It Packaging

Great post over at Crackunit.

He's found a German site that shows photos of 100 product packs... alongside shots of what the food inside actually looks like.

Feel the shame. Feel the guilt.

Then get back to writing some adverts.

Ad Arrives Saturday, Hype Is Well And Truly Here

Okay so I tried typing "airport trucks", "airport truck race" and even "magical airport trucks" into YouTube... nothing.

Where the hell is he getting his ideas from now?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday Tip No. 45 - How To Write Copy

If you have the choice, never write copy.

Why? Because no one reads it.

You’re just adding an extra element, which means fewer eyeballs will be attracted to the ad in the first place. So it’s counter-productive.

In the olden days, copy was important because it was a source of information about the product.

But nowadays, people almost never make a purchase without getting information from the internet first. Therefore, copy isn’t needed. Just put the web address.

In fact, even the web address is unnecessary, in my view, since consumers can be fairly confident in assuming that every company in the world which is selling products today, has a website. And you don’t even need to tell consumers what that website’s name is, because they’ll get to it via Google - that’s just what everyone does.

One argument you still occasionally hear in favour of copy is that it helps ‘close the sale’.

This ‘closing the sale’ argument is based on a bizarre view of how advertising works - that consumers read an advert for a product, drop their magazine and walk in a zombie-like trance to the shops to buy it.

Sorry, but you can’t close a sale with an advert. Advertising does have a huge influence on behaviour, but it’s not like you’re pressing the buttons on a radio-controlled car here.

There’s only one example I can think of when some copy on an advert might be a good thing. And that is when you want to imply that your product is a serious product, which has a lot worth saying about it. Of course, almost no one will read this copy. But the very fact that the advert has a lot of copy on it will communicate that this is a serious product, which has a lot worth saying about it. (N.B. this benefit may possibly be offset by the large number of people who will be put off even looking at the advert because of its dull and waffly appearance.)

So the only reason to write copy is if all the above arguments fail, and the client (via the account team) tell you that you have to.

Then you have to.

There’s very little to be gained from it. I’ve twice judged the ‘Copy’ section for D&AD, so someone out there must consider me a good copywriter. Yet in 15 years, no one’s ever told me: “Nice copy.”

Having said all that, I do think it’s worth doing a Tip about how to write copy.

Why? Because most Creatives nowadays come from an art-school or graphic design background rather than any kind of writing-related field, are not necessarily confident writing copy, and so (I get the feeling) would appreciate some guidance.

Also, although there is little to be gained from writing good copy, there is plenty to lose if you write bad copy. Principally, there’s a risk you may displease your Creative Director. He may be one of those Creative Directors (because remember he is a fair bit older than you - perhaps even of a different generation, at least in advertising terms) who still thinks that an ability to write copy is important.

Even if he does understand how irrelevant copy is, you may still piss him off if you do it badly - by taking up his valuable time to help you fix it.

The best result is you do this quickly and cleanly. That way the account team, Creative Director and Client are happy, while you have got it off your desk with a minimum of time & effort spent, so you can get on with something else… something which might actually advance your career.

Here are my 5 tips for writing better copy.

1. Spell-check. Every time you pass your copy to another sentient being – be that your Creative Director, Traffic guy, Client or whatever – spell-check. I personally believe that an insistence on correct spelling is pointless; nothing more than pedantry. I’m far more interested in what someone has to say, not whether they’ve remembered that ‘accommodation’ needs 2 C’s and 2 M’s. (Why does it?) However, there are plenty of people out there who place poor spelling on a par with poor personal hygiene, poor manners, and the decline of the British Empire. And you don’t want to piss anyone off unnecessarily. Not when avoiding it is as easy as pressing F7. So do that.

2. Get the account team to give you a copy brief, or ‘account man copy’ before you start. Often there’s little wrong with it.

3. Use simple, common words. But not exclusively - throw in the odd clever one too. It’s a trick that really works. The late style guru Sheridan Baker, who in turn was paraphrasing Aristotle, wrote: “For clarity, we need common, current words; but, used alone, these are commonplace, and as ephemeral as everyday talk. For distinction, we need words not heard every minute, unusual words, large words, foreign words, metaphors; but, used alone, these become bogs, vapours, or at worst, gibberish. What we need is a diction that weds the popular with the dignified, the clear current with the sedgy margins of language and thought.”

4. Good copy is copy that flows. So avoid elements that could make a reader stumble. These include punctuation in the wrong place, words or combinations of words that make an ugly or weird sound in the head, lack of clarity, boasting, unnecessary changes of tense, use of passive voice, repetition (unless deliberate), clich├ęs, vagueness, blandness… and lists. Like the one you just read.

Three is really the maximum number of items to put in a list, unless your goal is to send the reader off for his sleepy-time.

A bit more on some of those other “don’ts”:

Punctuation in the wrong place is bad. The only purpose of punctuation is to clarify meaning. Putting it in the wrong place makes your meaning less clear.

Avoid rhyming copy, it just sounds weird. In general, try to listen in your head to the sounds that your words make. Avoid combinations that sound ugly or are hard to say.

Lack of clarity is your No.1 enemy. Always check your copy (or have someone else read it) to see whether any bits could be read the wrong way.

Don’t boast. Describing the product as ‘amazing’ or ‘wonderful’ won’t actually make people think it is. Would you describe yourself as ‘amazing’? Persuasion occurs when you present someone with the facts in an appealing way, and let them come to the amazingness conclusion for themselves.

Avoid unnecessary changes of tense. A sudden move like this can throw a reader right off his horse. In general, keep everything in the same tense. The present tense.

Passive voice has a place – like maybe if you want to portray someone as a real victim – but rarely in advertising copy.

Avoid repeating words, even little ones like ‘of’ and ‘and’. Such repetition probably wouldn’t trip a reader, and may not even be consciously noticed. But unconsciously, I believe it registers as a low-quality signal. Someone who finds it necessary to repeat a word, when they’re only using 50 of the blighters, obviously doesn’t have a very large vocabulary. Repetition is only okay if you’re doing it deliberately, for effect. Example: “There’s no business like showbusiness.”

5. For goodness sake, don’t spend ages on a piece of copy. Chances are that as soon as you have it perfectly crafted, with not a word out of place, and a rhythm that would be the envy of Keats… the Client thinks of a point they want to add or take out, and you’ll have to re-tool.

Previous Tips:

Be Funny All The Way Through; How To Do Virals; How To Get A Pay Rise; Be Wary Of Punding; Challenge The Brief; Tell The Truth; Playing To Lose; How To Write Headlines; How To Do Direct; How To Do Radio; How To Do Press; How To Do TV; How To Do Digital; How To Do Posters; Look At Weird Shit; Presenting To The Client; Presenting To The Team; Presenting To The Creative Director; How To Deal With Rejection; Look Creative; Don't Be Afraid To Ask; Your Idea Has To Be 120%; Read Iain's Tips; Don't Behave; How To Discuss Ideas; Read Hugh's Tips; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7); How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ; Make Friends With Traffic; Get Reference; Don't Stop Too Soon; Be Very; Breaking Up; Working Well With Your Partner; Finding The Right Partner; How To Approach Agencies; Never-Seen-Before Footage; Dicketts' Finger; Two Blokes In The Pub; Play Family Fortunes; Should You Take A Bad Job?; Don't Overpolish

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Advertising Haiku

Well, it's the day before we break up for Easter and I'm hung-over like a dog.

So let's write poems.

A site called Ad Agency Confessional runs a regular 'Friday haiku'. (For anyone who doesn't know, a haiku is a three-line poem in the form 5 syllables/ 7 syllables/ 5 syllables.)

Here's one they wrote called 'The Account Executive':

Remember to smile.
Give 'em the ol' shuck and jive.
You have people skills.

Okay. Here's my effort:

I got a new brief;
It said: "Wanted. Big idea."
Thank God for YouTube.

Pretty shit, I know. Let's hear yours.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday Tip No.44 - Be Funny All The Way Through

A new tip for the new or newish Creative.

When given a TV brief, many teams come up with scripts that depict a normal or everyday situation, with a twist at the end.

This can work well. But the fact is - it has to be a helluva twist to compensate the viewer for the previous 25 seconds of boredom.

I believe you are much better off creating a commercial that is 'funny all the way through.'

In other words, a commercial where the entire situation or set of actions is inherently funny (or surreal/interesting/bizarre/beautiful/dramatic), rather than normal or familiar.

By way of example, here's two 20-second ads for the same brand. The first is an everyday scenario with a funny gag at the end; the second launches very quickly into a fresh and funny mode of behaviour.

WKD 'Bath'

WKD 'Drill'

Whether they are good ads or not isn't the point here, I just want to state that the second is clearly better than the first.

Recent awards juries back my view.

Looking at the Gold and Silver-winning commercials from this year's BTAA, here are the ads which (in my view) are funny from the beginning:

Skoda Cake
Sony Music Pieces
Cadbury Gorilla
Sony Play-Doh
Boots Here Come The Girls
Levi's Dangerous Liaison
Sony Music Pieces
Procter & Gamble Interview
Bryclcreem Effortless
The Big Yellow Storage Company Tide
Volkswagen Night Drive
Vodafone Time Theft
Vodafone Cartwheel
Volkswagen Toy Story
Adidas International Impossible is Nothing - David Beckham
Thorntons Stuck
BBC Amazing Music - Russell Brand

And here are the ones (all three of them really good ads, incidentally) that have a twist at the end or near the end of a 'normal' or stock situation:

Boots Moment of Truth
Carling Space
Carling Out

I think a lot of Creatives start out by writing ads that are jokes, naturally with a punchline. And of course there are many cases - Volkswagen 'Surprisingly Ordinary Prices' Lamp Post for example - where the normal-situation-followed-by-punchline structure works well. But... they're quite rare. Especially compared to the number of really bad ads that use that structure.

So my tip today is to try to think of a funny or interesting situation that has the brand promise woven into it, rather than just writing a joke.

Previous Tips:

How To Do Virals; How To Get A Pay Rise; Be Wary Of Punding; Challenge The Brief; Tell The Truth; Playing To Lose; How To Write Headlines; How To Do Direct; How To Do Radio; How To Do Press; How To Do TV; How To Do Digital; How To Do Posters; Look At Weird Shit; Presenting To The Client; Presenting To The Team; Presenting To The Creative Director; How To Deal With Rejection; Look Creative; Don't Be Afraid To Ask; Your Idea Has To Be 120%; Read Iain's Tips; Don't Behave; How To Discuss Ideas; Read Hugh's Tips; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7); How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ; Make Friends With Traffic; Get Reference; Don't Stop Too Soon; Be Very; Breaking Up; Working Well With Your Partner; Finding The Right Partner; How To Approach Agencies; Never-Seen-Before Footage; Dicketts' Finger; Two Blokes In The Pub; Play Family Fortunes; Should You Take A Bad Job?; Don't Overpolish

Monday, March 17, 2008

Top Ten Creatives, Directors and Agencies

I love charts and graphs; maybe I should have been a planner.

Anyway, there's some interesting tables on David Reviews, which is a site (subscription required) run by Jason Stone - he's an interesting bloke and a real ad enthusiast, who's created a tidy business taping all the ads off TV, and selling them back to agencies when they ring up asking for all the latest car ads, soup ads, or whatever.

Visitors can also vote - here are the stats for the last 12 months:

Top 10 Directors

Top 10 Agencies

Top 10 Creatives

Agree? Disagree? Remember, it's just for fun.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

News Orgy

Crikey, loads happening today...

Juan Cabral has just finished shooting the new Cadbury ad, which apparently features 'trucks having fun'. Canonisation beckons.

Ogilvy U-Turn - the four CD's will now report to Chairman Gary Leih, not MD Guy Lambert. Still embarrassing.

Nick Bell takes DDB global job. Great hire.

AKQA spoofs Guinness 'tipping point' ad for Pot Noodle viral. White swan.

11 Golds for Fallon at BTAA last night. Can't argue.

Media agency Mindshare plots creative agency launch. Wallpaper factory.

If you want to join in this possibly tedious two-word game, feel free.

Dothetestgate, Day 2

So I talked to Kit & Tom. I can assure you - neither is the Antichrist. They're good guys. For reasons I am sure you will all understand, they couldn't say anything about the situation.

A WCRS spokesperson did make this statement to Brand Republic:

"We are facing criticism relating to copyright on the cycling safety TV ad. We have been assured that this execution does not infringe copyright. We feel it is a powerful message and is one that will have an impact on this very serious issue."

I also got in touch with Professor Daniel Simons at the University of Illinois, who made the original film. Here's what he said:

"From what little I understand about British copyright law, the advertisement was probably within the letter of the law given that they made some minor changes from my version (e.g, 8 players rather than 6, a bear suit rather than a gorilla suit). In any case, I'm not interested in pursuing a legal or publicity fight with an ad agency or with the British government. I'd rather let this just run its course
without too much additional attention."

"That said, I am unhappy about what the advertising agency and TfL have done. Nobody from the advertising agency or TfL contacted me to ask about my work, and there was no need to duplicate what I did so closely. I have helped other advertising agencies in the past (for free) to come up with variants of this effect that would be closer to the purpose of their advertising campaign and less clearly duplicating what I did (e.g., I helped advise an ad agency developing a web-based
ad for Hyundai last year). It would have been easy to come up with a scenario that actually involved a failure to see a cyclist and that didn't involve people in animal costumes or passing basketballs."

"I do like the goal of the campaign -- I often speak about the effects of inattention on accidents involving cyclists and motorcyclists myself. I'm just frustrated that they didn't bother to contact me (I'm easy to find) given that they based their ad so closely on my work. Even if they were legally within their rights to do what they did given British copyright laws, it would have been a nice courtesy,
and I could have helped them to come up with a much more targeted ad for their campaign that didn't duplicate my work so closely."

And here's a very short list I've compiled off the top of my head, of ads that were inspired by a short film, comedy sketch or pop promo:

Hamlet 'Photo Booth'
PlayStation 'Life On The PlayStation'
Honda 'Cog'
Guinness 'Man dancing around pint'
Budweiser 'Wassup'
Levi's 'Flat Eric'

Please don't tell me an ad creative can't be inspired by a book or a film. If a 'real' artist can put a urinal in a gallery, then we commercial artists can certainly adapt a pop promo into a TV spot.

However, some of the above ads were made with the collaboration of the original creators, some not.

And maybe that makes a difference.

Not from a creative point of view (they're equally hard to come up with, don't be fooled by commenters on here saying it's easy) and not from a legal point of view (the creator of the short film that the Guinness dancing man ad was based on lost his case, on the grounds that you can't copyright an idea, only an execution).

The involvement of - or payment to - the originator gives a much better feeling, for sure.

But then again, if the goal of the ad is to save lives, as in this case.... should we really feel so bad?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The First Black Swan of '08

I predict a D&AD Silver, and 10 million YouTube views.


UPDATE. The ad has been removed from YouTube, but can be viewed here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What Would Don Draper Do?

Never be stuck on a brief again.

Simply ask yourself - WWDDD?

Here's the answer:

1) Pour large scotch
2) Smoke cigarette
3) Nap on office sofa
4) Pour large scotch
5) Smoke cigarette
6) Throw research report in bin
7) More scotch and cigarettes
8) Have sex with beautiful bohemian mistress

and DING!

Idea appears.

I think Don Draper is my new hero.

Oh, and here's a choice quote from last night's episode: "Account executives - they're all really good at something. But it's not advertising."

Mad Men continues, Sundays 10pm, BBC4

Friday, March 07, 2008

Let's Talk About Some Ads

VW Polo 'singing dog' by DDB London.

Transport for London 'optical illusion' by M&C Saatchi

Mars 'Monks' by AMV

The singing dog totally rules. I've worked on that brief so I know it ain't easy; big props to the team. And just check the YouTube comments for proof of how much the public loves this ad.

The optical illusions one hits a completely different bone. Very clever. Very thought-provoking. I love the fact that they show a car crash without showing a car crash.

P.S. Now that we're seeing everything first on YouTube and not TV, an interesting test of an ad is "after watching it, do you immediately watch it again?"

I went 'yes yes no' on these 3. What about you?

Are Creative Directors Really Necessary?

First Ogilvy canned Malc. Full story here. Comments on it here.

Now Rapier have removed an old friend and colleague of mine, Andrew Fraser.

In both cases, creative work will continue to be overseen by creative directors, but there will be no overall Executive Creative Director.

The rule of thumb is it takes three similar events to imply a trend, but I'm so worried, I'm calling this after two.

There's a head of office services and a head of catering, for fuck's sake, so what makes them think the creative department can sail rudderless? And let's not forget, the ECD will often be the leader of the whole agency.

Plus you need someone at the top who fights for good work. It's no coincidence that all the agencies that have gone bust, shrunk or merged in recent years were doing poor work, e.g. Bates, DMB&B, CDP.

Do you really think this could be the start of a trend?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Tuesday Tip (day late) No.43 - How To Do Virals

Today's tip was written by Jerome Courtial, an engagement planner here at BBH in London.

Jerome is a very smart and interesting guy - I highly recommend you check out his blog, digicynic, from which he kindly lets me reproduce this post (his blog is quite new, you could probably read the whole thing in one sitting.)

Anyway, here's his take on virals.

HOW TO DO VIRALS, by Jerome Courtial

All virals are Black Swan. In fact, using past references and case studies might make you less likely to come up with the next big viral phenomenon.

I'm talking here, of course, about the uber-virals. The ones that have been seen by millions of people, that everyone talked about, that have changed pop culture and have redefined the way we do advertising.

I'm not restricting my thoughts to online virals as now, any piece of communication can become viral - the internet is just the facilitator.

I'm also not just talking about ‘advertising’ virals, but phenomenons that have ended up being virals (Chocolate Rain, Mentos and Diet Coke, Blairwitch…)

There are only very few real virals every year. The subservient chicken, Kylie’s Agent Provocateur video, John West Salmon, the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment are a few examples.

We’ve all analysed their success and come up with pretty solid arguments as to why they were so successful. Yet no one seems to have found the right formula to reproduce this kind of phenomenon.

But let’s go back to the Black Swan theory from Taleb’s new book:

What we call here a Black Swan (and capitalize it) is an event with the following three attributes.

First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

And here’s his argument summarised (whole article on Moneyweek here):

Taleb argues that humans are ‘hard wired’ to see the world through the lens of the ‘Platonic fallacy.’ We look for structure where there is none and comprehension where none is possible. Such people are condemed to live in the realm of ‘Mediocristan’. There, their understanding will be conditioned by “Platonified economists with their phoney bell-curve-based equations”. More, they will constantly fool themselves with the “narrative fallacy” – the human drive to impose a post hoc explanation on even the most shocking events.

Let’s come back to the last point. The “narrative fallacy”. Which is, how humans beings like to find patterns where none exist, trying to make sense of the unexpectable.

If you were to ask 10 advertising gurus why the subservient chicken was so successful, you’d probably get 10 different points of view. The surprise, the innovative use of the technology, the awkwardness, the comic factor… All making for a pretty sound explanation of why this one piece of work, out of hundreds of thousands, achieved such a grand scale success.

Yet, for all these explanations, no one seems to be able to use this knowledge to recreate similar effects.

Being able to understand and analyse great virals is in no way a factor in predicting whether a piece of communication will go viral, let alone trying to manufacture another one.

I will go further than that. I actually think it’s counter-intuitive. As soon as you have some big principles as to why communication have turned out to be great virals, you are even less likely to come up with the next one.

As I said, all the virals listed above had one point in common. Their success was totally unexpected. You could not predict that, overnight, kids around the world would start popping Mentos into Diet Coke bottles following an online video. It’s easy to post-rationalise why they did. But it in no way guarantees that you will be able to come back with the next one (especially if you are one of the two brands involved).

Some agencies or really talented people have a better feel for what will is likely to become viral. But they are just doing better work than the rest. No one has found a formula to consistently turn communication into virals. Crispin Porter and Bogusky have never been able to reproduce another viral of the scale of the Subservient Chicken. The Viral Factory has not done something as successful as the Trojan Olympics. (And I’m happy to be proved wrong), Fallon will find it hard to come up with something as hugely popular as the bouncing balls or the drumming gorilla.

There is a big difference between great work, getting numbers and people talking, and highly successful virals. Yes, having some principles help us get to better work, but not to amazing work. It is only 0.01% of communication that has a major impact on our industry and on our audience’s lives.

So when trying to turn a communication into the next big viral, don’t just look at what has been successful in the past: it will give no indicators of what will be in the future and will make you less likely to achieve it. You need to be brave and look into other areas, new directions, outside of advertising. Don’t try to predict success by comparing it with the 10 most successful virals, it just won’t work.

By looking at past examples, you are going to make contrived work that is never going to be any better than the originals you were looking at. You’ve put yourself into the wrong frame of mind. Therefore it won’t be surprising. Or unexpected. This behaviour could not have led to the drumming gorilla or balls, because they broke every single rule of what people thought a good viral was made of.

Which explains why it’s so easy to post-rationalise why something went viral (by retrospectively applying a pattern to it) yet so completely impossible to recreate one.

Previous Tips:

How To Get A Pay Rise; Be Wary Of Punding; Challenge The Brief; Tell The Truth; Playing To Lose; How To Write Headlines; How To Do Direct; How To Do Radio; How To Do Press; How To Do TV; How To Do Digital; How To Do Posters; Look At Weird Shit; Presenting To The Client; Presenting To The Team; Presenting To The Creative Director; How To Deal With Rejection; Look Creative; Don't Be Afraid To Ask; Your Idea Has To Be 120%; Read Iain's Tips; Don't Behave; How To Discuss Ideas; Read Hugh's Tips; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7); How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ; Make Friends With Traffic; Get Reference; Don't Stop Too Soon; Be Very; Breaking Up; Working Well With Your Partner; Finding The Right Partner; How To Approach Agencies; Never-Seen-Before Footage; Dicketts' Finger; Two Blokes In The Pub; Play Family Fortunes; Should You Take A Bad Job?; Don't Overpolish

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hair Force

Went to Creative Circle last night. A fine do, it was.

For some reason, I found myself wondering "who here, out of all these talented people, would I most like to swap places with? Not just have their talent, and their job, but actually be?"

The three I came up with were David Abbott, Juan Cabral, and Richard Flintham.

Not sure exactly why these three... but it must be something to do with having good hair, mustn't it?

Abbott: silver and surprisingly long
Cabral: mullet; not a trendy Soho one - a real one
Flintham: bald and flaunting it, no compensatory goatee or glasses whatsoever

Were you at Creative Circle last night? What did you think?

Monday, March 03, 2008

BBC 'White Season' Trail

Directly before 'Mad Men' came this trail for a new season of programmes on the BBC about the white working class.

I've seen this reviewed elsewhere, and it seems to stir up quite a bit of controversy. Let's not get into the politics; creatively, it's just great, isn't it? And its ability to cause heated debate is a proof of that, I would say.

Review of Mad Men

"You'll find account executives and creative executives all mixed in together. Please don't ask me the difference."

Mad Men finally aired at 10pm on BBC4 last night. I knew I'd enjoy it because it's set in an ad agency and I'm a sucker for any films or books about advertising. But I was surprised just how much I did. The creator apparently is a former Sopranos writer; the quality really shows. Great writing and performances - the lead guy is particularly good.

And so many memorable moments. Like digging out the agency's sole Jewish employee (from the mailroom) to front up to a Jewish client; Don Draper having a quiet think a.k.a nap in his office, or tossing the findings of the research lady right where they belong - in the bin.

Did you see it?

Malcolm Poynton Leaves Ogilvy

So apparently Malcolm Poynton has been kicked out of the ECD's chair at Ogilvy.

Great hair. What did he do wrong?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Ad Blog Charts for February 2008

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

Top 25 Ad Blogs (world
1     (1)AdRants31,684
2     (2)Advertising/Design Goodness  50,019
3     (3)Duncan's TV Ad Land62,047
4     (5)Adland65,382
5     (4)Bannerblog68,994
6     (6)AdFreak85,691
7     (5)Adverblog91,426
8     (9)Coloribus106,725
9     (7)Adverbox110,589
10   (10)Copyranter122,861
11   (12)Logic + Emotion128,503
12   (11)10ad    150,915
13   (13)AdPulp192,560
14   (14)Jaffe Juice271,802
15   (new)The Kaiser Edition321,725
16   (15)Ad Punch336,882
17   (17)AdScam338,455
18   (16)Experience Curve353,128
19   (18)Agency Spy381,589
20   (19)BrandFlakes for Breakfast429,376
21   (23)Scamp436,246
22   (24)How Advertising Spoiled Me449,587
23   (20)Adliterate472,324
24   (22)Crackunit489,985
25   (21)Twenty Four510,796

Included for the first time - Marcus Brown's The Kaiser Edition. Blogging 'live from Germany', Marcus is a man of many talents and figure of much influence - check out his international beverage tournament, the follow-up to the famous meat-off.

Top 10 UK Ad Blogs (world
1   (3)Scamp436,246
2   (1)Adliterate472,324
3   (2)Crackunit489,985
4   (new)Behind The Buzz528,959
5   (5)Welcome To Optimism    601,747
6   (new)Knitware921,810
7   (8)TV's Worst Adverts1.0m
8   (7)Fish N Chimps1.1m
9   (6)Only Dead Fish1.3m
10 (10)Lunar.BBDO 1.9m

The always-stimulating Talent Imitates, Genius Steals is no longer in the UK chart because writer Faris has embarked on a new adventure in the US. Good luck in NYC, Faris.

Meanwhile, Rachel Clarke has made the reverse journey, so her Behind The Buzz joins the UK chart.

This month also sees a first appearance for a relatively new blog - Knitware. It’s run by some people here at BBH, so in order to avoid allegations of nepotism, I haven’t written about it before. But now that it’s ‘made the charts’, I think it's over-due a mention. Billed as ‘where brands, content and technology collide’ there are some very smart people contributing to it. Indeed, my sole post on there – about space invader-patterned scarfs – is embarrassingly trivial. Go check it out, and let me know what you think.

UK means UK-based. Ad blog means ad blogs not marketing blogs, so that excludes Gapingvoid. Paul Colman is now a planner at W&K and sadly no longer writes Life In The Middle. Russell Davies no longer blogs about advertising, although his Campaign column is great. I'm only counting English language blogs.

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

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Result of Salary Survey

More than 4,000 City bankers earned a bonus of over £1 million last year. (source)

Meanwhile, Liz Hurley and her tycoon husband paid their maid just £1.20 an hour. (source)

Us advertising folks? We're somewhere in the middle.

My own view is it's pointless comparing our salaries with those paid in other industries. We generate more wealth than doctors, but their job requires more training. We're smarter than footballers, but there are fewer people with great ball control than can write a decent ad.

But for your own happiness, it's important to feel you're being paid a fair wage in relation to your industry peer group. That's why - embarrassing as it is - I think it's well worth sharing salary information with a small group of trusted peers.

If you don't know what you should be earning, you could get screwed. Of course, you could still find yourself getting screwed even if you DO know what you should be earning. But at least you'll know about it.

Previous poll results:
Friday Poll No.19 - What Do You Think Of Our Trade Rag?
Friday Poll No.18 - Should A Creative Look Creative?
Friday Poll No.17 - Ad Of The Year 2007
Friday Poll No.16 - Do Difficult People Do The Best Work?
Friday Poll No.15 - Who Is Responsible For Ineffectiveness?
Friday Poll No.14 - Your Personal Success Record
Friday Poll No.13 - Which Department Is The Most Insane?
Friday Poll No.12 - What Music Do You Listen To While Working?
Friday Poll No.11 - What Time Do You Get In?
Friday Poll No.10 - Who Drinks The Most?
Friday Poll No.9 - Press v Online
Friday Poll No.8 - Success Or Glory?
Friday Poll No.7 - Is Reading Blogs A Waste Of Time?
Friday Poll No.6 - Job Satisfaction
Friday Poll No.5 - Festive Greetings
Friday Poll No.4 - Ad Of The Year 2006
Friday Poll No.3 - What's Your Favourite Medium To Work In?
Friday Poll No.2 - Agency Of The Year
Friday Poll No.1 - Which Department Is The Most Overpaid?