Yes, even better than the dancing.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
So, to avoid this... I'm not going to propose disbanding departments, allowing the most snot nosed account person to create creative work, nor saying to the most socially awkward planner to present an hour presentation to the most important client. That'd just be silly. Structures of this sort exist for a reason, and searching for new ones is liking asking 'What came first, the chicken or the egg?' (Yes, one of the presentations in the sidebar really was on a hiding to nothing).
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
It's not just Richard who does war time imagery in his blog posts. Anyway, this short post is simply to say - check the side bar for my 'Ad Land' squidoo and my del.icio.us.
I hope they are both useful and interesting. I'll post something bizarre a little later.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Or a complete hero:
Sunday, December 03, 2006
I think my credo could be misinterpreted as Zen-like rubbish. It's strange (and I'll come onto explain this in a little while) but I think it tries to combine diligence and effort with being free spirited, if that makes sense. One thing is for sure, it's not quite up to the standard of this Caddyshack clip about Zen:
I've always lived my life from the perspective of someone who has realised that I don't have the natural ability to instantly be the best at everything I do. Sounds obvious I know, but hell, I think credos are inherently simplistic.
For what it's worth, I like to think I'm a pretty good writer (although this blog may be proving otherwise), someone who is fairly well read, an adequate sportsman (ok, ok, a poor sportman in everything barring golf, football and badminton) and generally a good bloke to be around. As I've mentioned before, I'm a useful trivial pursuit player - I know a little bit about a lot of things.
This lack of innate natural ability (unless I have some fantastic tiddlywinks ability lurking in the background) has always meant that I've had to push myself harder in order to get the most out of my talents.
*Cue thoughts on interestingness, a la Beeker*
Beeker has chosen the second, beauty, to inform on her credo. Yet I think the first - truth - informs on my credo, if I'm honest.
Now, how does knowing the truth have anything to do with failure? Well, my argument to that is that it's incredibly important. Knowing who you are, or where something is coming from, is the cornerstone of how I think and act. It's not to say things cannot change. They can, and frequently do. But knowing the now, as much as is possible, means that you can 'fail better' and improve.
Beauty and rationality are both important, but I feel that the middle ground, the truth, better informs on who I am.
I can take leaps of faith, but equally, at times, need to believe something to see it, and my perception of beauty changes with the day. The truth changes as well, but of the three, it seems to me to be the most tangible, and as such, the heart of my thinking on life, brands, the universe or indeed, the Dalai Lama.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Clearly, The Muppets are better than Zadie Smith. Most things are... especially Hanif Kureishi, who I think she borrows from to the ninth degree.
Ahem. Literary conversations not withstanding, go here and read this now. It's very good.
Yes, it was good, wasn't it. I'm still working on my credo. Not sure if it's either "I'll love it if it's beautiful" or "I'll believe something when I see it".
Closest I've got to it would probably be some Beckett (continuing the literary theme, see?):
"No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better"
I'm going to write something and attempt to justify it. But probably not half so well as Beeker does.
I've also learned a new word as a result of my web browsing - Weltanschauung (lit - 'Look onto the world'). Up there with Schadenfreud.
Monday, November 27, 2006
As well as being the title of a Scritti Politti song, it also describes how agencies should feel at the moment.
Sod all this 'advertising is dead, the consumer is king' talk... Yes, the consumer has more power to play with your brand like never before. But that's not to say that this can't be harnessed effectively, or offered up as part of a greater debate. Smart brands are debating with the consumer already, be they HSBC or AOL.
You can certainly make a colossal mess of things this way though, and not every brand needs to enter into a debate. However, much can be said for being the first brand to do so in your category, in much the same way as being the first brand to have a significant voice in your category, much like Innocent.
But again, not every brand can have this sort of voice. So what do you do? Well, by adopting the Bernbach maxim, as shown by Avis:
You make more of an effort. Position yourself as being happy where you are, offering either impeccable customer service, a niche, yet well thought of product. It's not rocket science.
However, keeping a large customer base satisfied is tantamount to . I think maybe only 3 or 4 large brands are able to manage it - the likes of Innoc.. yes, you've guessed it, John Lewis, Audi and probably VW. I'm sure there are others which I'm forgetting in the large brand stakes. Feel free to chip in with other examples..
And this applies to agencies as well. Yes, know about digital, open a virtual agency.. be innovative. But don't forget what you are damned good at, and if that happens to be a ballsy 90 second execution in primetime TV land, then so be it.
The way Campaign and several industry people are talking, you'd have thought advertising is more than content to let PR have all the interesting ideas. Maybe not 80's excess, but 80's ballsiness needs to return to adland.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Hello all. Christ, I'm going on a posting frenzy.
Got another question for you, on a similar vein to the last one.
My opinion is that no, there aren't, not yet anyway, and I have a rambling theory about this (aren't they all?). I'd be interested to know what others think.
Oh, and I've added two more links. Check out a wannabe copywriter's attempts to break into the big leagues here, and a blog I've been meaning to add for a while, FishNChimps.
Marcus (picture lifted from Paul's site) has a blog, which as I've mentioned before is great.
That said, I have just been searching for the agency.com viral ad, and what did I find on Youtube? Yes, the aforementioned Mr Brown after a Subway sandwich... check it out:
I'm never going to be able to order a sub without thinking of the creative shirt again.
It's been a little while since I posted, so here we are then. This post was meant to be a Smiths lyric seguing neatly into why most agency websites are rubbish/unable to successfully promote themselves, but it's not going to do that.
Instead, I'd like to focus on publicity. Should agencies attempt to cash in on their efforts and publicise themselves? Decide for yourselves by watching these two choice clips:
So..uuh.. that's a no, on that evidence.
Or if you are going to be publicised, actually be famous for being good at something, like the Saatchi brothers, Trevor Beattie, or say, Ridley Scott, back in his Hovis ad directing days.
I think agencies can promote themselves, but have to tread incredibly carefully, lest they wind up looking like creative piss-artists. Lord enough of what goes on in agencies to the outside world at least (debating 'owning' colour, anyone?) looks like poncy wank.
That said, a little bit of clever PR (think Wieden and Kennedy and the Daily Mail and Rooney article) goes a long way.
If agencies can convince the outside world they talk something like sense, or are in touch with the cultural zeitgeist in the case of the Rooney article, then plaudits will follow. It's funny how many people believe you if you can say who you are in a confident voice.
However, act like a tosser (see above) and you've lost before you've even begun. And no, I don't think the agency.com viral was a parody, much as they claimed it was afterwards.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I've not gotten involved with Paul's experimental website (found here) but if I had done, I'd have mentioned something about learning to drive.
Well, now I can say I've done it. Many months of swearing, scaring the inhabitants of Worcester and generally being inept have gone by, but it's sorted.
Perhaps now those shiny Audi/BMW ads (or in fact, any car that has 4 wheels and moves) will have some effect on me. I don't necessarily want a car which has had nine thousand odd patents, just one which moves would be nice.
And now to tick off the other thing on my list. Y'know, the whole 'getting a real job' one.
Oh, and I hadn't mentioned this before, but a thanks to Marcus Brown for the link - read his blog, it really is very very good. And also, here's an additional link I found from Russell's blog, by a guy called Simon Law. His blog is also rather good. So read it...
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Firstly, check out the sidebar; I've finally added an amended version of the presentation I gave way back in August. Quite a bit of it was lost when my USB stick died, but there is the amended version. Also updated my CV, if anyone's interested.
Right, to the point. Watch this:
Hopefully that worked... it's been a while.
Now, are you a fan of this execution? I like it, but not so much as the previous Bravia spot. Pretty much what Scamp thinks to be honest. Now, why should that be? I mean, it's got the same myriad of colours, the same sense of joie de vivre as the original...so why don't I like this one as much?
Well, barring all the hype/that the original is probably the only ad in the last five years to actually stop me in my tracks, I think it's because of simplicity. Allow me to explain.
I think the best ideas are those which don't seem forced. To my (slightly odd) way of thinking, the idea of people chucking a load of balls down a street doesn't seem that peculiar. It's a 'wouldn't that be interesting' idea with a brilliant execution. I'm still not entirely convinced by the way the end line tags on to the back of the ad, as Richard Huntingdon discusses, but as a piece of mesmerising entertainment, with the music, post-production and...erm, 'bounciness working in harmony, its had me hooked.
So what does the latter possess? Another 'wouldn't that be interesting' idea, but a bit more filmic. The post-production doesn't capivate me, and the song is generic. Unsure what I'd have set that ad to, but considering the former's brilliant choice of music, I was a little let down.
It seems like a cross between a Jerry Bruckheimer production and a game of dominos, appearing very intricate and thought out (barring the clown). Balls seems like someone said 'yeah, let's do it' and did it for a laugh (and yes, I know that it took bloody ages to set up and film as well).
As ever, rationalising advertising is difficult; but one thing is for sure - both are better than 98% of ads out there at the moment, and hats off for the client sell in both occasions.
Further debate can be found on Faris's blog, and I'm sure on the ad-pit at some point.
I think I'll come back to this overall thought a little later; hell, my favourite ad continues to be one of the simplest - 'Jordan' from AMV's Economist work.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
So Nick Hurrell and Neil Dawson are leaving their agencies. With a blank client list, they seek to establish a new, revolutionary agency.
But can you live a 'second life', away from your former agency/s?
It would seem that you can, but with great difficulty. Look at Red Brick Road or BMB. Both were built around clients that had personal loyalty to the founders (Tesco with Frank Lowe/Paul Weinburger, BMB with FCUK - though not any longer) . Agencies buy into the founders, as you would expect, due to their reputations.
Indeed, I don't think you can ever escape from your reputation; what's more, truly original agencies (70's JWT, Wunderman, 90's St Luke's) have added or taken away from commonly held agency processes, and these are too ingrained in agency life to now be overtly destroyed or altered - in fact, i'd make the case that they've proven that there will always be a front man/a facilitator/salesman, always a thinker, and always one who creates. Even Mother have 'mothers', who are account men of sorts.
JWT were innovative due to bloody good advertising, through Stephen King's invention of the planner role, Wunderman through his 'founding' of DM and subsequent success, and St Luke's through being a co-op, ensuring every person cared about the agency's success and output.
I think that agencies continue to add value through being gamblers, as it were (and as naff as that sounds), willing to experiment. It's why the theoretical brand consultancy will never fully replace the creative agency, even within today's quantified and neatly packaged ad/business world. The traditional agency will always be around, however diminished certain agencies would have certain roles within it.
To summarise this muddled/mildly confused post; I think you can reinvent yourself, but people are just people, after all - they'll put their faith in the tried and tested.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Well, the last month or so has flown by; apologies for the lack of updates, but it's been fairly hectic. I've finished up my time in London in the short term, and am back in sunny Worcester to earn a few pennies/decide on the next plan of action.
Regarding the brief I posed last time; i'm going to post part of the presentation in the side bar. The audience in question were really looking for a tangible 'solution'; I felt that there couldn't be an obvious short term solution, and our presentation really centred around the notion of best practice to come up with effective solutions.
Thanks again to all who contributed.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Well, I've returned from my posting hiatus, and I have a question for the my readers (whomever you are).
I've been asked to answer a brief, and i'd be very grateful if the 'masses' could provide any insights - I have my own thoughts, but please add your own:
"How can Account Management, Planning and Creative work better together to both develop and sell big communications ideas?"
Breaking the question down, i'd say it's actually two questions:
- How can we improve efficiency?
- How can we ensure that 'big ideas' are allowed to flourish/be sold?
Assume the agency in question is part of a big network.
I have my own ideas about this, but i'm going to wait and see what others think before responding.
Thanks in advance.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
First of all, go to polkadotholes, a new ad site i've stumbled across. It's a very good site; the sort i'd like to build if I ever come to terms with the idea of paying to use the internet/stop being quite so much of a luddite.
Secondly, a thank you must go to Anonymous Graphic Designer. He presides over Noisy Decent Graphics (which is an excellent blog about graphic design that provides an alternate view in this planning dominated webspace).
He very kindly had a look at my (incredibly budget) PowerPoint presentation and was very kind about it. So thanks oh Anonymous one.
I was in Sainsbury's today looking for a sandwich. Bewildered by choice, I just grabbed the first nearby one (a 'Taste the Difference' BLT - very nice it was too).
Before this post turns into too much of a wanky 'how a conventional situation led me to think about advertising/marketing thought', let me just prefix it with this: There were over 40 varieties of sandwich.
Surely no individual can require this amount of choice? I mean, sure, I don't want a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich 5 days a week, or anything with marmite in it, but this was crazy.
I'll get to the point now: I think if marketeers and advertisers can help their clients eliminate this level of anxiety/fear/confusion/irrational fear of marmite in-store they'll all prosper. Never mind TV or the Internet - take the thought out of shopping and you'll make a lot of money, and be around for a long, long time.
I think a major reason why stores like John Lewis are doing so well is because they eliminate this level of anxiety/create such an atmosphere of trust that even people like myself (who dreads the day he has to help colour co-ordinate curtains and carpet) can shop with the knowledge that they'll do the thinking for you.
Interestingly, I also nipped into JL recently; on every floor I visited, the very first person I saw was a green striped customer service assistance. No wonder they are doing so well in the customer satisfaction stakes.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Well, here's my response to Gordon's question. Be warned, it's a little overly influenced by Malcolm Gladwell/muddled, but this question could take days to answer.
The short answer is yes, I believe that the most powerful brands are now made by consumers, in the hearts and minds of the masses.
The longer version is as follows:
Like blaiq thinks, I feel consumers have always had more of an active role in communications that some of the advertising community believes. No consumer is ever passive. I recall reading a Jeremy Bullmore speech transcription on Russell Davies' blog which emphasised this.
Malcolm Gladwell's 'The Tipping Point' makes an interesting case for people always being able to communicate in this way. Without wishing to go into too much detail, viral marketing has always been around - be it word of mouth of those whose information we trust, those who persuade us by their sales-pitch and those who we consider well connected (the 'Mavens', 'Salesmen' and 'Connectors' in Gladwell-speak). These people can help spread the word easily.
However, it is only now, with the advent of the blog and the ease with which many can communicate (such as people like myself who find HTML worrisome) that brands are being 'taken over' as it were with opinions of those who can reach more people with greater speed than ever before.
If then we accept all of this, consumers can now make recommendations (by means of Amazon, MySpace or another peer influenced network) and trends can occur ever quicker. This not only speeds the communication cycle, but it increases the necessity for the product/service marketing to be good ALL of the time. As Northern Planner/Andrew states, this can't be done. People will begin to mold brands in ways in which they cannot conceive.
Hence, consumers now make the most powerful and evocative brands.
This raises another interesting question when it is applied to conventional advertising - will agencies be now promoters of the brand's tone of voice, or less than that? I think there will always be a place for direct branded communications, be it viral, ATL, BTL or ambient.
I think the question coming out of all of this debate is blaiq's point of view once again - 'haven't they always been?' Probably. But now consumers have the means to actively shift and bring about brand change.
Brands, therefore, must engage the consumer in a dialogue; something which modern-day advertising is very keen to achieve. The likes of Innocent's blog provide a useful observation point - will making the brand 'open source' create a better brand? In the case of Innocent (whose philosophy appears to correspond with collaboration), it should.
Whether this will work for every brand is an interesting question; one in which we'll only find out some 20 years from now, I think.
So yes, the most powerful brands ARE now made by consumers. Whether brands/advertising agencies will seek to reclaim their mystique remains to be seen - indeed, whether they can once opened up is a fascinating debate.
Anyway, enough of my random wibblings. Read Russell Davies's debate about blogging (and the comments) for another perspective.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Well, i've had a fun week. The Wireless festival was great (I was at the front for DJ Shadow - I highly recommend seeing him live), as was my time in London.
I promised a question in the last post, and here it is, from a real planner no less:
"The most powerful brands are now made by consumers: Discuss"
I'm a bit knackered at the moment, so no thoughts yet, but will try and nail down some thoughts about it in the next few days.
I'm also very interested to hear what others think.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Then i'm back down to London till Friday, so if you wish to contact me, give me a bell (the phone number's on my cv).
I've got a question from Gordon McLean, a planner at DLKW, to pose to my wider audience when I return; it will hopefully return this blog to its original purpose - to chinwag about comms.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Firstly, an apology - I had all kinds of high and mighty intentions for this blog, but it's becoming more irrelevant by the day. Ah well - at least I had a disclaimer just off the main title.
Paul Colman's blog opened up a discussion about blogs which I felt worthy of a comment on. Further comments on it can be found here.
Are blogs inherently narcissistic? Does this matter? Where did I leave my car keys?
Well, the short version of this post is yes, not really, and next to the kettle, you berk.
The slightly longer version; I think the debate about blogs is a valid one. Everyone who starts one does want their opinion heard - it's inevitable that by publishing one, you'll come in for these allegations.
Whether this matters is entirely down to the content. Sure, I may post self-indulgent stuff from time to time; I may even post about Stoke City if the mood takes me (though i've had enough of poorly played football after watching last night's game).
Keeping it on a vague topic (in my case, some points about the advertising industry and peculiar brand things) is important.
I think a real danger is people commenting on things they know bugger all about; personally, I have to fight a very difficult battle when writing about ads/doing ad analysis because I have no clue as to whether the client compromised the creative vision or the ad needed to fulfill a certain criteria before being accepted.
I'm on the outside looking in (hell, I want a job in the industry) and as a result, I need to be careful. I think i'll adopt the Russell Davies approach - comment on stuff I really like/find interesting, rather than randomly slating campaigns.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
The guy who presides over it, Steve Hardy, has lots of interesting things to say. I particularly like the Beatles analogy about how to manage creative thought.
The title of the post may seem a little peculiar, but read this (unfortunately you have to subscribe for the whole thing).
If you can't be bothered to click the link, essentially, W&K have made an ad for Nike which features on the second largest billboard on the country (the M4 flyover in West London). Fine, you might think.
However; this particular billboard features Rooney (like the picture above) with his arms outstretched. To quote Brand Republic: " Nike dismisses claims that the poster, created by agency Wieden & Kennedy, plays on the crucifixion. Nike said: "It's not intended to have religious connotations".
Whilst I consider Rooney as central to England's chances, do I view him as messianic? Of course not.
That Nike should even have to make that statement is saddening; seemingly, it doesn't matter what you do, people will find offence.
EDIT: Because i'm RSS illiterate at this point, I didn't notice other blogs about it. Go here for the W&K blog about it and here for a planning perspective on it.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Like the Superbowl, adland's World Cup efforts have been carefully scrutinised by many sites. Rob Mortimer's analysis is an interesting one on the topic, but there are a few ads missing which I rate:
Saatchi & Saatchi's 'Old Lions' is a natural extension of the 'Carlsberg don't.../probably' positioning. It is especially notable for the interactivity of the spot - being able to press the red button to view a full length version of the spot is a great move, especially in such an inspired shoot - the players looked as if they were having a great time.
That kind of chemistry is infectious and, i'm sure, really aided the execution. Another notable point is the microsite - it's absolutely brilliant. Click the picture below to see it:
Mother's 'Goal!' spot for Coca-Cola really communicates the passion which the football fan feels, something which the rest of the World Cup ads ignored, for one reason or another. It's also probably the most original execution out of all of the ads, with the claymation esque figures detailing the pure joy that football can bring.
The above link is for the full 45 second execution; it's great.
To quote Alan Partridge... "back of the net".
Northern Planner has written an excellent post about choice.
What really stands out is this thinking: "People have to make their own decisions on things like pensions and mortgages like never before. They have never been given so much choice, yet the quality of information to let them make a decision isn't there. So they make bad decisions quick, or just put it off."
I completely agree; I think it applies to Web 2.0 stuff as well. While it's nice to know what other people recommend, I want someone to explain it to me. I can read and immerse myself in as much information as possible, but without someone who I trust to help me make the decision, it is often an ill-informed one.
I think what i'm trying to say is that people are crying out for experts like never before. Those who exude confidence and knowledge of their subject. Think Russell Davies on planning, Seth Godin on marketing or Alan Greenspan on the economy.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
After reading Campaign, a thought crossed my mind; there has been a lot of discussion about plagiarism('Has Adland run out of original ideas?'). Now, obviously, as more ideas and agencies emerge, there is bound to be a fair deal of overlap. You can't stop that.
However, what prompted this post can be rectified - the importance of getting casting right.
The guy in the picture on the right is from an ad for VW's Passat. Watch it here. Recognise him?
This actor has been in Barclays' recent ads as well, as well as one other ad (for Orange, I believe, but I couldn't track it down - it aired about 2/3 months ago). I remembered him because of his unique eyebrows.
Using the same actor for 3 wholly different products isn't plagiarism, but it does seem careless and puts forward the case for agencies to be very careful for who they use in their executions.
Of course, he could just have done those three ads in very close proximity to each other and there was no chance for any of the agencies to pull any of the spots. So I could be barking entirely up the wrong tree.
However, in an era where more and more brands want to stand out and forge a unique brand identity, it's crucial to get this right.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
A little more explanation about this spot can be found here.
Akin to the previous execution, the spot feels understated and thoughtful. I still stand by my claims about Orange's positioning; I think it's in danger of flying over the heads of some, being a little vague. I will be interested to see what future spots bring.
Oddly enough, it reminds me of the prior campaign Fallon have done for Ask.com ('if you don't ask, you don't get').
Their clients seem to have realised that the best way to produce effective work is not to shout about it - understated work appears to be their signature at the moment.
I'm very pleased about this client shift; personally, I stand by Jeremy Bullmore's assertation that a great deal of advertising work mistakes the consumer as being passive when they aren't.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Writing the post below made me consider the other major mobile phone brands.
O2: 'See what you can do'.
T Mobile: 'For a better world for you'.
Orange: 'The Future's Bright'.
It is clear that most mobile phone brands are positioning themselves as being wholly for the individual.
Fair point you may say - they are mobile phone brands, after all. But I believe that all of these endlines risk falling into the trap of being either overly vague or too pushy. Well, I think 3's recent work overcomes these potential pitfalls, partly because it appears to have two brand positionings.
Though i'm no great fan of the original '3' work, the positioning of the brand as being simultaneously collective (We like....) and individual ('Welcome to our Network'), along with the recent executions ('Ribbon Talk'/that new bubbles one) seem to suggest that the network is a somewhat more welcoming and quirky place to be than the others.
What do you think?
So my resolution, now that I have a bit more spare time, is to learn how to use this new fangled blog technology. Seems reasonably straightforward, but I tend to be one of those people who is endlessly fascinated by new technology, only to be disheartened when I discover how difficult it is to sort out.
Anyway, now for a bit of this new technology. Some Youtube footage.. ahem:
So this then (assuming it works)... what do you think about Marcel's new Orange ad? I like the execution a great deal; understated, elegant, and with a brilliant track. The only slight criticism i'd make (and this is true of a lot of mobile phone providers) is that the positioning seems a little ubiquitous (see above).
As it is alluding to Orange's takeover of Wanadoo, and subsequent 'one package' of phone/internet access (a la Talk Talk, but not free - yet), I think it gives the brand a unified voice; far more so than those odd usage options; the racoon/squirrel/duck billed platypus (with the latter being for those who used their phone as a paperweight).
I imagine Fallon were very keen for the work to be out as soon as it could have been, to help correctly reposition the brand.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Hello there.. (that's quite possibly the cheesiest photo ever of yours truly, but there we are)
My name is Will Humphrey, and this is the beginning of my written odyssey into ad-land. I'm a recent graduate who is trying to break into the ultra-competitive world of advertising, specifically, London agencies. I graduated in 2005 and have been attempting to get into the industry since then.
This blog will feature a bunch of random thoughts about the industry/popular culture... i'll try to keep it mostly ad-based though.
If you have any questions about various grad schemes, don't hesitate to respond.