Saturday, January 31, 2009

All I have in this world is my word and my balls...

Wordle comes through again. Via FastcodeDZN, usual rules apply.

...and I don't break 'em for no one".

That infamous Scarface quote has been resounding with me recently, what with all the chat about revelations and where they sit in light of research companies (read the comments, they are fascinating). It reminds me of a client/other agency relationship version of brand swagger, which I wrote about a while ago.

When it comes to research, I still see the value of qual, but like Richard, would like research companies to surprise with proper insights - as I tweeted, the word insight is so horribly overused it's not true.

In defence of research companies, the last lot I used for one of my clients did genuinely tell me things I didn't know about my van driver target audience...such as the absolute necessity a van is, and how too premium a brand puts them off. Useful stuff when shaping a brief. But will I learn just as much by doing some on street qual, by reading trade magazines - these are just as likely to lead to plannerly awe (check out the Einstein quote on the last page) as anything else.

Research, in its many forms, should promote lateral thinking in the planner when he comes into contact with it, and inspire creative thought in all. This desire to hunt for the type of 'plannerly awe' should change a few things though.

No more should planners be quite so...passive when it comes to research. While i'm not advocating everyone attacking research companies (there'll be blood on the streets of Ealing, in Mintel's offices and around Synovate, if we're not careful), I think planning has a horrible tendancy to sit back too much, even in all agency meetings.

Don't be scared of being ballsy in them, of coming across as a little obnoxious - because, ultimately, it's your responsibility to your client to make sure the work works, and is as applicable to the target audience as it can be.

The same applies to the tired old media laydowns that get dragged out when the direction of the work changes/with a new year. Why is there £5m in TV? What proof do we have that it works? Do we have any benchmarks (SEO 'specialists', i'm looking at you) - did they work for other brands in the sector? Why are our target audience based upon TGI (or worse, some sodding 'proprietary' tool that the agency has which they don't understand or bother to explain)? It's something which is deeply, deeply flawed in its sampling.

Why don't the agencies use our experiences of the target and properly craft an audience? Surely this is far better than flicking more budget into stuff which didn't really work last year but no-one got sacked, so it's ok...

By being slightly more opinionated (not annoyingly so - media chaps and research folk are your friends in doing good comms), the work will get better. You'll, to use that horrible, horrible phrase, 'add value'.

Lazy thinking does us no favours - you have to want the work to work, and filter out all the needless, unbenchmarkable (is that a word? ah well..), non creative thoughts which are brought to bear.

My promise to clients is to always say that i'll not bullshit them, nor will I hide if i'm not sure about something, or if the work didn't work. Easy to type, not so easy to live up to. But it's a good standard, and prevents my planning disappearing up its own bottom.

Christ, if we worked towards a feeling of awe for our comms, just think of how powerful they could be. They may never scale these giddy heights, but it's better to aim for the stars than not.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Coffee Morning Anyone?

How I like the stuff.

Just thought I should point out to any readers of mine - I'm hosting a monthly coffee morning because I miss the chat of the last lot which Russell began.

The first is taking place at Lantana on Friday 13th (eek) of February. Their lovely blog is here, Scrambling Eggs. You can find out more details about it on the Facebook event page, or on the general Coffee Morning group.

It'd be good to see you there. It may get a bit plannerly, but hey - that's not always a bad thing.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Well...more than you'll hear in the average day at work, certainly..

I've been sitting on this for a little while, so sorry Piers & the gang.

Anyway, PSFK are hosting a Good Ideas Salon, filled with some great speakers. The blurb is below - and to give you idea what the last London one was like, here was some of my writeup...

"On 30th January 2009, PSFK will host a day long Good Ideas Salon in London in association with The Guardian newspaper. For the event, PSFK will curate a collection of their favourite forward-focused innovators and thought leaders to discuss ideas in the fields of arts & culture, collaboration, design, digital, marketing, mobile and youth.


PSFK will bring almost 30 speakers to present and participate in panel discussions. Confirmed speakers include:

Kevin Anderson \ Blogs Editor \\ The Guardian
Mike Butcher \ Journalist \\ Mbites
Richard Banks \ Interface Designer \\ Microsoft
Coralie Bickford-Smith \ Designer \\ Penguin
Matt Brown \ Editor \\ Londonist
Pat Connor \ Vision Executive\\ BBC
Mark Earls \ Author \\ Herd
Jeremy Ettinghausen
\ Director of Digital \\ Penguin
Piers Fawkes \ Trends Analyst & Founder \\ PSFK
Paul Graham \ Partner \\ Anomaly UK
Amanda Gore \ Trends Consultant \\ PSFK
Terry Guy \ Founder \\ Monorex\Secret Wars
Matt Hardisty \ Founder \\ Analog Folk
Dan Hon \ Founder \\ Six To Start
Sophie Howarth \ Founder \\ School Of Life
Matt Jones \ Founder \\ Dopplr
Cameron Leslie \ Founder \\ fabric\matter
Jonathan MacDonald \ Senior Consultant \\ Ogilvy
Colin Nagy \ Partner \ Attention
Colin Nightingale \ Creative Director \\ Punchdrunk \ Founder \\ Gideon Reeling
Jenny Owen \ Founder \\ Ruby Pseudo
Christian Nold \\ Artist
Justin Quirk \ Associate Editor \\ FHM
Nicolas Roope \ Founder \\ Hulger\Poke
Taryn Ross \ Founder \\ Urban Junkies
Eva Rucki \ Founding Partner \\ Troika Design
Jeff Squires \ Trends Consultant \\ PSFK
Simon Waldman \ Director of Digital \\ The Guardian
Paul Andrew Williams \ Film Director \\ Steel Mill Pictures

Hope you can come along. Should be good.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Editing Makes A Difference..

She's coming for your souls.

Now, I'm not the sort of person who'd go out and shoot a load of film, nor do I have any interest in monkeying around with it. I like making podcasts, writing nonsense and sometimes creative briefs...

But I do really respect people who can. Some of the lovely creatives at work have pointed me in the direction of two absolutely brilliant rejigs of some famous films....which completely change them.

The first, of The Shining, is absolutely brilliant. Scary Mary is also good. See for yourself:

And one more....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm proud of this..

I don't tend to post about work i've directly been involved in, but i'm very pleased with this:

It's from Lowe Brussels, promoting MTV's Aids Awareness charity, Staying Alive. Though it didn't come out of the London office (here's hoping the next one does), it was from my brief, so I thought it worthy of a post.

I'm dead chuffed with this 'un, and they've produced a suite of ads (some more surreal, some more comedic) to have a look at it. This is one of the more design-ery ones. See what you think:

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