Sunday 30 September 2007

Formula for creativity

Interviewed for Fast Company, Phillipe Starck was asked, "Do you have a formula for creativity?"

His answer:

"Every morning, take royal jelly and omega-3 oil, eat oysters, and have a good sexual life. Don't care about anything, and never listen to anybody. Be free."

Can't argue with that.

Thanx to David

Saturday 29 September 2007

No it's not

Friday 28 September 2007

Brand iconography

I'm sure you're familiar with the recent art-prank involving a facsimile of the Damien Hirst diamond skull.

The artist behind it is Laura Keeble. And the graveyard icons above are her latest work.

This is a very witty idea and I love it.

Not sure I can say the same for Laura's cliched art-speak though. Why can't these people just speak English!?

Here's her thinking behind the idea:

"The project was based on the theory of magical thinking, looking at belief systems and idol worship, and creating an intervention that plays with the viewers perception and with any luck(;-)) creates a pause for thought!"

Despite her art-speak pretentions, Laura is definitely a talent to watch.

Click here to visit her site.

Thursday 27 September 2007

And what do you do?

Spent a lovely afternoon at a client presentation today. The client loved both our concepts, so an afternoon well spent.

It did start off a little awkwardly though.

Piling into the car there was me, obviously, my art director and not one, not two, but three suits.

A bit excessive me thinks, especially since we were presenting a couple of ideas for a direct mail piece.

After arriving at the client we are walking towards reception. The art director is carrying the ideas and the two senior suits are on their phones.

I'm bringing up the rear with the junior suit.

"Did you leave your bag in the car?" he asks. "What bag?" I replied.

"Don't you need a pad and pen for the presentation?" he says. "No" I replied, "that's what you're here for isn't it?"

Driving home tonight I wondered if that was the right thing to say.

Then I remembered there were not one, not two, but three suits at the presentation.

Wednesday 26 September 2007

Devil in disguise

As the popularity of Facebook continues to grow more and more brands are looking to get a piece of the action.

This concerns me, as I love the clean layout of Facebook. I'd hate to see it turn into the flashing banner ad nightmare that MySpace became.

Anyway I had this ad on my profile page today.

Quite clever I thought. An ad cunningly disguised as a Facebook app.

Then I thought about it a little more. And it really started to piss me off.

Ads are ads.

Ads in disguise are dishonest ads. Dishonesty is not a good thing for a brand to be asociated with.

Tuesday 25 September 2007

iPod advertising archive

Advertising for the iPod has to be some of the most iconic of recent times.

The print and outdoor is instantly recognisible, whilst the TV spots have made great use of annoyingly catching tunes.

In fact I think a collection of iPod advertising tunes would make a for a great mix-tape.

Over the last few years iPod has used music by the likes of Black Eyed Peas, Daft Punk, Gorillaz, Fratellis and analog era faves like Bob Dylan and U2.

Believe it or not iPod advertising even has its own Wikipedia page, as well as a dedicated blog.

To see just how entrenched into the psyche iPod ads have become, click here and take a look at the very first iPod TV spot.

Monday 24 September 2007

Give us a job mister

Whenever office arguments over petty things start to get me down, I always say that even on a bad day working in advertising sure beats having a real job. This very cute graduate recruitment piece for BBH has many of the reasons why.

Sunday 23 September 2007

Passer-by or peeping Tom?

There's only one thing better than exciting new technology and that's seeing it used well.

The blacked out windows on a Sixth Avenue storefront were brought vividly to life each time someone walked past thanks to a cool new piece of tech known as Human Locator.

Click here to see how it's done.

For more on the Elle McPherson campaign click here.

Saturday 22 September 2007

Error 404

I love the infinite possibilities of this Japanese Haiku version of the much hated 'page not found' error message.

The Web site you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist


A book for the kids

When I was involved with the advertising school at RMIT I was in awe of some of the talent on display.

Many of the kids were way ahead of where I would have been at the same stage in my development.

Sadly though talent isn't the only thing you need to land a job in an advertising creative department.

Which is why I'm recommending a book that I haven't read.

It's called How to succeed in advertising when all you have is talent.

Buy a copy here.

Friday 21 September 2007

Management Trainee at work

I just read that classic The Economist campaign has had a makeover.


New maketing manager at the client?

Client bored running 'red' ads?

Agency had a strategic idea even better than the one they came up with twenty odd years ago?

Who knows?

However if the new look Economist ad below is anything to go by, it's probably a simple case of change for change sake.

Thursday 20 September 2007

The finger

I heard a very funny story about the making of this seventies Valiant Charger ad today.

It's a poor quality video, but if you squint you can see people throughout the ad giving the V sign as they exclaim 'Hey Charger!'

Most of the footage was in the can, with only the closing shot of the driver giving the V left to do.

Cameras were rolling as the Charger cruised by. Then a hand emerged from the driver's window and gave the finger.

Not the V, the finger.

Seems no-one on set had noticed the actor playing the Charger driver had a finger missing on his right hand. So he couldn't actually give the V sign.

Stylist and make-up artist headed off to the nearest magic shop and bought a rubber 'severed' finger.

They used make-up to cover up the blood and loosely attached it to the driver's hand.

Apparently the fake finger stuck out like a sore thumb, but luckily TV was in black & white, so the finger blended in nicely.

And nobody ever knew.

Headline of the week

Saw this ad at the train station this morning and it made me smile.

I love a made up word and 'goldier' is a really good one I think.

Great work by JWT Sydney.

Sadly I have to report the rest of the campaign is nowhere near as good as this. Bummer.

Wednesday 19 September 2007

Surprise surprise

“Consumers now believe they have a right to choose whether to view advertising or not, simply as they please. You can bet your marketing budgets that when consumers have the choice between advertising and their favorite television programming, they will likely choose the latter.”


Tuesday 18 September 2007

Brand ubiquity

There are many things we take for granted these days. Products that are so ubiquitous we never give them a second thought.

And yet once upon a time these products were new and exciting. Like Scotch tape.

The ad above is, I think, just beautiful. I can't imagine them running anything like it now.

There's just no need.

The one below is a fantastic combination of testimonial and product demonstration.

This is another ad the likes of which you'd never see these days.

Which is a great shame don't you think?

For more great Scotch ads from the archives, visit the Scotch tape 75th birthday website.

Monday 17 September 2007

What's the next target?

Drew tells me that the Age of Conversation book has just hit its target of raising $10,000 for Variety the childrens charity.

That is very exciting news.

Best of all we did it in just two months.

Big pat on the back to all the bloggers out there who contributed to not only a great business book, but also to a very worthy cause.

If you haven't got a copy yet, click here to buy one.

Saturday 15 September 2007

Does this ad suck?

It's not often I see a print ad that makes me laugh out loud.

This excellent piece of product demonstration did though.

It's by Belgian agency Happiness.

Friday 14 September 2007

Corona...Hold the lime

In Sweden the laws governing alcohol state that images used in print advertising may only depict the following:

1. The product or ingredients of the product
2. One or two of the product's packagings
3. Brand or comparable known mark

Lime, which is generally found stuffed into the neck of a bottle of Corona, is obviously not an ingredient of beer.

So this ad has been banned. Madness.

Thursday 13 September 2007

Strangely familiar

This Nike poster featuring Wayne Rooney was one of last year's most talked about ads in the UK.

It was created by W&K London and picked up dozens of awards.

The poster below was not created by W&K London and I doubt it will be picking up any awards.

Unless of course there are awards for plagiarism.

Wednesday 12 September 2007

Tomorrow's news

I gave a guest lecture at Melbourne University today on advertising in the digital age.

The kids I was speaking to were studying media and communications.

Before my talk, which began at 10am, I asked who had read a newspaper this morning.

Not one hand was raised.

That's not one person out of around 100 undergraduates.

This raises two questions for me:

1. How can we expect young people to write for and embrace a medium they neither use or care about?

2. How and when are newspapers going to change to attract the interest of the internet generation?

Here's a link to a fantastic article on this very topic. (Registration may be required)

Tuesday 11 September 2007

Going underground

The Tube map is one of my all time favourite design pieces.

So a big thanks to Russell for tipping me off to the London Transport Museum site.

There's loads of interesting visual stuff on the site, including the Top Ten London Underground posters.

The one above by Man Ray is from 1938. Hard to believe it's almost 70 years old.

According to the site, the image is the product of a camera-less photographic process.

This involved placing three-dimensional objects directly onto photographic paper and exposing them to light.

Like I said, hard to believe it's almost 70 years old.

Click here to check out the rest of the Top Ten.

Monday 10 September 2007

Backlash starts now!

I only signed up for Facebook because I'd read that companies were trying to ban it in the workplace.

Two weeks later I was hooked. So much so I wrote an article about it for Marketing magazine.

Given the two month delay between submission and going to print, the article may not see the light of day until Xmas.

Hopefully Facebook won't be yesterday's hero by then.

Thanx to Angus for the pic.

Saturday 8 September 2007

Enough already

Just when you thought there was nowhere left for advertisers to plaster their message, urban spam has now become spam ham.

And spam bacon, spam steak, spam pastrami and spam seafood too.

Those wonderful folks from CBS marketing have stiched up a deal with several US supermarkets to place ads for their new TV shows on the food labels in the deli, meat and seafood section.

What next, Ads on eggs?

Oh yeah, I forgot that CBS already did that last year!

Apple joins the conversation

When I decided to to take up the offer to contribute to the Age of Conversation book, I thought long and hard about what makes a good conversationalist.

For me it was listening. So that's what I wrote my chapter on.

This week Apple showed that it knows how to listen, when Steve Jobs publicly apologised to people who bought the first release iPhone, which has had a couple of hundred dollars trimmed from its price.

In a letter on the Apple website, Jobs acknowledged that Apple had disappointed customers and that he personally had received hundreds of upset e-mails.

He then went on to say that they would be giving a $100 credit to those customers.

"We apologize for disappointing some of you," wrote Jobs, "and we are doing our best to live up to your high expectations of Apple."

Now that's what I call business in the conversation age.

Boring vs Lazy

I don't know about you

But I'm getty bored with

People who do nothing

More than post lots of

Links on their blog

Rather than write something

Friday 7 September 2007

The kid's got talent

This is my son Max.

He's a 10 year old punk rocker and raconteur.

His spelling's not great. His grammar's worse. But boy can this kid write.

Well I think so anyway.

Go check out his blog Plastic Heart and you'll see what I mean.

Thursday 6 September 2007

Timeless classics

Just came across a wonderful Flickr collection of Graphis magazines from the early sixties.

Wonderful design. Great use of type. Well worth a look.

Click here to view.

Wednesday 5 September 2007

Is old news still good news?

Last year I was invited to give a lecture on the internet and advertising at Melbourne University.

One of the areas I touched on in my talk, was how newspapers are becoming less and less relevant to younger people.

I posed the question, why would you pay to read something that you probably read for free on the internet 24 hours earlier?

Most of the kids in the lecture theatre said they didn't and wouldn't.

One of my slides showed a front page from the Herald Sun proclaiming Australia had set a world record cricket score.

My next slide was a screen shot from one of the online news sights on the same day.

It carried the startling news that despite setting the record score, Australia had in fact lost.

This news didn't appear on the back page of the following day's newspaper until a full 36 hours after the event.

This lag between news breaking and appearance in print was highlighted for me again this week when I posted my Around The Blogosphere article.

You see the print deadline for the magazine is two months prior to going to print.

I'd never given it a second thought, as this is pretty standard in the world of magazine publishing.

In the blogosphere however we post it as and when we see or hear it.

Which is why it felt a little odd getting positive comments for something that drew on material that was now not just yesterday's news, but several months ago news.

Tuesday 4 September 2007

No MySpace in our space

I watched the second episode of Californication tonight and laughed out loud when David Duchovny's character when into an Apple Store to write his blog.

Seems he's not the only person who's been making the most of free internet courtesy of the Apple Store.

So popular has the store become with teens updating their MySpace pages, that Apple has now blocked access to the site in all its stores.

Seems the kids love using the iMac's Photo Booth feature to create fun pics for their MySpace profiles.

Monday 3 September 2007

Around the blogosphere

The September issue of marketing magazine has just hit newsagents in Australia, featuring my regular column Around The Blogosphere.

This month I take a look at brands and the future of branding, with a little help from Russell Davies and Ross Cidlowski.

Click here to visit and read the latest Around The Blogosphere.

I thought I said guerilla marketing

Correct me if I'm wrong, but even if I was starving this ad wouldn't make me want to eat Cadbury chocolate.

Surely I'm missing something here?

Sunday 2 September 2007

DraftFCB in/on Second Life

Saturday 1 September 2007

Troubled by runs?

Husbands admire wives who keep their stockings perfect.

Can't argue with that kind of logic, can you?