Wednesday 30 April 2008

Is WPP going green?

Rumour is adland conglomerate WPP is looking to relocate their headquarters from London to Ireland.


Tax. Yes tax.

Reminiscent of the days when big name bands like the Rolling Stones moved to France to become tax exiles, WPP is reportedly looking to take advantage of the low company tax rate in the emerald isle.

The going rate in the UK is 28% compared to a paltry 12.5% in Ireland.

When quizzed on the matter Martin Sorrell apparently relied, "To be sure. To be sure."

Selling social media

I came across Cold Call Carl over at Jetpack's site.

Definitely my kinda guy.

Carl that is.

Although I'm quite fond of Mr Jetpack too.

Squint to read or try clicking the pic to enlarge.

Tuesday 29 April 2008

Who said that?

New laws about to be introduced in the UK will greatly restrict brands from participating in social media whilst masquerading as consumers.

Under the new laws it will be an offence to blog about a product, use brand ambassadors or seed viral ads whilst "representing oneself as a consumer."

Apparently the rules will also apply to bloggers who write about or plug a product without disclosing that they have been paid to do so.

Luckily no one has ever asked me to blog about Nike, Coke or Sony for cash, so I don't think I'll have a problem.

Monday 28 April 2008

Picture or 1,000 words?

This month in my Around The Blogosphere column for Marketing magazine I took a look at an online debate about pictures versus words on the internet.

Click here to read the story. Feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday 27 April 2008

Communication or advertising?

Thanx to Paul.

Saturday 26 April 2008

Does this ad suck?

This ad for Tom Ford sunglasses ran in at least three Italian magazines last month.

It won't run in any this month as it has been banned by the Italian advertising watchdog.

I can't see why to be honest.

Tom Ford has always used sexuality in his ads, many of which have been far from tasteful.

Here's a link to a particularly bad one.

So why ban this ad?

The watchdog said it was markedly vulgar.

What do you think?

Thursday 24 April 2008


This lovely thought on design by Ace applies equally well to all forms of creativity I think.

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Thought for the day

Speaking at a conference in Dubai recently, David Droga had this to say about how difficult it is to get a really great idea to fly:

"If I was a doctor and eight of my ten patients died, I would give it up."

I feel a bit like that doctor right now. Hopefully the feeling will pass.

Tuesday 22 April 2008

The great Transit mystery

I do a lot of work on Ford, so I often get to see their ads from other parts of the world.

One of the nicest ones I've seen recently was an English TV spot for the Ford Transit. Very clever and charming to boot.

Sadly the same cannot be said for this Transit press ad from Spain.

I have absolutely no idea what this ad is about.

On the side of the van it says Grandma's Homemade Recipes.

The headline, or should that be tagline, is Ford Transit - Get Tough.

Try clicking the ad to enlarge and see if you can figure it out.

On the off chance you do, please leave your solution to the great Transit mystery in the comments.

Monday 21 April 2008

Chairman of the bored

Long before they used quirky songs or offbeat humour, Apple tried to bore people into buying their products.

And how on earth Kevin Costner went on to have a Hollywood career after starring in this dullsville spot is anyone's guess.

The pay-off in this ad was quite prescient though: "Soon there'll be two types of people. Those who use computers. And those who use Apples."

Mmm!? Sounds like an idea for an ad campaign to me.

Carrying the torch

Subtle yet oh so powerful piece of social commentary by street artist Satoboy spotted on a wall in Milan.

Via Wooster

Friday 18 April 2008

DNA turns two

Two years. 995 posts.

Not quite as many comments as I'd like.

But a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Thank you to everyone who stops by from time to time.

Thursday 17 April 2008

We will rock you...Kinda

Say what you will about the Cadbury trucks ad, but at least they left the song alone.

I don't even like Queen, but I reckon this Austrian ad has probably got Freddy Mercury rolling in his grave.


Pick up a pair

Onitsuka have set up a sneaker vending machine in London.

Apparently they've been doing this stuff for years in Japan.

I love the idea. I really do.

I just don't think I could buy a pair of sneakers from a machine.

There's just too much variance in size.

I have two pairs of Tigers. One size 11, the other size 12.

There's even variance in the sizes of my Puma and Adidas shoes.

So the last thing I'd want is to buy a pair of shoes that don't fit me.

Mind you, that's never been a problem for my wife.

Wednesday 16 April 2008

Banksy's Big Brother

Who else but Banksy could take the US pledge of allegiance, add a dash of contemporary Big Brother and paint it beautifully onto the side of a building?

He even did it under the watchful gaze of a surveillance camera!

Read all about it here

Ad free zone

There was much chatter out in the Blogosphere a few months back about the ban on outdoor advertising in Sao Paolo.

Now whilst I'd be one of the first people to say there is too much advertising, especially outdoor, I'm starting to wonder what our cities would be like if we banned it.

Here's a link to a fantastic Flickr set of pictures taken in Sao Paolo after the ad ban.

This vibrant city looks sad and unloved.

Perhaps rather than banning we need tighter regulation.

Click here to check out Sao Paolo's lack of ads and let me know what you think.

Thanx to Rick for the link.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Foam city Miami

Strangely hypnotic new ad for Sony cameras by those masters of the big budget extravaganza, Fallon London.

I'm not too sure about this ad to be honest.

Music, I think, is by Melbourne boy Warren Ellis from the Dirty Three and Bad Seeds.

Monday 14 April 2008

1984 revisited

My daughter is reading 1984 at the moment.

She's reading it because one of her friends recommended it to her.

Seems like 1984 has become something of a teenage right of passage book.

Pity she didn't decide to read it next year, when it comes with this new cover design by Shepard Fairey.

Sunday 13 April 2008

Listen to The Kaiser

No need to shout

The headline in this beautifully typeset ad for the Guardian by W&K London could easily be applied to the ad industry.

Don't you think?

Saturday 12 April 2008

Reflecting on reflections

Gotta admit I love the new look British currency.

It was designed by 26 year old Mathew Dent.

Now I'm sure it's not Mathews fault, but I've had just about enough of designers using of reflections.

Who's to blame?

Apple I think. Well they did it first.

However I suspect the blame really lies with hotshot web2.0 designers.

Just think about it for a minute.

When was the last time a 'we're currently in beta' company didn't have a reflection at the base of their logo?

Friday 11 April 2008

Anything but Italian

When I think Vespa I think Mods or Italians.

Two groups of people who epitomise style and cool.

I wonder what group of people the team at Dentsu Toronto had in mind when they came up with this TVC?

Thursday 10 April 2008

Compare the pair

There are many ways to skin a cat, as the saying goes.

This is especially true with headlines.

Two different headlines can be saying pretty much the same thing, but one works harder than the other.

I think it comes down to understanding your target audience.

A quick look at my inbox this morning has a great example.

Do I want an enormous gain in length or to merely gain a few centimetres?

Who'd have though there was so much to learn from porn spam?

Seen anything interesting?

I'm giving a talk about advertising and digital media at Melbourne University at the end of the month.

My presentation is about two thirds done and I'm currently looking for some interesting web video type stuff to include.

In true Age of Conversation meets Web-2.0 style I thought it might be worthwhile asking if you've seen anything recently that would be worth sharing with the students.

If you have, please leave a comment and let me know.

All help will be much appreciated.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Please take it away

Every once in a while I see an ad and think to myself geez I wish I'd done that. This ad by Ogilvy Paris is not one of those ads.

Tuesday 8 April 2008

We think

It seems like every couple of months now there's a video posted to YouTube that progresses the message of the classic 'The machine is us/ing us' video.

This is a lovely animated piece. I think it's to promote a book, but I'm not sure.

If you have any info about this video or Charles Leadbetter please leave a comment.

Monday 7 April 2008

Get billboards off our streets

It's something of an understatement to say that awareness of environmental and climate change issues is at an all time high.

Especially after the success of last week's Earth Hour.

Which kinda makes me wonder how much longer media planners can include mobile billboards in media schedules.

It's not like there's a shortage of poster sites in Australia.

And what benefit does an advertiser gain from having their ads driven up and down the street?

None that I can see.

Regardless of that, what type of brand wants to be associated with trucks driving aimlessly around town, pumping carbon into the air?

None that I'd want to buy, that's for sure.

Sunday 6 April 2008

An old look at new things

Worth1000 have been running a competition where people create vintage ads for modern products.

The Playstation ad is one of my favourites.

The Segway one below made me laugh too.

Click on the pics to enlarge and click here to see more ads.

Saturday 5 April 2008

Paul Arden

Very sad start to the day for me today, having just heard about the passing of one of my advertising heroes - Paul Arden.

Fourteen years as ECD of Saatchi's London.

One of the brains behind the legendary Silk Cut campaign.

Author of the wonderful It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be.

And yet, despite all of his many achievements, searching for Paul Arden on Google brought the advertising industry into perspective.

Almost all of the Arden related pages in a Google search link to one of his books.

There were no links to news of his death.

He doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

And yet he was one of the most important creative figures in our industry.

I'm currently putting together a presentation for a talk I have been asked to give to writing students at Melbourne University. Here's some wisdom from Paul that I'm using to put my talk together.

Friday 4 April 2008

The power of words

It is very rare to see copy in the print section of most award annuals these days.

Visual puns are the way to go when you're doing ads designed to appeal to award juries rather than consumers.

And yet I suspect the new print campaign for Howies is going to find its way into a few award annuals.


Because great copy is so rare in print ads these days that when we do see it, it proves irresistible.

Thanx to Scamp for ads, which were done by Dye Holloway Murray.

Click the pics to read the copy. It's worth it. Honest!

Thursday 3 April 2008

Me and Seth

Neil Perkin is director of marketing and strategy at the IPC Media in the UK. His blog Only Dead Fish is one of my favourites.

Seems I'm not the only one, as he's managed to sneak in to the AdAge Power 150 list.

Neil was recently interviewed about his work and blogging habits by Todd Andrlik.

I was pleasantly surprised to say the least when I read in the interview that Neil's two favourite blogs are Seth Godin's and Brand DNA.


Now that's some pretty illustrious company.

Me 'n Seth. Who'd have thought?


Just came across a terrific Flickr set of comic book sound effects.

Well I thought it was terrific.

You might think it's dull as dishwater.

Whatever - as my kids would say.

Wednesday 2 April 2008

I'd rather Adidas myself

One of the reasons I have way too many pairs of classic Adidas and Puma trainers is because I never had any when I was growing up.

I remember being devastated getting a no-name brand of sneakers for my 13th birthday rather than the beautiful Adidas Beckenbauers that I really wanted.

I also remember taking to the football field hoping that no one noticed my 'Adidas' boots only had two stripes rather than three.

Many times I contemplated using white paint to add the missing stripe.

Which kinda makes me think that the creatives who came up with this ad for K-Swiss had a similar childhood.

Problem is, I don't think anyone with a pair of Adidas Gazelles would ever wish they were wearing K-Swiss.


When is a charity not a charity?

Tuesday 1 April 2008

I never knew that

Back in 1989, Microsoft created the first version of Office for.....wait for it.....the Mac. Who'd have thought!?


Groovin' with Bacardi

In the latest in a series of innovative licensing deals that have given the music industry a serious shake-up, British dance combo Groove Armada have signed a one year deal with Bacardi.

Yes, you read that right, Bacardi.

As part of the deal, Bacardi will fund a 4 track EP, which will be available as a CD and digital download.

Bacardi will also be able to commision exclusive music from the band for use in advertising and other promo material.

This definitely makes me wonder what the music industry will look like 10 years from now?

Brand worship

It's been a while since I posted any Banksy on the blog.

He's just put up a selection of his latest work on his website.

This one really made me smile.

Click the pic for a better look.