Friday 31 October 2008

Doesn't Apple = Innovation?

With the US election just days away research firm Synovate has released a report that compares the candidates as brands.

I'm not sure how the report was compiled but the results are bewildering to say the least.

According to Synovate Obama is like Nokia. No argument from me there.

Meanwhile doddery old John McCain is apparently like Apple.

Yes Apple.

I can think of many brands that I'd liken McCain to but Apple sure ain't one of them.

Need some inspiration?

If you've had enough of my ramblings click here to read a great interview with Tony Davidson the creative director of W&K London.

Thursday 30 October 2008

The kids are alright

Last week a dozen young hopefuls graduated from the Melbourne arm of the ADMA creative school.

Next month an entire class of advertising students will be graduating from RMIT in Melbourne.

And only a few weeks ago another group of creative wannabes graduated from the very highly regarded AWARD School.

All up I'd imagine that's over 100 young people looking to get into the creative department of an agency in Melbourne.

Over 100!

That's a lot of people for only a handful of opportunities.

One of the best ways to steel yourself for the struggles and frustration of getting a job is to share your struggles and frustration with other people.

And the best place to do that is Junior.

It's a terrific resource set up by two lads that I mentor - Ed and Tait.

If you're looking to make a career for yourself as a creative go check out their site and register.

It just launched this week, so it's early days, but they're going to have regular interviews with interesting industry figures.

They'll also be hosting regular networking events with inspirational speakers.

But don't just take my word for it. Click here and go be a part of it.

Here comes the sequel

The much anticipated sequel to the Age of Conversation collaborative book is out today.

And unlike most Hollywood sequels (apart from Godfather 2 and Toy Story 2) this one is definitely worth the wait.

It is packed with the wisdom, ideas and opinion of over 200 marketing thinkers and bloggers.

All proceeds go to Variety the children's charity.

To find out more and order your copy of AoC#2 click here.

To get to know the people behind the book click here.

Kudos to Gavin and Drew for pulling off a great sequel.

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Start searching

I stumbled on this pic blog surfing the other day.

Really made me smile.

It's from a blog called Blame it on the voices.

The list of popular posts also made me smile:

Hello Kitty scarification.

Spanish horse wrestling festival.

Chewing gum sculptures.

Silicone implants for tattoo boobs.

The Turkish Rambo.

Can't imagine anyone searching for any of those on Google. Can you?

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Tasteful advertising

Once upon a time. In a world much like this one. CDs were part of the digital revolution.

Now they've been pretty much superceded by the very technology they introduced.

So I guess a lot of people are wondering what to do with their unwanted CDs.

What I very much doubt is that people are sitting there wondering what to do with a spindle of blank CDs.

Because that's what this ad by DPZ in Sao Paolo is supposed to be about.

Surely a digital file transfer service is worthy of better advertising than this?

Click pic for a better look - If you can be bothered.

Monday 27 October 2008

Me want one

Max and I went to see the new Macbooks on the weekend.

I didn't fall instantly in love with them. Something didn't seem quite right.

Couldn't put my finger on it but Max could.

He reckoned they look like an HP.

Of course he then dragged me to see an HP notebook and he was right.

Much cooler than an HP though!

Of course if the Macbook Nano was on sale I'd buy one in an instant.

Sadly it's not. At least not yet.

Sunday 26 October 2008

Honesty is the best policy

I've looked at a lot of folios during my career. Especially students and juniors.

One thing I never do is just be polite. It's really not helpful.

As I say to all the kids I see - you're not showing your book to people to see if they like it.

You're showing it to them to get criticism to help you make it better.

Yesterday I helped judge the final folios of the Melbourne students from the Creative School set up by ADMA.

To help the students get their books as good as they could be my art director and I gave up a very long evening two weeks ago to give the kids some much needed creative direction.

Some of the ideas we saw that night were a bit ropey to say the least.

The finished folios that we judged yesterday however had come a very long way from the ones we'd seen two weeks earlier.

I was very pleased that the girl who I thought would top the class didn't.

And I was even more pleased when the young lady who did top the class said that it was my 'demoralising criticism' that had helped her to succeed.

Tough love. Honest criticism. Straight talk.

Call it what you like, but always remember these words from Donald Trump:

'It's not personal. It's business.'

Saturday 25 October 2008

Express yourself

Zac pointed me in the direction of this great article in Wired.

I'm not sure if Paul Boutin set out to get the blogosphere talking when he wrote this piece but he certainly has.

He opens with this tirade:

"Thinking about launching your own blog? Here's some friendly advice: Don't. And if you've already got one, pull the plug."

That has my vote for opening sentence of the year. No contest.

So why is Boutin so anti blogging? Same reason that I'm tired of reading about top ten lists, followers and the Blog Council:

"Personal sites have been shoved aside by professional ones."

He backs up his point with this:

"The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths."

Couldn't have put it better myself.

But rather than shutting my blog down I'm treating Boutin's article as a rallying call.

So should you.

Friday 24 October 2008

Take that atheists!

Hot on the heels of the there's probably no God campaign God fights back with his own beer.

Now available in the UK - God Lager is apparently a divine drink and is one of Sweden’s most famous beers.

Cheers to the Chimp for the tip off.

Writing out loud

Neil found it. Will created it. And I love it.

Thursday 23 October 2008

On the highway to hell

A mate of mine sent me this bus ad the other day.

I thought it was a hoax or a student folio pice.

Turns out it's a real ad.

It's being paid for by the British Humanist Association.

When asked about it well known British God basher Professor Richard Dawkins said this ad;

"Will make people think. And thinking is anathema to religion."


Crap or Genius?

Found this on the Pentagram blog.

It's a promo postcard for the D&AD student awards.

Now I'm no typographer but is that really the best they could do?

It's Pentagram for goodness sake! Not to mention it was designed by Domenic Lippa.

Or could it be that this oddly typeset piece is so clever that an over opinionated copywriter like myself can't see its genius?

Who knows! What do you think dear reader?

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Chairman of the bored

I caught up with Lauren for coffee this morning.

One of the topics that kept us talking for a while was the world of academia.

Especially the nature of academic conferences and publishing.

This video of some of the world's most boring books captures the essence of our chat perfectly.

Although I have to admit I never even got half way through before clicking it off due to extreme boredom.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Just what the world needs

Read all about it here. If you can be bothered that is.

I don't know what's worse - the fact the Blog Council is issuing a book of this type or the fact that there actually is a blog council.

Older than yesterday

I went to quite a few exhibitions last week as part of the Melbourne Festival. As I was leaving one of the shows I participated in an exit interview. The first question was about which age group I belonged to.

Normally a question like this is second nature, but I had to rethink my answer as I have moved into a different age grouping since my last birthday.

I know I’m not getting any younger, but I felt really old when I told the interviewer which age group I was in.

I’ve been thinking about age groups and demographics ever since. And I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re just not accurate anymore. If they ever were.

There is a veritable gulf between the ages of 18 and 25. Yet that is considered a demographic group. Why?

Most 18 year olds have just finished school whereas the average 25 year old has been in the workforce for some time or has entered the workforce after completing a degree.

The older age groupings are misleading too.

In the survey I answered people aged 45 to 55 were grouped together. Again I think there is a gulf between the younger and older members of the group.

Many people are seeming younger as they get older. Used to be that once you passed 40 you were well into middle age. It really doesn’t kick in till your mid 50s these days.

As I’m writing this I’m starting to rethink my thinking on age demographics. Perhaps it’s not the age groupings that has to change. Perhaps it’s what marketers do with that information.

I’ve heard agency people and marketers refer to people younger than myself as being too old for the internet. I’ve also heard these same people talk about females in their mid 20s as kids.

Seems to me there’s an opening in the market for a switched on research company to gather the data to create accurate age demographic profiles. The type of profiles that take into consideration the way we live today. Not how we lived in the 1960s.

Monday 20 October 2008

Thought for the day

Game changer

Following up from the fantastic product demo I posted last week, here's the new iPhone ad from TBWA California.

It has none of the charm of the other ad.

Nor is it a particularly clever product demo.

But then when you're advertising what is quite literally a game changing product, I guess you can afford to let the wonders of the product just speak for themselves.

Here's a link to the other ad. Which one do you prefer?

Sunday 19 October 2008

A sweet idea?

Even the mighty Don Draper and the team from Mad Men couldn't have come up with an ad like this.

Click the pic for a better look.

Saturday 18 October 2008

Now that's funny


Come on people!

Mad Men has yet to screen on TV here in Australia.

Of course that hasn't stopped me from watching it.

One of the things I love about the era depicted in the show is the lack of computers.

No computers = No flow charts, pie charts, organisational diagrams, site maps etc etc.

I love computers. You know that. Especially Macs.

Computers are not the problem. It's the people that use them.

People who send an email rather than pick up a phone.

People who think a collection of overly long bullet points is a presentation.

People who think they can write just because they have a keyboard.

People who think the chart below is communicating anything to anyone other than the person who created it.

Friday 17 October 2008

Beer Goggles

Talent imitates. Genius steals.

No argument from me there.

The thing is, the internet has made it easier than ever to find inspiration.

Stuck for idea? Go waste an hour trawling YouTube.

However the internet has also made it harder to hide the source of your inspiration.

When I got my iPhone the first app I downloaded was the free iPint.

At the time I couldn't believe that there was a very similar app called an iBeer.

Even harder to believe is the story which has now emerged that the iPint is in fact a rip off of iBeer.

Who'd have thought? Not me that's for sure.

Thursday 16 October 2008

It's official

If you take the test be sure to watch the calculation take place in real time. Brilliant!

Are you a follower or leader?

I've noticed recently that a few blogs have added a widget that shows the number of "followers" the blog has.

When did blogging become a popularity contest?

Is a blog with a lot of followers better or more important than a blog with none?

To find an answer to this question I turned to that well known sage of social media Mr Bob Dylan.

His classic recording Subterranean Homesick Blues gave me the answer:

"Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters."

Wednesday 15 October 2008

The original gorilla

Last night I spent time helping a group of wannabe creatives with their folios.

A couple of them had convoluted TV ideas for products with an obvious benefit.

When I asked them why they'd done what they'd done they all said they were trying to avoid an obvious product demonstration.

I told them that in my opinion a product demonstration is a very powerful tool. Especially when done well.

All they needed to do was find an interesting an unexpected way of demonstrating the benefits of the product.

This early 70's TV spot by DDB is one of the best examples I know.

It's a beautiful piece of copywriting too. So be sure to turn up your volume.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Happy accidents

Last night I went to see Patti Smith and Philip Glass perform their tribute to Allen Ginsberg.

I was blown away by the performance. Who would have thought poetry could be so good!?

After the show I chatted with a friend about some of the mistakes Patti had made during her readings.

We both agreed that they added to the performance rather than distracting from it.

Those mistakes were a great example of my favourite of Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies - "Honor your accidents as hidden intentions"

If you're not familiar with Eno's wonderful creativity tool click here and read all about it.

On the way into work this morning I was listening a radio interview with the late Richard Wright from Pink Floyd.

Speaking about an Abbey Road recording session Wright mentioned a fortuitous happy accident.

A guitar tech had plugged in a wah wah peddle the wrong way, which meant that the peddle make a noise like a seagull rather than the expected wah wah sound.

Rather than admonishing the technician, the guitar player took the seagull noise and made it the basis for a song.

My reason for this rambling post is simply this; I want you to start honouring your accidents as hidden intentions.

Don't be afraid to make a mistake - You never know where it may lead you.

Monday 13 October 2008


If anyone can solve the world economic crisis the Thunderbirds can.

Nice work from England's favourite daily The Sun.

Sunday 12 October 2008

Hello and welcome

In the last week this blog has turned up in Julian's list of Australia's Top Marketing Blogs, Smart Company's list of the top Business Blogs and an article on Aussie Blogs in B&T magazine.

If you're here for the first time because you came across Brand DNA in one of the above sources welcome.

I do hope you enjoy your time here.

This is (or so people tell me) a light hearted and eclectic look at adland and all sorts of brand related stuff.

If you like what you see please come again.

Or why not save yourself a trip and subscribe to the RSS feed?

It's real easy. And incredibly convenient.

Just click on the subscribe link in the right hand column.

You can also get DNA optimised for your mobile. Click here to check it out.

For regular readers normal service will resume shortly.

Saturday 11 October 2008

Black Friday

It's not real obviously.

But it could/should be.

Sadly this is from 2 weeks ago.

Where to from here?


How many doctors?

When you make a claim as big as the one in this classic ad you expect there to be a disclaimer.

So it's hardly surprising that there's an asterisk in the headline.

What is surprising is the position of the asterisk.

Take a closer look. See what I'm talking about?

There seems to be no problem at all saying, "Physicians say Luckies are less irratating."

But if you get the number of physicians wrong - who knows what could happen.

Friday 10 October 2008

Reverse product placement

The Baz Luhrmann campaign for Tourism Australia has been generating plenty of discussion.

What I find interesting about the ads is the way they're tied into Lurhmann's soon to be released film Australia.

It's almost product placement in reverse.

Rather than squeezing a product into a film, Luhrmann has used his film as the basis for an ad campaign.

Innovative. That's for sure.

Unless the movie tanks of course.

Although given his box office track record I doubt that it will.

Of course when it comes to product placement I prefer the ironic up front honesty of Wayne & Garth.

Apologies for the elongated pic in the video.

Thursday 9 October 2008

Freitag design a truck

Bag maker Freitag ran a contest last year to unearth a cool design for their trucks.

Judges included top designers like Stefan Sagmeister and Michael Diebold as well as the Freitag brothers.

That's the winner in the pic above. It was designed by Chris Gray from Manchester.

It's pretty cool don't you think?

Click here to see all the finalists. Click the pic for a better look.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

Where's the shrimp?

Tourism Australia has just released the much anticipated tourism spots by Baz Luhrmann.

Strangely in this age of social media they have posted then to YouTube yet disabled the ability to embed them.

So I can't post it to my blog.


Are they afraid people might be critical of them?

Is it because Lurhmann's ego isn't up to blogosphere chatter?

Who knows.

I'm sure someone will have cracked the disable code by the end of the week.

In the meantime here's the PR blurb for the ad on YouTube:

"See the film-styled advertisement Baz Luhrmann has created for Tourism Australia. Here the cool, deep billabong shows the rejuvenating power of Australias landscapes and experiences."

Click here to go watch the ad.

Once you've gone walkabout be sure to come back and let me know what you think.

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Advertising effectiveness

A couple of weeks ago I managed to download the BBC documentary Rise and fall of the ad man.

It's an interesting hour of television. Well worth searching out a torrent link.

One of the points covered in the show was the rise and demise of the Saatchi brothers followed by the rise and rise of their former finance man - Martin Sorrell.

However if the stock price is peforming as poorly as the chart above suggests, you have to wonder how long it wil be before Sir Martin is the topic of a rise and fall doco himself.

Click pic to enlarge.

Monday 6 October 2008

QED - Question everything done

Words of wisdom from Chloe.

Across the universe

Kate Lighfoot is a Melbourne copywriter who does a lot more with her talents than just write.

She is a wonderful artist too.

You can see her work at the upcoming female group show called 'Across the universe and back again.'

It's at the tucked away but definitely worth searching out No Vacancy gallery in Red Cape Lane.

The show opens on the 13th.

Click on the poster for full details.

Who knows I may even see you there on opening night.

Sunday 5 October 2008

Squiggle shortage

When I lived in London I made several trips to Scandinavian countries.

I love it up there. Well in the summertime anyway!

What I really liked though, was the sheer number of accents, squiggles and other little diacritic symbols in the writing.

Norway, Sweden and Finland all have their own languages. But in print they all look kinda the same.

Using those little symbols has enabled the standard alphabet to be extended by several characters.

Same old letters. But a variety of additional uses for them.

Of course being a writer I'm also glad we don't have all these diacritic symbols in English.

I already waste enough time inserting annoying legal symbols like TM etc.

Mind you if we had as many symbols in English as there are in that poster perhaps the TM marks wouldn't look as bad.

Poster by Michael Ciancio.

Saturday 4 October 2008

Dear John,

Oh dear...

To quote John Lydon himself, "It made you a moron."

No arguments from me there after watching that commercial.

Latest internet innovation

You've heard of VOIP.

Now try BOIP.

Yes it's Beer Over IP.

A selection of fine ales and lagers shared over the internet.

Not sure if the sun is over the yard-arm?

Click here and see if it's Beer O'Clock.

Friday 3 October 2008

Diesel XXX party

As I sit writing this I can see an overweight couple having sex in the apartment across the street from my office window!


Happy 30th birthday Diesel. Looks like a great party.

Thursday 2 October 2008

Finding your voice

The new issue of marketing magazine is out now.

This month in my Around The Blogosphere column I eavesdropped on some interesting online chatter around how the internet is giving access to a voice that most people never had before.

Click here to read it.

Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment.

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Now that's spooky

Having just finished setting up my computer to record the BBC Radio-2 special on Led Zeppelin I decided to check my Facebook.

When I logged in I noticed the ad below on my homepage.


Whatever happened to....

When I started this blog a couple of years ago Second Life was much talked about in the blogosphere.

Hardly a day went by without me visiting a blog that had a post about it.

Mentions of the virtual world hit really a peak with the launch of Joseph Jaffe's agency Crayon.

Not long after both Sixty Minutes and the ABC's Four Corners produced stories on Second Life.

Then it disappeared.

Or did it?

I'm pretty sure it's still thriving, but it's very rare to see it mentioned in the media these days.

In fact I can't remember the last time I read the words Second Life.

Which makes me kinda happy to be honest as I was well and truly over the hype.

I suspect that many hardcore Second Lifers were sick of the hype too.

And that they're now happily going about their virtual business in peace.