Friday 30 January 2009

Note to all clients:

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Thursday 29 January 2009

A puzzling press ad

It's hard to appreciate this ad when it's the size of half a post it note.

So double click on it and then try to picture it as a full page in your morning paper.

Don't know 'bout you, but I kinda like it.

Makes a change from all those confronting ads the Transport Accident Commission usually run.

Big Fonzie thumbs up to the team at Grey here in Melbourne.

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Wednesday 28 January 2009

To be or not to be

Imagine if Twitter had been around back in the days of William Shakespeare. He could have used it to beta test his works.

Here's what his famous the first 9 lines of his famous 'To be or not be be' soliloquy would have looked like:

"2 be, or nt 2 be: tht's the q:
Whether 'tis nblr in the mnd 2 sffr
The slngs & rrws of trgs frtn,
Or 2 tk rms gnst a sea of trbls,
by ppsng end thm? 2 die: 2 zzz;
No mr & by a zzz 2 say we end
The hrt-ache & the thsnd ntrl shcks
That flsh is hr 2, 'tis a cnsmmtn
Devoutly 2 be wsh'd. 2 die, 2 zzz;"


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Tuesday 27 January 2009

Hope springs eternal

Many years from now I'd imagine that Shepard Fairey's 'Hope' poster for the Obama campaign will be celebrated as one of the most iconic images of the 21st century.

Here's a great little video courtesy of the LA Times on the creation and impact of the image.

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Monday 26 January 2009

Twitter or Waffle?

Although a late adopter of Twitter I have learnt a lot about its charms and powers in the 50 something days that I have been using it.

In fact my Around the Blogosphere column for the March issue of Marketing magazine is going to be about my early days on Twitter.

Suffice to say I am now a complete convert to all 140 characters of the Tweet.

However it does have one great failing. Social media experts.

Self proclaimed social media experts to be precise.

I'm heavily involved in social media myself both personally and professionally. And I get a great deal out of it.

The sort of people I'm talking about are essentially Twitter spammers.

People whose use of Twitter is anything but social I think.

Their sole focus seems to be racking up more followers.

And what do these people with thousands of followers Tweet about?

Very little from what I can see.

They post links. Often to their own self-centric blogs.

They endlessly re-Tweet each others Tweets about links to their blogs.

And when you click through to their blogs they write posts about the power of Twitter and how to make money off it.

Of course I don't have to follow these people. Getting them out of my Twitter feed takes little more than a mouse click.

But if I did that I wouldn't have written this post.

Pic borrowed from Hugh

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Sunday 25 January 2009

Hello Tucker!

Hot on the heels of my rediscovery of the Gobbledock comes the resurrection of another long forgotten Aussie advertising icon.

Although I don't miss Tucker like I miss the Gobbledock.

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Saturday 24 January 2009

Lincoln Vs Obama

There's been much made about the links to Abraham Lincoln in the Obama inauguration.

The train trip to Washington. The use of the Lincoln bible etc.

The wordle image above shows the key words used by Obama in his speech. Whilst the one below shows key words from Lincoln's inauguration.

Obviously the times and circumstances of both speechs are very different. Which these wordles clearly demonstrate.

Click the Pics to enlarge.

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Quote of the day

"We're not an ad agency, and I don't want to be an ad agency. We're a media-arts company that expresses brands through many forms. It shouldn't be one company does ads, another does PR and another does packaging or architecture." Lee Clow - TBWA

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Friday 23 January 2009


Sometimes, late at night, when my kids are asleep and my wife's gone to bed, I find myself wondering what became of the Gobbledock.

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A year to remember?

Tip of the DNA hat to the team at Sticky for alerting me to this quote from one of the titans of Aussie adland, media man Harold Mitchell.

"This year will be seen as the centre year of great change. In the past two significant changes people and companies got left behind; others emerged, fortunes were made. In the past 25 years there have been three such periods of change. In the late 80’s every major media company changed hands, except News, following the Wall Street crash of October 1987.

In 2001 the advertising industry went into reversal following the dot com boom and bust of 2000. Now, after a seven year bull run on world stock markets, the downturn that started in November 2007 continues. Each of these changes brought structural change in the media industry.

The changes this time will see the cementing of the digital age as the permanent force in media. Everyone is scrambling to catch up. Ad agencies are starting digital divisions, media companies are boosting their digital arms. Make sure that you’re not left behind mumbling analogue thoughts that only the dinosaurs can understand."

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Thursday 22 January 2009

Mystery man

Who is this mysterious half naked man who appears every time I upload a photo to Twitter?

And does he only appear next to my photos or have you seen him too?

If you know the answer to either of these questions be sure let me know.

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Ad of the day

I've always been a big fan of topical advertising. And this ad for Veet hair remover really made me smile when I saw it in the paper today. No idea who did it, but kudos for getting the client onboard.

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Tuesday 20 January 2009

Breaking taboos

Last night I watched the dvd of Secret Diary of a Callgirl. Pretty raunchy for a TV show.

When I was talking about it at work today one of the girls remarked that there are very few things you can't do in public.

She meant on TV but said public by mistake. Really made me laugh.

She does have a point though.

One thing I thought I'd never see done in public is design.

Now it seems even that taboo has been broken.

And Iain Tait tells me it will be broken again at Cut & Paste in London in April.

It's a design-off basically. In front of an audience.

Designers get a brief. A time limit. And away they go.

Love to see something like this happen in Melbourne. Perhaps at this year's AGDA Ideas?

Here's a video of a previous event. Looks like fun.

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Monday 19 January 2009

Improving bike safety

Now here's a clever idea. A virtual bike lane.

Developed by Altitude Inc the LightLane uses lasers to project a virtual bike lane around your bike as you ride.

Wonder if we'll see this great safety product in Australia sometime soon?



Missed opportunity

The headline in this poster is interesting I think. Just enough intrigue to get you thinking.

But is it strong enough to stop you in your tracks? I don't think it is.

I also don't think it needs to be underlined. And as for the exclamation mark!

You're probably sitting there reading this wondering why this poster even warrants an appearance on Brand DNA.

Here's why:

The body copy invited people to take a photo of themselves and MMS it to a number on the poster.

Minutes later they were sent a pic of how they would look at 70.

Hence the grey hair headline.

This is a very interesting idea I think.

But I can't help wondering if the agency people got so excited about the photo ageing idea that they forgot to give the advertising the thinking it deserved.

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Friday 16 January 2009

Quote of the day

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Thursday 15 January 2009

Looks like I'm rich!

Click pic to enlarge.


Wednesday 14 January 2009

Can't say it? Sing it

As that great philosopher Mr John McEnroe used to say:


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Tuesday 13 January 2009

Obviously clean water can wait

Corporate and brand guidelines are the bane of many an agency creative.

There's nothing more frustrating than seeing an interesting idea crushed by the guideline police.

If there was one brand I wouldn't have thought you'd have a problem just getting ideas out with, it's Unicef.

The work they do is far to important to let a typeface or colour treatment get in the way. Right?

Sadly no.

Seems the Australian launch of the Droga5 initiated Tap Project has been postponed until 2010.

If you're not familiar with the Tap Project, it gets people to pay for tap water at restaurants, with funds raised going to help supply clean water to people who need it.

This is important work.Yet Unicef have delayed the launch by a year.


Because global guidelines and support collateral will not be ready in time for the launch.

Alison Overton of Unicef had this to say:

"We wanted to do it properly and as management had changed to Geneva, guidelines , art work and training were not developed."

As Derryn Hinch would say - Shame Unicef shame.

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Golden Globes

For some reason the Golden Globes were not on TV in Australia this year.

I suspect it may be because Mr Murdoch and his digital/cable network snapped up the TV rights.

Anyway because I knew I couldn't watch it, I didn't have to avoid media outlets in case they mentioned who won what.

So I turned to Twitter. Yes Twitter.

It really proved it's worth yesterday, as the Golden Globe feed provided update after update to my Mac during the course of the day.


Monday 12 January 2009

Simpsons do Madmen

Over the Xmas hols my wife and I watched Madmen. Not just an episode or two either. We watched series one and two, back to back. Which worked out to be 26 episodes over ten days. Outstanding viewing.

Friday 9 January 2009

25 year old Virgin

1984 turned out to be quite an eventful year.

Not quite what George Orwell predicted, but it did give us the Apple Mac and Virgin Airlines.

The launch ad for the Mac has of course entered the history books.

I don't know if there was a launch ad for Virgin. But their 25th birthday spot is pretty cute.

In a dumb, sexist, tongue-in-cheek kinda way of course!

Thursday 8 January 2009

What's in your toolbox?

Gavin and I had an interesting conversation on Twitter last night.

In one of my tweets I said that I considered myself a layman in everything I do. Even the things I get paid handsomely to do.

He expressed surprise at this remark.

To which I said that if Brian Eno can maintain his status as a non-musician, then I should be able to always be a layman.

It's sometimes hard to get a lengthy point across in Twitter, given you have to do it in just 140 characters.

But what I was trying to say was that I consider myself to be continually learning.

This mindset is important to me because I have met too many people during my career who seem to be the opposite of the way I see myself.

Experts. Seniors. Management. You know the type.

When I made the Brian Eno tweet Gavin tweeted back to ask if I considered Brian Eno as an expert/leader?

I said to Gavin that I look to Eno in the same way I look to many innovators in other fields.

The fact these people are in a different field to myself makes what they do and how they do it even more interesting to me.

I have done much in my career that has been inspired at some time or other by thinking from other industries or fields.

It's what I call adding to the toolbox.

I started out many years ago with just a box of spanners. After a lifetime of work I have a bigger toolkit than a roadside assistance van. And I am still adding to my collection.

Wednesday 7 January 2009

Surely not!?


Monday 5 January 2009

Who doesn't like the beaver?

This was the most complained about ad on Australian TV in 2008.

Yet when it was shown on the Gruen Transfer it got rapturous applause from the audience and strong support from the show's panelists.

Luckily the Advertising Standards Boards kinda liked it too and all complaints were dismissed.

That score again:

Common Sense One - Wowsers Nil.

Get snap happy

Ever fancied yourself as a fashion photographer?

Snapping away as you coax hot young things to work it baby work it.

Well now you can. Well kinda. On the new site from Oz jeans brand Jag.

It lets you photgraph your choice of model. Pick the best shots from a contact sheet. Then create a catalogue to share with friends.

Click here to go and exercise your inner David Bailey.

Sunday 4 January 2009


One of my favourite sources of arts 'n culture from Japan is no more.

Following a Tweet from Zana I learnt that Ping Mag had ceased operation. Very sad. Well for me anyway!

The good news is that all the previously published articles can still be accessed from the Ping Mag site.

Go take a look before they vanish forever.

Saturday 3 January 2009

Love it or hate it?

I can't decide if this New Years message from Wolff Olins is self indulgent twaddle or motivational genius.

Click here. Take a listen.

Then come back and tell me what you think.

Friday 2 January 2009

The Age is showing its age

Although I bought it months ago, I've only just gotten around to reading Clay Shirky's book Here Comes Everybody.

One of the topics he covers, as many of us involved in the web and social media do, is the future of newspapers.

When I taught at RMIT most of the students in my classes didn't buy newspapers.

This was especially alarming given most of these young people were looking to get into the advertising business.

As we make our way into 2009 I wanted to talk to you about a newspaper that obviously hasn't come to terms with the changing nature of the news (not newspaper) business.

The Age. A Melbourne icon since 1854.

This week many people are not at work. Especially at The Age!

How do I know this?

Because of the contemp (and I don't use that word lightly) they have shown their loyal readers this week.

Every Friday The Age includes EG. A music and entertainment weekly.

Today it wasn't in my paper. However a copy of the cultural insert A2 was.

Thing is, A2 is supposed to be in the Saturday newspaper.

Sorry if this is all getting a bit confusing. I'll try and get to the point.

I spoke to my newsagent who told me the following:

The EG was included in the Thursday paper due to New Years Day.

This was also the reason that the A2 was included in Friday's paper rather than Saturday. Which means Saturday's paper is going to be pretty thin me thinks.


I asked the newsagent if I could have a copy of the EG. He said yes. As long as I purchased yesterday's paper!

Is this any way for a leading news outlet to operate in 2009?

I think not.

Thursday 1 January 2009

It's all about me

I started this blog a long time ago. When I did I never included any info on the profile page.

Don't ask me why but I decided to add some info to my profile today.

Nothing amazing. Definitely not Earth shattering. But I finally got around to it.

No big deal. Just thought I'd let you know.