Tuesday 29 December 2009

Have a great break!

Friday 25 December 2009

Mr Hankey Construction Set

Merry Christmas everyone. Make sure you get plenty of fibre in your diet. And have a great holiday!

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Thursday 24 December 2009

From sublime to politically correct

Couple of TV spots for my Christmas week. First up is this utterly sublime ad for Boots created by the legendary David LaChapelle. The ad below for Gap is trying so hard to please so many people that it is, in my opinion, a failure.

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Wednesday 23 December 2009

Would you like fries with that?

Another lovely concept for my Xmas ad series. No idea who was behind this one. If you know, be sure to let me know.

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Monday 21 December 2009

Olivetti Christmas

In the lead up to Christmas I thought I'd share some classic Christmas advertising. These are for the Olivetti Lettera portable typewriter and date from 1957 (above) and 1964 (below). Still stylish even after all these years.

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Friday 18 December 2009

Gotta love clients

My friends Kate 'n Dave were recently made creative directors of Cubed here in Melbourne. They just posted a very cute collection of Cubisms to their Flickr site. This is my favourite for reasons that I'm sure every creative can understand.

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Thursday 17 December 2009

Can't beat it

Beautifully simple idea for MTV by BBDO Dusseldorf.
Love it!

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Wednesday 16 December 2009

Walk the talk

I've written before about advertiising innovations from yesteryear. These shoes are from the late 1880s. You can view their patent application here.

They're the advertising equivalent of treading on dog shit and walking it through the house as they print advertising messages on the pavement as you walk.

I find it hard to believe that people were thinking of stuff like this 120 years or more ago. Especially when you consider that back then TV or radio hadn't even been invented.

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Tuesday 15 December 2009

Breaking news or broken?

Once upon a time, in an Aussie adland far far away, the only way to get industry news was in trade magazines.

These were B&T which came out every Friday. AdNews which came out fortnightly and the creative’s favourite Campaign Brief which arrived by mail on a monthly basis.

All of these mags are still going, however they seem less and less relevant with each passing week.


Not because they’re printed. But because they have regular e-newsletters. So by the time the print edition arrives the stories are old and most of us have already read them.

Which makes me wonder how much longer before one of either B&T or AdNews stops printing and becomes an online magazine.

Much like new kid on the block – Mumbrella.

What bugs me most about our trade publications though is their reliance on press releases as content.

This probably didn’t matter back in the old days. But when I see the same “story” in all of the trade e-newsletters it really pisses me off.

Surely these guys have writers on staff to tweak the PR material they are supplied into something resembling a story?

If they don’t I recommend they get some. And fast. Because if the content is essentially the same on all of them then one of them surely has to go.

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Monday 14 December 2009

Social Penguins

Penguin's status as a design icon has been overwhelmingly reinforced this year with the publication of the $9.99 Penguin Classics range. I see people reading them all the time.

This year we've also seen a number of Penguin homages. This latest one featuring social media is particularly good.

Click here to see more.

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Friday 11 December 2009

Did Don Draper write this?

One of the interesting developments in the 3rd season of MadMen was the storyline involving Conrad Hilton.

Such a fascinating character I thought. In fact I often found myself wondering how true to life he actually was.

Very different to Paris Hilton that's for sure.

Of course back then international travel was generally something reserved for those with money.

Which is why travel advertising from that era is so interesting. This Hilton Hotels ad is a particularly good example.

It still exudes class and style even though it's close to 50 years old.

That ad is the antithesis of the sort of advertising done by the likes of Club Med or Contiki.

And it's a world away from the legendary Hans Brinker Hotel in Amsterdam.

But if I had to choose my next holiday based on a print ad I think I'd definitely plump for the oh so classy Don Draper style Nile Hilton.

Click the pic for a much better look.

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Thursday 10 December 2009

Fans of Facebook fan pages

I’ve been on Facebook for quite some time now and I often find myself wondering which brands are getting results out of.

I can”t recollect ever seeing an ad worth clicking on. Yet they’re supposed to be very highly targeted.

Facebook is, I think, a seriously missed opportunity for brands.

Sure there are plenty of ads, groups and fan pages. But really is there anything on Facebook (outside of the Burger King sacrifice) that you’d consider a major success?

Nope. Didn’t think so.

One area where many brands dabble is the fan page.

And why wouldn’t they be? They really easy to set up. In fact a child could do it in about a minute I reckon.

But are fan pages actually delivering any kind of value to brands?

I thought they were but it seems I might be mistaken. According to recent research by Sysomos fan pages are not always as popular as some brands might expect.

Their research looked at 600,000 Facebook fan pages and uncovered the following:

95% of pages have more than 10 fans
65% of pages have more than 100 fans
23% of pages have more than 1,000 fans
4% of pages have more than 10,000 fans

I’m not completely sure what to make of those numbers to be honest. But I’m sure you’d agree that 10,000 or more fans for a major brand is a good number.

The fact that only 4% of fan pages have that many fans is very disappointing though.

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Wednesday 9 December 2009

Copy lives outdoors

Love a good long copy print ad.

This is not one though.

A print ad that is.

It's one of a series of posters that run in the London Underground.

Click pic to read.

Great stuff from M&C Saatchi.

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Tuesday 8 December 2009

Tarrantino in Japan

Two great yet totally mental ads posted in the same day.

First up the jazz playing hamsters.

Now this one. It's got Tarrantino a talking dog and it's Japanese.

What's not to love?

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Get drenched

Bottled water. Hamsters. And swinging jazz. What's not to love?

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Monday 7 December 2009

Ranting in the Blogosphere

My column in last month's Marketing magazine seemed to upset a few people. Click here to go see what all the fuss was about. Love to hear your opinion so feel free to leave a comment.

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Friday 4 December 2009

Social media habits

My social media habits seem pretty stable. Yet on closer examination they are constantly changing.

Each time I adopt a new social media tool it impacts on the others.

Some amount to no more than a passing fad. Others have impacted heavily on my media consumption as well as my day to day life.

I was an early adopter of Flickr and still have a Flickr widget on this blog. Yet I haven’t posted a photo there in close to 2 years.


At first it was because I could not see the value in paying a yearly fee to put my photos online.

But once I got involved with Facebook I started posting photos there instead.

I was sceptical of Facebook at first but quickly became a convert. After just a few weeks it became part of my daily routine.

When Twitter came along I resisted that too.

After a breakfast chat in Sydney with Julian Cole and Gavin Heaton I decided to give Twitter a go.

Suffice to say this also impacted on my social media habits.

In fact you could say it consumed them.

The more I used Twitter the less I looked at Facebook. Apparently this is common behaviour.

However because of Twitter I also found myself reading fewer blogs than I used too. I was also commenting on blogs a lot less.

Over the last few months my habits have started to change again.

I now have connections with such a large number of people on Twitter that it has almost become a broadcast medium for me.

Meanwhile my long neglected Facebook account has been rediscovered anew.

And the new kid on the block – Google Wave – sits unused and unloved because I just can’t find a way to fit it into my social media regime.

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Thursday 3 December 2009

28 Cameras

How beautiful is this picture?

It's called 28 Camera Drawings and it's by Christine Berrie.

Click the pic for a better look.

You can even get your own limited edition copy for your home or office.

Click here to find out more.

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Future focus

In just four weeks it will be 2010.

The internet has long since shifted from being the information superhighway to an easily accessible tool on our mobile phone.

Prime time is no longer just evening TV. It also includes daytime internet use on popular media properties.

The advertising landscape is almost unrecognisable from when I first decided to toss in my career as a Weights & Measures Inspector and try my luck as a Copywriter.

So why oh why am I still hearing or reading the following terms on an almost daily basis?

Above the line

Mainstream campaign

Digital agency

Is it because people who use the term above the line think what they do is more important?

Is it because people who use the term mainstream don’t realise that what they consider the mainstream is now just one channel among many?

Is it because agencies that don’t get digital think it is a specialisation or is it because agencies who only do digital think it is a specialisation?

Regardless of the answers the question remains – As we approach 2010 why are terms that should have faded from use in our industry still being used?

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Wednesday 2 December 2009

Good but not that good

We sold a car on the weekend. It all ran pretty smoothly. But was it really such a good experience that we needed to fill in five questionnaires?

On brand or off?

I was involved in a very interesting discussion today about whether or not particular pieces of work in a creative review session were off brand.

Technically they were. But I argued that the question of whether or not they were off brand needed clarification.


Because an agency’s definition of on brand is often very different to the client definition.

And if you drill down further the definition will probably vary between suits and creatives at an agency. As well as between clients in marketing and the people working in the client legal department.

For a creative person the brand is communicated through so much more than just a bunch of mandatories attached to the back of the brief.

A creative believes that a brand is expressed through tone of voice, emotion, expression and relevance to the consumer.

Agency suits may also follow this belief but if pushed will also say that use of a designated font or stylistic device makes something on brand.

Clients tend to follow the same definition as agency suits but with a strong focus on fonts logo treatments etc.

When I began my career it wasn’t like this. Well not always.

It used to be that agencies, their creative people and clients were all pursuing a similar goal. To connect and communicate with the consumer.

So what’s changed and why is the definition of on brand so variable?

The legal department.

Their primary aim is to ensure that nobody can possibly take offence and to protect intellectual property.

This stifles creativity. It also stifles communication.

Body copy and headlines riddled with asterisks, registration marks and the ubiquitous TM is not conducive to communication or conversation.

But legal people demand it. Clients comply with it. And agency creatives have to give in to it or find ways to work around it.

Which is why a headline that I believe is on brand is deemed off brand.

Not because it’s actually off brand but because some guy whose expertise is law not marketing or communications says so.

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Tuesday 1 December 2009


Hat tip to Y2.

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