Well that was an interesting day…

May 29, 2009


Blimey. Slow news day, clearly. And good to see the picture caught me stuffing my face.

We’ll post an update shortly, once we’ve ironed it all out and had some rest. 

But overall, suffice to say it was difficult, but fun.

Watch this space…

May 23, 2009

On Thursday, I’m doing a ‘thing’. Basically as a result of being too busy at work something really interesting, quite exciting, a bit terrifying and something probably very stupid has been born.

There will be webcasting. And Paul Colman. But not in a Leslie Grantham way, I promise.

More to follow.

it’s only April — but we have a contender…

April 15, 2009

What better way to ease my way back into blogging after a mini-hiatus than with a really lazy post highlighting an *ahem* interesting spot from BBH for broadcasting *ahem* powerhouse ITV (an organisation who we know are awash with funds at the moment).

After getting over the crushing disappointment of realising this wasn’t a spot announcing Kes II (which would, clearly, be awesome) I set about analysing the spot in detail, poring over each frame to ensure I had squeezed every possible brand learning from the two-minute opus.

Or, I retweeted something my mate Simon said: struggling to find words for the TWO MINUTE brand ad BBH have made for ITV

As am I.

Instead, I’ll leave you with a tweet from Katy, who so astutely put it this morning: I’m thinking making decent programming, instead of an ad saying what great programming they have, would be more believable!

Enjoy. Don’t have nightmares.

dirty cash

March 24, 2009

Spotted on the desk of the boss today. No idea where he got it. But I’ve got a funny feeling its appearance it won’t help us hit our profit targets this year.


I wonder what brands can learn from Robert ‘utter cretin’ Mugabe’s approach to fiscal management and Zimbabwe’s resultant hyper-inflation problems?

the obstacles to superproductivity amongst high-performing professionals are usually very human

March 18, 2009

Last week I had the pleasure of spending three days in Finland with some of our Nokia clients and a few folks from fellow agency RG/A. After spending Wednesday night in Helsinki – via spending €6 on some mineral water, €12 on a salami sandwich and enjoying some reindeer for breakfast – we headed off from Nokia House to Vanajanlinna, a building that is officially (but maybe inaccurately) described as a castle (what constitutes a castle anyway?) located a couple of hours north of the capital.

Billed as a ‘team building’ event I was naturally cautious (in really rather British way), mainly as we had been forwarned that our facilitator  was Finnish philosopher Esa Saarinen, famed across the country for his regular TV appearances and noted “for his colourful style and personal approach”. (He lived up to his billing too, sporting an interesting leopard-skin print jacket and tie for the entire two-day event).

It quickly transpired that Esa’s modus operandi was basically to lecture solidly – with brief interludes of hugging and ‘power discussing’ – for not insignificant lengths of time, meandering around dramatic personal anecdotes to deliver points of view around positivity, systems intelligence, and collaboration. Not quite the snowmobiling and saunaing that I’d been expecting. And yet, against all odds, it was actually really rather good.

Lessons were learned, bonds were formed, beers were drunk and tears were shed (seriously – Esa’s a man not afraid to publicly air his emotions), but ultimately I came away with a real sense of positivity and feeling generally inspired about how we can change the world. Perhaps. And for a cynic like me, that’s pretty damn good going.

And just to prove it, here’s a pic of myself (right of picture), Esa and Richard Summers (fellow W+K planning type) living the positive one-team dream:


Mad. In a very good way.

The big question is: what can brands learn from it all?

the beauty of data

March 3, 2009

Last year, the New York Times opened up its API, allowing the great and the good (those that understand it, at least) to have a play with the vast quantities of data that was freed up. And play they have. I came across the below images from Canadian digital artist Jer Thorp recently that vividly demonstrate that – alongside the insight and implications – data visualisation can simply be a beautiful thing.


above: the top organizations and personalities for every year from 1985 to 2001. Connections between these people & organizations are indicated by lines


above: This is an abstract visualization of the occurrence of the term ‘organic’ in the New York Times between 1981 and 2009.
The roots are formed by the names of organizations that are associated with the individual articles.


above: This is a visualization of the frequency of the words ‘regulation’ and ‘innovation’ in New York Times articles since 1981. This is a timepiece graph and can be read like a clock – 1981 is at 12:01am and January 2009 is at midnight.

Fabulous. More (and full size images to read in detail) can be found here.

burn them at the stake

February 24, 2009

Augmented reality has been a buzz phrase for a while now. Not only does it sound cool, it is cool. The problem is that most of the main examples of the technology and its applications are limited to videoclips on vimeo and the like, which whilst cool, don’t necessarily generate the *wow* factor which this kind of technology should. And the other examples that you can actually play with (that I’ve seen at any rate) have felt clunky at best. So whilst reading about this kind of stuff is great, it’s not something you’re going to get the whole office down to your desk to look at.

This, on the other hand, is. GE have built a site using AR to showcase (and dramatise) their ‘smart grid technology’… and my oh my it’s fun.

Imagine the possibilities. It’s not perfect, but you kind of get the impression you’re quite literally playing with the future.

Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. And this kind of stuff, my friends, might just get someone burnt at the stake.

Go play.

this is football

February 24, 2009

I’ve never really posted much about the stuff that I’ve worked on. That’s not to say I’ve haven’t done any interesting stuff, or indeed any stuff that I’m proud of, but I’ve never really felt much of an urge to do so.

This, however, feels different.

I’m not going to bang on about the strategy or how we’ve deployed this campaign (if you’re interested you can buy me a beer sometime and we’ll chat – but you’ll need to buy Colman one too as he’s far more responsible for this than I am). I simply want to share some of the content with you.

The first piece is a clip that was captured during the shoot. Completely spontaneous, unprompted and, well, real, this shows that even England centre-forwards are human.

Next up, the full, final spot in all its 90″ glory.

Lovely, lovely stuff.

are friends electric (shavers)?

February 23, 2009

I suspect as we sail further into the heart of recessionary darkness we’ll see quite a bit of co-brand work from advertisers keen to maintain a market presence whilst pinching pennies. A ad shared is a cost halved. Or something.


So it wasn’t with too much surprise that I saw this unlikely tag-team on the tube this morning. And after I’d looked up what an epilator was it made even more sense. A nice, simple little piece of association, albeit a little feeble in it’s execution, but significantly more thought-through than the usual dross that passes for hair-removal communication (I’m looking at you, barry nine blades). They could do (and maybe they are) a lot more with this partnership. Although I’ve not seen it.

Having said that I’m hardly target market.


Spotted at Bank tube station today.

manhattan’s member masker

February 17, 2009

I’ve been waiting for the Watchmen movie for ages. An amazing book doesn’t always (usually?) equal an amazing film but I’m hoping beyond all hope that this one will change all that. 

The promotion of the flick has been meticulous, with extra content strands spinning off the main promotional thread to create a real sense of depth, texture and intrigue. It’ll make a corking case study (mental note: have a bash at pulling something together). But this… wtf? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: official promotional watchmen condoms. 

The Watchmen are society’s only protection. Apart from these bright blue prophylactics. Sigh. Can you see the creative leap they’ve made there?


Ah well. Yay for Dr Manhattan and his massive blue manhood!