Moving Day


We’ve moved!

Come see us at Adgrads

And have a great weekend.


Meme Star

Right, I’ve been tagged by Chris to share with you all eight random things about myself and seeing as distractions are welcome as I’m trying to slay my thesis, here we go:

  • The first movie I ever saw at the cinema was Ghostbusters 2.
  • I hate ketchup, it has no taste! Gimme some hot sauce any day.
  • I can’t eat egg yolks, I throw up every time, some childhood trauma I’m sure.
  • I’ve been offered a book deal, but I need to pick a nom de plume, so suggestions are welcome.
  • I learnt how to drive when I was 13, had my first crash at 14 and have been terrorizing road users ever since.
  • I sleep talk (often) and sleep walk (not so often). Not good ’cause all my secrets come out when I’m asleep.
  • I’m a black belt in Pasaryu Karate, which way way back was the same style The King learnt. Sadly no-one wants to get into fights with me anymore.
  • I’m quite surprised, and kinda happy you’ve got to the last point.

Sooo to keep this sucka rolling, I’m gonna tag:

Angus (cause it’ll piss him off)
Sir Charles
Doddsy (because he’s the man of mystery of the blogosphere)

Write your stuff and leave a comment so the trail lives on. Boom.

Goodbye Sweet Razor

Day 1: After a real shave from the barber:
It’s only just hitting me this morning that I’m not shaving for three months. Three months, no matter what. I have weddings to go to, graduation to attend (my mom will love me for this) and probably a bunch of other stuff where looking like a beast ain’t gonna help. But it’s kinda fun.
The dough has started trickling in, thanks to all who have donated so far, spread the word y’all.

The Mother of Finds


I’m not really into reviewing eateries, I find it quite pretentious and sad when ad folk do the one up manship on restaurants and some predictable fame seeker will say in total cliché form The Ivy. It’s fucking shit anyway. Having said that, I’m no greasy spoon man either, with vanity strong in my veins I like pretty people and presentation. But this all aside, I have to say I have stumbled onto what is the most modest yet awesome little find.  

Ladies and gentlemen let me introduce you to MotherMash. Out shopping in Carnaby Street last weekend I followed someone’s tip and Jesus this place is cute. It has innovation written all over it. Talk about taking the sad sack of British dishes – the sausage and mash and waving a culinary, brilliant service based and utilisation wand all over it.  

Firstly, the guy who runs this lush little eating place is great. As soon as you’re in his door he’s got eye contact, a smile and ‘what can I get you fella?’ all over his face. It’s the kind of service that seems homely and warm rather than snotty and posh. Then get this, you choose which kind of mash you want from a variety of like…I dunno…loads, then you choose your sausage and then your gravy, it’s like a tailored made meal of love. It goes without saying that it tastes fantastic, nothing but organic food tricks your taste buds into an even higher state of euphoria whilst you consume at a silly speed. It’s the kind of place and food that if it was snowing outside you’d feel like it was Christmas day. I can’t explain why, it just does, it has that ‘I’m happy I’m inside where it’s warm when the rain is smashing against the window’ feel about it.  

It’s a long shot this one, trying to link this to what Faris was saying about control, I’m wincing as I type and shoe horn the tenuous link but you do feel like you get to totally custom make your own sausage and mash. In a weird way it makes you feel like a bit of a connoisseur as you create the cheesy mash/lamb n mint sausage/red wine gravy combo. Maybe I’m being incredibly sad here or maybe it’s the way the menu was laid out that got me quite excited but the variety was something I haven’t seen before – dedicated to what I always felt was something I’d have to eat if I ever went to jail (that’s a joke, I’m from Newcastle so I lived on the stuff).  

Don’t get me started on the brand identity either – cute cards with a literature about the ‘humble spud’ and offers of external catering services all compliment this well rounded lovely idea. I want it to be everywhere so that the guy who owns it is rewarded for his genius invention and that you can all try it but at the same time I don’t want the wicked world of the ‘chain’ to ruin its impeccable charm.  

Really, if you’re around Oxford Street/Carnaby Street you must nip in and try it.  


Anton xx     


They say timing is everything. So it’s good that on the day Sir Charles chastises me for having my hair cut, I reveal my masterplan to not only grow it all back, but hopefully with the help of all y’all do something good in the process.

There’s been a lot of discussion on how effective social media is, whether it’s a feasable model for brands to begin to build business upon and what not. So I thought rather than talking about how it is or isn’t, I’d test it out in a goofy and thoroughly unscientific, but kinda cool way.

So, from 1st March to 1st June, I’ll be ceasing facial grooming operations in all it’s forms (so that means no haircuts and no shaves) all in the name of charity.  I’m going to be supporting War Child, and specifically their Iraq Appeal. You can find more information on War Child here.

Why War Child and Why Iraq? Well earlier this year I was getting some three way tweeting action going with Chris and Jason and the topic turned to the war in Iraq and the terrible human cost that we have all become used to hearing about. After you hear about 30 people being killed by a suicide bomber undertaking the ultimate act of cowardice in a crowded street/school/market week after week, you begin to forget that these are 30 people who have just been murdered. It becomes a jumble of statistics. And from a very early age, I haven’t been that big a fan of statistics. And regardless of how you feel about the war and the motives behind it I’m sure you’ll agree that the human cost is tragic.

I chose War Child because I think that the work they do with children is amazing, and I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose your parents, friends or loved ones in such a brutal conflict and have to attempt to piece together the rest of your life, so any charity that attempts to better a seemingly hopeless situation gets my vote and my dough.

When I say I’m only using social media, I mean it. There will be no ‘offline’ fundraising in the traditional sense. I will hand out the specially made Moo cards I’ve ordered this morning and answer any queries as to why I’m looking like Bigfoot’s human half-cousin by directing them to my fundraising page. But that’s it.

Twitter, blogs and Facebook are my main channels in the social media space and those are the ones that I’ll be using. I’ll have a clean shave this Saturday (being the 1st of March) and ride into beardness from then on. It would be cool if you’d talk about my little slice of insanity, just to get the word out and hopefully raise a little bit more cash, I’ve set an ambitious target of £1000 for myself, which over 3 months doesn’t actually seem that daunting, but let’s see.

You can give directly by going to my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/samismail or by sending your Paypal payment to samismail@yahoo.com. If you’re from the UK you can plunder the government of some of the taxes they’ve taken off you by choosing the Gift Aid option, it would kinda make us all like Robin Hood, taking from the Chancellor and giving to people less fortunate.

This might be the most serious blog post I’ve ever written, but if it makes people give a little bit of their hard earned cash to help those still suffering in Iraq, then I’m glad I did.

Thank you all an imperial ton for your support.



Like the sun will rise in the morning advertising has at last woken up to something that was said by myself and Sam, oh, some 4 years ago.



This was that the current working model of AD and CW as creative teams is a bit pony these days and that teams of a creative and a planner is a certain way to getting better solutions. Both are required to be seasoned and by that I don’t mean the old school ivory tower kind of creatives and I don’t mean the planners that will spend lots of time making sure everyone is aware of how considered they are. No sir.



The creatives I’m talking about are young enough to have grown up with digital being integral to how they see communication and old enough to be able to stand up and defend work in the face of a client that they are passionate about.



The planners…..well….are pretty much the same but where they come in isn’t to over complicate and confuse the beautiful mind that sits of opposite them but to make their life easier. It is their role to paint the picture of what’s going on in market, in sector, in segment and in target. This doesn’t mean massive charts and graphs, this means a chat. This means having a crazy wealth of knowledge on the topic that when asked by the creative it pours like Sangria in Magaluf.



This isn’t to say that the planner is the total and utter gimp of the creative. Far from it. They are a crucial part of the stimulus which gets to the idea. What I am saying is that we trade on creative ideas we don’t trade on bureaucracy, schmoozing and doing exactly what we are told. That leads us down the dark path of mediocrity which surprise surprise many large clumsy networks are in. It’s only a matter of time before these clumsy dinosaurs are exposed for their total lack of creativity and that no amount of regular lunches will save them from their inadequacies.



So in comes the dawn of a new shape of agency. It isn’t digital screaming how traditional has it all wrong and is so out of touch with its one way dialog. It isn’t a creative team locked away in an office with a closed door, waiting for someone to walk in so they can throw their one award at them from 1999 ‘pfft, don’t they know we’re THINKING’. It isn’t the standard start of TV when planning integration.



It is a meeting of two minds, both colourful, both commercial, both rebellious the only differing bit is that one prefers to be called a creative and one prefers to be called a planner. One has spent more time mocking up their ideas into visual manifestations and one has spent more time mocking up their ideas as evidenced stories.



This creative force will of course out manoeuvre any traditional setup. That and the old structure is fucking dull and limited. The problem though is that this model can’t be just ‘imposed’. Because it is quite free it can’t exist in the larger nertworks, they would just ruin its purity anyway with process. Nope, this needs to be the culture of a small agency, it needs to be integrated slowly because the importance of the two that make up the team is ridiculously crucial. You can’t just nip down to Watford and pick these people off the shelf, they need to be discovered having wanted to work like this, have already thought like this, have tried it out maybe.



So, there you go, another structure rant over, next will be about how you go about getting the ball rolling on it. I’ll wait until I’ve caught my breath before I start on that one.




p.s. This model was the topic of my dissertation (written June 2004) and that the structure of ad agencies needs to change. If you want a copy let me know and I’ll be happy to send it


Ok, this wont really make any sense or be of any interest unless like me you’ve been following the Leo Burnett work for Nando’s in Kuwait (two articles down).

Granted it sounds like an obscure one but it’s given me quite a few laughs along the way and I’ve grown some affection for this character ‘Fred’ that they’ve created (a chicken who has dedicated his life to becoming a Nando’s chicken).


Now, seeing as there is all this noise in the UK going on about how we treat chicken  chickens…..






……the most recent video uploaded on to the Fred blog was quite attention grabbing:



   I mean, they execute a brand character and then upload it…..that’s genius. Imagine if we started killing off these characters – first of all it would be very entertaining…but it’s also the most un-corporatey thing you could do. It goes against every single rule ever made about advertising……and that’s why this is great.     

I guess it’s therefore important to try and understand why I liked this Fred the Chicken campaign. The answer really is because it seemed nothing like advertising which has never been more true than in its latest upload. How much respect would McDonald’s get if they did a drive by on Ronald, it would be answering the calls of the people. The difference being we all hate Ronald where people actually grew affectionate towards this Fred character. So there you have it, probably the first ever execution of a brand character and probably the last. Maybe it’s a bunch of ad people having a laugh with friends and a camera or maybe it’s a very clever way of breaching a new way of approaching a run of the mill chicken restaurant? Whatever the thinking behind it, I thoroughly enjoyed it…..almost gutted Fred is dead.


I’ll quit babbling about it now, just that I saw it this morning and felt it was quite extreme and different, but in a good and novel way.

  Anton xxx