Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category


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


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I’ve recently been completely bowled over by quite an amazing piece of ‘on a shoe string’ work that has come from Leo Burnett Dubai. I’ve been harsh on the region in the past for a number of reasons but since following this campaign I’ve seen that great and fun ways of doing stuff can be born there. 

The Client: Nando’s Chicken

The Brief: Bring awareness to Nando’s Chicken Kuwait in a saturated fast food/restaurant market

The idea: Create a character called Fred who is literally ‘dying’ to get in as a Nando’s chicken  

Now I usually wouldn’t say that running around in a chicken suit is ground breaking work. However, what LB Dubai have done is have this character’s rant on his plight recorded and uploaded onto his blog: 


There are mobile phone sound bites you can download, they filmed a music video etc and it’s all about how this chicken Fred is being discriminated by being denied to become a Nando’s chicken. Again, it’s not the kind of stuff I would follow but if you watch the clips you’ll actually find yourself pissing with laughter. It looks like the guys at LB were given zero budget, have an awesome sense of humour and decided to make the first ever Adland version of Jackass. The Facebook group has 923 members as I write and most of the Fred stuff can be found there and I strongly suggest you check it out for a giggle: 


Is it effective, how do you measure it? Clearly something you’ll have to park when it comes to this campaign. I would say it’s less about looking at it with a critique hat on and more about looking at it and thinking wouldn’t that be a laugh to make.



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My 72 hours in Dubai came to an end and I landed at Heathrow feeling like I’d just woken up from a prolonged dream. A dream in which I’d taken pictures.

Tomatoes are pretty cool:


But if you eat too many, you gotta get to the throne, pronto (as I found out):


Supermarkets in Dubai have a ‘not suitable for Muslims’ section – which I thought was interesting:


But what lay behind this barrier? Nothing to really shout about I’m afraid:


Something I did love was the 3 meals a day I had – buffet style, here was breakfast on the final day:



Followed by a childhood favorite at the airport:


Which was more shopping mall than airport to be fair:


But I did manage to find something cool, although pretty much useless:


So that’s my stuff, I did pilfer something from the hotel – to send to Charlie and Doddsy:


It says body lotion gents, I’ll say no more 🙂






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 I’m quite late to comment on Marilyn Manson, he’s been around for years and everyone has mentioned that he’s a marketing genius but I quite fancied a brain dump on him. I’ve been watching his videos of late and using some of them as stimulus in certain briefings as they really capture the dark side of surrealism, which I’m, quite a fan of anyway.

Manson kicked off his concept of ‘shock’ around 1994/95 and has made quite a good effort at distributing it as a cultural idea which converges across a number of mediums – T shirts, music, music videos, live gigs, books,  interviews, films, documentaries, websites etc. What’s also great is that he gives credit to his content by using as many opportunities as he can to reveal he has intelligible reasoning and logic for it to exist, that and like it or not his look is quite cool. It therefore has the very makings of a successful brand – distribution channels and mediums along with a level of kudos. I guess what I’m trying to address is the use of convergence and transmedia strategies effectively to deliver a cultural idea into the heart of contemporary society. Some may argue that shock has always been there, Ozzy snorting ants is rock n roll story that’s used WOM to be told countless times. Sure. But in terms of a contemporary cultural movement and contemporary mediums that has been kicked off by a rock star I think Marilyn Manson proves quite a good case study. I guess the band brand of Marilyn Manson could therefore teach a few of the commercial brands a trick or two about getting into popular culture.

On a similar vein, I’ve noticed a few other ideas (using the word ideas to mean films, games, music) breaking out of their traditional platform. The franchise that is the Alien films looks to return Alien War to London in April 2008.


his was at one point the only film experience of its kind and saw 2 million visitors running and screaming through it between 1993 and 1996. Essentially bringing a very atmospheric film to life to be experienced – branded entertainment, branded content, convergence or transmedia? Probably all. Then I recently learnt that the Resident Evil games (which are known for their atmosphere and deep dark plot lines look to make the whole game experience a certain twist of reality by opening…..A Resident Evil House….but in Japan.


It’s only because I’m a geeky fan of the above (which usually have OTT fan bases) that I’ve started to notice them break out of their original launched platforms. It’s great for the business of content but also for taking a brand experience into a whole new dimension. Nintendo World, The Terminator Experience, Nike Land (which I would imagine could be fitness clubs) the possibilities are quite endless and can stretch as far as the imagination can.

It’ll be interesting to discuss other cultural ideas which have broken out of their original conception to become a much wider and involving entity if you know of any.


Anton xxx

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Shopping to live? 

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While having my morning fuel, I stumbled across this at Engadget, a press ad for Sony’s DSC-T2 camera – side by side with an ad for Apple’s previous generation iPod Nano.


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Human beings are both intrinsically tribal and hypocritical. What we criticize in others is often a reflection of flaws we see in our own characters that we choose to ignore. And this post is about that very subject.

The advertising community, like every other human community is essentially a collection of tribes. I could go into a monologue on the social history of humans, but the majority of you guys know more about it than me, so I’ll cut to the chase.

There is a tendency, particular now in the web 2.0 / social-media / digital world we live in to take the sword to ‘traditional advertising agencies’ – the companies built by people whose names adorn their logos and walls to this day. They don’t really get digital, they still think the 30 second spot is the zenith of communications, they try to push ads onto MySpace senselessly and still think they occupy the intellectual elite with their Oxbridge degrees and old boy meetups. They have become the enemy.

The hero of the piece, as some would like to tell is the the mobile startup, the perfectly differentiated company, staffed with radical free thinkers who don’t know or care about the boundaries and boxes that define traditional advertising. They are at the forefront of the push to make comms more organic and are altogether full of goodness.

So you have the good guys and the bad guys, locked in a titanic struggle. The traditionals are arrogant and closed-minded, while the new kids on the block are the exact opposite.

In painting this picture, a slice of the so called savior sect have turned into total assholes. Totally. They’ve become everything that they accuse the traditional advertising community of being. Arrogant, a closed group who laugh with disdain at everything the others do. ‘The traditionals don’t go to cool conferences, they wear jeans and blazers and they really really cannot do good work’. The saviors have become everything that they said they weren’t.

The purpose of this post isn’t to name names, I’ll leave that to the tabloids. Or even to say who’s right and who’s not, because the truth, as is always the case lies somewhere in between. What I’m trying to get at (while on the last train from London to Birmingham) is that advertising as a community – and a small community at that, is facing tough enough times as it is. We’re up against a formidable enemy: the limits of the human brain’s bandwidth – our inability to process more than a certain amount of messages. To slice ourselves up into little cliques and paint the others as the enemy is not really the best course of action. Bear in mind that a healthy, competitive rivalry is not what I’m talking about, it’s the acid-laden ‘we’re better than them’ sanctimonious bullshit that makes me (and I haven’t had a ‘proper’ agency job yet) think ‘do these people not listen to themselves talk?’. Both sides are guilty of it, but I find it ironic that each side claims supremacy but essentially is the same. They are both, in their own capacity trying to make their work better. Some (and please note I said some, not all) attitudes need a little readjustment.

The people who really get it, and they are out there in droves, the silent majority as it were, are able to articulate their differences in a rational and persuasive manner that makes it extremely hard not to respect their opinions (no matter what you think of them personally), because they have conviction in themselves but are gracious enough to realize that they don’t know it all. They are open to new thoughts and experiences – they take the cliche ‘a good idea can come from anywhere’, and really live it. Not just pay it lip service and move on.

There will always be intra and inter agency politics, that’s a human trait, to be tribal. And we will always see everything through the lens of our insecurites. Let’s remember that this industry is maybe one of the most stimulating because of it’s purpose and its people. To slice and dice it to put yourself on a pedestal at the expense of others is a childish, adolescent act of insecurity. And as someone who is still coming out of his childhood and adolescence, these aren’t traits that we need to propagate and use to identify ourselves with.

I don’t know at this point whether I’m getting across what I set out to, because I’m just writing what I’m thinking, without thinking about it. This is the best industry by far to work in, like Anton says it has the coolest and most varied people around. To turn it into a school popularity contest would be a shame, because that is not what advertising and ultimately the people who work in it are about. I wish I could think of a cool strapline to sum it all up, but I’m tired and this is probably the most coherency I can summon at this time. I hope it’s enough to say what I wanted to.

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