Everything that I see, like and react to, listed. If you're inspired by anything or see something that should be on the site please email me and let me know.


josh rubin
urban spy
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Life in the Middle
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A great quote from Bill Bernbach that was pointed out to me by the famous Rob:

"Let us prove to the world that good taste, good art, and good writing can be good selling"

A proper shop

It doesn't look like it's changed in 50 years. Fantastic.


I've just read an interview with Cilla Snowball, Chairman of AMV BBDO, in which she claims that the biggest challenge facing business now is 'talent'. If this is the case what are AMV doing to attract the best talent? Offering huge graduate salaries, going round all the UK's universities to make sure people are aware, or still paying next to nothing for people who have to have a second income and have heard of AMV? Sadly it's the last option.

My cousin recently graduated from university with a good degree. He'd already had numerous work experience placements in agencies but was well aware of the salaries he'd have to expect and the incredibly competitive recruitment process. So instead of going into agency life he's going to work as a management consultant at Deloitte and earn more than a third more than he would have done at an agency.

Is it any wonder that advertising is failing to attract the best talent. The recruitment process is self selecting and as the IPA census always shows is made up of middle class, white people who can afford to start work earning a pittance. Management Consultancies on the other hand offer great salaries, job stability and world class training.

Yes people should really want to work in advertising and have a desire to succeed but by the same token you need to attract people that can choose between being a city lawyer, management consultant, accountant or advertiser.

What are the Cilla Snowballs of the world going to do about it?

Plej - You Promo

Great video from my favourite band, Plej (pronounced play apparently).

How to get ahead in advertising

Great diatribe on all that makes advertising wholesome from Richard E Grant in his pomp.


The cat loves fish but is loath to wet her feet

Great window in Selfridges on Oxford St.


I'd like to ask you all a favour. If you're from the UK and have 5 minutes to spare, I'd really appreciate it if you could fill in this questionnaire for a presentation I'm writing. Don't worry, the questionnaire is completely annonymous and just has a few questions on what you like doing.

Ads are Boring

Young creative team Ollie and Janson have their book up on Flickr. It includes some really good stuff like this campaign for smart. Really nice thinking.

You can view their book here.


google vs statcounter

I installed Google Analytics on Sunday night and thought I'd give it a go vs my old faithful Statcounter. Google's interface is really easy to use and much more pleasent than Statcounters. However, it appears to be giving me differnet results from Statcounter.

From this week's data:
On Monday Google said I had 32 visitors - Statcounter said 55

On Tuesday Google said I had 42 visitors - Statcounter said 68

On Wednesday Google said I had 50 visitors - Statcounter said 65

Finally on Thursday Google said I had 37 Visitors - Statcounter said 56

I'm loathe to disagree with Statcounter as I've been with them since the beginning and seen the site have less than ten views a day (they also say I have more visitors which is nice!). So what's the problem and does this afflict commercial site? Could I be paying more for my advertising on a site that uses a certain product to measure traffic vs another that uses a different analytics tool?

Very very strange.

Brasil Brasileiro

Tonight we saw Brasil Brasileiro at Sadlers Wells and I recommend to everyone that they go and see it before it finishes at the end of this week. The music is great, the dancing is spectacular and some of the capoeira is stunning.

Watching the movement of the dancers it seems pretty obvious why Brazillians are always so good at football. Pretty much every dance move incorporates a movement from the beautiful game. The men have such loose legs and they seem to throw feints, stepovers and dummys with ease, poise and elegance (not too many tautologies in that sentence!).

If you want to see some clips, and I highly recommend that you watch them, click here.


Tone of voice

I was hunting round for a good definition of tone of voice today when I remembered this great post from W+K London:

We don’t know who you are. So I guess that there is the first example of tone of voice, or lack of one. We have to guess from your email. So, assuming we’ve met on the street and you’re going to buy us a beer, forgive us for hesitating. We don’t know the first thing about you, except that you’re willing to invite strangers off the street for a drink. Why should we go with you? Your tone of voice might have convinced us. Without telling us who you are, we’re imagining, slightly scary, veering between demanding yet generous, maybe even on deadline for an advertising assignment. And you made a smiley face out of punctuation so Ben Everitt’s just left the room in disgust. Hmm.

Second thing we’ve learnt, these different types? Well, it's endless really. We’re here to communicate. And there are as many ways of saying things as there are things to say. Let's start with you. Imagine you’re a brand. Who are you? You’re speaking but no one's going to listen if they don’t know who you are. So in answer to your question, you can’t define the term ‘tone of voice’, you have to define yours. That means defining you- who are you, where have you come from, what are you about, what do you stand for? Then, you can say anything. Because it will be honest. If brands are companies and companies are humans, it's about speaking like one. This is basically why tone of voice is so important. It’s like an ad going, “Hey, kids, buy this, it's really cool” Kids are encouraged not to take things from strange adults. And rightly so. Or, a car salesman saying, “Buy my car!” Well he would, wouldn’t he? But if your best friend told you something he liked about the car that you didn’t know, you might get interested. So who is the car company, a bunch of guys like your friend or bunch of phoney car salesmen? Those people in the company surely work there because they like cars a little bit, maybe even a lot. That’s what you would tap into. And I guess that also means, when you ask about lots of different tones of voice, you can’t try them on like hats. If you’re an established bank it will sound strange if you start talking like a vodka brand. It's like those clear plastic bra straps…weirdly noticeable only because they’re trying so hard not to be.

That’s what we’ve seen here, sitting in on pitch meetings. These guys will spend the longest amount of time working out who the brand is before they try and say anything. It's pinned up on the wall, as soon as something feels right. If it doesn’t, it quickly gets pulled down. By the time it comes to writing ads they are all very clear on the tone of voice. And they also work very hard at making sure that tone of voice is unique. Inspiration comes from everywhere - a book, a song, an object, a quote. So while we’re enjoying the second round of these virtual beers (no offence, don’t think they’re going to catch on), there must be a million things you could tell us about you that we could relate to, or not, or at least persuade us to let you buy us another round. We like to laugh. Are you funny? Are you interesting? What do you do? Why are you interested in tone of voice? Can we have real beer?

Luke Whittaker

Luke Whittaker is a phenominally talented young man. As well as creating some stunning illustration, like the picture on the left, he is also a brilliantly talented digital designer and animator.

His work has included 'A Break in the Road' which showcased a great creative idea brought to life in flash; animating a Lemon Jelly video; and creating original work for the likes of MTV and Ms Dynamite.


Coke Zero

A whole platform of bad advertising.

:Update: does anyone think that the TV ads have been redubbed with UK accents?


Sainsbury's Tone of Voice

I saw this ad outside Sainsbury's in Camden on Sunday. It reads 'we need to update some technical stuff so we will be closing a little earlier on Wednesday'. Sounds like a completely different tone of voice for Sainsbury's to me (my girlfriend disagrees though).


What Sticks (not advertising)

A new book has just been released that argues that 37% of most advertising budgets are wasted. By analysing campaigns from the likes of Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, Kraft Foods and McDonalds they concluded that a huge percentage of advertising budgets are wasted. The book points to the fact that $85 billion worth of advertising is wasted every year.

On the plus side, the authors of What Sticks, Rex Briggs and Greg Stuart, concluded that it was possible to find out where money is being wasted and get more out of the 63% of budget that was performing well.

Stuart and Briggs argue that the reason for much of advertisings failure stems from a reluctance to define what success actually is at the outset of the campaign. However, another of the proposed answers requires a more rigorous assesments of what went wrong and the aportioning of blame which could well end in people losing their jobs.

Therefore the biggest barrier to change maybe those clients whose money is being wasted. Those responsible for poor advertising effectiveness have a vested interest in not following the guidence set out in order to keep their jobs intact.

A great day in Regents Park

They put on some great stuff in the Park. This time it was jazz - young and old alike relaxed to some smooth stuff.


Over on Talent Imitates, Genius Steals, Faris has a great post on the meaning of digital. He takes the new moving tube posters as an example of the whole world turning digital and comes to this conclusion:

"To me the Internet was never a just new medium - it was a new kind of medium that had the ability to deliver the content developed for any other channel and was interactive to boot.

And the internet changed the rules of the game. People aren't willing to accept interruption online like they are elsewhere. Digital consumers born into an internet age don't think and act like the passive massive.

So what happens when all channels become digital?"

More insightful stuff from Faris here.

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Style Will Save Us

I received an email today from the editor of a new magazine. I normally don't pay that much attention to press releases but this time they had taken the time to personalise the email so I, being a sucker for personalisation, read on (actually the real clincher was that they had an office address near to my flat):

SWSU is a brand new eco magazine. Unlike most eco magazines, SWSU focuses on saving the planet in the most stylish way possible. Set up by editor Virginia Rowe, SWSU has been designed to fill the void between traditional fashion publications and the serious issue of the environment. Virginia says:

“I adore luxury holidays, good design and fine clothes and certainly don’t adhere to the ‘bongos and birkies’ aesthetic, but at the same time I don’t want what I do or buy to be harmful to me, the people around me, or the environment. It’s definitely possible to have your cake and eat it!"

The magazine looks like a really good avenue for brands with a social conscience and it's a good read to boot - think Wallpaper but ecologically sound.

ps anyone that uses the word 'peachy' is ok with me.

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Not so super brands

The Sunday Times recently published a Superbrands supplement with votes from the public and also the Superbrands expert. Now having read both lists they seemed to have been compiled 10 years ago. From memory (the Sunday Times doesn't have a copy on its website) the top five brands were all around pre-internet. Now I'm not suggesting that the British public are wrong, but surely if these brands really were as strong as the British public believes then they'd put their money where their mouths are and purchase from them.

Anyway the reason I'm positng this is that John Grant has a brilliant post on his blog about this:

"According to the latest Interbrand survey Coca-Cola is the most valuable global brand.

That’s like doing a survey and coming out with George Bush as the most popular politician in the world.

Yes Coca-Cola used to be a powerful brand. So were Kodak, General Motors and McDonalds. Times change.

Meanwhile; in 2005 Pepsi revenues overtook Coca-Cola (and now far outstrip them at $37B vs $23B), Coke stock has been languishing (40% down since the mid 90s), chief executives and chief marketing officers have come and gone in fast succession, and numerous analysts, articles, books and commentators have wondered if they have what it takes to turn things around."

You can read the rest of the survey here.


Tank TV

Some lazy blogging coming up. I was sent this press release today and thought it was worth putting up here, however, I have taken the time to reword it:

Tank TV have created a film called To be Continued. Ten film makers have been asked to contribute 3 minute sections to a film but each section must tie in to the previous one like a game of chinese whispers.

More details here.