Life imitating art

May 6, 2014

Well, politics imitating art.

Kevin Spacey did it first

Julia Louis-Dreyfus did it again

Will Kerry Washington do it next year?


I bet he drinks Carling Black Label

April 28, 2014

We were talking about this ad at the office today – an oldie and a goodie from the UK. Its amazing to see the power of a great execution of a powerful brand idea, with evocative music.

I remember seeing the “behind the scenes” on a science show when I was younger and it was fascinating. The team trained the squirrel to move along the course over a series of weeks by placing the nuts at sequentially further spots throughout the course.

Music trends in advertising

April 24, 2014

Young female singers covering songs by older white men…and advertising agencies using them to make a strong emotional connection with “mom”.

Lilly Allen covers Keane’s “somewhere only we know” for John Lewis

Ellie Goulding covering Elton John’s “your song” (one of my favourite songs ever) for both John Lewis and Kraft Peanut Butter

Trend or observation?


If this is the future of social media…

April 23, 2014

If social media becomes bad photoshop with tenuous copywriting (aka “real time marketing”) and brands talking to other brands, I quit.


Radar 10am One Thing: April Fool’s!

April 6, 2014

The following is this week’s 10am One Thing that I wrote for the DDB blog.

Tuesday was April Fool’s Day or, as those of us who are immersed in digital culture call it, the worst day on the Internet. Every year it rolls around and every year we dread being fooled (and subsequently publicly shamed) by something is just too good to be true.

This year, AdWeek collected the best some of the pranks from brands that hit the internet which you can peruse at your pleasure below. Interestingly, Samsung and HTC, and Sam Adams and Stone both released the same pranks with tech-enabled gloves and helium-carbonated beer respectively.

But our favourite was from Bonobos, an apparel manufacturer who created TechStyle, a line of socially connected wearable tech clothing:

As with Real Time Marketing, we believe that for brands, participation does not automatically lead to relevance. Its a tough trick to get April Fool’s Day right, especially when everyone else is trying to do the same. Kudos to those who did get it right but Denny’s, like Oreo at the this year’s Super Bowl, may have done it best by simply not participating at all.

Parody videos: imitation is the highest form of flattery

March 16, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 1.16.58 PM


You may have seen the video where 20 strangers kiss for the first time.

You may have seen the “first hand-jobs” video.

You may have seen the 20 unattractive brits kiss for the first time.

You may have seen the 20 dogs sniff each other for the first time.

Colleagues used to strive for a viral video. Clients have started to ask for a viral video. Perhaps what we should be striving and asking for is a series of parody videos. More than YouTube views, that’s probably the surest sense of whether your video has cracked the mainstream consciousness and has some sort of impact or effect on the illusive zeitgeist.

Thinking Different, Again

March 6, 2014

A while back, I wrote about the high school football coach who never punts, who always goes for it on fourth down and who always onside-kicks. He had looked at the game in a different way and was exploiting inefficiencies and insights. This is a similar story of the Houston Rockets’s D-league (developmental) team which has all but eliminated the mid-range jump shot. They only shoot 3’s or go for close-to-the-hoop shots. They’ve recognised that all shots in basketball have a value but that that value is not recognised on the score board. As one of the players says “shooting 33 per cent of 3s is the equivalent of shooting 50 per cent of 2s”.

Hopefully we’ll see more of this sort of different thinking in all sports, particularly if the “b-team” concept takes off in the UK and Premier League teams (like Liverpool) can experiment with different concepts, players, formations and tactics before trying them on the  big stage.


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