The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Did I Play A Small Part In Brexit?

One of my favourite bits of work is Blackcurrant Tango.

There’s many reasons for this …

It epitomised the brilliance of HHCL.

It ensured I could work for 10+ years.

I’m even in it [one of the idiots running down the hill]

But recently I watched it again, and while I previously loved it with all my heart, it now seemed to have more of a sinister edge thanks to the Brexit-ridden times we now live in.

To which I can only say, I’m sorry … it was only supposed to be a bit of fun about British pride and eccentricity. Little did I know 22+ years later, huge swathes of England, would literally go stark-raving-bloody-bonkers.

However on the bright side, I might be Nostradamus.

Happy Friday.



Erection By Post …

So I recently saw this ad in the tube.

To be fair, it caught my eye more than most tube ads but there’s something about it that just doesn’t feel right.

To be honest, I’m not really sure what it is.

Maybe it’s that they are advertising viagra on a transportation device that is long and hard?

OK, it’s not that.

Maybe it’s the fact they call it Viagra Connect?

It’s not that, but it doesn’t feel right either.

Oh I know, it’s the fact the company website is GetEddie.com

This bothers me for a bunch of reasons.

One of them is that asking a bloke called Eddie for erection help feels very, very dirty.

Alright, that might just be me, but it just feels very under the counter when the whole premise of the ad is that it’s not something to be shy or scared of.

But more than that, it’s the website that really makes me uncomfortable.

You see while I am sure GetEddie is meant to be a play on ‘Get Ready’, it also feels like it’s trying to imply ‘get head’, which just seems pathetic to the core.

However – and it’s a big however – I appreciate this view may say more about me than the people behind Eddie, because lets not forget the time I thought an Old Spice campaign we did at Wieden – called Smellcome to Manhood – was a play on words about teenage boys experiencing puberty, when in fant it was literally just a pun on the word ‘Welcome’.

The creative team avoided me like the plague after that, which is a shame, as it was one of my favorite Old Spice campaigns.



Credit Where Credit Is Due …

One of the things that has always bugged me about adland is the ad ‘credit list’.

Sometimes you’ll read about a one-off print ad that has a longer credit list than a bloody movie.

Seriously.

Look, I get the importance of having your name on things – this is an industry obsessed with that – but it kind of gets ridiculous when people are mentioned because they put the stamp on the invitation for the client launch.

That’s why I always loved that Mother credited everything as Mother.

Sure, you could claim it robbed those involved in the making of the work from getting the credit they deserved – but I can tell you for a fact, there’s no way those people would be anonymous for long.

Of course the worst is when people take credit for things they didn’t really do.

Or big themselves up to make it sound like they were instrumental in what was created.

With that, I want to tell you a story that I heard from my friend – and creative extroidinatire – Kash Sree.

A long time ago – in the 80’s to be precise – there was a phenomenal writer called Richard Cook.

The creative director he worked for was notorious for not giving credit to the people who deserved it and had left Richard’s name off numerous previous pieces of well received work.

One lunch, the creative director handed Richard an ad and asked him to write some copy for it before he got back.

Richard – in a demonstration of his talent – wrote the piece over his lunch break.

It’s the ad at the top of this post.

The ad went on to win countless awards.

In an award-obsessed industry, Richard wasn’t exactly surprised that the creative director yet again denied Richard had anything to do with the work. So Richard unleashed his weapon.

He simply stated if anyone needed proof that he was responsible for the ad, they should read the first letter of every paragraph of the copy.

I’ll save you the bother. It spelled out ‘Richard Cook wrote this’.

Genius.



We Won’t Make A Drama Out Of A Crisis …

So there have been some terrible floods in the North of England.

People, homes, businesses and communities have all been affected.

If there’s any good to come from it, it’s the reawakening of the community spirit as people pull together to help those around them.

This shouldn’t be a big thing, but it is and long may it continue.

Another thing that has been reawoken – if it ever really left – is the British trait of being able to see humour in the darkest of moments.

Below is a newspaper ad for a British water cracker company who have been badly affected because of the floods.

It’s charming, gentle, informative, inclusive and – because they make water crackers but have been affected by water – self-depreciating.

In other words, they’re talking like a human … rather than a faceless corporation.

It’s also great marketing, because not only does it keep them top of mind – which, if we’re being honest, is not really the sort of thing a water biscuit brand would ever be – it ensures people will probably buy boxes of the stuff the moment they are back on the shelves in an act of community support and solidarity.

So well done Carr’s, you’ve just reminded everyone that there is always a silver lining … even in the blackest of clouds.

I hope you and your community get back on your feet very, very soon.

And no, I can’t believe I’m being this positive either. Especially over a bloody water biscuit.



Remember When Ads Were Truthful, Simple & Bold?
July 29, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Audio Visual, Great Ads In History

Contrary to popular belief, I genuinely love the ad industry.

When it’s good, it is very, very good indeed.

However when it’s bad – and I have seen a lot of it recently at Cannes – it’s deceitful, shameful and a load of indulgent bollocks.

There has been a lot written about how Cannes may be ruining the ad industry but I would say the ad industry is doing a very good job of that themselves. Thank god there are a few agencies – of which I am very fortunate to be in one – that don’t subscribe to the scam strategy for success, though I wish the ones who did were named and shamed a bit more regularly because ultimately they are making our lives far more difficult than they should be.

Mind you, if a client chooses an agency on the awards they won through scam, then they deserve all they get.

But that’s not what I want to write about, I want to write about this:

Yes, it’s an old ad.

An old product ad.

An old product, print ad.

But look at it …

Look at the writing – not just the headline, which is British charm at it’s best – but the copy.

How they openly admit how expensive their product is [and don’t forget when this ad came out, 3 grand was probably a years wages for many] … but not because they want to claim it gives you ‘status’, but because it costs a lot to make – and own – some of the best sound products in the World.

It all combines to make an ad that communicates brilliant sound quality, production innovation and brand swagger without once spelling out – or should I say spoon feeding – sound quality, product innovation or brand swagger.

Better yet, they manage to do all that simply and succinctly and in a way that demands to be read, rather than ignored.

Yes, I know it’s from a past time, but when I compare it to many of the print ads – actually, scrap that, ads in general – that get put out today, I can’t help but feel we should be looking to the past for our standards rather than continue to run manically towards the edge of obsolescence. Or idiocy.

Though – to be honest – that statement could also apply to SONY as a company and marketing managers as a whole.