Thursday, April 30, 2009


October 2000. Sven-Goran Eriksson appointed England boss
Spring 2001. England suffers foot and mouth outbreak.

July 2007. Sven-Goran Eriksson returns to England as Man City boss
August 2007. England suffers foot and mouth outbreak

June 2008. Sven-Goran Eriksson appointed Mexico team boss

Sinister. Very sinister.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

London Underground employs humans?

At the risk of making a serious point, it’s amazing the difference you can make to a piece of communication by adding something that suggests it’s been written by an actual human being.
I normally frown upon smiley face icons but they’ve really moved it on here with the furrowed eyebrows and button nose. Not sure about the exclamation mark after '6 to 8 minutes between each train' though. Do they think it's funny?

Every agency should have a mounting league table

Tee hee

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The power of beard

From the day I discovered Kylie hadn’t in fact kept herself Especially for Jason and Michael Hutchence was in fact rubbing his grubby Aussie Rock hands up and down her unsullied body, I’ve learnt that not everything in the onscreen world is as it seems.
So when this blog mushroomed in popularity, I vowed not to deceive my loyal followers (I’m now into double figures) in any way. I must practise what I preach. So I grew a beard and began wearing a wrestler’s outfit to work.
This has turned out to be something of a boon both for me and those around me. Not so much the outfit, which chafes terribly, but the facial hair. Here are just some of the ways it’s profitable:
1. I can stroke my beard when coming up with concepts. This has led to a 30% increase in the quality of ideas. Also, when suits or Art Director ask me “Are you sure this line is right, it seems a bit shit?” I can stare into the middle distance stroking my chin for a few seconds before responding “Yes it is” with absolute certainty. And they’re powerless to disagree.
2. It saves my company money. A beard adds ten years onto me. So the agency gets a more senior writer, but for the same price.
3. It’s improved my home life too. I look more paternal in my baby’s eyes and wiser to my wife. Suddenly the same tired excuses for why her husband has turned out to be such a crushing disappointment are imbued with a maturity and reason beyond my tender years.
4. I look more like a criminal. When I walk in my corner shop, the atmosphere immediately turns sketchy. There’s an edginess in the bloke behind the counter. He knows to get my quarter of strawberry bonbons NOW or I may very well pull out a sawn-off shotgun from beneath my mac.
So if you’re struggling in any area of your life, the answer is simple.
By the way I think this is my favourite music video ever. It hits me on an emotional level in a way that, say, Glazer’s Rabbit in your headlight never quite managed.

Friday, April 17, 2009

An actual post about an actual bit of work

Carole and Helen, the creative team I get to gaze at dreamily all day through a gap in the bookshelves, have come up with this beauty for the NHS stop smoking campaign.
‘Stop smoking what?’ you may ask.
The reason for this acid-trip approach lies deep in the psyche of your average smoker. The challenge the guys were faced with is that smokers will discount people portrayed in ads (particularly ads from the NHS) by saying “that’s not me, you don’t know me, how dare you judge my life I hate you I’m going to smoke a cigarette”.
So the idea was, don’t show people.
The team originally presented animation as a route but the client said a big fat NO. So they came right back at them with surreal-crazy-shit-that’s-shot.
I think it’s one of those instances where a client comment improves things. After all, there’s a lot of animation out there at the moment, but how many other giant rubber gloves, teapots and penguins have you seen lately?
All the crazy shit is loosely related (and I mean loooooooooosely related) to the journey of someone quitting smoking. Penguins are a big family, which is about support. The lollipop lady is about someone helping you on your way. Brass bands convey a sense of bombastic triumph when you quit. And rubber gloves are, err… you know, what you put on when you’re doing the washing up. And not smoking.
It’s early days but it seems to be pulling like a train. Nice one girls. Whatever you’ve been smoking, it’s obviously working.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hettie Wainthropp Investigates!

The office is abuzz today with talk of a daring smash-and-grab raid on RealMenWriteLongCopy Towers over the weekend.
They took Art Director’s laptop, which, considering it was held together with string and ran on diesel, suggests we are not dealing with criminal masterminds. The great thing is, now and then I hear groans from the other side of the desk as he remembers another bit of work he failed to save to the server. When will he learn?
I’m still in the preliminary stages of my investigation but I think we can safely rule out intellectual theft, as they took a planner’s computer. My ‘book of ideas’ was also left completely untouched.
Look out for the 24-hour news ticker running at the bottom of the page, bringing you more on this story as it breaks.

New kid on the blog

Why in the name of the seven mad dogs of the sea would anyone want to be a suit?
It’s a question I’ve often asked colleagues and no one’s been able to give me a credible answer. Until, that is, the arrival of my new best friend Adland suit.
For a minute I almost believed him, too. Then I came to my senses and realised he was using those special suit-jedi mind tricks that suits use when convincing clients my work is good.
I suppose this post is part reciprocal-back-scratchingery. But even before he nominated me for blog of the month (harshly rejected by that rule-happy nazi with a goatee) I was genuinely delighted by just how good this blog is. Really good writing. You know, for a suit.
Hang tough, Adland suit

Monday, April 6, 2009

Why a lot of advertising people get murdered

In this industry we’re meant to be interested in everything. Which is stupid because most things aren’t interesting. By being interested in everything, you’re wasting valuable time on a lot of uninteresting things that could be spent on interesting things.
I must admit though, my curiosity was piqued today as I passed the stairs that lead into the bowels of RealMenWriteLongCopy Towers. I couldn't resist. And what a subterranean treasure trove I stumbled upon.

A caged room full of Tefal products and a plastic leopard.

The outfits from that funny tic-tacs football ad the WCRS chaps did.

A big open space of nothingness.

The place really gave me the willies actually. Every few yards, you have to go through a door that shuts behind you with a never-opening again-you’re-stuck-down-here-with-a-psycho-killer clunk. I wanted to call my mum so at least they’d know where to find the body but there was no reception down there.
That probably explains why murderers get a disproportionate amount of people from the advertising industry.
Murderering technique:
  • Hide somewhere ‘interesting’.
  • Wait for over-curious advertising person to wander in being ‘interested’.
  • Bludgeon advertising person to death.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Copywriters. An embarrassment to ourselves and you.

I tried to dress up a bit today for a client meeting. And everyone else in the team has dressed down in case they get attacked by the slavering packs of anarchists. And still, I look like their scruffy country cousin.
Writers are undoubtedly the worst dressed people in an agency. When you look at a team, you can usually tell which one’s the writer because they’ll look like they got dressed in the dark in a charity shop. This is because writers are consumed with the great questions of life and not interested in shallow stuff like wearing clothes that look good or go together.
Whereas the art director will be sporting a carefully considered outfit, having made full use of the colour wheel to identify complementary colours. They have often also used hair product to good effect. This is because all art directors are pathetic narcissists.
Let’s look at a single example and apply it across the board in order to prove my point beyond question.

Debonair dandy in a scarf.


On a similar note, I’ve found myself in the unfortunate position of wearing matching outfits with my Creative Director two days in a row now. Yesterday, checked shirts. Today, tank tops. It’s like sharing a wardrobe with your dad.