Friday, January 29, 2010

My mention in Campaign – one week on

Now the media furore has died down, the dust has settled and I’ve stopped talking loudly about myself, I thought it’d be worth picking over the remains of my big moment and see what we’ve learned.

On the whole, I can honestly say that being in Best of the Blogs hasn’t changed me.

In fact, the only really tangible difference you could point to would be the small addition to my morning get-pumped-up-for-the-day routine.

It still consists of the customary striding around my bathroom in just my pants slapping myself repeatedly whilst singing along to Craig David's seminal album, Born to do it.

But since my 'moment' I now allow myself a five-minute victory dance, where I hold last week’s Campaign aloft whilst vigorously fist-pumping into the mirror shouting “You da man!”

You may wonder why I'm making such a big fuss about all this.

After all, Campaign’s mention didn’t exactly overwhelm this site with new readers. In fact I reckon I could have got the same bump in readership stats by whispering the URL at a crowded bus stop.

I have, however, noticed a real difference in the way my colleagues regard me. Just take a look at my Victim-of-bullying-incidents stats.

Now it's fair to say that there's been no marked change in the number of Chinese burns and bogflushes since last week.

But just look at the way nipple tweaks plummeted. That’s a drop of 40% (although admittedly, much of this could be attributed to Steve ‘Clamp hands’ Aldridge being away pitching most of the week).

And of course, what these graphs don’t tell you is the non-bullying stats. The number of Cursory Nods Received from Colleagues rocketed up from 1 to 3!

So to sum up, you could say I’m something of a bigshot at Partners now. But I'm not going to let this new-found popularity go to my head. Instead I shall knuckle down and keep working hard (on the blog I mean). So the real beneficiary of my moment of fame is actually you.

And if that doesn't make you whoop and fist pump for a good few minutes on a Friday afternoon then there's clearly something wrong with you.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The secret to a successful relationship

I’ve commented on the bizarre nature of copywriter-art director relationships in the past here and here. And here.

So rather than come up with any fresh ideas, I thought I’d just rehash that old gag again.

This week we look at how to foster a healthy long-term relationship.

Most copywriter-art director relationships operate like a loveless marriage – poor communication, constantly looking for ways to undermine and humiliate the other, and a practically non-existent sex life.

There are however a few exceptions to the rule. Beautiful, loving relationships where each values and encourages the other and they both flourish in a beautiful garden of burgeoning creativity.

After a couple of painful break-ups I’ve been wondering what these couples have that we don’t? So I conducted a little research into these unnaturally amicable and productive relationships. The results were very revealing.

Almost 100% of teams surveyed chose to look at one another.

As you can see here, I always place my computer monitor in the centre of the desk, directly blocking my view of my AD. I figure that this way I’m not distracted from work. What’s more, I only have to look at the annoying top of his stupid ugly head.

But in every case of happy relationships, teams actually prefer to move their monitors to one side so they can see one another!

Take for example Jon and Rich here.

They’ve been working together since they met at Watford College back in 1938 and are as in love today as when they first met. Look at the eye contact there. It’s beautiful.

One team here at Partners even goes a step further and lunches together every Friday. Like a sweet old couple going out on date night.

I find this kind of behaviour baffling. I want to say “But what about when he does that thing when he sniffs his marker and stares into the middle distance instead of thinking of ideas? Or what about when he nods at a line you give him, then actually writes only about 80% of the words you said plus a couple of his own swapped in, all of them misspelt?”

The only logical answer is that in these functional relationships, the art director is simply not too annoying.

So, to conclude. If you want a healthy long term relationship, you have to find a not-too-annoying art director. And those, dear reader, are rarer than rocking horse doo-doo.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How to get a creative to do their job (the Ronan Keating way)

As we all know, persuading a creative to put bullet point to marker pad can involve all manner of cajoling and badgering. And frankly, saying things like “But isn’t this what you’re paid for?” just won’t cut it.

So as a gesture of goodwill towards all the suits I’ve made fun of on this blog, I’m giving you my TOP SECRET-super-classified-insider-tips on How to get a creative to do their job.

May I suggest you adopt what I’ve dubbed 'The Ronan Keating approach to account management'?

Now, the Boyzone star and Women's Institute pin-up may have the least sincere smile in pop and a voice so middle of the road it makes cat's eyes jealous. But beneath those twinkly Oirish eyes lurks a mind of fiendish cunning.

Quite simply, it’s all in how he phrases it.

He wrote the following about his wife: “You say it best when you say nothing at all”.

Think about it. He doesn’t say, “Shut up, I’m trying to watch the telly”.

Instead, he comes up with, “You say it best when you say nothing at all”. It's genius. The guy's an utter genius.

Now. Let’s apply that to what suits do.

You’re briefing something in. You want the team to put in that extra 10% (so that’s 12% then). What do you do?

Here are my top tips:

· Tell them how brilliant they are.

· Tell them another team couldn’t crack it, so you’re coming to them because they’ve got a reputation for always coming up with the goods.

· Tell them there’s a massive budget on it and it’s a really exciting opportunity – but could they also do some low-budget solutions, just to show a ‘range of ideas’?

· Give the job an exciting name like ‘Project breakthrough’ or ‘Awards job’.

These are almost guaranteed to give you the desired effect.

If, however, none of the above work, and you feel the situation warrants it, you can go for The slightly scary brooding Ronan approach.


The prospect of a couple of hours of 'insights' and 'brand essences' will, I promise, put the wind up any creative. Just watch them scuttle back to their desk more anxious to please than, well, a suit.

Ronan and I look forward to hearing how these tips have boosted productivity in YOUR creative department.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I am one today

I’d like to thank everyone that’s nurtured me through my first year of blogging.

Thank you goatee man at only dead fish, whose post on why you should blog fertilised the egg of my blogging ambition.

To Scamp, who delivered me, kicking and screaming, from the warm uterus of anonymity into the cold glare of a faintly interested readership.

To adlandsuit, grahamcreative and the many other blogging brothers and sisters who run around the garden of bloggoland with me, arguing about who is best and weeing in the sandpit of one another’s comments section. I owe you all a Chinese burn.

And most of all to you, the weirdo who lurks by the swings reading this. For the short-lived and pitiable gratification I get every time you boost my traffic stats.

I love you all XXX