Friday, November 30, 2012

What I’ve learned from freelancing #2, 3, 4, and 5

Welcome back to the second post in this gripping new series (told you I'd do more than one entry).

I’ve decided to stick a few in the same post as they’re not really interesting enough for one post each.

Here are some more things wot I’ve learned.

2. There is NOTHING WORSE than turning up at a place and realising you’ve forgotten your headphones.

3. Meeting twitter/bloggy friends in real life is nice.

Sometimes you can be working together for a bit before you even realise.

It’s like meeting a long lost brother who has lived in Australia all your life and then suddenly turns up one day on the desk next to you. Except obviously it’s nowhere near that good. But it’s still quite nice.

4. The goodbyes don't get any easier. Just as you’ve got the person next to you to make tea just the way you like it, you have to leave.

5. Timesheets are horrible wherever you go.

No matter where you work, timesheets are always a nightmare. No agency has figured out a simple way to do this.

In the agency of the future, set aboard a starship where concepts are beamed directly from digital layout pads into consumers’ minds, we’ll still spend Friday afternoons thumping a keyboard with frustration and trying to get hold of account people who stuck a three-year-old job number on the brief because they couldn’t be bothered to get the system to spit out a new one.

If your agency currently uses a simple system, enjoy it while it lasts. It will soon be updated with a bigger, more expensive and fantastically complicated one.

Considering what a small amount of data timesheet systems have to handle – putting hours against a certain job – we have designed some fantastically complicated ways of doing it.

So there. These are things wot I’ve learnt. What have you learned? Stick it in the comments innit.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Guess Whose Loos

Welcome to another exciting new series!


Guess Whose Loos is the exciting new industry–wide quiz that tests both your powers of deduction and industry knowledge.

Every few days I’ll feature new toilets, along with clues as to the agency it serves. (I’ll make some of them multi-choice so it’s not too difficult.)

You post your answer in the comments. Everyone who gets it right will be entered into a draw to WIN a signed RealMenWriteLongCopy toilet brush.

So here we go with our first loo. I’ve made this first one easy.

Note the industrial feel. It’s obviously not a new building and with that many stalls, it’s clearly not a small agency. Also, although it’s not really coming across from the picture, there’s an odour that makes me suspect someone’s had a curry.

Loo two is multiple choice.

This toilet is one of the big names and has lots of crazy stories of its glory days. Is it:
a: Saatchi & Saatchi
b: Wieden + Kennedy
c: Y&R

Over to you, loo-choosers!

Would you like your toilet to be featured in Guess Whose Loos? (Answer: Yes)

It’s great to finally have a use for all the photos of toilets I have on my phone. However I don’t have an infinite supply so if you’d like your agency toilet to be featured (which I know you would) then please send a high-quality image to dave[at]davemance[dot]com

I'm particularly looking for female contributors, as there is a slight gender bias here. Also, it'd be great to have contributors from overseas – let's make this thing go global people.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A couple of nice Christmas bits on my way to and from work yesterday

I know this campaign is still finding its feet a bit but I really like this execution. Because it is a truth. And truth is hard to find, particularly in the grubby little world of advertising.

And while we're on the subject of truth in ads, Marmite's love/hate campaign is the truthiest of them all.

That's right, it's an elf barfing into Santa's hat. Lovely stuff.

I feel like I should be upset that even Christmas lights are ads, though I'm not sure why.

The commercialisation-of-Christmas ship sailed a long time ago. And the Christmas lights over shops flogging people stuff they don't want or need at Christmas should be the last thing I'm worried about. I'm such a worrier.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What I’ve learned from freelancing #1. Time passes slower.

Welcome to this exciting new series!

As my regular reader will know, any series I start rarely makes it past the first entry. But I’ve a feeling this one could run and run.

Because, having spent two years freelancing, I’m full of wisdom. Backed up, in fact. I’m hoping this series will provide a much-needed wisdom suppository for me to clear myself out of all the nuggets and pearls that are clogging up my system.

My first little plop of insight is...

When you're a freelancer, times passes slower.

This is because our memory only logs the experiences that are different.

So if you go to work at the same place every day, sitting in the same chair and working on the same clients, time will seem to pass very quickly.

You’ll be drawing up scamps one day and suddenly realise your hand is horribly withered and you’re wearing incontinence pads.

On the other hand, if you work at a different place every few weeks, your brain has lots more experiences to remember. So time passes slower. Which means you live longer.

So there you have it. Freelancing is the secret of everlasting youth.

Obviously I have nothing to back this up. And the stress of worrying about work, looking for work and chasing payment means freelancers age twice as fast.

But still.

Friday, November 16, 2012

FREE Turn Up Late For Work Kit

Simply download this pic onto your phone and show it to your boss when you amble in at 10.

That’s right, a plastic bag has somehow shrink-wrapped itself around some poor soul's gear cassette. What are the chances of THAT happening!

(Apologies that the picture is a bit blurry. My hand was quivering with rage at the time of shooting.)

TIP: for added excuse authenticity, a nice touch is to get a bit of oil onto your hands. Just ask any cyclist.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Jon Stewart gleefully ripping into Fox over their election coverage

The best thing I've seen on that election thing that happened over there.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Working from home today

Dunno about you, but I write much better without trousers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Guy Fawkes night day!

 This is what folks in my home town will be getting up to.

This video conveys a little of the unique excitement of a drunk farmer running towards you with a flaming barrel on his shoulders.

The explosion at 23 seconds was not planned – not that a couple of people losing their hair seems to have affected the event in any way. Those lunatics will be burning one another again tonight, according to our fine traditions.

Meanwhile I shall be 200 miles away, safely tucked up with a cup of Ovaltine watching re-runs of The Golden Girls.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Where you sit matters

Trends will come and go. Agencies will rise and fall. Martin Sorrell’s jowls will become saggier and saggier. But this one indisputable truth will remain.

Where you sit matters.

Whether or not you're aware of it, colleagues judge your worth almost completely by where you're sat.

Next to the CD? This guy looks like a real go-getter, an ideas machine!

On the broken table next to the fire exit? Who’s the loser in the corner? No one’s gonna miss him when he’s gone.

Not only that. Your proximity to certain colleagues can have a big impact on your productivity.

Being around fun, smart, energetic people is stimulating. And the opposite is also true – sitting near designers can be extremely demotivating.

And of course more than all these, when it comes to seating plans, one factor eclipses all others in terms of importance: your proximity to the kitchen.

Twice I've left a job with great prospects at an agency I've loved, purely because I was too far away from the kettle.

It upset my whole balance. I’d have to plan cups of tea into my weeing routine just to save my legs.

I got so fed up with the trek at one place, I took to keeping my own personal kettle under the desk. But people got really funny when they noticed my steaming crotch.

Please can we address this?

Careers are built or destroyed and cups of tea are made and not made because of seating plans. And yet they are at the whim of a traffic person, or based on whatever involves the least work for the Office Services guy.

Let’s put our best people on this from now on.

And if I come to your place anytime soon, make sure you stick me near the kitchen, okay?