Tuesday, December 30, 2008

25 freelance copywriting tips from someone who's learnt the hard way

I remember buying The Copywriter's Handbook in Foyles on Tottenham Court Road in the mid nineties, then reading it sat on the grass in Soho Square, dreaming of being an advertising copywriter.

A few years later, I'd be writing in an agency whose offices looked out on that exact spot of grass.

Well, the reality of the job was a lot different to those dreams I had and my success wasn't all down to that book, but you have to respect its author, Bob Bly, who makes a very nice living from copywriting thank you very much - and in a pretty great location, too - just across the river from Manhattan.

And if you're interested in making a living from freelance copywriting in 2009, here are 25 tips to get you started. Why, as they say, learn from your own mistakes, when you can learn from somebody elses?

No. 3 I thought was particularly interesting.

1-Work with clients whom you genuinely like - or at least have
good personal chemistry with.


2-Your freelance copywriting business exists to serve your
clients. Without them, you'd starve.

3-If you want to have the final say on your copy without being
told what to say and how to write it, market your own line of
products, and make yourself your primary copywriting client.


4-Do not promise your copy will generate a specific result. It
is unethical and not true: no one can guarantee a particular
response rate.


5-Proofread every piece of copy before you send it to the
client. I recommending hiring a freelance proofreader; it is
difficult to proof your own copy well.


6-When can you raise your fees? When you have so much business
that you can afford to lose clients who are not willing to pay
the higher fees.


7-Use a standard PC with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and other
standard software packages. Don't write on oddball word
processors, use antiquated software, or send nonstandard file
formats that your clients can't open and read.


8-Number each page in your copy manuscript, so that if the pages
get separated, you can easily put them in order. Also, in a
discussion, it lets you and the client reference sections on
specific pages.


9-The easiest way to prevent yourself from getting ripped off by
deadbeats is to get half your fee in advance before you even
start the job.


10-Never work without a written contract that the client has
signed off on. Verbal go-aheads are not enough.


11-Trust your instincts. If you have a bad feeling about a
client or a project, turn it down. Your gut feelings are right
95% of the time.


12-Be humble, not arrogant. If you are a nice person and your
copy doesn't work, the client will give you another chance. But
if you are a jerk and your copy flops, you're out.


13-Find a peer or someone else whose judgment you trust. Give
the headline and lead of every promotion you write (the first
page or two will usually suffice) to that outside reader for a
second opinion. Never send out copy that at least one person
other than you, even your spouse, has read and commented on.


14-Use more charts and graphs in your copy to support your key
claims. Even when the reader doesn't really understand a chart
or graph, the fact that there IS a chart or graph helps convince
them that what you say must be true.


15-Keep up-to-date in your field - both in marketing as well as
the topics (e.g., health, investments) you write about.


16-The only way to become a better writer is to read and to
write. Read and write every day. Read magazines, newspapers, and
books during your leisure time.


17-Get up early and dive into your toughest copywriting
assignment first thing in the morning, without delay. Work until
you tire. In the afternoons, you can tackle less demanding tasks
like reading background material or answering e-mails.


18-Create a workspace that is comfortable, isolated, and quiet.
Barking dogs, ringing door bells, TV in the background, and
screaming kids all harm your productivity.


19-Give yourself small rewards throughout the day for
accomplishing various work-related tasks; e.g., going out to a
coffee shop for lunch instead of eating at your desk.


20-While negotiating the work agreement with your client, ask
for at least a week more than you need. As a corollary, never
accept jobs that must be started and finished overnight.


21-Don't take it personally when a client calls and says "I
don't like the copy." Instead say: "I want to make it as strong
as we can. Tell me your thoughts and suggestions."


22-Should you argue with changes your client suggests if you
think they are wrong? Only if you think they will depress
response. If the client does not change his mind, acquiesce
pleasantly and make the changes. But send a polite e-mail noting
your objection and keep a copy in the file.


23-Get adequate rest. If you are not rested after a night's
sleep, start going to bed an hour earlier. You need to be
mentally sharp to write copy, and you won't be if you're tired.


24-Read your copy aloud at a normal speaking pace. Doing so
will reveal awkward constructions that you would otherwise gloss
over when reading copy silently.


25 -- Write in a conversational manner, using words that your
prospects would use to help create rapport with the people
you're selling to.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How to feel sorry for a little sh*tbag



You want to help. But how do you empathise with her when she's shouting at you?

If only you heard something that broke your heart.

If I'm ever in a situation where a traumatised young 'un lets loose on me, I hope the good place my mind goes to is this video, and its underlying audio. For that reason, this online ad has the power to change behaviour. Brilliant.

BBH? Perhaps Simon V?

Monday, December 8, 2008

How Google ranks your site

Don't think much has changed since I last looked (roughly about six years ago.)

An article in the Guardian on Saturday said that meta keywords won't help your site acheive a higher ranking, unless you own a machine that lets you travel back in time to 1995.

Google ranks your page according to the number and quality of its links.

And so content is still king.

Still, I can't help thinking it's not this simple. How was I able to get top of Google for a two word search string after just one day? Wasn't it just because no-one else in the whole world was putting those two search words together?

I'm actually talking about one of this blog's first posts. And I know my posts were 'visible' because client's web watchers had picked up on them. But to get the top of Google like that? What's the story, there? Isn't it just a uniqueness thing? Or had loads of people linked to my post? I just don't believe it was the latter.

So there's one way of topping Google: just write about something no-one else is.

And that' perhaps the point Aida Edemariam finishes on in her article in Saturday's Guardian, The Most Popular Story in the World.

PS. And if you're writing headlines for the web, you may like to avoid your clever, poetic stuff even more than usual, because clever, poetic stuff isn't how people search.

Do companies bid for their competitors' brand names on Google Adwords?

Do Mercedes marketing folk bid for the word 'Porsche' on Google Adwords?

That's the question I asked Lopa, one of our account directors, last week.

In other words, do brands purposefully try to drive their competitors' traffic to their own sites? Lopa reckoned yes and it looks like it's true.

According to a story in Precision Marketing today, Interflora is sueing M&S to stop it bidding on the Google Adword: Inteflora.

Apparently, a spokesperson from M&S expressed their 'suprise' at Interflora's decision. I will express my glee when Interflora kicks M&S's arse.

Leave a comment below or grumble to yourself in your own head. See if I care.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Is there more than just intrigue in your headlines?

I've read you shouldn't use intrigue alone in your headline/idea; there should be a hint of a benefit, too, if you really want people to respond/buy/click.

Now I bet there are some award-winning ads out there that don't obey this rule. And if there was an award for the Best Spam I've Ever Received, the following email would win it hands down.

It's incredible. It's baffling. It's completelely intriguing, I really, really want to click the link. But am I going to? No.

Actually, there is a hint of a benefit. But sadly there's no proof, evidence, support. And obviously zero credibility, as the email landed in my spam folder.

But quite an offer, don't you think?

Subject: One wife is not enough

From: Palomarez Hennings


I have One wife and two mistresses... I can ffuck them all several times per day!
YOU CAN TOO: CLICK HERE

What an expression! This time, clare laughed yes. The walls
of a castle asunder when once admitted, with an uncle and
aunt and a family of cousins a crimson velvet bonnet, looped
up on one side he would not think of wants not yet in existence..

What do you think?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Papa's got a brand new (Bounty) bag



Our first child, Maggie, doesn't seem that impressed with her Bounty bags. But maybe she should be. Sadly, they weren't filled with Bounty bars. But they were filled with goodies for her and her mum and dad, nonetheless. Free goodies.



They were delivered to Thea's hospital bedside when Maggie was just two days old. I think you'd get them even if you had a natural birth then went home. Your midwife would bring them.

In our case, little Maggie had been in the Breech position and we didn't want to put her or Mum through the pain, possible distress and probable failure of trying to move Tummy Thompson upside down (the right way up.) So Thea had a c-section and was kept in hospital for three days after the birth, hence the immediate Bounty bags.

The cynical among you might think it's a fantastic way to hook you on to certain products from birth. Or, you might just think it's a nice little delivery to receive after your bundle of joy arrives.

I know Thea had already bought, or received from friends, almost every conceivable baby product, so I don't think we've even touched any of our creams or nappies or washing up liquids yet.

But all the goodies spread out on the floor do make a nice picture. Particularly as it gives me a great excuse to show you, dear copy fan, some pictures of the best work I'll ever create: my daughter Maggie.

The future is here



With all the old models smashed to smithereens and everyone wondering what the future of creative marketing holds, I'm sure you'll be glad to hear that you don't have to wait to find out; the future of advertising is already here.

In fact, the future has been around for a while, though perhaps not in this country.

Back in 1993, a young scallywag eager to break into the world of the advertising creative, I glimpsed what I knew to be the future in one of the world's most exciting megatropolises in the world. No, not New York or Tokyo, but Cairo, Egypt.

Not exactly where you'd expected to discover advertising's cutting edge. But the sheer genius, simplicity and selling power of what I saw has stayed with me ever since. Its implications for advertising creativity were too terrible for my young mind to contemplate at the time, and I've buried this memory for 15 years. But two ads on telly in the past week brought this epipheny flooding back. More of those ads in a bit.

They don't do 72 sheets in Cairo. They do posters much, much bigger. Imagine a white space the size of building filled not by a Nike sponsored athlete kicking or saving a giant football or a giant sized celebrity. No. What I saw was a photo of an ironing board the size of the Cairo museum, accompanied by a price tag.

That's it. No clever line. No fancy photography. A product. And a price (I'm assuming the information on where to find this ironing board at that price was the small Arabic print at the bottom of the ad.)

And what else do you really need to shift a product? How often do you buy anything without knowing the price? In fact, isn't the price one of the, if not the most important, detail?

I'd love to know the results of a study that measured how many UK ads back in 1993 featured prices, compared to how many UK ads feature prices now.

I'd say price tags were all the rage. And as ever, it's not what you do, it's the way that you do it. So come on, get creative with those price tags. And you don't have to just paste them on next to your product; so far they've been doinked and they've been pinged.

PINGED PRICE TAGS



DOINKED PRICE TAGS



What will you do with your price tags?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How to make your copy more interesting



PROBLEM: No-one reads.

SOLUTION: Make pretty pictures from words.

Wordle up!

Thanks George.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just stick 'I am' in front of it



I am 1990.

Need a title? A headline? An idea?

Just stick 'I am' in front of it.

I am everyone I've ever met (Orange)

I am Legend (the movie: 'I am Legend')

I am a PC (Microsoft)

I am an IAMS cat (IAMS cat food)

What started it? My money is on the film: 'I am Legend'.

So I'd have been well ahead of the loop if Sport England had bought the 'Go on, be a sport' campaign I put forward when Bluefrog pitched for the task of encouraging people to do more exercise in their everyday lives.

It featured posters of folk in everyday situations 'doing moves' that could be compared to actual sports. So a poster of someone running for the 266 bus would have been accompanied by the headline: 'I am the 100 metres.'

I am future (Pierre's Phuture Phantasy Club).

Friday, October 10, 2008

How strong is your opening sentence?



Unless your first sentence is bullet-proof, you're dead.

If it's wrong, people will moan. And if it's boring, they won't read any further.

I could go on about the only point of any sentence being to get people to read the next one.

There was no chance of me 'changing channels' when I read this line in an e-newsletter from White Lines. You can't really argue with the sentiment - as well as being funny, it's undeniable.

Sadly, you'd never get away with it writing commercial copy - more's the pity - brands just would never stand for it. It's journalism, really, but because it drives you to buy a product, it's a bit like advertising.

Here it is:

You wouldn't go bare-back riding in a crack house would you? No! So, equally, you'd be pretty crazy to go into the snowy wilderness without adequate protection. As a minimum, you'd be wise to tool-up with a transceiver, probe and shovel. They tend to be a hefty investment but the value FAR outweighs the cost. We've just discovered a pretty good deal on facewest.co.uk, where you can get 10% discount on backcountry safety gear, plus get an extra 10% in store credit. Not bad considering that kind of kit is hardly ever reduced.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Competition

Ideally, you won't have to use Google to work this out.

Ideally, you'll know.

Where does the following headline come from?

Many Of Them Are Trapped For Hours
In Darkness And Confusion.


It'll be what else you say apart from the answer that'll let me know whether you knew the answer or whether you looked it up.

Email me at hayesbeetee@aol.com and I'll put your name into a hat.

Prize draw sometime before Xmas. Prize TBC but something well good.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's all good




McCain's strap made me cringe when I first heard it. Oh look, a brand trying to be all down with the kids and that - by using a bit of slang that's been around forever.

But there's a lot to be said for such a positive message. And, like the potatoes that start to sprout behind your ear if you don't wash there, the campaign grows on you.

Plus a lot of good work has come out of it, crafted by some talented hands at Trev & Co. If you don't believe me, sign up for their newsletter (McCain's, not Trev & Co.'s.) Anyone remember the potatoe parade? It was a lovely viral to send someone. OK so McCain's didn't used to have a very good image. But the current advertising will change that. Not sure if it's just the ads that have altered or the products themselves that have become healthier. Either way, it's all good.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Put your feet up, listen to some music, have a read

Stressed out by the global finacial meltdown? Relax.

Click the following video and listen to the song as you read a story that appeared in the Guardian on Saturday.

I was reading it when this tune came on the radio (Adam and Jo's Saturday morning show - hilarious if you're ever up in time) and it seemed so apt.

I couldn't help thinking of city boys, traders and government regulators who let them play every time I heard the chorus. It was just such a beautiful morning. The sun was pouring in. I was relaxing at home after a hard week at work. And everything seemed to make sense. So I want to share.

Sing along with me, now: 'All I wanna do is (bang, bang, bang, bang, re-load, kerching) take your money'



This week's financial crisis marks the end of an epoch
Only rarely is there a palpable public mood swing in Britain; the Winter of Discontent in 1978-9 was one; this is another

Larry Elliot, economics editor, the Guardian

This was the week the world changed. It started with the US authorities trying to rescue Lehman Brothers. It ended with the US taxpayer preparing to pick up the tab for the mistakes of Wall Street's elite. It started with the prime minister sipping cocktails with financiers in Canary Wharf.

It ended with the government slapping a ban on short-selling and Gordon Brown pledging to clean up the City. Britain's biggest lender was rescued and the Chinese government lined up to take a 49% stake in Morgan Stanley, one of the last US investment banks left after a week of carnage. Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve and Hank Paulson, the Goldman Sachs tycoon who became US Treasury secretary, have done more for socialism in the past seven days than anybody since Marx and Engels.

Over and above the extraordinary individual events, there was the capitulation of the prevailing economic model. History will show that the great experiment with financial deregulation lasted from the first post-war oil shock in 1973 to the third oil shock in 2008.

Between those years the constraints on capital that were imposed after the Great Depression were whittled away, leaving a world of easy credit, complex financial instruments, stratospheric salaries and supine regulators. Like a spoiled child, what big finance wanted big finance got. This week saw the arrival on the scene of Supernanny; big finance now faces a long spell on the naughty step.

The revenge of Middle Britain

The changed mood is evident from the media backlash against hedge funds and short-sellers. One headline this week screamed: "Don't let the spivs destroy Britain". It appeared not in the Socialist Worker but in the Daily Express. For Middle Britain, the traders who bragged about their £1,000 bottles of Krug have now become as loathed as the bolshie shop stewards of the 1970s. Only rarely is there a palpable public mood swing in Britain; the Winter of Discontent in 1978-9 was one; this is another.

Brown caught that mood. Having cosied up to the City for more than a decade, the prime minister has belatedly rediscovered his party's social democratic roots. Labour, it seems, no longer believes that the market is king. It no longer assumes that the "masters of the universe" have all the answers. For the first time in living memory it has ceased cringing and sent out the message that finance should be the servant of the people and not vice versa. Let's not get carried away. The new spirit of interventionism remains cautious and cramped, and it was forced on the government by events. But the small print of the Lloyds TSB merger with HBOS included, at the government's insistence, a commitment to helping first-time buyers get access to the mortgage ladder and to safeguarding jobs in Scotland. Such meddling with commercial decisions was off limits until Tuesday this week.

There is no need for caution. The financial system is broken and it was significant today that markets rallied after the smack of firm government. Many of the more thoughtful people working in the markets know that deregulation has led to anarchy not freedom, and that boundaries need to be set. It remains to be seen, however, whether the plan by the US authorities to buy-up all the toxic mortgage-backed derivatives at a knock-down price will have the desired results - an improvement in bank balance sheets, the restoration of market confidence and the resumption of more normal patterns of lending.

As far Paulson and Bernanke are concerned, it is worth a try. Culturally, America is fixated by memories of the Great Depression and when, by Thursday night, it appeared that Goldman Sachs could itself fall victim to the market turmoil, the US treasury and the Fed were starting to conjure up lurid images of dole queues and soup kitchens. The emergency action to shore up the financial system was necessary, perhaps inevitable, but the reality is that it won't save either the US or the UK from recession. What's at stake is just how deep and long those downturns will be. In the meantime, the shift in the economic balance of power leaves the US at the mercy of China's willingness to keep financing its debts.

So how to mark the end of an epoch? In 1976, Jim Callaghan was the undertaker for the post-war social democratic order when he said: "We used to think that you could spend your way out of a recession and increase employment by cutting taxes and boosting government spending. I tell you in all candour that option no longer exists." On Tuesday, the prime minister should stand up and say: "We used to think you could borrow your way out of a recession and increase employment by increasing debt and setting the City free. I tell you in all candour that option no longer exists". It would bring the house down.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Uncle Rik's new Levis ad

I haven't seen this on telly, yet. My sister sent me and my folks the link. Her boyfriend, Rik is an AD at BBH and this Levis ad is the latest from him and his partner, Jon.

What's interesting is that when I tried to watch it the first time, it was slow to load - and as a result I listened to it first almost line by line. This meant I had time to wonder what was coming up, which I worked out. A hallmark of a good idea, surely.

I only wish I had heard one of her lines a bit better - it was slightly muffled. And the final shot with the logo and strapline seemed a bit too superfast - but that just could have been the editing on YouTube.

Rik marries my sister, Cathy, in September. Just in time to be Uncle Rik to his neice, who's due in November. Enough Thompson family gossip. Here's my future brother-in-law's latest Levis ad:

Live unbuttoned

Monday, August 4, 2008

When was the last time the brand you're working on threw up a good story to tell?




Never, huh? Well, keep trying. You never know what might crop up.

In the meantime, enjoy two stories on, um, stories.

The first is a listing I came across on ebay, which illustrates that sometimes, there really is such a thing as 'too much information.'

The second is a bit more intellectual:a Scientific American article entitled 'The secrets of storytelling: why we love a good yarn.'

Enjoy and don't forget to leave your thoughts if you check out the links.

Thanks.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On the ride to work this morning



I could see it was an enormous fire as I rode towards Shepherds Bush along Goldhawk Road.

As I got closer, I could tell the smoke was coming from Shepherds Bush Road. I was afraid it was the art deco block of flats opposite Five Star car wash (not owned by the pop group.)

As I turned left onto the one way system, I looked right over the heads of hundreds of spectators to see the church beyond the flats in flames.

As I cycled along the north end of the green, I smelled the smoke. I got an idea of what it would have been like to be in the flats next door - terrifying.

How's your smoke alarm? Have you checked the batteries recently?

In other cycling related news, I berated a driver for pootling along at 2mph without indicating. Was he going left? Right? As he was going so slowly, his sudden moves could have been dangerous. Hence, my 'word'.

He beeped me once I was around 10m past him.

The sun was shining and I was in plenty of time - so I went back for a chat. He was defensive at first but by the time I'd finished, he apologised. This is a first. Huge headline: DRIVER APOLOGISES.

This is a real breakthrough. Dialogue is replacing shouting 'C*NT!' And it's working.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Is this headline even necessary?



Reading and writing are fundamental and essential in business. But sometimes, pictures work best.

According to Dan Roam, author of The back of a Napkin: Solving problems and selling ideas with pictures, visuals can convey more specific and memorable information than words.

Pictures of complex concepts can 'stick' better than bullet lists.

Pictures can communicate many ideas simultaneously and immediately.

And they can transcend language barriers.

Amen to that. I can go home and watch telly.

Before I go, I just want to point you in the direction of a presentation by David McCandless, ex UK Doom Champion, at this year's Under The Influence, hosted by Iris, called 'A picture and a short line.'

Interesting, because he supports this idea that pictures/graphs help us understand complex ideas in an instant. As George Nimeh (aka I-boy), points out, it starts off pretty annoying. But stick with it and you might get something out of it. Might get something out of it? Christ, not much of a recommendation, is it? What do you expect? It's ten o'clock at night and Big Brother's on. Seeya.


David McCandless - The Dip Inn from iris Under the Influence 2008 on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Piss on me



I've got news for you. Flies can't speak.

More news. Even if they could, they probably wouldn't say 'piss on me' (would you? Actually, don't answer that.)

But apparently that's what men do when faced with pictures on flies on urinals. They aim for them.

Put the fly in the right place and you can reduce spillage by 80%. Could you achieve these results with a sign that says 'please don't piss on the floor?' Not if my experience at my last agency is anything to go on. It didn't help that the urinal was a tiny, space-saving design that actively directed more liquid on the floor than went down the drain. But I digress.

The urinal fly is a perfect example of a 'nudge' - a small feature of the environment that nudges people in a useful way'

Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness is written by Richard Taler, professor of behavioral science and economics at the University of Chicago and Cass Sunstein, professor of jurisprudence at its law school.

And it's just about the most interesting thing I've heard about in a long time.

If you've ever been persuaded to do something by someone else, tried to persuade someone either in real life or in an ad, you'll enjoy nudge's central idea: that it is better to gently nudge people to change their behaviour than FORCE THEM.

Read more here

Buy on Amazon here

And if you haven't already got it, buy this at the same time

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Back to the dark ages

I spoke to a Head of Marketing the other day to try and get a better steer on a brief.

We've been working our arses off since the beginning on this one.

With only a few days to play with, we got around 20 people from about five different departments to buy into our campaign idea.

Only to see our exact words appear on one of our client's major competitor's website and billboards. Our global campaign idea was their global campaign idea.

The fact that we'd done it much better and involved the reader far more didn't matter. The idea was out there and we had to be original.

So we developed some more work. Only for new global brand guidelines to appear half way through.

Then suddenly we needed three press ads. We got two out and the third needed this phone call with the head of marketing because she'd had some feedback from a focus group.

Basically, they hadn't liked what we'd done - always hard when you've been given no brief in the first place. Anyway I thought I'd share this verbal re-brief with you.

We need a clever headline. We need a really colourful, clever image. Some of the messages were really thought-provoking but we need more clever visuals. And the strap lines (headlines) were really basic and straightforward.

Basically, we need to say who we are, what we do and why we do it so much better than anyone else.

The trouble is we're talking to so many people, we just want a really, really generic ad.

'How about the ad I wanted to recommend?' I ask. The one that focussed on what we know from research is one of the number one problems/concerns of our target audience.

Oh that things been tackled by so many other people.

We need something bold. Something provocative.

I hit her with an idea I'd been keeping back that was bold and provocative.

She starts to stutter.

Part of the problem is lack of communication. Another part of the problem is that I'm not CD and probably appear a bit too 'hard line'. But some of the problem is that here is a head of marketing who is willing to leave us with no USP, no proposition, no point of differentiation for her brand, and is also willing to say she'd like a clever headline and (one of my own least favorite brief instructions)a really general message.

So what should you told when you're asked for a 'generic ad' by a very senior client?

I said 'no' but I'm having to do it anyway (what choice do I have?)

What would you do?

Do we need Planners?

Should accounts people have to write the brief?

Are you allowed to say 'no' to a client?

Share your experiences.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I know you're going to dig this





I think you're going to want this for your iTunes/iPod...

...straight from the Jaguar's mouth:


-----Original Message-----
From: Jag Ckillz
Sent: Wed, 18 Jun 2008 10:59
Subject: JAGUAR SKILLS X CHRIS MOYLES TV THEME MIX


Hey ninja!

Did a mix for the Chris Moyles show this morning - I mixed a whole bunch of old UK TV theme's in a Hip-Hop styleee.....quite funny.....check it out!

Jaguar Skills x Chris Moyles Tv Theme Minimix Tracklisting:

Thames Television Intro
Knight Rider
Grange Hill
Rainbow
Newsround
The Flumps
Terry & June
Crossroads
Name That Tune
Different Strokes
Are You Being Served
Grandstand
Minder
Chegger's Plays Pop
Eastenders
Jaguar Skills Outro

Check it out here.....

HoooOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Jaguar Skills TV Theme mix for Chris Moyles

Friday, June 13, 2008

Has Britain really got talent?

Or do most people just not recognise it when they see it? This kid won Britain's Got Talent, 2008.



But he just copied an old ad(poorly):



Which was danced by someone who is actually extremely talented, David Elsewhere:



But is there a new King?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

F*ck me, some shit old ads get made, don't they?

Expect a review here soon of the very worst.

I can't bear to talk about them too much right now but three stick out - and I saw them all in one ad break.

OK, well not third one, actually. I haven't dived for the remote to mute the sound while I make sure I don't look directly at it on screen for weeks. It's so crap, maybe they've pulled it.

It's the one for chewing gum where people get closer. Abysmal.

Another stinker is for Talk Talk. 1000s of people join them everyday, apparently. Isn't it time you joined?

Why? Because people join hands to form people made from people holding hands who, like, talk with moving mouths and stuff?

The third is the TV ad where a woman raps/sings and ryhmes the word 'booty' with something else. Do you know the one? It makes me want to slit my wrists. Then pour salt over the wounds just before I step out in front of a bus.

Why/how do these get made? I don't know. But I'm sure of one thing: they're much more fun to talk about than the 'good' ads, which are so rare, you get bored waiting for them.

Bring on the toot.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What goes on in that bowl?



Great big logs, for a start.

Then there's the chocolate stars and the brown moons.

Talk about double entendres.

Which bowl are they talking about for chrissakes?

If you don't believe me, take a look at this truly brilliant bit of work yourself.

Great big crescent shaped turds - mm, delicious. Coco Plops, anyone?

The new Coco Pops Moons and Stars TV ad

Monday, May 19, 2008

The bandwagon headline bandwagon

Someone published a post recently and mentioned a 'bandwagon' headine for a Prius poster.

Hmm, well I'm not jumping on the bandwagon.

I wrote this in January.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I'm the man who



Got Custom PC magazine to change their newsletter subject lines from 'Custom PC Newsletter'

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Can you see what it is yet?

I met Juan Cabral last night




On the South Bank at a table and chairs outside.

He was quite old and of African or black Brazilian appearance (maybe an older version of the top left picture in the poster above.)

And a white Nehru shirt was draped over his portly stomach.

One of his young planners from Fallon joined us. He wore glasses and hunched over the table, expressionless. He never made eye contact. I assumed he had Autism or Aspergers.

Juan Cabral was aggressive and rude. The whole meeting was rather unpleasant.

Then, suddenly I found myself scrabbling around with little scraps and stips of paper, trying to think of 'creative' ways I could leave Juan Cabral my email address.

Imagine my relief when I woke up and realised it had all been a dream. Nightmare.

Friday, May 9, 2008

If it's all on the database...





..why on earth do they have to spend hundreds of thousands on TV advertising?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Would everyone just calm down?

If you want good work, you're just going to have to wait.

I'm busy dreaming of a time when we had time.

(Actually, I was never even around 'then' but I've read about it in books and that. And seen it on TV. Creatives driving Ferraris. 4 hour boozy lunches. Bring them back.)

I don't know about you but I get to a certain workload and my idea sprites, goblins and muses stop coming out to play.

MUST. HAVE. FUN.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bring on 3-D thinking



Great article in Precison Marketing today:

Response rates to direct mail are plummeting. Everyone with Sky+ is fast forwarding through the ads. No-one under 20 watches TV at all, ever. People don’t even notice that newspapers carry ads any more, and posters have become mysteriously invisible to everyone but poster contractors and ad agencies.

Yes, as we we’ve all been saying the marketing landscape is changing. We’re all moving from push to pull, opting in, blah blah blah. You’ve read the Long Tail, and The Cluetrain Manifesto, or at least the first two chapters.

And the word of the year is engagement. I think I’ve heard it used more times in the last few days than Elizabeth Taylor’s close family ever did in her entire lifetime. Love or loathe the terminology, it’s true that we’re now in a world where we have to produce marketing that people actually want. It has to be entertaining, informative or helpful to get anywhere in this changing world.

This year’s PM Awards reflect this. The overall winner was an online idea, and there were less straight direct mail entries – but the winners all demonstrated ideas that capture the imagination. The great Bob Monkhouse prostate cancer campaign. A lovely neoprene postcard about surfing in Wales. All great because they leap out of their medium and, yes, engage you.

Of course, the truth of the matter is that ‘engagement’ doesn’t mean ditching the old media – but nowadays, it often means combining them in an interesting way. Then there’s this year’s overall winner, the Argos Big Jar. A great idea. Nearly half a million hits later, the campaign has demonstrated how genuine 3D thinking can make a difference.

Nowadays, the beauty of our business is that we’re needing to think outside the box, beyond execution into big ideas. It’s a bit like art in the old days, it always used to happen within a frame. That’s how Brian Sewell still wants it. But try telling that to Damian Hirst.

John Townshend, creative partner, Rapier

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Have you ever had this problem with a creative brief?




It doesn't tick.

It won't excite sniffer dogs.

And it'll pass through an airport scanning machine without attracting attention.

But that doesn't mean there isn't timebomb in the creative brief, just waiting to explode.

That's because it comes with a 'suggestion' or 'prescription' of what the creative idea should be. No pressure, mind.

It happened to me recently and it's not over yet so I can't reveal all the details. But I was wondering: has it ever happened to you? Come on, don't be shy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Under the Influence



Last Thursday afternoon, I bunked off work and headed for Borough Market and its boozers.

Here, across five pubs, Agency Iris and magazine Contagious hosted 'Under the Influence', a well oiled discussion of where the industry is headed next.

So I was happy to find the registration table where it was supposed to be. And gave my name, Hayes, to sign in. 'No. First names, please', said the girl with the laptop. 'That IS my first name', I said. 'Oh', she said 'My name's Lydia, which is quite unusual' 'Yes', I said, 'not bad', before heading off to my first pub, the Runaway Tongue.



Shaun McIlrath (2-3pm)
I managed to get one metre inside the door to hear and see ex VCCP and Heresy cd (now executive cd at iris) talk about what we can really do to help consumers.

It was interesting for me to hear about stuff I've been thinking about for the past year. Stuff like 'is this advertising I'm spending my life on actually a creative solution to the problem?' and 'wouldn't this money be better spent somewhere else?'

For example, he explained how they took the launch ad budget for Ocado and turned it into five £10 vouchers for every Ocado customer.

And it reminded me of a solution I pitched for a D&AD workshop brief for As Nature Intended, the health food shop, where we said take the print and poster budget and spend it on a mobile fruit and veg stall to do the rounds in local areas, offering free samples.

So it was good to hear that truly innovative solutions are out there.

I missed out on the chance to ask Shaun if they couldn't have done SOME advertising for Ocado, since the only thing I've ever known them for is blocking up roads.

If I'd known about their vouchers or other little rewards, I might have given them a go. Perhaps it was just a loyalty thing.

Break

Time for a pint of Peroni and to barge myself to the front, where I suddenly found myself in amongst the Iris crew.

So I got chatting to David, a new Iris creative group head from Amsterdam and another Iris chap. We giggled a bit when the Fallon website was brought up on screen, so that someone could call them to find out where their Chairman had gone. Oh here he is now, only a few minutes late.



Laurence Green (3-4pm)
Not quite the quiet chat and a pint Larry had been told it would be (180 had already pre-registered for this spot the day before), but he got over the shock to tell us stories of Sony 'balls' and cadbury's 'gorilla.'

One of the most interesting things for me was that Larry explained how Sony knocked back 'balls' four times before it was accepted (by the way, Prudential also rejected the name 'Egg' three times before it went ahead.)

Both stories mean this: if you really believe in something, you may have to fight for it.

Sony rejected 'balls' first on cost, then on something else, then wanted to change it to say 'SOUND like no other' (collective groan.)

Someone asked Larry 'how do you persuade clients to do stuff like Gorilla?' Great clients, he said, and mentioned a guy at Cadbury's called Chris, who'd worked with Fallon before at Stella.

People like this for me are the real un-sung heroes. More likely than not, it's their balls on the line.

And it's something that occupies my mind more and more when I pitch ideas: you're either up for doing something different or you're not'

And if you're not, well then we might as well all go home.

Except I didn't go home. I got another pint in before heading off to the second venue, The Principled Practicioner, to see the next speaker I'd registered to hear.



John Grant (4-5pm)
John co-founded St Lukes and is author of The Green Marketing Manifesto and his blog, 'Green Normal.'

I'd had a few by this point plus I was late and had to sit on the stairs and couldn't hear very well. He did seem to be wearing a nice cardigan, however and his round glasses looked very right on.

After about 45 minutes, somebody asked him about Ecofatigue, from which the previous speaker, Sophie Thomas, seemed to be suffering, judging by her body language.

That was it for me. Up I hopped, out and off to grab a front row seat to hear the second most rantingest man in the industry blogosphere (Copyranter being the first - RIP), George Parker.



George Parker (5-6pm)
George is the man behind the blog, Adscam, and continued with his ranting tone of voice for his speech.

I don't know whether it was the heat, the crush or the booze, but his swearing wasn't nearly so impressive live and I actually found his tirade rather tedious.

You just kind of feel like saying 'it's not that big and clever', can't you be a bit more constructive' but instead I just stood there and thought dark thoughts.

When he finished, I asked him to be my friend on Facebook just to fuck him off. Then I asked him where he was from, cos he sure as hell ain't from the States (even if he did spend 30 years on Madison Avenue - as what? A beggar?)

Turns out he's from Manchester and he's got one of those terrible half-yank, half-nothern accents that makes him sound like one of the Beatles who got trapped over in the States.

Sorry for the disses, George, but, ya know, what goes around, comes around.

He did tell two stories I remember: One, the first time he met David Ogilvy, he asked about the kind of salary he was going to get. 'My dear boy, I don't discuss money, I have people to do that for me'.

And George remarked that how he was excited as this was a bit like the Queen.

The second story was about working late one night in New York when David Ogilvy. aged 80 something was wheeled in by minders. Everyone stood up and Ogilvy said 'Never forget: advertising is about selling!'

'And you know what?' asked George, 'he was right!'

To be fair to George, he was probably only giving his audience what they came for. And who can blame him with the kind of people who asked questions afer me. One kissed his arse for about a paragraph, just to get a free copy of his book (that only costs around £5 - poor juniors, perhaps), one (a girl) actually asked him out to dinner that night - he said he'd think about it, haha, unlucky, love, you ain't all that!

And then there was the bloke right behind me who shouted so loud I don't remember what he even asked, although I do remember him saying 'can I have the free copy of your book, oh go on, you know you want to' as well as something about '....for example, there's a website where you can ACTUALLY go and choose the colour of your VW Golf and EVERYTHING...'

Not sure of the relevance of this comment, I was too busy laughing at the content.

Oh, plus he fake laughed really loudly at pretty much everything George said.

While I'm on the subject of odious pricks, there was one other there that day - a young cock in a stripy sweater who tried to walk through me instead of round me then walked loudly into a talk, blathering to friends who weren't even listening but all sporting identical man bags. Keep up the good work, fellas.

The Climax and Curtains (6-8pm)
The grand finale. Slightly farcical on account of the shit sound and the fact that 80% of people were intent only on pissed chitter chatter.



Here's a transcript:

Iris CEO Ian Miller, to John Grant, Shan Henderson (head of mobile advertising, vodafone), Sal Pajwani (what if? global CEO) and John Baker, joint MD, Iris: So, how important will blogging be in the future?

Well, murmour, murmour, general murmour, hiss, crackle, dhlh;lasjfelujljdhf;lads jfalsjlfsjhfkahdfkhdslal';k adf'kjhueyaytul ddlfadsjhljskajslhdauilfd slfjdsl jdsajfldsjfaljds ldslk lds jflajdsf ldsjf aldsjfa lawe jhrtuhaiyfdohdyif ds aiy fbha ffd af ;afds ;sfjs dGSHUT THE FUCK UP.dkf;ljaldsfjlsdj sdflkjjfsldsjflkdsj;flsjlskfsdj sl SHUT UP!DJLFSJDLFJLDJLKDJljdlkdjlfkjdlksj;j;fldjsfj;lsdfjlsdjfl;jSHUT THE FUCK UP! dljdfla;jdlf


Not sure who he is but he was at the free bar.

And so it went on. I stuck it out to the end even though I couldn't hear a word. Mainly because the room was so rammed I couldn't get out but also to watch John Baker's face - he never stopped smiling. Good work, John.

Thanks for the free drink and a great afternoon. Go Iris.

Were you there? Who did you hear speak?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nice technique, not



We've all used this technique at one time or another.

Just perhaps not all in the same publication on the same day.

These three headlines - all taken from today's (Saturday) Guardian Weekend magazine - were probably written by three different writers who'd perhaps never even seen each other's work.

Maybe that's why it's so depressing all three used the same technique.

The technique's not a bad one but it's still a technique and so leaves the chance that somebody else will do the same thing on the next page and make you look stupid.

But what are the chances that three ads in the same publication all feature the same headline device (which, by the way, has fuck all to do with persauding the reader of anything)?

Check them out:



Great organic taste at a fair price. We milk cows, not people.



Our chefs spend their time cutting fresh vegetables, not cutting corners.



We reduced the size, not the cleaning performance.

Ironically, these writers probably cared about 'originality/style/literary flair', not results. And they ended up being totally similar to two other ads.

By the way, out of these three ads, at least the Dyson offers some copy to back up their literary masterpiece of a headline.

In the case of the Yeo Valley ad, they've said the price is fair. But don't they think readers might like to know how much the milk is? Or why it's so 'cheap'?

As for the Seeds of Change ad, it's not even explained what cutting corners might mean.

There are many words and phrases proven to increase response to ads. Sadly, 'not' isn't one of them.

PS. Somebody talking at Iris's Under the Influence on Thursday mentioned the idea that trying to persuading anyone to do anything these days was simply outrageous. But that's another post.

Friday, April 18, 2008

New lines on the Underground lines: What the driver said this morning



I've heard the odd witicism from tube drivers before but nothing like what I caught this morning. And two on one day!

And it was odd because I was wearing earplugs (I slept with them in and just never bothered taking them out.)

But I definitely heard the following:

1. Picadilly line driver: 'Opposing forces simply don't work. Please let passengers off the train first.'

2. Northern line driver: 'Please let passengers off the train first, please. It is traditional.'

The first got the bigger laugh. I prefer the second.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mpora 2.0: extreme sharing now better than ever



The best extreme sports site on the planet has had a revamp.

New photo and video facility, plus Mpora local, which let's you search for content using GoogleEarth.

Explore Mpora 2.0 now

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What to look for in an art director

1. Must be heavyweight

2. Thick-skinned

2. Must be able to draw

3. Ideally, will be self-aware

4. Must be lovable

Stop the search, I've found one:

Monday, April 7, 2008

The worst ad I saw on Austrian TV

Whatever you think of Cadbury's 'Airport trucks' ad, at least it doesn't crucify an old Queen anthem quite like this one.

This cringe-fest made my toes curl like nothing else - and they were already pretty sore from all the boarding I was doing.

So grab yourself a foot spa, relax and enjoy this TV ad for home superstore, Obi, that I saw in Austria. God bless YouTube for featuring it. And if you like, there may be more in the campaign for you to hunt down. Incredible.

The best ad I saw on Austrian TV

This is a TV ad for Mayrhofen, a ski resort in Austria that claims to feature the country's steepest piste - HariKiri.

I reckon it's pretty classy for a region that seems absolutely obsessed with what we English call 'cheese'. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Phishy copywriting pt. II

Apparently, I've reached the daily limit on my RBS account.

Although even if I had an RBS account, I'm not sure I'd be worried. You don't have to be told by your bank: 'no-one will ever send you emails with sentences that don't begin with capital letters' to know that banks will never send you emails with sentences that don't begin with capital letters. It's just not the done thing.

If you know any spammers or phishers that need help with their copy, don't forget to send them my way. I'll post their efforts here and will even give you a cut if they employ me to sort it out.





Customer Service: Limited Access To Your Online Banking

Dear Member,

When signing on to Online Banking, you or somebody else have
made several login attemps and reached your daily limit.

As an additional security measure your access to Online Banking
has been limited. this web security measure does not affect your
phone banking or ATM banking.

click on log in to Restore Your Account Access and follow the steps


Thank you for using RBS!

The Royal Bank Of Scotland Group




© 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Phishy sloppywriting at UK prices




You don't have to read emails from Nigerian scammers to enjoy copy riddled with errors.

Here's an excerpt from a b2b email received by Drayton and detailed in his Helpful idea 61: never forget why it's called direct response (Oh, and don't be so damned idle.)

As Drayont points out, four mistakes in the first three paragraphs. Can you spot them all?

Hi,
Emedia produce Email Stationery for Companies, and we are interested in quoting for producing yours?

The Email Stationery Emedia produce does not contain the images as all the image content of your template is embedded preventing any rejection from the recipients server and ensuring high speed travel.

The Email stationery we produce for companies, are the same e-letterheads that the large blue chips companies are now implementing (see examples http://emedia-solutions.co.uk/emailexample.htm ) providing a professional letterhead for your email correspondence to be sent out on while ensuring reliability in transit.

We can also animate your existing logo to give that cutting edge presentation. (See samples http://www.emedia-solutions.co.uk/logo.htm )

You wouldn't dream of sending hard copy correspondence out without using your company's pre printed stationery, you can now send your emails out on your company's stationery 100% reliably and for a negligible cost.

You provide us with your artwork, either in hard copy or an emailable version (We can lift artwork from your website if you like), we send you a proof, once approved, we provide a personal self installing download which will incorporate your letterhead into your emails, giving all your staffs correspondence a professional identity.

If you would like to know more information or to place your order then use the website links below.

If it is someone else within your organisation who would decide on this then please forward them this email.

Email letterheads are compatible with Outlook and Outlook Express, the most widely used email software. You can select to use your E-letterhead or de-select whenever appropriate, once installed your E-letterhead can be used whenever you want.

To find out more about this service use our website link below or give us a call on 01782 444821.

At Emedia we also provide a whole host of other Web related services, bespoke online ordering systems, Online Web traffic control systems, Online Training Systems, Online Contact database Management with automated emailing, if you would like us to explore how we can help your entire online presence then give us a call, and allow us to explore how we can help your business.

Regards

Adam Ward-Best

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

WWW.SHABBY.COM



This is me starting to share some of the shit phishing emails I get. How hard would it be to copy a real bank email? Impossible, judging by the shite that you get in your inbox. At least I know that if the work runs out in London, or if I want to retire somewhere hot, I could always hustle a few dollars, proofing copy from Nigerian scam 'artists' in Lagos.

Let me start what I hope is going to be a series on COPY IN PHISHING EMAILS. Here we go.

First off, even before I've opened the thing, I know it's bogus. How? Because THE SUBJECT LINE IS SHOUTING AT ME. And London designers/art directors beware, copy in CAPS is I how I can spot you're bogus, too.

Dear Abbey Customers Upgrade

Second, they call me Abbey Customers Upgrade. No apostrophe. Distinct lack of sense or knowledge of the English language. Amend to read 'Dear Abbey Customer'. Oh, one more thing, make sure I'm actually with Abbey in the first place.

At this point, I feel I should point out, it may be partly my fault I receive these emails. In the past, I've enquired about the millions I've won. I've entered into some dialogue with these people. My favorite question is 'how will you drain my account if all you have is my account number and sort code?' I still don't know. Do you?

Due to concerns, for the safety and integrity of the Abbey
account we have issued this warning message.


Put a comma after 'account'. Take it out from after 'concerns.' The rest isn't too bad. I've had worse from clients who feel qualified to change my copy.

It has come to our attention that your Abbey account information needs to be
updated as part of our continuing commitment to protect your account in this year 2008 and to
reduce the instance of fraud on our website. If you could please take 5-10 minutes
out of your online experience and update your personal records you will not run into
any future problems with the online service.


Hmm, really need to make that first sentence active, not passive. Then there's the 'in this year 2008' bit. What's that all about? Proving they know what year it is? Impressive. They must be for real.

Take 5-10 minutes out of my online experience. Thrown by this bit. It almost sounds really savvy, then you realise no-one would actually say this. Ideally, need a comma after 'records' and repetition of the phrase/word online is just a bit sloppy.

Once you have updated your account records your Abbey account
service will not be interrupted and will continue as normal.


Yeah, ok but the way you've put it makes me think you're not really English.

To update your Abbey records click on the following link:
https://myonlineaccounts2.abbeynational.co.uk/CentralLogonWeb/Logon?action=prepare


http://www.aboutabbey.com/

Thank You.

Accounts Management As outlined in our User Agreement, Abbey will
periodically send you information about site changes and enhancements.

Visit our Privacy Policy and User


Weak, weak ending. OK, so there's a call to action but this phishing email is neither timely, nor relevant. One interesting thing: they've put in a real Abbey web address - a nice touch.

It doesn't really affect what's overall a pretty poor performance.

However, there are worse around (and I hope to post them in the future so check back) - I'm giving this email 5/10. I would have given it another point but they missed a trick by not slipping a steaming turd into the Abbey logo.

Had any phishing emails you'd like me to proofread? Fling them over.

Biz's beat of the day

Some right jiggy interactive stuff




Thanks Dickon, a friend of Iain.

This was so disturbing (perhaps due to flashbacks), I had to click it shut, which was hard due to the effects of the drugs. An incredible demonstration. Really clever.

If you haven't already, I thoroughly recommend you try drugs.

Second up, a massive blue whale of an idea.

Third, why make your site look shit when you can make it look crisp?.

Everyone's good at something

I just watched this YouTube clip without sound. So I can't comment on the commentary. I was eating a sandwich at the time so I wasn't too bothered by the wait. And the payoff seemed a nice reward. Maybe do some knitting while you check this clip or listen to what's being said. It may not be that tittilating but, like I said, you get something out of it right at the end.

Bet you can't cross London without touching the ground



Lewis, a member of Urban Free Flow, gives it a go:




There's more to see at No more landmines: dangerous ground project

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The World's Shortest Story




I rarely capitalise my headings but this one seemed worthy of it.

Legend has it, to settle a bar tab, Ernest Hemingway was challenged he couldn't write a story in under ten words.

'For sale: baby shoes, never used.' is what he came up with. But does this beat it?

IVF.

Do the test

Here's the official website.

Thanks to another anonymous poster.

Do the test

Whilst you were busy counting how many passes the white team made, did you miss the Visual Cognition Lab?



Chances are, you missed the Visual Cognition Lab, out of the University of Illinois when you were busy counting how many passes the white team made in the latest road safety ad here in London.

But they were there in the background.

If you don't believe me, have a look here and here.

Thanks 'P' who commented on my original post.

There's also a litte bit of blurb here:

View the "basketball" video
This link takes you to the basketball video from an experiment by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris that was described in the article. To view the video, you will need to have Java active in your browser. When viewing the video, try to count the total number of times that the people wearing white pass the basketball. Do not count the passes made by the people wearing black. When you're done, visit the main lab web site for more information. Please note that this video is copyrighted and is available on this web site for viewing purposes only -- it may not be downloaded, copied, saved or used for any other purpose. If you are interested in using this video in any other context, it is available on DVD from VisCog Productions, Inc. Please see the link below. (Note that the University of Illinois is not in any way affiliated with Viscog Productions and this link does not represent an endorsement of Viscog Productions or its products by the University.)

Take this test



Oh, and if you think I'm just posting about this ad because I saw it on Scamp's blog, check my post below, its date and time.

Interesting to see Scamp posting the same ad as me. Again. Although with VW's 'Polo confidence', Scamp was two days behind me. This one was only about 16 hours or so.

Hey Scamp, I'm not saying anthing but...

Actually, get in touch soon. I have an idea for a radio ad for your Levi's campaign. Creative Director on another award?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Did you see the moonwalking bear?




Or were you too busy counting the number of passes the white team made?

If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you probably haven't seen the latest road safety ad.

I've had a look on YouTube and I can't find it yet so I can't post it here.

But keep checking back. I'm sure I'll find it soon.

Well worth it.

It makes you want to go back to the beginning of the ad to see if they're telling the truth. But it works even if they're lying, precisely because you can't go back in time to check.

By making you focus on one thing that's happening, then asking you about another you're not concetrating on, this ad seeks to demonstrate the idea that your brain can't see what it's not looking for.

Look out for cyclists when you drive and look out for the ad on this blog and on TV.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The sweetest little ad

I saw this on TV last night for the first time then found it on YouTube.

It's so subtle I actually wasn't sure whether what was happening was happening (plus there was some other noise going on in the room.)

Have a look, you'll see what I mean.

It's a really very funny idea - and really cute. I think it could have been even cuter if the dog's teeth weren't so scary. But how would I know what a cute, small dog actually looks like when it sings? Check it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

How do you sell a Nazi car in a jewish town?

When Bill Bernbach returned to his agency in New York after visiting the factory of his client, VW, in Germany, he passed George Louis in the office.

Louis said 'I haven't worked out the advertising, but I've worked out the marketing - how do we sell a Nazi car in a Jewish town?'

They answered the question with wit, irony and the start of the creative revolution.