Friday, 27 April 2007

Advertising musings...

Our visit to Tesco also raised another interesting point I have been pondering over. It was clear that this gentleman’s position on advertising was that it was a tiny part of his overall job.

Would it be fair to say that sometimes agencies forget this?

I think they forget it at their peril.

Thursday, 26 April 2007


I trudged to Tesco HQ in the rain. It is grey. Everything about Tescoville is grey. Or maybe it was just my mood.

I left the station and turned the corner, expecting the ubiquitous glass tower that seems to be the bastion of British business in the 21st century. What I am confronted with is definitely not glass, not even grey glass.

Tesco HQ is the ugliest, most run-down looking, set of buildings I have ever had the pleasure to visit due to work. In a strange way, this is quite refreshing and certainly grabs my attention in a way more pleasing architecture would not. It was also brown, not grey.

When asked about the ‘low-key’ buildings, as we diplomatically put it, this marketing director’s answer was interesting. Tesco is not a flashy brand, and therefore, rather than have a flashy new building, they would rather spend that money on the consumer.

Standard marketing patter, the more cynical among us would say. Normally, as a cynic going by the name of disillusioned idealist, I would agree.

However, there was a small part of me that believed him.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

The Pigalle Club

Brand experiences. How often can you say you have had a positive brand experience? Not often, I would submit.

When being interviewed for the book, the marketing director of Motorola mentioned his visit to Dolce and Gabbana, “those guys really understand branding”. This gentleman was so impressed with his experience of Dolce, from packaging to attitude, that he allied his own brand with them, to create the Dolce and Gabbana Razr.

A recent brand experience of my own was at The Pigalle Club. I waltzed in, in my new shoes, expecting a good evening. What I had was, actually, an amazing evening.

The logo glinting above the dance floor, the music, the branded plates, waiters who smiled and danced as they made their way to your table, the old timers (whom I suspected were paid to motivate the clientele) on the dance floor before anyone else. All of these little touches were staged to perfection; all imbedded with something unique to The Pigalle Club, adding up to at least one very satisfied customer.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Researcher Required

As a researcher for Hamish’s book, I am responsible for general project management, content research and sourcing charts. Sourcing images, it was decided, was a big enough job to merit a full-time pair of hands. We, therefore, arranged a series of graduates to do work experience; helping source electronic images and obtain permission to reproduce these images. It is not the most interesting job in the world, but great experience for any wannabe adlander, in my humble opinion.

As the last person had moved on to a job with the JJ Group, our new lady arrived yesterday. She seemed perfectly nice, albeit lacking slightly in enthusiasm. However, this I was perfectly prepared to overlook, given I had spent the last hour talking at her. Overwhelming for any man, woman or beast…

I found her a comfortable chair, got her some stationary and, once the computer had gurgled into life, I left her to read the draft manuscript, agreeing to return at 4pm to see how she was getting on.

At 3.30pm, I had a phone call. “Have you seen X?”
“No, although I am due to meet her at 4.”
“I’ll ring back in a minute.”
Ten minutes later.
“X went for lunch and hasn’t come back…”

I had tried my best to be nice.

Work experience anyone??

Monday, 16 April 2007


There are not many advertisements I really dislike, but this is one of them:

I was always taught it was extremely bad manners to threaten violence with cutlery.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

The Results...

The IPA Foundation Certificate results arrived in my inbox this morning. Last night, I had been re-analysing the exam in my head, and found that, actually, it wasn’t in my head anymore! I’d completely forgotten most of the questions. So I decided there was absolutely no point worrying about it!

I’ve sat a lot of exams in my life, more that I care to think about or remember really. I also feel, quite strongly, that a lot of them were pointless. No one is ever going to ask me exactly what GCSEs I managed to get – I can barely remember them myself. Each stage was merely a hoop to jump through to the next set of exams, in turn to that mythical, elusive creature, a good job. Ever felt like a hamster in a wheel? I did.

However, I am also pragmatic enough to realise they are a necessary evil, no one having thought of a better way to put people in neat little boxes (usually marked A, B or C). I also know that, without passing a few of those pesky exams, I would not be sat here, in beautiful Belgravia, now.

Despite myself – I’m almost ashamed to admit – I quite like taking exams. It is almost a cathartic experience, getting all that revision off your chest. Revision is the stuff that is really miserable, sat on your bed staring at the tort of negligence ‘til you’re cross-eyed, when everyone else is at barbeques. Luckily for me, I found the content of the Foundation Certificate pretty engaging back in February, which is more than I can say about my law exams!

So my revision days are over for a while, until I decide to put myself through it again, because I actually did pretty well in the Foundation Certificate. So well, in fact, that I think a visit to the pub is required on the way home tonight!

Monday, 2 April 2007

Ride a White Horse

A white horse on the hillside, 300 ft by 300 ft. Romantic explanations for the phenomenon have been batted around over the centuries – tribal symbols, religious images, icons, gods…

The modern explanation for these chalk cuttings is simple; the genuine, bronze age, white horse is an advertisement to passing travellers, pointing the way to farriers. In an ironic twist of fate, these white landmarks were covered up millennia later to prevent them advertising navigation points to Luftwaffe bombers. It seems they did their job rather too well.

From apparently very pragmatic beginnings, these advertisements have become symbolic landmarks and art. I wonder how many adverts today will stand the test of time in the same way?