Tuesday, 31 July 2007

MFI advert

The new MFI adverts have been causing furore, and quite rightly in my opinion. In general, that kind of aggression is just not acceptable in families, and nor should it be portrayed as normal. The first time I saw it, I was left feeling very uncomfortable.

That said, I am consistently amazed on the bus how aggressive children seem to be in London. Where do they get it from, this anger? The most trivial things escalate to 'I am going to kill you' fury in seconds. This is new and worrying. However, the MFI advert should not be portraying this as normal and even acceptable.

The offending advert:

Monday, 30 July 2007

An advertising factoid...

The advertising industry is bigger than the UK film industry by £800m.

Friday, 20 July 2007


Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 20 October 2005.

I went to Oxbridge. Not the kind of statement I usually bring into conversations.
What kind of image or reaction does that arose in most people? A shrug of the shoulders, a sneer, a smile? With a select few, that makes me a member of an exclusive club; with the rest of the world it usually evokes a sneer...and that makes me embarrassed and therefore annoyed at myself for being embarrassed.

Take today, when someone looked rather piercingly at me and said, "you don't have any of the usual arrogance of Oxbridge types". I didn't know what to say. In the end I settled for:
"No, I don't. I was fortunate to go there and having done so doesn't make me any better than anyone else, just luckier."
I then realised I might have come across as having confidence issues (I don't, for the record!) so I qualified it with: "There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and I have always wanted to be on the right side". The gentleman nodded, but continued to look at me in a puzzled way.

Unfortunately, the stereotypes are occasionally true, but much less so than you would think. Perhaps I should start a word of mouth campaign with my blog "Oxbridge graduates are not all arrogant". But really there is no business problem for marketing to solve, Oxbridge has no problem attracting applicants.

My real feelings about the whole Oxbridge thing is that I had some of the most amazing experiences of my life there. It is something to be proud of and it is an institution which shaped me in more ways than I care to count, but I hope in a good way.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Cracked Heels

Something disturbing happened to me yesterday evening.

I was watching T.V. and an advert for Scholl Cracked Heel Cream came on. Before I could stop myself, I automatically reached for my feet and checked what state my heels were in.

How can anyone say advertising doesn't work?

Thursday, 12 July 2007

UK Advertising

UK advertising is a global creative powerhouse. I read this in the press every week at the moment. Despite a disappointing performance at this year's Cannes, it is fair to say that British advertising is the test tube and the envy of the world.

Simon Marquis argued in his column last week that the government interferes with advertising at is peril. "Advertising needs to be allowed to flourish with little or no interference from government."

I'm not sure that's right. Advertising has been a success story in spite of government neglect. Advertising has had none of the government funds invested in it as the design industry has had. This is a testament to the industry. However, with investment and attention from government, surely advertising in the UK could be even better? The film industry tax incentive scheme has done wonders for British films. I think something like that could work for advertising.

If you were in a room with James Purnell, what would you ask him? What should the government do to help advertising, if anything? Tax incentives like in the film industry, an understanding that there will be less legislation of advertising, higher salaries to attract the best new graduates?

What do you think?

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Food advertising

I was in serious trouble this weekend. Previous driving disasters meant that I was given the 'safer' job of map reading our way to Leeds Castle, rather than driving.

I sat quietly and diligently, glued to the map...until a debate about advertising junk food to children erupted. I have quite a lot of opinions about this, so we discussed it in a spirited way for about half an hour, until I was asked which junction we needed to turn off at.

Oh dear. I had no idea. One thing I did know was that we had been driving for an hour and a half. The journey should only have taken three quarters of an hour. Should I speak up and confess? I decided to keep quiet until we saw the next road sign and my incompetence could no longer be denied.

Unfortunately for me, the next sign we saw was in French, 'remember to drive on the left'.

'We're halfway to bloody France! Give me that map!'

Moral: Don't debate the rights and wrongs of advertising junk food to children while navigating. You'll get into trouble.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Images for a book

Despite doing a law degree, I was blissfully ignorant before starting this job on the nuances of obtaining permission to reproduce images.

Hamish is very keen to include lots of images in his book, including several full colour plates. I completely agree. A picture says a thousand words and all that...

The New Zealand Rugby Football Club were fantastic, and sent over an image, complete with written permission, within a few hours of request. Other UK-based companies, who shall remain nameless, have been an absolute nightmare, wanting us to contact the photographer and everyone who appears in the photo individually, charging the earth for usage, taking eons to reply to any enquiries and generally being obstructive.

My advice for anyone seeking images to include in a book: have lots of alternatives up your sleeve!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Jonathan Durden Part Deux

So, Jonathan has left the Big Brother.

It caused a bit of a debate in my house last night, with Boyf maintaining that if you go into Big Brother, you choose to stay cut off from the world. According to him, there should be no half-way house.

I maintained that if someone close to you dies, you should be told and then allowed to make the decision yourself. Given the furore in Australia, when the programme chose not to tell a housemate her father had died, I think most of the public are probably with me.

However, it is an interesting question.

In this case, I think Jonathan did exactly the right thing and he appeared much more human and likable as a resut.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Thwarted Terrorist Plots

I saw the most fantastic interview on BBC News last night. A journalist was talking to people in London about the recently thwarted terrorist plot.

Journalist: How have these events affected you?

Man: They haven't affected me at all, I'm not going to change my plans to fit in with them!

Makes me quite proud.