Tuesday, 30 October 2007


If the way you dress, the way you speak and the way you act are all part of your personal brand, just what are cheerleaders thinking?

Watching the NFL game, played at Wembley on Sunday, I was quite horrified to see these doll-like females waving their pom poms. Frankly, I found it embarrassing that supposedly intelligent, independent, athletic women could be satisfied wearing very little and looking pretty whilst the men get on with the real game.

Maybe it is because I grew up as part of the Spice Girl/Girl Power generation, or maybe I don't understand American culture, but cheerleaders really should set their sights higher than just being decorations on the sidelines of a 'man's sport'.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Cult of the Amateur

Andrew Keen’s book ‘The Cult of the Amateur’, about the growth of blogging and social networking, claims that ‘the democratisation of the digital world is destroying our economy, our culture and our values’. I would argue against these opinions strongly.

First, the internet is actually stimulating our economy in a hugely exciting way. This Christmas will be a record year for spending online, with £13.6bn predicted to be spent online between October 1st and Christmas Day (The Forrester Report). The UK is now the largest market in Europe for online shopping. Online businesses are being set up every day. The online revolution is actively contributing to our economy. Keen uses the example of the music industry’s decline to support his argument. In fact, the music industry's reticence in embracing the digital age and new business models was the cause of its downfall. Experiments such as Radiohead’s ‘honesty box’ approach for downloading their new album seem to be paying off, music industry executives were just too short sighted to see it.

Secondly, the internet is adding to our culture, not detracting from it. Keen argues the lack of control over the internet is allowing our culture to be diluted by mediocre amateurs. Culture is not like fruit squash, it cannot be diluted. The most successful blogs are a phenomenon and add to our culture, by allowing publishing companies to discover new talent cheaply e.g. ‘Wife in the North’.

Finally, Keen argues our values are being compromised. He says the internet is undermining truth. Truth has always been a slippery concept and traditional media are no less immune to accusations of lies and deceit than the internet. The internet gives people choices; the choice to form their own opinions, to contribute to the debate and to criticise. This is not undermining our values in anyway, just exploring them.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Sony Bunnies

I just had to put this up...! I think it's great.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Black Sheep

One uncanny coincidence that I kept thinking about while at BBH was their logo and my upbringing.

Black Sheep Beer was a large part of my childhood. Not in the drinking it sense, I hasten to add (I will never like beer I'm afraid), but in a brand sense. It was the local brewery. I went to school with members of the family. All the men in my family drink nothing else. The thing that has always particularly interested me though is the story behind the name.

Paul Theakston, part of the Theakston brewing dynasty, disagreed with his family over the selling of Theakston's in the early 1990s to Scottish and Newcastle. He left the fold to set up a rival brewery, in the same town. Awkward. Originally called 'Sheep', Paul's wife suggested, 'Black Sheep' as an appropriate name, given the tension and disagreements within the family.

It could be a Catherine Cookson plot...

So when I marched up to the Black Sheep above the door of BBH, I felt curiously at home. A familiar landmark in a way. I've just got to remember that, when everyone else zigs, to make sure I zag. Very Black Sheep.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty

I have returned to the IPA after my week at BBH. I had a fantastic, if slightly exhausting, time. It was a real insight into agency life, planning in particular. Unlike most work experience placements I have done, I felt I was being vaguely useful! Funnily enough, pages 12, 17 and 29 of Marketing this week have shown me that the project I was working on was even more topical than I suspected. I'm resisting the temptation to email the articles over - it would just be too keen.

Overall, the agency were incredibly kind to me, although, unfortunately, I did not meet Sir John Hegarty, but his PA and office were very nice when I walked past!

I had a very steep learning curve while I was there, but it really confirmed that 'plannerish' ambitions are the right kind of ambition to have, for me anyway.