Wednesday, 30 May 2007

All about cars

Can someone other than the automotive industry do some inspiring advertising, please?

Night Driving

Dylan Thomas. Poet.

His magnus opus, Under Milk Wood was performed for the first time two months before he died. This "play for voices" displays Dylan's innate grasp for radio as a medium.

Interestingly, DDB London have adapted this for a television commercial, the first time Under Milk Wood has been used in this way.

The results, in my opinion, are superb.

Richard Burton's voice gives me the shivers.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Brand Disaster

Our information centre have just finished trawling through Lexis Nexis for my search 'Biggest Brand Disasters'. I think they quite enjoyed it.

Among the classics, I have spent my morning chuckling over Persil Power and Coca Cola Dasani.

Ratner's clanger in 1991 is my personal favourite - brand suicide. When asked at a major business conference how his products could be so cheap, he cheerfully explained that it was because they were 'total crap'!

I presume he was not so cheerful as his stores started closing. I heard a rumour that he is now trying to buy back H Samuel stores. You've got to admire his tenacity!

If anyone reading this has any other favourite brand disasters, it would brighten my afternoon to read about them...

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Forbidden Corner

I have purchased my tickets to visit Forbidden Corner this weekend. I can barely contain my excitement! Call me a big kid, but fairy tales, riddles and secret caverns thrill me. I think that makes Forbidden Corner my spirtual home.

Goblins, talking statues, waterfalls and mice help you solve puzzles and, if you need any encouragement, make you six years old again. It is a perfect world with danger, mystery and trials, but you can carry the comforting thought around with you that, in the end, good will win over evil and you will be home in time for tea.

I noticed a striking modern fairy tale, arguably without the talking statues though, in the papers yesterday - the renaissance of Marks & Spencer. The Financial Times noted, however, some nervousness in the City over whether Rose could maintain sales. I think higher interest rates are bound to have an effect on consumer spending, but if M&S continue to strike the right balance between quality, value and fashion, I am sure they will all live happily ever after!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Food, Glorious Food!

Yummy! Have you ever wanted to lick the television while watching an advert? I guarantee this one will make you want to!

Food is one of the great loves of my life, along with black Labradors and hard-backed books. So I am sure you can imagine my delight when, at my creative writing class, the tutor walked in with a bag of food. Maryland cookies, Tunnock's Caramels and Walker's Sensations. An eclectic mix, but I didn't mind.

Our task was to describe how it feels to eat, to describe taste and texture. Obviously, research was required. As I munched my way through my Tunnock's Caramel bar, it occurred to me that, despite it being hard to describe, food is one of the most evocative things possible...each stage of my life can be identified by a particular dish. Mango for university, Skittles for sunny afternoons in June and Fish Pie reminds me of my Grandad, who explained seriously once, to my five year old self, that I'd be brainy if I ate my fish.

Thursday, 17 May 2007


Don't have too many monkeys in your office. That is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given.

People often come to others with their problems, their monkeys.

When a person comes to you with their monkey, listen, advise, but on no account let them leave their monkey with you. It is their monkey and therefore should not stay in your office, but be given back to its rightful owner.


Friday, 11 May 2007


How will publishing cope with the digital future? It is a question I find interesting, always having loved books. As I spend most of my working life involved with them in one way or another, it seems a logical questions to ask.

I listened to John Makinson speak a few months ago. He pointed to the wiki novel, 'A Million Penguins' as a sign that publishing was ready to face web 3.0. This was at the same time as his company were suing Google, due to an online library plan. I'm raising my eyebrows.

I appreciate that online libraries would be a copyright nightmare, but a nightmare worth tackling I think. Although there will always be a place for the tactile experience of reading for pleasure, in my future at least, it is time publishers accepted that business books and textbooks would be far better in digital format. Might not be so popular with chiropractors though.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Gym Bunny

Gyms. I don't really know how I feel about them. My reservations include price, cleanliness and the country bumpkin snobbishness that exercise isn't exercise unless it is in the fresh air.

However, I have often felt like a social outcast when my friends wax lyrical about their homes away from home. By not belonging to a gym in London, you miss out on a modern social network as important as Facebook. I was completely left out of the 'gym' conversations (almost as socially debilitating as not owning a TV).

So, yesterday, I succumbed and joined a gym (in the hope of toning up for the summer). The fact I get a discounted rate through Prudential health insurance is an incentive, I'll happily admit.

I wonder how long the novelty will last? Probably as long as my delight at discovering the gym has significantly better hairdryers than my own!

p.s. If I go to the gym, maybe one day I could throw a hammer like this:

Friday, 4 May 2007

Simple Life

Role plays. Always interesting, if slightly false, I think. Yesterday, in an excellent course ran by Kevin Duncan, I played a client eager for new ideas from my agency. They took it well and agreed to produce a new, exciting media plan. In exchange, I was very benevolent (I could afford to be, time wasn't an issue in my brief) and gave them 12 days rather than 5 to produce it.

As the negotiation drew to a close after only 10 minutes, we all agreed to go out for an amiable drink afterwards. If only real life was so simple...

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Newspapers and Creativity

I went to the NMA Newspapers and Creativity event yesterday. The sun was shining, The Mall was its most picturesque and London and I were best friends...until I began sneezing incessantly. Tree pollen. Rather spoilt the moment.

Once my sneezing fit had passed, I entered the ICA and enjoyed the afternoon. The results of the NMA's research were impressive and very positive for newspapers.

However, I had one reservation and, had I been brave enough to speak out, I would have pointed out that the study appears to be based on full page, full colour newspaper ads.

Can the client, who can only afford the "blink and you'll miss it" small print at the bottom of page 30 expect the same results? I'm sceptical.