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You Have Been Watching… thumbnail

You Have Been Watching…

There is a malign influence stalking our industry, turning formerly enthusiastic, optimistic creative professionals into Munch-Scream-faced misanthropes, shivering, twitching wrecks, desperate to get out, to get away, to go anywhere to escape the next two-minutes of fresh hell that awaits.

What began with just a few, isolated cases is now a scourge, infecting otherwise good work and turning it into a will-sapping grey-goo of guitar-driven banality, all wrapped up with a perky VO.

I speak, of course, of the BAD AWARD CASE STUDY FILM.


I’m with Stupid thumbnail

I’m with Stupid

We live in strange times. But not as strange as during the Napoleonic wars between Britain and France. Especially if you were a monkey.

When a French ship was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool in northeast England, the only survivor was the ship’s mascot; a pet monkey dressed in a military uniform. He was promptly arrested as a French spy and hanged. Pretty stupid, most of us would agree.


Hey, This Doesn’t Suck At All thumbnail

Hey, This Doesn’t Suck At All

Four years ago while writing the 3rd edition of Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ideas, I just didn’t feel ready to make the book as digital as it needed to be. But I finally got off my butt and attacked it, adding large new sections about digital, about interactive, social, pretty much all of it. By way of self-review, I give the 4th edition the coveted “Hey, this doesn’t suck at all” award. To help you judge for yourself, here is a longish excerpt.
Shoot one idea through the lens of another.


Creativity is Not Enough thumbnail

Creativity is Not Enough

‘Eureka!’ as a famous Greek once said in more optimistic times. I have found it: the archetypal, Platonic ideal of a television commercial – or, at least, the one which I believed to be so back in the early nineteen-eighties when I was about ten years old. This is the TV spot that lifted the scales from my unworldly eyes and demonstrated something extraordinary to me, something magical, something amazing about just what it’s possible to do with sixty seconds of judiciously used airtime between Acts of Brideshead Revisited.


Rory Sutherland: Blinding Us With Science thumbnail

Rory Sutherland: Blinding Us With Science

The intention behind the launch of Ogilvychange is to marry the best creative and planning talent found in agencies to the latest thinking to emerge in academia – from psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience.

This may seem like an odd marriage. A bit Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe. And creative people are often slightly suspicious of “science”. I don’t blame them. Because, time and again, they have found that a particular kind of science has been used to denigrate or dismiss many of their most promising ideas. Or that it applies a kind of methodological straitjacket to the process of solving problems or evaluating ideas – which seems completely alien to the way people’s minds work in the real world.


If They Don’t Buy It, They Won’t Buy It thumbnail

If They Don’t Buy It, They Won’t Buy It

When I was a kid, growing up in the UK, wrestling was big. So were the wrestlers; larger than life grapplers like Big Daddy, Kendo Nagasaki and Giant Haystacks – a seven-foot, six hundred pound man-mountain of blubber, beard and badness.

It was more pantomime than sport. When Big Daddy floored Giant Haystacks, little old ladies watching at the ringside would jump up and beat him with their handbags, umbrellas, tyre wrenches… They were so absorbed by the spectacle that they completely suspended their disbelief. They bought it. How do we get our audience to do likewise?


Talent with a Capital T thumbnail

Talent with a Capital T

Okay, jargon alert! I’m going to talk about T-shaped people. While I’m there I may throw in the odd reference to silos, pushing the envelope and fluffing the sausage. So get your jargon bingo cards ready and eyes down for a full house…


Nothing is the New Anything thumbnail

Nothing is the New Anything

I recently read a compelling New York Times Op-Ed piece by Susan Cain entitled, “The Rise of the New Groupthink”. In it, she highlights a dramatic trend in business, education and religion that moves us away from individual thinking to an almost forced collaboration, something she calls “The New Groupthink.” It’s an intriguing comparison between the solitary efforts of “lone geniuses” and the seemingly homogenization of the work that occurs with endless meetings and brainstorms.


Anything Is Possible thumbnail

Anything Is Possible

The holidays are upon us. And I have been good this year. Very good. (My wife may disagree yet she still went along with it.) So I decided to cross an item off my bucket list and purchase a 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster.


Don’t Create An Ad, Create A World… thumbnail

Don’t Create An Ad, Create A World…

I was fortunate enough to be in New York a couple of weeks ago for a DDB global chinwag. We talked about advertising and DDB’s philosophy towards advertising, which the network has in spades thanks to its founder Bill Bernbach. He revolutionised the industry, he taught us that advertising was about insight, originality and engagement. Everything he said back then is still powerful and true today.


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