"This could be the death of this industry," one of the UK's most senior ad executives told me last week.
Agency life moves at a ferocious pace. Especially if, like me, you split your time between new business and account management. After focusing on the impact of social media on elections during my politics degree and then spending a year helping start...
This is my last column before the festive season, so here is a handy Future Of Media Christmas Gift Guide. You might like to imagine it as a magazine supplement with lots of cut-out items against a white background, divided into those annoying lifest...
By any measure, 2013 has failed to meet expectations. Following the once-in-a-lifetime highs of London 2012, this was tipped to be a rather uneventful 12 months.
It's nearly Christmas, so time for the traditional positive missive - but, in this instance, I genuinely think it's warranted.
Latest from the blogs
- Of Christmas Magic, Childhood and Comms Tara Beard-Knowland 11-Dec-2013 Jo Lee of Ipsos ASI looks at how this year’s Christmas ads tap into our childhood memories to remind us of the joy and wonder of the season – and help build emotional connections with brands along the way.
What can Buddhism teach the average adman ?
The immediate answer would seem to be, very little.
In fact quite probably, Buddha all.
It’s rather like the old Monty Python sketch where Graham Chapman as a charity collector goes in to see John Cleese as a City businessman. Cleese as the businessman is completely confused by the notion that he should give his money away, and expect nothing in return. He ponders over this concept, trying to look at it from all angles, but he can’t see the logic in it at all.
HOW TO HIT THE TARGET
For 200 years Britannia ruled the waves.
Because we had something no one else had: a better rate of fire.
Our captains made their crews practice speed over accuracy.
With wooden ships and cannons the most important thing was to get in close and hit the other boat more times than they hit you.
Accuracy wasn’t so important because when you were only few hundred yards apart, you couldn’t really miss.
So it was all about getting in as many shots as possible.
And that’s how it stayed for 200 years.
Up until steam power changed everything: ships made of steel, and guns that could fire explosive shells accurately from ten miles away.
But the Royal Navy ignored the changes and in 1916, the navies of Germany and Britain lined up against each other.
Each had a different strategy.
The British were determined to destroy the German navy by sticking to the traditional faster rate of fire.
The German navy were determined to destroy the British ships with the latest improved accuracy.
The battle began and three of the biggest, most powerful ships in the Royal Navy exploded and sank.
How was that possible?
Actually the British beat themselves.
The magazine is the place where all the ammunition is stored deep below decks.
To keep it safe the shells are brought up to the turrets one at a time.
There are fireproof doors all the way between the turrets and the magazine.
To allow one shell to pass through, then close again.
But that’s a slow process.
In order to allow a really fast rate of fire they decided they couldn’t keep opening and closing the doors.
So they left them open.
That way they could get the shells to the turrets faster.
But when the German shells hit the British turrets there was nothing to stop the explosion reaching all the way to the magazine.
And one by one the ships blew up.
HMS Queen Mary exploded: 1,266 men died, 18 survived.
HMS Indefatigable exploded: 1.019 men died, 2 survived.
HMS Invincible exploded: 1,026 men died, 6 survived.
You would have thought that after that the Royal Navy would have learned its lesson.
Accuracy is more important than rate of fire. But they didn’t.
In the next war, when HMS Hood took on The Bismark, they still kept the fireproof doors open for a faster rate of fire.
The Bismark’s shells hit the Hood’s turret.
As the fireproof doors were open the explosion went straight to the magazine.
HMS Hood exploded: 1,425 men died, 3 survived.
You’d think we’d learn.
The rate at which we do things, simply doing more for the sake of it, isn’t always the right answer.
Sometimes it’s better to do less, but to do it better.
To concentrate on being more accurate, like the German Navy.
For instance, it might be better not to waste all your energy doing three or four or five alternative ideas for every client presentation.
It might be better to put all that energy into working on one really accurate, really effective, really well targeted idea.
The right idea.
IF ROB RYAN HAD AN EVIL TWIN… MEET MISTER BOB BRIAN
Lol and Nat
We dearly love the artist Rob Ryan. We really do. Truth be told, I (Lol) find his stuff so moving and unabashedly sentimental that I’ve been known to weep when faced with too many of his beautiful paper-cut poems at one time. In fact, a friend once had to actually extract me from Ryantown because it was all so romantic and whimsical that I thought I was going to pop.
James Murphy and friends give sound career advice to young execs
“There’s never been a better time to be new, young and inexperienced,” makes for an interesting opening to a discussion focused on pursuing a career in advertising.
But that was the focus of this week’s Tuesday Club Talk, where NABS Partner Card holders were treated to a live Q&A session with James Murphy, founder and CEO of adam&eveDDB, Chris Hirst, CEO of Grey London and Sid McGrath, chief strategy officer of Karmarama. Between them they offered up valuable advice for young advertisers eager to thrive in the advertising industry. There were however, a few tips that the team at NABS thinks stood out from the rest.
Right-brain, left-brain is dead. Long live Bernbachism
Nick Jefferson is managing director at Gyro
At least on one reading, the creative heart of our industry has been knifed; violently, and by one of its own.
The Guardian ran a piece on the results of a two year study undertaken by neuroscientists at the University of Utah who – shock horror – have come to the conclusion that the right-brain/left-brain dichotomy that has underpinned so much of agency-land for more than half a century is no more than a myth.
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