"This could be the death of this industry," one of the UK's most senior ad executives told me last week.
I used the No 94 bus for ten years, had a driver for ten years and experienced every type of commute in between. Now, I have the best: by riverboat from Bankside to the Trinity Mirror offices in Canary Wharf - 20 minutes that put me in a good mood an...
It's nearly Christmas, so time for the traditional positive missive - but, in this instance, I genuinely think it's warranted.
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...
Latest from the blogs
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.
Do you value your opinion?
One of the most difficult aspects of working on the brand-advertising-marketing spectrum is the management of opinion. There’s even something ironic about writing this blog. It is ‘merely’ my opinion.
I am wary when I hear someone saying ‘Oh, that’s just subjective’. It’s fashionable to seek compromise and consensus but what isn’t subjective? I would argue that there’s really no such thing as objectivity. If someone believes that the moon is made out of ping pong balls and wallpaper paste, then for them at least, that’s the absolute truth.We’re familiar with the phrase “ to separate fact from fiction” but in our business, we spend considerable effort trying to separate fact from opinion. It’s possible to make the case that fiction and opinion are the same thing. I disagree: I would argue that there are some crucial differences. Subjectivity is valuable. It’s no less important than ‘fact’.
NABS Speed Mentoring
The stylish offices of Immediate Media served as the setting for Wednesday night’s NABS Speed Mentoring event. Amidst the multicoloured walls and quirky staircase, industry bright-sparks were given the opportunity to glean, learn and share knowledge with some of the sharpest minds in advertising and media.
MOVE OVER ROVER
Years ago I was a junior at BMP.
‘Suits’ had just begun to stop wearing suits.
Planners and account men began to dress in ‘smart-casual’.
Our managing director, David Batterbee, had long hair and a beard.
He also wore jeans, denim shirts and cowboy boots.
One day he took us to the car park to show us his new car.
It was something called a Range Rover.
It had just been launched and we’d never seen anything like it before.
It was a jeep on the outside but a car on the inside.
We couldn’t figure why anyone would want to buy something like that.
If you wanted a jeep you had Land Rover.
Tough, strong, versatile, go anywhere.
If you wanted a car you had hundreds to choose from.
Why would anyone pick something that wasn’t one thing or the other?
At the time it didn’t make any sense.
Years later of course, it’s obvious.
It was the automotive equivalent of what our managing director was wearing.
Nice clean, well-pressed denim and shiny, clean cowboy boots.
Not cowboy boots you could ride a horse with.
Not real cowboy boots.
Just the look of cowboy boots made for a more comfortable urban lifestyle.
The brilliance of Range Rover was in spotting the opportunity and capitalising on it.
The original Range Rover had just two doors and the interior was designed to be washed out with a hose.
It soon became obvious this wasn’t where the sales opportunity was.
The real sales opportunity was like those cowboy boots.
Looking as if you did rough, tough things, while driving around town and staying nice and clean.
Taking the Range Rover to the opera, the theatre, the school sports day, the office, shopping in Bond Street.
And gradually Range Rover moved the car in that direction.
Adding four doors, a leather interior, state-of-the-art stereo, heated seats, walnut dashboard, air-conditioning, electric sunroof, darkened windows.
The Range Rover became as luxurious as any limousine.
It became the car of choice for rap artists, royalty, visiting dignitaries, billionaires and film stars.
It was made in high-speed, turbo-charged versions.
It was made in sleek low profile versions to make it more attractive to women.
Victoria Beckham even designed a line, and the biggest-selling model is now called ‘The Vogue’.
Range Rover is a great example of the product following the market.
An example of the brand dictating the product.
Last year Range Rover sold a third of a million vehicles worldwide.
Sales were £13.5 billion, and profits £1.5 billion.
Range Rover is a triumph of intelligent marketing.
Everyone seems happy except the man who designed it, Spen King.
He said it was “never intended as a status symbol but later incarnations of my design seem to be intended for that purpose.”
IF YOU’RE NOT MAKING TROUBLE YOU’RE NOT MAKING MUCH
When Terry Leahey was 23 he joined Tesco as a junior marketing executive.
By age 36 he was on the board.
Largely because of what he’d done, Tesco became the largest retailer in the UK.
At age 39 he was made CEO.
At age 44 he was voted the UK’s Businessman Of The Year.
The year after that, he was named European Businessman Of The Year.
The year after that, Tesco recorded £2 billion annual profit.
By the time he retired, aged 54, Tesco was the third largest retailer in the entire world.
One pound in every eight spent in the UK was spent in Tesco.
This is the advice Sir Terry Leahey recently chose to pass along:
“Be more tolerant of the difficult people.
They’re the creative ones.
They’re not happy with the status quo”
So one of the most successful businessmen we’ve ever had recommends we learn to value troublemakers.
Of course he does.
People who are satisfied will never change things.
All change comes from dissatisfaction with the way things are.
Every artistic movement, every scientific discovery, every business innovation starts with a desire to change.
Helmut Krone was one of the greatest art directors ever.
He did two of the most important campaigns in the entire history of advertising.
Volkswagen and Avis.
Helmut Krone said “My entire life has been a fight against logos. A logo says ‘I’m an ad, turn the page.”
I recently read something that I never knew.
The Avis campaign has no logo.
Not on any of the ads.
All these years I’ve admired it and I never noticed.
Helmut Krone said “I said to the copywriter, put the name Avis in every headline, that way we don’t need a logo.”
And I just checked and it’s true.
The name is in every headline and there isn’t a logo.
That’s a man who isn’t satisfied with the way things are.
Everyone else accepted that an ad must always consist of 4 elements.
Picture. Headline. Copy. Logo.
Every other advertising person accepted it unquestioningly.
Until Helmut Krone questioned it.
And Helmut Krone did the advertising that helped turn Avis into a $12 billion company.
Think about Helmut Krone and Terry Leahey the next time you do something unquestioningly.
The next time you must have five alternative campaigns to show the client.
Instead of just one brilliant campaign.
The next time you double-guess the client and change the ad before he sees it.
The next time your goal is not to make waves.
Not to upset anyone.
Not to be unreasonable.
Not to go against the accepted way that everyone does things.
- Artworker Fashion & Retail Personnel Consultancy £23000 - £25000 per annum + Outstanding Benefits!, London
- Senior Planner - Stunning Agency - Central London - to £65k Fill Recruitment Ltd to £65k, Central London
- Planner - Superb London Agency - to £55k Fill Recruitment Ltd to £55k + great benefits, W1
- Planner - Integrated Agency - Central London - c£50k + Fill Recruitment Ltd £50k +, Central London
- Account Manager - Dynamic London Agency - c£30k Fill Recruitment Ltd c£30k, Central London