Russell Davies

Russell Davies is a creative director at Government Digital Services


Facebook's emotion study offers us all a valuable lesson about openness

I studied Brave New World for O-level. That's how old I am: pre-GCSE. I bet you've come across it somewhere too.


Google is surely putting its energy into making cool stuff, not more advertising

My Twitter stream is currently full of friends attending Google I/O, where it unveils all the cool stuff people are going to be able to build on. It's the usual mixture of excited squeals at clever new things and cynical mutterings about how Google w...


Ikea's lawyers show that overly protecting a brand can be bad for business

One of the things I liked about being a planner was seeing inside businesses - and that almost universal realisation that what everyone thought they were good at wasn't the real key to their success. What Nike is really good at is procurement. What H...


Our jobs could be under threat from the Eugene Goostmans of the world

Have you seen the movie Transcendence with Johnny Depp? I don't recommend it. Appallingly overblown sci-fi guff about a scientist who gets himself "uploaded" into a computer - becoming a glitchy, screen-based entity spouting platitudes in that spiky ...


The web idealists have a point: content can't truly blossom in walled gardens

There's a small and growing movement known as the "IndieWeb". I hear more about it every day.


At least New York Times isn't waiting for the whole digital lark to just go away

The New York Times had a bit of a leak the other week - an internal report on how they were doing at "digital". It was depressingly familiar reading for those who have been trying to get organisations to "do digital" for a very long time, but you hav...


Confused by services or Internet of Things? Look no further than these folks

This might shock you, but I am not a highly connected maven bursting with insightful genius and privy to the innermost thoughts of a secretive media elite. If I have developed any skill over these years, it s the ability to sniff out a good source ...


Introducing supermarkets' new brand ambassadors: cheerful self-checkouts

They're so common now that observational comedians make jokes about how observational comedians no longer make jokes about them.


Robots aren't teaming up with art directors - they're too busy writing the news

On 17 March at 7.53am, the Los Angeles Times ran a story on its website about an earthquake striking near the city: "A shallow magnitude 2.7 earthquake aftershock was reported Monday morning four miles from Westwood, according to the US Geological Su...


WhatsApp's scale tells us to alter our tech attitude and focus on evolution

Many years ago, I lived on the West Coast of America and people felt compelled to tell me about their feelings. It was there that I first heard about the idea of learned helplessness. It's a concept from psychology, apparently, first identified by Ma...


The smart businesses are investing in things that will make your clients obsolete

There's nothing that feels more dated than virtual reality. It has been the technology pipe dream for so long that it has a multi-generation history of false hope and disappointment.


Click-through as currency shows how brands have got the internet all wrong

If you haven't seen this in a presentation yet, you'll see it very soon: when teens realised Facebook posts in which brands were mentioned rose higher in the News Feed, they began adding brand names to the end of everything.


Perhaps the era of great change has come to an end - at least in media

Regular readers will know I'm quite fond of noting and quoting my favourite sources for stories and ideas - to a shameless extent, I'm sure some would say. I've always appreciated it when people signpost interesting things to me. But I'm aware I also...


It's not what advertising is good at so much as what it can do better

I've always thought that the best advertising people are those who are a bit suspicious of it. That may well be true of other professions. A degree of distance, a measure of not-drinking-the-Kool-Aid, might help you be good at your job. That's certai...


WhatsApp is an intriguing business. But not because it cost a whopping $19bn

The past few days have been filled with spluttering pundits comparing the WhatsApp acquisition by Facebook to some sort of end times. "$19 billion!" they cry. "For what?! They don't even take advertising!" Indeed, they don't.


WhatsApp is an intriguing business. But not because it cost Facebook $19bn

The past few days have been filled with spluttering pundits comparing the WhatsApp acquisition by Facebook to some sort of end times. "$19 billion!" they cry. "For what?! They don't even take advertising!" Indeed, they don't. This is a company that h...


We should all learn to ditch our inner Charlie Brooker and start singing praises

When I first started writing these columns, they were pretty grumpy - lots of poking fun at dumb agency stuff and pointing at industry idiocies.


Why women, not mobile tech, have provided the most profound changes

There's a splendid interview with Kevin Kelly on He points out that, in the early days of the web, everyone assumed it would turn into "TV 2.0": "5,000 different sources giving you the specialty information about a horse channel and a dog c...


We can all learn a lesson from the Brazilian air force when it comes to tech

Just off the top of your head, which country do you think has the best air force - pound for pound? The answer, apparently, is Brazil...


The planning community needs to assert itself more to get brands to act

Here s a great tip for fun in a meeting: ask everyone how advertising works. It always leads to blank stares; then, when everyone has had a chance to think about it, you normally get to something about condensed message delivery. Which might be right...

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