Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday Tip No.29 - How To Present Your Work To Clients

"Your idea... it is shit"

Don't.

I really mean it.

I don't care what they do in America, or at Mother. I am a firm believer that Creatives should NOT present their work to Clients.

Here's my 5 reasons why:

1. It's very hard for a Client to say directly to the person who had an idea: "I don't like it." Normally, and quite understandably, they will pretend they like it in the meeting, then call the account team a couple of days later and say: "Actually I don't like it." So you just wasted your time. And theirs.

2. Going to a meeting to present creative work takes half a day. Always. Time you could be having ideas in. Or surfing the internet.

3. Most account people are more charming and more articulate than most creatives. So why have the creatives do the presenting? It's just silly. Get people doing what they're best at. You wouldn't ask Michael Owen to play in goal, would you? No.

4. Account people are experienced at resisting the onslaught of Client comments. Whereas I'm told it's well-known amongst account handlers that a lot of Creatives when faced with Client comments simply fold up like sofabeds.

5. The more time you spend with a Client, the more you will get to know their business problems, their day-to-day concerns and all that malarkey. This is not always a good thing. You're a Creative, and you need to sit outside that. You need to have a general understanding of it all, and yet sit aloof from it. How else can you give them a fresh perspective? Plus you might have to eat in their canteen.

That's it. If you can avoid presenting to Clients, do so.

Tip No.28 - Presenting Your Work To The Team
Tip No.27 - Presenting Your Work To The Creative Director
Tip No.26 - How To Deal With Rejection
Tip No.25 - Look Creative
Tip No.24 - Don't Be Afraid To Ask
Tip No.23 - Your Idea Has To Be 120%
Tip No.22 - Read Iain's Tips
Tip No.21 - Don't Behave
Tip No.20 - How To Discuss Ideas
Tip No.19 - Read Hugh's Tips
Tip No.18 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job
Tip No.17 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7)
Tip No.16 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together
Tip No. 15 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ
Tip No. 14 - Make Friends With Traffic
Tip No. 13 - Get Reference
Tip No. 12 - Don't Stop Too Soon
Tip No.11 - Be Very
Tip No.10 - Breaking Up
Tip No.9 - Working Well With Your Partner
Tip No.8 - Finding The Right Partner
Tip No.7 - How To Approach Agencies
Tip No.6 - Never-Seen-Before Footage
Tip No.5 - Dicketts' Finger
Tip No.4 - Two Blokes In The Pub
Tip No.3 - Play Family Fortunes
Tip No.2 - Should You Take A Bad Job?
Tip No.1 - Don't Overpolish

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Poll: Do Difficult People Do The Best Work?

a prickly character


Today's poll is inspired by some stories in 'Get Smashed':

Bob Brooks "grabbed [an account man] by his tie and shoved him against the wall and smashed a big glass-framed painting, screaming at the top of his lungs."

Charles Saatchi "was a quiet and intense individual. What little he did say tended to be of a hostile nature."

Robert Brownjohn "liked a drink in the afternoon, often to deal with the hangover from the night before... he was rail thin, emaciated. He'd been a junkie and was friends with Miles Davis... he turned into an alcoholic."

Maybe the best creatives are uncompromising, and that means they'd never win any diplomat of the year awards.

Then again, David Abbott is a consummate gentleman, and John Webster was shy and unassuming.

So my question this week is - do difficult people do the best work? Or is that just a myth, put about by average creatives with an attitude problem?

Vote now, in the top right hand corner of your screen.

Previous poll results:

Friday Poll No.15 - Who Is Responsible For Ineffectiveness?
Friday Poll No.14 - Your Personal Success Record
Friday Poll No.13 - Which Department Is The Most Insane?
Friday Poll No.12 - What Music Do You Listen To While Working?
Friday Poll No.11 - What Time Do You Get In?
Friday Poll No.10 - Who Drinks The Most?
Friday Poll No.9 - Press v Online
Friday Poll No.8 - Success Or Glory?
Friday Poll No.7 - Is Reading Blogs A Waste Of Time?
Friday Poll No.6 - Job Satisfaction
Friday Poll No.5 - Festive Greetings
Friday Poll No.4 - Ad Of The Year 2006
Friday Poll No.3 - What's Your Favourite Medium To Work In?
Friday Poll No.2 - Agency Of The Year
Friday Poll No.1 - Which Department Is The Most Overpaid?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A News Programme That's 100% Advertising


Ad Age has launched a daily 3-minute video podcast about happenings in the advertising and marketing industries.

Here's yesterday's.

It's not that interesting, really, except it just shows you how massive the industry is over there that it can support that.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Get 'Get Smashed'


Get Smashed by Sam Delaney is a book about the 'golden age' of British advertising, when creatives drove Ferraris, started drinking at about 11am, punched each other a lot and produced some of the most memorable TV ads of all time.

LunarBBDO reviews it here and is annoyed by the book's occasional faulty spelling.

I thought it was rather well written, but it annoyed me immensely, for different reasons -

They had a lot more fun in those days. Made a shitload more money than we do. And their job was so much easier.

Easier:

"What's so special about your shirts?" asked Johnston. "You don't need to iron them," explained Raelbrook. With that, Johnston sat down at a piano and, beginning to play, sang seven words: "Raelbrook Toplin, the shirts you don't iron!" He repeated the slogan three times, then changed key and repeated the process. Raelbrook was thrilled: "That's what I want! Don't change anything!"


More money:

Eventually, they asked Peter Mayle to take over as creative director. "I decided to give it a go," he says. "It was exciting to have been elevated so quickly. I was only twenty-six, I was earning twice what the prime minister got paid and owned a house on Sloane Square."


More fun:

"I'd get into the office between ten and eleven", Lovelock explains. "Then we'd soon head off to lunch, which was supposed to end at two thirty, but nobody ever did come back."


We also learn that Frank Lowe once worked as a carpet salesman in Manhattan, if Charles Saatchi saw a pair of shoes he liked he would buy several pairs in every single colour, and Tim Bell was so charming that 'dogs would cross the street to be kicked by him.'

All in all, a good light read, that makes you wish you were born about thirty years earlier.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Research Is Dangerous And A Waste Of Time. This Video Proves It



In this brilliantly-constructed piece of film, a research group (genuine members of the public - not actors) gets shown an animatic of Apple's '1984'.

Their recommendations include a directive to make it 'less depressing' perhaps include fun elements like 'a dog or maybe a chimp'.

I wish there was a way to make every Client in the world watch it.

Thanks to my French correspondent for the tip

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Robin Wight Is Now Famous

Notoriously natty dresser Robin Wight (the 'W' in WCRS) yesterday received the ultimate accolade - he was pictured on The Sartorialist which, in case you're not familiar, is one of the web's premier fashion sites.

Do not adjust your set

I think he's super-fabulous.

However, one of the Sartorialist's 40 (!) commenters doesn't quite agree. "That man looks like Austin Powers' grandfather," he says.

Copycat-Busters. Are They Copycats Themselves?

Seeing as copying is the current hot topic... here's a conundrum for you.

Seems there are two websites out there which have an exhaustive collection of lookylikey ads - Joe La Pompe and Coloribus's AdMirror.

Joe La Pompe

AdMirror

But who copied who?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Look, here's my last word on copying. The same briefs come up again and again, so it's hardly surprising the same solutions do too. I'm quite sure NONE of the people creating the so-called copies were aware of the 'originals'. I just don't believe Creatives are like that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Congratulations Indra Sinha. Although He Didn't Win He Did Bloody Well


Last night, Indra Sinha didn't win the Booker prize (Britain's top literary award) for his novel Animal's People.



But getting shortlisted (he was in the final six) is itself an incredible achievement, and usually the best book doesn't win anyway.

Indra Sinha was one of the top creatives in London a few years ago, working mostly at CDP and mostly on print, before going on to do amazing work for the victims of the Bhopal disaster, and write novels.

I reckon he's the 4th ex-copywriter to be nominated for a Booker, after Fay Weldon, Salman Rushdie and Peter Carey. If you can think of others, do let me know.

Here's the ad commonly considered Indra's best.


This won 3 silvers at D&AD, in 1989.

It is brilliant, and would undoubtedly still work today. In fact... it does. M&C basically nicked the 'could you?' from the headline and made it the endline for the Metropolitan Police's current campaign.

Oddly enough, on his website, Indra states that he doesn't have any of his ads to put up, because after he decided to leave advertising and become a writer, he burnt his portfolio. Sounds like he was quite keen to switch then.

Still, he talks warmly of his advertising days, and the little 'advertising' section on his website is worth a visit, if only to see the poster for sausages... art-directed by Tony Kaye.

We all start somewhere.

Had They Seen Them?


On Monday night, this ad won the top award at Campaign Posters.

Less than two days later, these images whizz around the industry.



For me, this is a much more serious accusation than the Play Doh Bunnies/ LA artists plagiarism debate.

Re-purposing a painting with rabbits in it into a TV ad for colour televisions is an imaginative leap that undeniably requires craft and talent.

But the Heinz poster appears to be nothing more than a direct lift.

It's more like the scandal of the MFI ads on TV in the UK right now, which are a virtual re-make of ads that ran for IKEA in the US.

The question there was - had the UK agency (M&C Saatchi) seen the IKEA work (by Crispin Porter) and ripped it off, or was it just a coincidence?

Until someone squeals, we'll never know.

But in the Heinz case, I'm giving the McCann's creatives the benefit of the doubt. I doubt they'd seen these other ads. I mean, one of them looks like it's from Indonesia or somewhere like that.

Obviously it's deeply wrong that McCanns' should win creative awards (that's not what McCann's is for) but I don't think it's dishonest.

Whatever. The ad's not really that good anyway, is it? It's not even the best ad for Heinz I've seen recently.


This is.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday Tip No.28 - How To Present Your Work To The Team


Part Two (of three) in a by-request series on "How To Present Your Work" deals this week with presenting to 'The Team' by which I mean Account Handlers, Planners, Engagement Planners... anyone who works on the business.

Now, I don't know how Tom & Walt presented internally. But I like to think it went something like this...

Tom & Walt: "Morning all. Hi! Come on in. Everyone got a seat? Great."

That's right, folks. The selling of your idea begins before the team even sit down.

At this crucial moment, they are scanning (perhaps unconsciously) every sound and gesture that you make, desperate for clues. Are you confident? Do you actually think you've cracked it, or is this a playing-for-time meeting?

Accordingly, if you have cracked it, be confident. Signal it.

Otherwise, sigh a lot and ask questions.

Tom & Walt: "As you'll remember, the brief was all about how Guinness has more substance than lagers do. It's even reputed to have health benefits."

The Team are not like the CD, who (in most cases) hates preamble. The Team actively want one. Creatives who hand over a script and stare at their shoes will not sell as many scripts to the account team. And believe me, it really helps to sell it to the account team, because the more committed they are, the harder they in turn will sell it to the client.

And did you see what they did there? They referred to the brief, while subtly picking out the one aspect of it they actually have addressed (albeit tangentially).

Tom & Walt: "We've come up with this endline - Good Things Come To Those Who Wait."

N.B. they haven't handed over the script yet.

Tom & Walt: "So the campaign's all about waiting. The idea is that a pint of Guinness is substantial and therefore worth waiting for, just as all good things in life are worth waiting for."

It really pays to literally start one sentence with "the idea is..." Creatives are experts at extracting the idea instantly from a script. Many account handlers are too, but not all. But they know how crucial 'the idea' is. So tell them.

Tom & Walt: "I've got to tell you, we're very excited about this. Abbott loves it."

Sell sell sell baby. Tarsem sold cars in LA to fund his way through film school. The least you can do is tell the team you are excited about something you're asking them to commit the next six months of their lives to.

Tom & Walt: "Now, we've got this script about a group of guys - they're surfers - and they're waiting for the perfect wave. See what you think."

And only now do they hand the script over! That's right. A full 2.5 minutes of preamble. Come on, that's not too much to ask, is it?

Even better, read the script out, if you're the sort of person that can. If it's print, talk them through the imagery.

So to sum up, it's really no big deal (although a lot of young creatives seem to be terrified of doing it) you just explain what the idea is, and why it's on brief, before you hand it over.

But don't wang on.

Oh, and show reference if possible.

Next week - Presenting to Client.


Tip No.27 - Presenting Your Work To The Creative Director
Tip No.26 - How To Deal With Rejection
Tip No.25 - Look Creative
Tip No.24 - Don't Be Afraid To Ask
Tip No.23 - Your Idea Has To Be 120%
Tip No.22 - Read Iain's Tips
Tip No.21 - Don't Behave
Tip No.20 - How To Discuss Ideas
Tip No.19 - Read Hugh's Tips
Tip No.18 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job
Tip No.17 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7)
Tip No.16 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together
Tip No. 15 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ
Tip No. 14 - Make Friends With Traffic
Tip No. 13 - Get Reference
Tip No. 12 - Don't Stop Too Soon
Tip No.11 - Be Very
Tip No.10 - Breaking Up
Tip No.9 - Working Well With Your Partner
Tip No.8 - Finding The Right Partner
Tip No.7 - How To Approach Agencies
Tip No.6 - Never-Seen-Before Footage
Tip No.5 - Dicketts' Finger
Tip No.4 - Two Blokes In The Pub
Tip No.3 - Play Family Fortunes
Tip No.2 - Should You Take A Bad Job?
Tip No.1 - Don't Overpolish

Post About A Poster For A Poster Company That I Think Will Do Well At Campaign Posters

(click on the image if you need to make it bigger)

The nice people at Dave Dye's new/newish agency sent me this last night - it's another execution in their Posterscope campaign. By putting it up on Scamp, I have technically become their PR whore. But I don't care. I love a good poster and this is one.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fight For Kisses



This has been around for a while, but I've only just discovered it.

Very nice piece of work by JWT France, especially when you consider how staid the category is.

And I'm loving the Freudian subtext.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Breaking The Fourth Wall


Saw this on the tube last night. It's an old strategy (if you're reading this, then so are your clients!!), but it got me. Maybe because not many ads are this clean. A few words - in a nice modern typeface - and a web address. It's a simple game, people.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Should Planners Be In The Edit Suite?

Richard Huntington says they should. He calls it "Continuity Planning".

I was going to leave this alone, but sadly I find I can't.

Here's 3 reasons why it's soooooooo wrong.

1) Currently in suite: Editor, Director, Creatives, Agency Producer, Production Company Producer; sometimes Creative Director, Production Company Executive Producer, Agency Production Assistant... yes a Planner might have a useful comment but you've got to draw the line somewhere. We wouldn't want to run out of sushi in there.

2) Do you want Creatives poring over TGI data? No. Account Handlers writing TV scripts? No. So do you want Planners in the Edit Suite? No. And this isn't 'demarcation', it's just common sense - have people do what they're best at. (I've railed against the evils of creative generalism before; this is a similar point).

3) If Planners are going to spend say 5% of their time assisting in the edit suite, then an agency with 20 Planners now needs 21. That costs money. And I'm all about the Benjamins, baby.

Richard Huntington
A good guy (I've met him, he's cool) but has he gone too far this time?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ten New Cocks (and She-Cocks) in Advertising


Yes, Charlie Brooker is back.

via the excellent Serendipity Book.

Tuesday Tip No.27 - How To Present Your Work

Powerpoint!

Just kidding.

Seriously, there's actually nothing wrong with Powerpoint. Russell did an amazing post about cool stuff you can do with it.

But if a creative tried to... he would probably be carted off to the loonie bin. Why, I don't know. At the end of the day, it's just words and pictures, right? Nevertheless, use of powerpoint in creative circles is considered to be actively evil. So if you are a creative, do not use it. If you have for some reason learned how to use it, unlearn it. Fast.

The way a creative presents his or her work depends on which of the 3 possible audiences he is presenting to: creative director, team (account handlers, planners etc) or client.

Basically, the rule is, that the further up this list you go, the more fluff & preamble you should use.

Presenting to CD

For your CD, no preamble at all. I mean it. Nada.

Maybe remind him which brief you've come to show work on when you walk in, just to focus his mind, but that's it. I've learned this from a few bits and pieces that I've CD'ed in the last couple of years, so it's a fact. All a CD wants to see is the work. Nothing else.

What about reference? Only if a piece of reference is essential for understanding the idea, or a music track is fundamental to the idea or even is the idea (e.g. the use of 'Mad World' on that Gears Of War ad) then present the reference or the music. Otherwise, don't.

Next week - Presenting to Team.


Tip No.26 - How To Deal With Rejection
Tip No.25 - Look Creative
Tip No.24 - Don't Be Afraid To Ask
Tip No.23 - Your Idea Has To Be 120%
Tip No.22 - Read Iain's Tips
Tip No.21 - Don't Behave
Tip No.20 - How To Discuss Ideas
Tip No.19 - Read Hugh's Tips
Tip No.18 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job
Tip No.17 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7)
Tip No.16 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together
Tip No. 15 - How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ
Tip No. 14 - Make Friends With Traffic
Tip No. 13 - Get Reference
Tip No. 12 - Don't Stop Too Soon
Tip No.11 - Be Very
Tip No.10 - Breaking Up
Tip No.9 - Working Well With Your Partner
Tip No.8 - Finding The Right Partner
Tip No.7 - How To Approach Agencies
Tip No.6 - Never-Seen-Before Footage
Tip No.5 - Dicketts' Finger
Tip No.4 - Two Blokes In The Pub
Tip No.3 - Play Family Fortunes
Tip No.2 - Should You Take A Bad Job?
Tip No.1 - Don't Overpolish

Friday, October 05, 2007

How Many Times Do I Have To Say This?

So we didn't have to wait long for reports claiming that Play-Doh Bunnies is "ripped-off" from an artist's work.



A 'wave of bunnies' by the same artist may even explain why there's a wave in the ad.


Now, I don't think the ad's that great.

But these accusations are just ridiculous.

For the last time - originality is not a moral issue, it's an effectiveness issue. The more original a piece of work is, the more effective it is, because it feels fresher. Just like how a joke is always funniest the first time you hear it. Now, as very very few people in the world have seen this artist's work, the idea absolutely feels fresh; there is NO problem here.

(N.B. there's one exception to this rule. You can rip off a short film, you can rip off a pop promo, but you don't rip off another man's ad. That is rude. Even if it did only run in Malaysia, in about 1974).

Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's Here, But It's Not That Good


Maybe there was never a chance it could live up to the hype. Maybe it was actually harmed by the release of all that teaser material, which leaves you feeling like you've already seen the ad, really.

But the fact is that the new Sony Bravia ad with the Play-Doh bunnies is probably the weakest installment of the trilogy.

I did like the bit where the little bunny waited to cross the road. And it was very cool when the whale-tail turned into a giant rabbit.

But the waves and cubes didn't do much for me. Why take it beyond bunnies? One surreal twist is fine, but don't lay loads of them on me, because I get lost.

Also, the music is way too on the nose. It feels like they've done groups which told them 'consumers aren't getting that the ads are supposed to be about colour' so they've gone and found a 'colour song'.

Plus, I found that the people moving in stop-motion - in addition to the bunnies - was very distracting and somewhat lame. Shoulda rubbed them out in post, in my view.

Then again, what do I know? All I've done was a thing with watches falling from the sky, and people complained that was both irrelevant and dangerous. At least bunnies never hurt anyone.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How Much Difference Does A Good Director Make?

A lot.

That's what occurred to me, looking at the three new pieces of work that kindly readers and PR companies have forwarded to me today.

Have you seen the new Ladbrokes ad (below)? The strategy's not bad - "got an opinion on football? put your money where your mouth is" - though arguably a little convoluted, and the script is pretty fresh, with a cracking twist at the end. But the direction is excellent - the banter between the professional footballers feels amazingly natural, and that's what makes the spot.



Then there's this charming website for Virgin Trains. Everyone's jumping on the environmental bandwagon nowadays, and the idea of Britain's flora and fauna getting together to write a letter extolling the benefits of trains could have been hectoring and/or naff. However, the direction of the film is both deft and daft, and so the whole thing just works.

Finally, this ad promoting the Vancouver Film Festival. Admittedly, it's a great strategy - 'after 16 days of films, nothing will faze you' - but the direction (from the Perlorian brothers) is truly outstanding. Casting, performance, special effects, wardrobe, make-up... all the 'production' bits.... are first-class, and together they raise the work to another level.

That's what a good director can add.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The New Dove Ad


Okay, maybe not quite as good as Evolution. But very good nonetheless.

Some people are saying that Dove are hypocritical to slag off the beauty industry, and then sell... beauty products. I say that's rubbish. There's nothing wrong with moisturising creams and deodorants. But there's plenty wrong with the manipulation & lies some companies employ in selling them. All Dove are doing is pointing that out. Fair play to them.

Monday, October 01, 2007

How To Sell A Free Magazine


I don't know if where you live is the same, but London has recently been swamped by people thrusting free newspapers and magazines at me. The guy in this film is the MD of one such, and this film showcases his utterly toe-curling instructions to their 'agents' (mag-thrusters). Make sure you read the YouTube comments. They're priceless.