The Fearless Girl Phenomenon. A non-traditional advertising concept that even the Ad Contrarian would have to applaud.

State Street Capital commissioned McCann Erickson, New York to create a campaign to celebrate their innovative Index fund which comprises gender-diverse companies that have a higher percentage of women among their senior leadership.

That in itself is a great idea.

But the idea was even greater.  It’s not really advertising, it’s not really PR.

It’s a bronze statue of a fearless Girl staring down the world famous “Wall Street Bull” in Manhattan’s financial district.

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It was intended to be in place for one week only to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March 2017 but remains in place after public demand.  Indeed Mayor Bill di Blasio commissioned its residence as part of the city’s transportation art program [sic]. Many want it to become permanent.

Rather than me run through the PHENOMENAL stats on its success, watch this video.

Bravo!

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Creative Edinburgh Awarded Major Funding Package.

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I’ve been Chair of Creative Edinburgh since 2012, and introduced the fledgling organisation to a large audience alongside Fiona Hyslop in 2011 at The Hub in Leith Street.

It was a grand night with lots of dreams (wandering around the room I heard mutterings of cynicism.  “Another (another) creative organisation for Edinburgh, that’s all we need.”) I paraphrase of course.  But for a while that was a prevailing attitude that we had to overcome.

However,  Janine and Lynsey (our directors) were tough as old boots, rolled their sleeves up, donned creative curatorial hats and said “Stuff ’em, we’re gonna make this work.” (Again, I paraphrase.)

Jim Galloway, of the City Council’s Economic Development team, was not one of the cynics.  far from it.

He saw the light.

He had a modest budget from which to draw, and for six years now he has convinced his colleagues not just to fund us, but to celebrate us, endorse us and commission us for consultancy projects (when appropriate).

We’ve never let him down.  He’s never let us down.

The cynics slowly dropped away (but let’s never kid ourselves, no organisation is free from its critics, though few in our case are particularly ‘open’ with their criticism).

We’ve done a good job.  Of that I am in no doubt.  And when I say ‘we’, I principally mean the executive team of directors (Janine, Lynsey and now Claire) ably abetted by their own teams; currently Anna and Rachel but also Jenny, Holly, Catriona and several more.

We’ve drawn on our members to help us in lots of areas and we’ve created an excellent Steering Group who soon put us right when our ideas go a bit off track.

Our board (past and present) has been brilliant.  An eclectic, multi-skilled bunch of proper personalities with a grounding in good governance (thanks especilly to Mike Davidson for that).

Our members’ jams, meet ups and surveys have kept us informed.

And so we’ve grown.

One, two, three, soon four thousand (I hope) members.

We’ve travelled, literally, the world – all over Europe, North America and Asia so far.

But it’s been tight; very, very tight – financially.

Each year has seen a couple of stale biscuits and a half bottle of red wine line the cupboard.  Half a box of Dairylee in the fridge.

But our funders, and sponsors have grown in variety and commitment.  Each year that Dairlyee has looked more likely to be there on April the 6th, and not snaffled by the bailiffs.

And so, yesterday, it was with a mixture of relief and joy that we found out Creative Scotland (who I also have to say have been an increasingly amazing source of support and vision) announced that we, and our great friends and partners at Creative Dundee, had been granted Regularly Funded Organisation (RFO) status along with 114 others.

This is a game changer.  Our funding will now be greater than ever before, and ‘guaranteed’ (so long as we deliver) for three years.

It doesn’t mean we don’t need Jim and the other supporters we have taken on over the years, quite the opposite.  And hopefully some of this recognition will rub off on them.  I particularly have to single out Anderson Strathern, Codebase, FreeAgent, CGI, Chris Stewart Group, Federation of Small Businesses, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Whitespace,The Skinny and others.  Thank you all.  Please continue to support us as we grow.

We wil be doing more, but not haphazardly.  We have a plan to help develop, educate, meet, grow, focus and spotlight the creative industries in Edinburgh.

We’ll work closely with our friends in Dundee.  Gillian Easson has done an amazing job there and she too has been recognised as an RFO.

My heart goes out to those organisations that lost RFO funding (and those that were reduced).  Sadly in this habitat there are always winners and losers.  May you live on and return renewed and invigorated to the fray.

For me, this is a bit of a career highlight.

I’ve known, since I met Janine and Lynsey, that this could, and would, work.  They leave a great legacy and are both still heavily involved (formally and informally).

We have a strong, committed, enthusiastic executive and governance team.  We have committed members.  We now have more robust funding to underpin our vision.

As Jeff Bezos says. “This remains day one.”

 

 

How to become a creative director for a week.

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Studio Something is an agency with a difference.

I’d like to think my own agency, 1576 Advertising Limited, had a similar sure-footedness in its early days but I fear that would be bigging us up too much.  The landscape is different now and their advocacy of pure creativity is a harder course to steer in this rocky world of creative algorithms and Big Data than it was in 1994 when your TV screen still contained delights between programmes.

Creativity lies squarely at Studio Something’s core (square core? – Ed) which, obviously, appeals to me and they’re not afraid to break the rules.

As little babies they surprised the orthodoxy in Scotland by winning the Tennents Lager advertising account and running a multi-execution (online and cinema) animated campaign; a kind of soap opera about the life of Wellpark (site of the Tennents brewery).  Part slice of Scottish Life, part League of Gentlemen with dogs, it was a bold experiment that reaped great rewards.

That was the start.  Since then they’ve continued to surprise with interesting work for See Me and Innes and Gunn, amongst others.

And this post caught my eye on Medium this morning.

It’s essentially a job ad.  An ad for an internship, a creative internship.  But they’ve pulled a great stunt with it.  It’s not unpaid, it’s not minimum wage.  It’s (for one week only) paying the wage of the average Creative Director in the UK –  £45k (or (£865.38) to be precise.

But what makes this unashamed stunt much more interesting is the back story.

I don’t know if it’s written by Ian or Jordan, but it doesn’t matter.  It tells the tale of their damascene moment when Gerry Farrell offered them their own first PAID internship at The Leith Agency (or placement which sounds far more bearable) in the face of their impending personal bankruptcy.

It’s a minor chin wobbler but it also beautifully illustrates their culture.

Indeed (to brutally capitalise on their creativity for, frankly, my own gain) it’s a perfect illustration of EMPLOYER BRANDING, – like we’re doing at Inside Out, but with a boldness and joi de vivre that few could match.

You get a strong sense of values, culture and vision without using any of these words.  And most of all, if I was a 22 year old creative starting out on this rocky journey I’d want to work there.

£865.38 or otherwise.

 

 

 

Who said websites don’t need ideas? A digital marketing “hipster”; that’s who.

What you are about to read demonstrates that ‘websites do not need ideas’ is complete and utter nonsense.

I promise you.

They don’t necessarily need ideas, but those that do are one thing: better.

Today I’m talking to you about a website with an idea.

No a website that is an idea.

It’s a website for a copywriter.  A friend of mine as it happens.

His name is Chris Miller and this is his website link.

And if you have even half a desire to read the best thing you will read today I urge you to read the website on the link I posted above.  It will give both me and Chris Google moolah.

Chris had an idea.  You know, one of the best ones.  The simple ones.

The ones that makes you go.  “Jesus wept; why has no one ever thought of that before?  It’s so simple.”

And what is that idea?

This is his idea…

He’s selling his wares as a copywriter.

What do websites immerse themselves in these days?

 Content! (Shut up you wanker. Ed.)

Pictures (and videos)!

In webland words are deemed nasty, necessary evils only there to attract Google spiders. Words like (in Chris’s case)…

“Hi.  I’m, Chris Miller, a copywriter.  I write copy – award winning copywriting – that will help marketing managers achieve a higher ROI on marketing communications in Scotland, Harrogate, Manchester and the North of England in advertising and digital marketing  in FMCG, automotive, food and drink, public sector and charities.”

Blah blah blah.

But, as I have stated twice already (repetition is not a good idea for Google spideryness –  Ed.), Chris had an idea.

“If I’m about words why plaster my website with pictures?  You know what?  Fuck the lot of you. I’ll use none.” (That was  paraphrased.  Chris is not a big sweary pig like me.)

That opened up a rich vein of thought, and an opportunity to write stunning copy that makes you laugh out loud (even here in the National Library of Scotland where laughing is heavily frowned upon.)

In demonstrating his site to you, and because Chris had the balls (apart from the one page where he didn’t have the balls), to not use any pictures; neither will I.

Except this one.

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Go on, dig deep here.

(Now you’re link bombing you twat. Ed.)

CivTech® 2.0 Demo Day.

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Interesting day today as I go to the EICC to see the launch of the second round of Civilian Technologies.

CivTech® 2.0, from the Scottish Government’s Digital Directorate, launched in early May, set a series of open public sector challenges which ranged from remote visitor monitoring at historic sites, and better access to digital public services, through to outpatient re-design and a unique system to combat bird-of-prey persecution.  Today reveals the winners and their innovative solutions.

Here’s how the ‘innovation flow’ works.

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