Think Hard in the Press. Marketing Society Honorary Fellowship Award.

Well, it came as a surprise when Graeme Atha contacted me a few months ago to tell me, in confidence, that I had been tabled for not just a Fellowship of The Marketing Society, but an Honorary one.  The fact that I shared the honour with my great friend Charlie Robertson who passed away late last year made the event at The Sheraton in November all the more poignant.

Thank you to The Marketing Society for this recognition.  It really is a great honour.Screenshot 2019-01-21 at 09.38.08.png

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A breath of fresh air. Sweden’s Libresse ad by AMV BBDO.

Female hygiene product advertising has come a long way since Bodyform’s blue water absorbency demonstration.

Let’s face it, it’s a product area that carries a fairly high degree of throat clearing and knee crossing language in ‘polite households’ and isn’t the language that 50% of the population are comfortable using with the other 50%.

Here’s how the category is described in Wikipedia to give you an idea of what I mean

Female Hygiene (or menstrual hygiene products) are personal care products used by women during menstruation, vaginal discharge, and other bodily functions related to the vulva and vagina. 

Increasingly blood is replacing the blue test tube in this category, one of the few that, in my opinion, is holding onto the notion that ‘the big idea’ has real value in this dumbed down world of advertising that we live in.

I stumbled upon this commercial, from Sweden, for one of the aforementioned products while reading a piece on the new Gillette commercial which is nothing if not brave, but maybe a little laboured – I will write about it soon.

Anyway, I think you will enjoy its celebration of femininity in all its honesty.

Maybe it should carry a decency warning, but that would defeat the point of its existence.

It was created by AMV BBDO in London (the agency behind The Economist campaign) and directed by Kim Gehrig at Somesuch (she was responsible for the new Gillette ad and the excellent ‘This Girl Can” campaign for Sport England).

It’s interesting that the creative team is all-male. Art Director: Diego Cardoso de Oliveira
Copywriter: Caio Giannella.

But, as ever, in great advertising great credit has to go to the client who sanctioned it in the first place; Global Brand Communication Manager, Martina Poulopati.

It deservedly won a Gold at Cannes IMHO.

We live, in some small ways, in enlightened times after all.

The power of poster advertising. The fall of the Economist’s advertising intelligence.

In august last year I was asked to argue a debate in favour of big ideas over big data.  Little was I to know that my defence of the Big Idea could never be about to be validated more perfectly.

AMV, for many years, were the top agency in the UK and the jewel in the crown (creatively, not financially was The Economist).  Their advertising was legendary and I show some of it below.  It was always on posters and garnered more PR than it did sightings.  I rarely saw an Economist ad in the flesh but I knew them all.

Proximity now hold the account and the proudly stay

We use data-driven creativity to solve business problems

Their data driven creativity brings together a bunch of algorithms (I guess) to create an an ad on medium that ticks every box going.  And the result is a piece of communication that adds up to…well, zero.

It’s a sad day indeed to see how the Economist has abandoned its incredibly intelligent generation-long advertising campaign on posters for a TV spot that will simply make you cringe.

From these….

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To this….

Truly a sign of the times.

And finally a new order (or is it an old one in disguise) is taking shape. The death of J Walter Thomson.

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At no point in my 33 year long career could I have expected to be writing a post about JWT being no more.  (In fact in the early days I didn’t know what a post was.)

In fact in the early days there was no internet to even write a post on.

But today Wire and Plastic Products announced that after a tumultuous year, including the merger of Y&R and VML, with Y&R taking second fiddle in the naming stakes (VMLY&R), JWT is to merge with Wunderman and be called…just Wunderman.  What’s more, this article in today’s Drum also talks of the rise of creative and media agencies joining forces.

What we are actually talking about here is the re-emergence of the ‘Full Service Agency” that typified the landscape upon my entry in 1985.

The fracturing of our industry following the rise of the ‘media independents’ caused major financial ramifications and a loss of credibility for either camp, certainly a loss of income.

But now data (media ) and ‘media independents’ are once again forming a properly integrated alliance.

I’m not one of those Ad Contarians that bemoans the death of the idea, although I still cherish it, but good targeting and good creativity was what worked back in the day and will necessarily work again.

I suppose it’s progress.

The New Elton John Lewis Christmas ad. (Meh.)

The problem with tracing the Elton John lifetime in reverse is that we know it’s all fake and the vicious whip pans are used so you don’t spend enough time on younger Elton’s face to spot that it’s a series of lookalikes.

Consequently the viewer experience is like watching Elton perform from the seat of a rollercoaster.

It’s a mess.

The central idea has some merit, although I have to say the Christmas element is pretty minimal.

Now, if you wanna see an ad that tells someone’s life story in reverse in a believable and very moving way check out this far superior (and much cheaper) execution from Barnardos.