Think Hard

Another good awards night.
More 'gongs' collected.

More ‘gongs’ collected.

One of the things I am often commissioned to do is to help my clients write marketing awards entries –  particularly effectiveness awards.

I believe there is a skill and a knack in doing these well, because you have to really engage judges with a good story and of course compelling results.  Often the results are really obvious but sometimes you need to take an ‘angle’ that my clients may not have spotted that will help their paper stand out.

Last week I landed my 51st Award for 27 different clients over the years, some for my own work but increasingly for other people’s work.

Specifically at The Marketing Star Awards, Scotland my papers picked up or contributed to;

  • Three Chairman’s awards
  • One Gold Award
  • Three Silver Awards
  • Two Bronze Awards
  • And three nominations

So, next time you want to enter something and you either can’t be bothered or don’t have the time, give me a shout.  Just to give you a flavour here’s the general highlights.  (NB this doesn’t include creative awards)

  • Scottish Marketing Awards (includes a Grand Prix)
  • IPA Effectiveness Awards (includes 3 Grand Prix’)
  • CIPR Awards
  • Marketing Excellence Awards (21 wins so far)
  • Scottish Recruitment Awards
  • Herald Digital Awards
  • DADI Awards
  • Purple Apple Awards (retail)
  • Scottish Legal Awards
  • Go Awards (procurement)
  • DBA Awards

Think Hard on the awards trail.
June 16, 2015, 11:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

OK, so the real credit for this goes to Emperor Design who designed this.  But the copy and the photography was all mine.  So I feel quite pleased too.

Just won at the Print, Design and Marketing Awards in the Report & Accounts category.


Another Cannes contender.
June 16, 2015, 10:14 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Really rather hilarious pre roll commercial that starts with then ending.  (Pre roll is the stuff you have to watch online before you see the programme, the ads you skip.)

Geico, an American insurance company found a way to get people to not just watch, but enjoy, our 60 second sports.  Here’s how they achieved it.

Outrageously funny.

The ‘Like a Girl’ campaign
June 16, 2015, 9:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This US campaign by Leo Burnett in Chicago has been attracting a lot of positive criticism and is predicted to do well at the Cannes Advertising Festival this week.

It’s a strong piece of content sponsored by Always and kind of riffs off the long term success of Dove’s inner beauty campaign in that it taps into the inner feelings of ordinary girls who enter puberty under the largely subliminal prejudice that doing things ‘like a girl’ is pathetic and second best.  It aims to take this perhaps unintentional, but deeply ingrained, prejudice and show it for what it is, a demeaning and institutionalised put down and to eradicate it from American culture.

Certainly an ambitious objective; but in the land of sanpro where the convention has been to suggest that menstruation is a time for riding on horseback or surfboarding then this is to be applauded.

Here’s a taster.  What do you think?

Me, myself and I welcoming the creative community from Shenzhen in China to Edinburgh
May 25, 2015, 3:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In my role as chair of Creative Edinburgh with my pals Fin Wycherley and Adam Foster.

I think it was a pretty good attempt at murdering both the Chinese AND the Gaelic language with a bit of English destruction thrown in to boot.

Creative Edinburgh. What’s it all about then?

I’ve been privileged to be Chair of this astonishingly successful organisation for about three years now and in that time I’ve seen it grow from a mere idea to a near 1,700 strong network.

I was recently asked to contribute to the new blog and here is what I had to say.


Brownian Motion. It’s a good metaphor for Creative Edinburgh’s unwritten raison d’etre. For those of you unfamiliar with the term it’s the term for random motion of particles suspended in a fluid resulting from their collision with the quick atoms or molecules in the fluid.

OK, that’s all a bit scientific Pseuds Corner (I was a science undergraduate once upon a time), but it’s very apposite to our work here at Creative Edinburgh. Because, at the core of our belief is the idea that if you put lots of people with very different skills, careers, experiences and needs in a room and let Brownian Motion take over people will move about, bump into one another and make random collisions that will spark real opportunity.

It’s happened for our members time and time again at our many and varied events. But one common theme binds these events together; the chance to network in a non-confrontational environment……

You can read the full post here.

For anyone with an interest in how to run their business more creatively. Read How Google Works.


This is a little cracker of a book.

Written by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg who were both with Google from almost its outset in around 2001 and rose through the ranks to become CEO and Senior Vice President respectively.

In it they tell us how to manage “smart creatives”, typically engineers and coders in their world but smart creatives can be found right through an organisation as they are the people that think about problems in all sorts of areas.

It has a surprisingly lighthearted tone for an American business book and manages to make light of what is a pretty dry subject.

Although some of the anecdotes and tales of the creation of things like the Google Driverless Car, Gmail, Google +, and Google Maps have you thinking “well it’s OK for Google to do this given their vast resources and unrepresentative company culture” (drilled down from the very top) you also find yourself saying “why not”  a lot.  Why shouldn’t I aspire to, and initiate, a business culture in my organisation that is egalitarian, meritocratic, relatively non hierarchical despite its hugeness.

I know for sure I’ve tried to do this wherever I have had any influence over this sort of thing.

The book shares real world examples of cultural good practice, how to enhance staff retention and how to celebrate failure.  It demonstrates a great deal of the benefits of Lean business thinking and Agile working, where speed is of the essence, and it builds to something of a climax in the sections on communication and innovation – 20 percent time where employees get to work on an initiative of their own, outside their core work stream – this is what really drives innovation at Google.

For me though, the most interesting aspect of the book is the dissemination of how Google fights for its unique culture.

It’s a great read and I recommend it wholeheartedly.


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