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.

The new 60 Watt website.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 09.47.07

My long term client and friend, Iain Hawk, of 60 Watt,  has been crafting his new website for some time now and finally it has been revealed.

It’s certainly minimal and in a lovely, simple way.

The four case studies are amongst the finest written you will ever stumble upon.

(Pete Mill’s pen on fire.)

Do enjoy them please.

My old mucker, Rob Morrice

Rob’s running a B2B agency called IAS in Macclesfield and he loves a bit of controversy.  Mostly he loves telling folk how they are ingrained in convention and that they should learn from his own way of zagging when everyone else zigs.

Here he tells Manchester how to get their collective arses in gear.  Like me, he likes a short para!

Rob had to retouch out the P and J sign because he's moved on these days.

Rob had to retouch out the P and J sign behind him because he's moved on these days.


It never ceases to amaze me that Agencies ignore the basic fundaments of B2B Marketing when marketing themselves.  Before I joined, IAS broke most of its own segmentation rules in its marketing efforts, particularly in its approach to timeline segmentation. And most agencies do the same.

If an agency manages to extract a client out of a relationship with another agency that the client believes is doing a good job, then it’s the exception that proves the rule.

And the rule is that the client decides when it wants to change agency.

With this as a core belief, the task is to be positively front of mind at the time when a client goes to pitch.

And – horror of horrors –  this means you have to spend a lot of money targeting a lot of people a lot!

Because, with the exception of public sector contracts, it’s almost impossible to know when a pitch is going to happen.

A good New Business person can find out some stuff which might not be in the public domain by building up relationships and mining a limited number of clients, but the sheer volume of prospects agencies are targeting precludes us from employing enough New Business people to build up that type of personal relationship across the board.

This means that an agency marketing strategy is simple to describe but will expend a lot of time, effort and money to implement.

You have to meticulously gather the names, addresses and email addresses of all of your prospects and consistently build-up dialogue with them over a long period of time.

At IAS, We have a database of over 6000 UK B2B spenders and we target to communicate with them at least once a month. We use every club in the golf bag. PR, Trade Advertising, Books,  D Mail, Email, Events, Networking, Sales Promotion, Sponsorship, White Papers, Blogs, Social Marketing, levering award wins and anything else we can think of.

For the first six months of this new strategy, very little happened but as we’ve persevered, the phone started to ring more and more with clients asking us to pitch. And of course people are starting to talk about us and a snowball effect ensues.

This is not a particularly politically correct way to describe it but it’s a bit like Blitzkrieg, We blanket bomb our audience so we are assured of getting to the ones who are thinking of going to pitch.

This might sound a costly way of doing it, but its not. We spend barely 3% of our revenue.

The problem however is that Advertising Agencies are a greedy bunch of bastards who allocate no real marketing budget. Hands up those who have spent money with The Drum this year.

And – I would say this of course – most are not B2B savvy so they either don’t know or ignore the basics of B2B Marketing.

Over the years a few agencies have got a bit right; but not many.   My old agency SMARTS used to be good at it before Media Square re-invented it as a PR shop. (He would say that.  Ed.)

My old pal Mark Gorman, had the hang of it when he was MD of 1576 and in his consultancy career at Think Hard since. For example, Mark’s is the top marketing blog in Scotland.  (He said that to suck up and get his article published.  Ed.)

Another Scottish marketing consultant mate of mine was complaining recently that Mark got all the best consultancy projects going and couldn’t understand why.

I had to tell him in no uncertain terms that the fact clients had heard of Mark might have something to do with it.

The point I’m making here I think is an obvious one. Clients aren’t stupid and when they hear the old wah wah which agencies spout about marketing your way out of a recession, the least they’d expect is for us to practice what we preach.

Rob’s last point is a good one and regular readers of this blog will be aware of my involvement in this very practice with 60 Watt.  Here’s an example…


New work

I’m really happy with this new campaign we’ve been working on at 60 Watt.  It appears as full pages in The Scotsman and it really taps into the current zeitgeist (a good German word for a war inspired ad). We call it the “austerity campaign”.  Hope you like them.  Let me know what you think.



The look

This is the look that reflects the feeling you have when your advertising has been nominated for an award. The look that reflects the fact that despite being the only nomination in the category the judges decide not to give it an award; but to highly commend it.

It is not a gracious look.

It is not a grown up look but, frankly, it is not a look that should have to happen.

My opinion? If a category has no work deemed good enough for an award then don’t nominate the best of the worst.  No nominations. No bitter dissapointment. No griping.

I have been told I look right pissed off in this photo. I was, but not as pissed off as my creative colleagues, Pete and Iain would have been had they attended the event.

Creativity is everything


My wife and I watched a wonderful history of Stiff Records on the BBC last night. (Of course the BBC hated Stiff in its prime because it was a label of young anarchists).

I loved Stiff. And I’d forgotten how much. The summary of it all suggested that Stiff was a creative, out there, didn’t give a stuff label that believed in the artists and the work.

It so reminded me of me, David and Adrian at 1576.

And, you know what?

Jeana said it before I did.

That was our philosophy.

It’s about the work.

And I still believe that 100%.

OK, the medium may have changed. WHATEVER. But the need for great, insightful, creative ideas hasn’t changed one jot.

When 1576 set out we believed (like all good agencies) that the work was ALL. And I also believe we were right. Middle aged, as I am.

That’s why I work, and love it, with 60 Watt.

That’s why Mighty Small will, probably, be small but great.

That’s why people who want good work in this industry need to work with people who care, not just people who are doing a job.