One of Think Hard’s most interesting projects this year.

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Working with a small Leith-based design and advertising agency, Nexus 24, we gave the business a fair old overhaul.

You can read their full story here.

They are a great bunch and a pleasure to work with and for.

 

 

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Why I’ve joined the Nods team as Vice Chair.

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I was a guest at the inaugural Nods Awards last year and was impressed by its enthusiastic rejection of the usual awards puffery.

  • No suits ( I wore my daughter’s purple hat, inexplicably)
  • No drawn out sit-down dinner with expensive wine. (In fact it was a selection of market stalls selling street food in a really cool venue in the Barras called BAAD)
  • No two hour ceremony with so many awards you couldn’t even begin to work out who had won what.  (It was by contrast a little rushed and in need of sharing the work visually more – but it was all done and dusted in half an hour – the criticism was noted and a balance will be struck this year).
  • No overblown entry fees or ticket prices
  • And, most importantly for me, no profit motive – the proceeds went to the STV Children’s Appeal. But this year, and hopefully for the long term, proceeds will go to NABS (Scotland) well that’s an obvious choice is it not given that NABS is the creative (Communications) industry’s representative charity

This all made the event refreshing, more so when the judges are revealed as global giants, the Chair is a Global Giant herself (MT Rainey) and the organisers are Lux Events and CRAK Marketing, two small businesses wanting to put something back.

Many in our industry have bemoaned media owners using Awards as money-spinning bun fights and whilst I don’t wholly subscribe to that point of view there is no doubt this represents a refreshing change.

So year two now approaches, this time the awards ceremony will swap to Edinburgh and the ethos will be identical, although all of the people and organisations categories have been opened up for FREE entry.  This makes sense as people feel awkward paying to enter themselves for an award.  Instead it will be a Nod of recognition to those that deserve it.

Also we have introduced a craft category – a chance for photographers, illustrators, animators, musicians, film makers to enter for themselves – or for makers in agencies to have a bit of a spotlight shone on them.

I hope the industry will support the awards like they did last year.  It’s a shop window for the winners both to clients and to prospective staff and the awards themselves are keenly priced.

You can find out more here.

But, please note, the deadline for entries is 23rd November.  So get your skates on.

 

 

 

 

 

This. Is London. Greatness from Nike. (Thanks to Wieden and Kennedy.)

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London gets its own Nike ad.

We regionistas should hate it ‘cos it’s Lundin, innit.

But nah; it’s just great.  The fastest three minutes in advertising you will see in a long time.

What I particularly love about it is that it twists the ULTIMATE regional yarn – the Four Yorkshireman sketch from the 1970’s by Monty Python – and makes it relevant to both London and 2018.

Every sport, every exercise, every trope explored with wit and excellent cultural mixing.

Everyone comes out of it well.

Except Peckham.

What’s wrong with Peckham?

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.)