At the risk of taking food out of my childrens mouths…

I would like to recommend a seminar being driven by my dear friend, ex-colleague, co-founder with me and Adrian Jeffery of 1576 Advertising Limited and competitor, David Reid, of Because Brands Matter.

It’s co-hosted with Shepherd and Wedderburn and looks into the branding of food and the legal protection of your IP rights.

It’s being held in Edinburgh on 17 April and you can register online at

Food for thought_ the key ingredients for creating and exploiting your brand

An amusing Christmas distraction

Our annual SEX party (Self Employed Xmas) found me assuming the role of auctioneer to raise money amongst the assembled 25 or so creative luminaries on behalf of our old, and sadly missed, pal Kenny Harris for his charity of choice; Diabetes Scotland.

Post lunch, rather lubricated my job began and after a few successful and enthusiastic lots had been sold we moved onto “the Sting” lot donated by David Reid for a “lost afternoon” lunch at The Canny Man’s.  Everything covered including taxi home.

All were pre-warned not to bid under any circumstances (for a wee laugh) apart from one person who tried but was restrained from bidding.  The action was caught on camera by a stealthy Mike Coulter.

The auction went on to raise £1,800 and David had the last laugh as his lot reached the highest total of £200 when it was later auctioned for real.


Mad men?

If the TV series Mad Men positions the ad industry as one of the great bastions of style in the 50’s and 60’s, what on earth happened in the 80’s?

This is what happened in the 80’s.

One of Scotland’s leading creative directors turned up for a Bass Ale shoot in the Crown Bar, Belfast, looking like…

Actually, words fail me.

Certainly some sort of Kajagoogoo reject.

I mean, where to start?

The shorts probably.

The T shirt?

The haircut?

The come to bed expression?

The boots?

And I then went on to form a business with this Gok Wan nightmare.

Caption competition. There may be a bottle of fizz in it for the person who posts the best comment to this picture.

An online marketing experiment from the 90’s

Back in the day I effectively “commissioned” these films for use as viral mailers for our ad agency 1576.  My partners David and Adrian answered the brief to come up with something distinctive and daring and I felt that it would be hypocritical of me to knock them back.  After all I was often critical of our clients who weren’t ‘brave’ enough to buy challenging work.

So we went for it.  The ‘target audience’ was marketing directors who wanted work that would be noticed.  The first in the series was entitled ‘Bonk’.

I remember showing them with glee to my dad pointing out how challenging we were.  The look on his face said’ Mark you are a fucking idiot’ what he said was.  ‘Hmmm, not sure if thse will do you an awful lot of good really.’

And so to the second spot…’Exit’

We shot them in our client’s premises one Sunday at Granite House in Glasgow.  Direct Holidays it was.  funnily enough we lost the business not so long after.  The third in the series was ‘Toss’.  My personal favourite.

I took my kids to the shoot and they christened the man in the specially commissioned penis suit ‘Mr Mushroom Head’

To add longevity to the campaign we even made a seasonal spot.

But probably the most tasteless of the sorry and sordid episode was this closer…

But did it work you ask?

Put it this way.  My dad called it right.

We had several calls to remove names from databases.  Our competitot=rs captured them and allegedly sent them to clients before pitches asking if they really wanted to work with an agency that made self promotion trailers like this.

BUT.  We retained our integrity.  AND we certainly stood out.

Judge for yourselves.  I’d be interested to know, ten years later, what you REALLY thought at the time.