Archives for April 2016

April 29, 2016 - Comments Off on What ads do Creative Directors really like?

It’s always helpful to know what work is being favoured by the experts. Therefore when I heard about ITV and Thinkbox’s Creative Carousel at Advertising Week Europe, featuring some of my favourite creative people, I couldn’t wait to get in front of them.

On the panel was: Rosie Arnold (CD @ BBH) Nils Leonard (CCO @ Grey) Alex Grieve (ECD @ AMV BBDO) and Chaka Sobhani (CD @ Mother, and soon Leo Burnett). Each member of the panel showed a peice of their own TVC work that they were most proud of.

First, Rosie showed us her favourite ad that she made at BBH for Yeo Valley. The advert wasn’t your standard 30 second TVC, but a full length boyband music video featuring the product.

The panel discussed that the ad was a massive hit with the public when it came out, but it never won an award. Rosie explained that the advert was aimed at women, and didn’t resonate as much with men, which might have been why it was never awarded.

She went on to say: “When you’re a female creative, you have to show your work to your CD, who is usually male, then your ECD, who is male, then when it comes to awards, at this time most judging panels were predominantly male.”

Whether or not this was the male judging panel had an influence on the lack of award, it did make me think about the challenges that we face as female creatives within an agency. Does this mean that if we are working on a brand that is targeted at women, and our CD’s and ECD’s are male, it may not get noticed as a good idea?

As I’m writing this, I’m the only female creative in a creative department of twenty. Times may be changing, but it's going to take a while until the industry is full of female Creative Directors.

Rosie stressed that she had to fight for her idea, and that’s what we all need to be doing too. Wallflowers will struggle to get work out. So don't be one. Fight fellow creative! Fight like a bitch.

Next, Nils showed us a piece that he made for Mumsnet at Grey: ‘Teach your child to Dial 999.’ Not only did the ad communicate a simple and life saving message, but the execution showed real footage of a young girl calling 999 whilst her mum was having an epileptic fit. This highly emotional ad was something that Nils felt very passionately about (as we all should be), which made him want to make it even more.

He also mentioned craft: “It’s important to start doing stuff that doesn’t look like a crafted television commercial.”

This seems to be something that I’m hearing more and more. Yes, you’re still required to know how to execute a good print advert, but you’re also expected to make adverts that are disguised as non ads. Most people think ads are annoying, make them something cool.

This advert in particular was extremely impactful, due to the raw footage of a young girl’s voice in a scenario that we can only dread. Two emotions: cute and fear. Emotions that can only leave us with our hearts pounding and our eyes watering. Well done Nils. You succeeded.

Chaka then showed the Boots Christmas ad ‘Homecoming’ (2015) which she made at Mother. The long version of the advert tells an emotive story, showing a mum who is a nurse, coming home on boxing day morning after working through Christmas day, to find that her daughter, who was travelling, had travelled home to see her.

As far as Christmas ads go, this ad seemed to follow a fairly well trodden theme. Even though we’ve seen so many, emotive family tearjerkers at Christmas time still seem to work though. (Maybe it’s because we wish our own families weren’t as fucked up). But can you ever really remember which brand did what?

Finally we saw Alex’s Christmas ad for Currys PC World starring Jeff Goldblum, a ‘baked beans’ jigsaw puzzle and an awkward gay kiss. This to me seemed similar in tone to the Harvey Nichols ‘Sorry I spent it on myself’ campaign, where family members were seen opening terrible gifts.

Personally, I feel that when you have to rely on a celebrity to bring your advert to life, the idea isn’t necessarily a strong one. Especially when you're putting a book together, think original, not celebrity.

He explained that Jeff wasn’t their first casting choice, after their first choice pulled out. He then went on to give some great casting advice:

“If you’re looking for a celebrity, always look for the one who’s recently divorced.”

So there you go. Stop reading the Copy Book and start reading OK magazine.

To finish off the session, Nils then showed an American ad that he wished he’d done from, showing gerbils being fired out of a cannon. The endline was simple: ‘Send your complaints to’.

This hilariously offensive, and hopefully faked creative ad stood out more to me than any of the typically crafted ‘addy’ ads. Nils then went on to say that we need to be less serious in this country.

I too would agree. So what are you doing still reading this?

Go and be less serious.

Throw your laptop in the nearest lake, and pick up some salmon on the way, it’s good for your brain.

Anyway, see you around, I’m off to the pub.

Published by: admin in All

April 29, 2016 - Comments Off on A love letter to my Creative Partner

I was in a dark place two years ago, when I met Sandrine Gautheret. For starters, I had a rather mediocre book that was getting me no traction in the industry. Previous book crits were ambivalent at best, and embarrassing at worst. But that was the least of my worries. I had recently been treated for a mental illness, after leaving 14 months of a creatively unfulfilling retail job. And I’d never studied advertising, nor had any contacts, formal experience, or any real understanding of what a creative does. So for me – as I assume might be true for a few of you – it was a now or never moment. Find a new partner and make a success of it, or resign myself to a life of something else.

There are moments that change your world forever, moments that make you who you are. Life swings and pivots like a pendulum, normally staying fairly upright and stable, but occasionally veering in a new direction. Meeting a creative partner will be one of those moments that define you as much as meeting your future spouse. And the comparison is apt, because it is a marriage of sorts. It won’t all be bright and breezy; there will be times when you seriously consider giving up, throwing in the towel. Fresh-faced and with a spanking new ‘Cargo Collective’ online portfolio, I used a Direct Mail campaign to blag us book crits at some top agencies around London. Yet none led to any placement offers, and I began to fear that we just weren’t good enough. After a grueling schedule going from book crit to book crit we developed our own routine. It was just like rehearsing the same scene in a play again and again, hoping that the audience might be especially receptive this time around. Weeks passed. And we still weren’t breaking in.

If that sounds traumatic, then my best advice would be to develop an appetite for punishment. Those initial months were a bumpy ride, but eventually we got offered our first placement together at Wimbledon-based agency Haygarth. The commute from lofty North London took the best part of 2 hours, one way. We didn’t sleep. I lost weight. But we were high on the best drug ever – advertising – the sense that we might, just might, crack an industry that so many people aspire towards. Then we got fired. Then we got another job at a top digital agency… and got fired again. It’s not a textbook success story. And that’s because this business is a fucking shit show. In order to make it work, you need someone you can rely on, someone who’s there in the trenches with you. Every late night and every pitch deck 3am last minute panic. When I met Sandrine, I knew she was that person, showing a quiet yet fierce determination that has taken us from London to New York and Copenhagen. She had the drive to make it work. That’s a quality you’ll want to look for.

David & SandrineOne of the best pieces of advice I got given was “Anyone can teach themselves to use Photoshop. But developing real creative talent is much more rare.” A common mistake to make as a junior is valuing style over substance; being impressed by the flashiest book or the cleverest puns. But spend long enough in the industry and you find that brilliant designers and smart copywriters are everywhere. What will really make you stand out is stand out creative. But to take the point a little further – where does brilliant creative come from? I’m a big believer in the partner system, one that we practice in America – although not as formulaically (or one might argue as rigidly) as in the UK. Generally speaking, in America as elsewhere in Europe, agencies hire the best individuals and them pair them up in-house – often with new teams forming for new projects depending on who’s available. Whereas in the UK, you’re expected to come fully formed and showcasing a portfolio that reflects your creative collaboration. It’s a very different beast, and with very strange expectations that you don’t find anywhere else. Is it better or worse, for individuals and for the industry? That’s a matter up for debate. Anecdotally, last year the UK took home more Cannes Lions that any other country apart from the USA. Not bad for a small wet island slightly smaller than Oregon.

I’d argue that the very best creative concepts come from a Copywriter and an Art Director working together, bringing their unique perspectives and left brain/ right brain thinking to a problem. I’m also a huge fan of boy/girl teams too as then you’re in a position to offer both a male and female perspective. That might not work for you. The important thing is to find out what does. Every marriage is different.

Ultimately, when you sit down in that Single Mingle room you’ll be distracted by the person with the biggest mouth and the loudest voice. That floppy-haired kid who won a D&AD New Blood Pencil last week and won’t shut the fuck up about it. Yet advertising isn’t just about being loud and flash. Nor is it all about being bright and brilliant – although of course that plays a big role. If you want to make a success of your future advertising career, find someone who you can love. I mean it. Find someone who makes you want to get up in the morning because you believe you’re going to create great things together. Because love – real creative love – holds a team together, and keeps you coming back for more.

There’s a wonderful speech at the end of the film Serenity where Captain Mal says, “You know what the first rule of flying is? Love. You can learn all the math in the 'Verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds.” The advertising industry is a bit like that. Most people get shaken off. But when you have love, you can keep holding on. This industry is fucking tough. Yet you’re going to be different. You’ve got something else no one has. You’ve got each other.

David Felton is a Copywriter at PI&C Copenhagen.

April 28, 2016 - Comments Off on Available | 4ft square live/work space with shared facilities

Looking to get your foot onto the creative ladder? JWT have space available. It’s only 4ft square, but it comes with all mod-cons including a desk, swivel chair, heating, lighting and broadband. And unlike the rest of London this space is available. And if you want it, it’ll even pay you to be there. £376 a week no less.

It’s ideal for students, graduates wanting to take their first steps into the market. And you’ll get to work on real stuff. Mr Kipling. Kitkat. Harvester. It’s not all food, promise.

Word from the estate agent is they reckon these desks we be snapped up quickly. So to arrange a viewing, ditch what you’re doing and fill in this application form.

References not required. Good work a must.

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April 27, 2016 - Comments Off on ADCAN Awards 2016

Want to be a winner? Here's your chance. The ADCAN awards are back, if you're a filmmaker or want to be one well here goes!

There's four briefs for you to have a crack at, and they're all for good causes / organisations. WIN WIN. Make a film whilst feeling good about the world too. Basically pick a brief, then make a 30secs film that spreads the charities’ messages in a unique and vibrant way. Then enter for freeeeeee! None of this pay to enter nonsense.

The winners get the opportunity to attend two days of exclusive industry access workshops with ADCAN partners Partizan, Rattling Stick and Nexus, and other industry leaders such as Work, Wave, ARRI Media and The Mill.

Sounds great right?

Read all about it here: //

Deadline: 28th July 2016


Published by: admin in All

April 27, 2016 - Comments Off on New Blood Shift

Are you aged 18-26 bursting full of creativity, but don't have a degree?

D&AD have a super awesome new opportunity that might just be right up your street. They're launching a night school for 15 young things who aren't in the creative industries but should be! Do you blog, write funny tweets, doodle, code, or something else that's weird and wonderfully original? It won't interfere with your work, but it will get you geared up to get into the creative industries.

Know someone this is perfect for... TELL THEM.

Check out all the info here: //

Deadline to apply: June 1st.



April 19, 2016 - Comments Off on Creativity is the cure, now what’s the problem?

So it’s Adweek Europe and D&AD festival right now, which basically means a load of people aren’t at work including myself. I had the joy of popping down to the CP+B early doors talk “Creativity is the cure. Now what’s the problem?” (With Dave Buonaguidi, Heide Cohu and David Abraham)

CgZYsZ0WEAAjMjD copy

Turns out we are, well part of it anyway. “The business is flat, and the industry is getting worse and worse.” - Dave Buonaguidi starting the morning with a rather depressing quote, but very exciting opportunity. What exactly are we going to do about it? “Be more entrepreneurial.”

There was a lot of information being fired out rather fast but basically, the industry has gone down this path where it does work for the industry not for consumers. We’re meant to be a service for businesses but have turned into a commodity about price. We should be creating culture. More importantly we should be able to create culture, not just steal some shit off Youtube.

Our work should be a collision of creativity, culture, and business, if it isn’t we aren’t doing our jobs properly. Dave used CP+B’s journey with Dominos as an example of this, turning shit pizza into a tech company that’s actually pretty loved now.


His broader message was that we should be doing this amazing exciting stuff, that we’re not embarrassed to show other people. Things that engage people by using their brand to do creative things.

Heide reminded us that creativity isn’t easy, and it shouldn’t be. She was after all involved in that famous Red Bull space thing none of us will ever forget. (Which in itself is a reminder of how bad the industry is as that happened in 2012!!!!!!!! and we still can’t stop talking about it.) If there’s not many challenges it’s probably not going to be that great. Real creativity is a massive commitment, for everyone involved. It’s so much bigger than the creative department.

She went into her move to Bacardi after Red Bull and astounded me with the fact that the drinks group when she joined has 6,700 agencies retained globally. LITERALLY WTF? How can anything happen with that many people involved.


Well it can, there’s Bacardi Triangle and the Bombay Sapphire film project led to a BAFTA, not forgetting big business growth for both of them.

David Abraham of C4 showed us this….

And raised the question of how do we nurture people in the industry.. but we ran out of time to properly explore that. He did mention this mega project though: // I know it’s a press page but I can’t find another link to it.

Dave wrapped it up pretty nicely though with all the risk taking and bold moves attitude. What’s the worst that can happen? It’s advertising.

April 19, 2016 - Comments Off on Single Mingle | May 2016

Have you been longing for the chance to share your lovingly handcrafted ideas with someone else?


Are you a lonely copywriter looking for your ideal art director? Or an art director looking for the perfect wordsmith? We’ve got a night that’s the perfect chance to find that special someone, for the hours of 9 to 5.

On Wednesday 4 May, we’ll be taking over Iris and kitting it out to help you search for your special someone. Our speed dating format means you get to meet plenty of potential matches. But don’t worry, this isn’t about personalities, or a fashion show. This is a meeting of roles. Art directors one side. Writers the other.

Sceptical? Don’t be. Previous events have seen teams formed that are now plying their trade throughout London and even further afield. And if you want to get a feel for it, you can check out the photos from our last Single Mingle.

Want in? Grab one of our refundable tickets now.

This is event is sponsored by Iris Potential. The creative grad scheme for Campaign’s Agency of the Year, Iris.

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This is event is sponsored by Iris Potential. The creative grad scheme for Campaign’s Agency of the Year, Iris.

Poster by Seb Hepplewhite @ YCC

Note: This is a graduate to junior level only event for wannabe creative teams. Soz.

April 13, 2016

Meal Of Fortune | Episode Two

So that thing you now all know and love Meal Of Fortune happened again. And on a Friday night, super COOL. This time we sent out Rob and Sam from Grey with a rather lovely placement duo called Alex and Emily.

I'll let them do the talking... but all in all it looked, well sounded, like a ruddy fun night.

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