New W&K ad for Finish

There's a hell of a lot to enjoy in Wieden & Kennedy's swansong ad for Finish. It's refreshing to see something so entertaining in what is a relatively dull category. Also refreshing to see something grounded so firmly in the world of subject of cleaning dishes rather than any high falutin' brand purpose lifestyle nonsense. Seems absolutely ludicrous that the account is moving when the creative work is as good as this. Maybe it's a sad indictment and sign of our times that for some marketing folk other things matter far more that the quality of their advertising...


Harry Willcock via the excellent Mike Dempsey blog

Mike Dempsey has written two great pieces about Harry Willcock, the man who helped create a large portion Alan Aldridge's work. You can check out the first piece here, and the second here.

If you're not yet familiar with Mike Dempsey's blog, then get to know, son. It's one of the few blogs remaining that is written by someone capable of designing themselves, it features in-depth and thoughtful pieces about work created from both today and yesteryear, and there's not a shred of 'it's-ironic-therefore-it-must-be-good-omg-lol'.

"I Like It" "So What?"

One of the things I like most about our agency is that when someone says something like "I think this works better" someone else always asks why.

Being able to explain why you think one thing is better than another is vital to our industry - because we need to do it if we want to get people to make better advertising.

Nothing in advertising is pure art, pure creative, for its own sake. We use the power of artistic techniques and creative crafts for a reason - to make communication more effective.

If you're putting something in a piece of communication that isn't there to make it more effective, just for your own artistic reasons or to win a creative award, you're probably a hack. Sorry about that.

This is why the language of how we talk about advertising is vital.

We have to be able to talk to senior people in client companies about why the creativity or craft will be more effective.

One of the fascinating, yet slightly crazy, things about advertising, is that it seems even the people who work in advertising can't agree on what is 'good'.

And I think part of the reason for that is that people are often not arguing about whether something is 'good' or not at all.

They're just saying they like it. So it becomes subjective.

I hear people say I like this.

Woopee-fucking-do. I like pineapple on pizza.

I don't care, quite frankly, whether you like it or not.

Instead, let's have a conversation about what makes it work. Why do you think it will work?

That's a conversation that professional people should be having.

Liking an ad is a privilege of the amateur.

Does it do what it's meant to do?

Why will this do the job well?

I still believe that there is no single 'formula' for what makes something a 'good' piece of advertising, which I think can only be a good thing, can't it?

But because of this, we have to become better as an industry, creatives, planners, everyone, at having a proper conversation about why things work, and why our creativity and craft makes things work better.

Until we all magically find clients who will just let us do whatever we think is right (I'm not sure that's a good idea by the way), this is the only way better advertising is going to be made.

With a respectful doff of the cap to Dave Trott

Breaking The Myth of How Great Work is Created

We need to break the myth of how the best advertising is created.

The advertising industry has to realise that its value to clients lies in its talented people – not process.

It needs to be confident of that fact, and put it proudly back in the centre of the business.

That means agencies need to stop making out it’s their proprietary process that creates the best solution, and accept that it is talented people that really make the difference.

Agencies have unfortunately become moulded in the image of what they think clients want.

So they over-emphasise process, because they believe it makes clients feel comfortable that the agency can consistently produce the goods.

Whereas, in reality, smart clients know the best ideas come from talented people

But agencies seem to find it really hard to be honest about that, maybe because people are complex – they leave, they have bad days, they get sick, and let’s face it – not all agencies have the most talented people.

So they put the emphasis on their process or system.

The truth is, the agency’s most valuable product – brilliant creative thinking that helps clients meet their business objectives – comes from the brains and talents of good people.

Unfortunately, in modern agency set-ups, these talented people are all too often stifled within poor systems.

They need to be freed from the shackles of these counter-productive processes that prevent them from tackling problems effectively. 

An excerpt from our new book ‘How To Make Better Advertising and Advertising Better – The Manifesto for a New Creative Revolution’ is available exclusively at the Design Museum. (edit: although it might be sold-out oops!)

Thought For The Day #1

Thought for the day:

Good advertising makes you think "Ooh that's a good ad"
Great advertising makes you more likely to buy the product...

Any thoughts on that?

Some Good Work This Week: Giff Gaff Diving Lady

It's not often we get the chance to use this blog to compliment another agency on some good contemporary work. But thankfully the guys over at Who Wot Why have provided us the opportunity this week with their new spot for Giff Gaff. What makes this good? In our opinion, it focuses on one thing - yes maybe obvious but so many people are trying to cram too many messages or thoughts into things these days, and secondly it's very, very well crafted – again something of a rarity at the moment. It stands out, looks great, sounds great, and makes a good point. Hats off to them, and to client for going with something like this.