NASL Logos



Here's a bit of nostalgia for a Wednesday afternoon. A great collection of North American Soccer League logos & badges from the 70's and 80's.

IPA and News International Fast Strategy App



I was interested to learn that the IPA and News International have launched the industry's first iPad and iPhone app for planning and strategising types to help them "move forward when they are staring at a blank page or drowning in data".

Given the involvement of News International, I was surprised to find out that "hack into the phones of all the key players in your market and intercept their voicemail to find out anything that might give you a competitive edge" wasn't included as a useful tip.

I'm not denying the value of the app, especially for those who are wet behind the ears [or those who don't have anything in between their ears] but my overall impression is that alongside some genuinely helpful pieces of advice there's quite a lot of platitudes masquerading as wisdom.

In my opinion the compilation of these tips and hints could have done with much better quality control.  And more creative people should have been quoted too.

If anyone knows how to move forward when staring at a blank page it's that lot.

Anyway, you can download it here and judge for yourself.  Let us know if it works.

Hooky hook.



We spotted the Radox for men ad with the hairy-backed Bollybloke on the telly the other night, and were looking for it on the Interweb. Then we spotted it's Japanese cousin, it's 'tensai-teki' as the Nihonjin would say. A top commercial proclaiming a genuine product benefit. I mean, how did us man-folk ever store our man-gel before the advent of the super awesome hooky hook?

Anyway, it makes me feel good about Radox. But don't get me wrong, I'll still be nicking the missus' 'Champney's spa, exotic retreat shower cream' in the morning.

Who Is Right?

Building brands and making companies successful.

The branding specialist asserts that great branding is the answer.

The packaging specialist asserts that great packaging is the answer.

The digital specialist asserts that great digital experiences or utilities are the answer.

The social media specialist asserts that social media conversation is the answer.

The comms planning specialist asserts that great comms ideas are the answer.

The advertising specialist asserts that great advertising is the answer.

Who's right?

My Favourite Writing #5: Vinny Warren

As our regular reader will know, it’s our belief that regardless of strategy, creativity and the creative crafts ultimately make the difference between great advertising and not-so-great advertising. And none more so than great writing. Regardless of media or technology, great writing is still the most powerful tool available to the marketer and advertiser. So we've been asking people who’s opinions we respect to tell us their favourite three pieces of advertising writing. And thankfully most of them didn't tell us to fuck off. We’re running them as an irregular series. Today's is number five, with selections from Vinny Warren...

“I’m not the type of person who ranks things. I am not a ranker!

But since I’ve been forced to do it, I immediately asked myself for the first three things that popped into my head.

And this is what came to mind.

The first one needs no introduction. I remember standing on the tube platform in central London when this poster first appeared. There was a knot of people standing in front of it laughing hysterically. For a poster? Wow.

Whoever wrote this knew what he/she was doing.


Honda Grrr has to be one of the freshest things ever done in advertising. Think about it. They’re selling diesel engines. How sexy does that sound? And then they go and produce that?



And it’s a song. And Garrison Keillor is no George Michael.

And it’s a hundred and twenty seconds of trippy animation. Which had to be a monstrous pain in the arse to produce.

My imaginary hat is well and truly off to WK London for that one.

Berries and Cream. How can you not love this idea?



I’d love to say that I would have instantly approved this idea but I’m not so sure. Which is why I love it. It’s just daft.

Hundreds of millions of lives were slightly brightened by watching this piece of branded silliness.

And they had the balls to take the most uncool thing in the world - a fucking jingle - and make it cool.”

Thanks Vinny.

My Favourite Writing #1: Mark Denton
My Favourite Writing #2: Drayton Bird
My Favourite Writing #3: Ben Kay
My Favourite Writing #4: Dave Trott

GE Research Labs.

Ever fancied having a peek inside General Electric's manufacturing plant?


The GE WattStation 


The dielectric barrier discharge actuator 


1880's Edison generator

Well, here you go. Using the wonderful tumblr combined with the instagram app they have set up a tumblog showcasing photos of stuff inside their labs, as well as some archive shots. If all that sounds a bit like gobbledegook, just go here & have a look. It's good, more companies should be doing things like this.

Creatives And Selling

I recently heard an aspiring creative talking about some project or other, saying something along the lines of "I'm not bothered about selling, I leave that to someone else". This made feel a little bit sad. A little sad for that person, and for the ad business.

The ad business needs ad creatives to be wild, cynical, skeptical, anti and idealistic.

But it also needs them to embrace the fact that they are selling products and brands. That view is probably unfashionable these days, but I still think it's true.

It seems like the modern way is for someone else to work out all the hard stuff, then pass the brief to creatives, who then get creatidivv. Creadivvs then just worry about technique and creadivv stuff.

I think it's crazy for a business of selling that it's now filled with people who don't really see that as their job, or responsibility. I think it's sad for those creatives too - destined for a career of frustration and of self-questioning. 

Is it because the creatives don't care about or aren't interesting in the selling, or because the industry doesn't want them, or encourage them to care? I don't know. I think maybe a bit of both.

But ultimately the best advertising is done by creatives who embrace business problems head on, and solve them directly with their ideas. And the ad business itself is driven on by creatives who embrace the fact that they use their ideas, energy and wit to help their clients and build businesses. These are the people on who's shoulders advertising excellence has been build - and on who's shoulders the whole industry has been built. Bernbach, Ogilvy, Reeves, Abbott, Hegarty, Lois, Saatchi, Chiat, Ally, Rubicam and the rest.

A lot of people say that advertising isn't what it once was, or words to that effect. And I tend to agree in the main. The theories for why are usually to do with less daring clients, or the economy. But I think advertising probably needs to look inwards for the main reason.

Advertising is an industry built on great creative people who knew exactly what their creativity was for. I don't see that many any more.

Bill Bernbach Said #33

Number 33 in our Bernbach series...

“No matter how skillful you are, you can’t invent a product advantage that doesn’t exist. And if you do, and it’s just a gimmick, it’s going to fall apart anyway.”

Read all of the previous Bernbach Said posts here.

What a load of arty bollocks.


The Arty Bollocks Generator. Create your own very convincing artist statement. It's so realistic we think it may been used to write actual art theory books. 


I have a clean...




Martin Loofah King by the ideasman.

Spotted on the interwebs.

Brazil 1970 were rubbish



Conclusive proof and evidence that the much-feted Brazil team that won the World Cup in Mexico in 1970 were a bit shit actually.
Via the excellent Football Spotter

A Short Commercial Break

A couple of recent TV commercials that we like. First up, from the excellent Escape Pod, an ad with a clear product demonstration, and a benefit. That tries to sell you a product. In an interesting way. I know!



And secondly, all the way from Australialand, this fun spot for Hahn beer. What's not to like?

New Shop Fascia Required

Online Advertising: The Promise Vs. The Reality

Being a very modern kind of creative agency, we are sometimes involved in the field of online advertising. Nothing unusual in that. However, when perusing yet another online media plan, it occurred to us that marketers are being taken for fools. The reason? The harsh reality of traditional online advertising spaces falls very short of the large promise of their names. To help bring a touch of welcome transparency, we have devised this handy guide to the actual reality of online advertising spaces, with easy reference to everyday objects. (objects not depicted actual size)

1 - The Banner 

The Promise
We all know what a banner is. A large piece of material draped off a building or suchlike. Or maybe something towed along by a plane above the heads of an inquisitive crowd. Just imagine your marketing message writ large as such. Imagine it's awesome persuasive power.



The Reality
An online banner ad is in fact about the size of a regular fish finger.





2 - The Leaderboard

The Promise
Wow. A leaderboard. Just conjure a mental picture of your brand or slogan emblazoned on a leaderboard. Adoring crowds of sports fanatics staring right at your message in foot-high letters above the important scores of the day's event. The massed ranks of the world's sports media focusing their cameras on it. Wow indeed.


The Reality
In reality, an online Leaderboard advert is approximately the size of the bottom of an average-sized paperback novel.
3 - The Skyscraper

The Promise
The tallest buildings in the entire world. Towering hundreds of feet high above its neighbours, dominating the skyline with power and grace. The idea of one's message being emblazoned across such a modern-day monument to commerce is enough to make even the most reserved marketer let out a little girly squeal of glee. Ten feet high, a hundred feet, more? Imagine its communicative power.



The Reality
An online advertising skyscraper is actually abut the size of a highlighter pen, with another lid popped on top.

Swissair






A super collection of Swissair posters. Some pretty serious Swissair fans have done a good job of archiving these posters ranging from the 30's to the 00's. They've also managed to collate a diverse selection of Swissair stuff from hostess uniforms to annual reports.

My Favourite Writing #4: Dave Trott

As our regular reader will know, it’s our belief that regardless of strategy, creativity and the creative crafts ultimately make the difference between great advertising and not-so-great advertising. And none more so than great writing. Regardless of media or technology, great writing is still the most powerful tool available to the marketer and advertiser. So we've been asking people who’s opinions we respect to tell us their favourite three pieces of advertising writing. And thankfully most of them didn't tell us to fuck off. We’re running them as an irregular series. Today's is number four, with selections from Dave Trott...

“I prefer American copywriting.

I've never been a fan of the English 'dare-we-suggest' school of copywriting.
I call it the 'dare-we-suggest' school because they don't seem able to simply write "This product is big."

They are compelled to write "This product is big, dare we suggest bigger than, perhaps, you're used to."

As if they thought their audience was only ever P G Wodehouse fans.”




Thanks Dave.

My Favourite Writing #1: Mark Denton
My Favourite Writing #2: Drayton Bird
My Favourite Writing #3: Ben Kay

Bill Bernbach Said #32

Number 32 in our Bernbach series...

“Know your product inside out before you start working. And relate that knowledge to the consumer’s needs.”

Read all of the previous Bernbach Said posts here.