Weekly Round-Up

What has been floating around the world of Sell! Towers this week? Well, dear reader, this stuff...

An ad we like. Two weeks into the year and something we actually like – believe that if you will. Well it's true, have a look for yourself...



It's simple, made us laugh, made us think about pancakes. Those damn Yankees eh? Always with the ads that make you laugh and think about the product. Proof that advertising can still be a simple business when it's done right. I'd take this over your overwrought, big budget award entry fodder any day of the week.

On this side of the Atlantic, this new ad for Cadbury has been getting some interest (from people in the business at least), I'd love to find out how this goes down in the real world...



Obviously this is a completely new direction for Cadbury, given its kooky and comedy approach in recent years, and I think it's the first work for them from VCCP. According to the PR blurb that goes with the ad, Cadbury (I still want to call them Cadbury's, sorry) have moved away from moments of joy to moments of kindness. If you're into reading that kind of thing there's an article on Marketing Week. It's noticeably more kitchen sink and down-to-earth in execution than Cadbury work of recent years - a bit like Black Mirror does a John Lewis ad - and nicely done. The unglossy and gritty realism in execution is in contrast to a high-falutin' and, dare we say fashionable, strategy.

It got us thinking about these Alan Parker-directed ads for Birds Eye from the early 70s which, at the time, were ground-breaking – a real departure for the normally glossy world of advertising, even featuring *gasp* regional accents...



Next up, the best thing we read this week is this superb piece, from the always excellent Martin Weigel. If you haven't already, do yourself a favour and read it...






















A thought relating to Martin's piece: recently an ad industry publication ran a special issue about 'Mavericks' in advertising (I put the word in quotes because their definition of maverick seems very different to the accepted meaning of the word). Most who were featured were simply big agency lifers who had climbed their way to the top of the big, corporate ad agency ladder, who in turn, name-checked their big agency cronies. Hardly any real mavericks, by the real definition of the word, to be found amongst them. Hmmm. Are there any real mavericks in advertising anymore? (Possibly not, given the responses of twitter when I asked the question.) And what version of hell is this business in when these no doubt absolutely lovely but unremarkable people are considered mavericks? I do worry.

There are more great things going on in the world of the Ad Contrarian too. These two posts, Technology and Wisdom, and Sweethearts or Customers are both worth reading - the first in particular is very powerful...
In the world of marketing, the conflict between technology and wisdom has been no contest. All it takes is a quick stroll through the halls of any marketing or advertising enterprise and it becomes immediately apparent which side has won. In the US today, 42% of the adult population is over 50. But in the advertising industry only 6% of employees are over 50. 
The result is that the marketing industry is drowning in technology and starving for wisdom. Technology, left unbalanced by wisdom, is currently responsible for some of the most wasteful, idiotic, and ineffectual follies in the history of commerce. Or does $16 billion in ad fraud not shock us anymore? Does relentless surveillance not concern us? Does public disgust not bother us?
These last two points make me realise – I don't think the best writing and opinion on advertising is going on anywhere near the trade publications these days. They seem to be more and more just a PR vehicle for the top 30 agencies and their staff. It increasingly seems there are a lot more interesting and relevant things to be found on the personal blogs of talented and smart people.

One thing about the trade publications is that they have helped to spawn a kind of class of industry commentators - people in positions of influence in big agencies who are always tapped-up for their latest take or thoughts to fill space, and in return those people get their PR strokes and build their profiles. Unfortunately it seems, very rarely have these people actually been involved in any great work.

There is no shortage of industry commentators. But precious few people making work worth talking about. Has the ad industry become all mouth and no trousers?

What do you think?

Anyway, here are two good things to finish on...

The amazing Lumiere Festival is taking place in London this weekend - it's a wonderful way to light up what can be a gloomy month. Some of the installations look amazing...



Lastly, but very much not leastly, we're shortly going to release our book How To Make Better Advertising and Advertising Better as an eBook...

We're still planning to re-print a new run of the original, printed version, but its labour-intensive production means that will take time. But we still get quite a lot of people asking how they can get hold of it, and frankly, we'd like to get it into the hands of as many people as possible.

So watch this space...

Have great weekends everyone...

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