Browsing Category Advertising

The folly of youth.

January 31st, 2011 // 7:42 pm @ // One Comment

Hello there. Yes, it’s that time again. “What time, andy?” you may well ask and I may well say, “Late. That’s what time.”. Yes, it’s the late thatandywhiteblog again. Not ‘late’ as in ‘dead’ of course, ( although you may have your own opinions on that ), ‘late’ as in “Oh no, it’s time I  wrote another blog post, it’s been ages since the last one.” late.

Anyway, enough of all that, we’ve established that I’ve been a tad slow off the mark with the blog lately and I can only apologise. I’ve been a bit busy that’s all. However, in the midst of this busy period and while waiting for copy to be read and approved and all that, I’ve been doing a spot of tweeting and some reading of the tweets of others.  While doing this, I read one of Dave Trott’s little tweets which led me to a great post by a blogger known as ‘The Ad Contrarian’. I particularly loved the post as it neatly parallels and slots in with a post I wrote a while back, entitled ‘The old ones‘. In that post I was having a slight moan about the way ad agencies seem to be obsessed with youth, possibly to their detriment. What I was talking about though was that Creative Departments today seem to be populated exclusively by callow youths, barely able to grow the essential facial accoutrements of the professional 21st Century ‘creative’. Obviously they have no problem with the asymmetric hairstyle but the heavily stylised beard or soul patch can be a source of almost unbearable angst. I also pondered the possibility that perhaps, just perhaps, a few of us slightly*  ( *much ) older creatives might have the occasional opinion worth hearing.

Well it seems that the Creative Department isn’t the only place where youth is considered the be all and end all – and possibly not the only place where that assumption is completely mistaken. The ad contrarian writes rather beautifully, ( you can read his stuff here ), about how Marketing Departments continually aim absolutely everything squarely at the youth market without necessarily stopping to think if they’re doing the right thing. He points out that this phenomenon has its roots in the 1960s, a time when advertising was beginning to be viewed as a science, an art and generally a very exciting thing indeed. ( Have a look at ‘MadMen‘ on the telly. It looks like advertising was bloody great then. And drinking. And smoking. And sexual promiscuity. Oh for a time machine eh? ).

However, in the 1960s there was a solid reason to aim products and advertising at youth. There were bloody gazillions of them. It was the decade of the ‘baby boomers’, a time when there was a sudden explosion of kids just turning 18 and earning their own money to spend on stuff of their choosing. It was a huge market so it made perfect sense to start selling to that huge market, with huge advertising designed and written with them in mind. The problem now though is that Ad agencies are still doing just that, when that time has passed and that market no longer has anything like the spending power it used to have. In fact, as The Ad Contrarian explains, over 75% of the wealth in this country is in the banks and the pockets of over 50s. So why all the focus on youth? Naturally, advertising to the youth market means making funky, exciting ( potentially award winning ) ads. Scouring youtube, twitter, facebook and the like for the latest virals and capturing all the excitement therein to steal, sorry, take inspiration from and create the hottest ad campaign ever.  You can see the attraction can’t you? But is it really working? Who’s buying what we’re selling?

Now, as a Manchester copywriter, I’m not for a moment suggesting that we all stop looking to the future and aim our ads at ladies and gentlemen in leisure slacks with expandable waistbands. Nor am I saying that we should start considering  campaigns that utilise the available space on the side of a Stannah Stairlift or walk in bath. No, what I’m trying to convey is that Yoof isn’t necessarily where it’s all at. Man. There’s a massive market out there of the over forties, a socio-economic group I’m right in the middle of, and we’re not just sitting at home watching re-runs of Inspector Morse and adjusting our dentures either. We’re going out to the cinema, to galleries, to restaurants, to gigs. We’re calling each other on our iPhones, we’re buying all the cds, dvds, clothes, trainers, boots and questionable hats that we couldn’t necessarily afford in our teens. We’re doing, ( and buying ) all kinds of stuff. Ok, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re in one of the ‘creative’ professions and are perhaps more likely to be spending money on the kind of things I’ve just listed but the simple fact is that there are millions of people in their forties and fifties with the kind of spending power that Marketing Departments should be salivating over. Yet an inordinate amount of energy ( and budget ) seems to be going on a market that simply doesn’t warrant that kind of concentration anymore.

Once again, of course, this leads me back to my original thoughts on the subject. If we need to advertise to people in their forties and fifties then who’s best placed to understand what those people want? A creative department made up exclusively of awesome twenty somethings or one that contains a few people who live and breathe that market? You may call me biased, ( Not all at once. Jeeeeeesus ), there’s every possibilty that I am but, while I firmly believe that the advertising business constantly needs new blood to stay creative, stay exciting, there’s still a place for us old gits.

We’ve been there, seen it, done it and bought the Tshirt. The important thing is though that we’ll buy another. And probably an expensive pair of jeans to go with it.

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Category : Advertising &Blog &humour &Uncategorized

Mistaken indemnity.

January 21st, 2011 // 3:07 pm @ // One Comment

Hello there. Today I start the blog post with heavy heart. It’s nothing to do with all the weight I’ve put on over the past month, ( though that, of course, has left me substantially heavier in many areas ), no, I have a heavy heart today because I feel I may have made a terrible mistake and now I feel honour bound to admit it. It’s all about those ‘Morethan Freeman’, More Than insurance ads. You see, a week or so ago, I slagged them off quite forcefully on this very page and I now feel I may have gone off a little too early, perhaps not given them the chance they deserved. And no John, it’s got nothing to do with your smartarse blog.  ( Although I do rather like John’s smartarse blog. )

It’s got to do with seeing them a bit more often, seeing the rest of the ads in the series and acknowledging that they get much better when viewed as an evolving campaign. I particularly like this one, the pet insurance ad.

It all works doesn’t it? The ‘hairy heartbeat’, the ‘castanets of calamity’ are lovely bits of copywriting and, all of a sudden, the elements of the ad that I’d accused of being lazy and ill-conceived make perfect nonsense. All the little details they’ve thrown into the ads are great too. The overweight cat, Morethan’s desert boots and socks left on the lawn, the man himself, trousers rolled, standing in the bird bath with his coffee and a particularly well cast terrier under his arm. I’ve started to love it all and to look at the rest of the ads with a newly found admiration for all the quirky little unnecessary, yet essential, touches.

So, I admit it. I was wrong. The Morethan Freeman ads are actually very nice, very funny, beautifully constructed and I’ve been a fool.

I can, however, feel rather pleased with myself for proving one very popular theory to be completely false. They say that it takes a big man to admit he was wrong. And, as anyone who knows me will be glad to attest, I’m a very small man indeed.

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Category : Advertising &Blog &humour &Uncategorized

Premature e-publication

January 13th, 2011 // 2:48 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. If you’re a regular visitor to thatandywhiteblog, ( and if not, why bloody not? ), you may have noticed that a post has suddenly disappeared. Yes, ‘the future is um, written’, has had to go into cold storage for a little while. The reason for this little change is simple and it’s all my own fault. You see, it mainly consisted of a little article I just wrote for Eight:48 magazine and I’d stuck it up here on the blog before the magazine had come out. Which is not only a bit silly of me but, frankly, it’s very bad manners on my part.

Anyway, rather than just leaving anyone to wonder why the blog seemd to have suddenly gone back in time, I thought I’d just offer an explanation. While I’m here though, I’d like to draw your attention to Eight:48, the magazine and its website, which you’ll find here. They’re both rather lovely you see and full of the kind of stuff that, if you’re at all interested in design and copywriting, ( and you really should be ) you ought to be having a look at. The magazine itself is beautiful. I had issue 2 delivered, as I’d missed number 1, and it kept me enthralled for half a day. It’s in the format of a small newspaper which is, in itself, a lovely thing and it contained enough really rather gorgeous images to paper half the wall of my ‘office’ ( I use the term ‘office’ loosely but it sounds better than ‘that area in the house which contains my desk, pc, printer, phones and enough shite to fill three skips’ ). Now obviously I’m going to be a bit keen on a publication that I’m in, it’s natural, but it really isn’t just that. After all, I’ve never asked any of you to subscribe to any of the mail order catalogues I’ve written reams of stuff for. Even though I could have pointed you at some really top end garden furniture on more than one occasion had I chosen to. It’s just I get a bit excited about quality printed stuff in these times of online publications and the slow erosion of things you can actually hold in your hands, hang on your walls or roll naked in, should the feeling take you.

I mean, have a look at all this.

See? It’s all rather beautiful isn’t it? What’s more, it’s the kind of thing that gives you a swift poke in the ribs, kick up the backside and a little wake-up call to the kind of design that’s going on all around us, without necessarily popping up in the mainstream media.

So, if you’re looking around for a little inspiration or perhaps the subscription’s up on your Exchange & Mart, you should maybe have a quick look at Eight:48.*

You could do a lot worse.

*( other design magazines and websites are also available. )

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Category : Advertising &Blog &chip shop awards &humour &Uncategorized

A fish out of context.

November 21st, 2010 // 1:42 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Well what can I say? I know you’re used to it by now but I really can’t apologise enough for the unforgivable absence of thatandywhiteblog for the past week or so. I’ve been working again you see. Yes, working. Doing a bit of that copywriting thing. It’s all very nice of course and it does mean that Harriet may get a change from the usual piece of coal and tangerine this Christmas but it plays havoc with one’s blogging you know. Anyway, least said soonest mended and all that so, on with this new post.

I’ve had a bit of a problem with it to be honest, you see I’ve got another TV ad that’s been driving me slightly mental for a while but I can’t find a bloody clip of it anywhere. It’s that new First Direct Bank ad. You know, the one with the Arthur Smith voiceover and that bloody woman prattling on about how no-one in her call centre is anything like anyone else who works in a bank call centre. It all starts off with a little school scenario and our call centre imbecile as a child, talking about how whales communicate. We’re then whisked forward through time to today, where she has surpassed all expectations of her natural gifts to attain the position of answering a phone in a call centre. Only an evolutionary step or two behind the whale song that perhaps inspired her to follow a career in communications. The point is though that, once she’s got her hands on said phone she seems to just want to have a bit of a natter, rather than perhaps doing a spot of banking-related stuff. I really don’t reckon her style is going to inspire that much confidence in the bank’s account holder. Here’s a little scenario.

Caller: ” Hello there, I seem to have a bit of a problem with my account, I wonder if you could help?”

Imbecile: ” Eeeee, I’m like a fish out of water me! ”

Caller: ” Oh, right, yeah. Well, the thing is, £164,000 seems to have been spent on my card in a branch of Argos and a Wetherspoons in Durham. ”

Imbecile: ” We’re not like all them people at them other banks us you know, hee hee hee hee! ”

Caller: ” ooooo kaaay. Is there someone else I could speak to? A manager perhaps? It is rather urgent.

Imbecile: ” Oooh, I don’t know who’s turn it is to be manager today. I thought it was Maureen but she’s got the cakes today so it can’t be, can it? It could be Julie but she’s doing Tracey’s nails so I don’t think it’s her.”

Caller: “Look, I really, really need to get this sorted. My overdraft is going to be impossible to pay back, I’ll have debt collectors at my door, I could lose my house and someone is obviously still using my card. Please do something, the stress is playing havoc with my pregnant wife she’s in tears now,  for god’s sake, help me.

Imbecile: ” We’re all as daft as brushes here you know. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Caller: Oh fuck it. *click*

You see, It’s all well and good having lovely chatty people working the phones at a Pet Shop or a Caterers or a Wedding Dress makers maybe but when I call the bank, I don’t really want some light hearted banter with a ‘fish out of water’, I want someone who’s going to sort out whatever I need sorting out, like now. I don’t actually phone my bank unless I really, really need to. So, when I do, I don’t want to shoot the breeze with a Jane Horrocks/Gracie Fields soundalike with an infant school knowledge of marine mammals. I want Judi Dench in full ‘Q’ mode arranging the painful, merciless death of whichever twat screwed up my direct debit to United Utilities, thus giving them the rights to take possession of my genitalia and first-born man-child. I want ruthless efficiency from my bank. I want a faceless, soulless, infallible machine, relentlessly grinding through numbers to make my pitiful income cover my outgoings every month. And beyond that I don’t care. I don’t care if my bank is populated by lovely, caring, funny individuals. In fact, that’s the last thing I want. I want a roomful of hugely unpopular, socially inept outcasts labouring over my account because that’s the only thing they have left to do with their wretched, empty, friendless lives. That way maybe they’ll bloody do it right every now and then.

And just one last gripe about that bloody ‘fish out of water’ thing. Apart from the fact that it’s just a stupid way to describe someone who’s going to handle your finances, if it’s meant to tie back to that ‘how whales talk’ twaddle at the start of the ad, it’s even more bloody stupid. Whales aren’t fish. They’re bloody mammals.


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Category : Advertising &Blog &Uncategorized

The Ad Critic: In depth analysis and deconstruction of 21st Century Advertising.

September 10th, 2010 // 2:54 pm @ // 4 Comments

Hello there. Once again it’s time for thatandywhiteblog and me, a respected Manchester copywriter, to take a serious, considered look at a TV advertisement currently running on our screens. This week sees the welcome return of Richmond sausages and it’s consistently innovative use of television.

Now isn’t that just unutterably, irredeemably f***ing awful?

Shamus O’Twinkle and his band of similarly musical and whimsical twinkly oirish brothers return to the maternal bosom, seemingly drawn inexorably home by the magic and the aroma of sizzling Irish pork. But that can’t be it really can it? For a start, Accordion O’Twinkle in the Bedford Nostalgia van is quite obviously not the full shilling is he? You just have to look into those slightly glazed eyes to see that his needs are more special than a plate of sausages.  It’s a good thing that van door was locked or I wouldn’t have held out much hope for the girl on the pushbike. I’ve read some terrible things about men with accordions in vans.

Then there’s Double Bass on the bus O’Twinkle. I mean, people pumping out their bloody N’dubz through their bloody ‘phones are bad enough but some geezer playing an upright bass on the bottom deck would drive you to distraction wouldn’t it? Not only that but look where he’s standing. What happens when some poor single mother, struggling with a trolley tries to find a place to sit? And what of the little old ladies off to buy two ounces of haslet for their tea? Where are they supposed to go when some bastard with a bloody great double bass is blocking the aisle and the disabled seats? He’d be out the door, closely followed by a load of shattered mahogany and wire if that was my bus.

Then take a look at ‘Sticks’ O’Twinkle, beating out a little tattoo at the railway station. Check out those big leather straps on each wrist. Now, I’ve been around a bit and I’d put money on those straps being of the type used to manacle unruly patients to chairs whilst administering Electric Shock Aversion Therapy. There’s something deeply wrong with that boy and I shudder to think what’s in the suitcase he’s sitting on. I can’t see one in the picture but I’m pretty sure there’s going to be an abandoned pushbike, wheel still spinning, somewhere adjacent to that platform.

So there they are, the wandering boys beating a path to their mother’s door and tucking into a feast of sausages, mash and peas. Oh yes, it all looks so lovely doesn’t it? But who knows what evil lurks in the cold, black hearts of the O’Twinkle brothers and who knows why they’ve had to flee wherever they were staying to lie low at Ma O’Twinkle’s lair? The one thing to hope for is that they don’t reform the band after they’ve had their tea and release that bloody desperate song as a single.

That just doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?

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Category : Advertising &Blog &chip shop awards &humour &Uncategorized


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