poet, lorry, hate.

February 17th, 2010 // 2:47 pm @ // 2 Comments

Hello there. Today I feel the need to tackle a particularly thorny problem. Poetry in advertising. Personally I feel that poetry in any form is something that should be left to the experts, not just any old copywriter but a proper poet. You know, one of those people who just writes poetry. No Direct Mail, not the occasional website. Just poems. Day and night.

The whole subject has been thrown into light, for me anyway, by the current  Cathedral City cheese ad. And, oh god, is there cheese involved in this ad. For some reason best known to whoever conceived of this nightmare, the best way to sell us some prepacked plastic cheese is with the aid of Pete Postlethwaite, ( who frankly should know better ), lending his actorly vocal chords to a poem while a traditional cheesemaker’s 18 wheel articulated lorry goes about the business of cheese delivery. Yes, a poem. And I reckon it wasn’t written by a poet but by a copywriter, ( who frankly should know better ). I mean, I have a mate who’s a really excellent painter and decorator but I wouldn’t commission him to do a bit of remodelling on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. So it should be with poetry. Just because you can write a bit of copy here and there and even rhyme things with things, ( see what I did there? ), it really doesn’t mean you should go waving your poems around the place.  Here, see what you think.

Gruesome isn’t it?  You can feel each rhyme being set up and then drawing inexorably closer like a big, runny cheese flan about to be rubbed into your face. The word cucumber gets forced into a shape it really isn’t comfortable with in order to rhyme with slumber and so it goes on, gradually becoming less and less poetic, more and more painful.

Abbey, cabbie. Queues, dues. Able, bagel, Lonely, macaroni. Dinner, winner. May, day. Socks, box. Rippon, Britain.

So I say it again. Leave the poetry to the poets, lest we end up with lines like “cheesey bake was a winner” served up before dinner.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.

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the railway children.

February 16th, 2010 // 1:46 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Since I mentioned the new Barclaycard “rollercoaster” ad last week, I’ve  been wondering about that whole “is it/isn’t a remake of an old idea?” question and looking around for other ads that may fall into the same category. However, while I was doing that, Felicity Ford of  The Domestic Soundscape sent me a link to another rollercoaster  idea. It’s a Norwegian ad aimed at encouraging kids to become engineers. It’s new and it’s brilliant. Thanks Felicity.

Sadly, it’s developed a slight problem and isn’t showing properly so click the link below to see it.


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February 14th, 2010 // 1:38 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there, as you know, I’ve decided that Saturday and Sunday aren’t really proper blogging days. However as it’s Valentine’s day, I thought I’d just put up some stuff to have a bit of a play with in case you’re not going out spending this special day with a loved one. You know, having a romantic meal, walking hand in hand in the park, playing “pooh sticks” by a beautiful stream or kissing on a windswept beach. Not everyone does that you know. Oh no. *sniff*

Here’s something that’s a bit of a laugh. I actually first nicked it from LOVE’s blog but it’s been a bit tricked up since then with backing beats and stuff. It’s a daft punk console and if you enjoy playing with it for more than 5 minutes, you really don’t deserve a loved one.

Just click HERE

If you feel like expressing your political views, lack of political views or just fancy writing something silly that David Cameron, or better still Malcolm Tucker,  might well be saying, this is fun too…

Click HERE to do stuff.

I may well add more stuff to do as the day progresses. Seeing as I won’t be doing any kissing on windswept beaches. *sniff*

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st. valentine’s day, massacred.

February 12th, 2010 // 12:52 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. As Valentine‘s Day is this Sunday I thought it would provide a suitable theme for today’s blog. I’ve noticed that, perhaps more this year than ever, there’s a very negative feeling to the whole affair. Maybe it’s the credit crunch effect. You know, we’re all skint and here’s another day we can’t afford foisted on us by greetings card manufacturers, confectioners and florists just to prise the last remaining pennies from our weary, undernourished fingers.

It’s a fair point. It is, after all, a day that really was created by the card makers. But I can’t help it, I quite like it. There’s nothing forcing us to buy cards, flowers, chocolates or indeed anything at all to express our love, gratitude, respect or any other emotion to someone we hold dear. There doesn’t have to be a special day to do it either. It is quite handy having a day set aside for such things though, isn’t it? A day where anyone can suddenly get all soppy and/or romantic with someone else and there’s a perfectly good excuse for it. So I, for one, shall be embracing it wholeheartedly. I probably won’t be buying any cards but I may make something for someone, I may make a phone call or two to say something nice. It doesn’t have to be a declaration of undying love, it might just be a “Thank you” a “Ta” or a “cheers”. Whatever it is though, it’s nice to be nice. And it’s nice to have an excuse to be nice.

However, if you’re still in the anti camp, here’s some nice ideas that express your sentiments…






While I was browsing around the net though I did find a site that I’ve fallen in love with. It’s where the pin cushion

This image copyright of Felicity Ford.

heart that starts this post came from and where this wonderful knitted heart is to be found. The site’s called The domestic soundscape and from what I’ve gathered up to now it’s chiefly the work of a lady called Felicity Ford. I haven’t been all the way through it yet but that’s what I’m going to do now. I think you should too. It’s both lovely and very, very interesting indeed.  It’s also where the heart is.

So, enjoy your weekend and don’t be afraid of being a big softy on Sunday. Ok, the cynical anti-valentine’s thing is a lot of fun.

But being a softy is where the big hugs are at.

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cold feat.

February 11th, 2010 // 2:22 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Yes, I’m blogging through regardless of my raging flu because that’s the kind of guy I am. Dedicated. Relentless. And a bit bored. This flu has actually given me something to think about too. I’ve been scouring the TV ads to find the flu remedy that’s right for me. There’s loads of them you know but they all seem to be a bit “niche”, if you know what I mean.

I thought I’d give Beechams a shot as that’s  a good old name isn’t it? Sadly I just don’t seem right for them. I’m not a night time DJ preparing for a big show,( and frankly, if I was and a cold and flu capsule started straightening my tie with his little robot arms I’d be inclined to question what I was taking ), I’m unlikely to be doing any sumo wrestling and, since the unfortunate incident at that Sealed-knot society coffee morning, I’m not down for any re-enactments of historic battles. So where to turn? The other brands don’t seem to have what I’m looking for either, I mean, I am a bit chesty but there’s no way I could compare my situation with the trauma of being leapt upon by a bright green mexican dwarf wrestler who’s taken up residence on top of my wardrobe, ( or is that mexican wrestling dwarf?, I’ve always had problems with etiquette in that area ).

No, what I seek seems to be sadly overlooked by the pharmacy companies and advertising agencies. What’s out there for the slightly overweight, middle aged Manchester copywriter sitting in grubby pyjama bottoms and T shirt who has no desire to do anything more strenuous than to get a bit of work done and walk from desk to kettle without blowing his nose three times on the way? Nothing, that’s what.

What I really need is an ad that says something along the lines of, ” If you’ve got a really bad cold and/or flu, this will make you feel miles better for a bit. ”  So I think I’ll try putting something together while I convalesce.

I realise the line needs a bit of work but I’d buy it.

The great smell of…

While I’ve been feeling sorry for myself and just surfing the net I found this. And I think it’s rather good. Humour in men’s smelly stuff seems to be limited to the Lynx, ” isn’t it funny that this slightly weedy bloke is irresistible to beautiful women due to Lynx?” principle lately. This has a whiff of something special about it.

Good, innit?

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swine. flu.

February 10th, 2010 // 4:39 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there you. Once again there’s a short break in thatandywhiteblog. This time it’s down to sickness. I think I have flu, I don’t think it’s swine flu or bird flu. I think it’s just flu flu. Anyway, whichever flu it is, it’s a virus isn’t it? So, to fill some time while I rest my fevered body and brain, have a look at a couple of viral ads I’ve noticed lately.

See what I did there?

The Samsung one is both clever and silly. The Pot Noodle one is just silly.

And that’s never a bad thing.

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remake, remodel.

February 8th, 2010 // 1:21 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there you. First of all let me apologise for the absence of  “thatandywhiteblog” for the last couple of days. What? You hadn’t noticed? Oh. Fair enough. Ok then, I’ll just get on with it shall I?

Today I’m being a bit confused again. This time it’s about the latest Barclaycard ad, you know the one, the big mad rollercoaster through the city on the way to work thing.

It looks fantastic doesn’t it? It was filmed in New York and Hollywood and, according to Barclay’s media department it’s “the most technical and complicated ( advert ) yet in Barclaycard’s celebrated history of advertising”. (  Not sure who’s celebrating or where but I wasn’t invited. )

But here’s the thing. Is it just me, ( by the way, am I using that phrase too much or is it just me? ), or isn’t it exactly the same ad as the previous  “Waterslide” spot but with a fancier frock on? Ok, there is one major departure as the bloke on the rollercoaster is on his way TO work and the waterslide man was on his way FROM work. Oh, and rollercoaster man buys a coffee with a carefree and contactless flourish while waterslide bloke plumps for a banana. But, inherently it’s just the same ad isn’t it?  I’m all for reinforcing the message and all that stuff but surely before spending what must have been a colossal amount of money on that thing, ( they used the “spidercam” for the first time outside of movies you know. It’s called “spidercam” beacause they used it on the “Spiderman” films. Who comes up with this stuff? Crazy town, crazy people ), didn’t they have a moment where they said, “Anyone got an idea?”, before making a bigger, fancier version of the idea that went before? Maybe Barclaycard bloke could’ve been riding a horse through the city, waving his contactless card at colourful street vendors who cheerily throw their wares at him as he gallops by. Or something. I’m sure loads of people will tell me exactly why I’m completely wrong on this point and I’ll be happy to hear all the reasons.

Call me an old fashioned Manchester copywriter, I just like to see a new idea in an ad now and again.

Mind you, at least he wasn’t fannying about on a stupid pair of customised crutches for no good reason whilst buying a stupid hat.

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holiday, money.

February 4th, 2010 // 3:14 pm @ // 3 Comments

All the cold weather we’ve been having of late has got me thinking it’s time to start planning a holiday. Obviously I want somewhere hot and sunny, a little Greek island perhaps. I love little Greek islands me. Yes, that’s it. A little Greek island it is. Glad we got that sorted out.

The only slight problem I have is a lack of ready money so I’ve also been looking into potential revenue streams. You’d be amazed just how many are out there these days. Forget that boring old Credit Crunch, the recession’s over. It is you know, I’ve seen it on the telly.

With that in mind I’ve decided to base my financial future on the amazing opportunities I’ve picked up in the ad breaks. First up, I’m going to sell my phone. It’s environmentally friendly you know and  it’s apparently worth cash, readies, dosh and even wonga, ( no-ones offering spondooliks yet but I reckon it’s just a matter of time ), so I’ve done the research and that £450.00 phone I bought 8 months or so ago should return me about 12 quid. I’m on my way.

Then there’s all those solid gold items I’ve got knocking about the place. An earring here, a Krugerrand there, that old chalice from the palace,  it all adds up. And what’s more, I’ve just discovered that I made the right move not throwing them in the bin when I got bored with them. Apparently I can sell them! I’ve seen the ad and I think I’ve got the hang of how this, ” cash for any of those gold things you’ve got knocking around the house but didn’t throw away, even if they’re broken and stuff “,  thing works. All I have to do is gather up all my most treasured and valuable items, put them in an envelope  clearly marked, ”  This envelope is full of gold so please be careful with it”, post it to a complete stranger and wait for my windfall. There is a covering letter I have to sign, which goes along the lines of:- “Dear stranger, I’m a bit strapped for cash so I’ve sent you all of my most valuable stuff. Please form an opinion, ( based on my current behaviour ), of exactly how stupid I am, pluck a number you think you can get away with out of the air and send me that amount. Please bear in mind that I have no idea of the intrinsic value of gold and will be happy with whatever you give me. Otherwise I would have sold it privately wouldn’t I?” What could possibly go wrong?

The big money though is going to come from a “payday loan”. This could be a little tricky to work out as, being a freelance copywriter, it’s hard to know exactly when the next payday will be. However, I’ve looked at the figures and at the moment I could take advantage of an unbelievably reasonable APR of a mere 2,356%. So, let’s say I borrow a grand, ( I like to keep the numbers simple ), and pay it back in a year’s time, that £1,000 holiday will have been mine for just £23,536. You can’t argue with that can you?

I’ve even been checking the internet for deals and I’ve discovered that I can earn ££££££££££’s without even leaving my home and I’ve also been lucky enough to be selected by a Nigerian General who wants to put £23million into my bank account. All I need to do is send him £3,000 to cover administration fees, which isn’t a problem as that’s exactly the amount that “webuyanycardotcomwebuyanycardotcomwebuyanycardotcom” have offered me for my brother’s Audi A6, which he only paid £39,000 for. He won’t mind, I’ve picked him out a beautiful replacement and I’ll buy that when the £23million hits my bank account.

Don’t listen to the doom mongers, the good times are back.  So let’s get out there and spend, spend, spend!

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easy writer…

February 3rd, 2010 // 3:26 pm @ // 2 Comments

Hello there. I’m all cross today. Sometimes it just comes over me, usually there’s a reason though. I don’t tend to just get all cross out of the blue. Oh no. Today’s reason is lazy copywriting. You see it everywhere but the one that got me thinking about it today is the bloody “Go compare” ads. I know the opera singer annoys a lot of people, there’s even a facebook page dedicated to the hatred of the big fat bloke apparently. It’s not so much the singer that gets to me though, it’s the song or more specifically the lyrics. Even more specifically, whoever wrote it.

In the latest song there’s one line that really drives me mad. It’s this one, ” it’s very boring when costs are soaring”. Now that’s just lazy. Sure, it rhymes but it just doesn’t work. It isn’t bloody boring when costs are soaring! It may be maddening, irritating, annoying, upsetting, even depressing when costs start soaring but it simply isn’t boring. Is it? No, it isn’t.

Now that may seem like a very small point to get all cross about but it’s just symptomatic of the lazy writing that you’ll find in every area of advertising. If it rhymes, sing it. If it fits, stick it in. It’ll do. It’s ok. It’s good enough.

Well clearly it isn’t. And to be honest, as a professional copywriter, ( stop giggling ), it really grates on me.

Altogether now, It drives me craaaaazy when writing’s laaaaazy.

And here’s something that’s just confusing me. Is it me or is the iPad just a great big massive iPhone that you can’t make phone calls with? All the great features of the iPhone we’ve come to love, put together in an altogether less handy, more cumbersome and slightly unwieldy package. Please do correct me if I’m wrong. I’m almost positive that I am.

And another thing. The name “iPad” just sounds too much like a panty liner to me.

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film 2007….

February 2nd, 2010 // 2:38 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there you. It’s been work, work, work for me for the past few days and, as it’s a fairly boring subject for anyone not directly involved in the technology and finance industries I thought that today I’d draw your attention to a great film I watched this weekend. It’s not particularly new, nor is it in any way a blockbuster. What it is though is a beautifully written and crafted film from New Zealand that made me smile, frown quizzically and get a bit tearful in equal measure. And you can’t ask for much more than that can you?

If you watch a lot of telly, which I do from time to time, you may well recognise “Jarrod” as Germaine from “Flight of the Conchords”, another little treat from New Zealand. If you’ve never seen it here’s a couple of songs from the  show. If you have seen it, you’ll enjoy them again won’t you?


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"I was just saying how good it was to work with someone who I knew would nail it. Thanks, Andy"

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