seo what?

May 26th, 2010 // 2:12 pm @ // 2 Comments

Hello there. Sorry it’s all been a bit quiet on the blog front of late but I do have an excuse. It’s this whole new website thing. You see, while the new site was being built, tested, put online and all that technical stuff, I wasn’t allowed to touch it. There is, of course, a good reason for this. I’m crap. It’s true, I am to technology what Stephen Hawking is to Strictly Come Dancing.  So every time I went near the site, it crashed, putting work back by days and making those wonderful people at mediaburst who built it for me, hate me a little more with each passing hour. So, very sorry indeed people, especially Gary and Martin, and thanks for all the work.

Anyway, back in the world of advertising it’s been a funny old week. I’d been doing some work for someone else’s brand new website and I’d got all excited about it. I loved the stuff I’d come up with for it, thought it was bang on target for the audience, it was cheeky, modern and all round top stuff. However, there was one big problem. It wasn’t really SEO copy. You know SEO copy? Of course you do. It’s copy that’s written specifically for Search Engine Optimisation. You fill the text with key words and phrases that the “spiders” who live inside Search Engines love. Those spiders scuttle around the web finding juicy key words and saving them up for when someone types “Katy Perry’s bum” or somesuch into Google, then direct them to the site that says “Katy Perry’s bum” more often than any other site. Or something.

It’s all very, very clever stuff and I can see the attraction. After all, what’s the point of having a really brilliant site if people aren’t being directed there in their droves? There’s one little thing that niggles me though. I feel sure that there comes a point where SEO becomes the proverbial tail wagging the dog. Ok, so the copy appeals to all the machines searching  web content for key words and phrases but how does that copy read to real people? After all, those people know the key words. Presumably they’ve just typed them into Google, Yahoo, Bing, Bong, Diddle diddly doo or whatever Search Engine they’re using, so do they really want to read copy full of them?

Maybe it’s because I’m a Manchester copywriter and maybe I’m over-simplifying the whole SEO thing, I usually do, but I’d much rather read copy that’s written for people who appreciate a bit of cleverness and fun, than for a piece of technological software with an ( artificial ) eye for multiple key words. Sure, the SEO stuff is very, very important but shouldn’t  lovely, clever words come before keywords? Wouldn’t it be better to have  something really worth reading for those people who arrive at your site than just the collection of tricks that got them there?

It’s a difficult one isn’t it? Still, I’m sure there are a few SEO writers out there who’ll be more than happy to put me straight on everything I’ve just written. That’s if they ever find this blog of course.

Apparently it’s not SEO enough.

2 people like this post.

Category : Uncategorized

car trouble

May 21st, 2010 // 2:36 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. I’ve just been watching that new Ford S-max ad on the telly. You know, the one where all kinds of exciting people doing all kinds of exciting stuff are projected onto various bits of the car. There’s a surfer going over the roof, a mountaineer scaling the tailgate, a gyroplane thingy landing on the bonnet. Oh, hang on, just watch the film instead…

Proper exciting isn’t it? The thing is though, you’re average S-max is never going to see any of that kind of action is it? Chances are that most days it’ll have three kids in the back, alternately screaming, fighting and being sick – and it’s more demanding journeys will involve circling the car park at Asda for an hour or so while some chancer in a Citroen Saxo with black windows, pumping out N-dubz at a volume that’s making children cry three post codes away, dives into the solitary parking space that’s eternally out of reach. It’s bit like those old ads for sanitary products where the lucky buyer goes hang-gliding, scuba diving or disco dancing, then gets dragged along a sea front on roller-skates by two big mad dalmatians. All very glamorous but slightly detached from the mundanity of real life.

That’s ok though isn’t it? Because the last thing we want from car ads is reality. We want to see those shiny rascals hurtling along a mountain road unsullied by speed ramps, gatso cameras and three mile tailbacks. We want to see them pulling up outside chic bistros and boutiques with great big parking spaces wide-open and waiting for us. Because the sad reality is, if anyone produced a car ad showing what we can actually do with our cars these days, it’d be the most boring film we’ve ever seen.

Unless, of course, you really fancy a five hour movie of a rep picking his nose on the M25.

Be the first to like.

Category : Uncategorized

Dub stylee.

May 13th, 2010 // 1:46 pm @ // 2 Comments

Hello there. If you’re a regular reader of thatandywhiteblog you’ll know that I’m a fearless explorer of the world of Advertising. Every day I’m out there seeking out the truth on your behalf and exposing it on these pages. It’s ok. You’re welcome. No, really. It’s no trouble.

Anyway, this week I made another interesting discovery. More and more of the ads you’re watching on TV these days are dubbed. Yes, dubbed. They’ve been produced for foreign markets then, with a copywriter‘s swift reworking, some crafty editing and video jiggery-pokery they’re shown on our screens in “English”.

It’s all part of the globalisation of products that has also led to name changes like “Marathon” to “Snickers”, “Jif” to “Cif” and “Unmitigated crap” to “N-dubz”.

Have a close look at this Renault Clio ad and you’ll see what I mean.

It’s not too bad really is it?

The words kind of fit the movement of the mouths and stuff, but it does lead to more worrying thoughts:

What were they really saying on there?

Did the older bloke say that beardy at least had a nice car?

Did beardy really say “daughter”?

Or was it something altogether racier?

There’s no real way of knowing.

I did do a bit more research into the whole dubbing thing though and it turns out that it’s been going on for years. Did you know, for example,  that the classic propaganda piece “The Battleship Potemkin” actually started life as Russia’s version of ” Carry on cruising“?

Bloody hilarious it was too.

Be the first to like.

Category : Uncategorized

Call me Al.

May 9th, 2010 // 2:54 pm @ // One Comment

Hello there. This week, because I’m a Manchester copywriter and thus independent, northern and creative, I got an invitation from TheIndependent Northern Creatives to a special showing of the film “Typeface”. Naturally I got pretty excited about it as it’s ages since I’ve seen that movie and I really like it. I love all those Miami settings, the cool cars, the guns, the drug deals, Michelle Pfeiffer is stunning in it and that chainsaw in the shower scene is an all time classic isn’t it? Anyway, I made a few calls to see who else was going only to find out that I’d got it all wrong.  I was thinking of “Scarface“. It turns out “Typeface” is all about a print factory turned museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

Apparently the museum is “significant to the town’s history, but more importantly,  its existence is critical to the worldwide design community who are passionate about the history of their craft and its function in the contemporary field. They believe the future of their industry may lie in the past.”

( Tickets cost £10 and are available through the INC website
FREE to members. )

I suppose that all sounds pretty good and it’s an admirable thing that these people are doing. But I can’t help thinking that the film would be miles better if they got Al Pacino in it, chewing the scenery with his face all covered in charlie, waving some big mad guns around.

All together now, ” Shay Hallo to my leedle font… “

Be the first to like.

Category : Uncategorized

advertising exposed.

May 7th, 2010 // 2:11 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Lately it has come to my attention that more and more people are becoming disillusioned with advertising. What used to be viewed as a noble profession is now being eyed with growing cynicism and mistrust. Why is that andy? I hear you ask,’ surely as a leading Manchester copywriter, you’re the man to ask?’ Well, looking for answers I decided to pick out a few recent ads at random and check out their veracity. What I found wasn’t pretty. For example, here’s the latest Old El Paso Burrito kit tv ad.

Well what’s the problem there? You may well ask. It’s a lovely film, highlighting one of those quirky little customs that make Britain unique. Like those cheese rolling things, casual violence and burning witches alive. Well I’ll tell you the problem. That “Chilli Chase” never actually happens. It’s a made-up event in a made-up village completely played out by actors and actresses in the pay of an Advertising Agency. Don’t believe me? Look it up for yourself. I’ve tried English Heritage, The Tourist Board and The Daily Mail‘s “Big book of what makes England great and everywhere else quite frankly foreign.” and it’s nowhere to be found.

I honestly believe that this is merely the tip of a much more sinister iceberg and with that thought in mind I’ll be carrying on my investigations.

Next week, ” Ronald McDonald, lovable supplier of premium fast foods to the global market or underemployed actor in a stupid clown suit and big daft shoes?”.

Be the first to like.

Category : Uncategorized

She’s a woman.

April 29th, 2010 // 2:00 pm @ // One Comment

Hello there. I’ve just been watching that new John Lewis tv ad again and you know, I’m still not entirely convinced.!v=jYOsWWKHZVw

I mean, it’s beautifully done and everything. Terrific casting, great photography, ( is it still called photography when it’s a film? I’m pretty sure it is but I’m open to advice and mockery of course ),  state of the art effects,  fabulous attention to detail, the full package really. I’m just not sure about that Billy Joel song though.  She “kills with her smile” and “wounds with her eyes” does she? Charming.  She’ll  also, apparently, “ruin your faith with her casual lies”, “steal like a thief” and be “suddenly cruel”. Jesus, I bet she’d punch your mum right in face too, she sounds a proper bitch.

Of course all these “casual lies” add a whole new dimension to the ad. Sure, there’s a lovely wedding and all that but can the hapless groom really be sure that the child that subsequently comes into the world is really his? She’s been casually lying all over the place for god’s sake! No amount of John Lewis soft furnishings can paper over the cracks of that kind of betrayal.

I’d be having a look in that fridge too, if I was him.

Be the first to like.

Category : Uncategorized

gas bored.

April 23rd, 2010 // 12:53 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. This morning I was on the ‘phone to the Gas Board, ( I know, I know, my life is one mad round of glamour and excitement ), and while I was on hold, listening to that Blur track British Gas use on everything now,  a recorded voice informed me that a skilled British Gas technician repairs a boiler every 4 seconds. Now, I don’t know about you but if that was my boiler I’d just give up and buy a new one.

Be the first to like.

Category : Uncategorized


April 21st, 2010 // 1:54 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Today I got my first look at the winners of this year’s Chip Shop awards. For any of you who aren’t familiar with these awards, they’re meant to be presented for “creativity without limits”. Honest. It says so on the logo and everything. The idea is that us “creatives” fool around, have a bit of a laugh and create some work that would probably never see the light of day for all the reasons we generally use as excuses for work not seeing the light of day. “The client isn’t brave enough”, “It’s too clever/daring/risqué/provocative/cutting edge to get through”, etc., etc.

Some years you get to see some really funny/interesting/ daft stuff and we can all congratulate ourselves on what a clever bunch we truly are. This year however, it all seems to have gone a bit chips up. I’ve looked through all of the winners and haven’t cracked a smile, let alone dropped my chips in amazement. Saatchi’s have presented a “cowboys and indians” gag that first failed to register on my personal laughometer about 25 years ago for god’s sake. The rest seem to be a collection of ideas that could’ve been pulled out of any student’s bag at any time in the 25 years since. Not that there’s anything wrong with students’ gags. I fell about laughing at several of them when I was a student.

The point is though that this stuff is meant to represent the ad industry at it’s best, its creatives unfettered by commercial constraints and considerations.

And if that really is the case, it looks like we’ve all had our chips.

Anyway, don’t take my word for it, click here and take a look for yourself. If you think I’m mistaken, please comment.

Be the first to like.

Category : Uncategorized

gimme shelter.

April 18th, 2010 // 1:01 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there.  This weekend my travel plans have been thrown into disarray by clouds of ash. Someone set fire to the bus shelter again.

Be the first to like.

Category : Uncategorized

24 hour party pooper ( party 2 )

April 16th, 2010 // 1:40 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Sorry it’s all been a bit quiet on the blog front for the past week. I do have an excuse though. I’ve been in London for a few days and thus too busy to pay proper attention to thatandywhiteblog. Never mind eh? I’m back now and that’s all that matters really isn’t it?

While I was away though I did go to a truly terrible “dinner party“. Yes, they have them down South you know. Wine, ( in bottles, not boxes ), canapes, proper cutlery, everything. It’s all really grown-up and sophisticated and by a dreadful oversight on someone’s part I got invited.  Anyway, I won’t go on about how dull it was but while I was toying with a tiny pastry thing I got to thinking about other parties that I’d really hate to be at. I did that awful Smirnoff  “party in the forest” one a few posts back so let’s assume that’s  a given.

Number 1 on the list then has to be Jim Haynes’ “no-one leaves after eight” knees up.

I mean, what’s lacking in poor old Jim’s life that he has to open his house to this procession of repellent half-wits? How much must he spend on After Eights every month? And how difficult is it really to tip a wafer-thin mint from your nose to your mouth? Come on Jim, get a grip man. You’re worth more that that.

Second place goes to a Nintendo Wii dance party.

That kind of speaks for itself doesn’t it really?

In at number three with a bullet ( please ) is Grandma’s party.

Now, I do remember a couple of family parties my Grandma attended. But never was Paul Nicholas on the guest list. No sir. And what would a relatively young man dressed in half a judo suit and a bowler hat want with my Grandma anyway? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

So that’s it really.  If you ever find yourself at a dinner party dwelling on what a terrible time you’re having, remember it could be worse. Much, much worse.

Be the first to like.

Category : Uncategorized


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

Steve Byrne, MD, The Gate Films

Subscribe Now