saatchis isn’t working.

April 7th, 2010 // 10:55 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Isn’t it exciting about the great big election coming up eh? It isn’t? No, I suppose it isn’t really is it? However, one great thing about an election is it brings all the big boys out to play. By that I of course mean the big Ad agencies. This time round Saatchi and Saatchi have thrown their considerable weight, ( it’s all those long lunches ), behind the Labour party. Well, they’ve done the Conservatives, it’s time to move on. Their latest push is this fabulous poster.

Yes, that’s the idea. Dress Cameron as Gene Hunt and say, “Don’t let him take us back to the 1980s”.  Now maybe I’m missing the point here but isn’t Gene Hunt like really. really popular? And don’t loads and loads of people really, really like “Ashes to Ashes“?

Maybe it’s just me but I can already see a queue forming of people saying ” Actually, all that 1980’s stuff looks brilliant on the telly. There’s loads of boozing and smoking and Human League and discos and fringes and dancing and everything and Gene Hunt is a top, top bloke and he’s dead hard. Can he take us back to the 1980s with him? Can he? Please, please, please, can he, can he?”

Nice one Saatchis. Fire up the Quattro.

( Oh, it’s just been pointed out to me that this post may show political bias. May I just say that, as a freelance copywriter, I have no affiliation to any party. I’m just against crap ideas. Thank you. )

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April 6th, 2010 // 5:31 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Everyone had a nice Easter? Yes? Good. Me too. However, amidst all the chocolate bunnies, easter eggs and fluffy chicks, I’ve been deeply disturbed by a new development in the world of the chocolatier, ( they’re like cavaliers but with flakes and curlywurlys  rather than swords ).  And that development is  chocolate beer. Yes, that’s right, beer with chocolate in it. To be honest, I don’t think it’s  entirely new but it’s pretty new to me and what’s more Marks & Spencer, in conjunction with Robinson’s Brewery of Stockport, are now selling it in a Supermarket near you.

Anyway, the point is this. Hot on the heels of alcopops we now have alcochocs. What chance is there for the youth of today? Back in my school days it took a great deal of determination to slide into early alcoholism, as everything alcoholic tasted frankly awful. Maybe you could manage Woodpecker cider if you gritted your teeth a bit but getting properly drunk was a terrible ordeal and a fully fledged, bona fide, rite of passage. ( In fact several dark passages. Usually next to the park ). Nowadays, kids can get absolutely mortal in a full range of child-friendly flavours.

I’m not knocking it exactly. I just think they’ve got it far, far too easy.

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happy easter.

April 3rd, 2010 // 12:13 pm @ // One Comment

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bland date.

April 1st, 2010 // 8:12 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Recently I’ve been taking a close look at all this social networking stuff and decided that, while it’s all good and doubtlessly the way of the future, I may be missing out on real life a little. To that end, I’ve decided to throw myself into the world of “dating”. You know, that whole “boy meets girl, girl meets boy, girl and boy go out together, fall in love, get married, fall into mutual contempt, attempt to meet new and different boy/girl” thing. Naturally I’ve been seeking out the best ways to do it, via the best source of information there is. Ads on the telly.

Head and shoulders above the rest stands the ad. You must have seen it, boy and girl enter music shop, spontaneously burst into song, discover they are peas in a pod, love ensues.

Perfect eh?  So I gave it a go in Johnny Roadhouse last week and it turns out it’s complete bollocks.

Sing that you like snuff movies, have a keen interest in taxidermy, that you do, in fact, wear make-up at weekends and that you suffer from stress related incontinence and see where that gets you.

Nowhere. That’s bloody where.

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it’s the little things…

March 28th, 2010 // 2:06 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. Yesterday I went to see Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Yes, I know it’s been out ages and it’s frankly a bit old hat (ter) by now but I’d been resisting it until my daughter forced me to take her. The reason for my reluctance was simply that I’m a bit Tim Burtoned out lately. You must know the feeling, from Edward Scissorhands on, you kind of know what you’re going to get. Johnny Depp will be Depping about the place all quirky and fey while Helena Bonham Carter gets all Helena Bonham Carter everywhere. In mad dresses. ( Although, in fairness this time she’s doing Queenie out of Blackadder. With a big head. )

Well yesterday I bit the bullet, got the tickets, bought the popcorn, sold my house to get some slush, popped on my 3D spectacles and took my seat with Harriet to sullenly sit through a film I was bound to hate, purely to make my child love me. Here, however, things took an unexpected turn. I really loved the film. ( Well for now, I’ll get to the bad bit later ) It was funny in places, exciting,  ( it helps having a eight year old next to you reacting to stuff of course ), the 3D effects were pretty spectacular and the story was good enough to keep you fairly interested throughout. I did find Johnny’s wandering accent a bit unsettling at first, until I got the point that it was all symbolic of the Hatter’s  descent into madness and schizophrenia. I get stuff like that. I’ve seen films, read books, I can dig nuance. All the same, I couldn’t help but think of that bloody Nature Valley bar ad for a bit though. You know the one. Where those city types fall into haystacks while a farmer goes on about “the rodent race” in an accent that goes from Caerphilly to Carlisle via Cameroon.

However, I digress. The point I was going to make is what I was saying in the headline. Little things can completely screw up a great big thing. A thing that was potentially both big and great. And for me, the little thing was the Futterwacken. From early in the film it was hinted that the Mad Hatter, on the frabjous day when the Jabberwock was slain and the Red Queen vanquished, would dance the Futterwacken. A dance he hadn’t performed since the Red Queen acted like a right bitch and messed everything up in Underland.  ( Yes, it’s Underland not Wonderland. Don’t look at me. Email Tim Burton. )

Anyway I’m sure that, like me, you’re already excited about The Futterwacken and can’t wait to see the Hatter perform it. What will it be? A highland reel ( to go with the Scottish accent )? A mad jig ( to go with the mad )?

No. It’s a bloody “streetdance” like those things you get on Britain’s got talent or X factor or somesuch, complete with a big bassy Citroen Saxo with black windows and maxpower exhaust thing soundtrack. Where did that come from? Why? There’s nothing even remotely like that in the rest of the movie and it just jars horribly. Maybe it was a good idea at the time but it really, really affects everything like a deep scratch on the final track of an album you’ve just been playing. ( sorry, that’s a vinyl reference. Cast your minds back or just think of a cd going ddddddddddddddddddum at a crucial moment. Or mo mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ent )

Anyway, here it is.  Have a look and see what you think.

See? See? Complete and futter wacken.

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what's my name?

March 25th, 2010 // 12:02 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. If you’re thinking of putting a new product on the market, it’s absolutely essential that you get that product’s name just right. Take some time over the name, research it. Check out its positive or negative connotation, make completely sure that it’s utterly perfect.  It’s really important that you don’t overlook even the smallest detail.

Like,  really, really, really important.

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Photographs. Handled with care.

March 22nd, 2010 // 12:34 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. It occurred to me recently that I spend a lot of time on this blog criticising bad ads and not much praising good ones. The, very good, reason for this is that I haven’t seen many really good ads lately. That’s why I thought I should give due praise to this, the latest Sony Cyber-shot ad.

The first thing I saw in this ad, apart from the beautiful location of course, is the care taken over the casting. Every single person looks somehow ‘right’. It’s not an easy thing to put your finger on but it works in just the same way as when you look at, say, a Cash My Gold or Envirofone or DFS commercial and every  single person looks somehow  ‘wrong‘.  ( I know that’s a little unfair considering the relative budgets but you get my point. )  So, the location’s great, the casting’s great, the music’s great and the whole thing makes me feel good about the Sony Cyber-shot, makes me want one. Which is what we’re all here for really.

I know there’s not much copy involved but I’m absolutely convinced that it all came from the mind of a copywriter.

Why? Because it’s smart, considered and beautiful. Just like a copywriter.

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the old ones…

March 20th, 2010 // 1:51 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. I got an email today from one of those companies that gives us freelancers the opportunity to “bid” for work. You know the idea, it’s like an X-factor style “talent” competition with none of the glamour but all the self-loathing. Anyway, this particular one involves writing captions or, as the email put it “slogans” for a bunch of greetings cards with the theme “Grumpy old men”.  While I don’t fancy doing that whole, “will perform sexual favours for work” thing, I found myself thinking of a couple so I thought I’d run them past you instead.

Two World Wars and one false hip.

Papa’s got a brand new colostomy bag.

Born to be riled.

Ok, they need some work but I’ve had a go haven’t I?

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everything's gone green.

March 17th, 2010 // 4:35 pm @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. As it’s St. Patrick’s day today, I’ve decided not to do any work at all. Not even writing the blog. Instead here’s a Guinness ad, followed by The Pogues with The Dubliners. No stereotypes on this blog. No siree bob.


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24 hour party pooper.

March 15th, 2010 // 11:54 am @ // No Comments yet

Hello there. This week I have found myself intensely irritated by an awful lot of awful tv advertising. Currently at the top of my teeth clenchingly awful chart is that Smirnoff ad, where what seems to be a group of massively overprivileged youth have raided mummy and daddy’s country house to furnish a party in the forest. Louis XIV sofas rub shapely legs with crystal chandeliers while our heroes, dressed in what is apparently great grandpapa’s campaign dress, a few of Marie Antoinette‘s left over gowns and some fancy dress costumes borrowed from their last visit to Glyndebourne, artfully arrange the ice buckets before getting down to getting merde faced on bottles of chilled Smirnoff, ( presumably half-inched from the regency cocktail cabinets of the aforementioned country house. )

What puzzles me is, who exactly is this ad aimed at? Obviously it’s a younger crowd but who in the world would want to share, ( admittedly perfectly chilled and beautifully presented ), vodka with that shower of unspeakable gits? Perhaps it’s just me but the ad seems completely out of synch with the times. More the kind of thing that may have gone down well in the 80’s while Duran Duran hung off yachts in the Caribbean and Rio danced on the sand.

Whatever, I hate it. It’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it. Although I have to admit it may have had some influence round my area. Only last night I saw an almost identical scene played out on the park just down the road. Admittedly it was more a blazing tyre than chandelier, there was little or no fancy dress, the Smirnoff was replaced by White cider and, rather than Louis XIV, the sofa was more DFS and had seemingly been fly-tipped long before the party started. All the elements were there though.

And, to be honest, the guests looked more appealing.

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