Can you sell absolutely anything?

December 5, 2012

There have always been niche markets for bizarre things. Believe it or not, some people want to buy wolf urine. Apparently it’s good for warding off deer. Which is why it’s for sale on Amazon. And there are willing buyers for practically everything offered on eBay. One of its customers bought a man’s entire life […]

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New work by Wild Colonial Boys

November 28, 2012

I have a creative partnership with art director Jeff Suthons, called .Wild Colonial Boys, and we’ve recently created a new campaign for brewer Daniel Thwaites’ Wainwright ale. Our work includes print and online advertising, a website and point of sale. Our campaign, like the beer, is inspired by Thwaites’ fellow Lancastrian, the fellwalker and author […]

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Marketer, here’s what to tell your copywriter

October 3, 2012

If you haven’t worked directly with a copywriter before, or would like a better experience the next time you do, you should find the following advice helpful. I just turned down a job. I hated having to do it. My prospective client, an entrepreneur launching a start-up, was a nice enough chap. But his business […]

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What challenger brands could learn from the London Olympics opening ceremony

August 6, 2012

Wasn’t that a brilliant, inventive show Danny Boyle put on for the Olympics? Beijing’s opening ceremony was a tough act to follow in terms of spectacle. And Boyle had a relatively modest budget of £27 million. So he needed to make his money work hard to create a memorable show. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Unless […]

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Great script? Or OK script brilliantly produced?

June 13, 2012

What I learned judging copy at D&AD 2012 – plus some tips if you’re entering next year. If you’re a copywriter, art director or designer, you know that it’s easier to criticise than it is to create. I was reminded of that back in April when, instead of creating, I spent a day in the […]

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Life’s too complicated. Simplify it.

May 30, 2012

Over the past few decades, I’ve noticed a lot of the products, services and offers I write about have become have become increasingly complicated. Take, for example, the average smartphone. If you’re looking to buy one, you need to consider all sorts of things, like speed, screen size, camera and which network tariff to get. […]

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Would this creative idea have happened in London?

March 21, 2012

For its size New Zealand has produced a lot of excellent creative work over the years. I asked a Kiwi art director why this was so. He said agencies there work closely with client decision makers. Does that happen in London? Maybe it did a few decades ago, but in my experience, it’s increasingly rare […]

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The power of intelligent long copy

February 15, 2012

You’ve probably heard it a million times: “No one reads long copy.” But is it true? Copy is text. People read long text all the time, in the form of news articles and blog posts – like the one you’re reading now. And they read it because it’s interesting (to them at least). So maybe […]

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Mouthwatering marketing in Shoreditch

January 24, 2012

The past few weeks, I’ve been working in The Tea Building, the former Lipton Tea warehouse, in Shoreditch, E1, an interesting, edgy area: a mixture of dilapidation and gentrification. There are quite a few new businesses here, but no central gathering place where everyone goes to shop and eat. So the retailers in the Box […]

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Don’t make Waterstones’ mistake with your posters

January 18, 2012

The UK bookseller Waterstones [sic] has been doing some odd things lately. Last week, much to the horror of grammarians, the store announced it was dropping its apostrophe. This is not the first instance of the company’s strange behaviour though. Just before Christmas I spotted one of its posters, shown on the left. So, what’s […]

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