This ad has been doing the rounds for a while. I’m posting it as I still meet people who haven’t seen it. It’s a superb use of a quirk of the human brain. When we concentrate very intensely on one thing we almost ignore other things happening right in front of our face. Get ready to be amazed.

Unbelievable. It’s amazing. I’ll bet you watched it again, just to make sure they weren’t trying to trick you.
I’ve got a campaign for a client which is about to run (hopefully) that uses a similar piece of psychology to ‘trick’ people into coming up with the solution you want. Which I’ll post once it’s run.
There appear to be a number of people on the web who aren’t happy with this ad. Their problem with this Transport for London ad seems to be that the creatives have seen research and borrowed the findings from it to put across their message.
Which is what creatives do. We appropriate ideas for clients and brands. And that’s where a lot of the skill comes in. Knowing what to use, and when to use it, is a very important part of the creative’s arsenal. If you watch the video response below the above video on YouTube you’ll see the original experiment.
The original experiment is not going to save the lives of people on bikes cycling around London. But the Awareness Test ad almost certainly will. So, yes, the idea may be stolen. But the real genius is in the use of the idea. The ad was written and created through WCRS. You can see more of what they get up to here.
Hats off to them for coming up with something truly engaging. I’m yet to meet anyone who views this and isn’t amazed by it. Nice work fellas.

Tag. You’re it.

July 30, 2008

Once again a Nike ad that’s fantastic.
Sure you could say they’ve got a big budget. But look how well they’ve used it. No matter how much money you’ve got, you still need a big simple idea to communicate. And they’ve nailed it.

The ad came out of Wieden + Kennedy, who are every bit as good as this ad suggests they would be. See more of what they’ve been up to here.
They also used an excellent director, a gentleman called Frank Budgen. He’s shot a huge number of superb adverts. Have a read about some of the things he’s achieved here.

Back to the Nike ‘Tag’ ad. What’s the ultimate expression of freedom when you’re talking to commuters? Turn them all into big kids and let them roam the whole city, playing ‘Tag’ (or ‘Tig’ as we used to call it when I was a lad).
The ad reminds me of being at school and being thankful that I could move pretty quickly.
Just watch how Nike deliver right on the money. Again. How much fun does that look? It’s like flash-mobbing, but with a point to it.
About 55 seconds in, when he spots the long lines of people hiding behind the bins we see a great example of nature in action. I’m not certain if they meant it, but animals get confused by groups of prey scattering. They’re not sure which one to chase. When you look from the outside it’s easy to see which one he should chase, but down at ground level it can be tricky. The collective noun for zebras is a ‘dazzle’. And the name is derived from the fact that its stripes mean that lions and other predators can’t tell where one zebra ends and another starts. Which means they don’t know which one to attack and try to bring down. So now you know.

Another ad that was shot by Frank Budgen was the Sony Playstation ad, called ‘Double Life’. It is a thing of beauty. The pace of it is fantastic. It draws you in. And the little kid who states that he has “conquered worlds” is one of my favourite moments on film. Ever. It’s like a perfect summary of the whole ad. The incongruous nature of the people in the ad with the statements they give is lovely. And it looks fantastic too. Sit back and enjoy.

The ‘Double Life’ ad was created by TBWA, another top notch agency. See more of what they’re about here.
And then, if you’ve time, roll up your sleeves and conquer worlds.

Do you enjoy your job as much as Stuart Hall? That’s the question.
Unless you check beauty queens to make sure they’re not kings, I seriously doubt if you have as much fun as Stuart Hall.
For those of you too young to remember, Stuart Hall is a genius commentator. He used to commentate on all sorts of sports. However he’s probably best known (and most fondly remembered) for his commentary on the ‘It’s A Knockout’ programme. He also commentated on the predecessor to ‘It’s a Knockout’ which was a pan-European programme called ‘Jeux sans Frontieres’.
And here’s the rub – I think we should start a campaign to get him back on TV.
I reckon a dull Premiership game would be twice as enjoyable if they just let the inimitable Mr Hall loose on it.

You really should watch this. No matter how bad a day you’re having, this will surely make it better. He just can’t stop laughing. Apparently he admitted that he actually wet himself he was laughing so uncontrollably.
I’ve worked with Stuart Hall in the past, when he read a voice over for me. His enthusiasm, even for the advert, was almost boundless. He couldn’t do enough to help. He seems to be one of these people who haven’t let their fame turn them into an idiot. He’s approachable, friendly and a ball of endless energy.
He’s just seems to make life better when he turns up.
So go on, have a watch. And then spend the day breaking out into fits of laughter as you remember his pant-wetting delivery.
Penguin costumes, a rotating floor and buckets of water. One of the highpoints of light entertainment in the UK.

As a copywriter I’m used to people changing bits and pieces of my copy. When I enter into writing for anyone I realise that they have final approval. The buck stops with the client. I can only advise them of what, in my humble opinion, is the best way to say something.
Sometimes it makes you disappointed to realise that the last line of a piece of copy has been changed, as you normally build the copy to your last line. It’s normally the final flourish of your argument, and you’ve spent the previous several hundred words setting things up for this last point. But, like I say, you get over it and move onto the next piece. It’s what I believe we call the real world.
Not so if you write as a journalist for a living (and I realise that there’s a difference; they get paid for their opinions, I get paid to put forward my clients’ opinions). Take, for example, the email that Giles Coren sent off to the sub editors that worked on a piece he submitted to The Times. I should, however, warn you that if swearing offends you, you’d best stop reading here. Because Mr Coren is truly world-class when it comes to expletives (he’s pretty handy with the full deck of the English language, but he truly surpasses himself with his swearing on this occasion.) Read the article here.

A handbook not required by Mr Giles Coren

A handbook not required by Mr Giles Coren

Don’t get me wrong I totally understand where he’s coming from. But I’d advise that he has a cup of tea /walk round the block/ packet of Mogadon before he fires off a reply in future. Because no matter how talented you are, there’s only so much that people are willing to take. And once you gain a reputation it’s very hard to put the genie back in the bottle (so to speak).
And, just in case by some weird fluke Giles Coren happens to read this, I was only kidding in the headline. I realise it’s not just a letter ‘a’ that’s missing, but you don’t seem to realise that when you let your anger out it tends to come back and bite you on the bum. Again, so to speak.

This is one of these things that you see and you laugh instantly. It is genius. It’s from Belarus and is basically a ref who’s so pissed that he can’t stand up being coaxed off the pitch before he can do any damage.

And, as he is finally dragged off, he gives the crowd a little wave, just in case they haven’t noticed that he’s been sharing lunch with Boris Yeltsin. He reminds me of the Tim Stack character in My Name Is Earl, who is always the wrong side of a bucket of margarita. Enjoy. But perhaps not quite as much as the referee has enjoyed himself.

A story that almost defies belief, until you realise that it comes from The Land of the Free* (* only applicable if you choose the same freedoms as your Congressman).
It involves some stupid US filtering software which changes the word ‘gay’ to the word ‘homosexual’. Which is a bit embarrassing if you name happens to be Gay.
Like Tyson Gay, the superb US sprinter who won 3 Gold medals at the World Championships in Japan in 2007.
He appears on the American Family Association website, all the way through the article as Tyson Homosexual, including the headline:
Homosexual eases into 100 final at Olympic trials.

Tyson Gay. Or Tyson Homosexual. Take your pick.

Tyson Gay. Or Tyson Homosexual. Take your pick.

Now, I’m not sure where to start with this. Just how damaging can a word be? Surely if you’re morally outraged about something you’d be best to make it something important/useful. Like the thousands of people who die from being shot each year. Or the huge numbers of people on death row. I know that this will make no difference to the Yanks, but they might want to look at themselves, and bring to mind the famous quote by Alexander Pope: “To err is human, to forgive divine.”
How can people get so bothered by a word? Gay. Has anyone died? Gay. Has the moral fibre fallen out of your society? Gay. See, say it and nothing happens. People get on with their lives. The world turns. Water is still wet.
It’s not rocket science. So, like I said, get bothered about something useful. How long did it take some muppet to design the filtering software? Could they not have put that time to better use actually helping someone with something useful? Like a filter that stops bigoted sites from appearing in the results of rationally-minded people?
I spotted this article on the BoingBoing site. It’s a great site with all sorts of great/stange/unusual things on it. And they never, ever let the man get away with it. Check it here.

The Daily Express is at it again. Their byline claims that they are “the World’s greatest newspaper.”
Oh yeah? Who told you that lie then?

You’re barely even the best newspaper in your own postcode, so how the hell you get away with that lofty claim is quite beyond me.
Try reading your rag and then laugh like a drain as you realise the absurdity of your unbelievable claim.
Just in case you wonder what I was doing visiting this ‘news’ site, I clicked a link to find out a bit about the football team I support. Which is an obsession of mine, so I reckon that I can kind of get away with it.
I called the Advertising Standards Authority to see what their take on this loftiest of claims is. And you’ll not believe their answer. Because the front of the Daily Express is not a paid for advertising space the ASA can do nothing about it. So I tried the Press Complaints Commission. They were very helpful (and I may even have detected a snigger when I pointed out the Express claim to be the “World’s Greatest Newspaper”), but it doesn’t fall under their remit.
So I guess that means that you can claim what you like on the front of your own newspaper. I hope no-one tells the Sun/Mirror/Star, as they’ll soon be the “Best newspaper in the known galaxy” and trying to out-do each other.
At least when I write I recognise grammar and spelling. And don’t try to claim that I’m the world’s greatest copywriter. Unless I’ve had a few.
Maybe that’s it. Maybe they write it after a long lunch each day. Which might explain a few things. Like that byline for a start.

Bullitt – what to say?
It’s a supreme movie, beautifully shot by Peter Yates and scored by Lalo Schifrin.
From the opening title sequence the film is truly awesome. The opening titles use a beautifully simple typographic style to bring movement and interest from the very first frame. The whole thing looks great.

The score by Lalo Schifrin is another thing that makes this a must-see. It hammers along, changing pace and moving up a notch as and when the action dictates. The main car chase in the film is legendary, where Steve McQueen (in a 1968 Ford Mustang 390 CID Fastback) is chased by the baddies (in a 1968 Dodge Charger). He soon turns the tables on them and chases them. And the results are amazing.

And here’s a great little thing I found. Someone has gone to the trouble of using GPS to plot the journey on a Google map, so you can see exactly where in San Francisco they are when they’re burning rubber. The screen is split, so you can see the chase on the left-hand side and the actual locations on the right-hand side. It’s superb, even showing you when the chase jumps from one location to another. Have a look here.
And for those of you who want to know a little more from Steve McQueen about shooting this iconic film, check out this excellent article by Susan Encinas from way back in 1987.
Even after all these years he’s still the king of cool.

In the mad world of advertising you get to meet some famous people and do things that you normally wouldn’t be able to do. Like closing whole streets in a city, commandeering a fire engine and location hopping in a helicopter. But to be able to have a kick about with someone like Ronaldo must just be like having all your Christmas and birthdays coming at once. See what happened when Ronaldo and a football met at a shoot.

Like I say, it looks great fun. Unless you’re a Man United fan, in which case I’m sure it would be test of whether you managed not to punch him in the head, or not. I’m guessing that they might find refraining from punching the ungrateful sod very difficult. He is very highly paid, has signed a contract of his own free will, his team won the Premier League, the Champions League, and he’s captain of his country. What more could a spoilt, greedy whinger want? It does beg a pretty serious question: how can someone who is so insulated and always told ‘Yes” be expected to live in the real world? Why are we surprised when the person who is treated like a prima donna starts acting like one?
That said, I still think that he has a responsibility to stop acting like a child. Stop pouting and diving and get on with honouring your ‘slave’ contract. Which brings me onto Sepp Blatter, head of FIFA. What a tit. Imagine comparing a footballer on £140,000 a week with a slave. Could you be any more offensive? (Don’t answer that, because I’m sure that it wouldn’t take much effort for you to be more offensive).
I’m not sure that Ronnie lives under constant threat of death, or has to rise at dawn to till the fields. If you’ve got any more spaces on your slave ship, Mister Blatter, give me a shout. Because I know thousands of people who’d love to sign up.
But only if you throw in free healthcare and some luncheon vouchers. Muppet.

That might have got a few of you confused. If you’ve visited before you might know that I hold Michael Jordan in the same sort of regard as the good reverend in the previous posting holds god.
So why say that he’s a failure? Well, it’s a way into the advert I recently came across again. And it shows the power of not giving people what they expect. It makes them take more notice. It’s not quite this simple, but this may help you understand it: if you’re selling washing powder make your ad look like anything but an ad for washing powder. You have to give people a reason to read or watch. Much as you might love your product, and even though it may be the best thing since sliced bread, you still have to entice people. They’re busy with their lives. You have to jerk them out of their day to day life and place your message in front of them. And that’s what Nike did in this Michael Jordan ad.

They point out the negatives of his career. And then turn it round by saying that’s what drove him to success. His failures. As Thomas Edison said, quite a number of years ago now: “I haven’t failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
And that’s a great way to look at life. You haven’t failed. You’ve just found another way that doesn’t work. But you’re closer to finding the right answer.
Just keep going.
And aim to fail over and over and over again.
And that will bring you success.