Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Photography trickery by Stephen McMennamy

Everyone loves a bit of photographic trickery. Art Director Stephen McMennamy's combo photos combine two very different images to seamlessly blend them into surreal scenes where paintbrushes turn into noodles and headphones are seemingly made out of donuts. Check out some of his great images here and on his website and Instagram account.

They already make me think of ideas for adverts...

Advert for airline or holiday company perhaps?

Could be used to promote healthy eating?

Ad about how good listening to music on a particular radio station is? Or particular pair of headphones perhaps?

Perhaps ad about energy drinks making things that seem hard easy? Or one for how much meat is in a frozen food range?

Ad for how good eggs are for your brain? I'm making this shit up.

Ad for a summertime product? Maybe a clothes brand? 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Olympic Advertising Gold

Great Britain are in second place on the Olympic leaderboard at this moment. Can we just stop for a second and think about that? We are ahead of CHINA and only the USA stands ahead of us. We are in Silver medal position and compared to the size of these other top of the leaderboard countries we are a teeny tiny island.


Anyway to celebrate I thought I'd pull together a medal  leaderboard for some of the Olympics advertising I've seen. So, on the podium we have....

Gold in the sport of "Hero" portrait goes to this Michael Phelps spot by Droga 5. This spot was is one of the most shared spots on social media ever so it wins a Silver there.

And here's the social media Gold winner, very well deserved - Channel 4 for the Paralympics. This has to be the biggest celebration of human ability in an ad ever. I love it. Gold for being generally uplifting then.

Gold for riffing off of the Brazil theme and Gold for CGI goes to the BBC for their Rio trailer.

Gold for biggest tear jerker (can't see my keyboard right now) goes to P&G - with the message Thank you Mum - It takes someone strong to make someone strong. How true is that and what a lovely sentiment, can't see my keyboard again through the tears.

This Samsung spot deserves a medal for most interesting angle - picking to tell the story of an athlete from South Sudan who are entering the Games for the first time ever.

This Nike ad wins a Gold for most annoying Voice Over. But I like the premise so let's give it an honourable mention for that ey?

And this spot for Gillette wins the Gold for most tenuous connection to their product. Congrats Gillette.

So there we go. My leaderboard. Enjoy the Olympics everyone :)

Friday, 29 April 2016

The Queen is starring in an advert! The REAL Queen. I can't believe my eyes.

Prince Harry wants to promote the Invictus Games. So he calls on his mates to appear in an advert with him....look who he got - only the flippin' QUEEN! Oh and Obama and Michelle, but let me say this again, THE QUEEN is in it!


Car advertising meets the movies

When I was younger I always used to watch car commercials and wonder why they were so boring. You'd always get a car looking beautiful driving down a long winding mountain road. Sometimes, just to mix things up a little, you'd get it driving through the desert. 

Of course then Honda came along and showed us that car advertising could be so much more. It could be engines flying around animated worlds with catchy songs, or ingenious domino type set ups. Mini has had some good ones too - I really liked their game of hide and seek. 

But how come Hollywood's most beloved car scene never featured: the car chase? Cars in movies are always featured in tense and dramatic scenes where the good guy is chasing the bad guy. It's about time that car manufacturers picked up on this cliched scenes and used it in their advertising. After all, who doesn't want to feel that their car (and their amazing driving skills) could save them if a Bond villain were after them? 

Hello Audi. Their latest ad uses the car chase cliche and undercuts its drama with a normal family in an Audi complaining that our villain hasn't used his indicator. The ad features a chase and punch up with Captain America and Black Panther. I don't care about the film much but the partnership works very well in this ad. Nice one Audi. 

Friday, 8 January 2016

Happy 2016. Christmas is over so what now?

Christmas was a blast but it's over now.
But all is not lost! January can be a great month.
Here's what everyone seems to be picking themselves back up to do, think and talk about.


Look I don't know why this seems like a fun thing to do because it's actually the opposite of fun. But I like to think of dry January a bit like a tricky computer game. You have to navigate the social calendar, avoiding the alcoholic beverages and find new tactics to be sociable without being forced to down a beer. See? Fun.

EVERYONE is doing dry January this year. My deskman Ludo reasons that it's because every year we are consuming more and more alcohol and we're scaring ourselves. Good theory. Mine is that the adverts for Cancer research in December have struck a real chord with people. See below.

Whether people would say this ad was the reason they were giving up alcohol or not I think that this ad planted the seeds of the thought in a lot of people's minds this Christmas and of course then there is a snowball effect. I said I was thinking of doing dry Jan after seeing this ad then my sister agreed and so did her bf Tim and my dad and then my friend Lisa. See what I mean?


Who isn't watching this yet? You? Well mark my words, if you have Netflix then you may as well start this weekend because you'll watch it eventually. People are getting hooked by this real life story just as they did by Serial and the "is Adnan guilty" question. Don't be behind the curve peeps.


Discontent with just giving up alcohol, many of my friends are embarking on punishing fitness routines. The problem is that the weather is not playing ball. Rain is not conducive to running and outdoor yoga sessions and so that's why gyms in January become unbearably packed places. Yes January is the season of gym wars when everyone moans about the fact that they couldn't even get on a running machine because they were all taken by tubby new gym members. The weights machines are all taken by people sitting the wrong way around and attempting to lift weights that are far too heavy. This is the season where regular gym members need to resort to stealth tactics like lunchtime sessions or attempting to cause a large proportion of other gym users get food poisoning by leaving contaminated protein balls at the front desk. No I haven't actually done that yet but it's an idea?

Also can I just say I got some boxing gloves for Christmas so you might want make way yeh?


Yes January is the month when everyone is making Mystic Meg year ahead predictions.

I've been doing a lot of reading recently about the power of the mind to shape reality. According to the law of attraction you can make whatever you choose to be a reality happen. So I've been telling everyone they're going to have an amazing year. I will be having an amazing one - I've decided.

Of course the interesting predictions for us Ad peeps are trend forecasts. Here are some of the forecasts I've read about so far for 2016, plus a few of my own predictions:

a) Brands asking consumers to prove their worth. A bit like clubs looking at how pretty you are and deciding whether to let you in. If it's exclusive the worth goes up.

b)  Micro-moments - super targeted contextual ads will be big - meaning less spamming and more adverts that people actually want to theory.

c) Virtual reality – Last year I was absolutely blown away by experiencing the Oculus Rift. This year brands will get in on the act, offering virtual reality experiences for their consumers.

d) The Internet of Things will continue to get bigger. On the Apprentice this year the winner was a guy who wanted to get into renewable energy. Instead energy firms said that he should be thinking about smart technology. Apps that can turn on your heating for example. If even Alan Sugar's getting his fingers in this pie then it's gotta be big news.

e) Ethical companies - Last year one of the nicest news stories was a boss who had taken a huge pay cut to ensure that his staff were all paid equally, a flat pay structure which meant huge pay increases for those at the bottom. This year brands will be trying to sort out their own houses, creating great PR in the process.

Other things people are talking about in brief:

Deutschland83 on Channel 4 - apparently very good.

Obama crying - def real. I'd vote for him.

The rain - for fuck's sake when will it end?

Books - I'm writing one, my desk mate's writing one, my friend Thomas is writing one, my friend Hollie has written one. How do we get publishers?

Cards Against Humanity - still the dinner party fav.

War and Peace - BBC's Downton replacement therapy with a bit of incest thrown in.

Sherlock - the last episode was shit tho wasn't it?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Feminist talk around the advertising lunch table.

I am proud to say that the creative department I work in has many women. In fact I think it's a pretty even divide which is highly unusual in the Advertising world. Perhaps that's why our department is more collaborative than competitive. Perhaps the reason women stick around is because it's friendlier and less macho. As female Creatives we are on the front line of the fight for equality. We prove our worth in a male dominated world every day.

Recently a colleague of mine had a baby girl baby girl and returned to work. I feel that she has began our next big fight: for working conditions which allow us to be mothers as well as valued and sought after Creatives.

Sitting around our lunch table we discussed the ways in which a baby girl should be brought up in order to feel free from the limiting stereotypes that we had all faced in some degree. My colleague said that she was trying not to use the words "good girl" - words that enforced the gender in association with "worthiness". She was also trying not to dress her little girl in pink. Pink wasn't banned, but should be like any other colour.

I thought back to my Christmas shopping trip a couple of years ago in Hamleys where there was an entirely pink floor filled with dolls and a blue ones for boys full of dumper trucks and building blocks. I also thought of the way schools enforce gendered behaviour. Aged 8 I started a petition in my Primary school asking for girls to be allowed to play football. It resulted in a shouting at by the head dinner lady, a very scary lady. What hope did my friend have to keep her child free from the pressures of a labelling society? What hope was there when she would play with other children who's parents would kit them out in pink and blue and give their girls dolls and the boys trucks?

But apparently there are some children's brands who are thinking differently and seeking to challenge these stereotypes.

Princess Awesome make girls clothes in rainbow colours with patterns inspired by dinosaurs, maths and science. Their message is that you can be a Princess and a scientist when you're older. I mean, shouldn't a modern Princess have a job too? No Waity-Katie for these kick-arse girls!

Here are some of their inspirational and gender-rule-breaking pictures.

There are actually a whole host or fashion brands doing the gender neutral thing for adults - check out this article if you're interested.

Let Toys be Toys is a brilliant initiative which seems to be making some important ground in making toy shops organise their toys by theme rather than gender. Below you can see great two examples of the changes they have helped enact.

JUST BOYS? JUST GIRLS? WHY? Thank GOD these signs are gone. 

This last one is particularly lovely - having a girl's picture over the construction toys. Result!

The UK has a long way to go. But steps are being made in the right direction. Together we can help change the behaviours of brands by voting with our feet and writing to point out inequalities to companies. You only have to look at last year's Cannes entries to see the advertising world is trying too. "This Girl Can" and "Throw like a girl" are two great examples of female empowerment.

Together we can help my colleague's child, and all children, be exactly the person they want to be. Not what society tells them they must be.

So go on. Buy your baby girl a dinosaur and buy your little boy a doll if they want them. I leave you with this amazing father and son:

Friday, 6 November 2015

Tom Cruise, meet Tom Cruise. But mind out for Arnie!

Imagine a club where time is a fluid, allowing any famous person who had ever stepped inside to reside indefinitely in that moment. A place where Al Pacino could walk back in 10 years later and see himself 10 years younger. A club that acts as a time sticky paper. This is the illusion that this clever mashup creates - it's called Hell's Club.