Monday, November 16, 2009


It's been a while since I posted anything. But then there has been a lot going on. New team members, new business opportunities, new bathroom at home!

I've spent too much time on aeroplanes getting ready for the next thing on my to-do list. My back still has not forgiven me.

During this time though I have spoken at a couple of conferences. First there was the In-Store Expo in Chicago. Not my best effort, but it went OK and the content was well received.

Second, I was lucky enough to go and see my friends at Cawley Nea\TBWA in Dublin. I presented at a great breakfast session they host with a session entitled Turning Shoppers into Buyers.

This was a great session and it was rewarding to have the opportunity to share some of the U.S. perspective that I have picked up with a European audience.

Since my last post there has also been the Planning-ness conference in San Francisco. Wasn't able to be involved or even attend myself, but was able to send Shin from our team. He had a great experience by all accounts. He gave the rest of the team an overview at an off-site we had a couple of weeks ago and it sounds like it was great session for those up and coming. Some useful presentations are out there on slide-share from various U.S. planning luminaries. All praise to Mark Lewis of DDB in SFO for getting it up and running.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Brilliant Brand Back Story

We all have a back story of some kind. Sometimes it's really productive to nip up into the brand attic, rummage around and dust off the entire thing, then tell it in an engaging, compelling, one-take kind of way. That leaves you with something like The Man Who Walked The World ...


Thursday, September 03, 2009

Word Clouds

Great tool this for creating a word cloud. Very useful.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

2009 Planner Survey

Results are now available. Once again, Heather LeFerve has administered, analysed and published a global survey of the planning community and how things are going in our roles. You can get the findings here.

I'm a bit late publishing this myself as it's been the busiest summer ever.

The 2009 survey builds on those of previous years.

Great Metaphors

Metaphors and analogies are often used by us planners in our day to day life to help convey and simplify ideas, thoughts and concepts.

This is a fantastic ad from Luvs that uses a rather unnerving metaphor to convey the feeling of bringing a second child into the home.

Brilliant stuff.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Academic Thoughts Pitching

Interesting piece on the 4A's website that I was pointed towards today. Written by Jodi Lisa Smith, Ph.D at the University of Texas, Austin it makes three recommendations for agencies that could help agencies when pitching.

1. Build a Cohesive Agency Team - make sure everyone on the pitch team has time to bond and they like each other. Clients can spot people who've never worked together or who don't like each other.

2. Avoid Spec Work Like the Plague - don't give away your ideas for free. Trouble with this, is that all agencies have got to agree to do this at the same time. There will always be someone willing to give it away in the hope of winning the business.

3. Insist on Collaboration Meetings - completely agree. The best experience and then client relationships start out with collaboration between both parties.

Not sure that it needed to have much research but it's a useful reminder. And I agree completely that New Business is all about control. So in order to maintain control, a few points that can come in handy.

1. You have to invest in your own success. Be it time, research, whatever.
2. Use qualitative research creatively.
3. Meet - spend time with the prospect, and stay a meeting ahead of the competition.
4. Make sure your presentation room is right for you to be successful. How is it dressed? How can you work it?
5. Make sure your presentation is designed to win.
6. You've got to present winning strategy and creative (kind of obvious I know)
7. Practice. Then again. Then again.
8. Don't leave logistics to chance - have them perfectly planned.
9. Manage who sits where and present with a variety of media
10. Finish on a high note. Don’t just stop.

I'm sure there are plenty of others as well that would help.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

TRON Returns

Disney is finally bringing us a second installment of TRON. Given the incredible technology and effects incorporated in the original and the cinematic technology advances since, I'm guessing this has box office success stamped all over it already. I hope that someone is working hard on all the pre-launch campaign work as this lends itself to greatness. Can't wait.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Is My Mac Becomming a PC?

Have you noticed how the top right bar of the Mac OS interface is starting to look a lot like the bottom right of Windows?

Here's a PC I have at home...

And here's my MacBook Pro from work...


Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Art of The Possible

DDB created film for David Plouffe's speech about the Obama Presidential Election campaign which he delivered at Cannes, June '09. The campaign pretty much cleaned up at Cannes this year.

Being Productive

Being more productive is something I would assume most of us would probably like. I was listening to a pod cast of Digital Planet from the BBC on the way home the other day. If you don't listen they are worth downloading as they bring lots of great stuff on tech, its use and development in society and culture. Anyway, there was a quick piece about a Firefox add-on called LeechBlock.

It is a tool that helps you practice self restraint with the use of the web. If social websites, Wiki-pedia and the like tend to eat a significant amount of your day, this add-on stops you getting to them at specific times.

I love add-ons and apps like this that bring real utility to our lives. And I like that this one address something that we might not want to admit to ourselves and aims to recognise and help with our personal flaws.

Not going to install it though as I of course believe that these are tools that help run my business and personal life so why would I want to limit the times of day I can get to them?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What Kind of Tech User Are You?

It seems I am a Digital Collaborator!

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has a small quiz on their site where you can learn what typology of tech user you fall into. Everything from the Digital collaborator or the Roving Node to to the Technology Indifferent. Have a look.

Leadership Is About Changing The World

However big or small. I saw this film again the other day. It's magnificent. Watch what the coach does. He steps up. He supports. He encourages. And watch the reaction of the crowd, the players and the other coaching staff.

Hoe that I may be that great one day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Magnificence in b flat

Thanks to Suz for this wonderful find. It's a collaboration of different musicians called in Bb 2.0, where they play ambient sounds of similar tones. You then start them playing in any order you want so can create an almost endless variety of combined sounds that are magical.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What Matters?

Tom Carroll, President and CEO of TBWA\Worldwide, gave his Chairmans address at the recent 4A's conference in San Fransisco and in a little over 20 minutes touched on a variety of topics affecting and impacting the business at the moment. It's just been released on video.

In the speech, Tom talks about the need to focus on the things that matter, which requires us all to always question if something does actually matter to a business, a brand. I love his point about the need to get out of our offices, to be in the markets and talk with those who understand what matters and what works. He also talks about the need for media to be in at the beginning, that data is just a decision making aid, that we need to be responsible for our work and of course the issue of diversity. He ends with a point about the industry being spread too thin, that we'd matter more if we were more consolidated, but that it is also a fun time to be doing what we do. Worth watching.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Future is Digital

According to Barry Judge, CMO of BestBuy. This is his view of how engaging with their audience is the future of their business.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Remember When TV Was Fun?

Thank you, Stewart Hall. For fabulous viewing evenings with my family in the 70's. From a time when media was social.

(If this means nothing to you, drop me a line and I will explain what this madness was.)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Steve Jobs Introduces 1984

I know lots of the folklore surrounding the seminal Apple 1984 spot but have only just seen this film. More great story telling

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Calling All Planners

It’s that time again. Heather LeFevre has just released the 2009 planner survey. Now in its fifth year, the survey is a really useful aid for those who are involved in recruiting and developing planning talent. Or just interesting for those who want to see how they are doing! There are some changes this year looking at the public holidays you are given by your company and other holiday time you get (or vacation if that’s your thing), the current economic climate and, now that Heather is in beautiful Amsterdam, she has attempted to be more sensitive to non-Americans. Bravo!

So if you happen to be a planner type, dive in and complete the survey. If the results are of use or just general interest to you (you're a student or a recruiter), you can put yourself on the list to receive them here.

Oh, and please pass this on and get as many people to take the survey as possible. Heather’s goal is to break 1,000 responses this year.

Looking forward to seeing a global pulse on the entire community.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anti-Social Smartphone Users

Great, funny Ted talk from Renny Gleeson about the culture of availability we have created for ourselves, the need we seem to have for shared narratives, and participation in the world/people/moments around us (or not). Can you see yourself?


Read an interesting piece on Dave Trott's blog recently about the need the world has to somehow measure creativity, and how the Gunn Report is killing creativity. It's a great piece to remember in which he ends with the quote.
"Not everything important can be measured.
Not everything that can be measured is important."
If only the world was comfortable operating in this way.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Presenting Digitail™

I gave a presentation with Morgan last week at the In-store Marketing Summit which was held at McDonald's Hamburger University, just outside of Chicago. Apart from Morgan's disappointment that you can't actually get a burger of any kind at the Hamburger U, it went reasonably well. We had two projectors fail on us mid-way through the presentation, but being pros from Dover, we just ploughed on with mime and finger puppets.

You can download a copy of the presentation over at and it is pretty much the entirety of what we delivered.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Don't Panic

I've recently re-read Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Apart from reliving part of my teenage years, the message The Guide delivers when it is opened by our hero, Arthur Dent, is one for today.

And always remember that the entry for The Earth, written by Ford Prefect, was "Mostly harmless". Worth remembering!

Why South West Airlines Is As Good As It Is

Who wouldn't want to fly SWA when you get this kind of thing from the flight attendants? Creative, unique delivery of information that personalises your experience. What happens when you allow your employees some control.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Did You Know?

Useful film about the world around us today. Check back in a couple of years and compare how this has changed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Internet Turns 20

The Internet is now out of its teenage years and on the way to full adulthood. 20 years ago, Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote a paper at CERN with the title "Information Management: A proposal."

It was from this over the following year and a bit that he developed and built the protocols we use everyday (I'm sure he probably had help though) - HTTP, HTML, WorldWideWeb (the first web browser), CERN httpd (the first server software), and the first web server (

All of which we should all be very thankful as it has not only allowed the most unprecedented era of human communication and interconnectivity, but built new industries, jobs, services and seen some fantastic new ideas brought to fruition (I think they're fantastic anyway) that generally make many things in life easier. So what's next ...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Join Our Social Media Experiment

This evening we're in an interesting social media experiment. We're testing the power of social media to spread a "buy now" message to support a great cause. Tide is selling retro tee-shirts to support Loads of Hope. Check out the video below for more about this great cause, and support them by going to and buying a shirt—two shirts gets free shipping.

It is definitely a great cause so a worthwhile endeavor. But the key to the experiment is in not using traditional paid media and instead appealing to bloggers, twitterers, facebookers, etc. as the mechanisms to reach out and talk to folks. So please check out and join our experiment.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Everything is Amazing, Nobody is Happy

Very funny clip about the spoiled generations that we are.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New White Paper

We've just release another White Paper at work. Based upon some experience we have managed to accumulate over the last few years, this paper looks at points of inflection throughout a purchase cycle and how the role of communication should change as we move from the being in the mindset of a consumer to that of a shopper (and back again).

Click through and download.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Izzard on Technology

I love these Lego animations.

And Izzard on twitter now -

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Proof that Good Ideas Will Win Out

Hyundai Assurance (for me the best marketing idea that was seen at the Super Bowl) is proving extremely successful for the brand. Recently released sales figures show that January sales are up 14.3% while all others in the category, er, tank. It would seem that a strong idea, which is empathetic the situation the audience faces is quite a powerful thing. Who'd of thought it?

A Valentine from Jamie Cullum

And who wouldn't want a personalised Valentine from Jamie?

Friday, February 06, 2009

New Colour Research

Interesting piece I heard on NPR this morning. There has been much research on the power and importance of colour around us. This new work from the University of British Columbia studies more than 600 people who undertook a variety of computer based tasks that were delivered in either a red, blue or white background.

In the research they created some copy for a toothpaste brand. This was either delivering a rational 'fights cavities' message or a more emotional 'makes your smile brighter' message. Both were delivered on a red, blue and white backgrounds. As Ravi Mehta, the lead author of the study says,
"significantly more people choose the brand which was good on cavity prevention. With blue they preferred teeth whitening. And on a white background, neither product had an advantage."
The study also explains how previous research has produced conflicting findings about how red and blue effect thinking. What this research is saying is that either colour can provide a benefit, if it is used with the appropriate task.

Interesting stuff and worth a look. Again, thinking about the context of the task at hand and applying research such as this will help move the performance of your comms.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Best Super Bowl Marketing Idea

Plenty of comment on the work this weekend shown during Super Bowl 43. For my mind, the best was this from Goodby and Hyundai.

It has a marketing idea. In the current climate, it's great to see an agency and client team thinking about how to address the issues, concerns and fears of its audience. Yes, there were more beautifully shot, art directed, funny, great-use-of-special-effect affairs, but to see a real marketing idea that is interesting, that speaks to the context of our times and addresses it head on, was great.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Good Urban Design

Interesting article that appeared in Monocle Magazine that showcases 25 examples of good urban design. One of the best is the tram that runs on grass.

Some more images here. And bike lockers to keep your favourite mode of transport warm and dry in cold, snowy cities.

You can also read more in the IHT here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Study

We've just put another study up on shopperculture. This is the result of some work we've been doing for NACS/Coca-Cola Research Council. It's been a really interesting project over the last 12 months.

The report provides a fresh perspective on some routes for C-Store operators to break through the conventions of their category. Click through to download.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

ShopperCulture on Twitter

We've started tweeting at work about stuff we feel is relevant. May not be for everyone, but if it is, do start following us here.

Another bit of Cadbury joy


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Create Your Own Bike Lane

Love this.

It's not real, but someone should jump in and make it.

psfk London Event

Have been asked to put up a post about the psfk-Good Ideas Salon, taking place in London on 30th January. I am sure that the event will have no problem selling out, so if you are going to be in London on that day, sign up soon and make sure you get a place. The line up of speakers makes for a really interesting read. Only wish I could be there.

If you go, please let me know what you thought of it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2008 Observations

Started this as we turned into 2008, and then things just got away from me. Anyway, a observations and things from 2008, a most interesting of years.

1 - Financial Expert = oxymoron
2 - UK radio is disproportionately better than its US counterpart - better music selection and mix, better guests, conversation, point of view.
3 - Death is around the corner for us all, so live in the present of today
4 - UK tax system is simple - but it's all relative!
5 - Exercise is vital, so get out there and shape up
6 - Social networking - Blogs, Facebook, to Twitter, Linkedin, Plaxo et al - is either for the professional or for those with no spouse or young ones!
7 - Kids whose parents are actively involved do better academically.
8 - BitTorrent rocks.
9 - Bond was a bit disappointing.
10 - The new Doctor better be not be!