Posts Tagged ‘campaign’

What’s in a mononym?

Star-cross’d Juliet asked almost the same question. The answer is everything

Unlike her parents, Juliet couldn’t care less about her intended’s surname. Names, as far as she was concerned, were just artificial constructs. Better consider the person than their name, she declared.

Poor soon-to-die-tragically Juliet was wrong. She couldn’t escape the conventions of her time.

Yet ironically, where Juliet was referring to Romeo’s surname, Montague, it’s their Christian names which have bestowed immortality upon them. Mononymically speaking.

In connected 21st-century Britain, and even abroad, names are so much more than names. They’re brands. We connect with them in milliseconds.

How did it come to this?

How did it come to this?

Being known by your first name alone is the very pinnacle of instant, connected success: Jesus, Elvis, Bono, Moses, Banksy, Donovan, Ella, Maggie, Pele, Napoleon, Michelangelo, Galileo, Superman/woman. Whoever. Add your own. Read more…


Is being better, better?

Last month’s piece in Campaign, CLOSE-UP, quoted one of its panellists, Havas’ CEO and creative Group Agency Head (phew!), I think it was, rightly rubbishing mission statements (the article was entitled Do agencies need a vision statement?).

Image result for being better than your competition

Laziness posing as insight.

Mission, vision…oy!

The only way agencies can achieve their aims, he said – if I remember the concluding comment correctly – was “by doing things better than others do.”

Sounds good, huh? Can’t knock that, can you? Can you? Well, not looking for a job as I’m not…I’m going to say I don’t agree. That this sort of thinking is wrong.

But before I do the ‘Here’s why’ bit, let me agree on the futility of mission / vision statements, generally.

Mission / vision statements are excuses. Substitutes for hard thinking. Don’t get me wrong: I love ‘Truth well told’, ‘Brutal simplicity’, blah, that another industry panellist mentioned. They’re provocative, beautifully concise and memorable.

But they’re not mission (or the other one) statements as the other panellist wrongly described them.

Mission statements, to stick with just the one, are designed to obscure the fact that agencies haven’t done Read more…

New business stops in August

26/08/2014 2 comments

‘Madness’, the saying should go, ‘is doing the same thing and hoping for the same result’.

Holiday madness, that is.

Lines in the sand

Lines in the sand

This August Bank Holiday weekend nearly five million Brits were set to overnight it somewhere rural, according to Visit England.

Another eight million of us were all set to staycation it “depending on what the weather was like”. Icelandic volcanoes permitting, two million more were ready to hop on a ferry or plane to go continental.

But for many of us, we like our adventures to be safe. Limited. Doing the same thing at the same resort as last year, and the year before that, is what we want. Creatures of habit, or what?

LV’s (travel insurance aka Liverpool Victoria) survey reports two million of us check in to the same resort year after year. 40% of us then check out the same restaurant again. Nearly one in ten of those asking to sit at the same table. Do these recidivists pre-order their next year’s meal as they leave the restaurant?

“Bye, bye. See you next year. And we’ll have the lasagna, again, thank you very much.”

Life in the fast lane? Maybe they’re all Saga types? Pre-Saga types probably go to Reading.

For all the freedom and availability of choice we have, for all the hundreds of internet travel options at our fingertips to Read more…

Telling your clients you don’t value their business

Poor old clients. Two news items which caught my eye last week made me think they might not get the love they deserve. Let’s go to item no.1: EE and the reported move away of its business (B2B) from Publicis Chemistry* to McCann.

High and mightee

High and mightEE

We all know that keeping some ‘senior management’ as far away from clients as possible has sometimes been the smartest way to grow a major account. But enforcing such anonymity can be tricky.

The odd value-destroying comments on the infrequent occasion when a fully-underbriefed and only superficially-connected blue-suited agency head honcho turns up to a meeting may just about be tolerable. But when they stray into talking to the press about losing a chunk of the UK’s biggest mobile operator, EE, and describe it thus…

“This piece of work was only worth around 10 per cent of our total account. EE is still our biggest client and we have retained the vast majority of the account.” (ceo, Publicis Chemistry.)

Campaign, which published the news commented:

The appointment puts a dent in Publicis Chemistry’s remit, which previously covered all EE’s direct marketing, an account valued at £50 million.

Let’s do the math: the lost business was “only worth” £5m, then. Only.

Granted your Wayne Rooneys of this world would consider losing a few months’ salary as a bit of a nuisance. But those of us in the real world would consider it as, er…well, a major disaster, actually. On a number of fronts, as follows: Read more…

New business and the nonsense of sport

With Rio 2014 looming, footie is entitled to get into a bit of a media frenzy. So Roy Hodgson’s a big news item these days. It’s only once every four years, y’know.

England’s 13th manager sports a well-travelled international management career including spells at Switzerland, Finland and the Arab Emirates; at English club level, Liverpool, WBA and Fulham. And with foreign clubs. A man of stature, to be sure. Not that he’s won anything memorable with anyone.

Them were the days: the joy of six

So is he entitled to argue that “talent gets you to the top but it’s character that keeps you there”, as he did a couple of weeks’ back to a select group of media and marketing leaders? And is it true?

Perhaps he accidentally overlooked serial non-winner and comrade-in-arms Kevin Moyes if the news coming out of Man U right now (as I write this on Monday evening) is anything to go by.

With apologies to Moysie, but ‘talented’, ‘character’? Hmmm, I don’t know the man. But where was the objective evidence? Speaking Scottish seemed to be the main advantage. That way the (mostly) foreign players, if they shut their eyes, might imagine Sir Fergie was still there. Continuity counts.

Anyone’s entitled to their views on football. England managers de jure. Forget English, too: as every football fan knows, football is the world’s most spoken language. Just the magic words ‘David Beckham’ will get you into a conversation anywhere in the world. It has to be England’s greatest cultural export. Read more…

New business: keeping up with the Joneses

Who’d have thought it? Two CEOs named Jones, neither of whom I know, head for the exits in as many months.

But common names are no guide to their uncommon capabilities.

Jones I (and that’s ‘first’ as in France’s ‘First Lady’ – just a handy, now meaningless, numbering system) moving from unambitious agency anonymity into likely other agency terminal obscurity. And from what I can only surmise from my reading of Campaign…vanishing without trace. Reportedly having achieved nothing memorable.

Nothing ventured. Ever.

A purely speculative Departing Scenario:

Colleagues’ valedictions ringing out. Imminent departure mourned purely for personal and group-interest now that said disappearing protector and benefactor is likely to trigger looming and soon-to-be-revealed collective inadequacies.

All intended to lay down future markers to join said person’s team, elsewhere, soon. And go round again, re-starting the outstandingly average process somewhere else. Good luck receiving agency whoever you are.

As I said: pure speculation.

So let’s turn away from putative dinosaurs and consider the daring: Jones II. This person, by contrast, from respected-by-industry-peers leadership position as very bright and still relatively young thing is moving to, allegedly, bright new place in the sun. Ambitious, Californian sun, no less: starting his own business. All life and start-up energy.

That’s cojones for you, Danny Rogers at Campaign.

Forget all the reported tiffs at the top, internecine warfare rumours at Havas, or imminent takeovers or mergers. Going off to Read more…

New business and not being talked about


I am. It’s undeniable. I’m not being talked about. And being talked about helps win new business. Even if the process may be serendipitous at times.

The whole of last week’s Campaign and not a single hinted-at, referred-to, sideways-looking or retrospective, gossiped-about, nod, sly wink or mention. Nothing. And not just in any old week. Oh no. Just the opposite: the week. The week of ‘definitive judgement’, the sodding…ta da: The Annual 2013.

X-Factor, Strictly or Sports Personality of the Year…pshaw! They don’t even come close.

The best agencies, the best work, the best advertisers, the best people and all the silly bits in between: a year in advertising.

As it says on the cover, Campaign’s authoritative round-up of the very best. And I’m not mentioned. Even though I’m doing my best, not a peep. 


Congrats VCCP: Ad Agency of the Year

OK, I wouldn’t have expected star billing. Even if it is Christmas. But maybe some sort of peripheral, supportive, however remote ‘assist’ kind of thing. Y’know?

No expectations of head-and-shoulders image. Nor any pensive, deep-shadowed, upward-looking stairwell pose. No enigmatically smiling me in fancy specs against big, colourful, wacky backdrop. No group shot with mates’ arms over mates’ shoulders and captioned me: ‘Clockwise from right to left, Neil Cowan…’ Nothing like that, but…

Gutting. I feel like shouting: “Danny Rogers…Jeremy Lee…ANYONE at Campaign…can you hear me…?”

Read more…