Category Archives: Uncategorized

Celebrity endorsed advertising loses focus

I’ll be honest I don’t really like celebrity endorsement in advertising.

I make an honourable exception for Kevin Bacon in what I think are genius level adverts for EE explaining 4G in the most unlikely manner. It has actually made me reappraise him as an actor believe it or not, he seems to be such a good guy in the ads … the power of advertising, who’d have thought!

I spotted this ad though for Westland Garden Health in my Guardian the other day. The connection is obvious, gardening and Charlie Dimmock, latterly from BBC TVs Ground Force..

Clearly Alan Titchmarsh is likely to be more expensive and Tommy Walsh is more DiY and Charlie had a certain following in her pomp, so I get the connection and see the rationale for using her!


But the art direction is appalling … why pay for a celebrity and then leave her so blurred (it is not my photo, honest), that you struggle to make out who it is.  It’s a very extreme form of airbrushing / photoshopping I must say.

The web site is even worse – they must have chosen the worst photo of her they had, and at this point I REALLY don’t want to know what her secret is … sorry Charlie.

CD web grab

I’m not sure the expense of the celebrity endorsement has worked here at all, but in my next example I think the connection is even more tenuous.

Which brings me on to Wiltshire Farm Foods and Ronnie Corbett – see what you think …

This is a sort of upmarket meals on wheels service and I am sure is lovely food, despite it looking rather varnished in the ad, but why Ronnie Corbett?  Really?  Do people think Ronnie will use a service like this? I can only assume it is an empathy play, but he is simply a link man here , much underused, I like Ronnie, so this makes me sad. I hope he was well remunerated.

Next in line is Jackpot Joy Bingo … and that ‘Great British Institution” Barbara Windsor as the Queen of Bingo.


What this ad is trying to show is beyond me.  The ringmaster is a visual identikit of Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York and “Babs”, if I may be so bold, is trying to be Elizabeth I.

Strange and stranger.

Bring back Foxy Bingo that’s what I say, I mean, even woodland creatures seem to make sense as Bingo ambassadors in the context of this ‘mish mash’. [Did I really just type that?!].

Where next then?  Well it has to be ‘Gorgeous George’ advertising coffee I think.

Ok, he is cool, even in this ad, and it does give a lifestyle comment that makes a degree of sense, and the gentle humour about his appearance has a degree of charm. Worth the fee though? Who knows? Does he use a machine like this?  Really?

This has depressed me (and probably you by now, sorry) so I went on the hunt for some Celebrity Advertising that actually works, I struggled, but landed two ads I hope you will enjoy revisiting, both are a little dated, but the production and quality make them timeless.  Both for the same brand too…

The style is montage … my two favourites?

…both Apple…

The original Superbowl ad for the iPhone launch and my favourite inspiring ad .. The Crazy Ones from way back in 1997 would you believe.

Relax, sit back and enjoy them…


Please leave me a comment or two if you get a moment, thanks as ever for reading!


20 May 2014

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Curves vs Straight Lines

A strange topic you may think … but one occupying my mind at present thanks to an imminent move to brand new office premises.  The new office is clearly very beautiful, all curves and ergonomic design epitomising a 21st Century ethic.  There is nothing not to like, it will be a great place to work and will undoubtedly improve morale and increase productivity for a whole raft of reasons.


But … you knew there was going to be a but, it was the “vs.” that gave it away …


I have an unnatural love of the linear… the squared away, the boxy chart, a grid.  I’m never happier than when looking at straight lines, I find them comforting because they have a defined start and end, you know where they are going, you can see the joins and the directional choices you can make.  They are more predictable !


I like that because change is a constant in my work and that is healthy … but in a building … I like a degree of constancy, I like the rhythm of the building I’m in, it knows what it’s there for.  Is that time driven or design driven?  I’m not sure its down to time, or indeed familiarity.  Owen Hatherley in “The new ruins of Great Britain” suggested it was a building that looks like “… businesslike modernism…” that sums it up nicely for me.


It does help that I work in, what I think is, a modernist masterpiece (designed by Gordon Tait), it is a soaring statement of sixties confidence, it’s proud, a landmark, a symbol of certainty, but with touches of beautiful delicacy. 


Too often, sadly, those embellishments go unnoticed.  We cover up a masterful relief sculpture (by Griffiths and Mitchell) with wire racks and pull up posters that obscure a dynamic abstraction that is breathtakingly beautiful; purely and proudly of its time.  I look at a different part of it each time I walk past.  It inspires creativity in me.


I wonder if the video wall in the new building will have such emotional punch and lasting integrity.  I hope so, but fear it will not, through no fault of its own – the technology is designed to move on, the 21st Century is fast and constantly changing and this is reflected in the spaces we create, and that is fine, it just makes it hard for me to connect emotionally straight away – I have to work out where its going, I don’t know where its ‘lines’ are taking me yet.


I do know that it will be fun finding out though, and I will be blessed with a new perspective on the building I work in now, a real bonus !Image

Tagged , , , , , , , ,


I questioned myself on why I wanted to start a blog – which I think is a good place to start, there seems no point in blogging if you don’t know why you wish to do so, or can’t pin down a compelling sense of what makes you sure you want to keep it going.

I am sure there are many reasons, some rational and some emotional – which should in itself resonate with some of my colleagues – so I thought I would list some of the prompts, in order I might add !

  1. I love Rugby League … and a young Salford City Reds supporter wrote a cuttingly inciteful blog that had a real focus on marketing (amongst other things) – so, of my loves in life … that’s two down (.. several to go !) Thanks Louise … check out her blog .. all her own, strong, views               I love her unbridled, brimming over enthusiasm and sense of injustice over her team.  I’d like to think that if I felt the same about Workington Town I would have the sense and guts to write a similar blog
  2. I love art and architecture .. and found myself increasingly frustrated by twitter (don’t get me wrong, I love twitter) cramping my style to 140 characters when I want to wax lyrical about an art show I have seen and enjoyed … this happened most recently at the Hepworth watching a video by Luke Fowler .. I was mesmerised .. despite being imprisoned in a Bean Bag .. well I am 50 after all ! – more of this later I think.
  3. Rugby League .. two events really inspired me … the season that the mighty Workington Town have had and secondly John Stankevitch .. always a good player, a better coach and, I find, increasingly a very forward thinking individual .. full of passion for what he holds dear .. always a great set of characteristics to demonstrate and he is so positive
  4. I read some poor blogs – I am an ENTJ (thank you Myers Briggs) a show off when I played Rugby, and endlessly opinionated about marketing .. I thought I could do as well or better .. or at least find out if it’s as hard as those people showed it could be
  5. I find that some of my colleagues and people I work alongside are writing some interesting blogs, sharing opinions good and bad .. in areas where I too have views

So in summary what inspired me to blog;

  • Rugby League
  • Art
  • People with something to say, should in most cases, say it, especially when it comes to Marketing
  • A natural desire to find a new challenge .. alright .. a little bit of me likes the fact that someone may just read my blog and enjoy it !

I think these are fairly good reasons .. I hope you agree, I do accept that bean bags played a part .. but I am glossing over that at this stage


03 October 2012

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

A foray into public blogging !

I had better set myself some guiding principles for this blog so that I, and you the interested reader, have a sensible set of expectations;

  • We must both accept that, despite the literary credentials of my name, I am no “Papa” Hemingway… I will be guided by him in seeking clear and concise prose however
  • I will only post when I have something to say, and you the reader must make your own mind up as to whether it is interesting or not I am afraid
  • I will try to post weekly though, in order to test myself and to add some rigour to the process
  • I will undoubtedly stray from where I intend to focus from time to time .. I give myself full permission to do so
  • … and finally if I stray into posting strange photo’s of concrete … please be understanding .. I have a genuine love of brutalist architecture, which I accept is not altogether common !

So there you have my set of guiding principles, I hope you think them helpful .. indeed, I can only hope that someone reads them, and my posts, from time to time.


03 October 2012

%d bloggers like this: