Monday, 15 December 2008

What really goes down...

I've just worked out how to get photos off my phone. Here's a random selection...

This is the door of Freddie Mercury's old house which is round the corner. Apparently he left everything to his house cleaner lady.

This is one of my first ever drawings that my mum dug out for me: an elephant.

A beaut of a rainbow...

Some posh crisps in a posh bath whilst away on a shoot...

The view from our office, where amazing sunsets are a daily occurance. What lucky boys we are.

The best pumpkin in London for sure...

Some horrific paintball bruises on my leg, sustained on a horrific stag-do in Latvia. Don't do it.

I found this on a wall in a seaside village in Cornwall. From what I can gather, it's a net you can pull over your head to protect you from hungry seagulls when eating a pasty or fish & chips. Ingenius or ridiculous?

Random eh? What's your favourite?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Prepare to feel creatively inferior

Kenichi Okada is an interesting man who creates interesting things. He works for Sony in their creative centre and thinks up all kinds of fantastic stuff.

The Delay Mirror and the Delay Chair for example...

He's created apparatus that enables you to experience what it's like to be different animals - for example having the vision of an ant so everything's x50 smaller.

His Etch-a-sound enables people to draw with their voice, inspired by Etch-a-sketch:

And there's even the mysterious 'Sound Wood', which is unexplained on the website but looks fascinating/really weird...

Check him out at his website:

He's a beaut.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Mushroom Power?

Encyclopedia Pictura's video for Grizzly Bear's 'Knife' track is well worth a look. It's up there with their work for Bjork in terms of beautiful, intriguing settings and surreal attention to detail. I'm a big fan, but never in a million years will these guys do an ad...unless maybe it's for a super-ethical product or good cause. They're freegans you see...

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Sheet music of the Aphex Twin

I love the idea of this: writing up the Aphex Twin's incredibly complicated tracks as classical sheet music. Annoyingly it's only a small pic.

How about a whole book of 'Drum 'n Bass Classics' propped up on your grandma's piano?

The Aphex Twin, Richard James, is from Cornwall by the way. Explains a lot eh?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

This is living

I'm constantly surrounding myself with fresh illustration, design etc trying to find the next big look and feel for new campaigns. But, now and again I really enjoy a good bit of fine art. My good friend Andy Kerr lives in Penzance and somewhere amongst his busy life of surfing and fishing, he finds the time to paint the beautiful West Cornwall scenery. Oh, it makes me homesick...and endlessly jealous of his lifestyle. But hey, back to the adverts I go.

Here are a few of his works:

Friday, 7 November 2008

Face Banks

Roll on Christmas...I know what I want. I want a credit crunch munching Face Bank and I want to feed it all the coins I can get my hands on.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Shopping Mall on a Stick

Not entirely sure what this is all about, but I like it.

The thought process:

"I know, today I'm going to make an exact miniature replica of that shopping mall place down the road and put it on a stick..."

If only I didn't have a job to do. JaiWal?

Sunday, 2 November 2008


The big idea. Find the 'Reassuringly Expensive'. Find the 'Good things happen when your phone's off'. Find the 'Kawasaki Motorbikes - Have a Cool Death'. Look hard enough, and you may even find a 'What your mum would feed you if your mum was a man'.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Shelly the Lobster

A sweet little animated film about a lobster who wants to make music, by Johnny Kelly at Nexus, he of the fantastic 'Procrastination' film which I saw at the Royal Academy of Arts graduation show a year or so ago.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


What do you get when you mix a bit of extreme Baptist church craziness with some good old hardcore drum 'n bass? Baptazia of course...

...courtesy of DJ Andy C & MC GQ. Banging.

Monday, 20 October 2008

I dig this dance with a digger

This is pretty amazing. He makes it look so graceful and undangerous. How long before we see this in an ad?! For some random car brand, with a piffy line like - 'man and machine, together in harmony'...

Monday Blues

This made me smile. Finally. I don't know what it is about today, but it just hasn't got going at all. It's bleak outside, the leaves have all fallen off the tree outside my window, projects have been cancelled and I literally have no energy to do anything. Hey ho, if you're having a similar day, let this picture be a turning point. Or not, just write the day off... sod it.

Friday, 17 October 2008

The Super Genitari

When I was a kid I'd have given my right leg for this 'one console plays all'.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Friday Happy Tea

Nagi Noda Tribute

So sad. The ridiculously talented young Japanese director Nagi Noda passed away last month. She was a director I would have loved to work with, indeed we tried to once for Nintendo but she couldn't do it. This news actually hit me quite hard, as I've been avidly following her work since seeing her music video for Yuki's 'Sentimental Journey'.

This obviously 'inspired' Mother's great Coke spot.

Although so young, she was just 35, the quantity and quality of the work she'd created was quite incredible. A small selection of her magnificence:

Mariko Takahashi's Fitness Video for Being Appraised as an "Ex-fat Girl".

The half-panda-half-something-else 'HanPandas'.

The incredible 'Hair Hats'.

And this 'flower creature thing'.

And this. Wow. Goodbye Nagi.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

He's taller than me and you

Check out my brother teaching his son Oliver Aston Villa songs. I love it when Oliver corrects him! Start 'em young is what I say.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

The Gatekeeper at the End of the World

When you're driving around deepest, darkest Wales at 5am, looking for a field that doesn't exist, the last thing you need to see sitting nonchalantly halfway up a telegraph pole is this...

Thursday, 18 September 2008

CC Watchdog

A clever little trick that a good friend of mine taught me a while back:

When complaining to a company via email, for example an airline, a restaurant, a bank etc 'CC' to send shivvers down the receiver's spine. It works a treat. I don't even know if that is the email for the real Watchdog, but who cares...just giving out the impression that they're watching over your correspondence ensures instantly better treatment!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Give a Goat a Job

I just found this...

It was my old partner's and my business card/logo when we were trying to get a job in advertising. It's a real photo. I shit you not. The goat was called Tina. It lived in a field behind my old partner's house in Cornwall. What posture, what symmetry...

Is it as good as this though? This is the image that pops into my head whenever I think of something decent...slap that paw!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Crack TV is Back

I'd rather watch a good American TV show/series than a movie nowadays.

So, Dexter's back. Boom. Season 3 will be on-air very soon over here. I've just watched the first episode. What a great, great show it is. I'm not normally into crime and all that, but Dexter is different, it's got a fascinating, morally confusing hook: he's a serial killer who only murders bad guys. So, you find yourself in the unusual predicament of liking a serial killer...which makes for great TV. Watch it.

Also back on air is the Season 4 of Prison Break. Now, this really is crack TV. Like 24, you simply have to keep watching to find out what happens next. The first season was shit-hot, but then you wonder how they can spin it out. But they do, reasonably successfully as the breakees are on the run. Then season 3 - back in prison again, except it's the worst prison in the world. Then season four, out again. In, out, in, out. Some great characters in this series too, my particular favourite being the devilishly dark redneck rapist Teabag...amazing, the next Kevin Spacey?

Another brilliant bad guy, and also in the running for my mantle of the next Kevin Spacey, is the superb Michael Emerson aka Benjamin Linus in Lost. I'm going to sound like a right old geek now, but Lost is amazing. Most people just dip in and out, then go 'there's polar bears and they're actually all dead and the island is purgatory, and the writers just make it up as they go along'. Oh no no. This is screen writing at it's very best. The amount of times it has just blown me away is ridiculous. I know a few people who gave up in season 2 as it got a bit slow, but seasons 3 and 4 were just fantastic, mind-blowing in fact. Check out this well geeky map some psycho has put together...

Monday, 8 September 2008

Toilet Humour

Whilst shooting 'up north' on a building site, I came across these rather beautiful examples of toilet humour in the port-a-loo there. Still pondering whether to call that number...of which I've removed the last digit (so now you've only got a 1 in 10 chance of reaching her/it!)

Advert Alert

A couple of new Maccy D ads we've just finished, '06:37' and '08:51', revolving around the idea of 'A breakfast for any morning'. We tried to keep things as real and observational as we could. Directed by the young and fantastic Mr Ewan McNicol over at Blink.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Fish are Fucked

It's true. There really aren't plenty more fish in the sea. Why? Because we've eaten them all.

It's as simple as that. Scientists predict that by the year 2048, the sea will be empty. This is very bad news. Sea-life produce 40-odd% of the air we breathe, which means that when the sea reverts to a prehistoric jellyfish soup, we too are fucked.

The solution? Stop eating fish that isn't sustainably caught eg. doesn't have a sustainable fish logo. Ask fishmongers and waiters where the fish comes from. If they try and fob you off, or can't tell you, don't buy it.

Anchovies, scallops and tuna are the most popular fish at risk.

But, the sad truth is that no-one will really care. Why? Because fish aren't cute and cuddly like pandas. Plus, because we can't see what's going on under the waves, most of us will turn a blind eye.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Teen Wolf found on VHS

I've been away on a shoot up north and then down at my folk's house in Cornwall for a sorry attempt at a summer holiday. Hiding inside one day, away from the miserable rain soaked tourists and grey skies, I thought I'd have a little root around through my cupboards in my old bedroom. Amongst the childhood junk I came across a few VHS video remember when you were a kid and you had to make do with VHS video tapes? You had to wait for the films you wanted to come on TV, then record them (usually over another film), then you'd watch them over and over again. Well I did anyway. And as I recall, there were a handful of films that I must have literally watched hundreds and hundreds of times:

Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Weird Science.
Live and Let Die.
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Basic Instinct (well, one or two particular bits of it).
Teen Wolf.

Oddly, I realised I'd re-watched all of the above in more recent years, apart from Teen Wolf.

So I went out and bought it on DVD then watched it on the 5 hour train journey back to London today. First of all, whilst I'd forgotten bits of the plot (like when he opens the bathroom door to reveal his dad's also a werewolf) somehow I knew all the words...the child 'me' had obviously drilled the lingo into my brain so much that I'd never forget it. Scary really.

Actually, I seem to recall recording the audio from various films onto cassette tape via my tough-as-nails brown Fisher Price tape recorder then listening to them on my Walkman on long journeys. Weird. I've just been doing a bit of research about Teen Wolf on Wikipedia. Apparently, the film was shot before Back to the Future, with bits of it even shot in the same Pasadena street, but released afterwards. For its Italian release, Fox's character name in Teen Wolf was even changed from Scott to Marty in order to capitalize on the success of Back to the Future (awesome fact: my maths teacher at school had a Delorian car with the number plate 'BK2FUTR').

So, the verdict: most definitely worth a watch. My personal highlights include the bit where he's getting ready for the school dance a la John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, the token crazy buddy 'Styles' and of course the 'urban surfing' on top of the Wolfmobile.

Friday, 8 August 2008


Is the date today, which is pretty neat.

I wonder how people are 8 today? Or a gummy 88?

After 2012, there won't really be any more dates like this as there only being 12 months cocks things up whilst we'll have 12/12/12, the year after's 13/12/13 ruins it.


She was a Sk8r Mum

I was randomly looking at Mother's website, and was greeted by this video of people skating in Mother's empty office, which is fun and oozes cool, so much so that it physically hurts me.

We could try and do something similar here, a bit of base-jumping off the roof onto the Village green perhaps, splattering the lunchtime picnickers with blood and guts...or a spot of rollerskating across the busy A4...

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


These ads have been around for a while, but are well worth a look. Proper funny shit. Amazing casting, great director and pretty much a free reign to do whatever...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The Delicate Art of Director Searching

So, you've worked for months on the idea, finally sold in a script to the client...all you have to do now is shoot it right? It's obviously not as simple as that is it.

For once, as a creative, the ball is in your court and you're the one who's getting pitched to. It's a tricky business though, and often there's only a couple of days between selling the script and presenting a director. How do you know who is right? A good director really can be the difference between a decent and a cack spot, they can polish a turd, turn water into wine but equally turn wine into water.

I personally keep a stash of interesting and exciting directors in a safe place at all times - a mixture young and untried and ones I've always wanted to use. In an ideal world you'd always get the one you wanted, but of course things don't go according to plan. Getting treatments is usually a pleasant experience, seeing how someone sees and builds upon your ideas, but how much of a risk should you take?

Recently for example, after much umming and arring (is that right?!) we sent out some scripts to 3 different directors - a safe pair of hands, a young up-and-comer and an 'out there' wildcard. I'm not going to say who we chose, but it's really difficult. The safe pair of hands gives you a solid 'this is what I was expecting, I know how it'll turn out. Cool.' The unproven young up-and-comer then turns in something that he's obviously put his heart and soul into, exciting but solid, determined to make the most of his would-be big break. But then the wildcard mentalist supplies you with a treatment that makes you go 'Oh shite, this would be great...but it's a risk, how the hell is this going to turn out?! I don't quite know, but if we don't take a risk, how will we ever produce something exciting and original?' Decisions decisions.

I thought it would be interesting to go through a few directors we've used in the past.

Ben Gregor, Knucklehead.
The Great Christmas Shopping Escape.
Watch here (not the best quality, apologies)

Ben's reel is great. A perfect mixture of dark, surreal and down-right piss yourself funny. He's also the loveliest guy, really easy to warm to, is well up for collaboration but has strong opinions that I personally really want from a director. You don't them to be too watery do you? He was also fantastic with the client in a cheeky monkey kind of way, which helps. He knows the limits but will push as far as he can.

For this spot it was paramount that people related to the escaping chap, something quite easy for most blokes. We also wanted a bit of surrealism, well actually we wanted loads of surrealism but that's just not possible in the real world (post below's content being the exception). The food shots were also dealt with in an acceptable way, the spot actually holds the record for the least amount of product in a McD ad, which was a result. We would definitely use Ben again, even though he does send us the odd abusive text...

James Brett, Plunge.
DS Theatre idents for Channel 4 Comedy.
Watch here
And here
Oh, and here

This was a low-budget shoot that required an ambitious set (a giant Nintendo DS console to act as a stage) and someone who got our vision for how Nintendo ads should be: quirky and fun. We had to cast out net far and wide. One of us (5 creatives worked on it) saw some really amusing spots on James' reel involving rubber puppets shaking in an earthquake - really simple, really funny. When we first met him he turned up with loads of robots from one of his many eccentric was really odd thinking back, but the guy just had a passion and energy that made him shine.

He's very opinionated, but between us all we got to a really great place, it was a wonderful process. He understood everything we wanted to achieve, the low-fi-ness, the sense of imperfection and he really worked the Japanese theatre troop to the bone...the first set were all filmed in 2 days, so there wasn't much time for error. I would say it was the best experience production-wise I've had so far.

Duckeye, Rokkit.
Snack Wrap Foldy-Uppy.
Watch one of them here

This was a tricky sell to the client. It was one of those things that was really hard to explain to the client..."yeah, it's a piece of paper that folds to reveal different images that together make up some sort of vague narrative." However, once they were onboard, just about, Duckeye (aka Kate and Jey) stood out by a mile...just so, so talented. We needed a stop-motion director with a real lightness of touch and a stupendous amount of creativity. Their reel is one of the most creative I've seen, mainly because it's predominantly made up of music videos, so they've been largely unrestrained!

Again it was a lengthy, slightly troublesome process, but the Duckeye are two of the most chilled people you can meet (even when McDonald's insisted on using slightly moving food shots on paper!) I think anyone else would have gone mad, but they just dealt with it and we were all really pleased with finished spots. If you get the chance, they are an absolute pleasure.

Of course, we've had a few not-so-great experiences, but I don't have the balls to talk about them in public! (not that anyone reads this...)