Friday, 30 May 2008

All the ducks are drink driving in the water

We've just had a great experience creating some radio spots for Drink Drive with the band Lemon Jelly..."ALL THE DUCKS ARE SITTING IN THE WATER!" What a lovely couple of fellas they are, extremely talented and a joy to work with.

Thanks very much guys.

The campaign idea is centred around the fact that a Drink Drive conviction stays on your licence for 11 years, which will cause you all sorts of problems. Our aim is to make the audience think about how long 11 years is and whether it's really worth trading that quick pint for 11 long years of grief. A tough cookie is Drink Drive - the public seem to be immune/bored of all the old classic shock tactics, and the depressing reality is that the dickheads who do drink drive don't actually care about the effect their actions could have on anyone other than themselves, hence it's much more effective to talk about the personal consequences.

Anyway, we're pleased with the campaign and hopefully it'll feel fresh for the genre as well as convincing the target audience not to get behind the wheel after a pointless quickie this summer (crazy fact: every degree the temperature goes up in the summer, supermarkets sell an extra 400,000 crates of beer). Check out the spots below...



(Speaking of time, I just watched the Lost season 4 finale...amazing. I have to admit that there were parts of this season where I was losing faith a wee bit, but the finale was unreal. As usual with Lost, it's going to take a while to digest it all...but if you don't watch it, watch it. All of it. Trust me, the writing, the characters, the's genius).

Thursday, 29 May 2008

It'll only be a matter of time

Call it inspiration or just call it down right thievery, I just want to share a few thoughts on the much debated 'grey area' of copying.

It's a sad day when you can't look at a fantastic idea and appreciate it fully for everything it is. Instead, nowadays whenever I see an amazing idea I wonder how long it will be before the idea is bastardized and re-done for some ad campaign, music video or such like by some bugger like me (oh the shame). Of course, inspiration is the way of the world, without the Beatles there would be no Oasis and all that, but where do we draw the wretched line?

Obviously, being in advertising, Mr D and myself are constantly debating between ourselves about whether it's alright to do certain stuff, has it been done before etc. It seems that in order to sell in any idea, whether it be within the agency or to client, it must have a reference. "It's a bit like that film. It's like in that viral with the treadmills. Remember those posters done in Brazil, like them but..." Everything has to be like something else. Otherwise we're moving, heaven forbid, out of the comfort zone of the familiar and into the realms of 'new and risky'. Because at the end of the day, money is on the line.

Of course, there are plenty of examples where risks have been taken to try something new, and some of these inevitably become the most memorable and successful (from Tango to Gorilla) although of course a lot don't. Indeed in today's market, surely only the new and exciting will survive. It's all about the entertainment man. But this is where I get frustrated: when I find out that an amazing ad has actually been 'inspired' by something's happened time and time again, and with the internet at the public's disposal it's become increasingly difficult for people to cover their naughty steps. Good. Most recently that great Transport for London ad that invited the viewer to count how many basketball passes were made, then asks at the end 'did you see the dancing bear?' Genius. But then, oh no, it turns out that there was actually a film made by some professor at a university in Germany or something that's exactly the same (even the use of basketball!) But, if the desired result of getting people to give the road their full attention is achieved, is it then ok?

If you must do this, and mainly I imagine it happens through laziness or desperation, it's all about integrity and making sure that the thing you're 'inspired' by does indeed just inspire you and is definitely not straight up copied.

Anyway, back to seeing a great idea that's bound to be copied - this idea is brilliant (from Thad's Limited Fun website). It was thought up by an art student for his graduation project. The clever chap had the idea to draw the world's largest drawing, a self-portrait (although it looks more like Zeus!), by sending a bag via DHL with a GPS inside to a multitude of complicated destinations around the globe.

He hasn't actually done it, but the thinking behind it is phenomenal...although now part of me is actually thinking "Shit, is this actually an advertising campaign for DHL, disguised as 'an art project'?" Hmm...

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Aquatic Mammal Ball

Summer holidays are looming beautifully upon us. Of course, summer holidays aren't what they used to be, back in the days of school and all that. In those days you had really marathon-esque holidays, as your inability to physically write upon returning to school always confirmed.

In deepest darkest Cornwall we spent our long summer holidays surfing. And if there were no waves we made up ridiculously complicated games on the beach. One that sticks in the memory is Mammal Ball (named so as it was invented by my hairy friend Tom). If you're bored or trying to impress someone why not try it out on your holidays, or even take a leaf out of my book and pull a 'day off'...boom boom. Mammal Ball actually started off on the beach, but then eventually evolved into a water-based game:

Aquatic Mammal Ball.

The rules are simple enough:

Equipment needed - 1 tennis ball.

Stand 5-10 metres apart (on the beach, or waist deep in water for the Aquatic version).

One competitor joins his/her arms to create a ring and stands still (like a basketball hoop with human head as backboard).

The other competitor then attempts to throw the tennis ball into the ring. If successful, 1 point is earned.

The competitors then switch roles, remaining in the same positions.

Play first to 5 or 10 points, skill/time depending.

Pray the surf picks up to relieve you from tedious game of Aquatic Mammal Ball.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Good old days

I love Nintendo. I'm not ashamed to admit it. Last week I was in New York and stumbled upon Nintendo World at the base of the Rockefeller Tower. What a place. A dream come true.

My spare room is now filled with an exciting array of Nintendo 'crap' - mints in NES controller tins, Wii remote key chains that will never be used, Zelda Pez dispensers etc. I just couldn't help myself. Sadly I couldn't buy any Wii games 'on the cheap' as they won't work over here. Gutted. I'm having to cheer myself by tracking down and bidding for the Power Glove and the NES R.O.B.O.T. (below, on display in Nintendo World) on ebay...

Anyway, we used to work on Nintendo all the time, back in the days when they still allowed agencies to do creative ads. How sad a day it was when those celebrity-filled, white roomed family friendly spots first seeped soullessly onto our screens...I mean, sure, they obviously work and sell a bucket load of Wiis and DSs, but this is Nintendo, the company that has bought us the most amazingly creative bits of bizarreness that even make the odd appearance in the surreal corners of my dreams to this day.

Of course, their rationale is that the games are the creative part and that the branding therefore can afford to be minimalist, accessible and take no risks. But, I don't know...I just think it all feels a bit dull. (Having said that, Playstation advertising is brilliantly creative, whilst the majority of their games are quite straight, generally speaking of course).

I digress. At the beginning of last year a few of us had a whole lot of fun making a bunch of Nintendo DS idents for Channel 4 comedy sponsorship. I just wanted to slap a few of my favourites on here, as they still make me smile and bring back lots of happy memories (there are more kicking around on YouTube if you're interested). Here's to the good old days!

'Touchscreen - Shaving'


'Pro Evolution Soccer'

I weep for the future

And so it begins.

1st post pressure...nothing will be good enough.

This will hopefully do - it's a film I made last year in a valiant attempt to quit biting my nails like a psycho...did it work? No. I blame it on my job, having to think of ideas all day, whilst subconsciously chewing off bits of my own body. '137 nails were sacrificed during the making of this advertisement.'

Please try and enjoy.