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Here are the photos I didn’t take at the Jazz Club tonight. And here’s the video I didn’t film there. And the selfies with the band in the background I did without. And this is the Facebook update I wrote after I watched the brilliant performances. Because I realised tonight that this thing is called a post – something you can do after the event, not during. So I didn’t miss a thing. Just enjoyed watching the musicians, including the virtuoso saxophonist’s 11yr protege daughter, play joyously without feeling the need to record it all.

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Have you counted up the number of emoticons you use each day? I avoided them for so long thinking they were just for kids. But now I realise that I’m forced to add them in many if not all emails, texts and status updates.

The thing is, just like here, there’s no tone of voice. We can’t ‘hear’ each other without speech, obviously. And we can’t see the facial expressions that accompany the words. All the subtle audio nuances and visual clues are lost. So we have to include pictures now to soften or strengthen what our fingers type.

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In less than a week, I start as Executive Creative Director at Lowe, the biggest agency in Vietnam. After a month of discussions on Skype with the senior stars and face to face with the tremendous Michel Borelli, MD there, I finally signed on the dotted line last Thursday evening.

Click here to see their current website.

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At a recent Careers Evening in my daughter’s school, I was asked by four sets of parents during the few hours whether or not their little darling should go to University. It really made me think about what advice to give – the pros and cons of routes into Advertising.
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Ever heard of a place called Longyearbyen? No? Well it’s one to learn for Pub Quizzes. It happens to be the world’s northernmost town. As such, it gets the least daylight of anywhere on Earth that people call home. In fact, the townsfolk live for 4 months of every year without sunlight. So what better place to demonstrate the benefits of the Philips Wake-up Light?

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Watch this when you’ve got 7 minutes and 11 seconds spare. It’s a mesmerising film about a blogger who has 70,000 readers a day. This is part of Amsterdam Worldwide’s latest campaign for Intel’s Visual Life. Almost 600,000 views in just a few weeks, it’s far more engaging and informative than most 30 second spots, press ads or poster campaigns. This new style of content-based advertising will feature

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What makes great creative for multi-channel campaigns?

I wrote this for this month’s mediaPro magazine. They asked for a page or two. I gave them three… So much to say and I had to cut loads out too. Anyway, if you have a spare 20 minutes, I think it’s worth the read. Some great examples in here too.

Here goes.

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Ever had to design those little buttons that make software look unique? Well I’ve done one-offs before but never a full set. A designer friend artworked up my sketches beautifully.

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One very happy client. (This isn’t what he looks like!)

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After the unprecedented success of last year’s inspired Best Job in the World for the Queensland Tourist Board, advertising you take part in featured heavily in this year’s award-winning campaigns at Cannes Lions Direct.
The Grand Prix winner was a great use of Iggy Pop – unlike those stomach-churning nonsense ads for Swiftcover. Audition to play with Iggy on a brand new performance of ‘Passengers’. Love it.
Check out all the winners here and spot how many actually involve the audience to build the campaign.
Bring it on I say.

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I’m three weeks in and loving getting these little boxes every day. Filled with loads of scrummy snacks, it’s a pleasure each day opening up to see what they’ve sent me. 9 times out of 10, I really like all the contents. I really recommend Graze – great tasting food delivered daily to my desk. £2.95 per box, £1.50 starter pack. Each little pressie means I don’t snack on crap. A very good thing after all these years!

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2008 October

16

Oct
2008

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In Uncategorized

By Chris

The privilege of judging

On 16, Oct 2008 | No Comments | In Uncategorized | By Chris

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On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week, I judged 3 categories for the 2008 DMA Awards. Sworn to secrecy on pain of death, I can’t mention a thing about the work I judged suffice to say that I saw some truly outstanding work. Every year, I join fellow members of judging panels from agency and client side and we tear into every entry like a pack of wolves. How anything survives is sometimes amazing. If outsiders really saw how brutal the process is and how many flaming hoops each piece has to jump through, I think there’d be a few shocked faces and a real genuine pride in the work that wins. It is one hell of an achievement to win a DMA and I’m not sure everyone really understands this.

When the shortlist is made, around 7 to 10 entries are cast on the floor in front of the hungry panel eager to see if their chosen ones made it through. I like to think that I know the great from the good/average and I generally have about a 90% success rate of choosing the shortlisted few. But when it comes to the debate, boy is it passionate. Only the strongest survive. Only the ones who really do tick those three boxes – strategy, creativity and results. I was due to enter a radio and DM campaign in three categories this year but results-wise, it just wasn’t up to it. And you knew full well that some bugger would see straight through my wishy-washy words in the ROI bit.

Many a mind has been changed for or against an entry after an empassioned plea by a juror. No one in the room knows the final result but everyone is sure of one thing – whatever is voted Gold, Silver or Bronze, it bloody well deserves it.

This year more than any other, I think I was re-energised about our industry by some great workand subtley warned that I had to raise the bar yet again!

It really is a privilege judging awards – one I would recommend to anyone but not perhaps the faint-hearted…

P.S. Don’t forget 9 December – Awards night at the glorious Grosvenor House.

03

Oct
2008

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In Uncategorized

By Chris

Silver service

On 03, Oct 2008 | No Comments | In Uncategorized | By Chris

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This is a weird one but well worth writing up, I assure you. Now I’m no DIY master and unfortunately I proved this the other day whilst bravely trying to replace the washer on our bath taps. To cut a long story short, 5 years after buying our Bristan mixer taps (see pic) and two years after they started leaking, I did the deed but snapped the cold tap putting it back together.

After lots of swearing and the scary realisation that I wouldn’t now be able to turn off the cold water… I called Bristan. I owned up to what had happened and wondered if I had to buy the complete £335 new set for the sake of a 14p wash. ‘Certainly not sir. We’ll send you replacements free of charge today.’ I’ve put that bit in bold because words like this are as rare as hen’s teeth, aren’t they?

Customer service to die for

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The company is called Bristan. They make very high quality bathroom and kitchen stuff in traditional or contemporary designs. The parts arrived this morning. They talked me through fitting them. From my emails back and forth plus calls sorting out exactly which of their products we have, they have been the most exceptionally professional and extremely helpful company I’ve come across in years. It’s such a pleasure dealing with people like these guys I just wanted to share my experience.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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The faultless John Lewis is another exception that proves the rule. But a surprising new entry for me is T-Mobile whose customer service department seems to be entirely staffed by lovely old Northern women who really can’t do enough to help you. It feels like you’re chatting to someone who not only knows you, they know your mum, your kids, your pets and even remember reading your school reports. After having my Blackberry stolen at a recent concert, I’ve had to make quite a few calls to them about a replacement. Each new person has a little chat with you – nothing forced, very natural – and tries incredibly hard to sort out your problem. They even bother to phone you back when they say they will.

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Be Broadband is another superstar. Nothing is an issue – everything is calmly and professionally dealt with.

After recent appalling battles with the disgracefully bad BT (one small problem, 23 calls, 14 different people, no resolution – I just left) and the profoundly stupid Talk Talk, it really is a joy to find businesses that give sh*t post sale.

Just one entry into my ‘ugly’ category and that’s Bank of Scotland. I’ve never come across a company that has made me SO angry by their utter contempt for small businesses. They really do not care. Perhaps they’ll be swallowed up soon by the big fish and learn some manners.

A message to all companies: it doesn’t matter how much you spend on your advertising and marketing if your customer service is rotten – I should know, I’ve produced great work for the best and the worst and seen what worked.

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Can I just close on Riverford? What can I say? You really owe it to yourself to get your meat and veg from these guys – just amazing.

So keep up the good work Bristan, Riverford et al. But there’s a few companies out there that have a lot of catching up to do.

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