Friday, October 24, 2008

Come, Friendly Bombs...

Is it wrong to want to call in an airstrike against the River Cottage? This is a rhetorical question of course, as the answer is undoubtedly ‘no’. Having watched River Cottage Autumn last night, it seems like a far better use of military resources than bombing innocent Afghan villagers.

Obviously SAS observers in the hills over the enemy base would have make sure that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was on site, perhaps being fellated by one of his rare breed pigs.

Mind you, who’d need the SAS? I’m sure the locals in neighbouring Axminster would be quite happy to shop the overbearing Old Etonian be-jerkined satchel-mouthed tosspot to anyone willing to put an end to his wholefood tyrannical rule of their town. Yes folks, it’s time for ‘regime change’ in Spermy-Shittingstool’s manor.

Last night we saw him bullying poor people into acting as his serfs on an allotment and patronisingly force-feeding them the vegetables from it. He then browbeat his pet baker into making rolls made from spelt for his ‘vegetable’ themed night in another offshoot of his empire, the River Cottage Local.

A vague sense of drama was generated by the uncertainty over whether the spelt rolls would be ready in time. You’ll glad to know that they were. If they hadn’t been, I’m sure Lord Cocking-Fittingtool would have had the blighter soundly flogged (with a cat’o’ninetails made from the same organic leather as his jerkin).

So, OK, carpet-bombing River Cottage may be overly ambitious, but I’m surprised a resident of Axminster hasn’t already set a roadside bomb to obliterate Hugh’s ostentatiously rustic Land Rover. Now that’s one jihadi video I’d want to see…

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Six Me, Me, Me Facts

My old friend Steve has passed on a 'blog-tag' which challenges me to tell the world 6 random things about myself. Since there's no subject I'd like to write about more than myself, this has prodded me into blogging despite work busy-ness:
  1. Stirling Moss was my landlord for a while. He was a right stingy old git. When I moved out of the modest bedsit in West Kensington, he took £50 off my deposit for a lost teacup and some scuffed paint. After haggling over this for 10 minutes, he wrote the cheque for my deposit using a Coutts chequebook.
  2. I have a fantasy about what I’d wish for if I met a genie. The wish I’ve thought out in most detail is this: duplicating the Earth in an equivalent orbit on the other side of the sun and populating it with friends and family. A fresh start for the planet and an amazing adventure for everyone I know. Obviously it could be really shit if we starve to death before figuring out how to grow food and, admittedly, friends and family might not be up for a Ray Mears-style survivalist paradise…
  3. I once shared a flat in Finsbury Park with a member of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. They were very big in Japan, apparently.
  4. My left foot is half a size larger than my right foot. This is a common thing, which has led me to suspect that there’s a business idea in selling shoes individually rather than in pairs.
  5. I used to cry at old Bette Davies weepies as a child – and yet, miraculously, I’m not gay!
  6. My cholesterol level (score, rating or whatever you call it) is 9 – which is rather high according to my doctor. Sob, no more steak for me!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Credit Crunch and Advertising: My Predictions (For What They're Worth)

In the weeks since I last wrote a post on this blog, I’ve been extremely busy at work and the West’s economy appears to have imploded. (I tend to think the two are unrelated, although I did have to refuse to take calls from Gordon Brown a couple of times).

It leads me to the question of which creative agencies are likely to ride out the fiscal apocalypse and which are likely to die on their arse. I now work at an integrated agency, Rapp (freshly rebranded from WAVV Rapp Collins), which used to specialise in direct response advertising and direct mail (DM). An increasing proportion of our work is now digital, which is why Simon (my Art Director) and myself are here.

It seems to me that, in tough market conditions, clients are going to demand real results in terms of sales, rather than brand-building. This means a shift from TV to DM and online.

I’m therefore betting my family’s financial welfare on RAPP being able to survive because it’s experienced in producing work that makes a measurable difference to revenue.

This mean getting the audience strategy right - targeting the right consumers with apposite messages in the right places - is as important as brilliant creative. For online agencies this means less ‘experience’ websites that win awards and more exploitation of distributed content, social media and, of course, search.

I also tend to think that network agencies will lose TV work to smaller, leaner agencies – including those that used to be thought of as digital. Having seen how big agencies operate with TV budgets, I can see how clients would cry out for slimmed down production. It’s possible to make great ads without having to pay for art buyers, big-name directors, a shoot attended by 15 account flunkeys on Blackberries, and crippling post-production costs.

It’ll be interesting to see whether I’m right in my predictions, based as they are on second-hand opinions and biased observation. Not just as an academic exercise - if I’ve got it wrong, I’m probably fucked!