Can you pay to get an ad banned?

Advertising, Interesting

I ask because this magnificent effort by Spark44 London for Jaguar has been banned for “encouraging dangerous driving”, which I can’t see at all.

What I can see is how much of a dream it’d be to have an ad about villainy – starring the man who played Loki – banned for encouraging dangerous behaviour. And like most people, the only reason I’ve even seen this ad is because it got banned.


Beautiful ad, by the way. Polished script, great choice of actor, perfect delivery and an effortless tie-up with the product. Plus it’s really, really sexy. Just saying.

About these ads

30 things to do before I’m 30

Copybot articles, Interesting
Can you hear ticking?

Can you hear ticking?

Next December (2015), I’ll turn 30 – and I want to celebrate it by becoming the most well-rounded human being I can. The best, most accomplished version of myself. So I’ve written a list of 30 things to do before I’m 30 – the first 20 by me, and the other 10 suggested by the lovely people of Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and real life. I’ve tried to make my list items as measurable as I can so that I know how to reach each goal and how to gauge when I can cross it off. And as much as I’d love to have a number one record or go to space, I have to be realistic – I don’t want anything uncrossed on my 30th birthday! Besides, I’ve got the rest of my life for the really big stuff. As of now, I have: 528 days until my 30th birthday Which is 1 year, 5 months, 10 days Or 75 weeks Or 12,672 hours To do all of this:

  1. Watch every single one of IMDB’s top 100 films.
    See how I’m getting on with this one here. This means full-attention watching. No split-screening. 100% attention, beginning to end, which means I’m having to re-watch some I’d technically already seen. This has already added SO much to my film knowledge –  I’m really enjoying going through the list. And it means I never have to wonder what to watch.
  2. Read every single book on Waterstones’ ‘50 books to read before you die’ list. Except the Bible.
    See how I’m progressing here. I’ve edited the list a bit, because Waterstones counts the Lord of the Rings, His Dark Materials and the Harry Potter series as one book each when they’re far from it – if I did all the ones on the original list, it’d actually be 61 books. I’ve also removed the Bible. This means it’s actually a list of 49, so I might add one more book if I have time.
  3. Write the first chapter of my first novel.
    I’ve been putting this off for longer than I can remember. Get on it, girl.
  4. Go on holiday on my own, outside the UK.
    I don’t know how I’m going to do this with my total lack of finances and the fact that I have a cat, but it’s on the list, so now I have to do it. Update: currently planning a trip to Amsterdam in November.
  5. Reach 10,000 Twitter followers.
    Currently hovering around the 7,000 mark.
  6. Donate bone marrow.
    This one’s out of my hands because it depends if I get a match. I’ve signed up as a donor with Anthony Nolan, and I’m hoping I’ll get the opportunity to help someone. This item was originally ‘donate my eggs to a childless couple’ but sadly I’m a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis, so I was rejected. If I can’t donate bone marrow, I will donate blood at least 4 times before my birthday (you’re only allowed to do it every 3 months). I’m going to do this anyway, but if I can’t donate marrow, I’ll allow the blood donations to stand in.
  7. Start and finish a course of dance lessons.
    I tried salsa and bachata but they’re not for me, so I need to try some other styles and choose a course.
  8. Start and finish a course of singing lessons. 
    Three hour-long lessons completed! 7 to go.
  9. Sew something.
    I have no idea how to sew properly. I’ll probably need a sewing machine for this one, which would be kind of cool to own.
    Update: since people keep telling me they’ve achieved this one by hemming their jeans, I mean actually sew an entirely new thing.
  10. Throw a really amazing party and not cancel it.
    I have a bad habit of cancelling parties at the last minute. I’ll probably save this one for my 30th birthday party.
  11. Visit Wales
  12. Visit Scotland
  13. Visit Ireland
    It is a sad fact that I have never been to any of these doorstep countries.
  14. Be an extra in something.
    Ideally the kind of extra that gets to stand next to Christian Bale. Oh, fine, just behind him then.
  15. Learn to cook 3 new dishes.
  16. Learn to make 3 new desserts.
    I will provide photographic and possibly edible proof.
  17. Raise £1000 for charity.
    I won’t achieve this all at once, but I’ve already scheduled a charity fancy dress day at work to make a start.
  18. Have a column or article published in a physical newspaper or magazine, with my name on it. 
    I last did this in the 90s when I wrote something for Junior Mensa Magazine. I was cool. I’ve made a start on this one by taking a Guardian Masterclass in freelance journalism.
  19. Learn to juggle. 
    I am exceptionally uncoordinated. This will be hard.
  20. Learn to love beer, or at least cider.
    I have booked tickets to a beer festival in October, so this one has an earlier timeline than most. Current status: I hate beer, but cider is lovely.
  21. Learn to taste wine properly
    Submitted by Alison Garner. This would definitely be useful for my job, because I have no idea what “a seam of balanced minerality” means.
  22. Learn to ride a horse
    Submitted by Gustaborracho and Natalie Sullivan. I feel a bit sorry for the horse.
  23. Be on TV
    Submitted by Mike Hoy. I was on the news in 2013, and Songs of Praise when I was a kid, but this one is more about actually being myself on a television programme. I’m doing well on this – update to follow when I’m allowed!
  24. Go to a festival
    Submitted by Ian Stewart. I’ve never been to a festival and always thought it wasn’t my kind of thing – which is why it’s exactly the sort of thing that should be on this list.
  25. Learn an instrument well enough to play the Game of Thrones theme song
    Awesome suggestion by Matthew Downey. I played piano when I was little (and recorder, like everyone else) but can’t play anything anymore. Plus it’ll be fun to learn the Game of Thrones tune.
  26. Make a website
    Submitted by Paul Curry. I’ve got a whole load of different sites for different purposes, so I’m going to wrestle WordPress and try and put them all in one place. Step 1 was buying and moving this blog.
  27. Perform in public
    Suggested by a bazillion people. I haven’t decided yet whether this will be comedy, singing, rapping (ha) or something else, but I will stand on a stage and embarrass myself, because you all want me to. I’ll film it and post it as well… probably.
  28. Take an entry-level course in something you’ve never done before
    Submitted by Rich Quick. I’m considering plumbing!
  29. Learn/improve a language
    Submitted by Charlotte Marshall. Not sure whether to brush up on my Spanish or start learning Japanese again (got a bit overwhelmed last time). I need to set a measurable objective for this one, possibly some kind of qualification or a set number of lessons.
  30. Write a comedy sketch and submit it somewhere
    Suggested by Andrew Blakeley. Bit scared about this one, I don’t know if I can be funny. But I’ve found a competition and I’m going to try!

The challenge is on! Thank you all for your suggestions. If you can help with any of the things on the list or know someone who can, please leave a comment or tweet me – I’m taking on a lot here! If you’ve got your own list or mine has inspired you to create one, please share it – I love seeing how people are working on themselves.

One year on, another user-submission app gets the shaft

Advertising, Copybot articles, Interesting

A year ago today, Benadryl’s crowdsourced pollen map had to be pulled after an uprising of internet users used it as an outlet for their creative emissions:

Image via SocialSlurp

Image via SocialSlurp

We suspected there was more to come, and 12 months later, pizza brand DiGiorno proves again just how hard it is to pull off user submission as its ‘design a pizza’ app is deluged by peckeroni:

download (2)

download (1)


Pictures via IMGUR


In a cock-up masterstroke, the campaign strapline was Go ahead. Play with your food. 

At the time of writing, the app is still standing, and judging by DiGiorno’s somewhat spunky tone of voice, I doubt they’ll be rubbed up the wrong way:

DG tweets

Wonder if it’ll be entered into Cannes’ Grand Prix.

Art direction of the year – Leo Burnett France for Jeep

Advertising, Interesting

Leo Burnett‘s beautifully-crafted campaign for Jeep is going to win all kinds of awards for art direction. Each ad features a monochrome image of an animal that can be flipped upside down to become a different species, and unlike most ambigrams, these actually do work both ways:



Deer > sea lion

Sea lion










Penguin (this one doesn’t work as well for me – it’s the eyes)

The line – See whatever you want to see – feels a bit ‘global English’ to me (although they’re French, so fair enough) but works with the product and the idea.

This is apparently a press campaign, but I’d like to see the images appear in digital media to make maximum use of the dichotomy.

Story and images via Metro.

Update: despite being presented by Metro as ‘new’, these have just won 3 Lions at Cannes (Press, Craft Illustration and Craft Art Direction). Which means I was right!

“You’re going to miss the vagician” – another surprisingly shareable ad from HelloFlo

Advertising, Interesting

Making a period-related ad that doesn’t make people cringe is hard. Making one that people actually want to share and talk about is really hard. But HelloFlo’s last ad (“The Camp Gyno“) nailed it, and this one is even better.

Written and directed by Jamie McCelland and Pete Marquis.


Honda shows Hyundai how it’s done

Advertising, Copybot articles, Disturbing, Fails, Interesting, Rants

Most people who read this blog, follow me on Twitter or know me in real life remember the time I had a somewhat high-profile disagreement with Hyundai.


BBC World News

For those who didn’t see it, Hyundai made a really badly-judged ad that showed someone trying to commit suicide in one of their cars, and failing because the car only emits water. As I commented at the time, there were many more creative and interesting ways to deliver this message without sucker-punching people who’ve lost loved ones to suicide, or showing them how to do it (there were details in the ad that would help people die effectively).

Honda – a brand I’ve worked on and have a huge soft spot for – have just come out with their answer to the water-emissions brief. And isn’t this just a world away from someone ending his life?



Image and story via PSFK


Honda-branded bottled water, created entirely from the emissions of their FCX model.

Simple. Effective. And it didn’t make me cry.

Wasn’t so hard, was it?