Can you pay to get an ad banned?

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.

Art direction of the year – Leo Burnett France for Jeep

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!

Honda shows Hyundai how it’s done

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?

Two excellent new examples of sideways thinking

1. Taco Bell ‘I’m Ronald McDonald’

Brief: Stick it to McDonald’s.
Solution: Hire a bunch of real-life blokes called Ronald McDonald and get them to endorse our new product.


(It’s not the first time this has been done – for instance, there was a Samsung campaign that got people called David Bailey to take photos with Samsung cameras. But this feels cleverer – I for one was tremendously disappointed to receive a ‘David Bailey print’ in the post that was a blurry photo of nothing by a nobody).

2. Wu-Tang Clan release one copy of their new album

Brief: How can we make loads of people want to buy our new album?
Solution: Only make one copy.


Apparently, the Clan’s latest release ‘Once Upon A Time In Shaolin’ will be encased in a handcrafted silver-and-nickel box. Before it goes on sale, the multi-million dollar album will also go on tour through museums, galleries, and other art events.” (PSFK)

Hell, even I want to hear it now, and I wouldn’t call myself a Wu-Tang fan (though I do like fancy-pants silver boxes).

It’s not a new idea that restricted supply often means increased demand, and advertisers have used this before too (eg. when Burger King pretend-discontinued the Whopper), but I can’t even imagine how hard it was to convince high-level music marketing folks that making the album all-but-unavailable is the best way to sell it. Of course, it’s already making huge waves for Wu-Tang and I’d be very surprised if album sales weren’t significantly higher as a result.

Some excellent brain food there on both counts. Any more examples? Put ’em in the comments.

I think LG is trolling us with the G Flex ad

If you like:

– English actors badly delivering Americanised dialogue (“Open it already!” “Bro” “Like a BAWSS”)

– Seeing a man awkwardly snog his own hand

– Hand-beards that look like pubic hair

– The film ‘How to Get Ahead in Advertising’ (the one where Richard E. Grant has a sarcastic talking pimple)

Then you must love this ad for LG’s G Flex phone.

Otherwise, please feel free to join me in a chorus of “What. The. BUGGERY?!”

Edit: this has been pulled from LG’s official channel so I’ve replaced the video above. The internet never forgets.


10 honest tips for people doing work experience

Based on my own experience on both sides of the fence. Not necessarily the case everywhere, and so on.

1. There won’t always be stuff for you to do

Often, a work experience person turns up on day 1 expecting to be treated like a new employee – inductions, introductions, structured work days with lots to do and time to review it with staff. This is rarely the case. We usually haven’t taken you on because we need something done, it’s because you asked us if you could come in and we agreed. This means we haven’t necessarily got work lined up for you, so you need to hustle a bit.

This means actively looking for opportunities where you can help, and volunteering. Go up to people and introduce yourself, don’t wait for someone to do it for you – then ask if you can help with anything.

2. Some of it’s going to be drudge work

I feel daft writing this because I feel like it’s incredibly obvious, but I’ve also seen plenty of work experience people getting irritated or just plain failing to volunteer for things that aren’t very glamorous. The obvious cliché is making rounds of tea, but seriously, people actually want you to do this and almost no one on work experience ever does. Again, don’t wait for someone to ask you – get on it. Multiple times a day.

You might also have to do things like going to the shops to fetch something or putting things in envelopes. It’s boring. It’s not fun. But you asked to be here – so be willing to help.

3. Some of the things you’ll be asked to do won’t make any sense at all

I remember this so well. I was working under this incredibly impressive, successful lady and she’d ask me to do something in one sentence and I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what task she wanted me to actually perform. But I’d nod and smile and then go away and panic.

Don’t do this. The person you’re working with has probably been doing their job for a long time, surrounded by people who do similar jobs. They have an established way of speaking, with phrases and jargon and understandings that they’ve completely forgotten aren’t commonplace. This means things that seem totally obvious and transparent to them – like “run this out” – are actually baffling to a newbie. So ask clarifying questions – find out exactly what they mean. You might feel daft, but you’ll feel worse three hours later when they ask if you’ve done it and you’re no closer to knowing what the task even was.

“Run this out” turned out to mean “print this for me”, by the way.

4. If you don’t know how to do something, say so

I recently asked an intern to do a design-related task for me, and he graciously agreed. I’d somehow got it into my head that he was a trainee graphic designer, whereas he actually wasn’t at all, and was out of his depth. Sometimes people will ask you to do stuff because for one reason or another, they think you know how. If you don’t, that’s OK – don’t muddle through, just tell us.

5. Sometimes you’ll be doing nothing

This is related to point 1. If you’ve hustled all you can hustle and there’s genuinely nothing for you to do, it’s actually fine for you to sit and read the internet. No one’s thinking “what a terrible work experience person” – we’re concentrating on our jobs.

6. Don’t add staff on social networks

I did this myself. I might actually still have one or two of the people I met on work experience seven years ago on my Facebook. It felt completely fine at the time – “I’ve known these people for three whole weeks! It’s overdue, if anything!” – but they’ll find it premature and possibly creepy. Of course, it’s fine to follow them on Twitter – that’s different – but don’t add them on Facebook unless they add you, and LinkedIn should probably wait until after you’ve finished your placement.

7. There probably isn’t a job

This one sucks, I know. We’ve all been told that if we work unbelievably hard at our work experience placements, management will find a way to hire us. It’s usually not true. Again, nine times out of ten, we’ve asked you in because you wanted us to and we’re happy to help – not because we’re looking for someone at your level/in your role. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try – far from it! But it’s worth knowing that the majority of the placements you do will be most valuable for their CV collateral, and not for actual paid work.

8. Get some CV advice

One of the hardest things to do when you’re new to the world of work is write your CV in a way that isn’t terrible. I had this problem and I reckon most other people do too. I asked one of the people I was working with if I could see his CV, as an example – not everyone will agree to this because it’s a bit confidential and they might not have one to hand, but it’s worth asking. Real-world examples of actual CVs in your industry are worth a thousand times more than generic internet articles about CV-writing (although, here’s one I wrote).

Don’t be offended if they don’t say yes. Just ask them if they’d be happy to look over yours and give you some feedback.

9. Ask for testimonials

A week or so after you leave the agency, send a nice email to the person you got on with best and ask if they’d mind writing you one paragraph of praise to put on your CV/LinkedIn/website. Give them some examples of what to write, or they might just put it aside – eg. “Would you mind writing a quick paragraph saying I did OK? Just something about how I met my deadlines, was friendly and professional, and showed promise in graphic design?”. This increases your chance of actually getting a response.

If they don’t respond, it’s OK to chase it nicely once (about a week later again) – if you still don’t get anything, leave it.

10. Write good begging emails

The begging email is a necessary part of getting work experience placements, and no one minds getting them. But some of the ones I’ve been getting lately are surprisingly poor. No subject line, no information about what department/job role they’re interested in, when they could come in, what they can offer, no CV or portfolio link – jeez, give me something to go on! The younger generations are often accused of having an entitlement complex, and I don’t think it’s true, but if you email a company saying you want work experience and don’t say one single thing about how you’ll be useful to them while you’re there – well, it’s not looking good for you. Having an extra person in the office is a bit of an inconvenience, so it’d be nice if you let us know it’ll be worthwhile.

A friendly tone and a little joke will also go a really, really long way to helping the person you’re emailing say ‘yes’. Sound like someone they want to have around the office, who’ll pitch in, help out, and not get under their feet.

So, see you Monday?