Saturday 23 July 2011

Bangers and Bier

With a blog titled as mine is, it was only a matter of time before I'd be contacted by the Rate my Sausage blog. For sausage lovers everywhere, this is a must.

I would ask my German friends to keeps their tongues firmly in cheek, though, as they read through. And maybe prepare for a little shock. Rate my Sausage has recently run a "Which European Country Makes the Best Beer To Drink When You're Eating Sausages" challenge.

I'm afraid to tell you that the Veltins beer chosen to represent Germany, although valiantly picking up points for flavour and sausage-ability generally, finished a miserable last.

There are rumours that a Russian linesman may have been involved.

Wednesday 20 July 2011


A little while ago I bloggered on about reinventing the wheel and I meant to mention Hipstamatic as a cracking example of just that.

It's the perfect combination of old fashioned and cutting edge with its promise "Digital Photography Never Looked So Analog."

In fact, the whole retro film thing seems to be unstoppable at the moment - every second car ad seems to feature nostalgic scenes from some golden 70s summer. Not to mention Spielberg's film Super 8.

I wonder what will be next - an app to get your iTunes songs sounding scratched and sticky as the result of an accident with a bottle of Pomagne?

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Worst nightmare?

One of the worst nightmares for a client is when the agency simply regurgitate something left over in the drawer that another client obviously didn't buy. Or sometimes it's a general "one size fits all" idea that can be passed from client to client with different logos until someone is dim enough to buy it, or clever enough to fire the agency. In fact, I distinctly remember one bright copywriter set up a program to generate random scripts for a client who favoured a certain straight-jacketed TV format.

Now you don't even have to waste any money on layouts. On Wheel of Concept, you're invited to "Spin the Wheel" to generate new media ideas for your favourite brand. Anything from Social Gaming to Crowd Sourcing.

I tried it for my friends at ENTEGA and got the above. I also tried it for two of my least-favoured brands and was offered "iPayPal" which will bring me "brand-centric updates" from the PayPal-centric brand as well as Augmented Reality for Ryanair. The reality of Ryanair being bad enough, I don't think I want it augmented!

So, minutes of harmless fun. Thanks to Graham Thomas for pointing it out, although I expect clients will get something rather better from Radical Company.

Saturday 9 July 2011

Let's reinvent the wheel

I've just downloaded the IPA's Planning App - Fast Strategy, which is a series of tips for when you get bogged down in a particularly sticky strategic conundrum.

If I was to give a hint for this deck, I'm quite keen on "Reinvent the Wheel." I quite like the subversive idea of turning all those "creativity" cliches on their heads. Another one would be to "stay inside the box" - who knows what you might find there!

It's all a bit like Ecclesiastes Chapter 1:

"What has been will be again
What has been done will be done again
There is nothing new under the sun."


"There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow."

Now, you can either take this as world-weary philosophising on the futility of living, or you can see the positive side. People in marketing have such short memories that the revisiting of an idea whose time had not yet come could be gold dust for your brand.

Or, "new" from whose point of view? To a new-born baby everything is new and yet to be experienced.

And then, there is the moon. And other suns...

Monday 4 July 2011

Facts, gaps and headaches

My immediate pre-holiday period was marred this year by the annoying minutiae of the internet, specifically two companies that are products of the internet age. I'm still debating which caused me more headaches; PayPal for their inability to attend to someone hacking into an account I set up a couple of years ago and have only used once or Ryanair for their ghastly, horrid booking system. I know, I know...if you want a cheap holiday, you just have to grit your teeth...

So, a week of no internet, no emails, no global brands shoving their logos in my face (OK, I did spot a Lidl and an IKEA from a distance but their blue and yellow logos actually look quite jolly against a sun-saturated sky) was just what was needed.

And a link to a wonderful organisation from a colleague on my return has restored my faith in the power of the internet when in the hands of the right people. Gapminder is an organisation dedicated to replacing myths with a fact-based world view. Data and graphics are used to great effect in their presentations and videos to explain what is happening in the world.

Particularly recommended is a TED talk from Hans Rosling, pictured above, on the magic washing machine that produces books and professors. Much more constructive than PayPal.