Tony D, Millward Brown, and Blender Man (interesting group).

Tony D and Dominic MB

Paul Colman writes:

Dominic Twose, Global Head of Knowledge Management at Millward Brown, popped into the office today to discuss his latest paper, its implications and possible areas for futher inquiry.

Tony D, while not understanding what any of this meant (in any way whatsoever), was nonetheless happy to pose with Dominic and Blender Man.

It was quite an afternoon. 

some awards from last night


Bunch of awards from last night.

Creative Circle: gold for Lurpak 'Kitchen Odyssey' for best film craft (with Stink) and gold for Kaiser Chiefs bespoke album creation thing for best digitally-led campaign and a silver In the best site/microsite category.
Lurpak also won four silvers in the best cinema, best 60-30 second, best direction and best use of music categories, as well as a gold in the best cinematography category.
Cravendale 'Cats with Thumbs' won a silver for the best integrated campaign. And Nokia 'Gulp' won a silver in the best use of animation category.

Internet Advertising Bureau: two wins for Kaiser Chiefs again: creative showcase grand prix and best social media campaign.

Well done, everyone involved!

Buy a phone, save a life, with ladyblabla

Andy Cameron, late of this parish, sent me some info on a project he's been working on with Mint Digital. It's a pro bono project so we're happy to help get the word out.
You know Tom's Shoes – buy a pair of shoes and donate a pair to a child in the developing world? Well this is the smartphone equivalent. If you buy a phone from you help donate a smartphone – the HTC Sensation + internet data contract – to a health worker in southern Africa who uses it to improve the quality of healthcare and to save lives.
Screen shot 2012-03-04 at 20.53.18
They''re collaborating with mothers2mothers who work in seven southern African countries to help pregnant women living with HIV. The idea is to help them prevent HIV transmission to their unborn babies. It's all about keeping precise medical data about each patient. The HTC Sensation runs android apps that connect back to the central database and means health workers have accurate and up-to-date information at their fingertips – much better than the scrappy paper records in broken filing cabinets they used before.
Here's the story:

ladyblabla, a new phone comparison website aimed at increasing smartphone use among women (and men too) today announced a collaboration with mothers2mothers (m2m) based in Cape Town.  

 Ladyblabla will help provide smartphones to m2m Mentor Mothers working with pregnant women living with HIV to reduce the chances of HIV transmission to unborn babies. The campaign will launch March 1st.

 Risk reduction programmes are effective – but complicated. Many women with HIV lead difficult lives with little access to information or resources. m2m employs and trains former patients – mothers living with HIV – as Mentor Mothers to work with pregnant women and help them stay on the programme.

 The HTC Sensation smartphones and internet connected mobile apps give Mentor Mothers accurate up-to-date information about their patients. “When was the last time someone came to a support group? When is their baby due? What drug do they take? When should their baby’s test results be available? Having all this information immediately available means I can help save more lives,” says Thandeka who works for m2m.

 Andy Cameron adds: We think everyone deserves to benefit from the smartphone revolution. We’re proud to help m2m with the extraordinary work they’re doing in 7 countries across Africa. Every contract phone sold via ladyblabla pays for a smartphone and internet data connection for one month for an m2m Mentor Mother working in the field – a month of high quality, hi-tech medical support which helps reduce mother to child transmission and save lives."

 Mentor Mother Thandeka explains more: "Hi, my name is Thandeka and I work at mothers2mothers in Johannesburg, South Africa, helping pregnant women have HIV free babies and live healthy lives. I understand what they’re going through – I’m a mother living with HIV myself.  My job is to help women do all they can to reduce transmission – attend clinic regularly, keep up with their medication and monitor test results. There’s a lot of detail to manage, which is why smartphones would make our jobs easier. But we need your help.

 "Like many of the women I talk to, I was shocked when I found out I had HIV. I had a hard time accepting it.  When I became pregnant I knew that I needed help.  I joined a program to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and eventually gave birth to my beautiful, HIV-negative daughter. That’s when I found mothers2mothers.  They were looking for someone to open a new site in my town.  Being a role model to other young women has been a dream come true. I give education and support to those who need it the most.

 "With a smartphone I can do even more. I can be more effective in keeping track of the women and babies that I help. I can have accurate up-to-date information at my finger tips.  When was the last time someone came to a support group?  When is their baby due?  What drugs do they take?  When should their baby’s test results be available?  Having all this information immediately available means I can save more lives.  And better information means we at mothers2mothers can figure out how to do our jobs better.  I can share information with our Head Office, so they can figure out how to reach more women or stay in touch with the ones who move or don’t come in to clinic often. 

 "The number of AIDS orphans in Africa is very high, and there is absolutely no reason for this.  With the right tools, we can make a difference!"

 In summary:

For every phone contract bought via, ladyblabla will pay for a smartphone and data contract for a Mentor Mother like Thandeka for one month. 12 sales will cover the costs of one smartphone and data contract for a year.

 This means a Mentor Mother will be better able to help pregnant women living with HIV maintain a risk reduction programme giving them and their babies a better chance for a healthy life.

It costs you nothing, but it’s worth a great deal.

Smartphones really can save lives.

Back from the TED – a report of TED2012 by Kev Chesters

I’ve just got back from the TED2012 conference and it didn’t disappoint (again).

It truly is an incredible experience – four days of having your brain filled with amazing amazingness.

And getting to meet some of the world’s truly remarkable people is the real highlight (I’m not talking about W+Ks Renny Gleeson here).

It is fair to say you also have to wade through a degree of bullshit and smugness (not just with Renny either, arf arf). And there are far too many uber-rich VC people in ridiculous sunglasses (with those seriously silly American names like Blake Falconberger III Jnr) knocking about, but the great bits by far outweigh the nonsense bits.

And the food? Man, the food is good.


The talks will, as always, go up online over the course of the year but the top 10 to watch out for (IMHO) are/were:

Susan Cain: AUTHOR – A fascinating and enlightening thesis on why we should value and laud Introverts. We tend to encourage and reward extroverts, when introversion is actually how the best and most creative work is done – on our own, in silence. Why are we so obsessed with brainstorms and group work? This one is up already, and well worthy of 18 minutes of your time:

Regina Dugan: DIRECTOR OF DARPA – An amazing and super-scary talk from the head of the US Advanced Defence Institute. You wouldn’t believe the shit they are up to – check out the hummingbird drone for starters!

Frank Warren: SECRET KEEPER – The founder of the website – He invites people to send him anonymous postcards with their secrets. He now has 500,000. Funny, sensitive, scary, poignant, random.

Eduardo Paes: MAYOR OF RIO DE JANEIRO – Really interesting talk from a very successful mayor (er, he just won the World Cup AND the Olympics for Rio!). Talking about how he envisages creating the successful city of the future, and the blueprint to achieve it.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy: FILM MAKER / OSCAR WINNER – One of my biggest heroes. She made the documentary – ‘Saving Faces’ – and seeks to eliminate violence against women in Pakistan by highlighting and documenting it on the world stage. She’s lovely and brilliant. And seems to make me cry every time I meet her. She just won an Oscar in 2012.

Tali Shalot: NEUROSCIENTIST – Very very interesting. Incredible talk on the ‘Optimism Bias’ in human beings – our ability to overestimate the good things that might happen to us (despite the wealth of evidence against it). Witness 30% divorce rates yet every married couple estimate their chances of staying together at 100%! Yet this is a good thing, it makes us happier and more successful ultimately.

Bryan Stevenson: LAWYER / EQUALITY GUY – The stand out (and stand up – massive ovation) talk of TED2012. Talking through the injustices of the US legal system and how you are likely to be treated better as rich and guilty than poor and innocent. And all the amazing stuff he’s doing to rectify it.

Jon Ronson: AUTHOR OF ‘THE PSYCHOPATH TEST’ – My personal favourite talk of 2012. The book is brilliant, and about how we spot or treat psychopaths and their preponderance (seriously) at the top of corporations and how this affects society!!!

Phillipe Petit: WIRE WALKER / MAN ON WIRE – OK I admit, I’m biased because I love the documentary ‘Man on Wire’. Getting to meet the taciturn and slightly aloof Frenchman was a good highlight of the conference. Here he is proving that, despite walking across a wire suspended between the two towers of the WTC, NOTHING is scarier than an encounter with W+K Portland ECD Susan Hoffman


Sarah Parcak: SPACE ARCHEOLOGIST – How we are now using new technology to map ancient civilisations, from space. OK, this one is for the geeks but she basically mapped the city of Tanis from Space. And that’s some pretty cool Indiana Jones stuff. And check out her JOB TITLE!!!!!!!!!

And no TED would be complete without some pretty jaw-dropping tech demos, right?:

Jack Choi: ROBOTIC SURGEON – Showcased his virtual autopsy table – the Anatomage. Just watch the talk. It’s mind-blowing


Vijay Kumar: QUADROTOR HELEICOPTER GUY – One of those TED moments – like the kidney guy last year – where you got to watch the future happen. And I guarantee that I see this in about 50 creative reviews within the year.

So, finally some observations/comments:

1. One of the greatest things about attending TED is the opportunity, once in a while, to meet people who you are your personal heroes (or heroines). This year I got to spend some time talking to Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy who is a really remarkable women. An Oscar winning film-maker who now has the dubious honour of making me cry TWICE with her talks. Look up her work, she is amazing.


2. It is a great conference, truly inspiring, but is a little bit in danger of disappearing up itself in terms of self reverence. and it is silly for the conference to claim it is not elitist in any way and then charge $7500 to attend it.

3. There were a lot fewer random celebs knocking about this year. And I didn’t see Bill Gates this time (although I did see Melinda). And I did get to say hi to Cameron Diaz at the coffee bar and meet the Princess Aga Khan.Tim Berners-Lee was there as usual, and we had our usual two englishmen feet-shuffling one minute chat (as usual)

4. I got to talk to the lovely and brilliant Sarah Kay (who incidentally has the greatest URL in history – and she might be coming to talk at a friends event later in the year, fingers crossed.

5. I got my DNA sequenced as music. This is a lot cooler than it sounds (the process and outcome, not my DNA).

And finally, California is fucking freezing in February and I really need to learn to check weather forecasts before I visit places.

Oh, and if you want to read about every last thing that got talked about in minute detail they wrote everything up in real-time at:


Iain Tait on the ANDYs Awards, chicken, fish, and what consitutes ‘an idea’


Wieden + Kennedy Global ICD Iain Tait is just back from judging the ANDYs awards in Kauai. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it, etc. Here's a piece he's written about the experience:

As an advertising award, the ANDYs are pretty unique. It’s one set of judges that presides over work from the entire industry. Most other shows have separate juries for different disciplines. These different approaches lead to quite different experiences and results.

The ANDYs are different in another respect too: there’s a core of jury members who’ve been fairly consistent through a number of decades. Someone jokingly referred to it as Oceans 11 — a core of stalwarts with new folks imported to deliver special skills depending on the theft they’re about to perform. I don’t think that anyone was suggesting any kind of robbery, but I couldn’t say for sure.

This mixture of the Old Guard and Young Upstarts (please don’t take these terms too literally; some of the Young Upstarts are well into their sixties) leads to some interesting situations in the judging room and beyond. The ways that different people perceive the industry and the work we should be doing are fascinating. In fact it’s probably the best microcosm of the industry that I’ve witnessed. If you studied the ANDY’s judging room like a scientist would analyze a petri dish, I’m sure it’d lead to some interesting findings.

The most fundamental of all the conversations, slightly simplified to keep it brief, is around what constitutes an idea. It might surprise some people that something so core to an industry built around the value of creative ideas should be up for debate. But that’s how confused we are right now.

At one end of the spectrum you have traditional advertising where “the idea” is something that makes people think differently about something,  that makes them feel differently and ultimately act differently. It typically uses some kind of storytelling that harnesses some combination of words, pictures and sound to move people. To make them laugh, cry, lust or wonder.

 At the other end of the rainbow is a more tech-forward kind of creativity. Where “the idea” might be a new kind of service, functionality or experience. When these ideas work well they do exactly the same things as great advertising, making people think, feel and do new things. But this kind of work doesn’t always need the same kind of storytelling. The dirty secret is that sometimes storytelling can get in the way of a great experience. So if you’re trying to judge this kind of work using the same criteria that you use to judge ads, then great work can fall by the wayside. And I feel like I saw this happen on numerous occasions in the judging room.

Once it was discussed and explained, interactive work that had been previously overlooked was awarded and appreciated. However, I’m not totally sure that it was always fully understood.

This creates a challenging paradox for people entering interactive work into advertising award shows. Either you explain the nuts off your idea and risk making it sound complicated, uninspiring or at worst patronizing. Or you keep it brief and risk people not understanding what’s great about your project.

I could digress into a rant about case study videos, but I’ll spare you. We just need to realize that enough is enough. We don’t need to know that Creativity Online blogged about your thing. Evidence would show that they blog about everyone’s thing. And it’s 2012, so if something is good, people tweet about it. That’s just how the world works. It’s not like when you make a funny ad you feel it necessary to tell people “the audience laughed when they saw the ad.” Describe the idea and what you actually did. That’s enough.

I also have issues with the ad industry patting itself on the back for making digital products and services when we’re only comparing ourselves to a limited set of the work that’s out there. We need companies like IDEO, Frog and other design companies to see the value in these awards, or we’ll never be able to say that we’re really celebrating the best of the best. Maybe they never will. But as we start to compete for the same talent and client dollars, perhaps these silly bits of metal will start to carry some weight.

Within the set of work that we did see, much of it appeared confused. It can’t decide whether it’s supposed to be chicken or fish. The categories in the award shows don’t help. We’re stuck in a world of antiquated thinking. The notion of a Web film feels remarkably quaint in 2012. If a piece of content is a film, you’d be stupid not to make it exist online. So everything is a Web film. And if you’re creating a campaign, you’d have to work really hard to make it nonintegrated.

In all this confusion some people see opportunity. Agencies who are desperate to prove their worth to clients carpet bomb awards, entering campaigns in as many categories as they possibly can. Hoping to sneak a “Best Use of Creative Cinematography in a Mobile Film in the Financial Services Category Under Seven Seconds” category. As a tip, I would recommend not doing this. Judges get fatigued seeing your work over and over again. I’ve definitely found myself starting to judge over-submitted work negatively. I know that others feel the same way. Show some restraint. It will serve you well.

When you see the work that’s triumphed this year I think you’ll see that it’s the bold, confident work that understands its role in the world that wins. There’s an interesting mixture of traditional storytelling craft, innovative tools and services, and provocative ideas. What we’re missing is the work that combines all three to devastating effect.

Game on.


Damon Collins wishes he’d done Honda ‘the great unknown’

Honda - campaign 2nd march[1]
DC, outgoing ECD of RKCR/Y&R (that's a lot of initials) says in Campaign magazine today:

"My favourite ad right now is (Wieden + Kennedy's) "The Great Unknown" from Honda… Why do I like it so much? Is it because it's beautifully produced, with stunning visual effects and immaculate sound design? (Have a listen – that's what awards sound like.) Or is it because, as so often with the campaign, the thinking behind the words is so alluring. Here, Garrisson Keillor's voiceover seems to be speaking to me personally: 'The unknown. It's where all ideas start. It's not an easy place to go. But keep going. And you'll always end up somewhere new. Isn't that why we call it the great unknown?'

This film is a treatise on taking risks, on going out of your comfort zone, on doing things for the first time."

cruel agency creative derides cute hedgehogs’ thespian efforts

Screen shot 2012-02-29 at 22.02.26
There's a nice piece over on AdWeek about our new Lactofree 'Hedgehogs' spot. Here's what it says:

The folks at Wieden + Kennedy love their spokescreatures.

Last year, for Cravendale milk, the London agency filmed a charming pack of scheming cats with a thirst for milk—and opposable thumbs. (ITV viewers voted it the best TV spot of 2011, and it was on Adweek's list of the year's 10 best ads, too.) Now, W+K is out with another sweet commercial starring hedgehogs to promote the virtues of Arla's Lactofree dairy products. The spiny beasts are told they can enjoy treats like latte, crumpets and pizza if they use Lactofree—because they're not intolerant to dairy, only to lactose, which is the the sugar in dairy.

A wonderful detail in both campaigns is the element of truth in the whimsy: Hedgehogs really are lactose intolerant, just as there really are polydactyl cats with a genetic mutation that gives them extra toes. "Hedgehogs are a gift from the advertising gods," says Hollie Newton, the W+K creative behind the Arla spot. "They are lactose intolerant, wonderful and very sweet." Still, she adds, "they are rubbish actors."

Of the five African Pygmy hedgehogs on set, half of them ran really fast, while the others would just curl up in a defensive ball. W+K built a little seat for the one with the Parisian latte, while the two with the pizza have their own tiny sofa. Newton, who's still not sure how the agency was able to attach the blue bow to the supermarket-shopping hedgehog, says she would never have wanted anything but the real creatures in the spot.

And the agency got a great souvenir: The miniature commercial set, with its six-inch milk aisle, is on display at the agency's gallery space.


Here's the TV ad again: