Advertising Agency: Y&R Paris, France
Creative Director: Laurent Bodson
Art Director: Antoine Mathon
Copywriter: François Faure
Photographer: Fred Meylan
Retouching: Fred Perrot / The Shop
Models: Elite Paris, Metropolitan, Next Models. Rosanne Olson
Published: January 2011
Neil French is without a doubt one of the most inspiring and famous advertising copywriters ever lived and he has just published a book about his professional and personal life titled Sorry for the Lobsters.
Read Indra Sinha's foreword
A CRAB STARTER
Twenty years ago, the journalist Philip Kleinman and I were sitting in a shack-on-stilts in a swamp off the southwest tip of Malaysia dismembering large mangrove crabs and discussing the problem of what the hell to do about Neil French.
I had just finished judging the Singapore Creative Circle awards. There were five judges, three of us from London: me (CDP), Alexandra Taylor (Saatchi) and Steve Dunn (Leagas Delaney). We were all experienced D&AD jurors. It was in our blood to be cruel, ruthlessly to reject anything less than perfect, to acknowledge only what was outstanding and reward nothing but the conspicuously brilliant.
We’d arrived not knowing what to expect. Singapore surprised us.
On day one, we were asked to listen to an opera, written and performed by a local agency and entered in the ‘self-promotion’ category. It was three hours long.
‘I’m not giving it three minutes,’ said Dunn, never a diplomat. ‘It’s a piece of unmitigated shite.’
On day two we were surprised again, this time pleasantly. Among the thousands of press ads lining the walls were a considerable number of striking ideas, witty, unexpected, many of them written with a sort of rakish nonchalance that we guessed must be typical of the easy-going Singaporean way of life. We further supposed that, as would have been the case in London, this pool of excellence represented the work of probably half a dozen of the most creative agencies.
When the judging was over, we learned that we had awarded 3 of our 5 golds, 19 of 23 silvers, 30 of 45 bronzes and the Campaign of the Decade to just one agency.
Not only that, they were all the work of one person.
Well – as you can imagine – consternation! We’d made a mistake. Must have.
In a panic we decided that we had no choice but to recall all the entries – the entire show – and judge the whole lot again. It was 9 pm, we’d been working for twelve hours and fwelling can die lah, as they say in Singapore, but sandwiches were sent for, and gallons of coffee, and we began the long trawl, looking for something, anything, we might have missed that just might deserve an award – anything not by Neil French.
Somewhere deep in the small hours we stopped and admitted defeat. We had found . . . nothing.
Kleinman, tearing into the crustaceans, had been giggling and sniggering as I unfolded my tale. Now he had a fit of hysterics and coughed fragments of crab all over me. As an ex-editor of Campaign he'd been around advertising long enough to see the problem.
‘Oh this is hilarious. It’s fucking genius. You’ve done everything in your power to take away his awards and give them to other people, and they are going to complain that you rigged it.’
‘Only one thing to do,’ said Kleinman. ‘On the way back we buy a durian fruit. You know, one of those bloody great spiky things that look like armoured footballs. They smell so awful they’re said to taste like eating custard in a lavatory and they’re pollinated by bats and the Singapore government has banned them from the subway and hotels. So we get a durian, smuggle it into our hotel, then just before the awards dinner, you nip downstairs and slide it under Frenchie’s table. It’s the only way.’
‘The only way to what?’
‘To remind the bugger that he is human.’
According to his own confession, Neil French arrived in Singapore on the run from the British police and taxman. He stayed 25 years and what he did there changed advertising, first in Asia, then in the rest of the world.
It has taken Neil’s friends, me among them, years to persuade him to write his memoirs. This book is the happy result. It tells the stories of some of the campaigns we rewarded on durian night all those years ago, plus many others. Woven in are stories from his personal life. And what stories!
When Neil invited me to contribute this preface I said to him, you do realise that after you called my first book ‘unreadable’, asking me to write about yours could be a bit of a risk. He laughed. Well, I guess that when you’ve been a bouncer, a matador, a pornographer, dated a Mafia’s don’s daughter then refused to marry her, and had a contract put out on you by a disgruntled girlfriend, you don’t frighten easily.
So, here it is at last. Neil French in his own words. Great ads, great stories, great fun.
And like everything the man writes, very very readable.
Large-scale Banners, Film & Website Showcases People & Pool in Los Angeles
Original Film director and photographer Judy Starkman has been a swimmer all of her life, a passion that offers a counterpoint to her life in commercial directing and advertising. It was during one of her hour-long swims at the Culver City Plunge, a not-so-well known municipal pool, that she developed the idea for a unique public arts project now on display as large-scale banners along Culver Blvd. The project fuses Starkmans photography and directing endeavors in an integrated project that is part civic promotion, part documentary photography project that includes stills on banners, a custom website www.thesecretlifeofswimmers.com and viral promo short film that can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/secretswimmers.
The Secret Life of Swimmers illuminates a story Starkman knows well--that every die-hard swimmer has a life outside the pool. And that swimming is the great equalizer. Each character in The Secret Life is seen in the regalia of his or her everyday life and, in an identical pose poolside, baring all. Or nearly all.
The banners feature such real-life characters as a UCLA English professor, a local chef, a truck driver, a firefighter, a young mother, a veterinarian, and a physical trainer who lost a leg in an accident. Like Judy, all are self-proclaimed lap-swimming addicts who have a found a special kinship and community at the Culver City Plunge.
No one was afraid to pose for me, or to appear virtually life-size on street poles throughout the city, says Starkman. They are young and old. Some are in fantastic shape, but most are just regular people.
Starkman says the idea came one day in the locker room, when a middle-aged woman, dressed in a business suit began getting herself ready for the water. I watched as this obviously high-powered, buttoned-down person transform herself in minutes into a swimmer just like all of us. There was such a striking difference in her appearance, I thought about her while I was swimming. I thought to myself, this is her secret life. It was literally then the idea popped in my head.
The Director/Photographer envisioned the project as a series of diptych photographs, and began asking swimmers who caught her eye to pose. She would photograph them first at the pool, and then in their other environment--business, home, and so on.
My first subject was Blake Allmendinger. All I knew was that he was a dedicated swimmer, with a meticulous stroke and a deep tan, she says. It turns out he is a professor of English at UCLA who specializes in the history of the American West. Starkman photographed him in his skimpy Speedo bathing suit poolside, and then in his office where he is researching his next book, and where he feels comfortable wearing some of his western gear.
Word soon spread among the regulars at the pool, and soon Starkman was busy capturing the secret lives of many of her fellow swimmers.
One of my subjects was Barry Shore, who by all accounts, is the happiest man at the pool, she says. Barrys story is inspirational. A non-stop businessman and entrepreneur, Barry woke up one day -- years ago completely paralyzed. He had contracted Guillain Barre syndrome.
Barry struggled through years of physical therapy, but never truly regained mobility until he began swimming at the Culver City Plunge. On the street, he makes his way using a walker. In the pool, he swims laps an astounding three hours each day.
A devout Jew, Barrys secret life, shows him at his orthodox synagogue in West Los Angeles. Normally not open to women, Starkmans photo shoot was an adventure in itself.
Barry was great, she says. The Rabbi was a little nervous.
Starkman photographed Jason Christopher, another inspirational swimmer. Jason, a personal trainer, lost a leg in a traffic accident, and hops to the waters edge to begin his swimming routine.
Daniel Dobbs is a Culver City firefighter, who posed for Starkman in front of a wall of flames at his training academy.
Nina Shorey is a tattooed wife and mother whose job is restoring antique flutes.
And so on...
Starkman first approached the City of Culver City more than a year ago to pitch the idea for a public arts display featuring her swimmers. The city responded positively, eager to promote the Culver City Plunge Pool as place of community in the hectic metropolitan area. Together they devised a plan. The street banners will be displayed along Culver Blvd. right in the heart of downtown, and then moved to Sepulveda Blvd where they will hang for twenty-four months.
"I always have an eye out for interesting stories or characters and am naturally curious, concludes Starkman. It's not something that has an off switch. It's automatic so even while I'm swimming I can see the potential in a subject. The process of discovery is equally as thrilling."
Raphaël De Andreis is CEO at BETC Euro RSCG Paris. He recently attended the e-G8 meeting and would like to share his insights. The result is a sharp report on social media from a marketing expert on the inside.
I have just had a unique experience. At the e-G8, I witnessed the political triumph of the e-brands. Be it on stage, with Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Eric Schmidt (Google) John Donahoe (EBay/Paypal), or in the audience (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), they were all there, with the exception of Apple.
The e-brands have become so powerful that the eight greatest powers in the world need to dialogue with them in order to govern. They are powerful from an economic point of view (between 20% and 30% of GDP growth is tied to the Web) and powerful from a political point of view - their presence or absence in a country is a criterion of democracy according to French President Sarkozy and President Obama has already turned Facebook into the key medium of his re-election.
For the first time in corporate history, a handful of companies, aged 5 to 25 years at most, can credit themselves with playing a vital role in society. From Tunis to San Francisco, who could imagine living without them?
A person working for a well known agency wanted to let advertising people know that copywriting ain't dead. He sent me this to be posted on Ads of the World. Enjoy.
It was a time when copywriters were akin to their peers, art directors, and recognised as genuine creative - able to imagine concepts and concretely write advertisements -.
But these heydays are well and truly over.
Neil Frenchʼs testimony - Nobody reads long copy any more. Hereʼs why - was kind of prophetic.
As a result, the buck they make from writing unread contents, do not worth the amount of work. In fact, typing or making a pen moves down along, will not get you chauvinistic at all!
Honestly, any lad can “find” a nice tag.
All he needs to know is how to use “Word Office”. - By the way, do not forget this damn dictionary of synonyms -
Then, in an excess of confidence, the same lad who found a tag in a flash can also write a body copy.
So, in the space of three sentences (count them), he actually did the job; quicker while being cheaper.
Moreover, he did it shorter therefore easier to understand (not to say meaningless) by the hoi polloi.
Cause you know, targets ainʼt fey enough to get slick writing, they say. (narrow advertising folks and narrow clients – aka dumb & dumber)
To sum up, agencies do not need copywriters any more.
Planners and Account Managers are good substitutes.
But remember, itʼs not because you can talk that you are a good singer. In the same way, itʼs not because you can walk that you are a good dancer.
Nevertheless, the problem with copywriting is elsewhere.
The craft was roughly labialized as “words on paper”. Whereas it is not only about writing but also about telling stories to sell.
And not everyone is able to deal with this part of the job.
Gobsmacking slogans and bodies can be played as a scenario and narrated as a speech.
Gill Scott Heron (may he rest in peace) is the perfect example of writer, capable of elevating his style to different levels.
Listen to his glittering “Message to Messengers” and take the instrumental off. Likewise, read the lyrics straight from the sheet.
In any forms, the story remains powerful, because it draws images in people minds.
Basically, creative writing should translate words into scenes.
You might now understand why the title, “Farewell dear copywriters” cannot be pictured;
Copywriters are as useful as necessary. Simple as that.
A brilliant idea and edited to perfection by Cut + Runs Mr. James Rose. Directed in a quirky music video style with a twist by David Wilson (Blinkink), the idea was engineered by Wieden + Kennedy creative team Oli Beale and Alex Holder. Using the Sugarbabes new single Freedom the style is miniature pop video using puppeteered plastic dolls...every little girls dream... The limited edition pink phone is set to take the world by storm. Watch the ad and below the making of it.
Wingsplay is the first platform dedicated to connecting viral video advertisers with influential social media users.
Our ambition is to create the most efficient video advertising network ever, by leveraging the publishers who generate the most viral actions: influential social media users, as well as the most entertaining promotional content: viral video ads.
On Wingsplay, influential social media users discover the latest viral video ads before anyone else. When they view a video they particularly like, they share it on social networks and blogs, and make money each time the video is being viewed. Wingsplay is designed to create a fun and entertaining experience, for influencers and their audience, friends, fans and followers.
Advertisers Without Borders is an international network of advertising professionals. Our profession leaves little extra time but it is enough to donate public service campaigns that impact local, regional or global. This network is activated immediately to emergencies, disasters and human tragedies by giving immediate response to a speedy and effective communication. We do this directly or in conjunction with civil society organizations and international agencies. I urge you to join as an individual professional or team of your advertising agency with the objective of multiplying efforts to promote a better world for all.
Cape Town, 29th April 2011 - Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town and its PR affiliate Tin Can, created an innovative activation campaign for the Sasko Flour brand, which was showcased at the V&A Waterfront on the day of the royal wedding, attracting onlookers to get a taste of the royal wedding and ‘share in the goodness’ of the most talked about event of 2011.
South Africans were invited to have their cake and eat it on the day of the Royal Wedding with a showcase of Cake Couture dresses designed by some of SA’s most promising fashion designers, which were baked with Sasko Flour by the country’s best known chefs and worn by models.
The event combined every bride-to-be's two biggest wedding obsessions: the cake and the dress and the three couture dresses were put on display for people to view and then eat.
Sammy-Jane Thom, Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town, says that Sasko Flour believes in ‘sharing the goodness’, which is why you’ll find it in almost every kitchen in South Africa. “While this is the case for the middle to lower income groups, for the upper LSM’s we had our work cut out for us and we needed an event that would spark interest in young, urban women,” she adds.
Thom says that based on the target market insights something visible that was in the public eye was needed in the form of a strong newsworthy idea.
“We created this platform to take a less traditional approach and based the activation on the universal insight that young urban women have a great love for fashion and food. Combining these two primary ingredients we cooked up the dream recipe of – Cake Couture.”
Thom continues, “The campaign aimed at building affinity within the upper LSM’s needed to demonstrate the products baking skills in a way that would WOW them. We saw the royal wedding as an opportune moment to implement this campaign. Everything was handpicked for this activation to ensure that the quality and standard was continued throughout the campaign.”
The Cake Couture campaign, involved life-size, edible designer dresses. Keeping in line with Sasko Flour’s positioning of ‘sharing the goodness,’ we enlisted the talent of three up-and-coming SA designers and paired them with top pastry chefs to design three jaw-dropping (not to mention lip-smacking) creations, exhibited by three top models.
Choosing the home of SA’s longest fashion wing and over 60 restaurants at the V&A Waterfront was the perfect venue to showcase the dresses. “We used the platform of the most talked about event to launch the Cake Couture campaign – The Royal Wedding,” says Thom. “The public were invited to enjoy a slice from their favourite dress as well as sign a special commemorative card, which will be sent to the Royal couple, with love from South Africa.”
Alongside the actual event-taking place, people viewing the dresses had the opportunity to win some great prizes through the Cake Couture Facebook (Cake Couture) and Twitter Page (@SAcakeCOUTURE)
Thom continues, “The campaign was testament to how an activation, PR and social media come together to create something spectacular. The collaboration between fashion designers and chefs, allowed this campaign to address the brief directly.”
Client / Brand: Sasko Flour
Creative Director: Sammy-Jane Thom
Art Director: Jenna Barbe
Copywriter: Kyle Cockeran
Account Director: Rayner Duveen
PR Agency: Tin Can PR
PR Account Manager: Fehraad de Nicker
PR Account Executive: Monde Mtsi
Campaign project manager/PR Account Director / Strategist: Kisha van Vuuren
It is a lighted mirror box that can transform any ordinary mirror into a bright full color display advertisement. Wall mounted or freestanding, the box contains a motion sensor that can detect any object approaching the mirror and display a backlit full color advertisement. If object detection is not what an advertiser want, a time setting can be set to vary the length of the display.
Could be an interesting medium for a fitting message.
Is it fair to produce a video showing results of your campaign with images that are faked? The Fey&Co Lullaland video from JVM at 1:32 shows my blog creativebits.org with an article I never wrote. I tried to search for the rest of the blogs and found nothing. The person who sent this to my attention pointed out that all the tweets are fake too. I emailed the creator of the video on YouTube, but got no response. I don't mind to be honest. All publicity is good, but I think it's unfair towards the viewer who believes all this actually happened. What's your opinion?
Here is the video:
Here are the blogs I found mentioned in the video:
When they discovered that DDB Paris would not be able to send creative people to the Cannes Advertising Festival this year, seven of them decided to organize it differently. Determined not to be stopped by the economic climate, they set out to find a solution.
Their idea is based on a simple observation: DDB Paris his numerous clients in varied sectors of activities. By asking all these clients to support them by offering them products and services for free, the seven creatives would be able to go to Cannes and live there from the 19th to the 25th of June without spending a Euro.
The Autarky Project was born
With the predictable support of all the entire agency, Marc, Laurent, Alexis, Paul, Olivier, Benjamin and Matthieu have launched themselves into the improbable human adventure with uncertain results. The creation of a dedicated Facebook page will allow clients and market players to follow the progress of the project, its preparation, but especially the week spent at Cannes thanks to all the products which the creatives have been working on all year.
This initiative, which might look crazy at first glance, is aimed at showing that at DDB Paris, whatever the problem might be, a creative solution always exists. The agency emphasizes the value of its clients, bringing them towards a partnership relationship. It also asserts a cheerful, upbeat, positive and determined spirit which represents a real added value in these difficult times.
Of course, the bikini-clad supermodels are the big draw to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, but Lexus is showcasing its own kind of eye candy in the popular issue, which hits newsstands beginning Feb. 15.
It’s safe to say there’s been a seismic shift in the world of digital marketing turning conventional thinking on its head. It is also hardly a secret that everyone is rethinking their media spend with disproportionate percentages of their budgets now being allocated into the digital / mobile arenas. Needless to say, these profound shifts have their upside…at least as far as iNDELIBLE is concerned.
For those who aren’t familiar with iNDELIBLE, this Manhattan-based digital marketing company is known for blending world-class creative with consumer insight and technology. With the hope of gleaning some fresh insight, I interviewed iNDELIBLE CEO, Ross Glick, and Director of Digital Marketing, Derek Goode to discuss the current state of affairs in the ever-changing digital landscape.
Q: iNDELIBLE was launched in 1999 in a former SoHo sweatshop, when ‘digital marketing’ was emerging and still an enigma. But iNDELIBLE has always been known for its digital chops. How has the digital business changed since your beginning 12 years ago and who were your clients then and today?
Ross: When [Chief Creative Officer] Dimitri Falk and I came together, we were fully entrenched the field of digital video and content production, and helping reshape the discipline of shooting, encoding, and using new technology to push high-bandwidth content. One thing we learned is that being on the bleeding edge is not always a good thing…there is such a thing as being too far out there. We learned it’s all about timing and tying the right creative solution to clients’ business objectives.
Obviously, today’s Internet is profoundly different. In some ways good, some ways bad. Something I’m personally excited about is how we’ve moved from a monologue to a dialogue and campaigns are much more narrative-driven. One advantage iNDELIBLE has over our competition is we really do everything in house: that means overall creative strategy, design, video production and technology, social media activation and analytics and CRM. We’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s most famous brands and cutting-edge marketers including, MAC COSMETICS, CHANEL, Allergan (Botox), Shering-Plough, Sears, K-Mart, Laura Mercier, Scoop, Viacom, Victoria’s Secret, Matrix Haircare, Playboy, Esquire and Ladies Home Journal, who have challenged us to always push envelope.
This effort was driven by the GLBT employee group, and features employees at all levels (even the CEO bravely sharing his experiences of intolerance) of the organization from the NY, Chicago and West Coast offices. DraftFCB is the first global agency to produce an It Gets Better video and we hope it goes far and wide to help as many people as possible.
Feed the Flock is an entry in the Doritos and Pepsi MAX Crash the Super Bowl is creating an uproar. The ad shows a desperate priest trying to get his flock back. He asks for help from God and Pepsico answers his prayers. Is it offending? Yes, for some. Is it effective? Yes, it went viral.
Project Magazine (covered previously on creativebits) just released its second issue on the iPad and it contains an advertising section that may be of your interest. Here are the pages and the links to the content referenced.
Google is by far the largest advertising company in the world. They make as much money in 3 month on advertising alone as the world's largest ad network WPP in a whole year. Google's ad revenues are higher than the 3 biggest USA TV networks together. Eric Schmidt former CEO together with the founders Larry and Sergei created Google AdSense and AdWords. This is a completely new advertising phenomena that delivers relevant advertising to individuals. This precisely targeted advertising method started to replace traditional media that is usually a generic message to a large audience. Read a few interesting statements Eric made in italics and then my thoughts about what they mean in the context of our profession.
The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.
The internet from the very beginning was meant to be something else according to Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the WWW. The internet evolves without any clear goal into something different every year. It's the first thing humanity did at such large scale involving almost every person on the planet. The internet has some rules, but it's still a space with unprecedented freedom that never existed in the real world since civilization emerged. What does that mean for us adman? The internet has a huge potential. Every brand should be exploring the possibilities. It's changing fast bringing new opportunities at every corner. While most of the spending is still made in traditional media, this may change dramatically in the next few years. Radio and print spending is already dropping fast. TV and outdoor will follow soon.
Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool. … Brand affinity is clearly hard wired. It is so fundamental to human existence that it's not going away. It must have a genetic component.
Brands indeed are part of the human psyche. It's how we make sense of the increasingly complex world. Brands are semi-solid ground in the sea of ever changing landscape of products and services. Some may think that the internet and social networking will reduce the importance of brands, but it's not true. People will never have enough time to research every single purchase decision they make even if the internet will make it extremely simple for them. They will rely on brands for the foreseeable future. It's worth spending money and time on branding exercises.
Our business strategy is not to compete.
The market is more fragmented than ever before. In the near future personalized services and products will strive. Your small company does not have to compete with large brands no more. Pick a narrow segment nobody is servicing. Invent one if it doesn't exists. It's easier to create new markets than to fight competitors.
More and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type. I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next... Serendipity can be calculated now. We can actually produce it electronically.
This applies to Google and should apply to every brand today. Companies should collect a lot of public information about their existing and possible future customers and massage the information to give them predictions about future needs. Brands should not ask customers what they want on focus groups. People don't know what they want. Brands should invent things that customers will want to buy in the future.
I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.
This is the information age. With WikiLeaks being the most vocal example, no secrets remain secrets anymore. A company can not anymore do anything that would need to be hidden from its customers. Eventually it will leak and the business in result of this will collapse. No more polluting practices, no more unhealthy secret ingredients, no more lies. The internet will make every company transparent. This is the time for all brands and companies to come clean or die.
The next big wave in advertising is the mobile internet.
If you're looking where to put your efforts as an ad professional, agency or a brand owner look no further than mobile. Soon advertising in the mobile space will be the most immediate, most widespread and most effective method anywhere. Those who will be comfortable in the mobile space will win.