My Inevitable Defensive Cannes Lions Post

I really don’t want to have to write this post. But when even the Cyber Lions Jury Chairman is posting things like this, what’s a guy to do ;-)

Picture 25

There are traditional agencies (although they’re the least traditional of the traditional agencies obviously) who are doing incredibly well in awards like Cannes. But let’s not forget one simple thing. THESE ARE ADVERTISING AWARDS!!! Therefore it would seem totally outrageous to suggest that companies whose business is advertising won’t be able to do incredible work in that space. Of course they will. They can apply a bunch of the same principles you’ve always used. Add some executional smarts hired in from a production company and whomp, there it is. Awesome online advertising!

And that’s not to suggest that agencies like CP+B don’t have the capacity to do interesting things beyond traditional online advertising. Things like Whopper Sacrifice prove that they do with bloody bells on.

It’s obvious that the language of the past isn’t going to be the language of the future. And as everything becomes more digital these stupid old distinctions become pointless. And hey, perhaps pure-play digital agencies will become a thing of the past?

But I thought it was advertising that was meant to be fucked? So doesn’t that mean winning lots of advertising awards mean that you’re the most fucked of the fucked?

Sorry that’s my best playground insult battle-weapon launched ;-)

I wouldn’t write off the digital specialists just yet. There’s a bunch of things that we can make and do that are pretty damn exciting. And the fact that they’re increasingly not ‘advertising’ has to be interesting to some folks. Surely?

[Edit: just to clarify – I called Cannes an ‘advertising’ award because that’s how it’s perceived by most people – it’s entered by companies that do advertising for clients. Many of them are advertising agencies, no? It just so happens that a lot of stuff that’s getting awarded is progressive advertising.]

[Edit2: was also interesting to see how different juries would perceive work differently – because everyone has their own agenda. The same work would fare quite differently if it was entered in Design / Titanium / Cyber, for example Fiat Ecodrive appeals to some people in the Cyber Jury because they like to think they can design automobile functionality.]

Mum Rocking The Cannes Workshop Scene


I enjoyed my workshop in Cannes – it was all about smart, simple, social ideas. I wrote about it here. Thanks to everyone who helped to create chatter around it. Not sure if that’s what did it, but the room was totally full, which was great.

The big twist was that my ‘special guest’ was my mum.

I got participants to answer a brief aimed at a target audience of 60ish baby-boomer-tech-savvy individuals. Then I surprised them by getting mum to critique their work over iChat (which thankfully played ball in a live setting).

She was great. They were surprised. And we all learned a lot. Me included.

Yay! Mums!

A Plea For Help


I’m in Cannes. Sitting in the belly of the advertising beast. There are some great people here. And some terrible people too. There’s some great stuff going on, and some horrific things too.

Anyway I’m doing a workshop tomorrow between 2 and 4 about the power of small, simple, single-minded ideas online. I think it might be nice. I’m looking forward to it.


Here’s the details – written by the Poke NY guys so it’s a bit yankee-y if you know what I mean ;-)

But I have a problem. Everyone else who’s doing a workshop seems to have posters, busty girls giving out leaflets and all that jazz. I’m in the program. That’s it. So dear readers I’m asking for a massive favour. If you know anyone in Cannes, or you know anyone who knows anyone who’s in Canees. Can you tell them about my little workshop. It’s only small, and simple. But it might be kinda fun.

And I seriously have a such a special guest that it’s untrue. For real. My special guest is so super-awesome everyone will be totally blown away. I also have the super-smart Brian Morrisey from Adweek helping out.

Please tweet it, email it, blog it, send out smoke signals, whatever. I’d love my little workshop to be full without resorting to promo-chicks and cheap tricks – unless this is considered a cheap trick ;-)

Or, alternatively, Newscorp are talking at the same time.

Nokia Chargers Required – Even In Cannes

You know that email that always goes round that says “does anyone have a Nokia charger”? Even at the world’s most prestigious advertising festival same shit still happens.

Here’s me delivering aforementioned Nokia charger. In a style that feels reminiscent of first person shooter. Maybe Nokia should do a game called ‘charger rescue’? It’d be a nice antidote to all of those super violent killing games we’re all so fond of.

I would write more about what’s going on. But I’ve been locked in a room for days. Twitter is the only way I can communicate with the outside world. Send help…

Bowler Hat Bike Helmet


I was joking with Katie at Poke the other day about how a big bowler hat would make an ideal cycling helmet. Well she’s just mailed me to say that it’s not just a silly idea, it’s a reality!

Well done chaps at Bobbin Bicycles (although at £195 I might not be getting one just yet). They also stock the Yakkay range which I blogged about last year.

Nice work Katie for finding them. If you’re not aware of Katie Marcus’ work you should go and have a look at her lovely blog: – she finds (and makes) things so lovely they make me a bit sick. In a good way.

Me, we, I. Our pet hate.

it's all about me me me

On the way to work this morning Sophie was reading my email out of the corner of her eye as she often does on the train (clients: do not be afeared I never let her spy on confidential things, I wait till she’s asleep or doing complicated make-up manoeuvres before I write ‘those’ emails). Anyway she noticed that I was using the word “we” in a way that she approved of. In a business context not a relationship one.

An interesting discussion followed about how we both really hate it when people do the whole. Me, my, I, mine thing when talking about the work that a team of people are doing. And how it’s so much nicer when someone uses words like we, our, ours and so on.

My personal pet hate – and it is mine not ours, actually, it might be ours, I need to check – is when people talk about ‘my team’ or even worse ‘my designers’ or even even worse ‘my account man’. Those people should be hung for intent to commit slavery.

Of course one is allowed to have a personal opinion or do stuff on their own, so sometimes ‘I think’, or ‘I’m going to sort this out today’ is totally appropriate.

This may appear a bit pedantic. But if you were on the receiving end of someone claiming that you’re ‘theirs’ you might feel different.

Anyway that’s what we think.

New Host, New Venn

Some of you might be seeing the version of the site hosted on my rubbishy old web host. If you are, there’s no venn diagram to the right.

If, however, you’re seeing the version of my site that’s hosted on my spanking new web server you’ll see the venn to the right. This diagram was brought back by overwhelming public demand. Well 3 people said I should put it back in. So I did. Democracy in action.

(I’m sorry but a few comments got lost in the move, if yours is one of them I apologise, a lot)