Friday, 14 December 2007

Scrooge you guys, I'm going home...

Having held a deep burning resentment for anyone enjoying the Christmas spirit these past few weeks, I have now finally met my deadlines for Uni work, competitions and applications, so I can be merry with Christmas joy at last!

Walking through Hamley's toy store in London also helped...

Monday, 10 December 2007

One to tick off the advertising checklist...

It's been a struggle to blog (and sleep) recently, with a life crushing work load from uni, applications and competitions, but I felt it necessary to share my joy at today pulling off the dream presentation ending.

That's right, the novelty T-shirt revealed from behind a jacket finish!

Anyway, back to work...

Monday, 26 November 2007

101 reasons to talk about sandwich relish in your job application form. No.73

I managed to get to the first round of interviews for a Graduate Placement I applied for. It will be my first one ever, so I'm looking forward to the challenge and I'm sure it'll be a great learning experience, even if nothing else comes from it.

A few more years of this and I may actually begin to know my way around London.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Phone a friend

I know pay as you go is the phone payment choice of children and I should grow up, get a contract and shut up, but I didn't know just how much for kids it was until I heard the new voice of Vodafone.
Now, I'm all for making company phone lines seem more human, and I have had some good experiences with Virgin Media who have done that recently.

However, when I want to check my top-up balance, a lengthy chat with homecoming queen 'Vicky' is not really what I want. Her 'OKs' and 'oh, by the ways' make a process, which took too long in the first place, even longer.

Not only that, but they seem to have retained the same old robotic voice for the personal details, which makes it an even more jarring switch from the standard stuff than before.

A friendly tone of voice is fine, but not when all you want to hear is some numbers!

Monday, 12 November 2007

We are Scientologists

Today was one of the most confusing days of my life. It started off with me being excited about having a free ticket to see We are Scientists, a band I'm particularly fond of.

I did wonder why it was free, and naturally assumed it had been scheduled for noon because it was an intimate acoustic set. (I love that term).

As we sat down, it soon became clear there were no instruments being set up, just a Powerpoint projected on a screen with the words 'Brain Thrust Mastery'.

I genuinely began to think the band had been brainwashed and were traveling round Universities trying to get others to join their (probably evil) cult.

Then the Powerpoint started, and I was relieved (but still confused) to see that it was the band taking the piss out of cults and self help schemes. Which they continued to do, for the rest of their hour long set.

Having been prepared to boo them off at the lack of music, it turned out to be quite an enjoyable comedy show, but it was still not at all what I expected when I got tickets to see a rock band.
Their music videos have always used comedy, and judging by their show, it is something they really enjoy. It was kind of heart warming to see them reveling in the chance to do something they love to a small crowd in Stoke on Trent, when they can, and do, sell out much bigger and more glamorous sets with their music.

I know the Ad industry is a hard one to crack, but I hope, even if I never make it to the top, that I continue to enjoy it every time I see a new brief, as much as those guys enjoyed performing comedy.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Things I love which have vaguely effected my ability to work in advertising. Part 1

Right, I've been working non stop on Uni work and Grad applications for the last couple of weeks, so now I'm going to write about something I like.
Whilst working on those projects this week, I came across a promotion I couldn't refuse. A free computer game from one of my favourite series of all time, Sam 'n' Max.

For those who don't know, it's an old school click and point adventure game from the early nineties, which has now been brought up to date and released in episodic format over the Internet. It stars a dog and rabbity thing as a pair of freelance detectives, and it is awesome!

Unfortunately I had been unable to afford the series due to being a poor humble student, but having played the free episode, it brought back all the memories of how I used to love point and click adventure games when I was young.

Honestly I can link this to advertising, I promise... (and not just about how the free demo was a brilliant piece of publicity before the second season of the game comes out, which it really is, because now I won't to buy it instead of eating!)

Games like Sam 'n' Max and Monkey Island (all made by LucasArts), were pretty much where I got my sense of humour from, because the writing was always so good in them.

Not only that, but it must surely have contributed to my ability to find creative solutions to problems. If getting a giant freelance detective dog to put a fish shaped magnet on a severed hand, then the severed hand on a golf ball retriever to get a ring out of the worlds largest ball o' twine didn't help me think outside the box, then I don't know what did!

I suggest you all go to and have a laugh right now. Do it!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Not mushroom for good names

After going to the cinema last night, I was hit by the usual previews for horror films that appear at this time of year. However, it seems that as the Halloweens have past, all the good horror names have been taken (then remade about 5 times each).

So, in the next few weeks I'll be looking forward to seeing the terrifying 'Pathology' and the gruesome 'Shrooms'. They don't kill 'em like they used to.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

A recent post by NP on confidence when presenting work made me think about my own approach to it. Last Friday, my team and I had to do a group presentation to win the chance to win the chance to win the chance to present at Cannes. We had some good plans for making the EU more appealing in the UK and this got us past the first round, but then something strange happened...
I realised I actually enjoy doing presentations. It may not seem like a big deal, but compared to when I first arrived at Uni and felt like I was talking to a group of (vaguely interested) lions, it's quite a change.

Exactly what has caused this change I don't know. It may just be the sheer volume of presentations I've done has made me lose the sense of pressure involved. On the other hand, it may be that I'm just proud of the work I do now.

I feel like my ideas and insights are actually worthwhile and relevant these days, so rather than needing to do a presentation to pass the course, I now want to do them to show something I have found, or come up with, that I think people will find interesting.

Plus I like using pretty pictures....

Monday, 15 October 2007

You'd better read, read, read, read, read, read, read...

Having recently been thinking of song titles/lyrics for a project I was working on, I was reminded of how important it is to think about everything to do with that song/band/scene etc. before using it.

One of the funniest examples I can remember of this going wrong is with the Internet bank.

Now while I love the song 'Smile' by the Supernaturals, it does mean that I continue to sing it in my head after the advert finishes and unfortunately for them, I remember that the next line after the cut is:

'You'd better smile... because that's all you've got left.'

Probably not the best tag-line for a bank...

Monday, 8 October 2007

Card Sell

A quick question for any business types out there. Would you still keep a business card if it was slightly thicker (about 2x) then a regular one? And keep in mind, it would be a visual delight! All opinions appreciated, even if they're just a personal, curse filled attack on my character... Thanks!

Juice + Fashion =

I recently came across 'Doy Bags' ( A company run by a women's co-operative in the Philippines, that uses old recycled juice packs to create some pretty cool looking bags.

To me, the company seems exactly how a business of this kind should be run. The items are really good, but not overly priced, it is environmental in a way that is innovative and can be easily seen, but most of all, the website makes the whole business seem very transparent, even using pictures of the workers and the recycling/making process.

My only complaint is that I don't know a lot of the juice companies used in the items. The moment they get an Innocent man-bag, I'm there!

Monday, 1 October 2007

What would Jesus drink?

There are so many energy drinks out these days, that the only way I can decide which one to buy is by mentally playing out a fight between the animals they're named after. Which is why the poor Red Rooster will never pass my lips... I just can't picture it beating a bull or a bear, let alone a shark!

Luckily Coca-Cola have made a new energy drink ridiculous enough to beat them all. Sure, it would be pleasant to have the energy of a bull, but why bother when I could be a 'RELENTLESS INFERNO'.

A Relentless Inferno! Take a moment to fully comprehend the power of those words. I'm fairly confident that if I drank it, I would explode in a ball of very alert fire.

And all of this is backed up by a can with such dark colours and ludicrously unreadable writing, that it manages to look like a cross between a real Ale and the Bible. I also received a money off voucher for it, which included the line 'Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the energy to change the things I can'. It's like some sort of holy miracle can!

I love things that are over the top and a biblical energy drink is just about silly enough to earn my money. Plus it would easily kill a bull...

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Blogger, we hardly knew ye!

There will be a short period of me not typing things, as I get back into Uni work and sort out an internet connection in my new house (just in case anyone thought I was getting lazy!).

Hopefully I'll come back with all new work to show and maybe even some interesting topics of discussion. Well, interesting to me anyway...

Monday, 10 September 2007

After years of...After years of...After years of....

After years of lesser films, such as the Matrix, being copied in adverts over and over again, at last it is the turn of a real classic.

Yes, Groundhog day is back on TV, but this time to sell phones. I can't tell if I like the Vodafone advert or not, but it's entirely irrelevant, because Groundhog day is awesome and therefore the advert makes me happy.

Who ever is first to turn the Super Mario Brothers Movie into an advert gets all my money...

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Things with which I did at Public

Here is the result of an anti-smoking brief I worked on and presented at Public.

If anyone wants to see it in a non-pdf form, I will be writing it up on soon...ish.

I tried to take an original approach to solving the problem, so I would be interested to know what people think of it!

Friday, 7 September 2007

All of Doncaster breathes a sigh of relief...

My week of work experience at Public has come to an end. And a very useful experience it was indeed.

I shall soon post the results of my exploits. Look away now if you like smoking...

Monday, 20 August 2007

Sofa, so good

My idea for DFS managed to win the APSOTW competition here: http://

Really greatful for all the feedback there and some of the other ideas are superb.

Also, I promise I'll write something useful on here at some point...

Friday, 10 August 2007

It's alive! is now a site with fully working buttons. It also has a little bit about the work I did last semester.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Pointless or cunning?

I turned on to the Community Shield yesterday, as you do, when I realised the score was no where to be seen.

It took a few seconds (5 according to the Sky box) for it to appear from behind the channel select bar. It all stank of a pointless change to the design, merely for the sake of changing something. No one had seemed to have taken the time to intergrate what was on the screen with what Sky's own products put over the screen.

I thought about all the times I've had to watch football on crappy projectors in pubs and not even been able to see the bottom of the screen. Then it hit me, maybe it's all a cunning plan on Sky's part to catch pubs that pay for a normal Sky subscription.

Often the reason I notice that I cant see the bottom of the screen is because I can't tell if the little pint glass is in the bottom right, showing that it's allowed to be shown to a big audience. So, now pubs will have to show us all if they've been forced to pay up or not.

Pointless or cunning then? Maybe just lucky...

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Won't somebody please think of the children!

"I was driving past a bus stop full of children". Oh no, I thought, it's another one of those graphic adverts which shows children getting hit by cars to warn people off speeding/drink driving.

No wait, it's a National Accident Helpline advert. About a car hitting another car. The children were fine and completely irrelivant, but boy did it get my attention.

I think this could be the start of a whole new style of advertising:

"I was walking down the street the other day when I saw a child being held at gunpoint. Later that day I ate some Pringles. Once you pop, you can't stop!"

Monday, 23 July 2007

Mortimor, you diabolical!

The other day, to my suprise, I recieved a certificate and cheque in the post for being voted one of the Art, Media and Design department's top Level 2 students.

In fact my work is so well known in the department that they even spelt my name wrong!

Still it was quite an honour, though I was disappointed at the lack of a ceremony. Sometimes I wonder why I ever bought those formal shorts...

Friday, 13 July 2007

Hummer Mia

Thanks to Rob Campbell and all the judges who liked my idea for the APSOTW competition.

It says about my idea here:

Plus the comments go on to a much more serious issue as well, so you should read it anyway!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007


I've started up a new online portfolio site,

It's still hugely unfinished, but feedback is welcome!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Homer you're a delightful fella, sorry 'bout the salmonella

It shouldn't work, but despite a quite disappointing external make-over and the fact they're alligning themselves with a store famed for its over pricing and food poisoning, I still want to go to a Kwik-E-Mart 7-Eleven and buy a Squishy.

Strange that even after years of falling standards the show is still such an important part of our culture. More importantly it paves the way for my dream of opening a pirate themed pub.

On guard, touche! Oh that is so cliche.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Things with which I have done 3: Attack of the phones

This brief was quite a difficult one for me, as although in other briefs I have often looked to adjusting things in-store to fit a brand, this was the first time it had been the only objective.

My task, individually this time, was to reinvent Virgin Mobile stores, to make them as fresh, technologically advanced and exciting as the likes of Apple and Urban Outfitters.

Having already done a brief for Virgin Bingo, I had a good idea of what the virgin brand as a whole stood for, but further research into Virgin Mobile on it's own lead me to the brand values that my new store would focus on.


#100% Human


These suggested that Virgin Mobile wanted their customers to be able to see how every part of the business was honest and trustworthy, because you could see it was all run by people like them, trying to do their best.

But, what better way to show the customers the store is run by people like them, than to let them design it. This also fitted in with research I had done on phone features, which suggested photos and music were the most used of the latest additions to mobiles.

And so, 'Your Virgin Mobile Store' was born. Customers will create the artwork for everything from in store posters to top-up cards, depending on the resolution of their phone cameras. The only rule was that the picture has to have a phone on it somewhere. Photo's can then be transferred to the in-store phones for appraisal.

Research into the stores Virgin mobile wanted to be like led to further improvemtns to my idea. The strong use of music in Urban Outfitters could be adjusted to suite Virgin Mobile, by allowing users to send their favourite songs to the in store phones, ready to be played in the shop once they've been approved.

Apple is famous for it's in-store tutorials, and this ethic has been further expanded on by Virgin Mobile. As well as having people able to show customers how to use phone functions and even photoshop to help with their pictures, the store will also encourage experimentation with the latest features of phones.

My research found that many of the latest features are just to complicated for many consumers to grasp. Therefore, to encourage this experimentaion without them having to spent money, the in store phones will be used to solve mystery puzzles. Hidden away in the test phones emails, videos, favourite WAP sites etc. are clues to a secret celebrity, who will come to a virgin Mobile store that month.

People who solve the mysteries will then get the chance to meet the celebrity and photograph them for use in Virgin's promotions. This follows on from the extensive use of celebrities in Virgin Mobiles recent campaigns and provides a real encouragement for experimentaion with phones.

To help all these features really draw in the technology hungry customers Virgin Mobile are aiming for, the limited window space available to the stores will showcase the customer photos and music in a very original way.

State of the art touch screen and speaker technology will mean that the window display will come alive, as passers by are able to change how the store front looks by touching the window and changing the photos being shown. Not only that, but they can also change the music being played, which will burst out the window as the glass is transformed into a giant speaker.

Together, I hope these features would not only attract these technology hungry young people, but also keep them coming back to see what's changed and keep them experimenting with the phones and interacting with the brand. (Without the use of YouTube :D)

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Things with which I have done: Part 2

In the second semester, I entered a competition brief, set by D&AD.
This brief was done in a group of four with myself, David Talbot, Oliver Moxham and Christiaan Huynen.

Together we had to use a range of ambient media to generate awareness, excitement and support for the Puma brand during the 2008 Olympic Games, with a campaign based around the concept of 'Perfomance Couture'.

After doing the usual research into the brand, we found that the biggest draw of Puma sports products, was their ability to be worn as fashion products as well.

So, we came up with three different ways of using ambient media, which would all link together to raise awareness for Puma. The overall idea was to create scenes that contained objects associated with both sports and fashion and bring them together in unusual ways.

The first of these ideas was to have a series of trucks travelling round the major cities chosen for the campaign. These would use seethrough materials for the trailer, so other cars would be able to look in. Inside would be people in Puma's sports clothes, walking up and down a catwalk, while other models, in Puma's more fashionable clothes, would be jogging on the spot, using tredmills.

The trucks would then park up in the city centres and release Puman. He/she is a Free Runner, who will travel around the city, performing amazing feats of athleticism, all in Pumas latest clothes. The truck would then turn into a station for customers (and fake customer) to come and exchange photos of Puman for sporting prizes.

This one off event would then be followed by the longer lasting Pumannequins. These would be mannequins dressed up in Puma clothes, left where ever Puman went, stuck in the pose of whatever action he/she was doing at the time. The amazing places the Pumannequins will appear will keep people looking out for them on the way to work/school, meaning they will actively seek out the promotion.

Thanks for browsing more.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Branson Adventures

Here is the research log that went along with the Virgin Bingo project.

It's presented as a branded comic book, to match the concept. We wanted to create something that would stand out in a portfolio and really make people want to read something which is basically just research. This example was the most off the wall of the research logs we made, but I think providing a narrative helped to keep people reading.

If anyone out there spends a lot of time looking at potential employee's portfolios, it would really help me to get some feedback on whether this sort of thing would be more appealing than a straight presentation of work.

Thank you for browsing.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Things with which I have done : Part 1

Right then, to start things off I thought I would share details of the briefs I have been doing at university recently, in preperation for entering the big ol' world of advertising.

The most enjoyable brief I was set this semester was given to us by Lean Mean Fighting Machine. It involved teams of two using new media to make Virgin Bingo appear to be the most exciting and fun bingo to be found on the internet.

We were basically meant to aim for their current market and the people already likely to play online bingo. So, my partner for that brief, David Talbot and I did the usual research on the company, competition and new media in general.

Our research led us to believe that interaction between players, using Wee Mees would be a great way of recreating the fun of a bingo hall online. Wee Mees had already become popular in sites such as Friends Reunited, often used by the young to middle aged women we were aiming for.

However, to add a unique touch to our virtual bingo hall, we decided to use a seventies cartoon art style for the characters, now called 'Bingo Buddies'. Wee Mees are based on the simplistic style of South Park, which is ideal for the young internet users of today, but we wanted to aim at a slightly older market, so using the style of cartoons from their childhood seemed like an ideal approach.

Once we had this central idea of cartoon versions of the players that could celebrate when they won, talk to their friends and even shout 'BINGO' through a microphone recording, the rest of the campaign seemed to fall into place.
The Bingo Buddies could gain new items based on the purchases players made on other virgin sites and there would be music playing in the background, just like regular bingo halls, only the players could vote for the song, based on the Virgin Radio play list.

We also decided there was no better way to show how the cartoons can match someone's features then to have the recognisable face (and beard) of Richard Branson as the cartoon mascot for the site.
He would then be used in TV and flash adverts showing his cartoon counterpart exchanging clothes and items depending on the advice of the other players in the bingo hall. Then, as the items get more and more rediculous, it cuts back to the real life Branson on his laptop, wearing that rediculous item (eg. an afro).

The cartoon nature of the advert means it could be crudely animated and still look good, which would be ideal for Flash. Also, the TV version of it would utilise the red button, to allow players to create their Bingo Buddies from the comfort of their living room, then upload it, ready to use on the net.

The website would also contain blank comic strips containing a celebrity player, who would create their Buddy and play a few games that month. Users would be encouraged to fill in the blank speech bubbles, to make humrous scenes involving Branson and the celebrity.

Winning entries would be shown on the site, while the inevitable controversial entries could be 'leaked' to parady websites and papers.
We felt that the new Virgin Bingo website and campaign very much retained the fun, fresh image of the Virgin brand, while appealing to the celebrity loving, socialising audience of the game.
Before the project was fully finished, we visited Lean Mean Fighting Machine, who seemed very positive about our ideas...which was pleasant.
(A bit long winded I know, but as soon as I know how, I'll upload the comic book we made, which details our research and ideas, as well as telling the story of a heroic Richard Branson adventure...)

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Under Construction

I am currently snooping around the website, pressing buttons to see what they do.

Something wonderful will no doubt follow...