Here at Saatchi Auckland, Anne Boothroyd and Mike Davison have come up with a brilliant, insightful idea. Women who are victims of domestic abuse often can’t tell anyone what’s really going on, yet they need to be heard the most. So for the annual Women’s Refuge donation drive this year, people can choose to donate money by attributing cash for words in your Facebook status update. The more updates, the more talk. The more talk, the more donations. See it here.
It also comes with some nicely crafted typography, but it’s the insight that’s truly brilliant. It’s one of the many great things we’re developing here at Saatchi New Zealand. Exciting times.
I quit Droga5 three weeks ago and have joined Saatchi & Saatchi with my partner in crime, Guy Roberts. It was a tough decision (it actually was) as I think Droga5 is one of the best ad brands on the planet and I’m proud and privileged to have spent time with David, whether it be working with him on massive pitches, getting pissed with him as he fought jetlag, or talking about stuff over Japanese.
But having said that, there’s a lot of great people at Saatchis and we really want to work with them. It came to us at a time where we felt ready to embrace the big agency beast thing again, and we’re really excited about the unknown, the variety, the challenge and the lessons learned. I’m sure we will never work harder in our life. I can’t wait.
More to report when we start in three weeks.
Post Rugby World Cup final, I decided to lose some weight which had crept up on me over the last couple of years (reference: 30 months ago I was 80kg, and got to 93 last month). After getting a strict system sorted out for me by Jay at Bodytech, I announced my month-long mission at work which quickly prompted money being thrown around, bets laid, bravado blustered, and challenges set forth.
It was tough but not revolutionary in any way, and took considerable will power, discipline and a healthy dose of fear – I refused to become a fat, bald forty something creative director wearing a slobby slogan t-shirt. Lean meat, fresh veges, no alcohol, six Vitawheat crackers a day, fruit, and lots of fizzy water to give my body the illusion of being full. I measured portions on scales every day, and weighed myself every morning. I endured coming home to a wonderfully fragrant house filled with baking I could not enjoy. I drank water at the movies while others licked ice-creams. I bought bottles of wine for everyone but me. I was afraid to go out because it invariably involved drinking, eating or coffee, none of which I could enjoy. I did go out for a drink with my friend Nick and sat there drinking sparkling water while he regaled me with stories of cuckoo clocks and film commission horror stories, which I was transfixed by a) because they were interesting, and b) it meant I wasn’t thinking about his beer or my empty stomach. Instead of socialising I mainly visited the supermarket, often. Party time. I went from hating grocery shopping to looking forward to wandering down the aisles, imagining tastes, possibilities, ideas.
It was half difficult, half satisfying, coping with a breakfast of one solitary apple, 210g of natural yoghurt and an espresso (and am now completely satisfied with that as a full and satisfying brekky). While pleasantly surprised by the size of my other meals, there was always a sense of constant hunger, until the pain just became a part of my day. One day I drove home so hungry it honestly felt as if I had been stabbed in the stomach. The hunger made me quite absent minded at nights when I would run out of gas, forgetting names of stuff like forks, bottles and… things.
I did it to lose weight, but also to shock me out of my lazy, gluttonous lifestyle. And changes started happening quickly. Although often tired (I am a father of two with a full on job), I no longer had energy peaks and troughs from eating carbs and sweet stuff. I have never slept better. I was forced to learn about preparing fresh food, flavouring bland veges with herbs, the joy of cinnamon and the magic of balsamic and olive oil. You appreciate the things you can’t have: at an agency lunch, I sniffed a Peroni – it smelt like flowers. I ate Tuna for the first time in my life and had fish (usually snapper) at least six times a week with the help of some butter and Soy sauce (allowed in the diet, oddly).
I couldn’t have done it without a wonderful supporting partner, my wife Jude, who happily fended for herself when I was so obsessed with exact portions that to cook for two was too hard. She comes from a family that quite rightly centres life on food, the preparation of it and the conversation around it, so it was also a challenge for her; ironically the experience has made me appreciate this way of living even more than I already had.
I occasionally went off-piste with my strict diet in the most pathetic way possible. At night, I would eat a single raisin just to taste something sweet. I often had a second espresso, partly because I love coffee and partly to get things going in my digestive system… if you get what I mean.
And then it was over (well, it wasn’t that simple, there were many long dark tea-times of the soul, to quote Douglas Adams). I missed my goal of getting to an even 85kg by 150 grams. But good enough. It was thanksgiving in the US so, being an american agency, we did a little celebration with proper New York pizza from Sal’s, and a box of beers. I ate two huge slices and felt full. I ate half a cupcake with cream so rich it was nauseating. I drank half a US beer and put it down – although that may have been a taste issue, or lack thereof. I was literally frightened of carbs having eaten half a small pastry and felt ill in my stomach. I got over it pretty quick that evening out with some mates and celebrated with 6 Macs Golds and a bowl of hot chips.
Will it last? I don’t know. This morning I had an apple again for breakfast and I’m about to make a Tuna Salad. I do weigh 1.5kg more than I did yesterday already – that’ll be the beer and pizza. My lifestyle has definitely changed, and I don’t want to get back to where I was. So I’m getting another diet plan from Jay and we’ll see how I can maintain this thing.
I’d like to lose bits of my fat without losing bits of my life.
(For the record, I didn’t win the bet. Simmo, or Slimmo as we call him, lost a whopping amount – 13.8kgs. When I met him just over a year ago he was 115kg. He weighed in at 82.25 yesterday. All hail the champion!)
Sun Song / The Monkeys, Sydney
A sound that plays at the beach to remind people to reapply sunblock. Particularly attractive to porcelain white people like me.
Nike Chalkbot / Wieden & Kennedy Portland
Messages of hope for Cancer sufferers, printed on the road for cyclists to see during the Tour De France. Armstrong is probably a drugs cheat, but his fight with testicular cancer still has resonance.
Puma Social / Droga5 NY
Anti “win at all costs” advertising, beautifully written and shot. A great ad, but a brilliant strategy.
Skittles Touch the Rainbow / BBDO Toronto
How to resurrect a campaign that was starting to jump the shark. Takes the piss out of “interactivity” but is probably the best example of it today.
New Old Spice Guy Fabio / Wieden & Kennedy Portland
Another good way to breathe new, beautifully scented life into a tiring campaign. This ad in particular just makes me envious.
Jay – Z/Swiss Beatz – On to the next one / dir: Sam Brown
On the basis that a music video is basically an ad for a musician, this is right up there. Sam Brown is without doubt the best clip director around right now. Beautiful imagery, menace, controversy.
Arcade Fire – Wilderness Downtown / dir: Chris Milk
Actually an ad – a Google Chrome experiment. Great blurring of lines, and a wonderful unity of technology and emotion. Will no doubt be clunky in a year or two but of it’s time, brilliant.
Brand values, positively expressed, practically embodied.
VW Darth Vader / Deutsch LA
Just when you though Star Wars gets wheeled out a little too easily, comes a brilliantly directed spot. 44 million YouTube hits can’t be wrong.
Canal+ Bear / BETC Paris
Funny. Predictable in places but a nice, perfect little reveal at the end. The soundtrack almost ruins it, but I’d proudly put it on my reel.
Canal+ Wardrobe / BETC Paris
Probably the best TVC in the last three years. There, I said it.
The thing I dislike the most about advertising is the reaction I get when I tell people it’s what I do. It’s usually a variation on this sentence: “oh, so you make me buy things I don’t want,” delivered with a certain smugness from the craggy summit of a moral high ground. More alarmingly, the person seems to suddenly show an astounding lack of self-determination, and has quite happily placed the blame on someone else. For some reason, they are powerless to resist.
And it’s true to an extent. Some people can’t resist the urge to buy from the shopping channel or eat huge portions of processed food under the guise of enjoying extra value. Advertising created the idea of extra value, so advertising must be to blame. The messages are everywhere, so how can we resist if the constant onslaught of advertising noise persistently beats us down into a zombie state of submission?
Obviously not everyone considers advertising a noble profession, and people are alluding to the ad world’s lowly status when they say these sort of things. For many, advertising is down there with insurance companies, lawyers and Wall Street traders. Fair enough, because such industries are perceived to prey upon the weak impulses of people or selfishly profit from human fear or insecurity. Even when advertising does a positive thing like raise money or awareness of an issue or grow a business to create new jobs, we are still suspicious of manipulation and being told how to feel.
But the truth is that everyone is in advertising. Everyone is selling something to the best of their abilities. Every day you show your best side to people to gain approval, acceptance or a job. Your CV is a print ad (or online ad) and you are engaged in the commerce of a product you dearly want people to desire: you.
Sure. A corporation has responsibilities to be honest about its products and services, and it certainly should never lie. And in today’s advertising world, honesty and even admission of imperfection has much more power than it used to, primarily because people are tired of being sold and bullshitted to. But in order to show your best side, it comes down to at least an initial, selective story you wish to tell. It’s about getting ahead. It’s how the world works.
Advertising is not something that just happens at us. It’s a creature made by us, the impulses we have, and the desires we harbor. It can clearly influence human desire. But human desire is the basic engine behind the idea of advertising, not a helpless victim of it.
The latest ASB campaign is out and we did a simple idea – try the bank before you join up. Check out the site experienceASB.co.nz and some of the TVCs to support, featuring the very lovely Dame Judi Dench. Who was awesome.
CDs: Corey Chalmers & Guy Roberts
Writers: Corey Chalmers, Bob Moore, Mike O’Sullivan
TV Director: Mark Lever, Sweet Shop
Digital Director: Matt Von Trott, Assembly
Digital Production: Jose Alomanja, Andrew Simpson, Anna Rose Kerr, the guys at Assembly