Friday, 29 October 2010

Behind Our Studio...

A body
Cold and grey
Prone in the shadow of an old oak tree
Above blackened boughs
Crows encircle
As mist descends
First in wisps
Through knotted hair, and tangled limbs
Then in creeping, grasping tendrils
Toward his face-
Oh, god! That face
That is shrunken and sallow
Hideous, hollow
The life torn out
In silent screams
Through empty sockets
And crinkling flesh
Now rotting upon the gutter’s edge
And yet-
These horrors are pale
Dim and fleeting
For lurking deep
Down and dark
In the dead man’s pocket
An abomination lies
And gnawing
Gnawing at my sanity
Like rats!
On fetid bones
In blackened rooms
And dancing
Ghastly on the surface
Of the ivory cards
That bore his name
In black

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Welcome to Optimism (twinned with Salford)

It's the Campaign Big Awards tonight. And I for one will not be attending. In fact, I won't even be looking at the results tomorrow morning. Because you know what? We don't do ruddy trophies and baubles in the North. We do all our work for our clients. Something you southern shandies just wouldn't understand...

Yeah, you heard. I did say "Southern Shandies". Because it's you London lot who mostly read this blog. Not my homies in Manchester. Because they're all busy working for their clients see, not dicking around on the internet, being all curious and forward-thinking like you lot. Oh no. We've got our noses to the grindstone, creating amazing work, for our amazing clients120% of the time. Day in. Day out, as Ian Curtis might say shortly before hanging himself.

Yo usee, what never fails to impress me about Manchester is that in a town where so many clients insist on writing their own ads, and most of the agencies allow them to do so, the fact that I make any money at all is a living, breathing testament to the city's steadfast commitment to creativity. The same creativity, lest we forget, that brought us Joy Division, The Smiths, Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses,er... Joy Division, The Smiths, Happy Mondays, and Morrissey! - as I'm sure Jon Robb, Terry Christian, and Peter Hook will be more than happy to remind you.

Day in. Day out.

And it's important we keep banging on about the legacy of ruddy Factory and Joy Division every time we come to celebrate or even mention Manchester's creative industries. Because currently, our advertising's just as fucking bleak and desperate as all the music we once listened to. And like Ian Curtis, there isn't a single solitary one of us who wouldn't work ourselves towards a horribly pointless death in the name of it.

So like I say. We don't need awards for what we do. We just trudge on till the bitter end. And every 5 years or so, we put all of our old work in a Peter Saville-designed coffee-book-boxset, and look back in a half-morbid, half self-congratulatory way at how, despite all the opportunities we were given, they all managed to end somewhat tragically.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Fucking Love This!

Apart from stakeholders and busybodies, who in the neon name of Christ ever reads a business' Corporate and Social Responsibility Report? No one. They're shit. Even the one's with nice covers barely stifle a yawn these days, let alone enourage you to read past the contents page.

But this new one by the muckers over at Music is awesome.

Having harped on for long enough about the formal limitations of the corporate liturgy- I mean, publication - this interactive route is frankly (in the grey, grey world of the boardroom) avant garde by comparison. But what better way to engage people than letting them discover stuff for themselves.

This is the goddam future people! Just think: no more facsimiles of the gout-faced chairman's signature. And no more awkward photography of your hideous employees. Result.

Well done guys.

The Drum Interviews Alex Bogusky

by The Drum's very own scoop-finder general, Swinton Malteser

The Drum convinced advertising legend Alex Bogusky, creative executive mastermind of the giant global advertising leviathan Crispy Bogusky Proctor & Gamble, to give us a rare telephone interview over his privately owned American telephone line.

[Phone ringing out for 10 to 15 minutes]

AB: Hello, yes?

THE DRUM: Hello?

AB: Hello!

THE DRUM: Oh, er, is that Mr. Er... Mr. Bogus-Sky?

AB: Bogusky. Speaking. Who is this?

THE DRUM: Eh? Oh, my name's Andy. I work at The Drum.

AB: Who?

THE DRUM: The Drum magazine. In the... England.

AB: Right. I don't -

THE DRUM: We're a trade title. For the creative industries.

AB: Ok.

THE DRUM: Outside the M25.

AB: The what?

THE DRUM: The - er, road around, the motorway really, around the - London...

AB: Sorry. What is this about?

THE DRUM: Right. We were just after a few quotes, Mr. Bogusky. For a piece we're writing. We all value your opinion Mr. Bogusky and thought er -

AB: Listen. Thanks, but I don't normally do... (Sigh)Look just make it quick, ok.

THE DRUM: Brilliant! Thank you so much, Alex, er, Bogusky. Really appreciate this.

AB: Sure.

THE DRUM: Right, we're putting together a kind of survey of the various regions' creative outputs...

AB: Why?

THE DRUM: So that erm... I don't know. It's just what we do.

AB: Compare regions creativity?

THE DRUM: Yes. No. I mean, it's meant to be a showcase.

AB: Like D&AD?

THE DRUM: Kind of. Yes.

AB: You pay to be in the magazine - showcase?

THE DRUM: Exactly!

AB: Hmmmm...

THE DRUM: So, we just want to know who's your favourite agency in and around Staffordshire?

AB: Where?

THE DRUM: Well, the Midlands really. But we're trying to boost circulation around North Staffs.

AB: But I - I don't know where any of these places are.

THE DRUM: Oh. Ok. Well, have you heard of an agency called McCann Erickson?

AB: Of course I have.

THE DRUM: Ok, well just say McCann Erickson Birmingham then.

AB: Hang on. I don't even -

THE DRUM: That's great Mr. Bogusky. Brilliant. Cheers. And if you ever need a month's free membership to the Marketing Industry Network, just give us a call and we'll see what we can do, eh. Thanks again, mate. Cheers now.

Friday, 22 October 2010

The Copywriter's Charter: Demand No. 2

2. More and better jobs
Existing jobs must be protected. Public and private investment must create new jobs yadda yadda yadda. But in particular in the digital sector, where the opportunities for writing play second fiddle to technology and design. We don’t want to write headlines, puns, and emotive product descriptions anymore. Not even smart-arsed ones like Innocent. We want to create stories! With characters, points of view, plots, sub-plot sand everything in between. Oh, but we’re not doing SEO though –ok? That’s like asking an architect to mix concrete.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Copywriter's Charter: Demand No. 1

1. A fairer studio for a fairer creative

The right to work in a balanced creative department. One where our work will be valued and -above all- recognized. Where the substance and resonance of writing is not needlessly forsaken for wanky art direction, or subjugated by those who have to look up the word “subjugate”. Nor should we be told never to begin a sentence with “because.” Because to denude and demote writing in the communication business is frankly cheating, not to mention lazy. And that is unfair to us, and unfair to our clients. Especially the ones who don't understand irony.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

For Christ's Sake

Religion. It's a lot like pornography isn't it.

It appeals to our basest instincts, offers little or no lasting satisfaction, and has a nasty habit of raising awkward questions. It also makes lots of shit, horrible films. Like this (pwew-weee!) stinker.

On the upside though, they do seem to have knicked one of my piss-take retail straplines.

Do It Like Dad

A family eating their tea infront of the TV. They have just seen the new "Do It Like Dolmio" ad.

MUM: Win a holiday to Italy, eh? That sounds nice.

DAD: Wha?

MUM: Says you can win a holiday. On the telly.

DAUGHTER: Duh. Not on the telly, mum. On You Tube.

DAD: Wha?

MUM: Eh?

DAUGHTER: You need to go on You Tube to win the holiday.

DAD: On wha?

MUM: You What?

DAUGHTER: On the internet. You film a video and upload it.

MUM: To the internet?


MUM: But it's full of.... perverts, the internet. (shudders) I'm not doing that.

DAD: Don't be daft, woman. They would'nt put it on telly if it wasn't safe, would they. (To daughter) Would they?

[Daughter shrugs - "How the hell should I know?"]

DAD: Come on, then! I'll do it. I'll win us a holiday.

MUM: But you don't know what you're doing, Steve. You're 45 years old. You'll look ridiculous.

[NOTE: Is it me or this turning into an episode of My Family?]

DAD: All right, all right. Less of the old, thank you. Now do you want a holiday or not?

MUM: Not if I have to live with the shame of -

DAD: I said that's enough, thank you Cath. Now come on Becky, go get your laptop and let's make a video.

[NOTE: It is isn't it! I'm not doing it on purpose though. Honest. My Family is obviously just what you get when you throw something down in 5 minutes]

DAUGHTER: You're not using my laptop.

DAD: But -

DAUGHTER: Seriously dad, you fucking embarrass me I swear I will never speak to you again.

MUM: Come on Steve, leave it. Forget about the holiday.

(He tries to appeal to them by pulling an Italian face and waving his arms)

MUM: It's not going to work, love. Your impression is shit.

DAD: But someone might like it! The voters..? On the internet..?

(Mum and daughter shake their heads plaintively)

DAD: (Defeated) Oh, I suppose your right. My impression is shit. And I can't work the computer on my own... But - hang on! Becky, you're brilliant at impressions. And you can work the computer. Why don't you win us a holiday?

DAUGHTER: Do I look like the face of fucking Dolmio?

DAD: Come on. It'll be cool.

DAUGHTER: Is that what you think of me? I look like a fucking puppet? Is that what you're saying!?

DAD: No, I -

(Daughter storms out, slamming the door)

MUM: Just leave her. Come on. Finish your meatballs.

(They continue to eat)

DAD: This sauce is nice. What is it?

MUM: Lloyd Grossman.

Experience the futility for yourself at:

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Future Prefect

All of you please just stop it, stop it, stop it, now.

About 10 people have just tweeted me this in the last 5 minutes, and it's arsewash.

I'm referring of course to the trapped-in-the-90s dinner party nihilist Douglas Coupland's (recent) smugger-than-thou article about things we might expect to see in the future.

Now, I know he's half-joking, and I know you lot probably think you're half-joking as well when you re-tweet it, but listen - the only reason it's rocketed round the internet so quickly is because you all obviously suffer the same anxieties he's (smugly, satirically) describing, and which you all desperately want to see vindicated, not least so you can slap yourselves on the back, tweet "I told you so!" and get a job as a digital planner, scuffling for a peek down the future's top for the rest of your days.


Surely the only thing any of these kinds of predictions or "insights" can ever describe accurately are the current flavour of nuroses amongst the urban population.

Why do I say this? Well, because I live in the country. So when I go home tonight I won't be worrying, writing or tweeting about the potential impact of cloud-computing, or any of the other unknowable bullshit certain segments of the advertising industry thrive on. No, I'll be concerned with whether or not I'll need lights to go cycling this evening.

And I find this kind persepective stops me sounding like a smug, pretentious, dinner party bell-end.

Well, when I'm not at work at least.

10 Rude Foods

1. Lemon in a gimp mask

2. Prune sucking off a turnip

3. Tarts

4. A good spread

5. Tariyaki bukakake

6. Cuny Lingus Crispy Pancakes (vegetarian option: Felafellatio)

7. Frottage cheese

8. Gay bagels

9. Strap-on salad

10. Spuds deep in gravy