American woman, stay away from me. American woman, mama let me be. Don’t come a hangin’ around my door. I don’t want to see the weekend.
Kate Stanners is an incredibly creative person.
From her time at GGT under Dave Trott, via Bates Dorland, to the genesis of St Luke’s, her own start-up and then to her current position as Global CCO of Saatchi and Saatchi, Kate has taken career decisions that were unusual and, at the time, risky.
And yet they worked.
There are very few people in advertising you can say that about, and very, very few of them are women.
So Kate is a great example to anyone out there who wants to make it.
Don’t necessarily take the career path that looks most likely to make sense and create an obvious path to success. Instead, take the road less travelled and end up even more successful.
In our chat you can hear all about those decisions, along with…
How helpful it is/isn’t to have a CD for a dad.
How this Flake ad came about:
Why GGT under Dave Trott was like doing 20 years’ work in 5 years.
How the big personalities of Tim Mellors and Graham Fink worked out.
Why GGT was Dave’s attempt to beat John Webster
Why International + Andrew Cracknell meant a move to Bates Dorland
How St Luke’s began.
Why they didn’t enter awards.
What happened when they made ‘chronic’ business decisions.
…but were one of the forerunners of producing ‘content’.
The strange similarity between GGT and St Luke’s.
How it works with four creative directors and no creatives.
What it’s like when you turn up for a pitch and discover you’ve forgotten the work.
How and why you might split up with your partner of 14 years.
Whether you should start up an agency with your husband at the same time as you have your first child.
How GGT led to HHCL, which led to St Luke’s, which led to Mother.
Why Saatchi and Saatchi was and wasn’t the right thing at the right time.
How the best process can be no process.
Why playing to your position is a great skill to learn.
Why it’s never too late to champion women in advertising.
And how great it is to keep learning, particularly from the younger people in your agency.
As you’ll here in the intro and the interview, it was a very enjoyable chat. Here’s the Soundcloud link, the iTunes feed and the easy old thing you can click on right here (no idea why there are two of them; unlike the last couple of weeks, it all fits in one episode).
There’s a red house over yonder, that’s where my baby stays. Lord, there’s a red house over yonder, Lord, there’s where my baby stays. I ain’t been home to see the weekend.
Hendrix live in Maui (thanks, T):
Russian insanity (thanks, P):
For 2017, how about a world that works for everyone (thanks, B):
Vintage Yugoslavian computer magazine cover girls (thanks, D).
Photos meticulously staged to like like crap CGI (thanks, Popbitch).
Brilliant animation on a brilliant story of a teacher stopping a biker gang:
Neil Dawson has created some magnificent ads (see below).
He has also creative directed some (possibly) even more magnificent ads (see below).
He has also started the odd magnificent agency.
So he’s kind of magnificent.
He’s also a very nice guy.
Have a listen to our chat and find out…
How an apparently decaying arm can get you an interview at Saatchi and Saatchi.
How losing a copywriters competition can get you a job.
Why emigrating to an unfancied country can be a great move.
When you’ve done a good ad make sure everyone knows about it.
The benefits of drinking a lot.
How to write a shit ad that’s not too shit.
Why nobody thanks you for doing a great job on something crap.
How to double your salary without moving agency…
…And get raises for lots of the other creatives at the same time.
Why a tempting move may not be such a great idea.
How to decide between Scorsese and Coppola.
Why splitting up with his partner was the toughest decision of Neil’s career.
Why gut feel is ‘an amazing thing’.
How to create great advertising for a client that doesn’t really do that.
How to make Eddie Izzard cry (in a good way).
How the Mannequin Challenge was invented.
Why the secret of an agency’s success is flawless chemistry.
…And a common cause and a common route to make it happen.
Apologies for the fiddliness; I’ll aim to get it sorted soon.
Gee my life’s a funny thing, am I still too young? He kissed her then and there she took his ring, took the weekend.
George Michael and Morrissey reviewing stuff (thanks, L):
Classic albums reimagined in Comic Sans (thanks, L).
The world’s endangered cinemas (thanks, T).
Carrie Fisher, Python, the Stones etc. (thanks, T).
Welcome to a supercut:
If I had to go on a show that will never exist, called ‘Desert Island Headlines’, I think at least half my picks would be from the pen of Nigel Roberts.
Why? Well, I think you could fool a lot of people into thinking Mark Twain said, ‘Why learn from your mistakes when you can learn from someone else’s?’
And I’ve bought my wife flowers many times when there’s been nothing wrong, I didn’t need anything and it hasn’t been her birthday.
And although I’ve heroin never taken heroin before, Nigel’s heroin work has heroin definitely heroin made heroin seem heroin delightfully moreish. Heroin.
Anyway, I had the privilege of watching him improve my own work on many occasions, so I’d like to point any budding, mediocre, decent or brilliant copywriters in the direction of his website, because you’ll all learn something.
As you will from our conversation, which includes such nuggets as…
Why advertising is more alluring than farming.
How to decide if you should be a copywriter or an art director.
How the recession led to Nigel’s most enduring partnership.
The interesting story behind the move to Leagas Delaney
Where that Patek Philippe line came from.
How those great Waterstones ads happened.
Why the best headlines give you something to think about.
How a lack of interference is one of the keys to the best work.
Why you should look for undeniable truths.
Why the best kind of advertising makes you think.
What it’s like getting 5 Pencils and 50-60 D&AD entries in a single year.
How looking for ‘the most miserable books on the plight of the homeless’ can lead to great work.
And how Gillian Wearing was recruited to help prevent child abuse.
Which Economist Ad is Nigel’s favourite, but why the less good ones strayed a little close to Roy Walker’s TV show.
Whether there’s a method to compiling a creative department.
How more work in less time unsurprisingly makes it harder to do your very best stuff.
Why the return of respect for agencies will be very important to the quality of future work.
And for those of you who can’t be arsed to click on the link to his site, scroll down for some of my favourites.
Here’s the Soundcloud link, which contains the entire episode. Due to this chat being a little longer than the MB that WordPress will allow, I’ve had to divide the iTunes link and the embedded thingie into two parts. Apologies for the inconvenience, but I thought that would be a better solution than truncating any of Nigel’s words of wisdom. Anyway, Soundcloud does it all in one go if you really need it that way.
All is quiet on New Year’s Day, a world in white gets underway. I want to be with you, be with you night and day. Nothing changes on the weekend.
The Bauhaus Ballet turns 100 (thanks, O):
Andy Warhol’s wrestling analysis (thanks, T):
RIP, Carrie Fisher, script doctor:
They’ve got cars big as bars, they’ve got rivers of gold. But the wind goes right through you – it’s no place for the old. When you first took my hand on a cold Christmas Eve you promised me Broadway was the weekend.
This will be the last post before Christmas, so Happy Whatever It Is Doesn’t Offend You (thanks, D).
On the podcast front, I have some great stuff ready to go but would rather wait until next Sunday to put the next one out. There are far fewer people listening over the Christmas break, so I don’t want a good conversation to get lost in the quiet period.
Thanks very much to those of you who have listened to the episodes. I’m getting as much out of these chats as any of you, but if you are enjoying them, please spread the word. I couldn’t care less about the listening stats, but I do want as many people as possible to receive the substantial wisdom imparted by my guests.
Here’s to a 2017 that’s better than this turd-filled dumpster fire of a year.
How The Royal Tennenbaums set Wes Anderson’s style (thanks, T).
Football Bohemian Rhapsody (thanks, J).
Insane photos of deep sea fish (thanks, J).
Ghana’s hand-painted movie posters (thanks, T).
YMCA, Finnish-style (thanks, T):
And I’ll leave you with my favourite Christmas carol. Merry Christmas, or whatever you celebrate, one and all!
First, an apology.
The eagle-eared amongst you will have noted that there was no episode last week, and, even worse, no word of an explanation.
Here’s what happened: on Saturday I drew a large glass of delicious water from my kitchen tap and placed it on the table. Then, with a quite awesome degree of clumsiness, I knocked the fucker all over my laptop. Optimistically, I followed the internet’s instructions for these situations and turned it upside-down with the keyboard open and waited for two days. On Monday I asked my lovely IT chums if they could salvage any of it. Alas, the whole lot, including files for all my past episodes and two that were ready for air, was lost.
Bugger, I said.
I then sent two very apologetic messages to the poor sods who had given me their best chat magic. Fortunately, both were very understanding,so we arranged for another go and all was well again.
So huge apologies and thanks to Dave Dye and Nigel Roberts. If any of you are planning to massively fuck something up, hope and pray for the generosity and kindness of those guys.
I could continue to bore you with tales of how I couldn’t get back into my WordPress dashboard to leave an explanation, but I imagine you’re already skipping on to the point where I introduce this week’s guest.
So here he is; back for a third time, and we’re still in the 1990s. This is Dave Dye’s BMP DDB years. Scroll down to see the work, click on the iTunes and Soundcloud links or the thingie below to get the audio.
Then play the episode to discover…
How playing football can help make decisions about which agency to move to
Why you should just write your way out of problems.
The benefits of having a hands-off CD
Why building a creative department is like organising a dinner party.
How to spin gold out of a campaign that another team doesn’t want to do.
Why a client’s trust can lead to much better work.
Roger Hawes or roger whores?
Why you should take on the unfanciedbriefs and accounts.
How to commission a great photograph.
How you end up shooting a man balancing on his nose.
What John Webster was like.
Why a disappointment for the creative department can also be a disappointment for account management.
Why you should move to an agency because it’s ‘better’.
How dividing and conquering can be a good move for a team.
And here’s the work we discussed:
And a project to promote female creativity (thanks, M&D).
Cool global radio thing (thanks, S).
Ten best opening titles of all time:
…And the best closing shots:
Trumpqueen (thanks, W).
RIP AA Gill. Here are his best quotes (thanks, T).
Live a day by doctor’s orders (thanks, B).
Why did we love gangsters (thanks, A):