Should we blame the government? Or blame society? Or should we blame the weekend?

Horse racing with garage commentary:

A rabbi, a priest and an atheist smoke weed together (thanks, F).

Crappy tattoo cover-ups.

Kandinsky drawing (thanks, T):

Hey. we’re all ‘storytellers’ now; here’s how to tell a good story.

Hovering art directors are dicks.


ITIAPTWC Episode 23 – Dave Buonaguidi

Dave Buonaguidi is an advertising creative, but not in the conventional definition of that adjective and noun.

Have a listen to our chat and you’ll hear the story of a man who followed the work and the excitement, even when (especially when?) the alternative was much easier and more lucrative.

As much as anyone else I’ve spoken to, Dave just wants to do what is new and different and interesting. And although that applies to his work, it applies even more to the companies he set up. Creating a brilliant ad is one thing, but creating a brilliant ad agency (and leaving one when it doesn’t fit that description anymore) is a million times harder and braver.

So there’s much to learn from his attitude to being risky, and why it’s actually the least risky thing you can do:

Some things we discuss…

Get a break by having your dad run an Italian restaurant.

90% of the people in the business are donkeys; 10% are lions.

Give the client 7-8 solutions but tell them they’re not for sale.

Awards don’t award creativity.

Take on a ‘suicide mission’.

How to out-pirate the pirates.

Why St Luke’s worked ‘for a very short period’.

‘The problem with people is when they’re given a choice they will always default to being a selfish shit.’

Taking a job when you don’t even know what it is.

Building 4 Creative.

Dave will always buy a house that’s a mess of rubble before buying a swanky duplex.

Why this is the advertising industry:

Don’t be frightened of data.

‘I get a kick out of the harrowing nature of start-ups.’

Build an agency in the middle of nowhere so the people you hire are really committed.

If you can work with people you like and have a laugh with them, good work will come.

‘I want to learn to screenprint, sculpt and save someone’s life.’

‘We are at a crossroads. What the industry becomes in ten years’ time will be determined by what is happening now.’

Current job: transforming an orange into a pineapple.

We didn’t get round to discussing this, but Dave once hit a burglar on the head with a shovel.

Here are his Instagram and Twitter feeds.

And here’s the chat, the iTunes feed and the Soundcloud link.


Yesterday I was half the man I used to be. Oh, maybe that’s because of the weekend.

Happy St Patrick’s Day! (Thanks, T)

How The Raid was shot.

Excellent dictionary of analogies to explain technology (thanks, and congrats on making it, A).

Isolated vocal track for White Rabbit (thanks, T2).

Coventry Market, The Musical:

Amazing scuptures (thanks, F):

Auctioneers over rap beats (thanks, S):

The in-your-face cinema of Spike Lee:

How a giant tree gets chopped down (thanks, T):

Cool chalk drawings (thanks, T):

Win at all costs or win ‘the right way’?

Last week Barcelona beat PSG 6-1 to overturn a 4-0 first leg defeat and win the tie:

It was a sensational result, something that had barely been seen in football, let alone in a Champions League knockout tie.

But there was a little wrinkle in the achievement. Basically, Barcelona cheated their way to victory.

Suarez got booked for diving then dived again to gain a crucial penalty, then Barcelona dived all over the place before scoring the final necessary goal in the fifth minute of injury time.

I was listening to a podcast chat on the subject, which discussed whether or not this result was better than Arsenal beating Liverpool 0-2 with the last kick of the season to win the league in 1989, or Liverpool coming back from 3-0 down at half time to win the Champions League final in 2005. One of the chatterers said that the Barcelona win was not in the running because of the amount of cheating (there was little or no deliberate cheating in the other two matches).

And I agree. But then I brought this up with my friend George, who is firmly in the ‘win at all costs’ camp. He saw nothing wrong with what Barcelona did and believes that you should do whatever you can to stretch the rules and gain an advantage.

I have a feeling 50% of you are on my side and 50% with George because you can make a perfectly good case for both sides:

Barcelona just did what they did. It was up to the ref (and by extension, the rules of the game) to prevent what they did from allowing them to win the match. Besides, football is full of so-called injustices, and that’s what makes it such a fascinating game. If you take all this ‘gamesmanship’ away from the Beautiful Game you are left with an anodyne, beige heap of vanilla ice cream, and who wants that?

But then there are rules to every game, and if you’re not going to follow those rules you are surely playing a different game. Barcelona’s example teaches kids that cheating is a route to success. Winning by foul means is an admission that you can’t win with skill. The result is tainted because it was obtained somewhat illegally.


This is the essential argument behind the classic movie The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. In WW2 the Colonel wants to fight the Germans fairly, but because the Germans are happy to play dirty this means that he’ll lose. His wish to win ‘the right way’ would result in his country losing the war. So is it better to win ugly or to lose gracefully?

The record books will only show the win, and the trophy cabinets won’t have to display a ‘won unfairly’ tag on the cups, so does it matter?

It does if obtaining success by bending the rules leaves you feeling like the victory is hollow. If that deception eats you up in side, then perhaps it’a not worth it.

But if you’re delighted to win at all costs then that’s a literal win-win.

So maybe we should all shrug off our senses of morality and get with the nasty victory; after all, that gives us the best chance of happiness.

Or maybe we should try to do what’s fair because it makes the world a happier place.

Please Help!

Hi there,

On Sunday I’ll be running the LA Marathon.

It’ll be my first, and I’m woefully underprepared, so I need your help.

I’m going to run in aid of a Colombian orphanage, so any donations you make will spur me on to run further and faster.

Also, if you’ve ever enjoyed one of my posts or podcasts, feel free to consider such a a donation as a kind of quid pro quo kind of thing.

Anyway, here’s the Just Giving page:


Ben x

ITIAPTWC Episode 22 – Josh Weltman

Maybe you know who Josh Weltman is; maybe you don’t. But I’ll bet you all the money in my pocket ($67.75) that you’ve enjoyed, possibly even loved, his work.

He was the advertising consultant on Mad Men.

So he wrote ALL the ads – Don’s, Peggy’s, Sal’s… The work from competing agencies. Then he consulted on all the agency stuff to make it all as authentic as possible.

And that was obviously a big part in it becoming one of the greatest TV series of all time.

He started drawing cartoons for the LA Weekly, where his colleagues were Matt Groening and David Lynch.

Then he had a splendid career in advertising in LA and San Francisco.

Then he joined Mad Men.

So here’s what we discussed…

“When you decide to shake your career up that’s the last decision you get to make. After that you’re reacting.”

How Matthew Weiner asked him to join Mad Men.


The difference between advising on an advertising show and advising on a cop/medical show.

The difference between a creative department and a writers room.

Writing ads from the minds of different people.

Writing ads that sounded like ‘fuck you’.

Writing ads for a fictional so-so creative agency.

What was behind this scene:

“We’re not going to make history, make art or make a revolution. We’re just going to make a living.”

The secret code of a good partnership.

Fuck advertising awards – what’s it like making something as great as Mad men?

Difficult episode 9.

Men who invent their own identity (why Don is like Trump).

It’s good to be part of anything that succeeds.

Josh’s book (here’s a link to that on Josh’s site).

Here’s an article comparing Don Draper’s ads to the real ads of the time.

So here’s the chat, the iTunes link and the Soundcloud link.

At night when you turn off all the lights there’s no place that you can hide. No no, the rhythm is gonna get the weekend.

Chuck Norris sniper skills (thanks, F):

Parkour in an ice city (thanks, T):

Einstein on love.

Interesting trophies (thanks, S).

Interestingly odd Instagram feed (thanks, S).

Big Bang Theory with just Ricky Gervais as the studio audience (thanks, J):

ITIAPTWC Episode 21 – Richard Russell Part 2

Here’s the second part of my chat with Richard Russell.

Those of you who checked out part one of our chat will know that we ended that on the precipice of Richard’s time at Wieden and Kennedy.

It’s a fascinating look into how W&K started to succeed after a couple of abortive non-starts.

We also discuss…

ECD teams.

Tony and Kim.

How and why Honda (and its advertising) became so brilliant.

This ad:

The power of dreams (and questions) (and Garrison Keilor).

The quest for utter originality, both in concept and construct.

This ad:

And this ad:

Being brilliant ‘every single day’.

Global Uber-CD-type stuff.

Matt Le Tissier (and this goal):

Richard’s golf book.

First thoughts vs a longer process.

Huge thanks to Richard for 2 1/2 hours of excellent stories and sage words

Here’s the chat, the iTunes link and the Soundcloud link. And another link to Richard’s excellent site.



But baby, since I’ve been loving you, yeah I’m about to lose the weekend.

Animals that look like bands (thanks, N).

Life hacks, hacked.

Deleted scenes that explain plot holes.

Where the best picture nominees are liked most.

Bad girls from the 40s to the 60s.

Funny shit about the English language.

Saul Bass on creativity:

ITIAPTWC Episode 19 – Mark Romanek

A slightly different subject this week:

The legendary director Mark Romanek has shot many great commercials and music videos, and two excellent movies.

Fortunately for you and me he gave up an hour of his time to talk about his career and how he became so darn good at what he does.

Topics we covered include…

How Mary Poppins and 2001 were formative cinematic influences.

What made him know at an early age that filmmaking was his calling.

How he got an early job on a film set with Brian DePalma.

Whether or not directing is ‘crisis management’.

How to make a feature film at 23.

…And why he’s happy it’s not easy to find (despite it being a cult hit).

Why music videos became the next stage.

And how he chose which ones to take on.

All about ‘Closer’.

How eclecticism brought him longevity.

The transition into commercials.

Why ‘daring and sincere’ is what makes something good.

Working with Apple.

Concept vs execution.

How he wouldn’t let ‘Never Let Me Go’ go.

Here’s the chat, the Soundcloud link and the iTunes link.