At home drawing pictures of mountain tops with him on top. Lemon yellow sun, arms raised in the weekend.

Soviet film posters of the 50s and 60s.

Keeping up with Kanye: a screenplay.

Pulitzer prize-winning author Junot Diaz on childhood trauma.

Why facts don’t change minds (thanks, D).

Movies With Mikey is fun and interesting. There are a lot more of these on YouTube (thanks, B):

Five Fave Films: Michael Caine:

This is a journey into sound Stereophonic sound Stereophonic sound Stereophonic sound for the weekend.

Mozart was into poo humour (thanks, J).

Many very interesting articles on ad tech.

Google’s Patrick Collister on the ways in which data aids creativity (thanks, J).

Trippy fun:

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared 6:

And DHMIS analysed:

Malaika, nakupenda Malaika Malaika, nakupenda Malaika Ningekuoa mali we, ningekuoa dada the weekend.

An intricate map of alt music history.

Very cool photos (thanks, J).

Mollie Ringwald on John Hughes in the #MeToo era.

Fine anti-racism ad:

Scorsese doc on Fran Leibowitz:

The Right Kind Of Fear

Last week I read this excellent post by my friend Bob Hoffman. He makes a great point about the extent to which older, extremely talented creative people would never find a job in the woefully ageist world of advertising. Here’s a sentence some of you might find disturbing: ‘While people over 50 comprise 42% of adults in the US, they comprise only 6% of agency employees. This is even more pronounced in creative departments where people over 50 make up about 0% of the population.’

Last week I was also having lunch with a friend of mine who works as a creative in an ad agency here in LA. He’s 35 and much of our conversation centred around the fact that he felt his job insecurity so strongly that he was genuinely prepared for the axe to fall at any minute. Not because he was bad at his job (he’s really good), but because of circumstances beyond his significant control. He said this to me with a bemused smile as we both agreed it was crazy.

Here’s my personal take on the situation: as a 44-year-old I’m very aware of the concept of borrowed time. I agree that my 35-year-old friend could be sacked at any moment, and that is ridiculously young to find yourself on the periphery of an industry that used to provide another 15+ years of employment. Such insecurity does indeed breed fear, along with the erosion of the soul.

On May 23rd 2010, aged 36, I wrote this post. It included such blinding prescience as:

Even if the industry does not change one iota from now (it will get much worse, believe me)…

Coupled to this is the ageism: advertising regards the over-forties as geriatric and the over fifties like people who should be wetting themselves in a wipe clean plastic chair while a truculent ‘carer’ cleans Jaffa Cake sludge from the front of their sta-prest pajamas.

So do the maths: to retire with a decent sum you have to work till you’re 65 in an industry that will almost certainly kick you out in your forties.

If anything, I was too optimistic. So what do you do?

Well, it’s going to have to be something scary, I’m afraid (pun intended):

Let’s assume you’re somewhere in your late 30s/early 40s with enough solid client logos to put on a new website or creds deck, with maybe a few Cannes Lions or D&AD Pencils for good measure. What now?

Well, here’s a quote from Withnail and I: If you’re hanging on to a rising balloon, you’re presented with a difficult decision — let go before it’s too late or hang on and keep getting higher, posing the question: how long can you keep a grip on the rope? So the later you are asked to leave the industry, the harder it is to get back in.

That means you have to start thinking: what do I have to offer? Who could I do it with? What do I have to put in place to be ready?

Then you get fully inspired by reading that post I put up last week about how thousands of people start their own businesses under much harder circumstances every single day, or listen to some of the start-up podcasts I put out last year, and you keep an eye out for the right people, the right moment and the right idea.

Then you jump.

Will it be scary? Yes, but weirdly enough that’s a completely different kind of fear. It doesn’t eat the soul; it nourishes it.

You’ll feel scared at not having a salary, not knowing where your next client is coming from and not having a clue when the uncertainty will end. You’ll be scared of looking like a failure, saying the wrong thing to a client that could make or break your agency, and trying to progress in an industry that will forever be dominated by Google and Facebook (it won’t, I promise).


But that’s the good fear. It’s the fear that will drive you forward. It’s the fear that will sit on your shoulder as you put an agency-saving ad together and whisper that it needs to be better. It’s the fear that you’ll only get if you’re control of your own destiny.

Dealing with that takes courage.

Trying to eke out another few years of so-so earnings at JWT Sarajevo doesn’t take courage; it takes the bad kind of fear. The kind of fear that knows you’re hiding at the back of a cave, hoping the monster doesn’t find you. The kind of fear that diminishes you on a daily basis. The kind of fear that eats your soul.

So give that kind of fear a swerve.

And you don’t have to start your own ad agency. You can start your own circus-skills school, gardening app or novel.

Just make sure it’s yours and it’s capable of doing what you want it to do.

And if the thought of that scares you, just think how scary it will be when you’re asked to leave your six-figure salary at age 47, with 18 years left on the mortgage, two tween kids and a 30k pension.

Work out your next step now, feel the fear and do it anyway.

A scrub is a guy that think he’s fine and is also known as a buster (buster, buster). Always talkin’ about what he wants and just sits on the weekend.

Instant Karma.

Breakdown of Simpsons Steamed Hams scene (thanks, J).

Marvin Gaye’s isolated vocals from I Heard It Through The Grapevine (thanks, T):

Helpful boyfriend photographers of Instagram.

How peanut butter is made:

Hendrix doing Hey Joe live with an insane solo:


The machismo of the start up

Three women started their own place today.

It’s a revolutionary model: a central management structure involving those three leaders, hiring freelancers on an ad-hoc basis, possibly extending to permalance terms, or even full-time if there’s enough growth.

In addition, they will only be taking on project based commissions, some lasting just half an hour. Absolutely no retained business. They’re looking at volume here, expecting hundreds, possibly thousands of clients per year.

They’ve found central London premises and plan to open their doors next week, but there will be no announcement in the trade press.

Yes, Cutz Hairdressers will be ready for the public by next Wednesday!

I was having a chat with the always-delightful and inspirational Trevor Beattie last week.

He pointed out that in the world of advertising the whole hoo-haa and rigmarole of a few people starting their own company is given a strange amount of respect and attention. But look around your local high street… Every single one of those independent mechanics, newsagents, nail bars and sandwich shops has been a start up, each relying on a steady flow of customers who must be pleased on a daily basis less they decide not to return.

And they’re not spending £25k. They’re blowing £1.57 on a Mars Bar and a paper, or £35 on a cut and blow dry.

They almost certainly have employees, insurance, lawyers, terms of a lease and supplier issues. They might have WH Smith or Starbucks opening next door in October. They might have a racist customer who isn’t fond of their muslim assistant. They might be robbed at 3am on a Saturday.

Or they might thrive and open another place.

So if you’re wondering about whether or not to start your own agency, and thinking it might be a big, scary risk, take a look around.

It’s so normal, it’s barely worth a mention.

Except for that headline in Campaign, of course.

A weirdly prescient ad from 1964. This is what it’s all about.

ITIAPTWC Episode 51 – Ian Reichenthal

Hi there.

Apologies for the wait since the last episode. I’ve been busy.

Anyway, this one’s a corker.

Ian Reichenthal is the one US creative I really wanted to speak to.

This is because he’s been involved with most of my favourite ads of the century so far. Here are just a few (the rest can be found here):

So if you want to find out how and why they were made, have a listen.

We also discuss life at Cliff Freeman, W&K, TBWA NY and Barton F. Graff, all at their absolute peaks.

So grab a cup of tea, hear Ian’s words of wisdom, watch all those crackers again, then tear your hair out because you might have done one stone cold classic, but you definitely didn’t get into double figures. AND he’s a jolly nice chap!

Here’s the Soundcloud link, the iTunes link and the little button you can click on right here:

A walk on the water is all that I need, but miracles are not happening. You’re not even listening to me. Leaving you ain’t easy now, but loving you’s the weekend.

How that Spike Jonze Apple ad was made.

A teenager’s shots of the early Beatles.

Milton Glaser on his best posters.

Making the dogs in Isle Of Dogs.

Visual musings on social media:

How they make foley sounds:

Take the National Express when your life’s in a mess. It’ll make you smile. All human life is the weekend.

Describe your worst drunk experience in six words (thanks, J).

Death-tribute cartoons are a special kind of awful.

What the fuck is my social media strategy?


Honest trailers: every Wes Anderson movie (thanks, B):