ITIAPTWC Episode 20 – Richard Russell Part One

Richard Russell. You know, one of the fellas behind Grrr…

But how did that happen almost twenty years into his career?

Well, that’s an interesting story that he and I cover in this first part of our chat.

The Grrr stuff will be in part two…

In this hour, we discuss the following:

Why you have to be prepared to lose your job.

Why Frank Budgen was a diamond.

How to beat the strictures of Proctor and Gamble.

Why the toilet is a very good place to have ideas.

If you’re a lucky creative, you find a client that shares your vision.

Did I call up Richard twenty years ago?

If something goes wrong it’s always the agency’s fault.

The value (or lack thereof) of awards.

Be prepared to leave your job (even if that means a year in the wilderness).

How Richard joined W&K.

All the work we discuss is on Richard’s site, along with lots of additional info and context.

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

Hey, you’re just too funky for me. I gotta get inside of you, and I’ll show you heaven, if you let me. Hey, you’re just too funky for the weekend.

How Oscar is made (thanks, T):

100 greatest guitarists.

Neon sign fails.

Every New York Times front page since 1852:

Very delightful animation:

This gets a bit trippy:

I find this works best with the sound off:

And maybe it’s time to revisit pornhubcommentsonstockshots.

Someone’s got it in for me. They’re planting stories in the press. Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out quick but when they will I can only guess. They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to the weekend.

Fanny Flambeaux (thanks, H):

Boogie Nights is Paul Thomas Anderson’s 155-minute film school.

Sex Bomb Plushenko:

Compositing fun (thanks, D):

Homes with secret passages.

Abandoned discos (thanks, D).

Sabotage recreated with scenes from The Americans (thanks, K.):

A new post!

Hi there. I hope you’re enjoying the podcasts.

Sorry if you’re missing the old posts, but there’s only so many hours in a day.

Having said that, I recently felt that old itch of yesteryear (2016) and was overcome by the urge to slap down 765 words about some aspect of advertising that has recently piqued my interest.

I was listening to Dave Dye’s excellent interview with Peter Souter when I heard something that made a huge amount of sense:

Peter had been to lunch with Trevor Beattie, who had explained one of the reasons why advertising ain’t what it used to be:

Peter, quoting Trevor: “Peter, when you left (advertising) the client would say ‘We need a wrap for the Grocer (that’s a wraparound ad for the outside of the Grocer magazine, I think)’. Now they’ll say ‘We need a wrap for the grocer, but we also need to know what the Twitter feed is like. And how does it work on the website? And what would you do if there was a digital film to go with it? And you have to do these eight things that go around the wrap for the Grocer and at the end of it all you also have to do the wrap for the Grocer. So you have to do eight times as much work, and inevitably if you have eight times as much work you’ve got to have so many more people, which means they’ve all got to be really young and really terribly paid. And they will also hardly get to make anything.”

Now, I spent the first 3-4 years of my time at MAL working for a client that had barely any interest in digital advertising. I think the theory was that there was so much Apple talk in the digital space that there was no real need to spend a lot of time and money jumping in there too.

(Having said that, when they did it, they did it better than anyone else:)

So I had a gap of a few years where I didn’t have to engage in the pros and cons of what Peter/Trevor described (Apple now does plenty of excellent digital advertising).

But this consequence of multiplying your output by eight for each of your clients, and the way that causes you to structure your staffing, is a BIG (relatively) NEW THING to deal with.

Let’s say eight juniors cost 20k each (no idea how accurate that is these days, but I hope I’m erring on the lower side). That’s 160k in salary that you’re obviously not spending on one very experienced, high quality 160k team, or two 80k teams. And that leads to the much lamented trading of relatively expensive seasoned professionalism for relatively cheap lack thereof. And I know clients aren’t paying 8x their previous fee, so they’re not financing extra staff, so that tradeoff means fewer seniors in the business, fewer people to pass on their skills, generally lower quality, a lot of attention and resources on things that are unlikely ever to be good enough to make a creative’s name, and the vicious circle that happens as a result.

And of course the business generally becomes less attractive to enter. If you have 8x more unattractive briefs to offer the department, that will swamp the good stuff, leaving a much smaller proportion of good opportunities for someone who wants to get ahead, or wants to have the fun and experience of making something. It’s like a new lucky dip with fewer Creme eggs and more dog eggs.

I think I’ve written before about why we’re here and all that, but the real question is: will it ever change, and how?

Peter goes on to make the very good point that things were shit just before Bill Bernbach turned up and made advertising great in a way that was powerful enough to travel the world and last for decades.

I would argue that it will take something as paradigm-shifting as Bernbach’s creative revolution to shake things up again. If we seek to make incremental changes to the status quo we’ll never really make the progress necessary for people to reevaluate what advertising could be.

As David Abbott said, quality is always possible. (He added that it’s also always under threat, but I thought that was a bit too much of a down note to end on. Oops.)

ITIAPTWC Episode 18 – Trevor Beattie

I started in advertising in 1996.

At that time there was this bloke who was very well known, both for doing great work, but also for being a ridiculously young CD and Chairman.

He had this iconic Marc Bolan haircut and you’d often see his name in the proper papers (not just Campaign).

Whenever the public talked about an ad, it seemed to be something one of his.

All very impressive.

Years later I was fortunate enough to meet him and work with him on a campaign to get D-Day veterans over to the beaches to commemorate the 65th anniversary. He was a really lovely guy, and his passion was infectious and inspiring.

He’s produced a movie, met Nelson Mandela and gone to Muhammad Ali’s funeral.

And now he’s done ITIAPTWC.

Thanks, Trevor.

In this chat I bring up a bunch of the things he’s known for (and some other stuff):




R Whites.

Get the name out.















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

And here’s a few of Trevor’s most iconic ads, some of the other stuff we discussed, a link to the Jack and Ada Beattie foundation, and his twitter feed:



Virgin Galactic:

David and Duncan/Zowie:

Trevor with Duncan Jones at an early BMB party:




Moses supposes that the weekend.

Wind Games (thanks, B):

Americans watch Shooting Stars. Confusion ensues:

Very fast swordsman (thanks, T).

The world’s countries swapped according to size and population (thanks, L).

Top musicians chilling at home (thanks, T).

Stunning staircases (thanks, D).

Russian photoshop whiz, Max Asabin (thanks, I).

Sea creatures made from pencils (thanks, D).

96 books Stephen King says you should read before you die (thanks, K).

The ‘best’ long tracks (needs more Zeppelin).

Very odd Phil Collins/Ultimate Warrior combo (thanks, J):

Nicolas Cage losing his shit (thanks, S):

And Jack Nicholson doing the same:


ITIAPTWC Episode 17 – Paul Burke On Books

In this episode Paul and I cover the one subject we avoided in our previous chat: writing books.

Maybe you want to write a book. Maybe you’ve written half of one and you’re not sure whether to finish it. Maybe you’ve finished one and don’t know what to do next.

Maybe you just want to hear me and Paul having a chat.

All of the above are great reasons to have a listen.

We discuss…

Why we wrote our books in the first place (holidays and frustration were involved).

The fact that you can write WHATEVER YOU WANT! Including the word ‘FUCK’!

How lonely it can be.

Agent-finding fun.

The importance of persistence.

Other people’s opinions.

Literary vs commercial fiction.

Getting research right.

The money side of things.

If the money side of things is so shit, why do it?

The publishing industry vs the advertising industry.

Reverse sexism?

How to sell your book.

Contractual bollocks/not giving up your day job.

If, for some inexplicable reason, our chat is not enough for you, try this interview with Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild, amongst others), where she covers similar things from a much more successful point of view.

Paul’s books are available here (along with all the other great things he does). Mine is available here.

Here’s the chat, the Soundcloud link and the iTunes link. And I didn’t have to split the episode in half! Hooray!

Don’t you worry ’bout the weekend.

Bowie, Elvis, Lemmy: which drug diet was the worst? (Thanks, T.)

Fucking hell (thanks, D):

16 brilliant minutes of people deciding whether to jump off a diving board (thanks, J).

Shitty Trump tattoos (thanks, T).

Cool track, fine animation:

ITIAPTWC Episode 16 – Adam Tucker

The merry-go-round of the podcast comes to a stop on one of my very favourite people:

I had the pleasure of freelancing with Adam Tucker for about a year, which took in some very enjoyable stints at Saatchi and Saatchi, Dentsu and JWT, culminating in a trip to Nigeria to ‘immerse ourselves in its drinking culture’ in order that we might be able to answer a Guinness brief. That was fun.

I always thought it was quite a privilege to sit across the desk from Adam; after all, he’s won about a million more awards than I have. But he’s also a wealth of info about how to create great work at great agencies.

Some of the stuff we cover…

He is another one who benefitted from a D&AD workshop (incredibly, with Frank Budgen).

Why SMI is called ‘SMI SMI’.

And what happens when your agency has an exclamation mark at the end of its name.

Why ambient was so much better before everyone used it as a vehicle for scam.

What it’s like getting ‘the call’ from BMP DDB.

A small discussion of TV for the unemployed.

Which juries are toughest.

How do you do fuckloads of great Harvey Nichols ads?

Why he and Justin stopped working together.

Why you shouldn’t answer the phone in your pants.

‘…for McDonalds’.

Creatives working direct to client.

The pros and cons of freelancing.

Enjoy our chat; I know I did:

Here’s the Soundcloud link, and the iTunes link. Here are the chats:

(Also, I would normally stick up all his ads here, but Adam’s just created a spanky new website that has all his brilliant work in stunning technicolor, so check that out instead.)

Here’s the part 2 link again for reasons best known to WordPress:

MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark. All the sweet, green icing flowing down. Someone left the cake out in the rain. I don’t think that I can take the weekend.

Guy goes to inauguration on acid (thanks, T).

Perfectionism (thanks, T).

All the footballs (thanks, J).

Bad lip reading, inauguration day:

Life tips from Ron Jeremy (thanks, T).

Awkward internet tough guys (thanks, J2).

British women protest signs (thanks, C).

All the great Obama rap lyrics (thanks, J).

Utterly cray-cray facelift (thanks, J):