ITIAPTWC Episode 12 – Nigel Roberts


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.

ITIAPTWC Episode 12, Part 1 – Nigel Roberts

ITIAPTWC Episode 12, Part 2 – Nigel Roberts


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