Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Paint, soap, oil - galaxies, emotions and beauty.

I'm feeling a little emotional this morning. Freelance has been wonderful so far but the prospect of leaving a placement I've loved is always hard. Maybe that's why I found these beautiful paint, oil and soap films actually quite meaningful and emotional.

Watching the colour forms rip apart and form beautiful new patterns is like an analogy for life. So one beautiful whole ends and will be replaced by new beauty, new forms. Freelance too is full of uncertainty, ever changing and full of new beautiful experiences.

Monday, 8 May 2017

The Big Leap: Going Freelance

I spent 7 years at my last agency. Let's just think about that. That's long enough for a child to be born, learn how to walk, talk, go to nursery school and finish infants. It's also roughly the time it takes for your body to totally regenerate itself.

Perhaps that's why every 7 years you need a big change. Leaving the safe, comfy nest of my last agency was hard. I needed a push. That came in the form of widespread agency redundancies. I was offered the chance to fight for my job and I took it. But after spending an entire weekend locked in my bedroom polishing a creative pitch I began to wonder what I was doing. I was fighting to stay in a place that no longer challenged me, where my main attitude was cynicism and where many of my best friends would no longer be. The redundancy package would be the cushion I needed for my fall. I handed in my notice the next day.

Suddenly having no job was both wonderful and horrible. I went to see the Hockney exhibition in the middle of the day and then spent the rest of the day in the pub. I gardened when it was sunny and went for walks in the park. But mostly I sat at my kitchen table writing to every person I'd met who I thought could give me a lead on Freelance work. When the freelance work proved hard to secure I applied for permanent roles. Some days I worked from 9am - 10pm just emailing contacts and headhunters, applying for jobs and membership of freelance organisations and researching agencies.

I spoke to anyone who could give me advice. Once I met a guy in a bowling alley who turned out to be a Freelance creative. I asked him for advice and he told me, "Don't worry if it takes you even a week before you get a job". I almost cried. By then it had taken me a month.

I thought about packing it all in and rang my dad to talk about backup plans. Then, the next day, two big freelance opportunities landed on my plate. I was ecstatic.

Now I'm doing a stint at Ogilvy and feeling far more alive than I have in years. I don't even care that I'm editing toothbrush ads. I love to edit. I didn't even get that opportunity much where I was before. Every day is challenging and new, the day flies by and I haven't had to check any legal lines yet.

Of course there's always the possibility that when this job ends I'll have another quiet period where I doubt myself. But perhaps freelance is teaching me to live more in the "now". That's a problem for another month, one I'm not expected to have planned yet. And that is exciting too.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Google Duo ads make me well jel

These ads to promote video calling through google's Duo service make me wish I'd thought of them. They are very funny and cute. I especially like the lost sock talking to his partner.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Spike Jonze for Kenzo

The world is going crazy for this Spike Jonze directed perfume ad. And why not? It's beautiful, irreverent, weird and good fun. Perfume ads can be the most pretentious type of advertising. So t's really great to see someone making something that people actually want to watch instead.

This one reminds me of the Prada Candy adverts, directed by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola. Here's my link to those ads: Adverts like Soap Operas

If you haven't already seen Spike's masterpiece here it is:


Dogs in togs

Photographer Tammy Swarek came up with a novel way of drawing people's attention to dogs in need of adoption from her local shelter, UCAPS. Photograph them in formal looking portraits wearing clothes.

I imagine this campaign must have seen adoptions rise highly with the project reported in newspapers  across the world.

Here are some of the portraits and the stories of the dogs in them.

Midnight has been at the animal shelter for five years. After five years of being overlooked Tammy says it was extremely moving to see her proudly wearing such a fabulous design. The headpiece was designed by Marentis Kelly. 

Sammy Jammer is 5 months old and was abandoned in a lumber yard by his feral mother. His eyes were infected and he was lying on the ground when spotted by some workers. One, named Sammy, took pity on him and contacted UCAPS. He was dehydrated and malnourished and with the infection they didn't hold out much hope of his survival. But survive he did! How adorable is that face?

Peggy Sue's adoption is pending but Tammy couldn't resist photographing her in this regal way. She reminds me of Elizabeth I.

Cricket's owner had to go into a retirement home. Sad for both of them I imagine. 

McKenzie and her sister Radar were abandoned and taken in by UCAPS. They spotted how clever they were and put them into their Paws in Prison program. McKenzie however looked too pit-bill and tested positive for heart worm. Her sweet personality has earned her many pats on the head but never a new home. She has been at the shelter three years now. 

If you'd like to see more of Tammy's work, and read about more of the dogs visit her website

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Photography trickery by Stephen McMennamy

Everyone loves a bit of photographic trickery. Art Director Stephen McMennamy's combo photos combine two very different images to seamlessly blend them into surreal scenes where paintbrushes turn into noodles and headphones are seemingly made out of donuts. Check out some of his great images here and on his website and Instagram account.

They already make me think of ideas for adverts...

Advert for airline or holiday company perhaps?

Could be used to promote healthy eating?

Ad about how good listening to music on a particular radio station is? Or particular pair of headphones perhaps?

Perhaps ad about energy drinks making things that seem hard easy? Or one for how much meat is in a frozen food range?

Ad for how good eggs are for your brain? I'm making this shit up.

Ad for a summertime product? Maybe a clothes brand? 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Olympic Advertising Gold

Great Britain are in second place on the Olympic leaderboard at this moment. Can we just stop for a second and think about that? We are ahead of CHINA and only the USA stands ahead of us. We are in Silver medal position and compared to the size of these other top of the leaderboard countries we are a teeny tiny island.


Anyway to celebrate I thought I'd pull together a medal  leaderboard for some of the Olympics advertising I've seen. So, on the podium we have....

Gold in the sport of "Hero" portrait goes to this Michael Phelps spot by Droga 5. This spot was is one of the most shared spots on social media ever so it wins a Silver there.

And here's the social media Gold winner, very well deserved - Channel 4 for the Paralympics. This has to be the biggest celebration of human ability in an ad ever. I love it. Gold for being generally uplifting then.

Gold for riffing off of the Brazil theme and Gold for CGI goes to the BBC for their Rio trailer.

Gold for biggest tear jerker (can't see my keyboard right now) goes to P&G - with the message Thank you Mum - It takes someone strong to make someone strong. How true is that and what a lovely sentiment, can't see my keyboard again through the tears.

This Samsung spot deserves a medal for most interesting angle - picking to tell the story of an athlete from South Sudan who are entering the Games for the first time ever.

This Nike ad wins a Gold for most annoying Voice Over. But I like the premise so let's give it an honourable mention for that ey?

And this spot for Gillette wins the Gold for most tenuous connection to their product. Congrats Gillette.

So there we go. My leaderboard. Enjoy the Olympics everyone :)