An agency blog with news from Breakfast plus thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants on marketing, media, technology and culture. Basically anything too long for Twitter or too random for our website.

HGV+

August 13, 2019 Leave a comment

In a year of firsts for Breakfast (first cross track tube posters! first perimeter board ads!), we are proud to display our latest innovative media space: the Torque/ I Saw It First Love Island co-branded HGV.

Phwoar! Look at that branding!

In conjunction with our lovely client and former colleague, Rebecca Howarth, we’ve been honing the Torque brand over the past couple of years and are delighted that our work and their success seem to be coinciding.

The back end of a truck

We’re about to produce our first DM for the company, which gives us the opportunity to come up with even more freight puns. And, more importantly, should drive some more business for Torque.

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The best of us

On my walk to the office, I pass the Yamaha shop on Wardour Street (“Three floors of the best musical instruments in the world”), and sometimes get a pang of regret that I never took the time to learn to play an instrument. I watch great TV drama and comedy and chastise my self for not spending those gazillions of hours on a commuter train penning my own masterpiece. I see other humans creating amazing art, or driving political and social change, and think, what have I done?

Sport.

Much of my life (outside the stuff you have to do) has been spent playing, watching and reading about sport. Specifically football and cricket. And days like yesterday (July 14, 2019) remind me why.

It’s not whether you win or lose…

Already this year, I have had the good fortune to be present at one of the most astounding and dramatic football matches ever played (Ajax 2-3 Spurs if you’re wondering) and yesterday, although not lucky enough to get a ticket, I booked a seat on my sofa and sat for ten hours straight watching the most incredible game of cricket ever played.

You can read about the match elsewhere, but at the end of a draining day, I watched videos of other people’s reactions online ahead of any highlights from the game itself. Because sport is not only as valid a human pursuit as music or art, it arguably encompasses a wider range of emotion than anything else. And cricket, in particular, is the sport that is the greatest metaphor for life itself. It’s ultimately pointless – people playing games is always ultimately pointless – but its capacity to switch between moments of high drama (see yesterday’s game) to almost passive non-activity (most of the game, certainly at a non-elite level, is spent standing in a field contemplating one’s existence) condenses our lives on this planet into a single athletic pursuit.

Cricket’s sportsmanship and camaraderie is unmatched in any other modern day sport (despite the attempts of some to turn it into a mean-spirited sledging fest), something I can confirm as the coach of my son’s teams in both football and cricket throughout his adolescence. Seeing some of my under 11s applaud and congratulate an opposition player on an excellent catch simply doesn’t happen in other sports. Cricket brings out the best in people – even in the last few minutes of the biggest game on the planet.

…but how you play the game

Any game that invites players to voluntarily walk off the pitch, curtailing their own participation, when they’re out, requires a level of moral self-policing that teaches you how to be a better person. That winning and losing, success and failure are two sides of the same coin; hence my annoyance when people ignore the spirit of cricket and cheat.

Life can be dull. It can be unfair. So can cricket. But a sport that permits such a broad range of emotions is worth celebrating. Maybe I haven’t wasted my life after all.

Categories: blogging for Britain

There’s an ad for everyone

If you’re a London commuter, or you use some of the popular social media sites, there’s every chance you’ll see our new campaign for Borrow A Boat and the Southampton International Boat Show.

If you ‘re not a commuter, and this blog is the only site you visit online, here are some examples of what you’re missing:

Advertising: remember that?

He’s chasing a catamaran

We’re very excited about the campaign, and also about our clients’ ambition to democratise boating. If you’ve ever dreamed of chartering a yacht to transport you and your friends or family around the Med, now’s your chance – go to borrowaboat.com.

Windows ’19

After 10 years cohabiting with the lovely people at Live & Breathe, Team Breakfast have finally discarded the stabilisers and pedalled all the way to our very own office in Carlisle. Or Carlisle Street, in Soho, to be exact.

The gentrification of Soho: an argument against.

That’s us (or some of us) in our new gaff. It has windows and assorted other mod cons.

If you find yourself in the neighbourhood, please come and knock on our door. If it’s answered by a small, sarcastic and slightly smug balding person, you’ll have accidentally knocked on Private Eye’s office next door – we’re number 7.

Lads lads lads… part two

April 30, 2019 Leave a comment

I blogged a little while ago about the Ladbrokes ad featuring the fella from the In Betweeners. It isn’t a very good ad, but it has now – thankfully – been replaced by some new executions that, while polarising, are significantly less lazy and annoying (I may be in a minority here if you’re not a Kriss Akabusi fan).

Anyhow, while the whys and wherefores of betting ads on TV continue to be debated, the blog piece is getting a fair few hits, so I would like to revisit my original position.

Although the Ladbrokes spots are irritating, they are hard to ignore, which, as well as delivering the primary requirement of any piece of advertising, these days puts them in a minority. And the more I see Betfair’s risible commercial, which combines unbearable smugness with possibly the worst example of printing the proposition I’ve ever seen, the more I think I picked the wrong target.

“Where gut instinct meets smarts” manages to be immediately forgettable and hugely irritating, as anyone thinking “hell, yes – I have smarts!” should be banned from possessing money, let alone gambling with it.

Betfair’s exchange has a USP that is hard to unpack in a 30 second TV spot – and they have tried – but this is the worst of all worlds in that it doesn’t explain it and doesn’t make it compelling. Must do better next season.


Google: not half as clever as they think they are

March 13, 2019 Leave a comment

There’s a lot I don’t understand about data and privacy (although I know enough to have deleted my Facebook account). And I’m pretty certain I’m not alone. Sometimes it feels like Google knows me better than I know myself – which, as someone who is getting increasingly forgetful, is actually quite convenient.

However, there are still some reassuring gaps in the picture Google thinks it has of my day-to-day perception of my world. For example, being fundamentally an American company means that Google refuses to recognise the possibility that anyone ever walks anywhere. When I plan a trip using Google maps, it occasionally tells me that the first train I can catch is in about 45 minutes because I will have to wait 30 minutes for a bus to the station (it’s a 12 minute walk). This is annoying, but I think I can, at least, understand why the mistake occurs: Omission by obesity.

One glitch, though, continues to baffle me. For a few years now, when I get into my car and navigate with Google maps, they continue to tell me how long it will take me to get to O’Neills in Leytonstone.

O’Neills, Leytonstone, back in the day

I’ve never visited O’Neills in Leytonstone. I’m not an O’Neills kind of guy. I believe, like Wetherspoons, it’s a homeless refuge that sells alcohol and horsemeat-themed microwave meals (National Hunter’s Chicken? Novice Steaks?). But without fail, Google maps lets me know how traffic conditions are looking en route.

This took on an altogether more surreal edge this week when my hungry colleague Aisha added a meeting invitation to my calendar but omitted to stipulate a venue. Google’s suggestion? O’Neills. I was assuming it would be the small meeting room in the office, but there you are.

I’ve scoured the settings on my iPhone but I can’t find for the life of me where this assumption that I would like nothing more than to hold my next agency status meeting in an Irish theme pub comes from. I think my football team once played a game near the Leytonstone O’Neills, but I’m clutching at straws.

If anyone can explain this to me, please do. Or are Google just doing this for the craic?


Lads, lads lads… and everybody

February 5, 2019 Leave a comment

Betting ads. On the one hand, a symbol of Britain’s decline: our last growth industry is a small-scale metaphor for the debt-fuelled hedonism that underpins our entire bloody economy. And on the other hand, a symbol of advertising’s decline: in any given ad break (or in the ones I watch, anyhow), bookmakers’ commercials make up about 75% of all the ads. And the other 25% are for Domino’s.

I think I’ve written about Ladbrokes before, but their hapless efforts to reclaim some of the market share they’ve ceded to newcomers such as betfair, Betway, Bet365, Bet Twat, Bet Lynch and Betfred (I may have invented one or two of these) is tragic to behold.

Their latest spot (and there is only one, which means it’s repeated about 30 times in two hours when there’s live football on) is the advertising equivalent of your grandad trying to explain Vloggers.

My son – an Inbetweeners fan and keen football gambler (he’s 18 now so he’s grown up with the concept) – finds the ad so toe curling he has to mute it when it’s on.

“It’s just someone thinking that putting him in an ad will automatically make it funny, and it doesn’t” was his analysis. Now a bad ad can be forgiven if it manages to communicate its USP clearly. But the USP here appears to be “We do betting too”. I believe you can just see the director slitting his wrists in the corner of one scene.

The endline has just changed – after six months – from “For the bettors of Britain” to something else, about fun. And I wouldn’t bother blogging about this if it wasn’t for the fact that this is just about the only industry in the UK putting any money at all behind its TV advertising. IS THIS REALLY THE BEST WE CAN DO?

What’s particularly sad about this fiasco (from Ladbrokes’ perspective) is that with Paddy Power’s previously strong marketing having fallen off a cliff, Bet365 watching Ray Winstone literally shrink in front of our eyes (his head is no longer the size of a planet), and betfair putting their brief on air, the competitive bar is awfully low. And yet…this is arguably the worst of the lot.

Will nobody think of the children? How are they expected to decide which brand they should fritter away their financial future with when these ads are all they have to go on?