Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

The proof is in the podcast

June 29, 2018 2 comments

I spent most of my teens and twenties recommending bands to other people. These days, it’s podcasts.

I’ve mentioned Athletico Mince before in this blog. It’s basically Bob Mortimer being Bob Mortimer, ably assisted by Andy Dawson who manages to balance genuflection at his partner’s comedy genius with his own contribution to the entertainment value perfectly. If the idea of Peter Beardsley confessing the intimate secrets of a life that sees him continually forced to prepare poached eggs for his emotionally abusive wife makes you smile, this may be for you.

In the past couple of weeks I have discovered another series that causes me to involuntarily snort on public transport in the shape of Dear Joan and Jericha, which involves Vicki Pepperdine and Julia Davis playing agony aunts. That’s all you need to know: just listen.

But I’m here to talk about Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell’s quite brilliant examination of “things overlooked and misunderstood”. I started listening during series 2 and am looking forward to going back to listen to series 1, but series 3 is strong and provides as good a starting point as any.


In episode 2, Gladwell asks how much proof we require before we act on something that seems, clearly, to demand action. To make his point, he references lung disease in coalminers and brain damage in football players (not soccer players, for clarity). I had thought he would mention the elephant in the room – which in this case, is the fact that there may soon be no elephants left to put in a room. But he leaves climate change and the mass extinction we are currently idly undergoing out of the podcast, letting us, I assume bring our own examples to the table.

Why am I recommending this? Because nearly every episode contains an insight so jaw-dropping and breathtaking that I have discovered for myself how those idioms gained traction. Gladwell has always had a gift for revelation, but this podcast is the perfect medium for him.

Episode 5 of the current run is the perfect example: 30 minutes of erudition, poetry and forensic storytelling; an argument so elegantly and artfully structured that when the lightbulb finally goes on it floors you. It culminates in one of the more staggering mic drops I have heard. If, like me, you despair of the ignorance, bigotry and hate that seems to pervade most online debate, listen to this brain balm and play it to the next person who thinks that putting up more barriers and building more walls is a good idea. Reader (spoiler alert), it isn’t.




Beat the blockers

September 25, 2015 Leave a comment

If you’ve been following the recent furore about the growth of ad blockers, you’ll know that online advertising is facing a few challenges. Consumers ignoring – or claiming to ignore – ads is nothing new, but having the power to stop ads appearing altogether seems to be putting the wind up some in the industry.

It shouldn’t. The objective is the same as it’s always been: produce work that’s good enough to reward people for watching it.

That’s why I like the latest Geico ads that pop up regularly on sites I visit. Not only do they acknowledge that many people skip ads on video channels, they’ve made this insight central to the creative idea, and managed to subvert it to such an extent that I deliberately watched a 10 second online bumper for over a minute. It’s here:

Geico is a well-established brand with a simple USP but that shouldn’t detract from the strength of the creative, which actually made me laugh out loud.

Original? No: Lt. Frank Drebin, Police Squad and Red Rock Cider used the same gambit years ago. But they make me smile, and, more importantly, I watch them.

The games afoot, creatives…


“People is more important than everything, even grammar” (and the death of TV)

December 6, 2012 Leave a comment

If you can spare 28 minutes, this is brilliant – sort of a poor man’s TED talk.  Engaging and funny while making a serious point about the role of the Internet in connecting people and replacing TV.  It does get a bit ranty at some points, is perhaps a little US-focussed for UK readers and perhaps Dan could have talked a little bit more about how the Internet can be a success rather than all the great stuff he’s done over the years with TV…  ah well – take it or leave it.

I guess Facebook trying to monetise what is ostensibly a social gathering is what he’s talking about.  For example, expecting companies to invest in resource to run Facebook pages and then asking them to pay to promote their posts on people’s walls strikes me as regressing to the old model of TV advertising.  And then asking ordinary people to do the same is definitely not following Dan’s “connecting” model.

If you haven’t got time, here’s a quick summary on Pajiba.

dumb ways to die parody

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

A small Seattle-based video and animation agency called Cinesaurus have ripped off parodied McCann Worldgroup Australia’s dumb ways to die PSA for Metro Trains Melbourne (the post below this one).  I suspect we’ll be seeing a slew of memes and parodies, but most won’t be as well done as this one (although some references are a little rushed or obscure).

A smartphone ad actually about something

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

So this week’s last month’s new iThing is 0.4mm thinner, 8.6mm longer, still as beautifully designed as before, blah, blah, blah… spinning around on a white background with minimalist music and someone famous but you’re not quite sure who doing the VO.

But here’s Samsung and a nice little TV spot for their Galaxy SIII which actually trys to tap into a customer insight as we in the industry dutifully try to do with any form of marketing communication.

Whether yummy mummies actually make or want to share dirty videos to keep their man faithful on business trips is another matter.  Still, well done to the agency for trying something different and turning out a great little execution.

Another winning Apple paraody – this time for the iPad mini

October 30, 2012 Leave a comment

As the number of devices multiply to fill non-existent gaps in the market, it becomes easier and easier to rip into poor old Apple.  Still this one is cleverly written as well as being blindingly obvious.

Shout out to John Elerick’s YouTube channel, some good rants on there…

Categories: technology

The next big thing part II

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Back in November on this blog Neil wrote about Samsung being brave enough to tackle head-on the hype that surrounds Apple’s iAnythings.

They’ve gone and done it again with a very smart and cutting ad.  Love the guy saving a spot in the line for his parents – who else can afford to buy a new £500 phone every 6-9 months.

Here’s another update to a previous iPhone parody – not sure why they call it ‘banned’:

I won’t bother linking to the raft of other iPhone 5 and iOS 6 piss-takes, although Jimmy Kimmel deserves a mention if only for his quote on how people react to new iPhone releases “Some people actually get mad… ‘why would they make another product I desperately want to buy, those bastards.'” – articulating perfectly that iPhones are £500 fashion accessories that people just won’t admit are fashion accessories (this goes for other smartphones too if we’re honest).  After all, the 4S is hardly like try to watch snooker on a black and white TV, like I remember doing.