Thursday, 8 May 2014

A new start.

Oh how things have changed in the past two months. After 4 weeks of intense interviews and a move to another city, I have finally settled into my new life of living Manchester working for TBWA. It feels like a new world jumping from a 5 person agency to 75 people but one that was definitely made for me. The last few weeks have been spent learning about the company, getting to know the team and attending my first ever advertising awards evening. Nominated for the final and biggest award at the Prolific North Awards, I was very proud to have joined the team on stage when they announced that we won the 'Best Integrated Agency' award. Followed by glasses of champagne and some shameless photo booth selfles, the night was huge success and a great way to enter the agency.

For those of you that aren't familiar of the wonderful work TBWA Manchester have produced, we are proudly responsible for the latest Wilko ad, Neil the Sloth, Smyths, Manchester United and many more amazing pieces of work.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Design for education

It feels like the weeks are passing me by and keeping up with posts never feels easy, but every now and then I get a trigger or a reason to write something and today it was down to Emily Pilloton. As I sat and started watching her TED speech this morning, I wondered where she going but within seconds I was hooked on everything she was saying and trying to do. In a small town in Carolina, Emily and her husband along with the help of super intendant Dr. Chip Zolanger are changing the broken school system and community of Bertie Town through Project H. Emily is the founder of the non profit project, which encourages students to design their future through creativity and practical processes to give them real life skills. 

She recognised that there was a need and an opportunity to bring design as an untouched tool and to usher that into Bertie Town. The initial goal was to use design as part of the education system but beyond that they realised they needed make education a great vehicle for community development. She explained that their approach consisted of three different routes: 

Design for education 
the physical construction of improved spaces and materials and experiences for teachers and students 

Redesigning education itself  
system level look at how education is being administrated and what is being offered to whom 

Design as education 
teaching design within public schools, learning design thinking coupled with real construction and fabrication skills put before a local community. 

I think why I found this talk so inspiring is it's genuine approach to improving education and communities. There was a desperate need for Emily to transform and offer hope to Bertie Town which in many cases are neglected or overlooked. The idea of teaching children maths through homegrown outdoor activities just demonstrated how well she understood the children and their ability and how the simplist ideas can make such a vast improvement. It's projects like these that we need to sharing with the world and thinking of more ways to embed this into not only struggling towns but cities worldwide.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Emotional correctness

With the help of my new iPad mini and my 45 minute commute to work, I've had the opportunity to become slightly hooked on TED Talks. So over the next few weeks I’m going to blog about the talkers I have found to be the most inspiring, starting with Sally Kohn. In this video, Sally Kohn a progressive lesbian talking head for Fox News talks about the importance of emotional correctness. She highlights that for years we have spent so much time worrying about political correctness and not focussed on what is emotionally correct. With a huge opinion and a challenging career, Sally Kohn finds herself dealing with large quantities of hate mail whether it is an abusive letter or a nasty tweet she’s heard it all. But as she explains the numerous times she’s been labelled a dyke she discusses her frustration of the use of the word not the word itself. She explains emotional correctness is the tone in which you voice your opinions, and that if you want people to change you need to give them a reason to listen your view in the first place. And the only way of doing that is through emotional correctness.

I think what I found most interesting about this talk was the simplicity in what Sally is trying to explain; it seems so obvious yet we as a society don’t put this into practice. We spend so much time talking past each other and not enough time talking through our disagreements which makes influencing change  harder than it should be. When listening to this talk it made me think of animal right activitists PETA and there extreme approaches to trying to convert meat-lovers into vegans. But if PETA were to consider this idea of 'emotional correctness' they would work towards finding the common ground with non supporters and exploring ways to build conversations. With the hope that one day people will say I’m not a big fan of animals but I’m a big fan in what PETA stand for.

I think if more brands and individuals put this theory into practice you would see less conflict and an increase in positive change.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Sorry I spent it on myself...

It has been far too long since I last wrote a blog post, probably because I have graduated and entered the crazy world of being a grown up and working full time. Working as a Brand and Marketing Executive at Liquid Agency based in Nottingham, time seems to have flown by and before I knew it, I’ve been working for six months and it’s half way through the festive season.

Which leads me onto this post. Christmas is by far my favourite part of the year and not just for the never ending presents or the amazing party buffets but for the battle of the best Christmas campaign. We all love the classic ads from Coca Cola and Boots but each year there is one campaign that always seems to shine through. And for me it’s Harvey Nichols ‘I spent it on myself’ campaign.

As you watch the video above, you smile as you think the concept of the advert is humorous but not the most ground-breaking you’ve ever seen. Until it reaches the end and you realise that the budget gifts featured in the advert are actually available to buy in store. That’s right, you really can buy someone  a Harvey Nichols branded bath plug this Christmas. And boy do I have some ideas on who will be receiving some elastic bands and tooth picks this year. In my search to purchase one of these gifts online I was redirected to the ‘I spent it on myself’ page, where each novelty gift was strategically placed alongside a luxurious Harvey Nichols item. Side by side, the products were highlighted with the message ‘for you’ and ‘for them’. Targeting those customers who understand that a little something for their nearest and dearest means a bigger something for themselves.

I think what I love the most about this campaign is how refreshing an idea it really is. Year after year we see agencies creating Christmas campaigns that go for the emotional pull or the uplifting story but this is just about indulging yourself. Which although sounds selfish and yes Christmas is meant to be about sharing and giving, it's nice to see some originality breaking through. 

 And let's face it, I can't wait to give my stepmum some Lincolnshire gravel this Christmas. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Probably the only way to describe this film is unwatchable. I found the video whilst reading about whether charities are going to far with their shock tactics and after watching this I am genuinely speechless. The video was released by Save the Congo to help increase awareness of the link between minerals used in UK mobile phones and the use of rape and murder as weapons of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Making the controversial decision of setting the film in an english home with a british family, the charity questions - “Would we accept it, if it was happening here?” 

Part of me feels like I never want to see the footage again but part of me is sat here thinking everybody needs to see this at least once to be aware of what is actually going on. I find it sad that charities feel it has got to the point where creating this type of campaign is the only way to get through to people, but if it is, then I applaud them for opening my eyes and actually having the courage to present something so harrowing. Im not sure I could ever work on something so intense, and Im not sure I fully support the way they have visualised such graphic scenes, but I do know that I signed the petition straight after watching it and surely that was their ultimate goal? I think a lot of the time we don't feel an urge to support organisations and charities because they dont directly affect our lives. But by creating a video that has a much stronger relation to us, it makes people realise how unacceptable these issues really are. Credit to Dark Fibre, Jo Bains, Angela Dixon and Thea Wellband. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

If fast food could talk...

So some of you might know that for my final dissertation Im looking at how the animal rights organisation PETA could adopt a new strategy and method to change people's views on veganism. The challenge for me? I love meat. And have no intention on changing my mind any time soon. As Ive looked at PETAs work and other animal rights charities, Ive noticed the overuse of shock tactics are leaving viewers feeling uncomfortable and ashamed, which nobody should be made to feel about something that society has taught us. In particular I watched this video from Mercy for Animals, an organisation I was unaware of until now. With the aim to expose what really goes into fast food meat, this talking sausage tells his dramatic life story and the horror he's been through. As I watched the video I wondered how it was going to make an impact, and suddenly the screen splits to the video footage of trapped animals and meat being processed. And now Im left feeling shocked and disgusted by the concept. But its not going to stop me from eating fast food. Although many campaigns can make people question themselves as meat eaters, a lot of the time all it does is spark conversation for a short amount of time. If animal rights organisations are serious about turning more people vegan, they need to understand that lecturing them and referring to them as 'animal abusers' is not the way forward. Stop trying to think of controversial adverts and the craziest publicity stunts and start educating people on how they could do better. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Harlem Struggle

I have to admit when I first saw the Harlem Shake I spent good hour after watching all the videos on Youtube, thinking of ways that I could recreate my own. But today I came across a slightly different version of the dance that has sparked controversy worldwide. The Dutch Parkinson's Society released the video, 'Worst Shake Ever' that shows society chairman Eric Roos, shaking out of control after not taking his medication. Designed by Saatchi and Saatchi the strapline reads - 'Shaking, fun for some … daily struggle for others.' With the aim to raise awareness of the disease, the video has received mixed reviews with many feeling offended and finding the overall approach distasteful. Personally I think its genius. The fact that Saatchi and Saatchi have acknowledged the success of the Harlem Shake and applied to an organisation that struggles to gain media attention at the best of time, is brilliant. Tapping into worldwide trends is something that more brands should be taking note of, whether it be social, cultural or environmental. With over 90,000 views its clear that they have reached their goal of raising awareness even if it has caused a stir.