Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Gaga for Advertising

As if Lady Gaga, the crazy icon isn't filthy rich enough as it is, she has decided to cash in on product placement. I am not exactly what you'd call googoo for Gaga but the music is original, the music videos insane, on top of the original outifts and her fashion sence, all make you wonder what could she come up with next! (A little FYI: This global phenominom has some of her outfits made by British Fashion Designer Pam Hogg). She has become a style icon and I guarantee that sales of leopard print, leather and big sunglasses have soared!

During her recent telephone music video, which is over 9minutes long, hoasts a wide variety of big named brands. I watched it again and I spotted 10 products - all probably paying hundreds of thousands of mula to appear. Wonder bread, diet coke, polaroid,, Hewlett Packard, chevy trucks, monster heartbeats headphones, coors light (my personal favorite), miracle whip sanwich spread, some other brand of honey bun snack for 50c, while coming out on top was Virgin Mobile who was endorsed as the official network provider for Gaga! Lady Gaga actually landed a job out of all this with Polaroid, as Creative Director on their new product line. Well if she can land a creative job, my chances are looking up!

Other product placements include: redbull appearing in computer games; sony ericsson being the choice of the recent James Bond; Old Spice, Powerade & Wonderbread in Talladega Nights; Mini Coopers in both the Italian Job movies; FedEx in Castaway; probably the biggest is the Sex in the City movie - I have never seen/heard so many fashion labels in such a short space of time and I am sure SATC2 will not be lacking in promoting Jimmy Choo's jelly shoes, Chanel egg cups or Louis Vuitton headge clippers!

These big names have an advertising spend of millions so can afford just a few seconds of exposure. Millions yes, but they are obviously not the industry number 1. Keep an eye out next time you're munching away on your popcorn in front of the big screen and count how many brands you can spot!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

More Photography & Exhibitions

Since the last blog on fashion photography, I have come across Mary McCartney. Born in London in 1969 she only started her photography career in 1995, (so there is still hope for me yet!) She has snapped big names like Kate Moss and even tho' this photo isn't her greatest, have a look at the website as her portfolio of fashion, campaign and exhibition work is not just uplifting + stylish but some is also thought provoking.

On the subject of exhibitions, now is the time for graduate shows. I have mentioned graduate fashion week before but find out where your nearest design or art college is and get along to their showing. Today I am popping along to the Swansea Met Foundation Degree end of year show, titled 'HOW IT IS' and am looking forward to it.

Another is the University of the Arts London who all throughout the summer, will be opening their doors at various campus locations from June - July to showcase graduates work. You should make a trip to London and if you have yet to visit the V&A or the Design Museum, I strongly suggest you do! Plan a visit for the 6th June for the amazing Art Car Boot Fair on Brick Lane:
'The funkiest car boot ever' Wall Street Journal.

I would love to be able to sell, display & exhibit work. I can't exhibit grafitti on a back street + it's not the same uploading snaps for all to see on facebook. Having something I have created hanging on a gallery wall would be a great achievment.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Fashion Photography

People of all abilities are able to describe a scene or an image however no words could bring to life the work of Irving Penn at the National Portrait Gallery. I won a competition with the Daily Telegraph to go and review it, and for someone who loves colour, his work still inspired me to get back into b/w photography. Penn worked doing fashion photography for Vogue magazine in the 1950's and his portraits in the gallery along with the original covers shot for Vogue are worth seeing. One of his famous quotes was this: "Photographing a cake can be art", which I feel could inspire anyone to pick up a camera and start snapping away!

I came across this fashion shoot, with a difference. It's an IKEA advert from the agency DDB Oslo. If you appreciate the photo, see more from Massimo Leardini.

I worked an event in the ICC in Birmingham a few weeks ago. Got talking to the photographers who encouraged me to develop what photography skills I have (below). There is something interesting about being able to capture poses and expressions on a catwalk on in a studio would be a great thing to master.

Jason Christopher's work recently caught my eye. A US fashion advertising photographer whose uses small intense lighting to make a photo. Also this isn't fashion related but it's some excellent alternative images photos of NYC. Can't think of a more perfect job - New York City Snaps just going around capturing all the small details of NYC, that non-one notices.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Do you Virgin!?

"Heck yes I Virgin!" And where-ever possible when it comes to transport, and can say: I am a fan. Still I don't drink virgin coke & wasn't too impressed with TV & broadband customer service, but that beardy Branson (who has appeared in some of the ad's) and his Virgin transport marketing boffins have got it right. I hate to give in to advertising but glad I did when it comes to air travel. Rather than flying Kuwait Airways, the last two times I flew Virgin Atlantic, the 'inflight everythings' had an element of funky-see-through-blue-plastic-edgey-ness.

When I used to visit Birmingham every 2weeks with Virgin Trains, the carridges did smell, they were far too busy and I almost always had to give up my seat to someone else and stand for the entire journey and there was an absence of windows to stick your head out of BUT none of that matters - their advertising and marketing campaigns are just spot on! My trips up to Brum were similar to their 'Booty Train: Where do you want to be?' advert, where for about a year after graduating I made the trek up to see my long term loved one. Their Native American ad, directed at business types is quite amusing however their launch advert was seen on platforms, billboards, online and TV. The Return of the Train campaign re-launched train travel and set the standard for other rail providers.

With all this recent commotion with British Airways, Virgin have now proved to be the flag flyer for Britain. Their 25th celebration is a perfect piece of creative, followed up with faultless production and direction. 'Still Red Hot' was launched and was aimed at such a wide target audience. There were complaints about how the ad was insulting to women, which you are bound to get, but was dismissed by The Advertising Watchdog. It was created by London based creative ad agency RKCR, whose website is certainly worth visiting. There is now so much brand awareness and customer loyalty/retention through their quality of service and for what you get for your money as the CVP. (Customer Value Proposition).

I watch the Red Hot ad and BOOM! It is such a well executed ad: from the props, the costumes, the soundtrack, the lighting, the hidden messages and for the positive image it gives the brand - it really is advertising that works!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Top 3 ad's for Friday

In my current job, I spend more time making tea and waiting for photoshop to format and save, but when creating a new concept or campaign, I am never short of an idea! Whilst at a Students Union, my aim was to maximise activity whilst working to small budgets, through coming up with damn good ideas. Take a look on the campaign page of and see what advertising and awareness campaigns I created.
These days, with a good idea, it's so easy to create brand awareness for a product or cause using viral or hype advertising (via social media/ word of mouth). I am constantly on the look out for advertising that works. Here are my top three for this Friday:
1. Old Spice - an original ad that is planned out to the last detail. Wieden + Kennedy, a creative agency based out of Portland, Oregon took 3 days to create without using special effects. Everything you see is real! (execpt the diamonds). There is such a huge difference between how advertising effects a brand. Old Spice in the USA sponsor NASCAR yet in the UK it's known as an 'old man fragrance'! If they brought the ad over here, it would certainly boost sales.

2. In this ad, Air New Zealand send out the message that their company has nothing to hide in their air travel costs. It shows air cabin crew and pilots with their uniforms body painted on! I spotted this and had to send the link to a professional bodyartist, called John Davis. The ad isn't that amazing but a clever ad' all the same.

3. In my last blog, I mentioned the awesome Drench campaign, well Evian made a comeback with a clever computer generated gang of breakdancing, roller skating babies! After watching the video - make sure you see 'the making of...' . Vince - the cute chinease baby is just great ... 'whatup'! The global creative agency who developed the concept was BETC Euro RSCG, who carried the advert on via youtube. A London based visual effects company filmed a total of 134 babies at Pinewood Studios, UK to follow up from the underwater baby ballet of '98.

today is the 30th birthday of pac man-visit google to see what they came up with!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

What to drink?

With so much choice out there, I'm just getting confused as to what to drink!? I usually drink 1 of 4 things: water; beer; tea; and orange juice. Now imagine the choice of brands for each product. That must show the massive influence advertising has on todays generation as to what to consume! Advertising and marketing has such a ma-hoosive influence on what we drink and to end up creating ad's on such a large creative budget would be awesome!
It's not so much about the product these days (unless your innocent smoothies) but it's about the image you portray. Drench seem to have a good strategy to get people drinking their water as opposed to any other H2O with the youtube hit: Dancing Brains from Thunderbirds & the Hampster Band!
Another awesome campaign was the Lambrini. Aimed at a target demographic (female 18-30) it again didn't offer a quality product (lets face it, it's cheap+doesn't taste tgreat) but the image. It was successful as it drew in a wider following. Even I attempted to learn the routine! It does offer a feel good factor and gives you that 'i just wanna dance' feeling.
The alcohol industry however can get nasty, not so much in the UK but in the USA, beer giants Miller and Bud went head to head in the 'Great Beer Wars'. Their advertisment doubted each others patriotim through TV ads. I have always been a coors light drinker (since it's less calories) and ended up knocking up an ad. Sent it off to Coors and they gave me some pretty good feedback, just hope this doesn't cause offence to drunk ex girlfriends around the world! The creative team at bud light have come up with some gems - take a look at my top 3: Appology Bot 3000; Coffee Cup; Swear Jar.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Photo's, Fashion & Fish Fingers

Something I have only just come across is the Uniform Project - a fashion challenge that starting in May '09. A girl in the USA pledged to wear one dress for a whole year! It was a exercise in sustainable fashion - a tough one as everyday the project needed to re-invent the same outfit. With it's daily blog, the whole thing raised almost $100,000 for charity - just shows that so much can come from the simplest of ideas! On the subject of fashion be sure to look at what's on offer this Graduate Fashion Week or closer to home is the Swansea Met Art & Design 'How it is' final show on May 25th. Both events are in the next few weeks are worth stopping by.

I couldn't quite put my finger on this piece of advertising: Why has hollywood actor Willem Dafoe done the new birds eye advert - is he that short of cash or do birds eye really need to sell more peas!? He plays the voice of a cute polar bear as part of the £9million campaign across radio and TV. They are obviously trying to build brand awareness with the hope people will eat more fish fingers! Well I love peas, fish fingers and ... Milky Way! Was so happy to see the old advert back on TV as it took me back to my younger years!

Moving on to the subject of photography, the search for the Great British Photograph is on + I will certainly try my best to enter! On the judging panel is Vogue UK Creative Director, Robin Derrick. Now there's someone with an impressive CV and one of the most sought-after creative directors in the world, something I aspire to be! If you're in need of some photography inspiration have a look at local photographer raywatkinsphotography, whos wife is the MD in the offices next door. And if you got another 2min, visit my website to see my recent fashion photography snaps or my flickr page. I just love taking photos!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Type & Font

With an unproductive weekend, spent not doing more of a market research assignment, I took interest in some recent typography and branding projects.

Up in Brum there is Created In Birmingham's ‘Not My Type’ Exhibition showing the work of 35 local artists who created illustrations from A-Z, 1-10 & punctuations. Visit their website or stop in if you are in the Bull Ring Shopping Centre before June 1st - it's impressive.

Not sure if you’ve noticed the new Waterstones image? Yes the beloved seller of books has re-branded. Bringing the logo up to date by loosing capital letters & trying to look a little bit more like amazon. They could have a lot of fun with it – and they have, but still I prefer the hogwartian-style older image that a book shop should represent. The more I look - it reminds me of saggy body parts!

Moving on to another typography project from advertising agency Saatchi, is the ‘Communication of Joy with Durex’. An impressive bit of work well worth the look (and a giggle!) Another re-brand was that of the famous swanky London hotel Claridge's. This was a heavy piece of work - not only was it a logo but a working image present on basically everything: 'branded teapots and egg cups through to slippers and dressing gowns'.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Day 4: Now that was clever idea!

Spent most of yesterday doing market research analysis :( but in a brief tea break, I came across this cracking creative idea that deserves some more recognition. Homebase added a slash of colour (and a heck of a lot of furniture) to an big empty train station. Their message 'make a house a home' along with the well planned stunt shows what you can do to any space.
This amazing guerilla advertising campaign created so much positive PR across social media: the video via TV+youtube; flickr; with a "Keep Carlisle Train Station like This" facebook group set up. Since it was a listed building, the council repainted the station, but Homebase will be continuing to transform more space across the UK as part of the ongoing campaign, so keep your eye's open. It would be so much fun writing a press release for this! I also wonder if they could do something to spruse up Swansea station!?
I love advertising that turns heads - have a look at the campaigns I was responsible for when working at Swansea Students Union at - a much smaller scale but still original. Another quirky viral ad out recently created by the clever folk at Mother of London. It's the Travelodge Zzz squad - it's so cute and runs on print, online and TV.
It seems a bit OTT putting out a 'daily' blog, it's lasted a week but will now be just a 'whenever' blog. Have to round up some web design today, proof and send design to the printer then heading to a small art exhibition opening this evening ... TFI FRIDAY!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Day 3: Wallace & Gromit still got it!

Good to see the Aardman Studios are getting work ... and why not! Wallace and Gromit are well known + adorable. They have come a long way from Christmas specials and appeared in the launch advertising for Harvey Nic's, Bristol. A large wod of the budget must have been put aside for creative work + ad space. They used the lovable characters to promote the opening and I'm sure you'll agree, Wallace wears his wool Paul Smith suit well!

NPower have again busted out the duo for their 2018 World Cup backing bid ad campaign - it's worth watching. I see Louis Spence getting his moneys worth from his new found fame-appearing in a viral video to launch a new channel for Man that guy can move! I would love to be able to work on creative campaigns of such a large scale - I'll keep at it and will strike it lucky.

Finally got my website up to scratch - take a peek at Then if you got 2minutes, take a look at the photography belonging to Stephen McLaren - it's well worth it!

Day 2: Snap Happy

Snapped this photo on my blackberry. Not a high quality pic but I love taking photo's. Recently got to photograph a fashion shoot at Swansea Met Art+Design Studio-more glamorous than the last shoot I did in a Care Home! Will post some photo's of that fashion shoot when I touch them up on photoshop.

I'm trying to break away from being a little too snap happy with landscapes and need to get a digital SLR as opposed to film. One day I hope to get my work up in an exhibition or gallery somewhere. (Will keep ya posted!)

Started off the day with nutella on toast then spent the morning tweetin from 7 company/client twitter pages, more web design and drank plenty of tea. Heading off to watch a friend play womens rugby for Cardiff Blues this evening of all things!

My thought from today is: 'you can never have too many ideas hence you can never have too many notebooks'.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Day 1: A day of difficult clients

First day of the blog and I don't have anything juicy to talk about:

Difficult client number one - had me re-colour marketing material designs in 4 different shades of background, which to be honest all looked the same. Difficult client number two - decided they want to change the font colour across 32 insert designs, luckily this beefy alteration is being done out of house.

Spent the day: stamping + posting 350 invites to the Welsh Women Mean Business conference, trying to adapt 2 different web designs into one, bought milk and a mini camera tripod. On the subject of photography, Mulberry's flagship store in London was tranformed into a colourful Glasto' scene (below) by photographer Venetia Dearden where she launched her festival image book. Today I sneezed 4 times, filled up with petrol and gotta head to the barracks for another drill night.

Through the Cardiff Arts Institute I was able to get theatre tickets for a £1 this evening but got no-one to go with! On top of that and the height of excitement through sneezing 4 times today - I am going to head around to one of the pubs in pontcanna for a late night solo beer. Talking of beer, it's good to hear that Peter Kay has returned to the John Smiths advertising.

First daily blog ... DONE!

Start of the blog

So yesterday: a regular monday morning and didn't want to start the week. My monday consisted of design for a website, staff meeting, client update meeting and stamped and posted about 250 letters.

Have totally lost my creative inspiration recently and not happy with any design I produce so thought I would jump on the blogging-ranting-band-wagon.

So here goes ...