A selection of TV ads I wrote during my time at BBH, M&C Saatchi, Mullen Lowe and The Leith Agency. Plus, a couple of pieces of content I wrote and directed whilst running an independent production company.
A section of ads, content and idents I directed during my time running a content production company. I wrote most of these ones too.
Here’s a selection of sketches from the satirical sketch show series, “No Signal” which I co-wrote, produced and directed for Fox Television. It was broadcast across the world and gained a cult following.
The creative team asked me to direct the content films for this quite brilliant idea; an on-pack promotion where the top prize was a person. The 6 winners would get the use of the Frijj ‘work experience guy’ for a whole day. They could do whatever they wanted with him, within reason.
I was also asked to film a ‘fake marketing meeting’ where the idea was supposedly conceived. I wasn’t so keen on that because marketing meetings just don’t get filmed. I suggested we change it a video conference call to make it more credible. We wrote the out-line for the script, then I voiced the part of the Marketing Manger and ad-libbed it with the main actor until we got everything needed in one take.
The films below are the results of the day ‘Warren’ spent with 3 of the winners. He really was our work experience guy but his name was actually Grant but ‘Win Grant’, just hasn’t got the same ring to it.
I was the Creative Director on Carling for 5 years, during which time I wrote some well known ads.
Here are some of my favourites.
Getting the strategy right for this campaign was crucial. Teachers were leaving the profession in their droves because the working conditions are tough and previous campaigns had attracted the wrong type of people. The campaign had to be believable. It must not mislead potential applicants nor annoy working teachers by misrepresenting the challenges of the job. Its purpose was to recruit the right types, but it also had to try to prevent other teachers from leaving by making them feel good about the job they do.
An irrefutable truth was needed, one that would resonate with both groups. I arrived at the thought that being a teacher is, ‘The most important work you’ll ever do’. It beat the 15 other agencies pitching to win the account and went some way to putting the teaching profession back on a pedestal alongside nurses and fire fighters, where it belongs.
The charity Parkinsons UK wanted an awareness campaign that was humorous rather than worthy. I helped developed the “Up Your Friendly” digital strategy then wrote and direct this film as part of the drive to get people to sign-up. Over a million did…
Uber-cute content for mum’s to share in support of the main tv ad.
The social media idea allowed people to write their own subtitles on the films and share them.
I love this poster, but the client hated it. They couldn’t see it was more than an ad. It was a social comment on how it’s still acceptable to be derogatory about the white working classes (Sun Readers). Anyone with a prejudice against them would be made acutely aware of it when they read the copy.
Underneath is a multifaceted end of season football campaign that revolved around all the clubs involved in relegation and promotion battles. The digital, social and experiential ideas were easy compared to the complicated media and distribution plan required to regonalise a national newspaper.. The ads and related editorial had to be appear in the right areas of the country and be relevant to the results of the individual games. We had to create work for every eventuality and then pick the one that corresponded as soon as the result was known. It was a nightmare, but a concerted from all evolved ensured we got the right result.
Macallan wanted a high-end immersive experience for the unveiling of their new multi-million pound distillery. I had a great time doing ideas involving V/R A/R and Projection Mapping. Unfortunately, the budget didn’t stretch to include the best of them, but I now have a good understanding of how they all work and how best to use them.
A selection of idents I directed for Monarch’s “Winter Blues” campaign to play either side Channel 5′s weather forecasts.
There’s also the webisode series. It’s a parody of a daytime doctors surgery tv drama series to extends the, ‘cure for the winter blues’ campaign idea. Each film has a number of continuity errors – we set a competition around them. Spot all the errors and win free flights. It ensured people watched them and was a huge success.
A selection of sponsorship idents that tell intimate stories of how a fun loving family interact with each other through various Wii games, all in under 15 seconds. Some said it couldn’t be done.
This campaign directed by the legendary Tony Kaye elevated Reef from fifth best selling alco-pop in the U.K to No.1 in a matter of weeks.
This ad for ITV proved so popular that Sky asked if we could write a campaign for them contradicting ITV’s message. That’s what you call a compliment.
“We want a campaign that increases our subscription quota”, demanded Sky. Thankfully, this one did the job to their satisfaction.
As far as I was concerned I’d summed up what The Green Party was all about in 20 seconds with the original message, but they insisting on changing so that it became about air pollution. It was meant to say, ‘Shocking isn’t it? The way we treat our grandchildren.’
The first and only tv ad for a music album without any music in it. None at all. It sold by the box load.
The first tv campaign I ever wrote. I hate the ending but the dialogue isn’t bad.
Highlight the fact One2One are the first network provider to allow pay-as-you-go customers to use their phones abroad in a humorous way - Tick.
The least favourite campaign I’ve ever done. We got lumbered with the character as a first brief when joining BBH. However, it was slightly ahead of it’s time; we wanted to make the cow famous in the real world with clever use of media. The idea got ruined by the media planning, though (tail wagging dog). It would have worked at treat if social media had been invented. I’ve only got it in my portfolio because it shows I’ve done animation, and it’s the only example I’ve got of long copy.
I still love posters. It’s the purest and arguably the most skilled form of advertising craft. All the information needs to be delivered within a few seconds. Nothing beats a poster when it’s done well.
I wanted to be a stand-up comedian since I was 10 years old. Finally, plucking up the courage when I was thirty something. I went on to spend my weekends for 14 years performing at comedy clubs up and down the country. I’ve also done 2 solo shows at the Edinburgh Festival and supported Jim Jefferies on three of his UK tours. This clip is from my final performance at The Comedy Store, shortly before I hung-up the microphone for good.