Archive for the 'Advertising' Category


February 10, 2009

Doesn’t quite have the same ring about it as ‘Mad Men’, does it?

For those who haven’t had the privilege of either seeing my new favourite ever TV show (TM) or hearing me bore them abou the wonder that is, it’s basically a drama set in an early 1960’s New York (hence the Madison bit) ad agency.

It’s impeccably accurately stylish, sexist, anti-semitic, hierarchical and socially and sexually charged. A hugely rewarding expereince whether you watch it as someone who works in the media, someone interested in cultural history, or just Joe Bloggs who likes good TV.

I’d missed it first time, largely because it was on BBC Four, but devoured the box set. Genuine excitement descended on my portion of the sofa this evening, and this is heightened by being able to interact with the characters on twitter (originally created by fans, the profiles are now partly run by the production company.

I predict surges in applications to ad agencies of the back of the show. Fast forward a few years and witness the disappointment of realisation; “What? I don’t get my own pliant secretary, private office, and never-ending supply of whisky?”

Other than making me wish I could wear suits that well-cut to work every day, the show also made me think whether it would be possible to make such a glamorous show about life in a PR agency? Without resorting to the spn doctor or celeb agent stereotypes, could you make life look as irresistibly chaotic yet elegant, intoxicating yet structured? Where would you generate the tension; account director and AE? Frisson between big-name client procurement manager and agency head? Tension over the outcome of the well-trodden features list and new product announcement? Nah, didn’t think so.

It just doesn’t feel quite the same somehow, does it?

You can even learn something whilst watching (other than life was better in the sixties). Check this out for a pitching masterclass…



Whatever happened to customer service?

March 17, 2008

For a country that likes orderly queues as much as the Brits, it seems odd that we are so bad at customer service. Advertising Agencies make vast amounts of profits each year for seemingly repeating the same adverts (Mars – Private Eye 1205) and yet no one has sought to put advertising money to better use by transferring the investment into training front line staff.

Good customer service makes a retailer stand out… ITSU for example are brilliant at it. The store on Regents Street where I often pick up lunch should be used as a case study for how to train staff. Servers are always polite, tidy and helpful. YoSushi!, however, spends remarkably more on its marketing and communications ( I think Limelight do the PR) and are a mess. Of the three restaurants that I’ve been into, surly and uncommunicative service have been the order of the day.

Other than getting a leg up on the high horse, what’s my point?

If major high street brands spent more training staff on how to deal with members of the public and concentrating on keeping the customers they have, rather than advertising for new ones, they might find the whole exercise a great deal more profitable.To use another example, I pay more for my mobile because on the whole, I find 02 staff helpful. When I think about my other brand choices, I see a similar pattern developing.

Internal comms, employee satisfaction or internal advertising… call it what you want. Just do it!