It’s not you. It’s me. I’ve been… writing another blog.

For anyone that gives a toss, I started this blog because I like writing. I work in advertising and I write ads for other people all day, every day. People like to add their opinion, change my ideas. Sometimes it makes them better (yeah, right!). Sometimes I wish they’d leave well alone.

So this is Parking In Stevenage. All my own work – a true reflection on what I think is good. And while many of my colleagues were busy penning blogs that delved into the dark arts of marketing or digital or branding or whatever, I didn’t want to compete in that space; this was my playground and I could choose the most inane, tedious topic to document. Fact is, it’s getting even more tedious after 3 years – I’ve gone right through the bottom of the barrel – there’s just splinters where that used to be. But no – that won’t stop me or this blog. Parking In Stevenage will live on!

However, I’ve been distracted. I’ve looked elsewhere – outside of Hertfordshire, even. I now anonymously co-edit The London Egotist – the only site I know of that talks specifically to London’s creative community – adland and all the associated specialisms. If you’re interested, check it out. It’s actually very good. Yes, I would say that, wouldn’t I…

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Barclaycard: When Amy Childs met Brian Blessed

Well they never actually met, but we did combine their talents in the same project.

You see, in between parking in Stevenage and returning in the evening, I go to work – I don’t just commute just so I can blog about it.

And at work, I make adverts – mostly the sort that go on the internet and generally get in the way of what you wanted to do in the first place. And now I can proudly reveal the latest thing-what-I-done for you here. It’s for Barclaycard. It’s to mark the release of their new mobile contactless technology. You see, now you can pay for stuff just by swiping your mobile phone – if you have the right phone and a Barclaycard account. Cool? Yes.

So, given that this is such a massive step-change in the way we pay for things, we thought that now might be a good time to take stock and take a look at how paying has evolved over the years, starting with cavemen, via Vikings, Romans and Georgians and ending up in the present day in Chiswick High Road.

If you like pigs, fur, dinosaur milk, shoes, The Only Way Is Essex, Brian Blessed, the bloke off the Sky TV ad, another bloke off the trainline.com ads, wigs, man-bags, Norse washing up liquid, guyliner, tridents and Horrible Histories (Dominic Brigstocke directs that and this), then this is for you. What’s not to like?

PS. This is the long version, featuring the ‘lost’ Viking scene. Kind of exclusive.

The Maria Sharapova bruise.

Every so often, life can take an unexpected turn. Suddenly you’re no longer sitting at your desk under harsh strip-lighting, you’re on a tennis court in LA waiting for Maria Sharapova to arrive so she can hit tennis balls at you – you know how it is.



How did this come to pass? One of our clients is Sony Ericsson. We’re very busy doing lots of lovely advertising for them and Maria is one of their ‘Brand Ambassadors’.

Some fashion shoot had been cancelled at the last minute and given that the whole tennis tour season kicks off very soon, this was Sony Ericsson’s last chance to make use of her time – 90 minutes of it to be exact.

So in very short order we were briefed and quickly narrowed down our best ideas to 3 we thought would be acceptable to Maria and ‘her people’ (they always have people – I don’t, maybe I’m doing something wrong).

That was quickly whittled down to the one idea that was sold in and in no time at all I was one of an elite team of admen sitting in Economy heading to LA.

What you see here is the result. Maria was a delight and extremely accommodating, signing my daughter’s tennis racket cover and giving me 2 kisses – probably out of guilt for the physical damage she’d caused me.

image

Exhibit A

Dave Bloke, Wembley Legend.

It’s happened again; I’ve done another thing. Regular readers/colleagues will know that I work on the English FA’s advertising account (among others).

So, they have this 5-a-side competition called FA Umbros Fives (yes, with Umbro). It turns out this is the only 5-a-side competition with a Wembley final. So even if your dreams of playing regular Premiership football have faded, if you’re a bit good at 5-a-side there’s still a chance to walk out of that tunnel and onto the hallowed (and admittedly controversial) Wembley turf. In short, you, YES YOU, could become a Wembley Legend.

And don’t just take my word for it. Witness a man who was once mortal like us. Witness a man living the dream. Witness Dave Bloke, Wembley Legend.

And then sign your team up!

Bit of background: all shot at Wembley in a day. Yes, even the kitchen, bedroom, recording studio scenes. Judicious use of various props, changing rooms and meeting rooms in and around the stadium, we managed to re-create Bloke-mania in a few short hours.

Unfortunately I was away on holiday on the day of the shoot, so I missed the chance to meet Michael Owen and Tim Lovejoy. Michael was by all accounts a real gent and Tim smells very nice. I did float the idea of my flying back from holiday just for the day (under the guise of someone else’s stupid idea) but my wife called my bluff and agreed it was an incredibly stupid idea…

And the music? “Widths and Heights” by Magic Arm.

Believe in England!

World Cup fever is upon us whether you like it or not.

And you know what, England has a chance. We’re still in it (admittedly it hasn’t started yet) so who’s to say it couldn’t happen?

One of my clients is the English FA. They asked us to come up with an idea for Facebook that would help get the fans behind England for the World Cup and show the fans’ support to the players.

So we came up with this idea: We are all part of the official England squad, players and fans together. The players have 1 to 23 on their shirts and now the fans can have their own unique squad number too. It’s like we’re lining up for the national anthem alongside the team (except that wouldn’t be entirely practical).

Stephen Fry has no.30, Jonathan Ross is 28 and Nick Clegg is 67.

250,000 now and rising!

So if you go to http://apps.facebook.com/englandteam/ and click Create Your Shirt, you can select a red or white shirt, choose the name you want across the back and then you’ll get your official squad number on your shirt which you can then use as your profile picture to show your support for England.

It’s the tasteful online equivalent of decking your car/home/face/kids/pets with St George’s flags.

One week on and we’re already up to 166,000 which is phenomenal (he says modestly).

The target is 1 million though. Can we do it? Maybe you can help. Where else can you rub shoulders with JLS, Heston Blumenthal and Dame Kelly Holmes?

Whatever your level…

I little something I’ve been overseeing at work. It’s a short film to encourage teenage lads to keep playing footie when they leave school behind. It’s an almost an exact shot-for-shot spoof of (or homage to) the Nike ‘Take It To The Next Level’ ad from a couple of years ago.

I can’t claim too much personal credit for this (and if you don’t like it, I had absolutely nothing to do with it).

Music courtesy of Supergrass who let us have the track for next to nowt.

Enjoy.

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