Posts By: Nikki Sandison

Reading Fiction is a waste of time

By that I just don’t get any sort of pleasure reading fiction. For me escapism, characterisation, story telling and suspense (the page turner) are delivered in spades through film. Before you say it, I also have a pathological hate for people who trot out the “well the film wasn’t as good as the book” phrase which is such a shite argument and certainly doesn’t make you appear any better or more informed than the person who has seen the film. I positively marvel at telling people the film was better than the book – see Marley and Me as case study number 1.

I do, however love to read, but non-fiction only (Harry Potter is real btw) and I’m even drawn to factually based books delivered using a light fictional tone – Giles Milton being the god in this department. So I’m with Rory Sutherland 100% who vocally encourages us to read more which is ostensibly a long winded intro to the fact that I’m reading Sway – The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behaviour by Ori and Rom Brafman.

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3D ooooooooooo

Sam Mendes was recently asked whether he would be using 3D anytime soon. He replied by saying, “I’ve been doing it for years – it’s called theatre.” Aside from loving the quote and hating him for being married to Kate Winslet it appears that 3D is the way forward.

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Some wheeeeeeeeeeere over the Rainbow

So go to and you don’t find a site – no you find a little app that helps you navigate around the social web. Product flavours are covered by Wiki, videos/ads on their YouTube Page, friends on Facebook and chatter via twitter. What’s exciting yet scary is that by simply navigating live social pages you are beholden to consumers to enter into the spirit of it. For example if you use the word “skittles” in your twitter update you will appear on the skittles home page. Some however have used some ‘even fruiter than Skittles’ language but this is largely the minority and disappears from the home pages quite quickly.

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The best MASH up on the web

Amy Kean sent me a link, I loved it, I did one, I posted it to my Facebook. How great is that.

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With broadband now a norm, the humble loading bar – typically a %bar is now often consigned to a mere blip before your page fully loads. So then the loading bar is dead or is it?

I for one have been a huge fan of the loading bar. This may have something to do with the fact that I used to work with Flo Heiss of Dare. He has such an unhealthy obsession that he even made a movie about it as a student.

This of course transpired into our daily work. The loading bar for Axe Feather was, “I’m 67% yours”, “I’m 68% yours”, “I’m 69% yours” – you get the idea. Sony Ericsson was a pencil drawn egg timer and Vodafone was a fluttering Mayfly.

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Has it been a vintage year for creativity?

Every year I look forward to a few industry regulars: NMA’s top 100 (sorry BR), Campaign School Report, Campaign Agency of the Year, Campaign A List (largely because online is so poorly represented – why isn’t Guy Phillipson in there?) and of course Marketing Agency of the Year (the advertiser’s magazine of choice). The reason I love the “Tops” is because the preceeding 12 months are spent answering who I think should win it this year. First of all, congratulations to Agency Republic for winning back their crown after a two-year diversion. Being a fan of Gordon’s (the drink and of course their creative director) the site is a beautiful representation of the brand. A nod also to GT, LBi, Dare and Grand Union who all got a mention though I’m amazed Poke aren’t in there somewhere – maybe they didn’t jump through enough hoops.

These accolades are incredibly important and will continue to be so, but this year’s close running says more to me about the distinct lack of great creative this year. And before i end up on the receiving end of a turck-load of abuse, you I’m fully aware of the brilliant work that continues to come out from UK agencies. Just look at our to see stuff that really rocks, and will inevitably go on to win at Cannes and D&AD. BUT – can we honestly say there has been a tonne of consistent campaigns from each of the top-flight agencies? I mean each advertiser, each piece of work. If online is to maintain its credibility, more consistent productivity is needed. We need the quality to match the quantity. What’s at the heart of this I’m not sure – agency lethargy, poor client briefs, inadequate budgets, insufficient lead-times, all the great ideas have been done, too much emphasis on social media? I’d love your thoughts .

Incidentally I don’t think this is unique to online. I think it’s been a great year, but not a vintage one.

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Last night I went shopping with a pint of Stella!

By the time Hammy had been played with, Amelie was out of her Rainbows uniform and my wife had finished erecting a Playmobil fort for my son Oscar it was pushing on for 8.30pm. With Stephen Fry in the USA playing in the background, my wife and I decided to go shopping. Now there aren’t many shops open at that time of night in my home town of Weetabix (Burton Latimer), so of course we went online. For an hour we traded ideas about what we should get the kids for Christmas all in the comfort of our armchairs, on our own laptops while I enjoyed a nice cold Stella and my wife sipped a glass of red. I set up a wish list for Oscar on Amazon populated with Storm Hawks and Hot Wheels sets, though I intend to slip in a few Clone Wars toys on today (for my own parental pleasure).

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Is copying a good thing?

Vodafone/Blackberry recently announced the launch of the new Blackberry Storm, which comes out in mid November. Clearly a challenger to the iPhone, this nifty device will also get the support of a download apps store (also kick-started by Apple). As a Blackberry user this excited me more than the fact that it’s not first to market. Being first to market and boasting a ‘media first’ was always a must, but I’m sensing that the industry is now more driven by doing it better/differently than others, rather than doing it first. To stick with Apple for a moment, iTunes has had plenty of challengers, Tesco Digital, the repositioned Napster and of course the eagerly awaited Datz. Even iTunes Genius is uncannily like Last FM or Pandora. Of course if you speak to these players and use the word ‘copy’ I’m sure there would be a very well-crafted response about filling a gap that their competitors don’t fill but I don’t see anything wrong in doing this if you make it work for your brand. The well-documented iPint debate aside, if something is appealing to consumers why not make the most of it, and make it work for yourself as long as credit is given where due (enter Honda cog vs Mr Fischli and Mr Weiss debate).

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Stop hiding behind mediums

Last week I attended an event where a leading figurehead from the TV industry spent 45 minutes talking about how great the medium was. I couldn’t agree more – I love TV, I watch tonnes of it, and in fact since having my Sky+ I watch more TV than ever, the only difference being I only watch what I want (no channel surfing because I’m bored) and I watch a 1 hour programme in 40 mins as I forward the ads and ignore the titles. What amazed me was not one ad was shown. No mention on how to make an engaging ad, or how to stand out amongst the rest or what is the magic formula for a truly amazing piece of TV advertising. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t believe in the power of TV to build a brand – it kicks arce (spelt like this because there’s a swear filter on BR). What I do hear is what needs to be done with ads to make them work harder in TV.

Newspapers are also to blame. I read the Times every day during my long commute, but recently I’ve migrated to the ePaper version. It’s great – I download it, turn pages, zoom in and out and download versions for later.

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Give a little respect get a little

God knows how much the new St Pancras station cost but what a joy it is to arrive at every morning. The hotel clock tower peering through the ‘shed’, the beautiful restoration, the plethora of eateries and of course Fat Face for a cheeky browse (on the way home of course). Everything oozes of respect for William Barlow who built it way back in 1863. I can’t help picturing it full of steam and orderly civilians tipping their bowlers to bid fellow passengers a safe onward journey. Why the do people think it’s ok to walk the full length of a good old English queue and push in. Avoiding stereotypes, these are generally Brits, with nothing but rudeness coursing through their veins. Rarely is there even a reason – e.g. a bun fight for seats, there is nearly always room for everyone. The other day I did the rather un-British thing of challenger a ‘pusher’ as they are known. I said, “Excuse me mate, would you like my ticket?” When asked why, I simply responded by saying, “if you feel you can push in, why don’t you take my ticket as well.” He puffed his chest and stormed off accusing me of being “f*!king rude.” I still haven’t quite worked out why, but what I do know is he utterly lacked any form of respect.

Putting a positive spin on this, I think respect is one of the most underrated terms used in marketing today. You’ll here a client talk about ‘respecting the brand values’ but do we spend enough time respecting consumers? If someone (consumer) is prepared to give a brand some time whether its watching a TV ad, or writing a review or passing on an email the very least you can do is make the most of their time.

Try this – think of the most famous person you’d like to meet and imagine you have 10 seconds with them. What would say? How would you behave? What would you want to get out of the encounter? How would it meet you expectations?

Now try the exercise as a brand meeting a consumer. You’ve got 10 seconds, what would say, how would you behave…………..and so on. If you can respect that initial period with a consumer it may lead to a longer dialogue. So often we respect our own craft and don’t consider enough about, am I being respectful of their time, am I wasting it and do I have permission to say what I want to say.

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