Wednesday, 28 June 2017


        Holly and Miriam will  be engaged for some time.

 Aly and Emma bagged two great agencies. 

       Raminder and Rose are off to VCCP and MBA via Brad Pitt.

From Monday, Becca and Dan are  two Virgins.

Lucy & Grace. Get the motor running, head up on the highway.
Looking for adventure and whatever comes my way.

Millie is joining Joint on placement next week.

And Tom and Jay are off to WCRS on placement.

Sunday, 25 June 2017


Big week.
Big days.
Big minutes.
Big breakfasts.
Big briefs.
Big piles of paper.
Big ice creams.
Big client.
Big thinking.
Big chairs.
Big effort.
Big, big effort.
Big smiles.
Big pats on back.



            JANAY (FAR RIGHT.) THE LOVELIEST LADY IN THE                                                GOOGLE WORLD.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Frank Zappa.

Schools train people to be ignorant, with style. They give you the equipment that you need to be a functional ignoramus. Schools do not equip you to deal with things like logic; they don’t give you the criteria by which to judge between good and bad in any medium or format; and they prepare you to be a usable victim for military-industrial complex that needs manpower. As long as you’re just smart enough to do a job and just dumb enough to swallow what they feed you, you’re gonna be alright. But if you go beyond that then you’re gonna have these grave doubts that give you stomach problems, headaches…make you want to go out and do something else. So, I believe that schools mechanically and very specifically try and breed out any hint of creative thought in the kids that are coming out today.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A very nice letter from a very nice man.

I save letters. They nestle at the back of my wardrobe in a 1971 Dunlop Greenflash shoe box. 

I have letters from my mum that she wrote to me when I was away camping with the Leicester  25th Scout group. There are a few notes in SWALK envelopes from ex girlfriends. (Don't tell the wife.) There's even a short note from Barry Manilow somewhere.

In my 28 years at Watford I kept only two letters, both from Creative Directors. One was from Trevor Beattie offering me and my students the world. The other was from Peter Souter saying his agency would rather help out another college. (These letters I fear were lost in the  College Great Paper Cull of 2010.)

Nowadays, letter writing is dead. Emails are merely word bites which make Bukowski's Post Office seem loquacious.

Today, I received an unsolicited letter from a Creative Director I've never met before. 

An out-of-the-blue-never-saw-it-coming bunch of words that hit your soul with a warm mushy fist of human kindness.

Although the letter was in email format it would have equally looked at home if it was written on parchment paper with a quill.

This is another letter for my shoe box.

Tony, I felt it was high time I said hi.
My name is Richard Russell and I’ve just joined WCRS as CD on their Government business.
As it happens, I sit next to – and have just worked with – the gruffly delightful Johnny Ruthven and Ben Brazier, who also say hi. (Brilliant team – what a good job you did with them.)
For years, I have been meaning to get in touch and offer any assistance, if wanted. I am a huge admirer of what you do at Watford, Tony, and firmly believe that under your inspirational and human leadership it remains the pre-eminent course for aspiring Creatives. But these days, of course, any old Tom and Dick University or College think they can do the same job as you, and I hear that times are much tougher for Watford.
If you’d like a hand, I’d be happy to help. As unoriginal as it sounds, I guess I’m thinking about maybe coming to talk to your students, showing them a few choice, eye-opening things, and setting a brief of some kind. There may be other ways to assist you in promoting the course, but perhaps a visit is the best place to start. I’d relish the chance to speak to your class and get them fired up about the extraordinary things they can make happen as a Creative, and how best to go about it. While the industry is having an identity crisis at the moment, fiercely original problem-solving will never go out of fashion. Indeed, it’s more important than ever that the new generation of creative talent fly the flag for irresistible thinking and claim our place back at the top table.
I hope this finds you well, Tony. It would be a pleasure to meet you and perhaps we can make that happen sometime soon.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Apple to launch world's first vegetarian phone.

It's long been known that animal fats are used in the manufacture of mobile phones. The lining of cow's intestines is used to insulate the circuit board which improves  the connectivity of the electrical impulses.

In fact, Apple have used cow guts to pre-coat their wiring and to improve insulation since 1994.

However, due to recent pressure from animal rights groups in the US,  Apple have decided  to launch the first vegetarian phone. 

The Vphone8.

Apple technologists at Palo Alto, California have successfully
found a substitute for cow's innards. The humble potato. 

You may recall a primary school experiment where a potato was used as a battery cell to charge a small bulb. 

In Apple's labs the potato proved to be far better than animal fat at transmitting electrical impulses.

Vegetarian groups are delighted by Apple's new socially conscious direction. 

The company will eventually roll out vegetarian lap tops and Ipads by 2020. 

Under new legislation the mobile phone industry is to adopt ingredient labeling similar to the food industry.

Samsung for example, have 0.004% animal products in all their Nexus range.

The Vphone8 will be launched on 21/11//2017 in all Apple stores and in the vegetable section (next to the carrots) of all major supermarkets.

A limited edition Vphone 8, with potato peel casing designed by the Japanese artist Olaf Pirlo, can be seen here for the first time on Youtuber.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


Screen culture is damaging creativity.

Increasingly, I see young creatives reach for their laptops whenever they have a problem to solve.

Hey, there are no new ideas on a screen.

You'll only find ideas that already exist.

And you don't want those.

Do you?

The computer is a big cluttered cupboard, a super-fast postman and a very clever professor.

It's not a creative tool.

Not when your task is to come up with new ideas.

The brain only truly ignites when the hand has a pen and it hovers over a huge pile of lovely white paper.

Screens encourage laziness.

Creatives simply do not bring the same mental effort to screens as they do when working with paper.

Studies from around the world show that people working with screens are far more casual than those working with paper.

Paper demands more mental energy and commitment.

In 2005, San Jose University found that students using screens spent more time trying to take shortcuts than those working with paper.

Their time was spent browsing, scanning and hunting for key words.

The students using paper spent more time thinking.

Their brains were more active in seeking out the problem.

Screens tire us.

They emit light which drains our energy, irritates our eyes and makes us feel tired.

Paper does the exact opposite.

It reflects natural light.

It has texture, weight and beauty.

Paper is sensory.

The physical aspects of writing and drawing on paper are simultaneously linked with our cognitive processes.

Our mind and body are interlinked.

Studies by Professor Anne Mangen at Stavanger University, Norway show that our brains don't work like computers.

We don't sense things and process the sensory perceptions afterwards.

Mangan proved that sense and process are one.

And the best way of  harnessing this is via the medium of paper.

There is a close connection between what we sense and do with our bodies and what we understand.

Paper is classical and speaks to us in a mental language we comprehend.

It has been the creative launch pad for centuries inspiring Da Vinci, Steve Jobs and David Bowie along the way.

Jean Luc-Velay, a French neuro-physiologist, has produced studies that show that writing and drawing by hand stimulates different electrical impulses in the brain.

These brain impulses are dormant when we work with screens.

Which explains why the smarter institutes of learning are bringing paper back in to the classroom.

Paper reveals your very own emotional mind map. 

It shows you the wide roads of unhindered thoughts, the side streets where you can stop to gaze at the mental architecture, the cul-de-sacs of curious concepts and the random roundabouts that make you giddy. 

Paper gets you to your destination: the big idea.

And it allows you to understand your creative journey more fully.

The next time you have a brief, shut down your laptop and grab a layout pad and a marker.

You'll get more ideas.

You'll get more interesting ideas.

And it will be more fun.

And if someone tells you you are wasting too much paper tell them they shouldn't work for an advertising agency.

They should work for The Forestry Commission.

This piece was written on a big sheet of paper before it was typed.

Monday, 23 January 2017


Six months ago I kicked out 15 talented young creatives from my

They didn't want to leave.

They wanted to stay another year and look after the college cat.

The fact that we didn't have a college cat was a sign they definitely needed to get out in to the real world.

I asked the teams to do two things.

One: get in the business.
Two. make it better.

They have done the first part.

Now for the fun bit.

George Robb at RKCR/Y&R.

Bryn Jones-Walters and Olivia Adda have already won an award whilst working at Mother. They are now gainfully employed by Crispin Porter.

Chaz and Lucy, the cheeky girls, were hired by AMV after joining straight from Watford.

Charlie and Max cracking out the campaigns for Grey. Nice flowers.

Sarah and Jules (in the black coats) are gainfully employed by The BBC. 

Connor and Charlie were hired at Karmarama after a spell at Y&R.

Tom and Dave fought their way to a job at VCCP.

 Dan Scott, currently at Duke. With JWT and Isobel lined up.

Mel Mcginnis was last seen working at Engine.

Well done to everyone from me.

And the college cat says, 'meow' by the way.