Wednesday, 1 November 2017


Wanna be making this type of stuff and get paid for it ? Come to the next round of  Watford interviews on Tuesday 26th June in London. Details from the college from

Spotify. Jeeves Creative Director Spotify. Class of 2008.

The Sacred Egg. A.K.A Alex and Ed Class of 2009.

This post  is dedicated to all my amazing students who hand carved their own battering rams to break down the wooden walls of mediocrity in search of mischief.
Just some of the Watford alumni's work.
If you want to get in to this business and add your own mark to this site
Free sponsored places might be available for next year !

Send in Mikael and Doug. There ought to be Mikael and Doug.
The Class of 2013. Now at BBH and producing cool ads.

George and Lizzie's Superbowl ad for Amazon.  Watford Class of 2014. Now at Lucky Generals.

Ed Redgrave Class of 2010 (With Dave Wrigglesworth) Droga5 London



Mailchimp campaign, directed by The sacred egg- Alex Mavor and Ed Kaye class of 2009.

Mark Lewis class of 2009 and his partner Matt took the rainbow out of Skittles for LGBT and five million likes and a clutch of awards followed. Great idea boys.

The mighty Jeeves, class of 2008 has produced great ideas at Fallon UK,  Crispin Porter Colorado, W&K NY and is now working his creative magic working in-house at Spotify.

Maltesers braille poster for World Braille Day by Lucy and Chaz class of 2016.

With no money, no brief and no booked media this is what you can do with determination, belief and good writing. Sara and Ash, class of 2014, now at BBH.

Ben Kay, Watford class of 1996 with this happy ad for Southwark Council. Ben now works in L.A for Medialabs.

Written by Anna Carpen, ECD of 18feet and rising, class of 2009.

 Harvey Nichols written by Ben Stilitz class of 1999.

        M&S Christmas ad written by Alice Burton class of 2012

Rustlers from Dan and Charlene class of 2010, now at Droga5 London.

Two sweet Amazon ads written by Algy Sharman, Watford class of 2006.

 Computers for Africa by Miles Bingham, Watford class of 2006.

 Anne-Sophie Guerin, with partner Jen, for Mother. Class of 2012.

                    Chris Bowsher, Adam and Eve, Class of 2003. 

    Channel 4 Paralympics promo by Rich Biggs and Jolyon White
                                            Class of 2013.

             BBC Olympics promo, Alice Burton, class of 2012.

       Ash and Sara class of 2014 with their first TV ad for BBH.

Ben Stilitz class of 1997. Now at Adam and Eve/DDB. Winner                             of The Grand Prix at Cannes 2016.

 First ad: Tim McNaughton, writer on the BBC Winter Olympics ad,  Watford class of 2004.The boys won a BAFTA for this
Second Olympics ad written by Gustavo and Barnaby, Watford class of 2012 for Y&R.

Gemma Phillips and Mark Slack Watford class of 'a long time ago when my hair was thicker than my morning porridge'.


Jeeves, class of 2003 Equinox gym campaign whilst at W&K NY. Now at Spotify New York.

             From The Lads at Lucky Generals class of 2013.

Three of the last four John Lewis Christmas TV spots were written by ex Watford teams. The 2015 spot was written by Milo Carter, class of 2010 and Sophie Knox class of 2008.

Pete Heyes and Matt Lee class of 1996 with a powerful and uplifting NSPCC ad.

Tango genius by Chas Bayfield and Jim Bolton class of 1996.

A couple of gems for Dr Pepper by Yanny Elliott class of 1997 and Caroline Pay class of 1996. Caroline is now joint Executive Creative Director of BBH and Yanny is having fun at Lucky Generals.

Clarks shoes by Mikael Alcock and Doug Fridlund class of 2013.

                   Tom Hall and Tessie Gaertner class of 2011, 
                      Paddy Power and Turkish Airlines.

                   Miles Bingham's Ribena spot. Class of 2008.

Tom Hall and Tessie Gaertner class of 2011 with their mean tweets campaign for Paddy Power.

  Poo Faces by Ben Mills and Matt Butterfield, class of 2014.

                Taxi Fabrics by Nathalie Gordon class of 2012.

Made in Watford. Written by Chris and Rosanna class of 2015, Creative Directed by Orlando Warner and co- directed by Tim McNaughton, all ex students.

              George and Lizzie, class of 2014. Their first TV ad.

Nikki Lindman 2008 and Toby Brewer 2007. Robinsons. BBH and Harvey Nichols. DDB.

 Promo trailer for WIA by Hannah Ford, class of 2004.

A speculative film written by Oli and Josie at BBH. Class of 2014. 


Doritos by Jez Tribe and Prabs AMV/BBDO.
              Class of 2002.

                Guardian newspaper co written by Mark Lewis 
                                          class of 2007.

Valentines Day Mastercard ad from team Ben Brazier and Johnny Ruthwen. Class of 2006, now at WCRS.

Chloe and Jess class of 2013 with a great TV spot to highlight domestic violence. 

M and S 'Back To School' campaign by Nic and Andy for RKCR/Y&R. Class of 2002.

Levis by Gavin Lester and Antony Goldstein. Class of a long time ago.

  Ben Clapp and Russell Schaller. Class of 2002.

Nike by Big Stu Harkness class of '98.

 Heineken and Reebok.Two cracking ads from Brian Turner and Micky Tudor. Class of 1996. 

'Anti-gay' Russian dolls by Paddy Fraser class of 2008.
Now Creative Director of Crispin Porter Los Angeles.

Ikea by Thom Whittaker and Danielle Noelle. Class of 2008.


Magners cider and VW from team Pete Heyes and Matt Lee, class of 1996.

So Moneysupermarket. So Watford. Most of the Moneysupermarket TV ads at Mother were written by ex Watford students: Richard/Jolyon. Tim McNaughton,Thom/Danielle, Craig/Fernando.

Not all students stay in advertising. 

Keeping Rosy by Steve Reeves Director, class of 1978 and Mike Oughton writer class of 1997.

Some ex students are highly successful authors.

Anti-knife crime campaign by Laurent Simon and Aidan McClure. Class of 2006. 

Chloe Pope and Jess Morris. Class of 2013.

Yanny Elliott, Ex Mother, now Creative Director at Fabula. Class of 1998.

Matt Skolar copywriter on Mattessons Hank Marvin ad.

Mark Slack and Gemma Phillips. Thinkbox ad. Class of 2006.

Caroline Pay's Schweppes press campaign for Mother. Class of 1997.

Myles Bingham's homage to Watford.

Class of 2008.

 Toy Story by Graeme Hall class of 2002.
Graeme is now a creative lead at Google Labs.

Monday, 23 October 2017


Ridicule is a political weapon. 
The United States know the power of ridicule all too well.
In 1948, the U.S. distributed a film to Italy called Ninotchka. The film starring Greta Garbo poked fun at life in Russia.  
After seeing the film many Italians changed their vote in the Italian general elections from the Communist party to the Christian Democrats. 

Al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi lost his aura of invincibility in 2006 when the U.S. military released raw outtakes of a captured video showing the terrorist chief to be a befuddled bumbler who didn’t know how to operate a machine gun.

Dictators, terrorists, and totalitarians cannot tolerate being laughed at. Ridicule  is a robust underground phenomenon in any society.

In Venezuela, women stripped off their pants and threw them at riot police, taunting the young men to “man up” and put them on. Jeering crowds laughed and chanted for them to “wear some pants.”  Once the public could make fun of the repressive regime,everyone knew the police state’s time was running out.

The Soviet leadership is so fearful of humor  the KGB have a Department of Jokes. It's a sub unit of their political enforcement section designated to prevent jokes spreading about the state.

Recently, the Russian authorities encouraged musicians to upload pop videos to Youtube which ridiculed the anti-government protesters. Alisa Vox uploaded a video which scorned the protesters over mispelt placards.  

And rapper Platkha likened young Russian protesters to  'rich brats on  lamp posts'. A reference to the lamp posting protesters in Red Square.

If ridicule works for governments and for their opponents would it work for brands?  

Could a brand move an audience closer to a purchase by humiliating them?

Would  commuters carrying Apple phones be photographed and instantly converted in to an image of a sheep on Samsung's digital posters with baa baa sounds bleating from nearby speakers?

Would drivers  caught texting have to change their car number plate to: TWAT.?   (Texter Who's A Tosspot)

Would Gillette appoint welly wearing fisherman as bouncers at hipster night clubs in front of neon signs that say,  Beardies. Comb  out the maggots  or you're not coming in?

Would Ambre Solaire erect pop up cinema seats in front of sleeping sunbathers on Spanish beaches and invite an audience to watch The British  Idiot, with a live  kazoo orchestra ?

Would Mcdonalds hire a bunch of Ronald Mcdonald  clowns to flash mob Burger King and taunt the staff and customers with derisory chants?  

No, of course they wouldn't. That would be too ridiculous.

The views of this blog do not reflect in any way  the opinions of my employer. They do, however, reflect the views of Harry the hedgehog who lives in my shed.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017


You failed your Maths. 
You failed your Chemistry. 
You failed your Biology.
You even failed Geography.
And everyone said Geography was easy.

Or, maybe you didn't fail. 
You just got poor grades.

Your parents are worried. 
They look at you and ask, 'What are you gonna do with your life?'

You tell them this:

The educational establishment can't grade Energy.
They can't mark Intuition either.  
And they certainly can't give you a diploma in Instinct. 
There's no Degree in Attitude.
No GCSE in Fun.
No certificate in Thinking On Your Feet, Talking Your Way Out Of A Tight Spot or Making People Laugh In The Pub On A Sunday Afternoon.

If you are not right for university you might be able to get the best qualification out there. A Degree in Life. 

So here's what you do:  you work, you travel, you meet people, you have fun.

Hand out club flyers in Prague.
Or bottled water to refugees in Lesbos.
Scrub down the decks of yachts in Sydney Harbour.
Talk  to Peruvian farmers.
Get lost in the Atacama.
Busk in Paris.
Play cricket with the locals in Mumbai.
Serve cocktails in New York, ribs in Dublin and coffee in Naples.
Wash cars in Vancouver.
Dig irrigation ditches in Djibouti. 
Paint a school in Uganda.
Then come back to the UK, make a cup of tea and apply for the Watford Creative Ad School.

This crazy business called advertising doesn't care about what you did or didn't do at school. 

It cares about what you do and who you are.
Ad agencies value your personality. 
A personality which has been formed by your worldly wisdom.
and your emotional insights. 
They want your taste in  Ethiopian music, Armenian pottery and Ecuadorian art.  
And they want your desire and your passion in problem solving.

If you are an academic failure, that could be an advantage.
And you should think seriously about a career in advertising. 
The creative industry needs you.
And so do I.

Apply to The Watford Creative Ad School. 
Not now, of course.
After you have lived a bit and learned a lot.
(The average age of people on the course is 24.)

The more you fail on the course the more successful you'll be as a creative.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Ed Sheeran appeared on my dinner plate.

I don't get Ed Sheeran. 

I find his music derivative, unexciting, cliched and lyrically vapid.

I had quite a heated debate when I tried to put this point across to a bunch of unimpressed Sheeran fans at a family gathering.

I was firmly rebuked for not having musical taste.

That evening my wife had cooked a rather delicious stir fry.
At the end of the meal my plate was swimming in soy sauce. 

Not one to let good flavours go to waste, I raised the plate to my mouth and slurped the remaining sauce. 

I placed the plate down and to my horror I found a gloating, evil Ed Sheeran staring back at me.

I took this to be a sign to do two things. 
To keep my musical opinions to myself. 
And to put less soy sauce on my Chinese food.

The thought of inviting Ed Sheeran around to apologize did cross my mind. 

But I reached for Frank Zappa's Weasels Ripped My Flesh album instead.

Here is the undoctored picture.