- SXSW 2016 talk - Screw Email! Why the clever comms are handmadeLike all great things, this story started in a pub. A drunken conversation inspired us to submit a proposal for a talk, which was accepted. Six months later, we spoke in the 1,000 capacity Grand Austin Ballroom about the marketing stopping power of handwritten letters. The 60 minute presentation featured original interviews with ad-land legends Rory Sutherland and Steve Harrison, as well as 2 rising start up stars. Our talk was subsequently covered by several media outlets. We also received over
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- Screw Email! Why Letter Is The Most Effective Way To Reach Your Customer | Feature ArticleBefore you press send, it’s time to think outside the [in]box... In 490BC, an Athenian herald (or ancient courier) named Pheidippides performs an act that arguably makes him one of the great communicators of history: he runs a couple of hundred kilometres to the King of Sparta to deliver a vital message that the Persian army are approaching. Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t ideal. The Spartans were observing Carnea, a festival of peace and were therefore unable to send their army to help. The Greeks were forced to face the Persians in battle and against all odds achieved the unthinkable – victory. In the wake of the victory, another odyssey began for poor Pheidippides. This time a 43 kilometre run from Athens to Marathon to announce the news. Upon reaching the destination – the summit of the Acropolis – he fell to his knees, declared their miraculous triumph and died. That morbid but lasting legacy of those last 43 kilometres (or 26.5 miles) became the inspiration for our modern Marathon, first formally introduced at the 1896 Olympics. So, what can we learn from Pheidippides the communicator? And why did London-based creative team Ran and Max decide to tell this particular story in their keynote at this year’s SXSW Festival in Austin? Now, as in ancient Greece, the point is this: the visible effort that’s put behind a message matters. It was true then, it’s true now and always will be. It’s so often the case that the value comes in not what you’re communicating, but how. Pheidippides started something that has become the hallmark of hard work. For over a century, people have used marathons to make a visible effort of spreading a message about something. It’s doubtful this event would have been quite so impactful if Pheidippides was able to just send a quick email. For all its purposes – an online letterbox, a business diary, a marketing medium, email has definite (and arguably increasing) shortcomings. According to Ran (Stallard) & Max (Maclean), businesses send 12% more emails year on year. A staggering 143 billion are sent per day purely by marketers alone. In fact, if we were to physically print out these daily emails onto regular A4 paper, the collective result would weigh more than eleven Empire State buildings. So what solutions are the creatives suggesting in an age of email overwhelm? Handmade communication. It’s both powerful and underused, especially by marketers. A standard piece of email marketing has open rate of 16.8%. This drops down to an abysmal 2.9% if sent by an insurance company. Comparatively, the average open rate of a piece of handmade communication is a staggering 99%. This may seem inflated but when was the last time you left a letter addressed to you unopened? and In the US, the typical internet-user, receives an average of 50 marketing emails a day but a handwritten letter every seven weeks. It stands out. Steve Harrison, the most awarded Direct Marketing Creative Director of all time, says that sending something handmade is like sending a piece of the real world. Steve consumes mass media knowing it is produced for others, but with handmade, he feels like the special recipient. He also asserts that handwritten communication makes us more honest. Just think of the importance and gravity placed upon the old fashioned concept of a signature. Banks are still willing to stake fortunes on how someone crosses a ‘t’ or dots an ‘i’. And in terms of actual value, handwritten is still vastly superior. A handwritten letter from Sir Francis Crick to his son describing his discovery of the double helix DNA sold for a whopping US$6 million in 2013. Ran and Max contend that marketers who supply to this demand of a personal touch definitely reap the rewards. Rory Sutherland, a fellow Oglivy associate, also supports the theory. He states that in London – or any global city for that matter – one is exposed to thousands of adverts a day. Yet every so often an advert breaks the pattern – its stands out like an X amongst Os. And this is vital because our minds separate things that are different, not just improved versions of the same thing. Rory explains that our brains don’t just passively receive communication, they actively decode it. For instance, if you receive two wedding invitations with notionally identical information, but one is delivered by email and the other on an embossed card, the information they convey is noticeably different. The chances of getting free champagne, for example, seem much higher at the wedding with the embossed cards. In biology, this is known as costly signalling. He points out that in the animal kingdom, a peacock’s tail exists for decorative purposes but it also serves as a genetic proxy to female bird. In short, we infer things from their presentation. This judgment is so visceral because it has actually been built into our hardware as a tactic for survival. Like the effort of having a beautiful tail as a male peacock, Rory believes meaningful communication is also somehow effortful. Either in its cost of transmission, means of creation or inherent creativity. These things show we have put thought into the message. Its value lies directly in its difficulty. So next time you go reach out to lapsed client over email, or even that long-distance friend, maybe pick up a pen instead – there will be a fundamental difference in reception. As it was reiterated on the day: “Digital may have the reach [but] handmade has the grasp.” Ran and Max’s three rules for creative, unique communication: 1) Be a human – a little bit of humanity goes a really long way 2) Be a fisherman – with a rod not a net. You’re better off targeting right fish with right bait 3) Be creative – creativity is fundamentally interesting and demands attention
- Bulmers Orchard Pioneers: Live from the OrchardBulmers’ new Orchard Pioneers range champions two of their growers with their own flavours of cider: Sarah Hawkins’ Red Apple, and Kier Rogers’ Cloudy Apple. To launch the new products, we put cameras in Kier and Sarah’s Herefordshire orchards and streamed delightfully dull footage of apple blossom growing live into digital billboards in cities around the UK. This pretty little slice of the English countryside served as a reminder to people as to the natural and wholesome origin of their delicious cider. Below are some stills taken from the digital 6 sheets. Agency: Ogilvy & Mather London Production co: Hoipolloi Director: Sim Warren
- Pukka Pimm'sPimm’s is the ultimate British summer drink; and that’s the problem! To drive sales during the chillier months, we connected Pimm’s with a culinary occasion: curry. This also solved the problem for the high percentage of curry-eaters who don't like beer. Pimm's has the perfect balance of sweet and spice (minus the nasty tannins of wine and the overpowering strength of other spirits) - making it the ideal alcoholic drink to accompany an Indian feast. To showcase this new combination, we opened the Pukka Pimm’s pop up on Brick Lane. The experiment surprised and delighted the media, public and trade bodies, and gave Pimm's a new purpose and drinking occasion outside of garden parties and BBQs.
- Badge of ShameFootball fans are incredibly passionate about their clubs. Unfortunately sometimes this passion is mis-channeled in the form of racist slurs and songs, which turn the beautiful game ugly. We conceived a campaign to remind fans that racism is racism, no matter the context. And more than that, they hinder their own team rather than help it if they participate. The message? If you behave like a racist, you shame the shirt.
- A Little More ActionTo launch Philips’ latest innovation, the Health Watch, we wanted to dramatise the main product benefit – improved heart health – by using the most unlikely of ambassadors: Elvis Presley. The idea was simple: help The King live again by using the Philips Health Watch to improve the heart health of his spiritual successor: the Elvis tribute artist. The campaign tells the story of Keith Hart, a software engineer from Portland who dreamt of performing as his hero, but was being held back by his health and lack of confidence. We gave Keith 5 weeks and a challenge: to transform himself from overweight desk-worker, to all-singing all-dancing stage star. With the help of the Philips personal health programs, and a champion Elvis Tribute Artist mentor (Dean Z), Keith underwent an amazing journey, and proved that small steps are all you need to improve your health and achieve the things you never dreamed possible. Agency: Ogilvy & Mather London Executive Creative Director: Gerry Human Creative Director: Trevallyn Hall Director: Peter King
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Senior CreativeBWM Dentsu
Sydney, AustraliaFull Time
Senior Copywriter at BWM Dentsu. Working on Sydney Kings, Qantas and Selleys among other brands.
Senior CreativeACNE London
- Faringdon, United KingdomFull Time
Senior Copywriter at ACNE London. Hired for my unusual blend of startup and advertising experience, I became the 1st creative in the new London hot-shop, which I helped to build from the ground up. While at ACNE, I was instrumental in winning pitches, recruiting staff and charting the agency through the notoriously treacherous 'Year 1'. Among other brands, I worked on Portuguese energy brand EDF and created an award-winning diversity initiative called 'Diversify Your Feed,'
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- Creative Direction
- Online Campaigns
- Print Campaigns
- TV Campaigns
- Script Writing
- Sound Production
Creative AdvertisingSchool of Communication Arts 2.0
- London, United Kingdom
I joined revolutionary ad school as part of their 4th ever intake: Love thy Labour. While there, I learned copywriting and creativity from Industry leading mentors, like John Hegarty, and arts world masters, like Bruno Maag (typesetting) and the band Gang of Four. I graduated in one of the top 3 teams (partnered with the very talented Ran Stallard) before going on to work at Ogilvy. I continue to return to the SCA to mentor on a regular basis.
Modern History, Ancient History, LatinUniversity of Edinburgh
- Edinburgh, United Kingdom
For my 'proper' degree, I read a double honours degree in History & Classics at the University of Edinburgh. While I remember very little Latin or of the past (I honestly don't know what I breakfast), History and Classics is effectively a degree in incisive analysis and source criticism with battle tanks and sea nymphs thrown in for good measure; skills which I retain to this day. In my spare time, I ran the award-winning student radio station Fresh Air, where I developed a passion for chaotic (good) creativity and a DIY ethos.