Monthly Archives: January 2014

Dear Aviva

Aviva Logo

Dear Aviva,

Thank you for recognising that car insurance is boring and rather than trying to make it interesting, for opting for the branded entertainment route with comedy genius Paul Whitehouse.

Your – or rather his – latest Country House Rescue inspired effort featuring Lord and Lady Brasswick had me in stitches.

“Still, these modern motors are really jolly good. Brum, Brum…and so forth” has to be one of my favourite ever lines in advertising.

There has always been a strong link between comedy and advertising. It’s not that surprising when you think that (observational) comedians and marketeers are in effect both chasing the same pot of gold – that hook, that connection, that piece of understanding the connects a comedian to his audience or a brand to its target consumer in a way that genuinely stirs their emotions.

Or put another way: Insight.

It’s just that for marketeers, it doesn’t have to be funny.

People do degrees in Comedy these days (I’m not joking) so no doubt they would have far more insightful observations than me on this topic – a spot of google research in a spare moment methinks.

Degree in Comedy

The typical image of artist and corporation trying to collaborate is – in my mind at least – one of conflict. Artist (comedian in this case) wants to express himself in the way he sees fit, corporation (you) has key objectives, ROI measures to consider and the rest of the constraining cultural facets of the business world.

So I am left wondering how the relationship with the advertising agency works. Does Paul create the character and the ad agency the script? Not sure that would work. Does everybody sit down and work together? Cannot really see that working either – and if I were the agency I would be particularly nervous that my every move was being monitored by Paul making observations for his next not so flattering “ad-man” character. 

But I guess there is a common thread – the quest for insight…and great work. As a comedian, Paul wants to connect with people and make them laugh – it’s in his blood. You want to connect with people and make them remember you. And the ad agency wants to product great looking work. Which in the case of Lord and Lady Brasswick they certainly have – the styling and executing is spot on!


Thanks again






Dear Thomson

thomson holidays logo

Dear Thomson,

Thank you for Simon the Ogre…he’s fascinating to watch and so easy to empathise with (I pity him as much as a feel his pain), and as such he’s a highly insightful departure from the norm.

Thank you turning the usual Department of Tourism style Experience the mystery of Cyprus cliché that tends to appear at this time of year on its head.


What I really admire is how whilst breaking from the norm and standing out, you’ve also managed to keep so many of the traditional holiday codes, that are reflected (expected?) in advertising.

The pool, the beach, the clear blue sea, the happy kids, the delicious food and the inevitable attractive-wife-in-bikini* that The Sunday Times Travel section is so fond of – she features more weeks than not I reckon…

Sunday Times Travel

…Although unlike the editors over at The Sunday Times, you’ve been good enough to give her a face and the chance not to wear a white bikini.

And thank you to whoever did the music. Somehow, to my ear anyway, you / they have managed to combine Adele’s Someone like you with Keane’s (or should I say Lily Allen’s / John Lewis’) Somewhere only we know.

Good effort that.

Thanks again.


*Also see Virgin’s Holidays Tanuary Sale. Although to be fair to them, they put the hunks in their trunks too:

Virgin Tanuary Hunk


Virgin Tanuary Sale

Dear The Guardian


Dear The Guardian,

Thank you for appealing to my weekends-are-for-doing-stuff aspiration and for giving me a right laugh with your latest advert.

Insightful editorial theme for January too.

Of course it’s nice to have nothing planned and to do nothing from time to time, but doesn’t life feel so much better when things are being done, ticks are being added to mental do-list and new challenges are being tackled?

Even if badly. And especially in January

I think so.

And thank you for helping yourself to the emerging cultural code brought to us by Breaking Bad (middle-aged-man-in-white-underpants-with-shoes-still-on) to convey Ian’s chaotic unravelling.

Walter White Underpants

Walter would be proud.

Thanks again