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August 11, 2011


Brilliant, and very true – I hadn’t thought about why Compare the Market works in those terms before. When you look at fiction, music, films, art – anything that lasts past the moment and becomes a ‘classic’ - you’re looking at the ones (more often than not) that deal in real emotion; that capture or say something about how real people think and feel.

It’s strange that it seems to be something that is harder to put into communications, when it’s probably something that should come more naturally to people...

This is a great post with a brilliant point.

I've always said empathy is a far more important 'tool' for a planner than the ability to quote the latest planner blog theory and you've beautifully articulated why. Lovely.

Wise and true words. Wholeheartedly agree.

There are too many of us disappearing up the collective ass of the industry's new consensus as to what's current and cool. And too few of us bringing the (real) outside world into our agencies, minds, and work.

Your post reminded me of this brilliant scene from Spike Jonzes' 'Adaptation':


Martin, you always come back with better examples, you seem to be annoying like that. Even when you're not intending to, the video has a pre-roll trailer for the new Conan film, which made my heart sink.

Urrrrgh, lets all give up.

The crashing displays of negativity from some of the very best people in this industry is making me think I want to sack the whole thing off and go and work for IDEO.

Actually I do want to do that, off to the job section!


Actually that's really unfair, all the APSOTW stuff shows that's really not the case. Just seems to be so much negativity about...maybe I'm too new to the industry and naive...or maybe you're all getting old and jaded :-)

Hi Tom
First I presume you refer to Rob, Sarah and Martin as the 'very best people' in this industry.
But anyway, that's a fair point, the older people in this industry do need to take care when they throw their opinions around..and they often forget people actually sometimes pay attention to what they say.
For the record, I think this is still one of the best jobs you can do, but like all industries, your experience of it varies greatly depending on where you work. An unfortunate development in recent times is that working as part of a big group can be a little demoralising, but on the other hand, it would fair to say that even at a place like that, one should count one's blessings, it really doesn't equate to working at Tescos.
I'm glad you find the school of the web stuff useful, I did hope that all the other might be useful too, thanks for pointing out when it's not the case.
There are many fantastic places to work, there are also many not so great. My conceptual audience for this blog are people who care about what they do..they want to great stuff with great people and don't see that conflicting with also being nice, decent and honourable. Rob often says that anger is energy and sometimes I personally get driven by what I don't want to do or be as nearly as much as what I do. I did, and do hope, the people I want to write this for will respond in the same way, but again, thanks for showing that it's a fine line between provocation and moaning.
(incidentally, when you get to my age, if you don't still want to change the world, you might as well give up, which means looking for battles wherever you can)

"But most people in agencies despise the people they create their ideas for and only really care about influencing a small community of peers who tend to work in West London."

Is this really true? I hope not.

I fear this is closer to the mark, 'despise' (but might be right for the creative department)might be too strong a word, but they certainly don't admire or make the effort to empathise with them enough. Like you can tell when someone has enjoyed making and ad and stuff, I think you can tell when they really care about the people they are trying to communicate with.
On the other hand, when so many in the media, of which we are a part are happy to use the term 'chav' you do wonder how appropriate the word despise might be.

Oh I wrote another comment that doesn't seem to have shown up?

Anyway, I wrote that I have learned all sorts from this blog, for which I will always be very grateful. Between here and the canalside view there is everything you could hope to learn as someone starting out in this industry - an amazing resource. It just seems the bashing of "NHS specs" and the like has become such a cliche now and writing entire posts berating different hues of planners seems weird. Something peculiar to advertising maybe.


Wow, it was a great post that it caught lots of comment.
Great thoughts.

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