…is about ideas. Ideas that make people think, make people smile, make people laugh, make people change the way they behave. It’s about creativity. Creativity in advertising and design....

... Creativity in the field of poetry, literature and screenplays. It’s about art. Sharing it, discovering it. Trying to understand it. It’s about getting things done. Not waiting for someone else to do it, or relying on someone else to get it done for you. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I have over 25 years experience in the ad industry working for agency brands such as: DDB; TBWA; BBDO; O&M and McCann’s as a CD / AD / CW. I have won over 100 awards, including Cannes; D&AD; One Show; Campaign and Epica. For brands such as: VW; Audi; Carlsberg; Black & White Whisky, Smirnoff, Coors, Cadbury’s; Coca-Cola; Heinz; Peugeot; Nissan and Meteor to name a few.

I’m also a published writer, I was short listed for the Independent on Sunday Short Story Competition in 1997. My short story, “Woman’s Best Friend”, also appears in the IOS New Stories published by Bloomsbury.

My poetry has been widely published in Ireland, Britain and the US in anthologies and periodicals such as: The U.S. Literary Review, Envoi, Cyphers, Electric Acorn, W.P. Monthly, Lifelines 3, The Haiku Quarterly and The Amnesty International Anthology: Human Rights Have No Borders.

I am the author of six feature length screenplays, six short films, a collection of short stories, a poetry collection and my first novel which contains 85,000 words, some of which are in the correct order.

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21 June 2010 - 2:21pm | posted by | 0 comments

What’s all the palaver about digital?

Online, digital, social media, multi-media, web, they’re simply canvases in the same way press, posters, or TVCs are.

I work in boxes. Whether it’s a 96 sheet poster or an online banner ad, I start the same way. I find out as much about the client as I can. The same goes for the consumer, the competition and the market. Then I work with clients, account handlers and planners developing a strategy and a creative brief.

After all that prep work is done, I get out my A4 layout pad and black pen and I start scribbling ideas. Words first. Ideas come from words. We describe ideas to each other in words. Even if the idea we are describing is an image.

Once I have an idea I start scribbling boxes. Vertical ones, horizontal ones. Tall ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones. Sometimes they’re rectangular, sometimes they’re square.

If it’s an online banner ad I treat it like a cross between a press ad and a little animated TVC. So I might stretch it to three boxes.

Do I know how to code a splash ad? No. But nor do I know how to be a DP on a film shoot or print a newspaper. What I do know is that whatever canvases we are using to talk to our target audience, we need an idea.

I think there is an over reliance on the machine over the mind.

Ideas first, tools second.

Whether we use a 48 sheet or a social media campaign depends what part of the consumer pathway to purchase we are on. Online is better for retail and direct response as we are usually asking the consumer to do something immediately. What’s a website but an online brochure or catalogue?

There is an unfounded mysticism surrounding digital among clients and traditional ad agencies. Of course digital is the way forward as that’s where we will increasingly find our audiences, but they’re not going to turn into Tron-like hermits who only inhabit cyberspace.

So get your layout pads out, draw three skinny horizontal boxes and there you go, you’ve got an online banner ad template. Now all you have to do is come up with a brilliant idea to put in them.

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