A Refreshing Change

…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.

Mr Van Damme

I’ve had the good fortune to work on a few beer brands in my time: Carlsberg; Budweiser; Harp; Amstel and even Coors Light.

But this little offering from Coors Light featuring Mr Van Damme has really got my goat. You see, the strategy is: ‘The world’s most refreshing beer.’

How long are ad agency planners and strategists going to flog this withered old strategy for beer brands?

Surely brand managers themselves must want to at least try and differentiate themselves from all the other ‘refreshing’ beer brands?

While I was at DDB I worked on Carlsberg. As we all know the ‘Probably’ strategy was about the product being premium tasting.

I then went to work for BBDO and worked on Budweiser and Harp. The Head of Planning disappeared for six months and came back with a strategy for Harp which was that it was refreshing.

Stone the fucking crows. Genius. I’m only astounded that he came up with it in such a short space of time.

My granny could write a better strategy than that. (My granny was Planning Director at Saatchi’s, Nepal.)

Now this was back in the late 90’s and apparently things don’t seem to have moved on a great deal.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to the pub because I’m thirsty. If I wanted to satiate my thirst I’d get a glass of water. I go to the pub to get pissed.

Even something like: ‘Hits the spot’, (as a strategy, not a strapline), alludes to refreshment but is also about satisfaction and taste. (Maybe Strongbow have already done this.)

Although the creative team at VCCP have had to work with a tired old strategy they’ve still managed to come up with a quite nicely written film. Not great, just a decent day at the office. But I’m sure they could have done a whole lot better had they had a decent strategy to work with in the first place.

I know you can’t do ads about getting pissed, the ASA won’t allow it – Damn them all to Hades! But let’s at least have a stab at coming up with a refreshing strategy. I don’t mean a strategy about refreshment, I mean refreshing as in, oh forget it…

Here’s one I prepared earlier with ‘big flavour’ as the strategy. I did want to do it as a building wrap, but I guess an adshell will suffice.

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