Nice out

I spend a lot of time asking myself,  is there any point to the ad industry ?

It’s a tough question.

But every now and again, I get an answer.

In this case, I was meeting a friend in the Nordic Bakery for Friday lunch, got there 10 minutes early, and sat in Golden Square. And really, Golden Square and Soho Square, on a hot sunny lunchtime, are the two main reasons why advertising should continue to exist.

It’s that simple really.

But of course,  now that spring has come, an ad -man’s fancy turns to …  posters, or indeed anything which qualifies as “outdoor media” in the awards classifications.

“Ambient” is the word, I suppose, although that always makes me think of the football chant “you’re going home in an ambient”.

Which, if you were going to use Nike’s Chalkbot, would take you several days.

But talking of outdoors, I had a look at the Outdoor Hall of Fame on the Brand Republic website.

Some great stuff there. – for me, the golden age of posters was mid-period CDP –  Heineken and Benson & Hedges.

Beer and fags.

Although my favourite poster of all time wasn’t there.  (And nor were some of my own – like the Time Out Monk or Tube Map,  and the First Direct stuff with deliberately prosaic images – the latter certainly the most talked-about work of that year. Or, if you’re talking ambient – how about the time HHCL launched  a Tango variant by littering a festival with empty bottles of the not-yet-launched drink  ? Honestly, what have the organisers got against me ?! )

But my all-time favourite is either the Benetton baby (which is there) or the Fiat poster of the wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Which isn’t.

Has there ever been a better car poster ?

You looked at it and just thought “you can’t do that”.

CDP did tons of great posters, and part of that was a (very healthy) attitude to self-publicity.

Self-publicists love posters. Because posters are the equivalent of shouting, or wearing something totally outrageous in public.

Which works in Golden Square, too.

Apparently CDP used to brief the media companies to buy all the sites near their offices so that when the clients arrived by taxi and were shown some CDP ads, they felt like they were seeing work which was already famous.

Dunno who’s doing great outdoor work, right now. Is anybody ? I really like the Lurpak stuff.

But then a friend of mine sent me a couple of Vimeo links, and I saw what could be done in outdoor now.

The first one is a masterpiece of animation, with some awesome outdoor ideas in it.  And if, at ten minutes long,  you might think – when am I going to watch that ? – trust me,  nothing much happens in the first 10 minutes of a meeting anyway.

This is a total mind-f*ck and incredibly witty.

And the second one is last year’s TED winner. It shows how fantastic photographic skills can match up with a passionate desire to make the world a better place – to create some of the most stunning outdoor work you’ll ever see.

And at a fraction of what you’re currently spending.

Whatever you’re currently spending .


I’m off to spend my lunchtime in the park.

  • Chris Worsley

    Bottles at festivals?? mid-90’s? Did you by any chance do the Tango milk floats too? I thought that was a great idea at the time.

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