Just be amazing!

Just be amazing!

I heard an interview with Rory Reid the other day. Don't know him? You will do soon. Well probably, depends if you watch Top Gear. Rory is a radio presenter and applied to be on the show. In the interview he told us of his long series of auditions and the obligatory driving-a-fast-car-while-talking-to-camera screen tests. After all of this he got a call. To tell him he was unsuccessful. He was understandably gutted. So he went out and made this video. He made it to demonstrate to himself and the world he thought he was the right person for the job. that he had something no one else had and they had made a mistake.

He sent it to them and said when you get a chance have a look. They next day they called him back to offer him the job.

Watch the video and you realise how different he is to anyone else that's been on the show.  He stood out. and he offered something no-one else did. Just a reminder to all of us... especially for those in advertising or marketing.

The future is 360

The future is 360

I'm a huge fan of Rory Sutherland. Occasionally i'll listen to his talks just for inspiration or to learn a simple way to say something complicated.

Often I have the lecture's on in the background, however I noticed this, while it was playing in YouTube.

It's the familiar Google maps navigation device. 

Play with it in this video. Or even use your little grabby hand and move the video.

Oh my god, how cool is that?

It's a pretty awesome feature. Just in case it's not working for you, as you move the navigation icon, you move around the room. Perhaps this talk is not the most exciting use of this tech. However i'm looking forward to premier league games on YouTube next season.

Advertising doesn't work on me

Advertising doesn't work on me

Look down. 

Actually before we start, this is only relevant to males... sorry.

Look down.

What are you wearing? I don't want to sound too crude, but, what underwear are you wearing?

There's a strong chance it's boxer shorts.

Now watch this

In 1984 UK men didn't really think much about what underwear they wore. In fact if you look at many pictures from the time you'd be correct in thinking they didn't think much about their outerwear too.

Briefs though were common.

When the BBH creatives came up with this ad to promote Levis shrink fit 501's, the script originally had Nick Kamen wearing briefs. When the producers sent the idea to the Advertising Standards Authority they took exception. They didn't feel briefs left much to the imagination. The ASA suggested a compromise, they said they'd be fine if he wore boxer shorts.


This was 1984. In the early 80's boxer shorts were what middle aged American men wore. It was a daggy throwback to the 1950's. However they still wanted to make the ad and Nick was a good looking guy, so it could still work, and so it was made.

Many Levis were sold.

And many boxer shorts too.

Unexpectedly Boxer shorts were now seen as sexy. Men could now pose semi naked without the unfortunate budgie smuggler look... if they were so inclined. Boxer shorts infiltrated British media and culture. Eastenders characters were caught-in-the-act in boxer shorts, Matt Goss from Bros. appeared on stage in just his American flag boxers and more relevant if you're a guy, you're probably wearing them now.

Fashion changed just by an ad and it wasn't even trying to sell them.

Advertising is pervasive. Sometimes it mimics culture and sometimes it changes it.

Don't over think it

Don't over think it

In 1997 Gary Kasparov was world chess champion and believed to be the greatest player ever. In an historic tournament he was pitted against the best artificial intelligence had to offer, IBM's Deep Blue.

Kasparov wiped the floor with Deep Blue in the first game and a similar result was on in the second. Given the many moves possible by both players, even grandmasters are only able to think 4 or 5 moves ahead.  Midway through the second game Deep Blue made a move that threw Gary. This move seemed like a backward step. It didn't progress it's attack and it hardly bolstered it's defence. Yet this super computer made such an ordinary move. This panicked Gary. Could it be that Deep Blue's processor could assess far more moves ahead than he could? Could it see a future possible situation where this would be the best move?

If a computer could think this far ahead how could he ever beat it? The first game must have been a learning process and now it had figured out his style of play. Could this be the end for human intellect? These are the thoughts that worried Kasparov and eventually he forfeited the second game.

This dread affected him so much that he lost one more game and drew the others. He lost the series 2-1 and the world's best human was beaten for the first time by the world's best computer.

Years later the truth came. Tournament rules require a move to be made in a set amount of time. In 1997 even super computers were only so good. It couldn't calculate every possible combination of move and response in the time limit. So it's programming made it perform a safe default move so it didn't forfeit the game. In essence Gary's mind was beaten by Gary's mind. Or in simpler words, he over thought it.

A good reminder to always play your own game and not to over think things so far into the future. We never really know what's going on in someone else's head. We can never be 100% sure of what motivates peoples actions, so let's not over engineer things.


Have you ever had to hide as an adult?


Have you ever had to hide as an adult?

This is an excerpt from a longer Steve Jobs quote about creativity. In essence no idea is original, it's just a joining of two things to create something new.

Whether you're in advertising or any industry where you have to solve problems it's important to fill your head with stimulation. Things to join with other things. Building blocks for creativity. Whether useful facts or weird bits of human truth.

Some people read, some people check out art galleries, I listen to Danny Baker. The god father of peculiar human truths. On his radio show it's common to hear the phone-in topics as random as "Who's the most famous person you've met in the rest room" or "Have you ever had to hide as an adult?".

Perhaps not accessible to all,  the answers these elicit tell you a lot about the minutia of human existence.  As a creative these spark colourful new thinking and as a minimum, break the silence when your partner has a creative block.

Check his podcast out below,


Or listen to an interview he did last year with comedian Richard Herring.


Stupid thinks complicated is clever

Stupid thinks complicated is clever

Two explorers are walking in the jungle. They come to a clearing, where they see a tiger. The tiger snarls and starts to approach them. Quickly, one of the explorers digs into his pack, pulls out running shoes, and starts putting them on. The other explorer looks at him quizzically and says,
“Surely you don’t think you can outrun a tiger?” 
"I don't need to outrun the tiger, I just need to outrun you"

This is an example of taking a problem you can't solve and and changing it to a problem you can solve. This is Predatory Thinking, and this is what Dave Trott is an expert in. 

When I talk to people and say advertising thinking will save the world, they look at me like i'm some right wing capitalist obsessive. I forget that people haven't spent years listening to talks and reading books by Dave Trott. He's an advertising creative director but first and foremost he's a simple thinker who solves problems without taking on board pre existing or lazy thinking.

I'm using my blog to showcase some of the great thinkers in my industry and he's #1 on my list. What he has to say will help any business. You don't need to watch, just have it on in the background while you do some important mouse wiggling.

If you want to read some of his wisdom check his blogs at

Campaign Live - Dave Trott Blog

Dave Trott's Blog


Tips from a master

Tips from a master

Not much blurb here just wanted to share these tips on being creative from someone who's life is all about seeing the world in a different way, John Cleese.

A fast education in advertising

A fast education in advertising

Many years ago I was wandering around the NGV book shop and bought George Lois's book "Damn Good Advice". I loved it and wanted more so hunted out and found the Future of Advertising podcast by Dave Birrs. A talented broadcaster and creative director.

I credit this podcast to sparking my decision to move from being a designer to being an advertising creative.

Dave interviews many of the ad industries creative heavy weights. He's no Paxman, he lets them tell their compelling story of finding their creative way. Some are opinionated (actually many, but in a good way) and some have  shrewd life lessons to share. 

If you want a fast track induction into the power of advertising to create people who "Think Different" and don't accept convention, then I gently nudge you in the ribs with a knowing wink  and encourage you to let these podcasts into your earholes.

All work copyright Dave Birrs