I worked the first eighteen years of my career in ad agencies. The next thirteen years were spent in digital marketing agencies. Here is a loosely themed snapshot of some of the projects I have had a hand in, and some of the experience I’ve picked up along the way. This is the most copy-heavy page on the site. I wrote it for potential clients who want some depth to their desk research before making contact.
Advertising, with an inadvertent specialism in Challenger Brands.
Whether by accident or design I have worked with quite a few challenger brands. And I have been involved with some high cut-through challenger ad campaigns. I’ve been fortunate to work with Adam Morgan and Eat Big Fish on a couple of projects.
- Grolsch (versus Stella Artois)
- Phileas Fogg (versus the entire premium salty snack market)
- Business AM (versus the FT, Scotsman and Herald)
- IRN-BRU (versus Coca Cola)
- Honda (versus Toyota, Ford etc.)
- Coors Light (versus Budweiser)
- Beat 106 (versus Radio 1, Forth FM, Clyde FM)
- Bailie Nicol Jarvie (versus Famous Grouse et al)
I have also worked on advertising strategy and campaigns for Shell UK, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Alpen, Baillie Gifford, Standard Life, Cutty Sark whisky, Tennent’s Lager, ScottishPower, Dunlop Slazenger, Orangina, and Beefeater Steakhouses.
Back in 2006 I helped to found a digital agency called Blonde. That was a year after YouTube launched, a year before the first iPhone, and about the same time that Facebook opened up to everyone over the age of 13. The next few years were like the Wild West of digital marketing. Every single project for every single brand involved both technical and creative innovation. Every project was an experiment. For a short time brands were the most creative content publishers on the internet. Large-scale organic reach was a realistic objective for most campaigns. User-generated content (UGC) ideas actually worked. Social media were life-affirming bastions of humanity. Branded content regularly went genuinely viral.
Here, in roughly chronological order, are some of the brands and projects I worked on between 2006 and 2020.
- Interactive video, immersive online brand experience (The Green Light District), e-CRM, and digital advertising for Grolsch beer.
- Digital marketing strategy, branded content, community management, online sponsorship activation, and influencer marketing (on Bebo!) for IRN-BRU. (Research paper that I co-authored for the Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice – How IRN-BRU Made Its First Million.)
- Interactive educational content for Open University.
- Interactive content and data visualisation for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
- Brand definition, scenario planning and website content strategy for Harrison Parrott.
- Primary research, stakeholder management and scenario planning for My Royal Mail intranet.
- Social media and content strategy for Royal Mail’s “Gold Medal Stamp” sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
- Audience insight, scenario planning, content strategy for Connect Group PLC intranet.
- Content strategy and influencer marketing for BASF.
- Product vision and user story workshops for a major retail bank website.
- Digital advertising, social media strategy for Baillie Gifford.
- Digital transformation consultancy for Bowers & Wilkins.
- Brand definition for TravelNest.
Bedside manner – working with senior stakeholders
I have done this, and I do this – a lot – for all sorts of projects in all sorts of contexts. In my advertising days I often presented new campaigns to C-Suite directors as the final stage of approval. More latterly, working on brand definition and strategic digital projects, the emphasis has switched from presenting to, to working with, senior managers.
Senior stakeholders like to be listened to, they respond well to intelligently naive questions, they appreciate direct, pragmatic advice, and they love it when you clarify and simplify.