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Having been fortunate enough to work with Dylan a bit I know that he's a very smart and switched-on chap - someone I respect a great deal. So I was interested to see what he'd have to say on these topics. 2 comments:

1. I was a little depressed by the 'spend a day in the TV production dept' answer. Yes, there's going to be some key moments of advertising and cultural transformation in there. But, personally, as someone who doesn't play in the TV arena I hope that this was just a shortcut answer for looking at creative archives in general.

2. The 'recruiting journalists' idea is interesting. I know many people think of some forms of blogging as a poor relation to journalism, but at the same time some of the habits it encourages helps one (well me at least) to think about and approach things differently. I'm in no way suggesting that I have the same skills as a journalist btw. Just that blogging is for me a good way to stretch myself.


I have downloaded and tried to play this on both Real Player and QT, and the audio doesn't sound right. (stuttered and delayed).

Any suggestions on what to use to play it?


I love what you're doing with the APS of the web; great initiative, "fo king" insightful. I can only say ... Keep up with the "good disruption", Russell.


I love the blog. However I found Dylan to be really disappointing.

There is an old saying that the reason that incest is a taboo in all cultures is because it breeds idiots.

I found the idea of genuflecting through reels to be a very staid and incestious way of thinking about creating compelling brand communications.

As your blog ably displays there is more to life than TV ads.

Perhaps the great challenge for any planner is to think how she can harness existing communities around the brand and whether she can create new communities of interest.

A recent cohort study by MindShare found a significant decline in TV viewing among the young as they multi-task between IM, blogs and TV. So how pedestrian to see such a slavish reliance on TV.

Great, fantastic blog Russell.

I think you're all missing the point. Which is fair enough. But maybe you should check your assumptions about people who happen to work in agencies before you leap to conclusions about what they're saying.

But maybe it's because Dylan and I have been talking about his so long that we operate in short-hand.

I would have thought that everyone would simply assume that we're not just talking about TV ads any more. I thought that conversation was over years ago. That's the problem with a lot of the 'media neutral' revolution - people act like it's new news.

Dylan is not talking about spending a day with the TV department to learn about ads. He's talking about being part of a production department in order to learn about film. The grammar of film. The language of film. The skills it takes to communicate in short blips of film. He's not talking about ad reels, he's talking about director's reels. He's talking about the fact that great strategy comes from an understanding of great execution. Because, while it's completely obvious that people are watching less TV advertising, it's similarly overwhelmingly obvious that short bits of film are still the most vital, compelling, effective, compact bits of communications stuff out there. (It's just we're not going to deliver them via TV advertising any more.)

And, as communication about commucation becomes increasingly based in video (from briefs to internal sales pieces) it's vital that planners know - intimately - how to make effective bits of film, because that's how you communicate with large corporations these days.

What a shame to see such a pedestrian assumption that learning about film means learning about TV ads.

Glad you like the blog. :)


sorry - I'm not sure what to tell you. the audio quality isn't great. but it shouldn't stutter.

does anyone else have the same problem?

The way to learn about these things is hang out where people are doing them.

I've been very lucky to visit some sets and see story boards then the finished version come alive, and watch a plethora of mad directors and patient gentle editors.

Ah, the magic that is the creative process!

I hope I didn't offend anyone by suggesting that 'film' or TV ads (or both) were shorthands for great creative work. I think my misunderstanding if a factor of my paranoia (see below) and perhaps the fact I wasn't listening closely enough.

I completely agree that brilliant film has always, and still does, possess the ability to deliver emotional connection, engagement and stories in the most stunning ways. And I'm in no way suggesting that delivery, narrative, pace, style, intrigue, surprise (and all the great components of brilliant film) aren't things that great communicators (and of course planners) should have an understanding of, and the utmost respect for.

I'm really intrigued to know whether Russell thinks that online brand communications will ultimately tend towards containting more filmic traits?

One of the things that I think has surprised a lot of people online is that over the last couple of years is the amount of importance placed on multimedia (film, animation, whatever) actually seems to have decreased. With text and interactivity becoming more prevalent in a lot of brand communication - especially as product, service and communication are becoming tied ever more closely.

However, from my side of the industry (digital/interactive) we've always had a bit of a paranoid view of the comms world. Our once-promised 'place at the table' has always felt nearer to the pig trough out-back. And I hope it's not because we don't have at least some grasp of the things that make film great, or far more importantly, the things that make humans tick.

The very reason that I read and respect this great blog is that it inspires me to believe that the best planners of today and tomorrow are not thinking in terms of channels. But in terms of people, emotions and connections.

I'm really curious as to how the current divide between the offline and online world will shape up. And I'm afraid that there is still a massive massive divide in the advertising industry. Should all planners try to understand all channels? Is that the job at hand? Or is there just too much to know? Should digital planners stick to what they've been asked to do in the past? Or should we all pick and choose our areas of expertise?

I'm doing what I'm doing because I've always believed and hoped that the destiny for digital was something more interesting than as a delivery vehicle for film content - although I suspect that's never what was suggested!


No offence taken at all. I'm not having a go at you. I'm having a go at David, if anyone. But nicely.

But I do get frustrated by people who've suddenly got religion about the need to think about all the channels, not default to TV advertising, blah blah blah. Anyone who's any good has been operating that way for years and doesn't need to be told that TV advertising isn't what it was and they should get a website and do some experiential marketing.

You tend to get hear that kind of thing from people who believe that strategy is king (often from holding companies). They're trying to turn communications planning into something akin to management consultancy - where there are simply a bunch of channels to be deployed, depending on the findings of a master strategist. They then assume those channels willl be filled with some kind of creative stuff - the quality or content of which is largely irrelevant or not really the strategists problem.

(I remember someone at Naked being interviewed by PSFK and saying that ad agencies don't get it and they should be thinking about all kinds of new experiential channels. And then the example he gave was Run London. Which I was the planner on. At w+k. An 'advertising agency'.)

They ignore the fact that great strategy depends upon an intimate understanding of great execution - and a very close, itterative, circular relationship between the two.

And, I believe, a good place to start understanding that is to think about how film and branded bits of film work - because they force you to examine so many elements of how communications work.

And this is because we're primarily interested not in channels but in how people are. And people are massive consumers of moving bits of film - I'm not sure but I presume that if you combine movies, TV and video games you'll have the most dominant 'channel' on the planet. (And before anyone starts, don't mention Word Of Mouth).

There are clearly all kinds of ways that all kinds of media deliver all kinds of commuication to people and I don't think digital should neccesarily aspire to the condition of film - any more than books or radio do.

But, if your job is to communicate complicated, emotional, nuanced stuff to lots of people in a short amount of time you'd better understand how film works.

Whether that means making ads for consumers or making stuff to talk to your clients.

That's why I'd suggest to planner's that they take a course in blogging, in photography and in film. And spend some time with the TV department.


I'll drink to that :-)

** ... a bunch of channels to be deployed, depending on the findings of a master strategist. They then assume those channels willl be filled with some kind of creative stuff...**

I'm sure I've seen that situation once or twice...

For example: "Um, we've got this line on the plan which says 'viral' (subtext, we don't know what it means, but it makes our plan look a bit edgier) - can you guys make something viral that talks about instant coffee - oh and it has to tie in with our incredibly sincere and earnest press ads about family togetherness". Whoops...

** I'm not sure but I presume that if you combine movies, TV and video games you'll have the most dominant 'channel' on the planet. (And before anyone starts, don't mention Word Of Mouth). **

I suspect you're totally right. I'd better get in the Xbox360 queue again...

This is a really interesting discussion for me, thanks Russell - especially as I'm sure it's nothing new for you.


I fear that my email address may have provoked some prejudice.

I don't know anybody here who holds the views you describe.

All the best

I'm getting to arsey talking about this on here.

I'm going to return to the subject on video where I can be more nuanced.

don't suppose anyone has made a transcript of this? No can deal with the audio.

I think he looks like syd the sexist

Fantastic points made Russell and thoroughly enjoyed Dylan's words

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