They got it their way

I’m just going to say it. I love the Burger King rebrand.

I love it for many reasons, one being I’m in the midst of two massive rebrand projects myself, and know all-to-well the work involved doing it.

But beyond the brilliant art direction and design that really does defy category norms, the reason I love it is that it happened.

Anyone who has worked in advertising and marketing for a while will tell you how difficult it often is to get from an idea to something in-market. Bureaucracy, red-tape, lack of clarity, time, budget, bravery and many other things often stand in the way of ideas going further than a PowerPoint presentation. In fact, many years ago a Creative Director at one agency who I’m not going to name, told me “I’m in the business of making PDFs”.

So, I applaud Burger King. Not only is the work great, it also happened, and that’s simply awesome.

It’s life, Jim, but not as we thought we knew it

If there’s one thing the past year or so has taught almost everyone, it’s that so many things we thought were so important to us, aren’t actually that important at all. And conversely, many of the things we all took for granted, and didn’t really think twice about are in fact what make our lives the lives we all want to live.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a sucker for brands. Not only is my entire career built around brands, I also love buying, owning and experiencing them. From my obsession for anything with four wheels and an engine, to my love for horology and a trainer collection that’s quite literally bursting out of my wardrobe, I couldn’t really imagine my life without certain brands in it.

Like everyone, the past twelve-months has impacted my life more than I can begin to describe. I’ve gone from spending on average twenty hours a week commuting by car, train and tube, to simply wandering downstairs and opening zoom each morning. My regular get-togethers with my friends now comprise of a series of WhatsApp groups chock full of photos, videos, emojis and memes to try and retain some sense of normality in this really bizarre moment in time.

And while I’m beyond grateful that my job has been largely unaffected by a combination of fast adaptation by my company – and the resilience shown by the entire team, one of the positive effects of lockdown and home-working has been the time I’ve spent with my family.

I’ve enjoyed getting up in the morning and having breakfast with my two awesome children, Jake and Millie – having conversations about what they’re eating, what they’re hoping to do that day – and how they’re going to make a new contraption out of household items. Even to this day their imagination amazes me.

I’ve loved being able to take them to school, and pick them up, and chat to them while I’ve been working. They’re now on first-name terms with many of my colleagues and friends – something that were I in the office may well not have happened for some time, if at all.

In a way, this whole experience is bitter-sweet, because while the transformation that’s happened in the business world in terms of people working from home is something that should have happened a long-time ago, it’s a transformation that’s happened under such terrible circumstances. Like many, I’ve found it immensely tough to deal with the stress of Covid-19 and lockdown but I’m hopeful this year is going to be a fuck-load better than the last. I just hope that people don’t revert back to some of the bad habits and behaviours that existed in pre-Covid times. Like pointless commutes five days a week.

I hope that people remember the closeness they’ve felt to all the things that really matter in life, like family, friendships and talking more often. Like sitting down as a family to enjoy meals together.

Because, in the end, while I’ll always love and enjoy so many things, lockdown has reminded me that you really don’t need much to live a happy, fulfilled life.

There is no fate but what we make for ourselves

Since before I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be my own boss. Not because I’m a complete megalomanic, but because, like all entrepreneurs, I’ve always had a vision for how I believe the work should be done.

For one reason or another, it’s never really happened, but today I’m proud to announce the launch of my new agency; Cord.

The best bit is, I’m not going into it alone, instead, I’m one of three co-founders, having the privilege of working with Nick Watmough and James Hart. The best bit is, we’ve all previously worked together so it’s not a case of jumping into the unknown.

The fundamental idea behind Cord was to create a new proposition that both brands and agencies can tap into; one that gets strategic and creative minds working together, to develop unique solutions to business problems. It’s something we’re calling Collective Thinking.

Collective Thinking was a concept born of the premise that we don’t believe in the production—line processes that still seem to be so prevalent in the industry today. We believe the best thinking comes when people from different disciplines work together, not in silos, which is why when you engage us with a project for Cord, you’ll get all three of us working on it.

We want to work with brands and agencies that are looking to bring a more nimble and unique approach to solving their challenges, so if this is you, feel free to give me a shout and we can grab a coffee and have a chat about it.