Off the shelf, completely off the money

I just walked past a Thomson travel agents in north Leeds. I got as far as the entrance of the bank next door.

Then a lightening bolt struck. Something pulled me back. Something a bit Star Trekky... an unfathomable force, a magnetic field that sucked me, frowning and bewildered back to the travel agents - and to the banner you see here.

This dark force then proceeded to swirl around my right hand. Still not quite believing my eyes, the hijacked hand took out my phone and made me capture the banner in all its glory.

Now that strange energy is making me stick a post up about the event.

What is it exactly? I've always said to myself don't become one of those copywriters who bangs on ad infinitum about apostrophe abuse, split infinitives and copy cliches.

But I can't help myself. The Shelf Monster is making me do it, completely against my will.

You see, the Shelf Monster comes from a planet called Thatull Do, is a hairy beast of immense power and, once disturbed, can cause destruction of universal proportions - especially to otherwise well-intended marketing campaigns.

And boy, has someone pissed off the Shelf Monster with this humdinger.

Someone, perhaps a young marketing director, possibly also from Thatull Do, or a young copy monkey travelling the galaxy in search of inspiration has seen fit to sneak into the Shelf Monster's cave and nick one of the beast's most prized possessions: the word, 'passionate'.

Oh boy, that big fella's pretty damned annoyed now. So pretty damned annoyed, he's gonna rip the head off the campaign's impact, take a huge dump on its response rates and trample all over the Thomson brand for weeks to come.


My advice to anyone naive, lazy or pressed-for-time enough to even think of foraging around in the Shelf Monster's cave for effective copy?

Don't. It aint pretty. Then watch this short piece of film from the erratically brilliant David Mitchell.

You'll then hopefully never think of entering the Shelf Monster's domain - ever.

For more cliche-riddled nonsense, take a wander over to The Drum to see what Gabriella Cilmi has to say on the subject.

What next? Pen versus butter knife?

I've being doing a stint with a bunch of lovely people in a converted mill north of Leeds lately. It's made me come over all office-workery again.

And when I came across this in the fridge, it made me realise that, in terms of office food security, the butter knife is far mightier than the sword.

Sign of the times

Some might say the web is a receptacle for a lot of ugliness. Hateful propaganda here, cowardly bullying there, all interspersed with various levels of 'Aint my pet lovely' sickliness. Ugly, the lot of it.

But there's no denying that sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr have more than their fair share of beauty.

The rise of The Creative Class may be erratic, may be eccentric, may be unfathomable and may be, at times and for brief moments, faltering.

But one thing's for sure: the rise of The Creative Class is unstoppable.

Of course, this social and economic movement isn't just blazing its trail through the arty stuff. It's marauding through science, engineering and lifestyles. You've only got to look at the wonderful TED to appreciate that. But right now, sites that give everybody instant access to creative thinking and talent are the pioneers and I salute them.

Get past the 'You've been framed jack russell falling off a plastic garden table' and you'll eventually unearth beautiful pieces of work like this from Oscar Sharp. It brings to light two things for me as a so-called creative professional and father of three:

1. I'll always believe that creativity should never be the sole preserve of people in creative roles
2. I'll always encourage my children to pursue what they love, not what I think the world wants at the present time.

Sign Language - a short film from Oscar Sharp on Vimeo.

Because no matter how big the Creative Class will become it will always be big enough to accept, nurture and cherish those outsiders who care for their craft.

Communication letting you down?

Apologies if I've just wedged that annoying Spandau Ballet tune in your head.

My excuse is I just had to mention a breakdown in communication I suffered today on that most majorist of major communication channels, Twitter.

No need for much explanation; the screenshot of the conversation, reading from bottom up, should do the trick (just click to enlarge if you're as blind as me).

I guess the words by the cursor say it all really and I guess it also just goes to prove at least two points:

1. I'm not half as funny as I thought I was and should probably scrap the childish, copywriter-based jokes.

2. If you're on Twitter to market your wares, do the thing that all those social media gurus go on about ad infinitum: engage.

Yup, sometime soon, 'engage' will become a very dirty word but if there's one medium in which you can actually have a conversation, get to know who you're talking to and do away with all those bludgeoning 18-wheel inarticulated sales techniques, it's Twitter.

Use it wisely, my sales friends.