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Features

Re:cycling. Should Lance Armstrong hand his sponsorship money back?

by Magnus Shaw. In this age of fitness fanaticism and dire public transport, it's not unusual to see people arriving at the office on a bicycle. How they find the stamina, I can’t begin to guess, but I don’t think they take the Lance...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Horsing around. How Tesco could turn a crisis into an opportunity.

by Magnus Shaw. If you're going to be rumbled loading beefburgers with something other than beef, try to ensure it's not horse. Oats would be better. Or sweets. But, not cat or hamster - and definitely not horse. As Tesco has discovered, people...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Why celebrating the demise of HMV is barking.

by Magnus Shaw. First a clarification. One would think from the chatter across news outlets and social media that the HMV retail chain is in the process of locking the doors and boarding up its stores. It's isn't, but the news is not good. The...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Inspiration

CP Loves...David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World.

by Magnus Shaw. It doesn't matter if Sky TV project their logo onto the moon for three months. If Tesco book Al Pacino to front their 2013 campaign, it will make no difference. Should Galaxy build a scale model of the Hoover Dam from solid milk...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Inspiration

CP Loves...The wonderful work of Christopher Boffoli.

by Magnus Shaw. I'm well aware of my tendency to be a grouch. Blame it on old age, blame it on a personality flaw, blame it on the boogie - whatever the reason, I absolute concede the point. When I find something unsatisfactory, foolish or flawed,...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

The challenge facing Facebook in 2013.

by Magnus Shaw. Examine the figures and social media boggles the mind. Facebook boasts over one billion users - a seventh of the entire planet; Twitter has more than 100 million users. Even music-streaming app Spotify, carries 18 million...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

The shape of things to come. Highly (in)accurate predictions for 2013.

by Magnus Shaw. Very little is certain in this life, but the mad rush of predictions for the year ahead is a rock on which we can depend in the awkward gap between Christmas and New Year. Unfortunately, most of them will be wildly inaccurate - with...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Santa Claus - what the science says.

Merry Christmas Creativepoolers everywhere. As this piece arrives on Christmas Day, you'll have seen that Santa has completed his work. But, have you ever wondered what Father Christmas goes through every year? Well, we have. Which is why we set...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

A freelance copywriter's letter to Santa.

by Magnus Shaw. Dear Santa, I'm not sure if you're aware, but Christmas is coming. Next week, apparently. With this in mind, I thought I'd better drop you a note to outline some of the stuff I'd like you to provide. I suggest you take the Harley...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Beware of the dog. Is WKD's Christmas campaign really unacceptable?

by Magnus Shaw. At this time of generosity and giving, who could resist the wide-eyed pleading of a little doggie, hungry for a simple bone? Well, alcopop brand WKD think their customers would quite happily ignore Fido if there was a blue drink in...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Remember my name. Why aren't there more famous copywriters?

by Magnus Shaw. Almost 2013 and the general appetite for celebrity displays no signs of abating. Not only do we have a voracious interest in those who are famous, but we're carrying an insatiable hunger to be well-known ourselves. Forget...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Taxing. What we can learn from the Starbucks fiasco.

by Magnus Shaw. There's only one thing that surprises me about the Starbucks saga, and it isn't their reluctance to pay tax. As large corporations are only really answerable to shareholders, that is to be expected. No, it's the fact they thought...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Why did Murdoch's Daily iPad 'newspaper' fail?

by Magnus Shaw. Do you read The Daily? Unless you own an iPad style tablet you probably don't. Even if you do, you won't for very much longer. The Daily is a digital newspaper, published by Rupert Murdoch, available on tablets and closing any day...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Sailing close to the wind. Did Kayak's ad deserve to be banned?

by Magnus Shaw. Perhaps surprisingly, I've only ever worked on a couple of campaigns which have attracted public complaints. One was a press piece for a now defunct cable TV network. At the time, it was the only service carrying the Disney Channel...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Over promise, under deliver. How lazy clients kill campaigns.

by Magnus Shaw. A couple of years ago an ailing roadside restaurant chain called in a radical TV chef to boost their menu and therefore their revenues. They refurbished some tired looking outlets, hired new people and ran a fairly hefty marketing...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Off and On; The twisting tale of the ITV logo.

by Magnus Shaw. Perhaps surprisingly, there's only been an official ITV logo since 1989. Until then, the network was divided into autonomous regions, each with their own brand. If you're in your thirties or forties you'll remember your own - Thames...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

The good book. The problem with a copywriter's portfolio.

by Magnus Shaw. Here's a problem which only came to my attention this week. Actually I think it has been lingering in the back of my mind for a couple of decades, but it only came into focus a couple of days ago. Because I write columns here and...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Automatic. Can a robot do a creative job?

by Magnus Shaw. The last time I worked on a major print campaign, we employed a piece of software to automate the production process. It was a clever bit of kit. Once the parameters had been set by a designer (ad sizes, logo clearance, calls to...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

The only lovely service station on Earth. Are we there yet?

by Magnus Shaw. There are so many religions, beliefs, creeds and philosophies we can't really be sure what hell would be like. But it's a reasonable assumption a motorway service station would be involved. I don't know what it is about these...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Inspiration

#Trends. When technology gets creepy.

by Magnus Shaw. I'm going to write about a new piece of technology, but it will involve some intimate body stuff. I'm pre-supposing you guys are broad-minded enough to handle references to sexy-time, but I'm a card-carrying, awkward, repressed...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

The 'Welcome To Las Vegas' sign, appreciated.

by Magnus Shaw. If you've always been keen to see the very cornerstone of capitalism; a seething hub of avarice and a perfect mechanism for prising people's hard earned cash from their pockets, Las Vegas is for you. I've just returned from a...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Out of sight. What became of the virtual office?

by Magnus Shaw. Working in an ad agency in Fleet Street in 1995, I was called into a first-floor office to be shown something very impressive - an email account. Visually it was quite modest, just some browser windows with names and messages in...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Can copy-writing be taught?

by Magnus Shaw. In the distant past, I trained to be a croupier. A roulette dealer, to be accurate. Roulette is fairly complicated and the dealer must be aware of every aspect of the game in progress - monitoring when the bets go down, who has won,...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

In search of the 10%. Is Sturgeon's Law the alarming truth?

by Magnus Shaw. Theodore Sturgeon was an American science fiction writer. A popular author, he is more widely known for his 'revelation' or law. It's a simple proposition which Sturgeon devised after spending years defending science fiction...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Why creative jobs aren't always a bowl of cherries.

by Magnus Shaw. I work as a copywriter and blogger. I also do something I call consultancy - advising people on their writing, marketing or branding, really. Sometimes, I produce or present radio programmes too. These are all very enjoyable and...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Erase and rewind - Is TV advertising a broken model?

Watching the ridiculously good 'Homeland' last week, I was struck by how absorbed and tense I was - transfixed as Carrie ducked and hid to avoid her pursuers in the alleyways of Beirut. The aroma of exotic spices, heat and sandy dust almost filled my...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Inspiration

CP Loves... The strangely moving web art of Dain Fagerholm

by Magnus Shaw. Animated GIFs - the curse of the internet. In spite of the myriad possibilities of HTML5 and the rise of some truly brilliant digital designers, there's still a tendency for the keen amateur website builder to become very excited...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

The best a man can get: Ten milestone moments in advertising history.

1. 79 A.D. Billboards in Pompeii Ah! The glory of the ancient Roman empire. Olive skinned, muscular men striding the avenues, clad in togas, debating the great issues of the day. Beautiful, raven-haired maidens bearing baskets laden with the...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Is it possible to be too creative?

by Magnus Shaw. Do you remember Kiss? Of course you do. Ludicrous American band - wore loads of black and white make-up. Well, they're back. Sort of. The new campaign for Costa Coffee features their track 'I Was Made For Loving You. The song...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Features

Road to ruin. The resignation letter that should worry us all.

by Magnus Shaw. This week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed a scheme whereby employees will be invited to give up some of their employment rights in exchange for company shares. You may think this is a tremendous idea or the most cynical...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Advice

Opinions - Making a drama out of a crisis.

by Magnus Shaw There is much to like about charity advertising. Freed from the constraints of pack-shots and multi-buys, agencies have the chance to show off their creative chops and tell real human stories - often quite brilliantly. One only has to...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Advice

Opinions - Kindling. What do eBooks mean for writers?

by Magnus Shaw If you read my columns with any regularity, you'll have noticed a little ad in the footer inviting you to buy "ADVICE" - a collection of my writing on advertising (it's very good, by the way). Those kind enough to have clicked through...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Advice

Opinions - Tweeting for crisps.

by Magnus Shaw Special K eternally pitched as a "healthy" food, it's now at the centre of an "eat this and wear smaller jeans" campaign. It must be going well, because a line of Special K snacks has been launched named "Cracker Crisps." It's no...

Posted by: Creativepool
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Advice

Opinions - More than words. What do copywriters know about design?

by Magnus Shaw "Like all forms of design, visual design is about problem solving, not about personal preference or unsupported opinion." Bob Baxley It's funny. Art directors and copywriters work so closely together, for so much of the time, and...

Posted by: Creativepool

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