The words, statements, and opinions you read on this website do not reflect the views of my employer… Not even the swear words.

This Isn’t The Site You’re Looking For

Heyup.

Consider this your ‘404’ page.

Unfortunately this blog has fallen into the abyss that is a full-time career in advertising. Feel free to plough on and read the thoughts from someone younger and slightly less wiser below, but be aware a lot of things have changed since 2012.

I’m working on a new personal site, but for now, take a look at some of the words I write for a living here;

www.rhysandciaran.com

Thanks for the visit, even if it was fleeting.

Ciaran.

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When Cutdowns Go Wrong.

Let me prefix this entry with a disclaimer. I honestly didn’t plan to start writing about advertising again with a negative post. I wanted to start with fireworks, song and dance, and a love letter written to the industry I longed and am proud to work in, but unfortunately, the first set of ads that actively made my fingers itch just happened to rub me up the wrong way. Sorry about that. I’m pretty sure any one that knows me will be able to tell you it was inevitable really… I’m a bit of an arse.

Let me set the scene for you. It was Sunday evening. I’d just eaten a bowl of soup, I had a fever, I felt like my sinuses have been hit with bricks, and the Pride And Prejudice series featuring Colin Firth just happened to be on the TV. I’ll admit now that I was half watching it through a haze of over the counter pain-killers and a game of Monopoly on my iPhone, but I most definitely paid attention during the ad breaks… if only to annoy Victoria by telling her if I liked them or not.

The ads that caught my eye were actually the sponsorship idents for the programme I was so desperately trying to not become hooked on. They were 10 second stings for Warner Leisure Hotels made by the Aesop Agency and you can watch three of them below.

The first thing that hit me after viewing each ident was a feeling of confusion. What exactly was going on in each one? We peer into the lives of an elderly couple going about their rather mundane lives and then skip to shots of the couple doing something vaguely similar in the grounds of a Warner Leisure Hotel. My first thought when seeing the idents was, ‘why, exactly?’. The two different sets of moments seem rather unparalleled on a first watch. If you take the second ident, where Carol tells Colin they’re seeing her sister three times in the coming week, he looks upset to say the least. We then jump to a hotel where we see them shaking hands with others at a dinner table. Are we being told that through the pleasure of a stay in a Warner Hotel we can live more memorable moments that we would in our normal lives? Are these moments in the hotel supposed to be an escape from the mundane? The banality of ‘real life’? Surely it would have been more effective if after we saw Colin being told he was seeing his sister in law three times in a week, it was him alone enjoying the pleasures of a hotel break. At least then there’s a sense of ‘I can enjoy a more exciting and fulfilling time in a WLH than I can in real life’.

The same can be said for any of the idents. If we were to see the couple sacking off their normal lives to flirt with the pleasures only available in a Warner Leisure Hotel, it would at least have the ‘go from A to B’ effect and a simple take away of ‘my life has been improved with this product’. That at least, was my first guess, but on repeat watching, the couple we see in the hotel are actually completely different. The plot thickened.

After at least ten seconds spent rummaging through a google search listing, I stumbled upon the full 40 second ads in the series. They completely changed my perspective of the idents, but they left me feeling exactly the same about the cutdowns. I still didn’t like them.

After viewing the above, we now know that Colin and Carol are neighbours to the unnamed Warner Leisure Hotel couple. It’s like an alternate version of Keeping Up With The Joneses… you know, where you don’t even try to keep up with the, you just sort of, live with what you’ve got.

In the 40 second ads we find out that Colin is dealing with the boredom of being married to an unadventurous woman who refuses to try new things. I almost felt sorry for the poor sod. The second of those 40 second spots above is actually incredibly enjoyable to watch. I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t chuckle as he walked into the pool wearing golfing attire, only to pop out the other side with his trunks on. It was nice. It told a story. The ad sold me a lifestlye. After watching those 40 second ads, I know that to try new things as an over 50 couple, I should be packing up and heading off to a Warner Hotel. It was something the idents failed to do.

Maybe I had to have seen the full suite of ads before seeing the idents, but after re-watching the cutdowns I’m still left with a sour taste in my mouth. Why is half the time in a ten second ad showing me something boring? Why isn’t every valuable second showing me exactly how to make my own memorable moments in a WLH? It’s a question that still confuses me. If ‘Life Begins At Warner’, why am I being show a couple who don’t want their life to begin… Well, at least half of a couple who don’t want their lives to begin anyway.

Could it be a case of trying to fit established creative into the 10 second cutdowns, or could it just be a case of misunderstanding… Maybe I just don’t get it. To me, it just seems like a waste. With such a nice 40 second ad in ‘Colin And The Dragon’ and the obvious benefits in staying at a WLH (golf courses, archery and showtunes!), why waste so much valuable ad time showing me people who don’t want to embrace a fun weekend away. Again, why show me a couple who don’t want their exciting new lives to start at Warner? There’s no benefit to that. In my eyes, the cutdowns just don’t do the job they’re supposed to. They don’t do enough to sell me the ‘memorable moments’ promised by Warner Leisure Hotels… The cutdowns just went a bit wrong.

If you’ve got any thoughts on the ads I’d love to hear your opinions. After all, I’m merely one person, completely out of the target audience, trying not to watch Pride And Prejudice on a Sunday evening, getting completely confused by ten second idents that aren’t even aimed at me. It’s a tough life.

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Where Have I Been?

It’s been a while hasn’t it. No news is good news let me assure you. I’ve been working as a freelance copywriter at an agency for the past six months and everything seems to be going well. One day, perhaps, they’ll offer me a job, but for now, I must keep on working late and longer than most.

The lack of posting is at the behest of the social media policies of the agency. I’m not supposed to link to work without the content creator’s permission. I never once did that. I’ve been a victim of strange social media policies before, so rather than try to fight the man, I’ll play along. Unfortunately, that means a dip on the radar from what once was my advertising blog. I’ll try to bring it up with the bigwigs at work but I’m sure they have more important things to worry about.

I miss this, but I always promised I’d never create another LiveJournal. I don’t want to read this in five years time and wonder why on earth I spilled my guts onto a keyboard. Nobody reads diaries unless they’re exciting, and therein lies my problem – I’m just too vanilla. For now, I’ll leave you with a quote from Gary Provost. It makes me smile, and I hope it does you.

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”

Flame Sax, Flex & Danger – Old Spice


Oh dear God, I knew Old Spice adverts were good, but when did they get this good?! I honestly don’t think I’ve laughed this hard at an advert before. It was the eye contact during “Flame sax”, and out of breath “Danger!” that got me. Genuine tears.

The amazing thing about this advert, you know, apart from it being hilarious, brilliantly done, genuinely funny, and incredibly creative? It’s interactive. It’s INTER-BLOODY-ACTIVE. That’s right, you can press buttons, and stuff actually happens. INTERNET. You can record your own little breakdown and share it for all your friends to see. Why on earth you’d want to do that when the original is flawless no one knows, but it all fits in together perfectly. Sites like Reddit will eat this up; advertising done well, advertising that’s shareable, and advertising that includes the viewer. They’re playing with something tied to the product. It’s genius.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make a half naked black man shout the words “sausages” and “internet” in quick succession. Then I’m going to make him play a flame sax. Marvellous.

Slavery Has Evolved

Where I’ve Been, And What I’ve Seen.

Hello..!

So, I’ve had a little absence from the old blogosphere, but at least this time I have an excuse (yes, a real one). In the past two weeks I’ve travelled the world, seen the sights in Chicago and New York, and ended up somehow engaged to a wonderful woman. Isn’t life just great?

Now where does the blog fall into all of this? Apart from the numerous stories about sunstroke, dunked-beef sandwiches, lack of decent trainer shops in NYC, and 2012 dunny collections, I also managed to take over 700 still pictures and 400 movies. The sifting process has already begun, and you’ll be the first to see the outcome of a big city obsessed young adult visiting some, well,rather big cities.

And Now, A Short Monologue From My Washing Machine

Hey Ciaran. I’m super stoked that you’re going away for two weeks to America! I bet you’re going to need some washing done. You don’t even own two weeks worth of clothing hah.

Well, no fear, I’m here! Just bang a load in, and after I’ve done with this one, I’ll do the other three/four you’ve got to do before you fly out! I’ll be the hero of the hour, after all, what else was I made to do!

Actually, you know what, I don’t think I can be bothered. Yes, I know I’m halfway through the first load of the ‘big holiday’ wash, but I’m tired. Yeah, come to think of it, I can’t be fucked.

I could spin it, but I’m not going to. I think I’ll just sit here, filled with soapy water, and a very important whites load. I don’t give two fucks that I was serviced only a month ago, I’m old. Go wring it out over the fucking bathtub like last time. Rip your hands open. I don’t care

No, I won’t even open the door properly either. I’m going to spill a shit load of water into your kitchen. Fuck you douchebag. I SAID NO. SERIOUSLY.

FUCK YOUR HOLIDAY. FUCK YOUR CLOTHES. AND FUCK YOU TOO.

The Washing Machine – 26.07.12