Big Ideas from a Small World

Moving to C-level pastures.

If your reading this there is a way bigger party in town.

I’ve joined the ranks of the business owners and opened up my own shop – Switch Advertising.

You can follow us on Tumblr TwitterOn Our Blog

Or head right to our website and send us comments on the main page though facebook.

To the 10,000+ people who have read this blog thank you.


Long Content Delivers Again

Posted in Global Outlook, Go Read A Book by Ryan Thomas on June 1, 2009

Each and every time someone tells me about how visual and short modern attention spans are I want to laugh. What first appears as short attention spans are often just over educated human brains on a constant search for value for their time.

Often we don’t deliver enough value to hold an attention span.

Here’s a fantastic use of copy to hold readers’ attention spans:


Tagged with: , ,

Adding Brand Value – Lego Builds On Sucess

Posted in Change Something, Global Outlook, Go Read A Book, Make Friends by Ryan Thomas on May 25, 2009

There is an old marketing story about the birth of MTV and the decision to allow consumers to out grow their product. It’s a question that faces a lot of brands as they move through the product life cycle.

Do we shift our brand to meet the needs of established aging clientele?


Do we shift our brand to meet the needs of consumers coming of age in our current demographic?

It’s a serious question with serious consequences. MTV of course chose the latter and became the Peter Pan of the century choosing to forever stay young and inaccessible to aging demographics.

But what of the other side of this equation, how to do you keep loyal brand consumers loyal as they age?

I give you Lego’s new brand Lego Architecture:


This project is a simply amazing case study in borrowed equity and brand values. Personally I hope this project explodes for the brand, they could have a major crown jewel in their brand if this project is taken to its farthest reaches.

I see Lego fans finishing Sagrada Familia church, by Gaudí before the building itself is ever completed. Imagine the brand equity:

A building started in 1882, with a grand vision so big its current completion date is 2026. 15 years before the last stone is put into place Lego fans have built the building one hundred thousand times over.



If you’re not up on the works of this brilliant visionary of achictecture I suggest you start googling Gaudí on your iPhone now.

Post* Advertising = Great Case Studies.

Posted in Global Outlook, Go Read A Book by Ryan Thomas on April 5, 2009

Post* has an amazing series of case studies on their site. From consumer engagement, story telling, two way communication, they are brilliant examples of the power of brand power.

Reading them has lead me to a warm feeling inside. Some agencies have dismissed most writing beyond one line or tag as dated – out of touch. Fact is without trying to prove the point Post* has made an amazing case for story telling. It’s a powerful and low cost weapon for brands – in Post*’s own words:

What would you rather read?
An ad or a story?


More on Suzanne Pope!

Posted in From Canada, Go Read A Book by Ryan Thomas on March 30, 2009

Seems she did a course on writing for the ICA.

Here’s hoping she’ll teach it again:

But whatever you decide, I hope you will decide to write. Because we as writers have a problem. And for us, the only way out is the way through.

– Suzanne Pope 2009

Great Writing 101 – From John St.’s Suzanne Pope

Posted in From Canada, Go Read A Book by Ryan Thomas on March 30, 2009

I think this article is relevant, regardless of where you stand in the industry. We live in an age of visual overload and the dial is swinging back towards well crafted words.

If you don’t believe that words will captivate your target’s attention – look at Twitter.

Suzanne has an amazing piece on Ihaveanidea about the value of great craft in copy, complete with examples out the wazoo. (this line is not one of them) But her words are not just for juniors, I have seen CD’s take a writer’s book and fixate on elements of layout.

In all honesty everyone should read this short piece.

It reminds me of a story about a writer who got a job at an agency that was looking for an “in your face” male writer.

He faxed them a sheet of paper that said: “Hire me or I’ll kick your ass.”

It included a phone number.



What am I gonna do with these killed ideas?

Posted in Go Read A Book by Ryan Thomas on March 30, 2009


Submit your great killed ideas, have them published. That’s a brilliant idea.

I really do think that micro-publishing allows the publishing industry to try and and take advantage of some amazing markets. The low overhead on these kinds of projects makes it possible to test the waters in a real and direct way.

In fact, I would love the data on this project. In order to give up an idea to this book of killed ideas, art directors, CDs, and copywriters would have to believe that their idea was truly dead.

I know we all say it. One idea, perfectly matched to a clients product, recent and relevant to the time – now how many of us actually believe that our great cheese idea will never see the light of day? Or that one day that great car ad won’t be a Vespa campaign.

I think I have a few I could part with, but for the most part I flash back to that old story about “A Diamond Is Forever” being pulled from a trash bin and pitched.

I think I’ll hang on to some of my best, just in case…

Brand Play vs. Brand Communiction

Posted in Go Read A Book by Ryan Thomas on March 27, 2009

Post Advertising* has a really interesting piece right now on the newly emerging term Transmedia Storytelling. I appreciate the idea but I think it rests more on the side of bullshit bingo:

Transmedia storytelling is one of those monikers that runs the risk of being added to a Bullshit Bingo card some time very soon. On the other hand it could just be the saviour of brand communications. Google it and you’ll get all sorts of definitions that talk about evolving non-linear brand narratives, brand communities and deeply immersive narrative universes.

I think a much simpler way of looking at newly developing media is this: Brand Play vs. Brand Communication.

Now I could go into a diatribe about building brands with communications and evolving brands with play. We could talk about how new brands need communication to establish their core persona and message, or about how brand play can invigorate an old brand.

But just to keep it simple we have all been Transmedia Story Telling for a long time. (Radio + T.V. + Print = TST) Consumers always had and always will have word of mouth – it’s nothing new.

What we have not been doing for very long is assessing a brand’s unique ratio of one way and two way communications (Play vs. Communication).

But since we are not playing bullshit bingo how’s this:

Our integrated marketing efforts need both one way communication to generate new consumers and two way communications to retain loyal ones.

So now instead of this:


We have this:


First off, you’ll notice that my chart is done in photoshop, which makes it clearly the better choice. Secondly, all forms of one one way communication lead to a large and evolving central brand community.

Green = customers gained. White = customers engaged. If your brand is number one and needs to retain consumers focus on two way communications. If your brand needs new consumers focus on green.

At least this way we have a solution to the old leaky bucket metaphor of marketing (put more water in than you’re loosing). A far simpler answer is just to plug the freaking hole.

Still seems a little like bullshit bingo but at least we are not inventing new terms with this example. Maybe if we broke it down further we could eliminate a little more bullshit.


Your marketing plan should be doing all three – regardless of scale.

Ah, that feels right.

Media Buying Can Be Fun Too!

Posted in Global Outlook, Go Read A Book by Ryan Thomas on March 25, 2009


Come on admit it, you laughed a little too!

Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney bought media space in the movie section during the run of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for client Olay.

Got a book? Got hope? IHAVEANIDEA Portfolio Night is coming

Posted in From Canada, Global Outlook, Go Read A Book by Ryan Thomas on March 20, 2009

Check out the new site done by Sid Lee’s newest office – and seriously if you want to get your book in front of CD’s at top agencies, Portfolio Night 7 is not to be missed.