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HolyCow
London
Head of Strategy at M&CSaatchi/Lida, author, public speaker, musician, entrepreneur and proud dad.
Interests: Playing/teaching guitar, cultural studies, anthropology, semiotics, political history, philosophy, rugby, wine, people, good manners, prompt payers.
Recent Activity
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There is a rather disturbing meme doing the rounds, which concerns the value (or not) of "big data". Its impact has been likened to the renaissance, the enlightenment and postmodernism rolled into one. Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2013 at HolyCow
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Swim against the tide Stop believing the hype that the advertising industry needs to fundamentally change or it will become obsolete (usually written by digital folk with no deep background in marketing to speak of). Well run advertising businesses are in good health and we would do well to share more of our affection and respect for an industry that can deliver extraordinary competitive business advantage through ideas. If we show we have faith in it because of its measurable potency then others will inevitably follow. Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2013 at HolyCow
HolyCow added a favorite at Noisy Decent Graphics
Jan 1, 2013
HolyCow is now following jonleach16
Jul 4, 2012
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For some time I have been aware of the notion of the inimitable T-shaped person being the holy grail of agency and creative company HR departments. A person capable of extraordinary feats of specialist endeavour matched only by their ability... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2012 at HolyCow
HolyCow is now following Neil Perkin
Mar 19, 2012
Lovely in many ways - look forward to hearing David's take on it too. Personally I like the dichotomy between the fact that 'behaviour' has an observable output - yet the actual moment of decision making doesn't. Both are valid in terms of lights going on in the brain - but it really depends on how you use it. 'Neuromarketing' by its very etymology is wrong on many levels. But that doesn't mean that observable data of human response to stimulus might not be useful. In that sense, data is only useful in the context it is deployed within - to create a business out of it for marketeers was wrong-headed, its usefulness may lie elsewhere perhaps in medicine or a range of drivers of mental health - but it never really had a place in marketing. I hope it doesn't disappear - rather that its application can be used where it can be most effective for the species. Behaviour change however - has never been solved by marketers - or theories of causation in primates (OK yes - limbic brain reverberations etc - but never empirical. Nudge and Behavioural Economics is simply about choice making - trade-offs - one choice is easier to act upon based on time and effort - 'hyperbolic discounting' for example - yet can never account for cultural cascades before they materialize in culture. We weren't able to predict it then - and we won't (hopefully) in the future. We can just understand the mechanism a bit more - but not be able to predict the outcome. Can't wait to hear more. Hope your well Best M
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HolyCow is now following Ben
Sep 28, 2011
Thanks for the props Gavin - hope your well there. Best M
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Willem - thanks for your response - love the fact that you relate to Timon and Pumba - made me laugh out loud. I am very much a Hakuna Matata person anyway having lived through many Scars and Hyenas over time - they come - they go - only once did I work for a King - but he left for sunnier climes too! Agree - there are Simbas out there - no doubt and they shall claim their rightful place eventually - but first they have to prove themselves right? Really enjoying following your adventures Willem - looking forward to the next installment. Take care buddy, M
Toggle Commented Aug 5, 2011 on Kings & Hyenas at HolyCow
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Thank you Claire - love your blog btw - gorgeous!!!
Toggle Commented Aug 4, 2011 on Kings & Hyenas at HolyCow
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Gagey!!!! Howz tricks dude? And thanks btw - press here is full of nonsense. And badly run agencies mostly. Hope your well. M
Toggle Commented Aug 4, 2011 on Kings & Hyenas at HolyCow
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Thanks Iain - much appreciated. M
Toggle Commented Aug 4, 2011 on Kings & Hyenas at HolyCow
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Steve Henry started a debate carried by Campaignlive last week about who should run agencies – creatives or account people. And that there is a disturbing trend towards banal unexciting work being produced in the UK. And creatives should be the right people to lead us out of our problems. And we need more creative leadership according to Claire Beale. Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2011 at HolyCow
A perfect observation Carol thank you. Hopefully they can and do by finding the useful not just the interesting for consumers. Although they are symbiotic ;) M
Toggle Commented Aug 3, 2011 on For planners only. at HolyCow
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Remember, there is no absolute truth merely information shaped by the context in which it is delivered. You have get good at knowing which truth fits the details best. This comes with practice. And instinct. And humility. I base my target audience mostly on myself and my friends. Because they cover most of the audiences I am asked to think about. And their behaviour doesnt lie. Mostly. Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2011 at HolyCow
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Planners – I implore you - write what you think and what you have found out works – not what will get published. Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2011 at HolyCow
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As a kid I did something ‘bad’. Or really stupid. Depends on how you look at it. There was a large black shiny electricity cable running up the side of our house. It was the telephone cable. Before mobiles obviously. It fascinated me. Could I climb up it? Nope – tried that. Could I rig up an elaborate abseiling rig for my Action Man. Not entirely unsuccessful – but rather unsatisfying nonetheless. Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2011 at HolyCow
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We tend to forgive things when we like them. We will forgive bad behaviour, bad news, bad clothes, bad decisions, bad time keeping. Because we like someone. But an agency is there to diagnose a client’s problem and prescribe strategically sound creative solutions like a doctor does with a patient. Whether the client ‘likes’ them should be irrelevant. Logic should prevail. Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2011 at HolyCow
Indeed. Although the crowd always did our job for us - we just had no way of measuring it. We do want to be entertained - and sometimes we want to shop. And sometimes just chat. And if brands can be useful and interesting at these intersections then we can have a fair value exchange. Problem is most don't. We design for technology not people. And sometimes to please ourselves and a Cannes jury. If there truly is a link between Cannes success and getting on big and exciting pitches then it has merit. If the winning work sells lots of stuff then it has merit. If the winning work uplifts brand metrics around favorability then it has merit. Otherwise its just us talking to ourselves. And that has merit too. But only in the context it appears.
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2011 on Context is everything at HolyCow
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It appears that there is some despair in the industry currently about the value of the Brits contribution to creative culture at Cannes. If not despair - a lot of head scratching. Claire Beale summed it up nicely recently: 1) Lack of creative leadership due to churn (this also raises another question) 2) Client leadership The outake is that we have become too 'safe' to do really creative work – both agencies and clients. Safe is a euphemism for ‘poor’. And ‘poor’ feels a long way below ‘good’. Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2011 at HolyCow
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We collect stuff from everywhere and reuse it/mash it/hack it when we are solving strategic issues. We never know which bits are going to come in handy. Which is why John Webster had a desk with drawers full of stuff and a room that was covered in bits of paper. Which interestingly was the thing people remembered most about him. Apart from the work obviously. Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2011 at HolyCow
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It struck me recently that there was something quite interesting about the music I like having a sonic quality that has little to do with melody or lyric. In fact isn’t technically ‘music’. Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2011 at HolyCow
Good points Chris - and your right about the way they are hiring the digital folk. Be interested to see how this one pans out. Good to see you too - must get that lunch on soon. best M
Toggle Commented Jul 8, 2011 on Crisis Planning. at HolyCow
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They are not John. Which is why CEOs don't want us to talk to them about it. If we got better at it then we would add value and not have an issue. Planning needs to lead this and the article should/could have been about skillsets around creative business planning not around advertising and what needs to change. We have lost our way because we got caught up in delivering multi-channel technology strategies with no proper financial rigor. Fun certainly - but not something the CEO is particularly interested in.
Toggle Commented Apr 14, 2011 on Crisis Planning. at HolyCow
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