Various bits and pieces to keep you ticking over:
1. May's recommendations for 26 are here; plus a review of the recent Common Ground event in Oxford.
2. Metropolis magazine has a very good piece on the use and misuse of the word 'passion'. In particular note that:
Passion is an unstoppable overflowing of emotion that destroys in its satisfaction, that torpedoes lives and marriages and nations, that shoots husbands or coworkers or strangers in rage. It is the hot lava of the soul, and it burns what it pours over.
Bear that in mind next time a brand is passionate about widgets. (Thanks to Thunk for the tip.)
3. Rory Sutherland over at Brand Republic has an interesting notion - celebrating those brands which are excellent but unfashionable. Argos is on the money, but I'm really not sure about Ian Paisley - brilliance in that context is somewhat hard to see. But still, the notion is good. There are other brands that we should learn from, that aren't the usual run of Apple, Nike, Innocent etc (which often are on the list as people just want to work there/for them.)
My vote would go to Superdrug: it's unfashionable as your Dad in his tweed suit, but my god does it get the job of retailing cosmetics and medicines cheaply done,
and more efficiently than Boots.
4. A piece in Campaign last month is worth further attention and reflection. Andrew Cracknell mused on his return to the real world after a career in the service of advertising. He notes that:
That's one of the big adjustments you have to make when you come out of a lifetime of advertising. Getting used to the fact that nobody cares about it, thinks about it, talks about it - even notices it.
The full piece suggests an industry, if not in crisis, then at least in some sort of terminal spiral that it can't really find a route out of. If more and more brand managers start to decide that the 'archness' and 'clever games' that the industry produces actively harms their brands, then what's left? Far-sighted brand managers will turn to design and PR to more actively achieve their aims, rather than hoping that adverts hit more than they miss.
5. News just in: The New York Times reports that user-generated ad campaigns are not actually cheaper. And are less likely to result in high-quality commercials. In other news, a bear confirmed that he considers the woods his bathroom.