Everybody wants to rule the world

We live in a big big world. Most of us spend 99% of our time within a little nucleus of people that include our co-workers, traffic buddies and our significant others – sometimes and most often in that order.  It gives a whole new take on the notion that you can’t please everybody all of the time. Think about it: What do you have in common with people who are outside your nucleus? In South Africa alone, we have a colourful mix of people across nine provinces that speak eleven different languages. You’re never going to impress all of them at once.

Ergo, the problem with commentary on advertising is that you almost always have no idea who created it, how their sense of humour works and who agreed with them as they spat milk through their noses, cackling away in a meeting as they deemed the idea brilliant and effective. God knows you sometimes have that problem in one agency alone.

Case in point: Pert Plus Dog Commercial. So very Truman Show-esque and no, I don’t think it is brilliant and nor will it make me want to buy the product. But somewhere in the seven billion people that we share this planet with is a legion of consumers that will spit milk through their noses, cackling away when they watch this, deeming it brilliant and effective.

Sigh… the flipside of this ‘argument’ is this example for Robert Irwin Jewellers. On behalf of all seven billion people, I can assure them that it’s rubbish.


© Dylan Balkind

Simulating creativity

It has been said that talent borrows and genius steals. Sure, we are all in this industry to give our wild ideas a chance to escape the realm of only our imagination and ideally see the light of day. But what normally happens when we do is that half-a-dozen other agency people you work with have the same plan, so they scoff at yours and push for theirs. Something of the collective gets the go-ahead before being completely moderated and thinned by the client into what they believe acceptable for their brand and – Bob’s your uncle – campaign’s done. All in a days work really.

I digress. The point is, as stated in Ecclesiastes 1:19, there is nothing new under the sun. No. I am not a Bible punching Nazi. I am committed to the cohort ilk of my fellow industry creatives and am equally inquisitive as to how they feel about statements like these.

Are we all done and simply here to help things evolve again and again and again and again? To say there is no such thing as a new idea is a fairly bold statement to make and many would like to argue, but is it worth it?

It has been said that these Greenpeace executions by Ogilvy, Johannesburg may be an evolution of something done by Colenso BBDO, Auckland, New Zealand for SPCA. So what? Is it a blatant rip-off? No. Is it effective? Yes. It’s a smart, hard-working campaign that addresses a very different issue to that of the SPCA with a slightly similar execution. I see no problem. Have a closer look. Read the copy. Decide for yourself.

I am not advocating the stealing of work. But perhaps we all need to be a little kinder to one another and celebrate the collective genius proffered by our industry. After all, there is no bigger compliment than imitation.

© Dylan Balkind


It’s so clever it’s Lego

Did you know? More than 400 billion LEGO bricks have been produced since 1949. If you placed these all one on top of one another, your Lego creation would connect the Earth and the Moon ten times over!

Lego is an amazing part of most people’s youth – where your imagination station could go wild. Straightforward fun limited by only your own creativity and I guess the number of pieces you had in your set.

It’s great to see that TBWA\Costa Rica has used their client’s product literally to communicate the endless fun available with their products. I think these executions are artful, intelligent and memorable. Conversations about your advertising will go a long way in converting browsing to buying.

Clever. Clean. Smart.

Nice one

© Dylan Balkind

Keep walking. Keep drinking.


Advertising Agency: NEOGAMA/BBH, Brazil
Creation: Alexandre Gama
RTVC: Maxie Fox, Fernanda Crespo, Tico Cruz, Marcos Camurati
Production house: Gorgeous & Zohar Cinema
Director: Peter Thwaites
Producers: Isabelle Tanugi, Anna Hashmi
Photography: Joost van Gelder
Editing: Bill Smedley / Work Post Production
VFX: Angus Kneale, Robert Petrie, Gavin James Wellsman, Camila de Biaggi / The Mill
Sound Production: Big Foote Brazil
Planning: Eduardo Lorenzi, Luciano Eugenio, Emanuel Spyer
Media: Luciana Schwartz, Gabriela Azevedo, João Paulo Ferraz
Account Management: Silvia Tommasini, Oleg Loretto, Guilherme Fracaro
Approval: Tânia César, Leandro Medeiros, Gustavo Hila
Brazilian Adaptation: Full Frame

Copywriters and Designers, sitting in a tree…

Q. How many Copywriters does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Change! I’m not changing crap! This is bullshit – who said to change it?

Q. How many art directors does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Does it have to be a light bulb?

Agency mechanics and politics. Always on. Not always funny. You’d think that, what with being on the same ‘team’ and all, there would be a little more collaboration. Is there a lack of willingness between Copywriters and Designers to leverage each other’s work?  Absolutely. Too many Designers just drop the Copywriters text into a print ad. Why not actually treat the text and create memorable work for both your portfolios?

These guys on the other hand, got it so right! It’s great to see when the text in an image actually plays a role in creating the story.

There could be a lot more of this in the industry today.

Imagination Station

Where is your Imagination Station and do you know how to get there? How do you feel when you arrive and what do you take with you when you leave?

Is it wanting a better, more rewarding state of being that prompts you to go there or is it just feeling disconnected from inspiration that does the same? Is there a difference?

It’s work like this that reminds me that others have an Imagination Station too. Let’s keep visiting. Don’t tell us to stop.

I ‘like’ my Imagination Station – and then some. It’s where I go. It’s how I get there. They are the same – they are one.

They say: “We come from light. And to it we shall return.” I come from the Imagination Station – and to it I shall return.

© Dylan Balkind


Warmth in the spaces we call family

Far too much of our attention is consumed by retail porn. We are bombarded with uninvited messages constantly, coercing us to want more, buy more and text more. It’s nice then to see for a change, a gentler, warmer and kinder message that celebrates what this world seems so bad at holding onto – the warmth in the spaces we call family.


A chain store never looked more inviting.

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