New show reel

Over the last year, we’ve been shooting more and more beautiful food videos. So much so, that it was high time for a new showreel.

Take a look, but don’t blame me if you’re ending up hungry.

Special K tells women to stop dieting (also, hell freezes over)

Consumers have never been smarter about food, and the desire for real food in a real world has gone mainstream. Food producers are being forced to re­formulate, with real ingredients and no preservatives, colours or additives.

And this consumer-driven movement is also forcing brand messaging to show consumers as real people – as Special K has done in its new #OWNIT commercial.

Special K opens the ad with a startling bite of research:

“FACT: 97% of women have an “I­-hate-­my-­body”moment every day”

The brand’s advice for negative body-issue self-talk?

“What if we could tell that little voice in our head that tells us we’re not good enough to ­­ SHUT UP!?”

Instead of encouraging women to work towards an impossible ideal, the brand says that loving yourself the way you are is a far healthier attitude, which is an impressive 180º turn for a diet brand.

In another marketing turnaround earlier this year, BelVita’s #MORNINGWIN campaign “got real” by making fun of the impossible promises brands make, in this case, ridiculously increased productivity, all thanks to a breakfast food.

PS: here’s a somewhat unrelated, highly unscientific, but nevertheless entertaining article from the Daily Telegraph that explores what “real men” are really looking for in a woman.

More on ad blocking – the 2015 PageFair report.

I am a bit preoccupied with ad blocking at the moment, but there is a reason for it.

Since reading The Cluetrain Manifesto in a hotel room in SF many years ago, I’ve been a firm believer in the rise of the power of the consumer. Markets are conversations, and the conversations of the consumers will ultimetely shut out any shouting the brands can do.

Consumers have found ways to bypass invasive and annoying ads, first with PVRs vastly reducing the effectiveness of TV commercials, now with online ad blockers rapidly achieving mainstream status.

The 2015 PageFair report shares some fascinating numbers.

  • Ad blocking estimated to cost publishers nearly $22 billion during 2015.
  • There are now 198 million active adblock users around the world.
  • Ad blocking grew by 41% globally in the last 12 months.
  • US ad blocking grew by 48% to reach 45 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015.
  • UK ad blocking grew by 82% to reach 12 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015.

Those are big numbers. Add to this the recent arrival of ad blocking on iOS and they will only continue to grow. As I am typing this, the three top paid apps in the Apple iTunes store are ad blockers for Safari.

Think about it: people pay money, so they don’t have to look at ads. They pay money to regain their privacy. They pay money to stop being tracked.

That’s not behaviour that happens overnight. That’s behaviour triggered by the bad behaviour of the ad industry.

Love this

As my first accountant told me: “Until the day you’ve turned a profit, you haven’t got a business. You’ve got a hobby.”


Why ad blocking is going mainstream

I’ve been watching the rapid mainstreaming of adblocking software with great interest, so today’s infographic from Global Web Index was timely. Over the last week, the three top performing paid apps in the iOS store were ad blocking solutions.

Yes, ad folks: people hate the stuff you create so much, they pay money to get rid of it. A bit of a sobering experience.

I strongly believe that the effectiveness of online ads in particular, and ads in general, will continue to plummet towards zero. The only way to engage today’s consumer is by creating positive experiences, by making their lives better.

Were I a CEO of a large company, I would immediately rename my marketing department into my “Customer Delight Department”.

Here’s what Jason Mander’s data has to say:

As our data makes clear, this is a trend being led by younger age groups and men. But particularly striking is the consistency of the figures across each world region: at least a quarter of internet users in all places are already blocking ads, peaking at 30% in Europe (where the issue has been a particularly hot topic thanks to the interventions of authorities).

What’s also interesting is that adblockers over-index for daily time spent on the internet as well as for being concerned about how their data is being used by companies. For this audience, then, part of the appeal of adblocking is shielding themselves from unwanted interruptions and targeting.


Geek dreams – a pencil sharpening machine

When I was a boy, I loved using my dad’s pencil sharpening machine. Black, made from heavy bakelite, it sharpened pencils beautifully. The pencils were centred by a spring loaded clamping mechanism that pulled them into the machine as they were being sharpened. I still use pencils daily, they are my favourite writing instruments, and… Continue Reading

Apple watch – my initial reactions

I went ahead and ordered an Apple watch back in April – the 42mm stainless model with the Milanese loop band. It arrived quite a bit sooner than than I had anticipated, three days ago. I own an original Pebble, as well as an original Samsung smartwatch that we acquired for next to nothing when… Continue Reading

Made with map

I’ve got an early beta invitation for, an easy to use mapping tool helping people to share their journeys by connecting images with locations. Anybody who has ever used google maps to create a custom map will appreciate the ease of use of However, while it looks great, I am not sure what… Continue Reading

The Fuji x100s

After jonesing for this camera for over a year, I finally bit the bullet and pushed the “order” button on amazon. I’ve been wanting a compact digital rangefinder forever, but just could not justify the cost of a Leica. The x100s is the next best thing, in some ways perhaps even better. It’s everything a… Continue Reading

Economics for non-economists

Fascinating read and a book I am sure to check up with in the future. I am constantly surprised by how few marketing people try to understand the basics of economics, anthropology and behavioral psychology. Continue Reading