Some Thoughts from Roman Coppola

November 14, 2014 / Features

By Alex Reeves

Titbits of wisdom and conjecture from the visionary filmmaker’s appearance at Ciclope festival, including his unique point system.

He’s one of the coolest members of Hollywood’s most creative family, a polymath equally talented in directing, writing and producing. Working across music videos, commercials and feature films, he also runs production company The Directors’ Bureau. Roman Coppola recently swung by the Babylon cinema – a delightful art-deco spot in Berlin, just round the corner from the former Communist party HQ (now Soho House Berlin) – to share his experience and wisdom with the brightest sparks of advertising gathered for Ciclope festival. In case you missed it, here are some highlights from his live interview to intrigue, and hopefully inspire.

On The RC Point System
With characteristic confidence, Roman revealed how he decides which commercial scripts to work on by sharing his tried and tested point system.

In case you can’t read that off the image with Roman cooling it, here it is in text:

RC POINT SYSTEM

(Looking for jobs which rate a 6 or higher)
Great creative – ADD 5 POINTS
Very good creative – ADD 3
Good creative – ADD 2
OK creative – ADD 1
Weak creative – SUBTRACT 1
Strong budget – ADD 2
Average budget – ADD 1
I get to write or contribute significantly to script – ADD 2
They use me as a ‘spokesperson’, or there is a paid PR component – ADD 1
Shoots in LA, Paris, Rome, Buenos Aires, Tokyo – ADD 1
Shoots outside of Above cities – SUBTRACT 1
Celebrity talent – ADD 1
Stage or back lot shoot – ADD 1
Good agency or creative team – ADD 1
Product I like – ADD 1
Fun/interesting subject to shoot (includes stunts, new technology or dance) – ADD 1
If this is a commercial which is a continuation of a previous campaign – SUBTRACT 1
Extended prep, longwinded back and forth – SUBTRACT 1

Roman Coppola: “I just cooked it up because I realised these are the things that I was looking for. Sometimes you work with people and they’re confused [and ask] ‘why’d you turn that down?’ It’s pretty accurate.”

 

On Risk

RC: “Working in commercials there’s a lot of fear of failure and concern about risk and, to me, risk isn’t so risky. In fact it’s a good bet to go with risky choices. As a director you always have to find colleagues and people that can deliver. That’s my job – to spot talent. But once I spot them I guide them and let them do their thing. It’s a pretty good strategy.

“With creative folks trying to make good work, in general, if you start with a good concept, find someone you think will do a good job with that, the more you can allow them to do it truly with enthusiasm, without a lot of hassle, I think the project will be better, by and large. Risky choices are a safe bet.”

 

On Inviting creativity
RC:
“A good project to me is like throwing a party. You get all of your ingredients for the party. It depends on your taste, but you get some alcohol, you put ashtrays around, some cigarettes – a little cup of those, that brings a smile – some food, make sure you have toilet paper – a lot of different things.

“And on set you bring people together. You have a way for people to gather. You make it an essential thing to make it fun and make it in the spirit of what you’re trying to achieve. Generally the work I like to do is more playful and fun and evokes a sense of delight. It’s hard to go wrong when you have talented people who have some enthusiasm and feel like they’re doing something for a worthwhile reason – not just a gig – and the magic tends to come just by inviting it to happen.
“I’m just a big kid. To me the world of creativity [is] invitations. So Wes – we were just friends and he said ‘will you come out to Rome and help with this thing?’ [And look where that landed him!] I just have my radar out for interesting invitations and experiences that are diverse.
“Happenstance is a big part of it. I love lucky accidents. You talk about risk and part of what that means is letting something happen that you don’t expect to happen. So I love surprise and delight.”

 

On Commercials and Wes Anderson
RC:
“[When making commercials] there’s a certain ritual. You do a comments call, write a treatment – all that type of thing and we do it different than other people. I always welcome people that speak more directly. If there’s a chance to cut through the BS it’s a nice place to start. Wes is a very different person. He’s a big filmmaker. He’s a real artist. And commercials intrigue him but it’s not something he seeks out. He’s very firm about what he won’t do. He won’t get on the phone or write something up just to make sure someone feels good. He does what he thinks will be best for the project – he’s very hard working in that regard.”

 

On Producing and Executive Producing
RC:
“To me there’s not really a division [between running The Directors Bureau as a director or as a producer]. We’re just trying to do interesting things. As a director I have a sense of what I think other directors would want, to be supported and not be pressured to do lousy things and have an environment that puts emphasis on being able to do research and [gather] visual materials. I think [I run The Directors Bureau] more as a director, but also as a producer too. The creative act of the producer is to gather people, get some good food and make sure there’s good coffee and a nice place to work.”

“It sounds obvious. [As a director] you want [your producer] to support you; someone who listens to you. They’re there to serve you really – to make sure you have all the elements that you may need and it’s always great – in the rush of production things get left behind – [good producers] take time to say ‘what would make this better’ and if I gave you my party analogy, good producers have a knack for thinking of those things, whatever it may be like ‘by the way we have some cold water here.’ Just little things that show that they care and the crew recognises that, so thoughtfulness and creative application of anticipating what problems might be and getting to them before they get to be problems.”

High Five: November

November 11, 2014 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

Style and theatricality were used to their full in this month’s best advertising.

We know everyone’s getting their baubles in a twist over the Christmas ads already, but we’re saving our festive spirit for now. There’s only so much to go around and it’s important to pace yourself. We’re easing ourselves into it with just one Christmas cracker this month, alongside a handful of other delights of advertising.

Brand: Google
Title: Through Glass
Production Companies: Academy / A+, Decon
Director: FKA twigs
Production Company Producers: Morgan Clement, Anton Mallie
Director of Photography: Jackson Hunt
Ad Agency:  Anomaly
Creative Director: FKA twigs
Creatives: John Downing, Matt Knapp
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Sarah Iben
Sound Company: Factory
Post Production Companies: Framestore, Finish

Google – FKA twigs

Brands have done music videos before, but usually they’re either irrelevant because the music is terrible or they’re little more than product placement in a popular artist’s next promo. This is a different approach – a commercial that splices bits of songs from Mercury prize nominee FKA twigs with a powerful and creative visual demonstration of the Google Glass product. Directed and performed by the artist herself, it feels like a true creative collaboration, and while the cuts between the two tracks are a little jarring, it’s undeniably cool.

 

Brand: H&M
Title: You Vs
Production Company: Good Egg
Director: Tell No One
Production Company Producer: Adam Smith
Director of Photography: Alex Barber
Ad Agency: H&M Red Room
Creative Director: Donald Schneider
Art Director: Sandberg & Timonen
Agency Producers: Anna Granditsky, Strange Cargo
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: James Rosen
Post Production Company: MPC

H&M – You Vs

We’ve all seen those long, languorous fashion films full of pouty models mincing around over-art-directed locations, usually with no decipherable message or story. This isn’t a million miles away – it’s still recognisably a fashion commercial for Alexander Wang’s collection at H&M and the people in it are definitely a little pouty, but there’s a dynamism here that this category rarely sees. While maintaining a sleek, health goth aesthetic, mysterious directing collective Tell No One have made a film with both guts and glamour.

 

Brand: Halfords
Title: Street Rider
Production Company: Somesuch
Director: Aoife McArdle
Production Company Producer: Dougal Meese
Director of Photography: Andre Chemetoff
Ad Agency: Mother London
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Dan Sherwen
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Robson
Post Production Company: Finish

Halfords – Street Rider

One of the first Christmas ads to hit our screens, this charmer from Halfords isn’t out to grab any headlines. It’s just a straightforward ad made with the utmost expertise at every level. Built on the pure idea that there are few childhood joys greater than riding a new bike down your street, everyone involved has proceeded to make a top-quality film. It’s fun, beautifully shot and edited, accompanied by a great track and its bright, frosty grade will help it to stand out from all the cosy warmth we’re going to be smothered in by Christmas Day.

 

Brand: Honda
Title: The Other Side
Production Company: Somesuch (and Digital Production Company: StinkDigital)
Director: Daniel Wolfe
Production Company Producer: Dougal Meese  
Director of Photography: Robbie Ryan
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy London
Creative Directors: Scott Dungate, Graeme Douglas
Creatives: Scott Dungate, Graeme Douglas, Paul Knott, Tim Vance
Agency Producer: Lou Hake
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Tom Lindsey
Music Company: Wake the Town
Composer: Bobby Krlic
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Tom Joyce
Post Production Companies: The Mill, Framestore

Honda – The Other Side (Click for the full interactive film

This triumph of interactivity works so well because of its elegant simplicity. The idea is easy to get your head around – two opposing versions of a driving sequence, one of which shows whenever you hold the ‘R’ key – but the result is utterly compelling. A brilliant way to capture the contrasting spirits of their Civic range, the impression it ultimately leaves is of a film engineered to the highest quality.

 

Brand: Woolmark
Title: Lost & Found
Production Company: Neon
Directors: Tom Bridges, Roland Woolner
Production Company Producer:  Rebecca Vine
Directors of Photography: Paul O’Callagahan, Simon Hammond
Ad Agency: Neon
Creative Directors: Roland Woolner, Charlie Cassidy
Editing Company: Neon
Editor: Tom Bridges
Music Company: Box of Toys
Sound Company: Box of Toys
Post Production Company: Neon

Woolmark – Lost & Found

A brilliant example of the transformative nature of good filmmaking, the folks at Neon have made something as prosaic as a piece of wool into the star of its own textile odyssey. Close-ups and slow motion follow it on its journey from fleece to finished garment, turning the processes involved into epic clashes and trials, creating something faintly mythological. Considering hairs and fibres were once the nemesis of 3D animation, the mixed-medium approach here is very impressive, too.

Naming Rites

November 5, 2014 / Features

By Alex Reeves

You see these companies’ names all the time, but how did they get them?

Scan over the company names on the APA’s list of members and you’ll learn why so many people want to get into the creative industries. Sure, a couple have simply slapped the founders names above the door and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the majority have bizarre names that defy any good sense of professionalism.

The stories behind these monikers are no doubt a rich vein of entertainment, so the following is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some of the tales behind how companies in advertising got their names.

Disclaimer: for the purposes of entertainment and lack of editorial rigor, some of these stories may be false. But we wouldn’t want the truth to get in the way of a good story, would we?

 

750mph

James Bradley, Managing Partner: “In 1998 we spent months thinking of what to call our studios. On my computer I had almost 2000 potential names.

Then the inevitable happened and my machine crashed. I managed to salvage a few potentials like 6000 Mexicans and headed to a crunch meeting with the bad tidings and the knowledge that we had to come up with a name that day for marketing and publicity purposes.

After an hour of getting nowhere one of us spotted a paperback version of The Right Stuff based on Chuck Yeager's attempt to break the sound barrier with a jet.

The question then arose, what is the speed of sound?

The answer, depending on the dryness of the air, altitude and temperature, was 750mph. We had found our name.

A few phone calls to trusted mates received a thumbs up and we have been travelling at the speed of sound ever since.”

 

Big Buoy

“When first forming the company we realised that all of the staff members were involved with sailing. We had an ex tug boat captain, a deep-sea diver, two pirates and three who had appeared in several episodes of Baywatch.

On one of our bi-annual trips to Butlins in Bognor Regis, we all decided to go for a late night swim. Little did we know it was hurricane season and we were washed out to sea. By an incredible stroke of luck or, dare I say, fate, in the distance we saw a Big Buoy and we were saved.

Hence the name was born.

We lost three that night, they went back to Baywatch, I miss the Hoff. He was a great flame op.”

 

Blink

James Studholme, Managing Director: “Blink was born sometime in 1985. The child of Bob Lawrie, a tiny irascible antipodean graphic genius, Blink was quite definitely an animation company back then.

Bob had left Australia in the mid sixties at the age of 18 to seek fame and fortune in the UK, having become the biggest thing in book jacket design in Sydney.

It was B for Bob and L for Lawrie in Blink, with the ink part being a pun on the principle of film making and the inky nature of graphic design and animation.

I joined him later that same year. Our office was at 18 Archer Street Works (a Soho street shady on both sides). Our studio had been purpose built to service the music industry in the days when every theatre, club or bar had live music. Musicians would congregate in the afternoon hoping to catch the eye of a bandleader with work for that evening. The Works were where they got their instruments mended.”

 

Caviar

Eva Custers, Marketing & Communication: “Our name reflected our desire to use a word that would pretty much be understood in an international context. In that sense we were both very ambitious and somewhat arrogant too.

We also thought that starting with a "C" would put us fairly high up in alphabetical directories, see? Practical and arrogant, truly the best of both worlds.

And lastly we wanted to convey immediately how exceptional our company was. For us the word caviar conjured a sense of uniqueness and sophistication that we felt represented perfectly the kind of work we wanted to do.”

 

Dark Energy

Matt Brown, Managing Director / Executive Producer: “So after working through 1500 names we narrowed it down to things like Blacklight and Dark Matter, for all of which the domain names were taken. Then my wife said ‘what about Dark Energy?’

My initial reaction was no. I’d never heard of it, then I thought ‘hang on – I like it.’ I went onto Google and looked it up and to my surprise read this: In astronomy, dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy which permeates all of space and tends to accelerate the expansion of the universe. Dark energy is the most accepted hypothesis to explain the observations since the 1990s indicating that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. The universe contains 26.8% dark matter, 4.9% ordinary matter and 68.3% dark energy. So in short it is this little known substance, which is in fact incredibly important and everywhere.

On the day I registered the company I saw an article online saying ‘finally it looks like we have proof of the existence of Dark Energy’ and they were right!”

 

Doofer

Dom Murgia, Managing Director: “I was asked to come up with a name for a new production company and suddenly from nowhere, the word Doofer popped into my head.

I thought it was kind of relevant to our industry in that in the north west of England it can mean TV remote control... It wasn't until I checked out the urban dictionary that I realised it has many meanings, depending where you are in the world.

We made a page on our website dedicated to the name and its various interpretations.”

 

Good Egg

John Hassay, Executive Producer: “Our moment of conception came as an industry leader remarked to me that commercial production companies existed to shit out golden eggs for their owners.Immediately I thought Golden Egg would make a great name for a production company.

After an abortive experience trying to get it up and running with a resolutely bad egg I realised that it was actually more than a little hubristic and I needed to think more carefully about the people I wanted to work with.

From there the process was simple. Good Egg is a phrase I used to bestow compliments on the best of friends; people who quietly go out of their way to help. It’s about loyalty, hard work, seeing the process through and, like my first company, Colonel Blimp, it reflects the very best of British.”

 

Grand Central Recording Studios

Carole Humphrey, Founder / Managing Director: “Grand Central Recording Studios is named after Grand Central station, which is an important New York transport hub.

I wanted us to be a hub of activity and delivery. Naming a facility after an iconic, beautiful building in America seemed aspirational and exciting.

Our studios in Marshall St had a central reception area, and the 4 studios, Xfer and offices came off that - like a concourse with platforms coming off it in a square. It was a brilliant design and working space. It made for a busy and social facility.

Our letterhead had the windows from Grand Central on it and we commissioned someone to take some photos of Grand Central that were in reception for 10 years.”

 

A Large Evil Corporation

Ellie Botwood, Head of New Business: “The animation company now famously called Evil, came to light after the company was searching for a new "iconic" name. Being friends with Mark Denton, Evil asked the creative director and advertising guru if he could help with a new identity. In true Denton-esque style, Mark embraced the creative circuit and they all sat down one night for beers and a good old fashioned "gang bang" (Mark's words not ours...) to come up with a new name. Names such as Chinese Burn Masters & Superwinners were hot favourites but it was when someone said A Large Evil Corporation did everyone sit up and take notice.

What started off as a hilarious joke quickly became a reality and quickly followed Evil branding in terms of books and postcards and posters not to mention Evil branded dollar bill business notes. It still makes us chuckle that A Large Evil Corporation is actually a lovely and small animation company in the beautiful town of Bath. However, Evil are now a household name and have recently finished the Xmas campaign for Sky (an actual Large Evil Corporation) and their Evil Vinyl toy designs have caught the eye of very very Large Evil Corporation's in the US so perhaps the Evil dream will come true someday in the near future...

And so the Evil brand was born.”

 

Riff Raff

Matt Fone, President: “It’s hard thinking of a good name – one that cuts through, one that you have a empathy to. I always liked the film, the Peanuts character and the feeling it gave me: Me Vs. the rest.

And then my six-year-old kid drew the logo and I thought “I like that!” It suddenly became something other than what I thought; it became something else, which is the best part – something of its own.

Just have to make sure I don't fuck it up…”

 

Somesuch

Tim Nash, Managing Director [in an entry from their blog]: “Anyone who’s ever started a company will have faced the task of naming that company. It’s a tortuous journey. Our company was nearly called so many shit names, vacillating between the pretentious and the plain retarded. Architecture. Chapters. PFB. High Rise. God Speed. Unknown Pleasures. Work Makes You Free. Sun Ra. The Golden Bough. Atrocity. Blah blah.

One thing we all agreed on was that we liked books. And writing. So for about a day we were called I’d Prefer Not To after Bartleby the Scrivener’s famous dictum. But then common sense prevailed: I’d Prefer Not To was probably not sending out the right message for a new shop opening in the height of a recession.

Sally and I are big fans of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. There’s a great passage where Huck and Jim meet a pair of grifters called the Duke and King. They’re down and dirty swindlers. Confidence tricksters. They throw a sham play called The Royal Nonesuch to try and make some cash. So for about a week our fledgling production company was called The Royal Nonesuch. We tried to register the name with Companies House and were quickly informed that to be Royal anything we’d need a letter from the Ministry of Defence and the Queen’s consent. This left us with Nonesuch films, but we eventually reasoned that Nonesuch Records would take a dim view of it, especially given their litigious reputation.

One morning Sally [Campbell, Executive Producer] said, ‘What about Somesuch?’ Somesuch. Some. Such. Hmmm. I liked the sibilance. It was a nice word to say. Well, not really a proper word. More of a nonsense. But it felt good in my mouth. Somesuch. I thought it sounded like what an Atlanta based hip hop label would call themselves. Somesuch Entertainment Inc. We’d have a logo designed by Pen and Pixel and sip lean all day. But Sally loves ampersands. So we had to have an &/And. And the &/And was quickly followed by Co. It made us feel reliable, like those old menswear shops on Jermyn Street. Somesuch & Co. Like a long standing family business, rather than a company started on a credit card, some borrowed desks, and a wing and a prayer.

After a while you grow into your name. It feels as though you could never have been called anything else. And of course, much to our annoyance, no one ever used the &/And Co. It was always just Somesuch. Hello Somesuch.

Now the &/And feels like a hipster affectation. Suddenly everything seems to be &/And bloody something.

Our new website [launched in August]. We’re fucking off the &/And Co. From now on it’s just plain old Somesuch.

The new website has a section called Stories. It’s a platform for long form fiction and non-fiction. We’ll be launching a new story every Sunday.

In the end it always comes back to writing.”

 

tenthree

“Why Ten Three? Well we actually prefer tenthree. The name was born in the most unlikely of places far away from the manicured edit suites of Soho. This is a tale of shattered dreams and broken bones set in the mud and sweat of Kingsmeadow playing fields.

tenthree’s founder, Billy Mead, used to moonlight as a professional footballer but his career was cut painful short by a double compound fracture of his tibia and fibula. For those without a degree in anatomy and physiology that basically means he snapped his shin in half and the bone came out of the skin. That fateful moment occurred on 10th March, or the tenth day of the third month of the year, or tenthree. It marked the end of his aspirations on the football pitch and in turn ignited his passion for editing.”

About the Beak Street Bugle

November 5, 2014 /

By alex

The Beak Street Bugle is an online newspaper for the advertising world. Here you will find articles on advertising and commercials production, in particular, containing insight, opinion, reviews, blind conjecture, humour and work.

Signed: Lawrence Blankenbyl

November 5, 2014 / Signed/Unsigned

By The Beak Street Bugle

A globetrotting Kiwi lands in London.

Lawrence Blankenbyl is new on the London commercial production scene, but he’s built quite some weight behind him since his moving image career began in his native New Zealand almost ten years ago.

Having started as a graphic designer, he earned the daunting title of ‘New Zealand New Media and Design Ambassador’ before he decided he wanted to make films. Three years on from that decision he’d won a Gold Lion for a music video he made for The Pet Shop Boys and was getting worldwide trade media attention.

On the back of that he took up a two-year artistic residency at Fabrica in the North of Italy, where he completed his first feature documentary Rwanda Again, which has been on Italian and Swiss TV and has screened at festivals around the world.

Since then he’s spent some time working in Switzerland working for clients such as Louis Vuitton and now he’s landed in London and signed to Little Madam – Madam’s new division for emerging directors. Flanked by the talented Effie Pappa and Lucio Arese, we’ll be keen to see what he creates in the creative hub that is London.

Watch some of his work here:

Unsigned: Yvette Paxinos

November 5, 2014 / Signed/Unsigned

By The Beak Street Bugle

A graduate of the MTV school of rambunctiousness.

Yvette Paxinos was born in Sydney in the 80s and raised on a farm. 24 years later she found herself experimenting at MTV as an animator.

It was a rich environment to hone her talents in. She picked up a few promo briefs that were lying on the floor that nobody wanted to do and worked with a bunch of amazing talent like Patrick Clair, Hilary Bunt and all the producers there, who she describes as “bloody rambunctious”. In those days, with had stacks of money and no client limitations, apparently “it was more like a circus than a TV station.”

It’s put her in good stead. Now she’s bolstering her reel with promos for such credible artists as Tom Vek and with a solid grounding in working to a brief, she could be ripe to bring her deft touch to some bigger commercials.

Watch some of her work here:

Ancient Wisdom

October 21, 2014 / Features

By Alex Reeves

The History of Advertising Trust reminds us why we should protect the past to improve the future of our industry.

The advertising industry’s obsession with the future is inevitable. The new is exciting, cool and interesting – everything advertisers want to be – and if they’re going to be communicating in a relevant way, agencies need to be on the cutting edge of culture. But this obsession is also a dangerous one. It results in acute amnesia. The past is quickly disregarded in favour of the next big thing and lessons are often left unlearned in the wake.

The History of Advertising Trust (HAT) has been fighting to restore balance to the industry since 1976, reminding them that a look in the rear view mirror every so often can be a valuable thing. They also handily provide them with a big mirror to do so.

HAT’s job is to protect and represent the heritage of advertising, to preserve the story of its development and the best work through the ages. Their archive of millions of relics from the advertising world is fascinating and ever growing, stored in temperature-controlled, low-acidity conditions at their facility in Norfolk. It’s a potentially a rich source of inspiration for new generations and a fascinating treasure trove to dig through.

There’s a lot more than just ads at HAT’s archive. Their collection also encompasses the context in which they were created, including such fascinating artefacts as the notepads and sketches that went into their creation, telling the stories from behind the scenes. There are even contracts for famous talents and correspondence between clients and agencies, fleshing out the history of the social dynamics of the industry.

“Although formats change the ideas are what really matter,” asserts Chloe Veale, Director of the Trust. And while HAT’s collection is vast and exciting, she and her team are always keen to grow it and fill in the gaps in the communications tapestry.

Their facility is full of gadgetry and gizmos for converting old formats into stuff that can be digitally archived and backed up, but it’s painstaking work putting old 35mm film and transparencies onto hard drives as it often has to be done in real time.

The end goal of all this is to reduce the impact of that geographical barrier between the metro-centric British advertising industry and HAT’s base of operations in Norfolk by cataloguing everything online in a digital format. That’s a huge job, especially for a charity with limited access to funding, but it’s one they’re handling at a steady pace with the support of the idustry.

Channelling their efforts into this digitization and opening the doors of its archive wider to the industry is testament to the fact that HAT is no dusty repository where ads go to be catalogued and forgotten; it’s an active, participatory part of an industry that desperately needs to learn from its past in order to produce the best work.

They’ve built their archives by gathering material from a plethora of sources and as lovers of history they relish this. “We rescue material,” says Chloe, “but we’d prefer a working relationship. The hardest thing is to make sure we’re getting the fresh stuff that’s being produced today. We’ve got to keep feeding the archive with stuff that’s current.”

It’s a paradox, but while technology has given us all the tools to preserve our work easily by building our own digital archive, it has also taken away the structures and disciplines that physical cataloguing demanded. The notes a creative made while coming up with the next historic ad are likely in a folder in a hard drive somewhere, but where exactly is up to that creative’s personal filing system – and calling it a system may be giving it too much credit. “We’d like agencies to send us their digital records,” explains Chloe, “but a lot of them wouldn’t know how to access them. The digital world is a great asset for information but it’s also extremely expensive to have all the back-up storage.”

HAT want to nurture a two-way relationship with agencies. Ultimately they need cooperation in constantly building their archive, but it all goes towards the greater goal of strengthening the industry as a whole.  “It’s all about relationships, the whole business,” says Chloe. “And we’re here to help everybody. We’re a service, not a museum. This is living heritage. We’re still creating it and it’s here to be drawn upon.”

Ultimately, in a world obsessed with immediacy and cost cutting, HAT can save agencies and production companies time and money, by smoothing the process of research. They have shelves rammed full of guard books that detail the entire chronologies of brands’ advertising histories. They’ve gathered together material from disparate sources – from head offices, local factories and outlets, agencies and even ex-creatives’ lofts and boiler rooms – to fill in the gaps in brands’ timelines of communication.

It’s all in one place and available for their clients to access and they can deal with lines of enquiry where Google would hit a brick wall. HAT have recently been working on a project called Saving the 70s, producing compilation reels of 1970s advertising and collecting anecdotes, photographs and ephemera from the era, but Chloe is confident they could virtually cover any timeframe or theme people are interested in.

“You can’t catalogue ideas,” she admits, “but you can catalogue slogans, language, images, products and brands. When [agencies] are saying ‘give us everything you’ve got on salad cream since the 1930s’ we can do it."

At Advertising Week Europe earlier this year, The History of Advertising Trust screened Risk and Responsibility (http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/news/1154210/), a witty deconstruction of the client-account manager-agency dynamic featuring now legendary ad men Ronnie Kirkwood, Jeremy Bullmore, Sam Rothenstein and David Bernstein. You can’t find it on the internet, but the sketch from 1966 hilariously depicts a pair of risk-averse clients reducing Ogilvy’s iconic The Man in the Hathaway Shirt ad to a pile of bland rubbish. It’s message is as relevant now as it was then – risks must be taken in order to stand out, and clients will need some persuading to take these risks. The battles of the industry then are still raging.

We may have immersive online brand experiences and creative technologists coding our advertising now, but the core principles of the industry still hold. That’s why we should pay attentions to The History of Advertising Trust and the wealth of knowledge held within their archive. We’ll never be so enlightened that we cannot learn from the past.

7 Voice Over Artists You Might End Up Booking

October 17, 2014 / Humour

By Jamie Grant

Jamie Grant goes over the usual suspects of the voiceover session.

Summon up your best Scouse accent and ask “What's yer name, and where do you come from...?”  Cilla Black's catchphrase was a game-show staple of the 80s and 90s. The screen that prevented the chooser connecting the face to the voice made it all the more fun. But booking a voice artist you've not worked with before can be a similarly blind date; the talent's credentials may impress on paper, but the guy or girl who walks through the door might not be quite what you expected.

London’s newest voice agency Loud and Clear Voices has conducted the most up-to-date (unscientifically provable) survey in ad-land history to bring you the following data so that you, dear booker, can have some idea of what you might be getting.

Type 1
The artist who walks in armed with two backpacks full of Nurofen, a tube of Berocca up each sleeve, and a flask of herbal concoction from the Far East. They will crave your indulgence after each take to check that you didn’t want a horse-sounding delivery stating “There's definitely something going round”, but you suspect he / she might actually have just stayed up all night clubbing in Ibiza before jumping on a 5.50am flight back to Luton.

Type 2
The artist who seemed ok on the way in, but is now glassy-eyed and wet of cheek. Worry not; it's nothing you've said. They're bound to be The Vegan Who Silently Weeps whilst voicing your hamburger chain campaign... Don’t tell Morrissey.

Type 3
The 40-year-old FVO who looks so much older than her publicity shot that you don't recognise her. The worry-lines are from being hugely in debt to the vocal osteopath; every day she's asked to voice tiny children (“we just need a dozen RP 4-year-old girl and boy voices, please; make sure they're all different. Light coming!”).

Type 4
The guy who really wants you to know he has a movie coming out in the spring: “End of day two, and I'm Facebook friends with Tom Hanks and Colin Firth, can you believe that?” It's hard to tell whether he's flirting with you or with his own reflection in the sound booth window.

Type 5
The guy who wants you to know he can do EVERY accent...in the world: “Could I just try it again, and I'll give you three in a row: South Shields, Lanarkshire borders, and Isle of Wight” (All you needed him to say was “Toshiba”).

Type 6
The MVO who, after insisting on shaking everybody's hand (cue awkward pulling in of chairs as he snakes his way round the tiny control-room), announces he's got 'flu. That “light, gentle tone” which the client had their heart set on, today sounds more like Barry White on a hangover.

Type 7
The pristine voice actor whose velvety tones are everything you hoped for and more. This campaign for the new Renault Rialto featuring animated footage of Roger Rabbit is going to be fabulous...until you realise he can't say his “R”s. (A rapid review of his voice demo reveals that it avoided any R-words. Playing to his strengths?)

 

Of course you won’t find any of these delightful examples at Loud and Clear Voices.