Ad agencies transforming. As discussed.

About 10 months ago I posted this following an essay by Edelman‘s Jackie Cooper. Jackie’s essay was called “Why It’s Time for Ad Agencies to Admit defeat” and in it she claimed (as many people have done over the past few years) that PR agencies rather than ad agencies were the ones best placed to take advantage of the brave new world of communications.

My point was that she was ignoring the fact that ad agencies might be able to adapt and evolve, and also the not insignificant advantage that they already hold the vast majority of a client’s marketing budget and therefore had the relatively simpler task of persuading a client to spend it in a different way.

This morning I read this piece in The Guardian: “Digital technology and social networking breathe new life into advertising.”

Wonderful thing, evolution.

Media relations…still got it

As featured on The Media Blog (and Twitter, obviously).

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

I read an incredibly interesting article in the FT Weekend magazine about narcissism.

It includes this list of character traits which are typical of a victim of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Strikes me that it might be pretty common…

NPD – the diagnosis

A victim of narcissistic personality disorder will exhibit at least five of the following traits

1. A grandiose sense of self-importance

2. A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

3. A belief that he or she is “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

4. A requirement for excessive admiration

5. A sense of entitlement – unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

6. Interpersonal exploitativeness – taking advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

7. A lack of empathy and an unwillingness to recognise or identify with the feelings and needs of others

8. Enviousness of others – along with the belief that others are envious of him or her

9. A tendency to arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes

Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV

Separated at birth?

Something here, definitely.

One of these blokes cooks up stuff from any number of interesting ingredients. The other is a TV chef. Mark Borkowski and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

The Google Instant alphabet

Saw a tweet from Andy Barr about brands competing to be the first result presented when a single letter is typed into a Google Instant search. Got me intrigued… the A-Z for is below. Interesting that the one being cited by a lot of blog posts and articles is ‘w’, which returns ‘weather’. It’s the only non-brand or product in the list! Well, that’s if you accept utube for ‘u’.

Google maps
John Lewis

Tagged ,

@OhDoctah vs. @OldSpice

Just love this. Brilliant.

For most of the next week…

…I’ll be sat on a bike riding across 700km of beautiful French countryside, including some very big hills, with some of the best people I’m privileged to know. It’s all for charity of course.

To hear a bit more about it and to follow our exploits, take a look at Les Veloistes Gentils blog.

Today’s great idea

I just had a brilliant idea after a to-and-fro with @wonky_donky and @CMRLee on Twitter.

Why the hell hasn't Panini done a "Panini yourself" iPhone app for the World Cup?

It would be simplicity itself. Take a pic of yourself or a friend, select a hairstyle (mullet, naturally), tracksuit (Denmark '78), generate a suitably European name (Marcus Pinshofster), send it to your mates.

(New social media catchphrase. Just watch, everyone will be using it soon.)

Meet Nuts

He’s going to hate me for this post.

This is Nuts or, to give him his full name, Edward Rikard-Bell. He’s an Aussie but has been living in the UK for decades. I first met him about 15 years ago when I was living in London with a bunch of mates, one of whom played rugby with him.

This photo was taken in May 2008 at my house in France. Nuts had stepped in at very late notice to drive the support vehicle for a London to St Emilion bike ride I’d organised. I never saw him without the Biarritz Olympique rugby club beret during the whole trip. And his relaxed attitude to navigation and meeting at previously-arranged places has become the stuff of legend amongst Les Veloistes Gentils.

I’ll cut a long story short, not least because I don’t have all the details. A few years ago now Nuts was diagnosed with a brain tumour. It’s been up and down since. He’s had a couple of operations and various rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in both the UK and at home in Australia. The cancer’s still there and it probably always will be.

Due to his treatment, Nuts couldn’t join us on the ride across the Pyrenees last year but when I saw him at the end of last summer, he told me that he was absolutely determined to ride out with us on the 2010 trip. Since then, he’s had another course of radiotherapy in Australia and is currently in the middle of a course of chemotherapy in London, to and from which he’s riding 20 miles a day as part of his training. I’m in awe. Just think about that: he’s cycling to and from sessions of chemotherapy to treat a brain tumour.

We’re due to gather a month from today in Geneva, before tackling 700km and 10,000m of climbing in five days. Nuts will be with us, and though I don’t think he’ll ride every kilometre, to ride alongside him will be very special and, frankly, hugely inspirational. I just hope he’s wearing the beret.

Nuts is one of the reasons that I’m raising money for Cancer Research UK this year. For regular readers, you’ll know that one of the other reasons is young Jack, a schoolfriend of my kids who has been undergoing treatment for cancer over recent months.

I’m really pleased to say that Jack went back to school this week. Not full-time, granted, but it’s such a brilliant step for him. He spent about six weeks in hospital in Bordeaux undergoing chemotherapy which seems to have been successful, though clearly it will be years until he knows that he’s all clear. But he’s well on the way to being his previous active self.