Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Duchess and I

I was delighted to see that according to this morning's Sun, the Duchess of Cambridge and I have something in common. We both have five changes of outfit to contend with during the Christmas Day - although I suspect for different reasons....

6.00-9.00 I will be teaming my baggy boxers with a pair of stylish black ankle socks in pure nylon. I am likely to complete the ensemble with a shapeless grey towelling dressing gown, the ideal outfit for a morning fag and cup of tea.

9.00-11.30 A change of pace for the grand present opening as I divest myself of my leisure look and switch to more formal attire in a pair of ancient leggings from the house of adidas, complimented by a fetching fleece jogging top. The button-down style will be lightened with a pair of Homer Simpson novelty slippers.

11.30-5.30 The sartorial highlight of the day as I prepare to wow the household in my daring collection of baggy-arsed denim jeans and shapeless tee-shirt - possibly with a humorous connection. In the past, this silhouette has been most successful complimented by an apron bearing the legend 'screw the cooking, let's get pissed' - and my philosophy is, once you've found a fashion style that works for you stick with it. This classic shape will carry me through the main activities of the day; going to the pub, overcooking the sprouts, drunkenly laughing at the queen and generally entering the spirit of the day.

5.30-8.00 As eventide descends, it will be time for another fast change of outfit. Evening games will be undertaken in a collection of sparkling new knitwear from Her Majesty's Marks & Spencer and possibly Matalan - offset with a sprightly paper hat worn at a jaunty angle.

8.00-12.00 The day will climax in a cornucopia of revelry as the esteemed family and friends get stuck into the Bailey's and Stella. This will require a final slick change of attire as I swap the knitwear for 'that shirt you've been saving from the holidays'. This will be the impulse purchase from the summer, a brilliantly colourful affair complemented by images of parrots and palm trees. As night time turn into the early hours, the look will be completed by sodden socks from the quick 'conga' round the garden and festoons of silly string.

Ahh, how like the homelife of our own dear future queen...

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Why free design isn't worth the money...

Back in the day, I worked for printers who offered my services for free and then built the cost of my salary into the cost of the print.

Initially, a lot of customers were delighted - they thought they were getting something for nothing. Obviously, they weren't - they were just paying more for their printing than they needed to.

But worse than the sneaky hidden charges, was the quality of the design they were getting.

I just needed to produce something that, according to the owner of the company, 'looked professional'.

I didn't really care about producing a job that would get the client more business. My work was worth nothing, so I just designed something that 'did the job' - it got the client's message across - but it didn't make anyone want to use them.

The clients didn't really know much about design, so my unscrupulous printer boss just got me to reproduce the same basic design job over and over again - giving it a few tweaks and a new logo to 'ring the changes'. It was a fast way of working, so he could keep the cost of my time down - and bill some extra hours to the client - which he would make a big deal out of pretending he was 'absorbing' the cost of!

And because the design was a popular one, he could sell it to every client as 'professional and effective' - because, the last 20 customers had liked it, why shouldn't the next 20.

Sadly, the poor clients paid for their overpriced print and templates design time after time, thinking they were getting a bespoke service and achieving only a fraction of the results they should have. Because they thought they were getting a good deal, they just didn't realise what a bad one it was.

And that's why 12 years ago, I set up Davis Davis Design and Advertising. We don't offer free design because we want the businesses we work with to succeed, not just be fleeced. Instead we offer cost price print to our clients so they get the best possible design for their business and the lowest print cost. In the end the price works out the same - but the difference in results is what keeps our customers coming back.

Printers still offer 'free' design and still provide the same second rate service. But if you want to find out how much you can really save on your next print job, just drop us a line or give us a call on 01304 213008. In 2012, don't you owe it to your business to find out how well you could be doing?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Why every client can create their own solutions…

"I'm not creative", is probably the most common phrase you'll hear in the design industry.

A lot of clients say it.

So, they don't get up on a Saturday morning with ideas on how to entertain the kids that day - the kids that they didn't create. They don't cook meals that require care and timing. They don't turn up the radio in the car, put their foot down a little more and imagine they're starring in a movie or ad. They don't doodle while they're on the phone. They don't get dressed - or even choose a new tie. They don't book holidays or look forward to Christmas morning or imagine playing at Wembley. They don't decorate their homes, plant roses by the gate or buy gifts for birthdays. Of course, they do.

No one has yet been born that has no creativity in their soul. And a good designer will work with their client's innate creativity -no matter how latent - to reveal answers they can both love.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Jane Moore Page Highlights

Blah is backbone.....blah blah...hardworking mums....blah blah....the bloke....blah need tough love..... blah blah...common sense....blah blah....housework juggling....blah blah...single parents.....blah blah....lived in a cupboard....blah blah...botox....blah blah....real world....blah blah....benefits scroungers....blah nauseum

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Dosh Stone Kidnap

Headline: £9 Million Joss Stone in Kidnap Shocker

The real shock is how the Deep South Devon dipstick amassed nine million quid. Friends in high places? (pun intended).

Friday, 10 June 2011

Does no one else change their mind?

I find today's imperative to blog, post, comment, cast and have an opinion about absolutely everything wearying at least and stressful at worst. It seems that not an event can go by in the news or a view expressed in the media without their being a requirement to add something intelligent and forthright to the debate.

I have a problem with this (as no doubt regular readers of this blog have discovered).

Firstly, I'm aware that I have little original intelligence with which to add anything of value to the debate.

But more pertinently, I tend to change my mind a lot.

Today, I might think Ryan Giggs is an odious little man for cheating on his missus. Tomorrow I might reconsider - you can't really blame him because she does look like she could start a fight in a one man tent.

Today, I might think Rowan William has a point because no one voted for the coalition. Therefore they don't have a mandate to impose loads of draconian legislation. Tomorrow, I might think he's a weirdy god-botherer in a gold lame dress whose never done a proper day's work in his life and doesn't really have any right to pontificate on what the rest of us hard working tax payers should expect from our government.

Today, I might think man bags are a good thing.

Tomorrow, I might not.

And there's the nub. I'm inconsistent. If I blog an opinion today might have changed it completely by tomorrow. I'm transitory, open-minded, non-partisan, lily livered, flexible, uncommitted and vague.

But what concerns me more is the thought that everyone else on the internet is so sure of their opinions that no matter what new evidence comes to light they will never change their stand point. I'd love to have that kind of confidence. But surely the ability to adapt to our conditions is what sets us apart from the animals - and politicians. Or maybe I'm wrong.

So, who'd like to join me in creating a Society for the Undecided? A vehicle for those who not only pull their punches but aren't really sure about the 'whole punchy/throwy thing anyway' to meet and celebrate our indifference. A place where we can have tepid debates - well not even debates really - more sort of friendly discussions - about the major issues of the day and how hesitant we are about them. Good idea?...Yes?...No?...I'll put you down as a maybe, then.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Pippa Middleton and David Beckham. Breaking a few more super injunctions

Apologies to all my eight followers on the recent lack of blogs - pressure of work and all that you know.

Anyway, following the revelations regarding Jemima Khan and Jeremy Clarkson, I though now would be an apposite time to publish some of my own super injunction busting scoops...

First, there's the ongoing triste between fame obsessed space cadet Peaches Geldoff and wheelie based boffin Professor Stephen Hawking. They've managed to keep it a secret for months put were last week photographed kissing behind the bins at Currys. Then there's hirsute Welsh football drone Robbie Savage and his on/off affair with chinny American actress spinster Jennifer Anniston. They met on the set of her last rom-com disaster where Robbie was auditioning for the part of '2nd pampered Afghan Hound' and, allegedly, haven't been able to keep their hands off each other since.
Next we have the secret relationship between green fingered talk show dross-smith Alan Titchmarsh and scrawny pop has-been Madonna who likes him to pop around at least once a week to 'prune her bigonias'. Then there's a rash of lesser known torrid clinches that have evaded the British press: Erudite twitterer Stephen Fry and OWIE airhead Amy Childes, Brummy misery Adrian Chiles and Bumptious pop starlet Beyonce Knowles, 70's Spurs goal machine Cyril Knowles and Porcine temptress Peppa Pig...I could go on. But I'm bored with making up unlikely couplings now. Still if you've got some you'd like to add, please comment. It's all good for the search engines.

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Surbiton Surveyors' Centre Parcs Super Dry Epidemic

Elveden Centre Parcs. April 2011...

The infection started in the sports hall and soon spread to the restaurants and bars. Initially we just noticed the odd isolated case but before long it was obvious whole families had succumbed. The disease seemed to be more prevalent in the young but it quickly became apparent that no one was safe. Slightly trendy chartered accountants, 'still with it' fleet managers, 'down with the kids' dads and middle-class miwlf mums were all showing the signs.

The Super Dry epidemic was unstoppable.

Everywhere we turned, children, teenagers and old enough to know better parents could be seen displaying the symptoms. In the children it wasn't so tragic. The oversized, over worn check shirts were almost cute, the strange garage signage and references to Tokyo had a playfulness that made the underlying sickness bearable, But in the adults, the infection was hideous to behold. The washed out grey pigmentation, frayed seams and pink stripes all pointed to the unmistakable truth that their brains had been infected by virulent 'branding' and a collective 'lack of imagination. The fact that this was costing them an arm and a leg was secondary to the underlying sadness that whatever celebrities wore three years ago, the middle classes will wear today. And that's the real sadness. An abundance of money coupled with a lack of ideas will always mark them as followers - the cannon fodder of the manipulative marketing department.

However, as with the FCUK pandemic of a decade ago this will also soon pass. In fact the signs of a new and more powerful logo madness are already taking hold. People are already showing the initial symptoms of the ubiquitous Hollister strain. Give it a couple of years...

Friday, 8 April 2011

Hugh Grant: Actor, Charmer, Town Planner...

Thanks to Hugh Grant for pointing out the obvious in this week's Dover Express. Hugh described The Gateway on the seafront as, "that monstrous council block casting its shadow over the town and blocking the sea view". He went on to add, "most towns have bypasses, Dover has built a road to have lorries thundering through the middle. It must be the worst piece of town planning I have ever seen... you can drive right through Dover without knowing there is actually quite a nice beach the other side."

The disconnect between Dover and its sea front has always been a major drawback to any development or investment plans, and the fact that The Gateway further separates the town from its greatest asset is testament to a series of appalling planning decisions made by successive Dover Town Councils. Not just over decades - but through the centuries.

Why could the dual carriage way not have been sent underground to allow residents unfettered access to their beach? Why was it considered a brilliant idea in the 50's to build a block of 'luxury' flats that looked out of date the moment they were completed? This was just abject greed by the Council, looking to grab development money by flogging-off something that didn't belong to them - namely the stunning views of the channel. No doubt the people who made these decisions are all forgotten in their graves by now - but their legacy of stupidity lingers on.

So, I'm with Hugh. Let's bulldoze The Gateway... and while we've got the earth movers out, let's knock down Burlington House at the same time.

This Week: Dog Walking Live

This Week: Lambing Live
"...Join Kate Humble as she follows the Marston family in their picturesque Cumbrian farm during the lambing season..." BBC2 9.00

Next Week: Ant Watch
"...Join Bill Oddie as he follows Nigel Igglestone in his mess of a bedroom with his jam jar full of ants..." BBC2 9.00

Week After: Pigeon Watch
"...Join Big Dave as he chases pigeons up and down the alleyway outside of the Crown and Sceptre after a night on the Stella..." BBC2 9.00

Week After: Cats Live
"...Join Mrs Minton as she watches the antics of a ginger tabby and a one eyed black Persian as they fight over the remains of a KFC next to the bins..." BBC2 9.00

Ad Infinitum: Cheap Telly
"...Join our TV execs as they trawl the UK looking for cheap ways to exploit natural animal events to fill the prime time schedules rather than making programmes themselves..." BBC2 9.00

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Don't blog when you're angry...

...about the nursery gestapo charging you £130 for your kids' fees when they're on holiday even when you told them weeks ago that you were going on holiday and could they please just change the days. And no, they couldn't do that. That would be too bloody helpful and wouldn't make them enough money which is all they're bloody interested in - much more so than the education, happiness or welfare of my children...
...about greedy universities charging everyone the maximum fees or there abouts even the most rubbish ones who shouldn't be allowed to charge anyone for anything - yes, you South Bank University, who think it justifiable to charge kids (or more accurately parents) £8,500 per year for a crappy second rate education when Oxbridge are charging £9,000. The fact that the government lied to us blatantly saying that the average would be £7,500 - except nobody's charging that - they're all charging the full whack because THEY BLOODY WELL CAN AND THE GOVERNMENT CAN'T DO A BLOODY THING ABOUT IT!
...about fatuous middle class MPs claiming that other fatuous middle class students shouldn't get the same leg up they got because now they're all right on and down with the poor, aren't they Nick Clegg????!!!
...about the fact that said middle class MPs know sod all about poor families where the kids aren't put off by £9,000 of uni fees because £9,000 isn't even a sum that registers in their consciousness. £9,000 is fantasy money when you live with a family that's trying to save up £6 for a packet of fags, pay the debt collector 30 quid this month, putting off the rent for another week, avoiding the bloke in the corner shop because they still owe him £1.50 for the lollies the little-uns wanted last week and need a tenner to top up the mobile and the electricity key. So don't worry about the £9K Nick. You and Dave put the kibosh on social mobility the moment you killed off the Educational Mobility Allowance. Relax. Poor kids ain't going anywhere.

Don't blog when you're angry because it ruins you punctuation.

Friday, 1 April 2011

If the housing cap fits...

According to the Standard, "A £400 housing benefit cap also comes into effect today, sparking fears that thousands in Central London could be forced to move to the suburbs.
But Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said "some people could claim more than £100,000 a year to live in large houses in expensive areas. It's unacceptable."

Before adding; "Only MPs should be able to claim benefits to live in large houses in expensive areas."

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

...And the Dumb-Ass quote of the day goes to...ABTA

Responding to the point that holiday companies are profiteering from parents by hiking prices in the school holidays, a spokesperson for ABTA said, "Travel companies want to incentivise people to travel out of peak times, so discount prices."

The context of the story is that more parents are running the risk of fines and damaging their kids' education by taking holidays during term when prices are 25% lower. 13% of us did it last year. So, to summarise, according to ABTA, the holiday companies aren't inflating the prices in the school holidays - those are the normal prices. It's the rest of the year that's being discounted. Therefore, the only people who can benefit from the 'incentives' offered by the holiday company are people that don't have kids of school age.

ABTA's correct reply to Christine Blower of the National Union of Teachers comment that,"it's unreasonable for travel firms to cash in by hiking costs in the school holidays" is 'Yes, it is but we're going to do it anyway, hahahahahahahahahaha!"

In any other industry, offering incentives to people to break the law is a criminal offences known as 'bribery'.

Friday, 25 March 2011

24 in a nutshell

Chloe will pull her 'I want pudding' face and furrow her brow.

A nuclear bomb will go off in a desert

An international terrorist will speak in a ham Arab accent about "ze newchleear matearalz"

Jack will 'be forced' to torture somebody.

The torture will involve some shouting and looking menacing before the hardened killer gives in under his threatening gaze.

Someone at CTU will open a socket.

Someone else will discover something important in a fragment of data.

KIm will get herself kidnapped.

There will be a shoot out in a multistorey car park

Jack will have a heart seizure.

All cell phones will always receive a signal at the crucial moment.

All computers will work perfectly.

Jack will get shot.

Some peripheral character will lose their memory.

The president will be either a wise saint or an evil monster.

Someone will contract a killer disease and have a limited time to find the antidote.

Jack will be stabbed.

Tony Almeida will turn up.

Someone will mention Teri and everyone will go quiet.

The president will distrust Jack. And then be eternally grateful to him.

No one will go for a wee. Obviously.

And an hour will be formed of 43 minutes.

Please feel free to add your own...

Born Anxious

Some people never seem to have a care in the world. They skip through life happy in the knowledge that things will turn out alright. Worrying is a waste of time. "Worrying never changes anything."

I was born worried. Anxiety is my default setting. I know it will shorten my life. I know it will cost me sleep. But it's not a life choice. Anxiety is genetic. You're either born a worrier or you're not. And contrary to what the unworried say, it can change things. Fretting over a problem can provide insights and ideas. It can give you the nervous energy to find solutions. Sure, I'd rather relax and take it as it comes. But there are compensations to being born anxious.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Welcome to Comic Relief's National Guilt Day

How much can I afford to give? Well, if we all lived on nettle soup for a year, I could probably make it £20,000. But I don't want to live on soup. But think of the starving Africans. They'd be glad of a bowl of nettle soup - I'm a horrible selfish person. On the other hand, I promised the kids Moshie Monster cards this weekend. I could tell them to give up their cards for the starving Africans. Then I'd feel like a bad dad as well as a horrible person. That's what I love about national charity days; they manage to unite the country by making us all feel equally guilty about not doing enough. Sod it, make it a tenner.

The myth of customer service

"If you raise your voice to me, I will terminate the call." Customer service today in the UK is simply pathetic. The operators aren't there to provide a service. They're there to stonewall, buck pass and add to the frustration the customer already feels because the service or product they are paying for has failed to provide that service, and now the customer service person who is meant to deal with the problem isn't providing that service either. In desperation, you demand 'Well, what the hell am I paying for then?' And the answer, rather than the truthful, 'for us to rip you off and keep ripping you off until you go away or admit defeat' is 'if you raise your voice... etc etc.'
The companies claim that they have to take this tone because people now are so rude and demanding. What they don't mention is the fact that people used to be more polite because they believed the company they were dealing with was intrinsically honest and committed to providing the service they were paid for. Can we say that about many of the companies we deal with today? Do we feel they are transparent and up front in all their communications. Or have the marketing department got involved and added just a little bit of 'spin', just enough double speak to muddy the waters? And do we honestly believe that the companies we deal with today are endeavouring to give us a level of service that will leave a warm, fuzzy glow inside? Or are they passing off the bare minimum as a premium product? Are you getting the broadband speed you paid for? Does the network coverage feel like the 99% claimed by the phone company? Is the British Embassy in Tokyo helping UK citizens get home or has it buggered off in a wanton and cowardly act of self preservation?
We're not getting what we were promised. And we're not getting customer service when we complain about it. Is it any wonder we raise the decibel level? So the next time the customer disservice rep threatens to terminate the call, try answering with... "and if you terminate the call, I'll hunt you down like a dog, make you watch 50's British Ealing films until you talk like Joyce Grenfall, and force you to repeat the phrase 'I'll sort it out immediately for you, Sir/Madam' until you develop a 1000 yard stare akin to Malcolm McDowell in a Clockwork Orange."

Helicopter wins goldfish

If there's one thing that's guaranteed to make you think a situation is out of control, it's the sight of helicopters carrying giant bags of water. Fukushima... and run for the hills.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Budget Betting

Budget day next Wednesday and George Osborne has been touting his budget for growth for the last couple of months. Here's the betting on just how innovative it's going to be: Revising some old Thatcherite dogma like Enterprise Zones 5/2 on. Cutting corporation tax for small business by 25%, 50/1. Tinkering with a load of minuscule benefits that no one gets much out of, evens. Claiming he's been either 'progressive', 'bold' and/or 'responsive to the needs of industry' 11/10 on. In the words of Roger Daltery, 'Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...'

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Haunted Dover

Just finished reading Lorraine Sencicle's book 'Haunted Dover'. Apparently, the only place in Dover that isn't haunted is my sock drawer.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Damn you, iPhone...

Forget all the video calling and movie editing on the iPhone. The great feature is the fact that you can connect it to your bluetooth keyboard with just a click. Which means you can sit on the train and type just like normal to the screen. Therefore, any typos and spelling mistakes you find in my blogs from now on can't be blamed on the twitch on screen keyboard and predictive text. It's all my own work.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A typical Wednesday in adland

Client agency wanted some ideas for a new campaign today, so spent it working with my favourite art director, The Man. Put together 3 sale-able ideas and presented them to the creative director who made all the right noises, e.g. 'like this...', 'that's a big concept..., 'I can see that working...etc'. Then presented us with a load of ideas of his own he wanted us to think about. Not sure whether to feel pleased or deflated - especially as one of his ideas is pretty good. Still one of ours was a belter too so it's 1-1 going into half time.

Other clients cheekily asking for more work that they haven't scheduled in or have just 'mentioned in passing'. As always, we'll do what we can. Good job we're off the booze at the moment or I might think I was getting no fun out of life. I KNOW I'm getting no fun out of life.

South Eastern's Recall Challenged Ticket Inspector

You've got to admire the sheer ineptitude of South Eastern Railways. Today we have a ticket inspector who seems to only recently have applied for UK residency from, I'd guess, Kenya. His accent is heavy and he has the officious air of someone who has acquired a uniform and a hat but no real authority. Unfortunately, he appears to lack one of the key characteristics of a good ticket inspector. A strong memory. He's already asked most of the people in the carriage to show their tickets for a second time - some for a third. At this rate we might as well wear our season passes around our necks like minor entourage members at a Lady Ga Ga concert.