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September 18, 2009Viral video will be the next political battleground

I try to stay out of politics. I mean, I have my opinions, but by and large, I keep them to myself. The next election is going to be interesting, though — because like the last US presidential election, the General Election next Spring is going to be the first big election in the UK fought primarily over the internet.

I blogged the General Election, back in 2005. Blogging was different then. We were mostly ignored. My blog was just an irreverant look at the campaigns, you wouldn’t have come to it for news.

Yes, we all know blogs are …

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September 13, 2009Product placement: it’s already here, stupid!

The news that product placement is to be allowed on British television for the first time is, I think it’s fair to say, pretty massive. It’s a sea change in the way the government treats television here in the UK. I’ve posted before about the paternalist, even insidious level of top-down control over the airwaves in Britain. From that perspective alone, allowing advertisers to actually make use of programmes (as they do in the rest of the world) is an enormous change.

It’s also a very good move. Increasingly, we’re skipping ads. We’re ad savvy. I do it on the …

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September 11, 2009Voting with your feet

I’m really excited about Facebook Lite. It’s just the service I’ve been looking for. I don’t use a single third party application on Facebook. I can’t stand having to see all the quizzes and clutter on my friends feed.

I’m a busy man. Just give me the information.

Facebook lite promises to roll back the clock four years and give us the slim, streamlined social networking tool that made MySpace look ugly, primitive and unintuitive. I’ve had a ‘lite’ profile for a while now. No pictures. No surplus user information for third party apps to harvest. No quotes of …

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September 5, 2009Learning a lesson from Auntie

The BBC is institutionally biased. What can we as advertisers learn from it?

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August 21, 2009Quick pointers for copywriters

I thought this week I’d weigh in with some professional advice for my rivals. I’ve been doing a lot of editing work, so I thought I’d boil it down to a few quick pointers. There’s a lot of bad copy out there. Hopefully, after you’ve read this, there’ll be a little less.

Keep it simple

It’s not Shakespeare. Nobody wants Shakespeare, either. He’s old and nobody understands him. But I guess if you’re writing copy for a living rather than plays about kings and murder, you’ve figured that out already.

But what you might not have worked out is that …

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August 13, 2009Portrait of the sleep deprived

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. Okay, I’m a light sleeper, but when your neighbours decide, again, that it’s okay to keep you up ’til five a.m. with another domestic, you have to make a choice.

You either get up in four hours, and sleepwalk through the day. Or you shut out the glimmer of light that’s already peeping through the curtains, and get up in the mid-afternoon.

Either way, your day’s been written off. Or has it?

In my case, yes, the day was definitely written off. I was so angry about being kept up I found it …

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August 5, 2009Be your own brand

I’ve been so busy this week I’ve barely had time update my blog. Since being featured on Smashing Magazine, I’ve been responding to a lot of new enquiries and taking on almost as much new business. It’s hard work. Rewarding work. Work that makes me glad I struck out on my own.

I think Smashing Magazine think I’m a little bit arrogant. I suppose my face is plastered all over this site. But as regular readers of this blog know, I’m a big fan of the personal touch — adding that extra endorsement works, whether you’re a one-man outfit, …

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July 23, 2009SEO again

I’ve been working on copy for the web this week, so naturally I’ve been brushing up on my SEO skills in my spare time. SEO isn’t something you can learn and forget about, it’s constantly evolving — just like the web.

If you’ve got a website and you don’t know what SEO is, you might as well sell your computer and buy a typewriter. Or at least rip your modem out of the wall. Let me guess — you’re still on 56k, right?

But let’s assume for a moment you don’t know what SEO is. To be honest, unless you’re …

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July 16, 2009A writer writes

There was a good post on copyblogger this week about the power of the creative writer. Apparently anyone who can combine their “killer” advertising instinct with lyrical precision is on to a winner. In short, copyblogger thinks that there’s still room for the poet in the altogether more day-to-day world of copywriting. The key to success is creativity.

Sure, I’m a freelancer. I can (and do) spend quite a bit of time writing at home, in the garden, in my shorts. But it’s tough out there at the minute. If the work’s not there, the work’s not there.

On quiet …

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July 10, 2009Guilty Pleasures

Confidence speaks volumes, doesn’t it? Despite being totally out of the blog’s target demographic, I’ve been reading …

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