Where’s Playfool?!

I have been busy creating new work, managing agencies and also posting on my favorite subject of Creative, Technology and Innovation on my new blog.

Head over to hack tomorrow to see all topics related to Creative Technology

I will be posting a couple of thought pieces here shortly.

CONT. Why are Digital campaigns so boring

I shared my first thoughts on Linkedin and was glad to receive a number of responses, challenges and optimistic views of the future.

Firstly most people agreed that the creativity has dropped, this is because a number of factors.

  1. Apple
  2. Bandwidth
  3. Mobile Devices being the main device for consumption
  4. Platforms taking control with media buying
  5. It’s not Useful to just be creative.
  6. UX and CMS creating a simplification of websites
  7. Homogenising the online world

I of course disagreed with some points.

Bandwidth wasn’t massive in 2005 still we were able to create immersive and engaging campaigns AND educational sites and content.

Usefulness: I have to disagree here too, not all campaigns were about wasting time with a brand, as we know, attention spans are short and people like information as quick as possible. But let me give an example of a “campaign” I did with CP+B, the brief was to highlight the growing number of child obesities in Canada / North America. So we created an online game that can only be powered by the users step counter when playing the game the students were also taught about nutritional facts and of course we threw in some maths and science quizzes. The kids in schools took the challenge and in school break time talked and competed against each other. In short, it was a success and rolled out to other schools.

gogoyu from Darren Richardson on Vimeo.

BUT… I will caveat, that I do understand there is a lot of content out there which is really not useful! my point is about having a PURPOSE and driving change or educating through immersive online experiences.

Finally a positive comment from the US

“With the speed of 5G on the horizon 45k banner ads will die a swift death. And we’ll see the explosion of interactive video and AR. Deep meaningful concepts will come alive again. Fingers crossed.”

So fingers crossed people!

My next post will be looking at how we can be more creative and expressive with online ads.

Why are Digital campaigns so boring

I plan to write a longer piece on this, but I needed to rant right now.

Rewind back to 2009, no this isn’t another 10 year challenge, its just the sad truth. In 2009 we had some amazing websites being produced for example :

the winner in 2009 on theFWA.com was We Choose the moon which was A real-time recreation of the historic Apollo 11 mission to the Moon complete with round the clock audio transmissions and 3d animations representing each step along the way, distances, etc.

The site was engaging, interactive, and lead the user on a journey.

It’s still live.. take a look HERE, remember this is 10 years old now, and think how far we have advanced with other technology such as mobile devices in this time vs website design.

So I am asking myself what went wrong.

Stay tuned for my thougths on this.

Should the Traditional Art and Copy Team Still Exist?

First Published on Little Black Book Feb 2018

I know this is a subject that’s been batted around for years, but I have honestly not seen much change. I look at myself as well with the agencies I have built up and run.

Well I’m now taking a step to change this… ‘finally’, most of you might say. But like I just said, most are talking and not doing.

Saying that, we still need the skills of traditional art and copy – they are not just important, but vital – but we also need other skills such as technology, digital, social media, design, 3D, editing to name a few.

Before I changed, I asked myself a couple of questions: why should I need to change and how do I change?


Clients are wanting quicker, cheaper and better solutions, because their customers want the same, therefore we have to deliver on this. Gone are the days where we get a brief and have one month to work on strategy, then another three weeks creative before presenting to the client. Then you have more time, with many rounds of changes.

These days we could have a brief from the client and be asked to respond within 24 hours with solutions, these solutions could be live tested and adapted while in market.

This sort of quick creation takes a mindset that reacts in a different way vs the creation of a 30 second TVC. It takes a different team set up to get the concept from thought to produced in a very short time.

To recap: we need to work quicker and better which equals time and skills.


Let’s look at how smaller agencies work, most of the time they work on project-based work. When the job comes in they put a team on it that can answer the brief in the quickest and best way possible. Most of the time they hire in freelance specialist to compensate for the lack on knowledge in a certain field such as technology.

So why not use this model in the larger agencies, but instead of freelancing use shared specialists across the group?

Instead of fixed teams why not select people best suited to the project?

We should break the traditional structure to be more flexible in the future. We don’t always need the big teams or groups you would normally see in an ad agency, we could have skilled people that are flexible, and are able to team up with either an art or copy partner one week and a creative technologist the next.

The brief defines the team…

Sounds logical, but how many are really doing this vs firefighting because your structure doesn’t allow you to do otherwise?

To get back to the headline of this post – should the traditional art and copy team still exist?

In my view – yes, but they should open up to working in different constructs otherwise they will become a hindrance rather than helpful.