Think Analogue

One thing  this second lockdown has forced and then reinforced, is that there is a digital solution to most problems and all of our every day tasks. We’re shopping more online, we’re meeting our friends and colleagues online and children are having to be educated online if there’s COVID in their classroom. 

My own job entails hours of staring at data. It’s always digital these days too. But data is just that. Data. Without analogue thinking, it remains as just data too. It’s only when you’re able to see through the data and understand what it’s saying, that it can begin to make sense. And that’s where the idea of ‘Think Analogue’ comes in. 

We don’t think digitally. Few of us think in neat straight lines and along linear paths. 

We think analogue. 

And that’s why working from home and not getting out in the world will begin to stifle creative thinking and hamper brilliant solutions to problems. Early on in the first lockdown, I’d been trying to crack a particularly challenging conundrum with one of my clients. I was literally tearing my hair (i wish) out, staring at the screen, with no sign of inspiration. But a walk with the dog, in the woods near my home solved it. it didn’t just help me solve it, it helped me create something that has changed a lot about their business since and that’s a huge success. 

It’s these little analogue interludes in our day that stop us becoming battery hens and killing our ability to create. 

Isaac Asimov in one of his semi religious books, wrote about a devil called Azazel. He’s two centimetres tall and grants wishes that wreck people’s lives. In one of the short stories, a writer, frustrated by the amount of time he has to wait, has his wish granted, asking for less waiting everywhere. He believes it will give him more time to write and therefore more capacity to earn. As is Azazel’s way, the wish is tainted and the writer, with no waiting time is no longer able to write. He loses those analogue moments, where ideas are able to float into his brain and after a few weeks, can no longer create at all. 

So, even with all of these restrictions we’re living with, think analogue, dream analogue and act analogue. Get out and have some mini adventures. They don’t need to be daring or dangerous, they just need to be different to the day you’ll be spending hunched over your laptop, and the hours you’ll be spending on Zooms over the next few months. 

When we look back at this in a few years time, the things we’ll remember and the things we’ll have pictures in our mind and on our computer will be of the times we spent between the digital. 

Think analogue. 

Think Analogue Go for a ride on your bike by Johnny Lyle

Purple Circle new website – Ready for 2011

After my post yesterday about Purple Circle winning Midlands Design Agency of the Year again, I am now very proud to introduce you to Purple Circle’s brand new website.

Purple Circle - New Website for 2011
Purple Circle – New Website for 2011

Please have a good play, help us spot any holes that we may have left and pass it onto your friends and family to play with too.

It’s a lot more Google friendly than the old one and we think it’s a lot more easy to navigate.

We’ve added lots of new stories and some projects you may not have seen before.

Our work over the last few years has become more and more digitally focused, so this is a reflection of our current thinking in what works well online.

Hope you like it.

Purple Circle – Midlands Design Agency of the year (again)

In the Drum magazine today, it was announced that Purple Circle have been named Midlands Design Agency of the year for 2010. Which is really rather good news. It’s the third time in four years we have won it.

2010 was a very tough year for us, we had some key people leave us, we had our nicest member of staff ever pass away and we had a government that decided that it would not just run down it’s spend with the creative services industry, but switch it off immediately and altogether. After ten years investing in a creative industries sector, they decided they were going to attempt to kill it overnight by totally withdrawing all of their work. It was our very own Annus horribilis. If we found it tough, some of our peers found it disastrous with some great and famous agencies falling by the wayside.

So to have survived and adapted at all was a pretty happy ending for us and it is genuinely the icing on the cake to have our peers voting to say our work is still the best you can get in our sector in the midlands.

Thankyou the Drum. We love you a little bit more now, than we even did before.

2011 will be better. And we’re going for four out of five.

Anywhere, better, best – in an age of austerity, it just makes sense

New Orleans floods from the air - the perfect place to show the concept of anywhere, better, best in action
New Orleans floods from the air – the perfect place to show the concept of anywhere, better, best in action

I’ve just written a bit of our latest thinking on the Purple Circle blog. You can read that here in full.

It came from Kelly Herrick, but in summary, our thinking goes like this.

If you were in New Orleans when the floods hit, you needed to get anywhere to save yourself. Up a tree was okay for a short time. It was about survival.
When the water subsided and you could get to safety, a better situation was in a football stadium with hot water and a bed for the night.
When you eventually were rehoused in a new and safe area, you reached the best position.

In some ways, many companies and brands are in the same position. Parts of what they are doing are in the anywhere section and parts are in the better, or maybe even the best, so why change all of it at once?

But have a read and comment away if you disagree.

HSBC 100 Thoughts

I just had this rather cool email.

HSBC 100 Thoughts winner
HSBC 100 Thoughts winner

Congratulations, you’re our second HSBC 100 Thoughts winner.

As a winner you are invited to one of the HSBC 100 Thought events. These events are taking place around the country and there will be a number of business thinkers and influencers making up the panels. You will get exclusive access to the panel at your chosen event.

Your thought will also be entered into a public vote and if you win you’ll receive a one to one consultation with a globally renowned business guru (who we will be announcing very soon).

I’ve listed the events below for you to choose from. Not every panel has been firmed up yet but I’ve entered the ones we know for you. They start fairly early and are finished by around 10.30 so you shouldn’t need much time out of work to attend.

Please let me know which event you’d like to come to. We will pay for travel, via standard class rail or mileage rates approved by HM Revenue & Customs, to and from the event and this will be reimbursed after the event.

And the thought?

“#100thoughts if you really want to improve your business, why not give your customers a really good listening too.”

Which is something we have been talking about for ages anyway, as the problem with most social media strategies is that they involve a lot of talking and not enough listening.

Funnily enough, my other entry “#100thoughts if you can’t change the people, change the people.” didn’t get picked!

Just to prove it’s one we believe in, we did employ a bit of good listening only yesterday to our good friend and client Lisa Harlow, who has given us some direct feedback as to how we can simplify our own presentation at Purple Circle. Her idea is being actioned now and will be live on our website within the next day or so! It works.

So i’m off to the Nottingham event on July 15th.

Jimmy Bullard’s Wash and Go Ad

It’s all very funny and that , but in what way is this adding to the brand value of Wash and Go. As an April fool it may have worked, but this came out in mid March. What on earth were they thinking? He’s ugly, not too well known and very few of us would aspire to his look. I think size zero models can be a disaster for many brands and real life could be where it’s at, but this is a badly executed, badly filmed parody that should have stayed as a joke amongst the creatives.

For the record, here is one of the original ads from 1991. (the year we started Purple Circle!). I wonder what happened to Vidal Sassoon?

Polishing the Rhubarb

I was on a Purple Circle photoshoot the other day for McArtney’s Catering and tried out a new App for my iPhone called iCamcorder, which adds video functionality to the iPhone 3G. It seems to work pretty well. I also couldn’t quite resist adding some music from the mad TV programme Rhubarb and Custard, which seems to suit nicely. Victoria Blundy is the Rhubarb Polisher.

Oh, and I should have added a picture of the finished shot. So here it is: Nice work by Keane Beamish.

The Rhubarb - Nicely polished
The Rhubarb – Nicely polished

The best TV ad of 2010

I’ve just seen this article written by Champagne Jane on the Purple Circle Blog and I love it. In my opinion, this is the best ad of 2010 (so far).

We were at some awards a few years ago when the team at Specsavers were robbed of the gold and Grand Prix awards for their previous ad called Collie Wobble. I was so incensed that they didn’t win (probably because they were a in house team rather than an agency one) that I went and told them and also told the judges that we wouldn’t be entering their awards again unless they got their judging criteria sorted.

These guys do consistently brilliant work in building their brand and their powerful strapline and should be applauded for it. So for those who’ve forgotten it, here’s Collie Wobble.