Archive for 2009

Phoenix from the ashes

From the ashes

From the ashes

Lots of turmoil in the Scottish ‘marketing’ industry at the moment and because of a number of high-profile closings, we got round to speaking about ‘Phoenix’ firms in the studio today. ‘Phoenix’? It’s the ‘tabloid’ term for those punters that fold a firm, only to open-up as a similar outfit, (with a slightly different name and most of the same staff) a few days later.

Now, there’s lots of legal and moral arguments as to what exactly is the right, wrong, cynical, naughty and just downright shitty thing to do. We’re not judging here, as it’s usually pretty hard to comment on the demise and rise of any firm, because you don’t know all the facts. However, it’s interesting to note the diffferent attitudes people have to the failure or folding of a firm. We’d like to believe most people struggle on to the very last minute, gamely trying to keep their head above water. Perhaps this attitude is sometimes not the right one? Perhaps a bit of honesty with all the staff a good bit before might be a better way to handle it?

It’s pretty well charted that most really successful business people have, at one time or other, made a bit of an arse of it. Even old Platinum-Balls, Simon Cowell was bankrupt and skint before he became one of the most conspicuously wealthy and succesful people on the planet.

Anyway, the point is, we’re getting a bit fed up with the same old ‘recession’ chat and whether it might be a ‘v’ shaped ‘w’ shaped a ‘u’ shaped (or any other shape) of recovery. Business is a risk and if everyone in Britain remains judgemental and still continues to stigmatise those who’ve had a go and failed, nobody will take risks, nobody will build business and nobody will take a ‘punt’ on doing something diffferent or backing anything diffferent. That won’t help build the Scottish economy.

The problem is, our industry, because of its relatively small start-up costs, has seen a few crackers, when it comes to ‘Phoenix’ scenarios. It’s also seen appalling abuses of really hard working staff. It’s interesting to note that some of the former staff at Faulds Advertising, (which went tits-up five years ago) are only getting some money now! It’s clear that the management of Faulds in its final days was ruthless and if you believe the Internet grapevine, a lot more besides. Sadly, it’s these high-profile closures that reflect badly on other firms that traded well, were totally honest brokers but just couldn’t ride the recession.

So, we need to stop the knee jerk judgements. If you only know one Industry and you crash and burn, if you’ve got mouths to feed and if you’re not a Hedge Fund wanker with a morally dubious ‘pension’, you’ve got absolutely no option but to go back to work. And if that means starting up again, morally, that’s the right thing to do.

Our industry attracts creative people and if they’re creative in a good way, that’s great. If they try to get creative with people’s feelings or their living or their salaries, that’s a different matter altogether.'s no finish line

The new website is up-and-running but very much as a ‘soft’ launch. What we’ve done is simply to ‘join-up’ our website to included all the other aspects we do now, our blog, our twitter, the things we have up on Linkedin, our images on Flickr…mini movies and presentations we’re creating…it’s non-stop.

There’s no finishing line now and our website will never be complete, it’s a moving, living, breathing, organic thing. In essence it’s simply a shop window for our creativity and because of this, it’ll be getting constantly updated, as we release the exciting new projects we’re working on.

Everyone’s diffferent though and some of our clients feel they need much more, (or indeed much less) on their website. Whatever approach you feel you need, the two important things to bear in mind are the update-ability and the ease of use.  It you don’t have both of these, you’re doing it wrong. Up-to-date and easy, there’s no real arguement here, believe us!

We were speaking last week of using Cars as an analogy. The automobile. Lift the bonnet of any new car now and what you’ll see is simply a black plastic cover, okay maybe a windscreen water bottle as well. This lump of plastic is shielding a hugely complex array of electronics, increasingly sophisticated engine parts and patented wizardry.

The thing is, people don’t know (and most of them don’t really care) what makes their new car more fuel-efficient, faster and vastly more reliable than ever before. They don’t want to know how it works. However this increased excellence has had a converse effect on the driving experience. Even fire-breathing, 200mph Lamborghinis are really simple to drive these days. Anyone with a normal car licence can drive one with the minimum of fuss.

Like even the most exotic of motor cars, your website or any digital presence can of course, be hugely complex and contain layers of cutting-edge technology and information but… it’s got to be simple and really easy for ANYONE to navigate through.

So, the new site you’re planning: Could your mum understand it and ‘drive’ it? Does it have a minimum of buttons and are the gizmos easy to use, or second nature to operate? It it pleasing to the eye, with gorgeous images and clever use of words? If  so, well done, you’ve passed what we call ‘The Granny Test’

If not, contact us!


The 'Citz', one of the UK's best and most interesting theatres

We had a bit of posh lunchy-poos in The Corinthian today, with all the corporate friends of Glasgow’s Citizens’s theatre. As  ‘pals’ of the place, we obviously like Glasgow’s innovative theatre space, which nestles in the Gorbals, but is  just a few minutes from the ‘main drag’ of the City Centre. Amazingly, the ‘Citz’ as all ‘wegies’ call it, has been on the go since the 1940’s and it’s had a right few famous people through the doors.

I found out today that one of today’s speakers, ex-Glasgow Lord Provost Liz Cameron was totally gutted to find out Rupert Everett was a gay man. He is? You learn something new every day. Anyway, unbeknown to me, famous thespian metrosexual Rupert, he cut his teeth at the Citz and he’s only one of a string of famous people who have ties with this Glasgow theatre Institution. Iain Cuthbertson whose funeral, sadly was today, he also ran the place for a while. You’ll remember him for lots of roles but as Charlie Endell in’ Budgie’ and the Baddie in TV’s  ‘Supergran’, he was a childhood idol of mine. Ahh Supergran…Billy Connolly sung the theme tune as well.

Anyway, enough about Supergran…the Citz, check the website out, support it, go. It’s not stuffy, it’s different and…interesting!