AdLand Suit is Dan Shute, a Board Account Director at Delaney Lund Knox Warren, a top ten London Advertising Agency. This is where I write about the life of a Suit - which can include pretty much anything. Delaney's didn't know I was doing this, but they do now. They still don't agree with everything I say though. They'd also probably rather I swore less.

Monday, 22 June 2009

The Real AdLand Suit's Place Of Employment

Just a quickie - the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed the appearance of a poll in the left hand column of ALS. It was suggested in the comments to an earlier post (by Mr Potter) that a quick, "Where do you think I work?" poll might be of interest. So there you have it - time will tell on the interesting front. It's a London Top 10, and I may just tell you if you get it right or not.

Secret Cinema

On Saturday, I spent a heady evening in Kingston, Jamaica, partying like it was 1972. There was live music, there was a massive jerk barbecue, there were dancing girls and there was a fabulous man in a fabulous suit who kept asking me (and everyone else) if I was "still really really really feelin' da vibe-ah?" I really, really, really was - as, indeed, was everybody else at London's Coronet Cinema, home, for one night only, to all the sights, sounds, smells and violence of 1970's Jamaica.

Welcome, dear friends, to the world of
Secret Cinema. The brainchild of the braindaddy behind Future Shorts, it's a quite wonderful thing. Basically, once a month, somewhere in London, they screen a film - you don't know where it is until about a week before, and you don't know what the film is until the film starts. And it's much more than just the film - they create a huge, perfectly crafted event around it. They show a mixture of films, from cult classics, to plain old classics, to previews of soon-to-be-released blockbusters: this time round we had the quite magnificent (and the quite bonkers) Harder They Come, starring the quite magnificent Jimmy Cliff, and it was quite suitably mental; last time they showed Anvil (which is quite, quite brilliant) at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, and as the credits rolled, the band themselves struck up from the balcony.

There's elements of flash-mobbing (the punters at the frankly terrifying Charlie Chaplin pub on E&C roundabout were more than a little bemused), there's elements of crowd-sourcing, and there's a whole lot of good old word of mouth - but more than anything, there's a huge amount of love and attention that goes into both the selection of the films, and the event-related brouhaha that surrounds them. I will be going again.

So there you have it. The Secret Cinema. It's awesome. Tell Nobody.

Friday, 19 June 2009

The Real AdLand Suit

So, a few people have questioned my anonymity. Or, to be more accurate, questioned why I'm anonymous - to question my anonymity itself would be to suggest that my real name is Adland Suit, and that I don't have a head, which would be ludicrous. I have a very fine head, thank you very much. Anyway - I digress.

I just wanted to explain to you, my loyal readers, what lies behind the anonymity, what benefits it brings, and what tribulations it can provoke.

First and foremost, I can get away with an awful lot more on this blog, and can be a lot more frank in my assessment of ads, campaigns, brands, companies and people than I could be if my face and name were sitting atop of every post. And that works for views both positive and negative: if I think something is awful, I can be totally honest without having to worry about politicking; and if I think something is wonderful then I can say so without being accused of obsequiousness. I can write about people's over-complication of 'digital' without having to worry about alienating the people I work with who insist of having the word in their job title. And if I ever felt the need, I could write about my CEO being a tool without fear of being fired. (I can't see myself doing that any time soon, incidentally - my CEO is really rather lovely, and really rather good.)

I'm also not going to deny that it's quite fun. In my head (which I definitely do have) then I'm essentially a superhero - AdLand Suit is the Superman to my Clark Kent, if you like. (If Clark Kent was a rather outspoken Board Account Director, rather than a mild mannered reporter.) The nice thing about 'in my head' is that the fact that I'm really more like City Boy with 1% of the readership holds no sway there. There's a time and a place for facts, and it ain't here. But having conversations about ALS with colleagues who have no idea is enjoyable, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

And finally, inasmuch as is ever possible, there's no personal agenda here. I've got no issue with people who use their blogs as self-promotional tools - the people who do it well are wise, intelligent people who prosper off the back of it. There are, of course, a lot of self-indulgent blog bores out there, but nobody reads their blogs. Ha. This blog is about raising awareness of the role of a Suit, encouraging debate about the role of a Suit, engendering conversation about a Suit's views on advertising and the value that we can add, and potentially, from time to time, helping Suits both current and future to be better at what they do. This blog is about me only because I am a Suit - AdLand Suit can do that in a way that a blog about me couldn't.

And yes, of course, it can be irritating. It makes it impossible for me to big up work that I'm involved in that I'm excited about - or even that my Agency is involved with. There are ways round that, of course, but I can't think of any that wouldn't involve me being massively self-aggrandising - and no, you wouldn't know that I was, but I would, and that's enough. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't, from time to time, wish that the relationships I'm forming as ALS could benefit me in real life - but not enough for me to 'come out', as it were.

I might one day. But not yet. For now I remain your humble, faithful, exceedingly well-dressed and fine-headed servant, AdLand Suit. Have great weekends one and all.

Something Awful For A Friday

Afternoon, chaps. I've worked in advertising for a fair while now, and I've produced my fair share of turkeys, but I'm struggling to think of anything I've ever done or seen that was quite as toe-curlingly awful as this. It's almost enough to make you hope the Aussies tonk us. But not quite. Everyone from Marmite, and everyone who's ever eaten Marmite, hang your head in shame.

Friday, 12 June 2009

D&AD - Black Pencils

Last night, D&AD handed out four black pencils, two of which went to Droga5 (one for their "Million" initiative, one for their Sarah Silverman-fronted "Great Schlep") - two fantastic pieces of work. A third went to ART+COM for their BMW Kinetic Sculpture - a beautiful piece of design in motion, that says great things about the brand (it's hard to talk about why without using the word 'semiotically' - I'll leave that to the planners). And finally, to Matt Dent, the guy who came up with the idea of using the reverse of the new British coints to create a shield collage. I'm not the sort of person who has a downer on the whole world of design, but this example seemed a bit 'meh' to me at the time, and really still does...

Anyway - you can see all the winners here, and the judge for yourself.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Going The Distance - A Hell Of An Undertaking

This is both friend-related promotion and a 'look, an interesting thing' type post. Anyway - I'll let the beautifully produced trailer speak for itself. Once you've watched that, head on over to the project site to read more about it. And then tell more people. These people are friends of mine, they're lovely and wonderful, and, if I'm honest, totally bat-shit crazy. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

It's Like Looking In A Mirror

A friend (and former colleague) over at the perennially excellent Pornokitsch sent this my way. And I love it. As should you.

It's Just Like Riding A Bike

Except that it hurts a lot more now than it did when I was 8. Yes, you are now as likely to see ALS scurrying through the streets of London atop a 24 speed commuter bike as you are to see him in the back of a magic black bus.

In an attempt to halt the onset of waistband spread (and trust me, I'm as much at a loss as you are as to why it might be happening), I've taken my fitness (and my life) in my hands, and am now cycling to and from work every day - a round journey of some 16 miles. Whilst it's fair to say that it hurts slightly less with every day that passes, it's also fair to say that it still hurts an awful lot.

But cycling is a good thing. I'm certainly not a born-again cyclist, but I'm fitter than I was, I feel healthier than I did, and (touch wood) I haven't died yet. As such, more people should do it. A fitter Suit is a better Suit. Or, perhaps better, a Cycling Suit is a Guilt-Free Lunching Suit. So, to help out the thousands of you (ahem) who will be inspired to take to the bike by this post, here, in no particular order, are the things I've learned about cycling in London over the last couple of weeks.

1. No matter how steep the hill, you never want to be in the easiest gear - it just means you've got nowhere to go when the hill gets steeper just round that corner. (That is the closest we'll come to 'wisdom' in this particular post.)

2. The CycleScheme is a 'very good thing'. Speak to your head of HR to find out if your company is involved, and if it isn't, then pester him or her until it is. Use words like 'eco', 'responsibility' and 'averting the impending apocalypse'.

3. Cyclists aren't (necessarily) very nice. Some are, but I had it in my head that I'd be entering into some kind of velocipedic brotherhood. If there were no secret handshakes, there would at least be friendly glances/exchanges at the traffic lights. It's us against the be-motored bastards, isn't it? Erm... no. A lot of cyclists are, for want of a better word, arseholes. Sweary arseholes. If you do cycle, don't be one of those people.

4. My spirit rises and falls in direct contrast to the topography of my journey. Or, to put it another way, the agony of cycling up hills is almost worth it for the bliss of cycling down the other side.

5. There will be at least as much uphill on your journey back from a place as there was on the way. If not more. It's an interesting quirk of cycling physics.

6. Cycling in the rain is more exciting and less painful, but more likely to lead to death. You win some, you lose some.

7. Buses hurt. Trucks, I would imagine, hurt even more.

8. People who've started cycling within the last few weeks still have every right to be irritated by tube strikes, even if they won't have any discernible effect on them.

And that's all I've learnt so far. Ta-ra.

Monday, 8 June 2009

What Tomorrow May Bring

So, obsessive geek that I am, I spent a fair bit of time thinking about work while I was away - and with work naturally came thoughts of ALS. I've been doing this for a while now, and I'm starting to get a clear idea of what I'm here for. More than I had when I started, anyway. But I think it's time for a bit more. And as such, you might start to notice some changes over the next few weeks. Up until now, I've been posting pretty much exclusively about the process of advertising. Whilst I definitely don't intend to stop doing that, I worry I might be doing the role of a Suit a little bit of a disservice. After all, as I've pointed out elsewhere, the joy of a Suit's life is that pretty much everything counts as work, and everything is relevant - if ALS is to reflect the life of a Suit, then it should reflect that.

And so it shall. The tips will continue, the rants will continue, the Suits Laid Bare will continue, the Everything Is Your Faults will continue. But alongside them, will be some more personal posts. Whilst, for reasons that I may one day reveal, I will have to remain anonymous, there's no reason why ALS shouldn't have a little bit more of me in it. (Explicitly me, that is - those that know me will testify that there's an awful lot of me in it already.)

So there you have it. ALS continues, and ALS grows. And possibly becomes self-obsessive and tedious. Meh.

Pop On By To Say Goodbye

As regular (or rather, thorough) readers of ALS will know, I was inspired to start this blog, in part at least, by a shiny young creative called Scamp. Scamp is, as all of you will know, a stalwart (if not the stalwart) of the UK Ad-Blogging scene, and today's sad news is that after three years and 707 posts, he's decided that enough is enough, and that the time has come to concentrate on other, bigger things.

I don't know what it says about me or our industry that a 41 year old, ironic-t-shirt-clad creative deciding that he's going to spend less time blogging about ads feels momentous, but it does. Perhaps because it is.

So, if you haven't already, pop on over to say goodbye to Scamp, and hello to Simon. And then check out a couple of the 'bloggers most likely to'.