AdLand Suit

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.

Friday 1 January 2010

AdLand Suit Has Moved

Hello, chaps. Just to let you know, AdLand Suit is moving. You can now find me here. Just doing my thing.

Shiny new year, shiny new start, shiny new blog. That's the thinking. See you there.

Cheers, Blogger - It's been fun.

AdLand Suit's New Year's Resolutions

1. I will post at least twice a week.

2. I will do more interviews with famous Suits.

3. I will swear less. I will try to swear less. I will try to try to swear less. Oh, cock-monkeys. That one's a non-starter.

4. I will write more about ads. I enjoy writing about ads. I particularly enjoy ranting about ads. I will try and do more of both.

5. I will be more structured about how I write - rather than writing a post and publishing it on an ad hoc basis, I will try and write ahead, like what 'proper bloggers' do. That will make Resolution 1 easier.

6. I will tweet less.

7. I will actually go for a beer with all of the people I've said I'll go for a beer with over the last year. At the same time, I will try and drink less beer.

8. I will broaden the scope of the blog - the life of Suit is supposed to encompass every cultural experience that life can offer, yet I only seem to write about photocopying and everything being your fault.

9. I will write more posts about how bloody brilliant life as a Suit is and should be. Yes, Everything Is Your Fault, but that's only one side of it - it just happens to be the easiest side to write about.

10. I will devote more time to talking about what the role of a Suit should be in the modern Agency. See, I have a suspicion that the old Agency model is broken, and that the future is small. A new model is needed, and Suits, as the only members of Agencies that are really involved in both the creative and business side of things, should be driving this (r)evolution. This may be my meisterwerk. By which I mean I may never get round to finishing it.

And I think ten will do. As is always the case, I'd like your thoughts. What would you like to see more of from ALS in 2010? And what would you like to see less of? All comments, positive and negative, open or anonymous are genuinely welcome. Let me know.

Oh, and happy new year, chaps.

Monday 28 December 2009

Is AdLand Suit Rubbish?

A helpfully anonymous commenter recently suggested that this blog had become 'rubbish, now that the mystery's gone'. Given the history of ALS, it would be churlish of me to rebuke said commenter for hiding behind anonymity - instead, I thought I'd take his or her comment seriously, and have a think about what this blog used to stand for when my identity was a secret, and whether or not it can still stand for the same now that who I am is out there for all to see.

Now, call me conceited, but I never imagined the anonymity of ALS would matter that much to most of the people that read it. I was well aware that there were people out there who liked to imagine I was Lord Bell, Johnny Hornby or David Ogilvy's ghost, but I always believed them to be in the minority. I never suggested I was famous, or a Campaign-regular - just a senior Suit who'd been around the houses a bit, was fed up of reading about the lack of account management presence on-line, and wanted to share his views and thoughts on a variety of Suit-related experiences. And that's what I've done - if that's disappointing to you, or if that's not what you're wanted, then I offer no apology for not being what you wanted me to be. You don't have to read it. In fact, why are you reading it? The anonymity was selfish - it was more a self-defence mechanism than anything, allowing me to write what or how I liked without fear of rebuke. I never really thought it would make any difference to people reading the blog.

And fortunately, the vast majority of comments, emails and tweets I receive support my theory - people like ALS for what it is and for what I've written, not for who I might have been. And, as I've said before, what ALS is and what I write are not going to change. No, I won't be slagging off my Agency's work or Clients, but I never did. In fact, if you look back, my being rude about anybody's work is a fairly rare (although not completely non-existent) occurrence. That's not what this was supposed to be about.

I don't deny that the blog hasn't been what I've wanted it to be of late: predominantly because I haven't had enough time to post anywhere near as often as I'd like to. That will change in the new year, and I will continue to write with the confidence (and, who knows, maybe arrogance) that I've written with thus far. And once I'm writing regularly again, if the blog isn't, for some intangible reason, what is was when I was just a mysterious, headless avatar, then I'm sure you'll let me know. I'd be extremely disappointed if you didn't.

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Komodo Dragons In The Boardroom

So, here we are. Everybody in the office seems to be carrying a baby of some age or other, there's a Komodo dragon wandering around the board room, and I'm eating smoked salmon sandwiches and drinking Champagne. That can only mean that today is the Agency Kids' Christmas Party (my favourite day of the Agency year - all the Agency offspring come in, there's an Animal Man, there's a Magician...), which can, in turn, only mean that we've reached the end of the year.

2009 has been quite a year for AdLand Suit. That goes without saying, I suppose, given that he/it/I didn't exist a year ago. Something that I started back in March (Feb?) because I had a spare ten minutes and I was fed up of reading snarky comments on Scamp and elsewhere about the lack of Account Man blogs turned, quite unexpectedly, into something quite big. People read it. You read it. I really wasn't expecting you to. But you did. And you left comments, some of which were nice, some of which were a little bit fuckwitty, all of which were hugely appreciated. Then Campaign wrote about it. And then we made three and a half grand for charity. And came out. (X-Factor also happened. But the less said about that, the better. Damn you, Snaggletooth.) I haven't posted as much recently, because I genuinely haven't had the chance, or the energy, for reasons that will become clear when you see the slew of new work on Halifax that will appear in January.

But I will in the new year. Promise. I'll probably even write some stuff between Christmas and New Year, and then stagger the posting of it - you know, like a PROPER BLOGGER. (I don't really believe Proper Bloggers exist. It feels like that sort of organisation would go against the very nature of blogging. But anyway.)

Here's hoping that 2010 is a slightly more fun year for advertising, and for life in general. Let's face it, 2009 sucked on quite a few levels, and in quite a lot of ways on those levels, but it does feel like we hit the bottom a couple of months back. Whilst we might not be quaffing champagne (ironically, of course, I am currently quaffing champagne) and building castles out of cocaine (like what they used to do in the olden days) any time soon, it feels like a bit of the buzz is coming back. Let's make 2010 a good 'un. I'll see you all for Lunch.

Right. I have to dash, as the magician's starting (I wasn't joking about today being my favourite day of the Agency year - seriously, they've already had the Animal Man in already (THERE'S A KOMODO DRAGON IN THE BOARDROOM) - but quickly, before I go, one last top tip to tide you over 'til new year:

If you ever find yourself at the Agency Kids' Christmas Party, don't over-indulge on the free-flowing Champagne. If you do, you'll find yourself more than a little refreshed by mid-afternoon, which can cause your evening's plans to come crashing down around your ears. I learned this last year. And, as you might have guessed, it was all my fault when they did. I'm still in trouble with a lot of people for that one. The bastards.

Happy Christmas, chaps. You're all lovely. See you in 2010.

PS As a quick bonus, here's the worst Xmas song (opinion author's own, but also completely true) every made:

And here's the best. Happy Christmas!

Thursday 17 December 2009

A Thank You On Behalf Of Marie Curie

I've been meaning to write this post (along with a bunch of others) for a while now - but while the others can wait (they will, after all, just be me blathering on about ads, advertising, things that are your fault, or people who don't know the difference between 'less' and 'fewer', the fuckwits), this one really shouldn't. What's more, it's short. And quite nice.

Last month, I did that whole reveal thing, which went rather better than I expected it to. After a few beers and some enthusiastic reassurance had persuaded me to up my target from £500 to £1,000, I somehow managed to raise an astonishing £3,586.63 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

I don't use the word 'astonishing' lightly - people who are running marathons and climbing mountains have to lobby for months to raise a couple of thousand pounds, while I managed it in 4 days, and all I've done is blather on about advertising on here (see above) and swear about (amongst other things) cricket and X-Factor on twitter.

The truth is, of course, that I didn't really do anything - you lovely people did it all. I won't list the names of everyone who contributed here (they're here if you want to have a look - and why not chuck in a fiver while you're there?) as it wouldn't make for the most exciting of reads, but they know who they are, and I hope they know how grateful I am. I'm particularly grateful to Campaign for writing about it/me, to Elika for (a) publicising it almost as tirelessly as I did, but mostly for (b) listening to me wang on about it endlessly before, during and after the event, to the quite wonderful anonymous donators who were responsible for more than half of the total, and last but very much not least, to the lovely folk that turned up to the pub to get stupidly drunk on a variety of spirits to celebrate the good thing that we did.

Thank you all. You are ace. Proper ace. More stupid ideas, and drunken celebrations thereof, will be forthcoming. Promise.

Monday 7 December 2009

Quick Hiatus

In contrast with tradition, this, which is both a warning of and apology for a brief hiatus in posting, comes halfway through said hiatus. As those of you unfortunate to follow me on twitter will be aware, I've been on a shoot for the last week, am back in the office today, then back to the shoot 'til the end of the week.

As those of you unfortunate enough to follow me on twitter will
also know, the above picture is very, VERY ironic. A half-empty plate of biscuits and a run-down tower block would be much more appropriate. Anyway.

So, crack on, drink on, December on, and I'll be back wanging on about all things Suity, thanking everyone who's already
donated to Marie Curie (and haranguing those who haven't) and talking about the lovely people I met last week before you know it.

Monday 30 November 2009

So - Here I Am

Well. There it is. ALS's enormous (literally, rather than figuratively) head. ALS's face. ALS's rather large, if slightly nervous, grin.

Except my name isn't really AdLand Suit. That would have been a coincidence too far.

No. My name's Dan Shute, and I'm a Board Account Director at Delaney Lund Knox Warren. (Which, interestingly, is an agency that garnered precisely zero votes when we did a 'Where Does ALS Work?' poll, many moons ago.)

So, that's that. You know who I am. Secret's out. I guess the main question to answer now is 'What's next?' - so here we go.

Essentially, nothing will change. My employers haven't known about ALS until now, but the fact that they now do isn't going to change the things I write, or the way I write about them. I believe in the importance of what I've been doing here as much if not more than I did when I started this blog, and I definitely believe in the importance of the role Suits have to play more than ever. So why would I stop?

One of the joys of blogging and twitter is that you're only as entertaining, interesting or engaging as the ideas that you have and the words that you write - job titles or celebrity status hold no real truck, you stand or fall on the quality of the words you write, and the relevance and power of what you're writing or tweeting about. For whatever reason, a lot of people have come to care about what I write here, and have come to enjoy reading it. I'm incredibly proud of the number of people who read my nonsense, and who care enough to comment and share it. So why would I change?

Furthermore, as I've tried to point out in the past, this isn't an anonymous blog so much as a pseudonymous blog. AdLand Suit is not a character - he's not Dave Knockles, as brilliant as Dave Knockles undoubtedly is. AdLand Suit is me, writing in my voice, sharing my views, on things that I care about, and things that I think are important. The only difference now is that you know my real name. AdLand Suit is still here, and he's still writing. So why would anything else change?

And that's that. All that remains for me to say is thank you to the small number of people that have helped me keep this a (kind of) secret up 'til now, and that I remain in awe at the amount of goodwill, collaboration and, ultimately, cash for a good cause this blog and its accompanying (and much more sweary) twitter feed has generated - you're all fucking awesome, and Elika and I will be in the Perseverance on Lamb's Conduit Street this Wednesday evening (December 2nd) from 8.30pm, if anyone (or indeed everyone) fancies stopping by. First round's on me.

Oh, and you absolutely have to keep contributing here. Marie Curie is still an awesome cause, and we've already made a fantastic amount of money, but if each of you donate a couple of quid (or even a solitary quid, if that's all you can afford), then we'll have done a brilliant thing. I'll do a proper post on the donation at the end of the week, rather than try and wrap it up in this.

I'll see you all at the bar. Cheers.