What I’ve been up to (Time flys when you’re starting a company)

the team copy
Firstly, apologies for not updating this site but have been busy building a new company!

This week I finally launched it, it’s called 42courses (42 being the answer to life, the universe and everything…google it)

I love learning but I’m not a born academic. I never went to university, I chose to travel for two years and grow and learn that way instead.

Like most people nowadays, when I want to learn about something new, I normally reach for Google. But somehow I am yet to find an e-learning course that doesn’t make me want to give up on life. They tend to be pretty boring, long and clunky.

So about a year ago to the day I decided I would try change this.

My goal is to make digital learning as fun as playing your favourite game.

Perspective App Screens Mock-Up (1)

Luckily, the last 10 years my life has revolved around the advertising and innovation world –  mostly with Ogilvy & Mather – helping connect them with interesting technology companies and working on special projects across the group.

What this taught me very quickly is how to make people tick, capture their imagination and ultimately buy into things.

With this knowledge (and some very helpful friends) I created 42courses.com.

We ask three different types of questions to make the learning fun and effective.

For each question we tell you a story that explains the basics of what you are learning. We always use visual cues (e.g. video and images) and we use carefully chosen links to help guide you in the right direction for further reading.

The first question type is Multiple Choice. Straight forward, fast and easy, we guide you on a mini adventure to find the correct answer.

The second type of questions are actionable ones. One of the best ways we learn is through doing, so we give you a short and simple task to complete.

Finally, the third type of questions are opinion based. We grow and learn by seeing things from another perspective. These questions tell you about a topic and then ask for your opinion. You’re then taken to a page showing everyone else’s opinions in the world, you simply have to select three opinions that you find interesting. Learning isn’t always about being right or wrong, it’s good to look at things differently.

These question types help people enjoy learning again.

To create the courses, we have partnered with some of the smartest global brands and thought leaders.

These people and companies have years of practice being the best in their area of expertise. They know the real life secrets of what it really takes to be successful in their chosen industries.

certificatesWe work with them to share these secrets with you, empowering you with the knowledge to move forward.

When you finish a course you get a personalised certification from the relevant brand or thought leader.

This is your stamp of approval, you can use it as affirmation to use your new ability, or even to help you get a leg up on your competition.

My dream for the business is to run it like a family run business, I’m not after a big acquisition or a fast way to make money, I really want this to be something that grows, evolves and stands the test of time, something that helps grow both the people I get the privilege to work with, and the people that learn with us.

Our master plan for the future is as follows.

  1. Grow, refine and constantly improve digital learning with these incredible brands and thought leaders so we all master the best way to learn online.
  2. Share these lessons learned with the world, so that anyone can easily put together and share their knowledge in a way that will be beneficial and effective.
  3. Work with the best scientist to help make sure that when we eventually can upload information directly to our brains, we can do so in a way that will be pleasurable and improve ours and the world’s state of wellbeing.

If you got this far thanks for reading! if you want to help us on this journey or are keen to try it out, just head to 42courses.com and as a thank you use the code “nudge” to get 50% off (courses are only $60 and the first is on Behavioural Economics by Ogilvy & Rory Sutherland).


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People Eating Dog Food Without Knowing

People eating dog food
Freshpet, a company that makes fresh natural pet food products, got people to eat and enjoy their dog food and cat food products. Have a look at the video below and enjoy.
The film was set up by YouTube specialist ad agency Shareability.

Otherwise Engaged – A Short Film on Social Media Obsession

Otherwise Engaged
Am lucky enough to be at a wedding in the South of France this week, and one of the people I had the pleasure to meet yesterday was film director Alicia MacDonald.
Alicia just created a wonderful short film mocking our obsession with social media and online validation. It’s only 4mins long, if you want a laugh watch it below.

An Instagram powered screen made of thread

21threads screen
Forever 21
 have created a screen made of 6,400 spools of thread to display any Instagrams that are hashtagged with #F21ThreadScreen. If you fancy a go you can see your pictures turned into art at F21ThreadScreen.com.
Work by New York design agency BREAKFAST.

Honda Create a Wild Pink Pony Chase

Pink Pony
If you like pink ponies, you will like this new ad for the Honda CR-V Series II.
The ad is good fun, not sure how it really will help sales but great work nonetheless by Leo Burnett, Melbourne.

The best work from Cannes Lions 2015

Cannes Can
Spending 10 days in Cannes at the Lions Advertising festival was incredible, but one thing I didn’t see enough of till I got home was all the work.
I have made up a presentation with what I believe are the key trends, but before I share that I thought I would share some of the top work. Below are my top 10 picks from across all the categories in no particular order. The best advertising makes the new, familiar and the familiar, new. Enjoy.

Ok I really need to share some more….so here are my next top 10.

Apologies again for not updating the site for so long, I have resigned from Ogilvy and WPP and from next month will be running a new company of my own. Will share more in due course but the basics are to do with rethinking the way education is taught online…till next time.

Wisdom from a living legend of advertising, Keith Reinhard

Kieth Reinhard
Sorry for the quietness, I have been at the Cannes Lions festival of creativity, it’s the largest global festival of creativity and all the who’s who of advertising are here..as well as all the big tech companies. But by far the most incredible session I was honoured to attend was a session with Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB. I honestly think he may be the last living godfather of advertising.

The session was held by the Berlin School of Advertising, the best school for creative leadership in the world (if you ever can go take a course with them). Keith popped by to share some lessons of leadership and advertising. Below are some highlights from the talk.

Innovation is talked about a lot nowadays, the word is synonymous with technology, but really it just means change, Keith said “Change or die. That’s life, standing still is a death sentence.”

The ad world has changed a lot over the years and currently all CEO’s and ad execs are having high level meetings to figure out what the future model will be like.
Keith shared a wonderful story, he basically said it’s all our own fault.
Some 200 year ago the first ad guy said to a client – “Hey why deal with all these newspapers, I can do it for you, just give me 15%.” It was a good deal so the client went ahead with it. Later the ad guy said “Hey listen I have read your copy and think I can improve it.” So the client said “Great how much will that cost?” The ad guy replied, “Nothing.” so the client went ahead again. Later the ad guy said “Hey these ads would be even better with pictures!” The client said “Great sounds good, how much will that cost?” and the ad guy replied “Nothing.”
Basically we trained our clients from the very beginning to pay nothing for the one thing they can’t and don’t really want to do themselves.

Keith also talked about the power of inspiring others, he reminded us that the job of a creative director is not to create great advertising but to inspire others to create great advertising. If they struggle, below are some tips you can do to try help

  1. You can plant one of your ideas in the head of one of your team, and get them to embrace it, built upon it and make it their own. (e.g. Hi Sam, that idea you told me about the other day [insert your idea here], it was great, you should look into that more!)
  2. In the absence of the team having ideas, come up with the thread of an idea then challenge your creative team to better it.
  3. Once you have approved an idea, back it all the way.
  4. Learn the art of salesmanship. It’s essential if you want to sell great ideas.
  5. Take responsibility, but remember to give credit to all involved (especially the client).
  6. Be the creative director that everyone wants to work for, if the word gets out that your team are having the most fun and doing the best work,  you will attract the best people (This can become a wonderful vicious circle).

Keith said the ultimate leadership question is “Why would anyone want to follow you?”

Today’s world of advertising is very complicated, and things have changed, but consider that the shift from atoms to bits has not changed the fundamentals. Human nature remains the same. We still burn with the drive to succeed, to survive, to love, and to take care of one’s own. “The importance of brands has not changed,” Reinhard said. Nor has the importance of ideas. The nature of leadership is also unchanged. In order to lead oneself, Reinhard says, you need to have a dream, the passion to pursue it, the persistence to see it through, and the curiosity to do it all over again. Leading others—a learned skill, not a bestowed title—depends on sharing your vision and values while helping others grow and keeping them inspired.

Keith finished the session by sharing a story of the best advice he ever received. It was from Lewis Thomas who used to head up the Memorial Sloan-kettering Cancer Centre. Thomas said, “If you want a bee to make honey, you do not issue a memorandum on solar navigation or protocols on carbohydrate chemistry. You do what you can to arrange the environment around the hive, and when the air is right the science will come.”

If you ever have the chance to listen to him talk, or meet Keith in person, please do yourself a favour and cancel everything to make it happen. The fact this hero of creativity and humanity in our industry isn’t spoken about more is a crime, what a true gentleman.

An annual report that’s worth getting

Paint roller annual report
Habitat for Humanity, a volunteer run company that builds affordable housing,  have created an annual report that demonstrates how easy it is to get involved and lend a hand.
I love these kind of simple ideas, they sent out their annual report on paint rollers, to read it people had to roll out the report. The report encouraged the reader to take the paint roller in their hands and come help out.
Brilliant work by Trampoline.

Fiat creates an interactive parking billboard

Parking Billboard
Fiat in Germany created an interactive video billboard that helped people park in order to highlight their park assist technology.
The billboard was hooked up to sensors that controlled the video parking instructions being displayed.
You can tell Cannes Lions is around the corner, the sensors were stuck onto the cars (not really practical / legal in real life), plus the cost to scale this would be ridiculous….however it’s always nice to see brands testing new creative innovations out, maybe it will lead to something in the future.
Work by Leo Burnett, Germany.

Costa Rican Beer brand creates a billboard with an erection

Parrillera Pilsner billboard Parrillera Pilsner
Costa Rican beer brand Republica Parrillera Pilsen has created a billboard that from behind looks like a giant erect penis.
On the front is a barbecue fork stuck in a large sausage, but from behind it looks very different.
It’s not yet known if this was done on purpose but it’s getting huge global attention…..as you know the first rule of advertising is to get noticed.

images via Reddit/Imgur