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You are here: Blog Brand Aid Blog with Richard Taylor of Royston Simp


Richard Taylor of Simpsons Creative offers the inside track on the importance of brand and hot topics in marketing.

Who’s who in advertising and PR

As business emerges from the depths of recession and looks set to fly high again, or at least free up the marketing budget a little, more and more potential clients will be contacting agencies for their help in achieving their marketing aims and, should the initial ‘chemistry meeting’ go well, they will undoubtedly be invited to visit the agency and “meet the team.”

I therefore thought it might be appropriate to list a few of the characters that you might meet on your visit, what they might actually do and how to spot them.

Creative Director

Agency titles have suffered from massive inflation in recent years. Nowadays, everyone from the tea boy upwards describes themselves as creative directors. Once recognised by a leather blouson, designer jeans, a silk shirt and a Liberty kerchief, todays creative directors seem to favour either the brutalist look of shaved head, nose ring, tattoos and a black on black ensemble; or look like American insurance salesmen after a bad day on the golf course.


Alone amongst agency staff, copywriters have no fashion sense. One description of agency personnel reads “they look as though they have covered themselves in superglue and launched themselves through an Oxfam shop window” and they have been described more than once as office clerks with attitude.  

They do, however, live a rich fantasy life, which surfaces in their purple prose.  Incidentally, copywriters have nothing to do with copyright – on the contrary; most of them are shameless plagiarists!

Account Executive

Otherwise known as ‘suits’. Opinion is divided as to whether they are there to protect the client from the creatives (who would happily spend a fortune on development without worrying a jot about sales), or the creatives from the client (who expects to make a fortune without spending a penny on production). 

As the name would suggest these guys are normally smartly attired; only breaking formation when meeting with the agencies younger and more trendy clients, when they will try for the ‘smart but casual’ look - usually with disastrous consequences.


The term Public Relations Officer is a reminder that the ancestors of today’s PR people were Hooray Henrys (and Henrietta’s).  However, in an age when so much has ‘come out of the closet’, cavalry twills and Hermes scarves have gone back in.  Knowing the ‘right people’ is still import. It’s just that the right people these days tend to be gangstas turned rappers, Big Brother evictees or footballers that can walk and talk at the same time.  

Studio manager

In the make-believe world of advertising and PR, studio managers are the dry-eyed realists: the fairground mechanics, the charge nurses in the asylum. And that’s just when dealing with the creatives. 

To their own staff they are the whip-cracking overseers amongst the pyramid builders.  Not surprisingly they tend to feel unloved and unappreciated.  They take their revenge by being desperately uncool – a shocking thing in an advertising agency!

Managing Director 

If you’re spending enough money you might get to meet the MD, but be prepared. Like all children, agency MDs wanted to be pop stars or racing drivers. The difference is, they never grew out of it.  But being tone deaf or of a nervous disposition, they went into advertising - having heard the famous line about it being “The most fun you can have with your clothes on” and it’s too late to turn back now.  With independent means, they might have been theatre ‘angels’ or owners of racing stables, but as it is they had to settle for the poor man’s ‘glamour by association’ and a well stocked drinks cabinet.

For all of the above  agency people still work very hard (solving more problems in a day than most businesses do in a week) and normally appreciate the chance to talk a little about what they do and how they do it. 

Just don’t make a surprise visit on the day that they’re finishing a new business pitch or, worse still, the day after they’ve just lost one!

The brand that dare not speak its name

Whisper it softly but there’s a massive sporting event of international importance about to take place and points are already being scored before a ball is kicked in anger!

The D&AD Awards: Making the Turner Prize look tame

Around this time of year the ad industry convenes for the Design & Art Direction Awards (D&AD), the profession’s equivalent of the Oscars.

Can you sell the unsellable – and should you try?

Could you sell a theme park to the over 60s or put a positive spin on an oil spill in one tweet?

Those are amongst the challenges put to job candidates applying for work with creative consultancy Tayburn.

A tall order perhaps, but a telling one: in a commercial context creativity is ultimately about your powers of persuasion, not your ability to produce pretty words and pictures.

Brand leaders: Apple leaves Ferrari on the starting grid

“What is a man, what has he got?/If not himself, then he has naught” – the closing stanza of Frank Sinatra’s signature tune and part of his ‘brand property’, expresses a sentiment appropriate to branding at its best: namely integrity.

The ‘bear’ truth about Christmas commercials

Forget the Oscars. The new crowd-pulling blockbuster, the latest box office sensation, is the Christmas commercial from Britain’s big retailers, led this year by ‘The Bear and the Hare’ from John Lewis (5 million plus viewings on YouTube); ‘Magic & Sparkle’ from M&S (over half a million viewings); and ‘Unwrap Joy’ from Cadburys (over 85,000 viewings) as of last week.

Dad may not love this Ad but Ma might

My relationship with Marmite is a pretty ambivalent one. I don’t love it, neither do I loathe it.

All aboard the Royal baby brand wagon!

In my Top Ten Tips for Copywriting (No.6 – Be Involving) I encourage advertisers to link their names – where appropriate – with the topics that form the staple fare of the tabloids and social media sites: namely children, animals, football, celebrities and, ahem, sex.

Digital revolution rams home timeless truths

To say that the internet has brought about a social revolution is to state the obvious.

Close to 80 per cent of the population is now online and whether they spend their time shopping, gaming, social networking or simply surfing, it has become a social and business phenomenon – some might say obsession. According to a recent survey, 1 in 4 people spend more time online than they do sleeping.

Fast forward to the future of TV advertising

In the ad world we work on the rule of thumb that you have three seconds to arrest attention with a print advertisement.

From mad men to best buddies: Brands that want to be your friend

Brands and branding have been with us for a long time (ever since the first rancher burned his initials in the hide of a steer) and you’d have thought we’d have understood them thoroughly by now.

Sex still sells - even though it's not allowed!

It’s been a good few decades since you could get away with gratuitous sex or sexism in advertising. Remember the glory days when Fiat could run an ad headlined “If this car were a lady it would get its bottom pinched”? Famously, it attracted feminist graffiti that read “If this lady was a car, she’d run you down!”

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