Monday, 29 January 2018


I’ve got a few problems with brand ‘manifesto’ ads. With a couple of notable exceptions, they are just strategy set to a mood film. They over explain something that didn’t need explaining. They veer into topics unrelated to the product. They try too hard to be liked. Most off all, I hate that they are all long.

If simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and you have a finite media budget, and human attention is a rare commodity, then why not say it fast? Because you need 90s to say what your brand wants to say!? Bollocks.

Muhammad Ali, Hanz Zimmer and Banksy are proof that you can distil complex ideas, and that they are more powerful when refined.

The world’s shortest poem, a BBH favourite. In Jim Carroll’s words, ‘I particularly like Ali’s poem because it suggests two fundamental questions: who am I?; who are we? Sometimes I suspect that these may be the two most important questions of all.’

Hanz Zimmer explored the sound of the Joker, the sound of anarchy by writing more than 9000 bars of music. This was refined into 2 notes ‘that clash beautifully with each other. That get tighter and tighter but never break… You can hear a second of this thing and you know the Joker is lurking somewhere.’

A Banksy in Bethlem commenting on the region’s geopolitical conflict.
Short is fast.
Short is memorable.
Short is a competitive edge.
Nuff said.
(this article was originally posted on BBH Labs)

Tuesday, 26 September 2017



A story of colonialisiation. Questions about knowledge and progress.

Mysterious. Morally complex. Makes you think. It might give you an existential crisis. It will make you sad.

If you're looking to get sucker-punched by a film, then this is for you


With Fassbender in the lead and Marion Cotillard playing Lady Macbeth, it's hard to imagine I will ever see this play performed with such intensity elsewhere.

With Justin Kurzel directing (of Snowtown fame) and Adam Arkapaw (True Detective) as DOP, it is a sinister and epic portrayal of madness, cruelty and medieval Scotland.

Watch it on as big a screen as you can.


Is it still unfashionable to like Wes Anderson? Well I LOVE everything he’s ever made. And if you do too but have never seen this short prelude to The Darjeeling Limited, then you’re in luck.

Featuring Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman but most importantly, the most drop dead gorgeous soundtrack of all time; ' Where do you go to' by Peter Sarstedt, this will be the best 10 mins of your day.

lemme know what you think @LucianTrestler

p.s. Embrace Of The Serpent & MacBeth are free on Amazon Prime.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017


This is from Claude C. Hopkins, Scientific Advertising: Being Specific, published in 1923.

Still, everyday marketing professionals decide that they have such a "strong rational product claim" that are going to make exactly such a platitude. What's more, they also decide that they don't want any creative thought whatsoever to 'get in the way' of making such a statement:

How does this happen?

Some data tells them that having the best camera is the key purchase driver.

They make a phone with a camera that they can claim is the best.

Some people in the focus group decide that this advert says, 'this phone has the best camera' most clearly and so the advert is just a picture of the phone with a generic claim. Same as everyone else's. Part of the 84% of advertising that is not remembered at all.

This happens when you don't have a basic education in how creativity and communication work. When you aren't aware of the mountains of data linking creativity to commercial return. When you aren't aware of the power of emotion over reason to drive business results. When you have no respect for the power of an idea. When you aren't even aware of some of the basics of copywriting established nearly 100 fucking years ago. 

You don't need to do a lot of reading to learn these things. And when you do, you might stop saying things and start communicating them instead.

Thoughts? Gimme a shout @LucianTrestler

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


What's the insight?

What's the claim?

What's the reason to believe?

How did the script do in the focus groups?

What's the key message takeout?

Is it actively engaging?

On and on and on go the questions that bury us in so much complexity that we over complicate the simplest of tasks.

'Just say the brand name in a way people will remember it' is the answer to most marketing briefs. It's rarely more complicated than that.

ADVERTISING IS VERY SIMPLE. It's also very hard. That is why it is becoming a pseudo-science where people hide in complexity. 

Bernbach warned against it. (thanks @rshotton)

So when you've got a product, agency and client who are free enough to just make us remember the product and the brand, amazing things can happen. 

These are two of the best ads of all time.

All the data tells us that meaningless distinction > 
meaningful differentiation.

So let's fuck off all the constraints of trying to add 'science' and get back to the art of making people remember us.

Monday, 23 January 2017


So often this question is misdiagnosed and ‘that tricky second album’ flops.

The drumming gorilla was all about joy, right? A big, abstract, pure expression of joy in that quirky Cadbury’s tone of voice, right? WRONG. It was all about a very specific type of orgasmic joy. The type that you can only experience after an outrageous build up. The release was the important bit there. Kind of like that release of sensory joy that can be experienced when you finally sink your teeth into that chocolate you’ve been craving. The build-up and release that wasn’t in any of their other ads.

Epic strut. That was all about a bloke dancing outrageously in public, right? WRONG. We have all imagined how awesome it would be to burst into a power walk like that on days when we are bossing life and Queen B comes on shuffle. No one has imaged expressing that feeling on the pole. Ok, very few of us have imagined that.

Understanding exactly what that feeling was that made that ad so fucking good is crucial, I would argue, in rolling out hit after hit.

The Underarmour ad with Misty Copeland (I will what I want) was all about that feeling when self-belief puts you on top of the world. Then came Giselle. Then Phelps. Each one a masterclass in spine tingling self-belief.

Our industry moves fast and naturally this means we obsess about the next big thing. And that’s a good thing. But we don’t stop to look back and reflect enough. By taking the time to ask - why exactly was that ad so fucking good? - we (especially strats rustling up briefs) can help crack that tricky second album.

As always if you found this interesting and can share a link I'll be ya best friend foreva X

n.b. this post also appears on BBH Labs with less 'fucking'

Tuesday, 20 December 2016


KFC, Gaming and Grime. At first glance these may look like three separate entities, but look a little closer into youth culture today and you will see that they are inseparably tangled together. Grime stars love gaming; they love talking about it online and they love writing music about gaming.

The gaming elite have reciprocated this inter-genre love; KSI - gamer and most influential YouTuber in the UK - has even collaborated on grime tune ‘Lamborghini’ with P Money, which has amassed more than 61m views. Where you find grime and gaming, you find KFC mentioned constantly, both in lyrics or proclaimed as the ultimate fuel for gaming on social chatter.

This blossoming friendship between two of the biggest and hottest UK cultures has been played out publicly across a combined social network that reaches approximately 60% of the UK’s 16-24s.

This is the age group that is leading the charge against online advertising, with nearly half (47%) using adblockers - up 15% in a year.

They also make up a sizeable proportion of the fast food category.

With traditional OLA declining in reach (with questionable effectiveness), we wondered whether live broadcast, connecting straight to the customer, could offer us a marketing opportunity?

The objective; to famously enforce the existing cultural associations between this demographic, eating occasion and KFC. At a fraction of the price of TV.

On the 27th November, KFC hosted a gaming tournament that saw the biggest names in grime and gaming battle it out for a lifetime’s supply of KFC

By shortcutting traditional media, KFC reached 87% its target audience, with the live stream reaching 2.7 million people. What’s more, 77% of all comments expressed joy.

The long term effect of this broadcast is yet to be measured, but we are already planning no.2. Why? Because although adblocking may never quite reach the 100% of millennials that AdBlock Plus believe they can, we believe that building KFC’s broadcasting power for longevity will deliver substantial returns.