The Real Life ‘Mad Men’

Its April/May. The showers are coming down on my window like sweat on a pubescent kid’s spotty forehead in a tennis lesson (not speaking from experience here) and exams are impending BUT I still reserve a little time for such art forms as interviewing cool creatives like the guys from ad agency C.R.A.P !! Below you can see me prodding the collective intellect of Scottish Ad Men Chris Rush & Andy Peel.

FIRST UP: Top tips for advertising and some “random words” from C.R.A.P.

Subjectively, they’re the new Saatchi & Saatchi. I know someone will execute me for that. To save you from CSI-type measures, his name will be Charles Saatchi and he will be in the conservatory with the lead pipe.



HJD: Due to the popularity of Mad Men, which has just finished its oh-so-stylish third series, do you guys think that the ad world is getting a makeover? And, of course, what’s the most glamourous part of your day job?

AP: [its] between people spending money on our ideas and going on shoots. Traveling the world(ish) and meeting celebs is pretty good, and you can live in the pub so long as you’ve got some awesome work to show for it when you stagger out.

CR: ^What? *reality check Peely* maybe getting free drinks on expenses? We can go anywhere to do ‘work’ and not pay a thing when we’re there. Anywhere can be the office… till I have to direct some art at least.

HJD: Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (Mad Men) vs CRAP (you). Whats in a name, and do you honestly think your, well, crap? Do clients call you ‘crap’ or C.R.A.P? Or is it like M*A*S*H where the periods are ignored? Help.

AP: to start with, the name was everything. we were crap. We took the piss out ourselves because of people didn’t like our work, we told them “what did you expect from crap?” CRAP got us noticed and remembered. It works, but because he’s CR and I’m AP. If i was John and CR was Bob, being crap wouldn’t have a purpose. And it’s always crap, except my dad hates it, so to him we’re c.r.a.p.

CR: Clients don’t really know us. For the most part only the account handlers deal with them, there are exceptions of course. cr.ap is memorable. It just works for that. When doing crits (HJD: book crits are visits to ad agencies to try and get work by showing a portfolio) we’d start out by telling them we are crap – its on the cover of the front page of the portfolio – then anything they see from then on might not be crap. We’re getting better, not entirely crap anymore but always cr.ap

HJD: At least your not Chris Underwood and Nathan Thomas, I here that their agency didnt go down too well. Jokes aside, how did you guys get into the business and what advise would you give to someone of about my age (17) who is thinking of getting into the PR or mad ad world?

AP: I didn’t have a clue. I did an ad course, after year one I teamed up with Chris and then started getting book crits and placements ever since. Network, work hard and being nice go a long way. Plus being good at it helps. Find a coach/mentor that’ll help is a bonus. See our Facebook group for more.

CR: Have fun. Meet people -agency people all ‘have been there once’ and most will give you good advice on how to get into the industry. There’s not one set method that works, as a creative it relies a lot on timing, luck and of course you being willing to put the graft in. And be polite. Everyone knows everyone in this industry, piss one off and the rest can hear about it…

We got here by not being perfect. We made a lot of mistakes and did a lot of bad ads. It’s how you learn. Literally. Just practice. Meeting people who can push you in the right direction helps and don’t rely on just one person’s opinion because it is just that: an opinion. Always try and get several people looking at your work, then you can take a consensus from that.

AP: Sound advice Mr Rush.

HJD: Sound advice indeed. I’m curious as to what has been your favourite project to date and why? (my personal fave is the Jaffalympics above)

AP: A toss up between our first TV shoot for the Scottish News of the World and our pitch win for Scotrail which will break nationally (in Scotland) in the summer. (HJD: Scotrail is the Scottish railway if you hadn’t guessed).

CR: What AP said plus the Smoking campaign for Northern Ireland. It was effective and got a lot of good response.

AP: It’s because you got to fly to Belfast you jammie git. It looked pretty good though, *pats head*.

HJD:  “CRAP is one guy drawing and one guy writing” – discuss

AP: One Photoshops, one waffles, but it works. I don’t think we’ve been blown our cover yet.

CR: I can’t spell, he can.

HJD: Would you ever consider more government propaganda…I mean, information campaigns…like your work for the NHS?

AP: of course, we worked with the Scottish and Northern Ireland Governments before. Sexual health, drinking and smoking. So long as it’s for a good cause we’ll sell our souls.

CR: They aren’t propaganda, there’s a difference between telling someone they must quit smoking and suggesting they do. We don’t really ‘consider’ whether we do a brief or not anyway. It’s a job, it pays the company’s bills so it has to be done. We’d never get a product that it is wrong to advertise because they aren’t allowed to be advertised. We do of course get some briefs we’d rather not have…like a girls beauty brief thats on my desk right now.

AP: that’s true. A brainstorm with 6 women is a scary moment. Especially when you can’t get a word in edgeways over the “isn’t he just gorgeous” or “eugh, fat thighs”.

Mr A.I.D.S: one of CR.AP’s NHS initiatives simplifies serious illness for dramatic effect.

HJD: Better than working on those disgusting ads where those women discuss diarrhoea over lunch. Finally, who would be your dream client and why? For example, if I had any idea about the ad world whatsoever I would love to make an advert where a car is created out of cake..ohh thats been done…

AP: Chris and John at Fallon (who made the Skoda cake ad) gave us our first crit and placement. I’d love to work on Sony, Nike or Coke. But something closer to home would be good.

CR: A one that just allows creativity to shine through instead of worrying about the size of a frigging logo. It’s amazing the difference between an original idea and the work which the general public end up seeing. 9/10 its a watered down version that isn’t anywhere near as good. So not a specific client, just one that wants to be creative and bold.

AP: I think our portfolio has a few of those in…

HJD: Thanks guys, all the best…Can’t wait to see if these guys do become the Real Life ‘Mad Men’ (which, by the way, I really don’t advise)

BEST OF THE REST

Elsewhere, I very unfortunatly had to miss the Underage Easter festival with Artrocker due to illness (boo), but I did end up with a friend at Storm Models, which got me thinking about something which only a tackly glitter graphic can show :

Vice Style is currently in Beta, but it looks pretty awesome. Some of the stuff I’ve found and loved so far has included a bit on bindis (below) with the beautiful French reporter Dora modelling some sticky jewellery to great effect.

Drop in some top-class editorials and pictures like this:

….and I think we can say that the little sister to Vice and VBS.tv s going to be huge. YVAN Rodic, LOOBOOK, WWW aside…ViceStyle looks set to join the ranks of net stardom. Oh, and some of their superb offerings make it into the paper VICE magazine. There’s even a few words with the world’s most famous plus-sized model, Crystal Renn – author of the memoir Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves.

And no fashion website worth its salt (or low sodium substitute) would be complete without the man himself, Karl Lagerfeld, as interviewed by film-director-cum-Vice-man Bruce Labruce (those familiar with Bruce, do excuse my wordplay there).

Karl's pad is both cluttered and library-like in its order. Viva Ikea!

My friends at Vice are also going Pretty Scritti Political right now, in celebration of next week’s election! Click here to watch a trailer for their (genuinely thrilling) docu Rule Britannia: Elections.

On an extremely important political note, not sure if its just me, but don’t these guys look alike?

Nick 'spanish wife and french chateau' Clegg

Or is it Dragons Den king, telecoms magnate and sock-puller-upper Peter Jones?

Possibly not the best picture to show a comparison.

I think I’ll finish with a bit of music, eh?

My mateys The Ruskins come from Isleworth (not too far from me) and I can’t believe they’re still unsigned. Not for long I hope/bet. Here’s their latest offering, Old Isleworth…the video features Elliott Tittensor (Shameless) and Kaya “Effy” Scodelario.

Its a cracker.

ALSO LOVING: OK GO, Lou Reed, N Sync, Amy Studt (yes I know), Sparks, Interpol (back on form), Julian Plenti…

And this:

Yes, that is Corbin Bleu’s Deal With It you can hear there…turns out that a whiley Jay Sean penned the song for the Afroed teen and sold the music to Korean superstars Shinee too. Clever move. Cleverer than that smug ‘blazer dance’ in the Down video, anyway…

Yours critically,

x x x x