Monthly Archives: March 2014

Brand or content, what should be seen first?

people-logosThe UK newspaper People closed their website a little while ago. Launched with the idea that it would be ‘Buzzfeed for grown ups’, pretty much everything went wrong, according to this excellent reporting from of all places, Buzzfeed. Patrick Smith reports that there was a lack of identity, a lack of focus, and a complete failure to grasp how the native advertising business model works.

people-multiThis lack of brand benefit is perfectly expressed in the website logo. The way it worked (or rather, didn’t), was that the People logo was preceeded by a rotating series of words; ‘Sporty’, ‘Famous’, ‘Glam’, ‘Funny’ and so on. The story underneath didn’t change, but the context did.

What this did was remove any trace of brand from the content beneath. The stories became entirely generic, no tone, no point of view, no recall.

buzzfeedBy way of contrast, this is Buzzfeed’s home screen from the very same day. Which, when you compare the lead stories of ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Wanker’, pretty well sums up why Buzzfeed’s tone is so sharp.

Print has similar issues, but the context is very different. On a newsstand, when is right to put a coverline above the logo, and when should you never do it? Find out more after the jump.

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On the radio, talking about George Lois and this cover

Esquite.-AliEagle eyed readers will have noticed that I’ve changed this blog somewhat. So much of what I’m working on now is multiplatform, that ‘coverthink‘ felt too limiting a name. Hence me consolidating all my posts and a few examples of my work, here on the same site.

But that doesn’t mean I’m done with talking about covers, as this recent interview on American radio explains. Ostensibly about how magazine covers work in general, the interview is really an opportunity to square off the legendary George Lois of Esquire fame with David Curcurito, Esquire’s current Creative Director.

I’m like, the ref.

The colour of money: why does Hearst’s hot new launch look so bland?

dr-oz-the-good-lifeDr. Oz is a controversial figure. Billed as ‘America’s Most Trusted Doctor‘ he’s a top-notch heart surgeon, has a huge TV show and a massive social following. Oz has been named one of Esquires 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century, as “the most important and most accomplished celebrity doctor in history.” But he often attracts establishment criticism, not just for advocating alternative therapies, but for his style. As a recent New Yorker profile explains, he employs words that serious scientists shun, like “startling,” “breakthrough,” “radical,” “revolutionary,” and “miracle.”

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Brand development

Andy is a multi-award winning Creative Development Director with an international reputation. Successful at creating and reinventing powerful identities for brands in the UK, America and Australia, he’s fluent at presenting highly compelling multi-platform content in every market, for just about every audience.

Proven launches, successful reinvention

World class design thinking has seen Andy devise twelve successful digital and print launches, along with an astonishing range of brand reinventions. Full time roles include nine years as Creative and Editorial Development Director for Time Inc. UK, and Creative Director of Rolling Stone in New York. His work has won many awards, including the BSME Mark Boxer Award for editorial service.

Outstanding value

Andy operates in partnership with your business, working seamlessly between disciplines and silos. Embedding within your teams allows for super-fast iteration, easy integration of stakeholder feedback and ultimately, high levels of project ownership. And with no agency fees, everything you pay for, you get.

Workshops, training, speaking, conferences

Monetizing Digital Media: A sold out training workshop at The Media Briefing’s International conference in both Spring and Autumn 2015, to be repeated again in 2016.

PPA Festival 2016: Producer of the UK’s biggest magazine conference.

PPA Festival 2015: Host of The Buzzan all day content stream focussing on digital trends, apps, mobile, freemium, vlogging, social sharing, digital watermarking, and more.

How to get more emotional engagement with your audience : Keynote presentation at the 2015 William Reed Business Media editorial conference.

Stunning covers: A unique, highly interactive series of training workshops for Bauer Media. Delivered twice in both 2015 and 2014.

PPA Independent Publishers conference: Host of both the 2015 and 2014 multi-platform content stream.

Judging: Final judge for the PPA 2015 and 2015 awards, the BSME 2015 and 2014 New Talent Awards, PPA Scotland 2014 Awards and Immediate Media’s internal 2014 awards. Previously D&AD Chair of Judges for editorial design.

Four trends and a truth : Keynote presentation at the 2015 DC Thomson editorial conference and again at the 2015 PPA Independent Publisher conference

Guardian Masterclass: Guest speaker at the 2014 session of The Future Of Publishing.

Building Trust In Content: a presentation at the 2014 PPA Conferences in both London and Edinburgh.

Digital Design Trends: Keynote speaker at the the Content Marketing Association’s 2014 breakfast briefing on digital design trends.

Guest Editor of in 2014, the US based Society of Publications Designers website.