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Recently, and very briefly, 168 Things was the number one business podcast in Sierra Leone. In this episode, Paul Kitcatt interviews Simon Robinson, the famous creative director, about many things, but mainly about being creative and writing. It's full of pearls of wisdom born of long experience, and we offer them to the whole world, but especially to our valued listeners in Sierra Leone. We would love to hear from you. We hope you find this episode useful and entertaining. 
If your clients are fucking up the planet, what can you do?Find someone who’s unfucking the planet – in the exact opposite way to your clients – and give them your time pro bonoCall it karmic offsetting.The big brands have all the money, and all the power. They pay us to create desire. We know how to make people want more, more, more. The result is a planet on fire, oceans full of plastic, animals going extinct – ad people didn’t create this state of affairs, but we sure helped. We have powerful skills. We’re persuasive.This is our superpower.We’re not here to berate you, and make you feel bad about yourself or the industry. You’re nice, good people who have values and ethics and you’re charming and fun. So help save the planet by using your superpower for good.There are many organisations and campaigns who need you. They don’t have the money and resources of your clients.To fond out more, go to probonomundi.orgor contact us on 168things@gmail.com 
Glad all over

Glad all over

2021-09-1713:18

Sporting analogies are popular in business - for obvious reasons. Winning and losing, teamwork, roles within the team, etc. can be useful ways to think about what we do. But I think there's something more important about sport, and its relevance to creative business. In this episode I talk about why going to watch a fairly unsuccessful football team matters,  and what that has to do with being creative. 
Tom Gattos, founder of the Rainbow Lottery, talks to me about his long and varied career in advertising. He's won awards all over the world, and worked on four continents. And he's still working, as you'll hear - but his great project now is the Rainbow Lottery - if you don't know it, check it out at rainbowlottery.co.uk - and buy a ticket, too. Big prizes and good causes to support. It's an entertaining interview, with teasing references to some of his more hair-raising escapades. About which he's promised a further, NSFW interview soon. 
After a short pause, we're back with a guest - Paul 'Nobby' Davies, a brilliant creative thinker, who's now a coach. We talk about how he got there, how to give yourself and your team a creative upgrade, and Nobby goes on to explain his concept of 'hyper-observation'. Our conversation is illuminated by many anecdotes, all of which serve a purpose, even if it isn't immediately apparent. If you want to contact Nobby, he's on LinkedIn - Paul Nobby Davies - or  you can find him via his website - do-be-do.net - or email him at nobbydavies@icloud.com
Breaking through the glass ceiling with Chalice Croke - in this episode, I interview my business and podcast partner about the book she's writing. In it she will tell how she went from a council flat in Battersea all the way to the top in a male dominated, and mainly middle class industry - and she hopes her experience can help and inspire other women following in her footsteps. In the podcast, she tells me about her early years and first jobs, and how she dealt with some of the 'tricky' men (as she puts it) she encountered on the way. It's entertaining and inspiring, for women and men too. Though possibly not the tricky ones.
Vonnie Alexander was one of the four partners who founded Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw - one of London's best known agencies, in its day. But what did she do next? Here, she talks about how everything she'd learnt and done in her agency career helped her become a highly successful and sought after coach - though it's not quite as simple as that, as you'll hear. If you've ever found yourself wondering how to deal with a tricky colleague or a difficult situation, listen to Vonnie (and probably call her in). Highly enlightening.
The Oracle within you

The Oracle within you

2021-04-2022:07

Do you ever find it hard to make a decision? We all do sometimes. Here's a surprising but effective way to help you stop wondering what to do, cut through the ifs and buts, and make a choice. The episode includes Chalice talking about the method, then a real time demo of it in action, helping her resolve a tricky question. 
We said we'd do more about copywriting - and here's an interview with one of the best writers in the business, Lu Dixon. She tells us how she started out, who she learnt from, and why visiting a crisp factory was more than just an opportunity to eat hot potato slices. An episode not just for writers, but for all who work with them and want to help get the best words out there. 
If you're creative - for business or pleasure - how do you stimulate your creativity? Especially now, when all our movements are so circumscribed. You need to find your inner Winnie the Pooh, and resist Rabbit. Do what Archimedes did, or Mendeleev. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, listen here and I'll explain. I've made a living from being creative for over thirty years, and worked with many other such people. I've thought a lot about creativity, and watched it happen, and tried to stimulate it. Let me tell you a little of what I've learnt.
This is a short bonus episode to follow the one about briefs. I found the brief I wrote for this podcast series, and here we have a look at it. The briefing format is unusual, but rather excellent. It was shown to me by Lu Dixon, a creative titan, and I found it very stimulating. Listen and hear about the format, and then the actual brief I wrote - and let me know if you think we've delivered on the brief. Warning - as I wrote the brief, and the client was Kitcatt and Croke, the language is a little less formal than it would have been for most clients. A bit sweary at times.
If you have to write briefs for creative people to work from - or if you're a creative person, who gets briefed - you will know what a battleground it can be. Is a brief ever good enough? How much blood, sweat and tears goes into writing them? Is it worth the effort? Yes, it is, because a good brief is the first creative act, and from it, brilliant ideas can flow. In this podcast, we share our thoughts and experience from many years of grappling with briefs, and give advice on how to ease the pain and even enjoy the whole process. We talk about what to include, what to leave out, what makes a good proposition, and how to work with your clients to get briefs written that lead to fame and fortune for all involved. Thanks to Jon Brain, a former colleague, for asking us to make this podcast.
Winning a pitch is only the first step towards what will, you hope, become a wonderful relationship between client and agency. But have you ever analysed how to get there? How trust can grow, and be nurtured? What you all need to do to make it work? Angus Crowther and his team at Alchemists have. Their report for ISBA on this subject came out towards the end of last year. In this podcast, we interview Angus about it, and he gives useful advice on what both client and agency need to do to reach the goal of the best possible relationship, leading to consistently excellent work together.We also ask him about his highly successful vineyard, producing award-winning wine from the fields of Essex. Cheers!
'Do you have any idea how ****ing busy I am?' Yes, because you have a ridiculously long 'to do' list, and it's crushing you. Not in a good way.You need an alternative - and here it is, together with the reason why you need to do one thing right now.
I started out in this business as a trainee copywriter, and it was thanks to an introduction from a remarkable woman called Fiona Ross. We're going to make podcasts specifically to help people who want to learn more about how to be a creative thinker, a writer, an art director, a strategist, a leader, and more, but today I'm going back to my own beginning, to talk about a principle that benefitted me, and that I've tried to apply - to pay forward - over the years. And I owe it to Fiona Ross (Fiona Godwin Brown after she married), to whom this podcast is dedicated.Please email questions and comments to 168things@gmail.comWe'll be running agony aunt and uncle sessions soon - send us your problems and we'll try to help!
Everyone who works in marketing has met him - or her - the obsessive, tyrannical perfectionist who picks apart every idea, tells everyone they're rubbish and then burns the midnight oil reworking other people's efforts until they no longer resemble their original author's intents. But perfectionism isn't necessarily destructive and disempowering - it's a driving force for success and for some of the most memorable and influential creative and strategic campaigns. What does healthy perfectionism look like, and where's the dividing line beyond which things get painful and counter-productive? 
The latest episode of 168 Things features an interview with Marc Nohr - here's a taster
In this episode, Paul Kitcatt interviews his former business partner, Marc Nohr. Together with Vonnie Alexander and Jeremy Shaw, they founded Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw, one of London's most successful creative agencies. In this interview, we talk about how we did it, and what the future looks like for others trying for similar success. 
Lazar Dzamic is one of the leading strategic thinkers in digital marketing - or indeed, any kind of marketing. We worked together at Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw; from there he went to Google; and now he's home in Serbia, for a while. He recently published 'The Definitive Guide to Strategic Content Marketing', (with Justin Kirby, publ. Kogan Page) a book that fully delivers on its title. I spoke with him via a video link between Balham and Belgrade.We discussed the future of brands, in the light of the continuing development of digital technology, and of the economic consequences of the pandemic. His observations are pithy, thoughtful and challenging. He picks up on themes from the previous podcast in this series, and develops them, urging brand owners to do the necessary work to move away from 'the glamorous monologue' of old-school advertising thinking (you'd think by now they'd have understood, but no), and enjoy the excitement and freedom the digital revolution offers them. It's more than thought-provoking - he also gives practical advice on what to do, right now. Brand owners and agencies alike will find this interview stimulating and useful.
What's your story?

What's your story?

2020-09-0923:35

Storytelling is all the rage, and has been for a few years now. But how can your brand compete with all the other stories out there? Netflix and Amazon have built vast empires from selling stories - and then there are all your competitors, vying for people's attention. It's not enough to let your agency make up some nonsense and plaster it at great expense all over the media. You need to dig deeper to find a satisfying and interesting brand story. In this podcast, we talk about how. We look at story structure, brands with compelling stories, and how you can find yours. 
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