Janet re-connected with mentor and God, Neil French at Spikes Asia on Thursday 17th September.
Happy, happy, happy day :)
I had the privilege of working with Neil French 4 years into my career as a copywriter. From him, I learnt that an advertising master is one who is able to identify the core issue, solve it, and then explain it so clearly that everyone else immediately sees it too. Cracking the brief brilliantly is not enough, true mastery as Neil has demonstrated many times, is in being able to make the logic of the solution appear obvious.
At Spikes Asia last week, these are the gems I picked up from this great man who wears his sense of dignity like a magic cloak.
Neil says... "The truth is immutable. I have never in my life regretted telling the truth. It has always made my life better."
Neil's worst ad (yes, even God has done a bad ad) - A full colour double page spread back in UK. It didn't get a single response.
Neil's most awarded campaigns were for real clients : Chivas Regal, Kaminomoto and XO Beer for Singapore Press Holdings. He's brilliant at explaining his thinking to the client. And that's why he doesn't need to scam in order to win.
Click on the title of this post to view his work.
When the BBC reporter attempted to provoke Neil, he demonstrated that you cannot be ruffled unless you allow it. And he didn't. He calmly explained his POV with a patience I never knew he had. He has mellowed. Take it from me - I used to be known as "French Fried Janet".
As I sat watching the reporter try again and again to inflame the interview, I realised that most people judge ads on their surface value. They have absolutely no clue of the thinking process that led to its conception. No wonder they think advertising people are frivolous wankers. Perhaps this is a label we have earned. Too many clever gimmicky ads have been awarded around the world. Too many scams have been applauded.
For the industry to regain its credibility, I think we must follow the teachings of Neil.
One of his all time favourite campaigns that never won any awards anywhere, but was very good for the brand, is a series of films for Union Bank of Switzerland. http://www.neilfrench.com/ubs/index2.html
Brilliant moving work.