I believe that advertising exists at the polar opposite of immortality. Advertising work that might take months - even years to plan, design, produce and then deploy may only see the light of day once – and then it's history. That said, I still have copies of ads that inspire me which are now 20 to 30 years old. I look at them once in a while, and can see how the media and production technology of their time limited how the type, the illustration and the photography were used. And how some turns of phrase have fallen out of favour, have changed or now mean something very different. Like “stupid”. But I look beyond all that and admire the brilliance of the core messages which still moves me. 

The other day I tripped over an article that referenced Leonardo da Vinci’s diary. It is believed that he started recording his thoughts in notebooks during the 1480s while he was a military and naval engineer for the Duke of Milan. He is widely considered to be the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. Leonardo was an Italian polymath of the Renaissance whose areas of interest included invention, drawing, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.

Today, over 500 years later, we know all this (to be fact rather than "fake-news") because Leonardo da Vinci kept diaries that preserved his thoughts, insights and his thought processes for “all eternity”.    

Think of it for a minute – or two. We can enjoy his 1st hand accounts and perspectives today because he wrote his thoughts down on paper with good ink.

Nobody really knows what will happen to us after we die, but if immortality is important to you . . . publish your work offline. In books or diaries where your ideas will be preserved and can be shared with the world long after you’re gone.



Simple + Brilliant

This is the back of a cookie bag from Subway IP Inc., telling me in 35 languages that my cookie may contain peanuts.




This page is from a typical IKEA furniture assembly brochure.

35 language tip-over

While there are five pages, also in 35 languages, warning of a possible tipping hazard, the other 30 pages get the assembly instructions across without any words at all.

IKEA is the conservation conscious global flat-pack furniture design + distribution leader. Had IKEA not made a serious, long-term commitment to illustration-driven-assembly-instructions over 50 years ago, they would probably be one of the world’s largest publishers + polluters today. 



No thinking required


I love to read. I also love looking for and discovering new authors whose work takes me down new planes of thinking.

I also love meeting and surrounding myself with people, places and things that are different. They nudge me out of my habitual thought-ruts and encourage me to entertain and embrace lots of different perspectives.

While I can see why this landing page from might be attractive to some, I see another flight feather being pulled from the wings of independent thought and free will. 

It tells “readers” that their editorial team will find great books for you at very low prices. A classic “appeal to the head and the heart” copy-writing tactic. 

It tells “readers” that “Book lovers have now become practically obsessed with this concept. In many cases, they’ve downloaded hundreds of books and saved hundreds of dollars. 


  • Booklovers, like others, are obsessed with “cheap”, not "good" goods.
  • The more you buy the more you save.

Bing-book*-buying, reduces each book’s economic and intrinsic value. Each treasure becomes devalued to little more than cheap commodity status.

Over time this commoditization brings down the “value” of the entire book* category as well as the “book reading experience”.  

Sadly most of those books* will never be intensely read. Do the math. 

Of greatest concern is how this kind of social media content curating affects the choices groups and individuals make – including the value of free will and independent thought.   

*or anything else.


Commitment + hunger


When I moved to Winnipeg about 10 years ago, a colleague asked me what kind of hours people are expected to work in Toronto. I told him that as a senior ad agency team manager I typically worked 50-60 hours a week, but that for him to catch up to and lap his peers, 60-70 hours would likely be required.

“Fuck That!” was his uncharacteristically brief response.

Since then I’ve discovered that his response is not uncommon for millennials in Winnipeg + elsewhere. Both then + now.

This picture of a Huawei employee napping at his desk at lunch-time should be a galvanizing example of why those with a false sense of entitlement (the right to live well on a 35 hr. wage) will always loose to those who, like this kid, are hungrier than you are.

Whether they're around the corner or around the globe.



Brilliant Direct Mail


Big brands with big budgets + their DM agencies know that customized, personalized direct mail (delivered by Canada Post) provides a far better return on investment than does unaddressed mail that’s dropped into a postal walk en mass.    

Most smaller clients are too cash strapped to hire an ad agency, to rent a decent mailing list or pay Canada Post a premium to deliver their sales message. 

Well, provided you’ve got a little imagination, all is not lost. 

The brochure cover on the left is from our local Garden Club. To keep costs down the club designed it in PPT and printed it on plain paper with a small colour printer.  

Had they stopped there, this flyer would have been lost among all the other stuff that gets tossed into my mail box. 

But the club added a standard post-it note with a very inviting message: “We think you should enter!” The two personal pronouns combined with the flattering inference distance this homemade brochure from all other unaddressed mail and moves it into the personalized DM response category.

Simple, affordable, brilliant.