Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

After a long day in the saddle …

In Bikes, Chez Jeremy, Objects of Desire on April 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm

A lot of people don’t understand why we cyclists look longingly at mountains in the distance and set off with the express aim of torturing our legs and lungs all the way to the top. There’s a bit of George Mallory (of Everest fame) in us. It’s because the damn things are there! Those hills call to us like sirens. And we have no defence.

Today’s post is dedicated to my fellow addicts. You guys know that there’s nothing better after a day on the vertical than arriving home and sinking into your favourite chair, ice-cold beer in hand. Well, I’ve found the perfect answer – bike furniture. Some might think it ironic that after a few hours sitting on the ‘skinny seat’, I’ve chosen an armchair made from bike parts to rest my weary posterior. Let me tell you this beauty is as comfortable as it gets. No nasty springs or bumps to catch you unawares. Just smooth rubber and chrome. And it looks almost as good as my bike, which itself is a work of art.

Nothing will make you come down those mountains quicker than knowing that this baby awaits you. You can order one here. While you’re at it, you might as well go the whole hog like me, buy a few and form a peloton in your lounge.


Something cool to slip into …

In Chez Jeremy, Couture, Small Man, Big Ideas on April 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but when I get home at night, I’m bushed! No surprise there really considering my management style. I like to walk the floors of the agency motivating the troops. And I always take the stairs in between which means I’m pretty much perpetual motion on legs. It doesn’t help either that I’m only 5’4″ with a relatively short stride. I end up expending so much more energy than your average Joe travelling from one end of the office to the other.

But when I get back to my Kensington apartment of an evening, I can’t just stop, bushed or not. Jeremy Parnaby is a multi-dimensional brand and needs to stay productive. So, as I close the door on the agency, I open one into my personal world. And from time to time (like now) I’ll give you a glimpse inside. First thing I do when I cross the threshold is cast off the work clothes. I exchange them for a loose-fitting tracksuit and my latest find – a pair of Nike Air Moc Maharam Pack. These babies look the business and feel the business too. Just slipping them on makes me want to moonwalk like Michael Jackson. (I may post a video one day if you’re lucky.)

Therein lies the simple lesson in this post. Get the right tools for the job. Equip yourself and surround yourself with stuff that inspires. Got a tough brief to crack? Staring at a blank sheet of white paper? Stare at a blank yellow sheet instead. That simple change of colour will open floodgates in your brain. The flood will turn into a torrent too if you dare write on that yellow paper with bright turquoise ink. Watch what might have seemed an average train of thought blossom into a kaleidoscopic extravaganza bursting with creativity. Want to write a novel after work? Or knock up a canvas for the Freize Art Fair one weekend? First slip into something inspirational. Works for me every time.

I’m off to pop on Billie Jean.

A restless brain

In Small Man, Big Ideas, Wannabe CEO on April 16, 2011 at 9:03 am

Look what popped out in the post today. A bag of jumping brains. Cute, aren’t they? I’ve ordered these for the agency. Two hundred to be precise. By the time you (and all my staff) read this, these little fellas will be hopping around the office courtesy of my super PA, Helena, and the geeky Welsh intern on work placement. Just wind them up and off they go. Hopping here. Hopping there.

It’ll be obvious to one and all when they arrive at work this morning what’s happening and who’s behind it. People expect this type of behaviour from me. That’s why I’m the boss. I’ve got a little watchword on this subject. Show them once a week why you’re the top banana. That gives my team something to aspire to, but also keeps those nasty pretenders to my throne firmly in their place, looking up at me (metaphorically speaking) in awe.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not disparaging my senior management here. I’m a great believer in David Ogilvy’s dictum that you should surround yourself with people better than yourself. But what happens when you can’t find them?

I’m hopping around on this post myself now! Back to those little brains on legs (all of whom Helena has appositely named Jeremy, by the way). I’m expecting a surge in lateral thinking in Knightsbridge today as a result of my multi-coloured plague. If I could plug Google Analytics into my staff, I’m sure I’d see a huge spike in the number of visits by their Muse. And that’s just what any great advertising agency needs. A restless ferment of ideas that you can charge lots of money for.

So take a lesson from the pond at the bottom of your garden. Put on your best yellow suit and be a sprightly frog. Not a big, moribund toad. Your clients will love you for it.

My client’s a donkey. Or is that an ass?

In Clients, Wannabe CEO on April 6, 2011 at 10:01 am

The book you see above has been in the press a lot recently. It was written by one of the brothers of that annoyingly successful Foer family. Joshua Foer is a researcher and journalist but also US Memory Champion 2006. He and I employ the same remarkable technique. No need to argue here about who got there first. That would be petty. Suffice to say, I’ve been far too busy to write a book.

Back to the technique. What and why? Well, how many times each week are you introduced to a new client? If you run an agency the size of mine, the answer is plenty. They all want to meet the top man. Some of these guys are the salt of the earth, but others are a complete nightmare who swear by the first rule of Account Handling which I’ll summarise for you here. The client pays the bills, you bite the pillow.

They expect you to hang on their every word and remember every snippet that they’ve ever imparted to you. Regular readers of this blog will know by now that I’m a small man who’s been blessed with a big brain. But just because it’s big doesn’t mean it behaves itself. Quite the opposite. Just yesterday I was standing in our boardroom in front of a new Marketing Director who had the air of sadist about him. While I should have been paying attention to polite details such as his name, what he was saying about the cab journey over to Knightsbridge and that his nonogenarian grandmother plays backgammon on the web, my brain was straining at the leash, wanting to jump around like a frog. To keep it under control, I deployed my technique. You should try it too. Joshua’s making a mint out of it.

I gave my client, let’s call him John Smith, a quick once over. He had bushy neck hairs, cavernous nostrils and large ears. So John Smith is a donkey. His company sells body depilation cream. (For the guys out there, that’s hair remover.) The donkey’s got silky-smooth legs. He kept hinting how much he loved lunching at Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus. The silky-smooth-legged donkey speaks with a Scottish accent and has got a nose bag. Would I send an all-staff email out promoting his wife’s interior design business? The silky-smooth-legged donkey with a Scottish accent now has a nosebag in deep fuchsia chenille. Could I have his daughter in on work placement? Her name’s Daisy, she was in a girl band and now wants a real job. The silky-smooth-legged donkey is now singing Tell me what you want, what you really really want in a Scottish accent while eating wild flowers out of a deep fuchsia nosebag.

Get the picture? One day I’ll introduce you to the rest of the menagerie.