Google gossip

At Pepper, we have a habit of going all google-eyed over the latest tech, and love inviting people in to share our excitement of the stuff that’s taking the industry by storm. If you’ve been to one of our Tech Labs, or read our previous posts, you would have heard of some of the ingenious technology that’s coming from the guys and gals at Google HQ.

They recently had their much anticipated I/O conference, and gave us even more insight into some of the products that we’ve put on your radar.

  •  Back in January we mentioned Project Ara – a modular phone that allows users to build their handsets like Lego; slotting different components in and out depending on their needs. It made a cameo appearance at the conference and the audience marvelled at it being assembled and booted up. It could be a glimpse into the next generation of smart phones. Here’s everything you need to know:
  • Last year’s conference saw the introduction of Google Cardboard – the do-it-yourself helmet that turns any smartphone into a low-budget virtual reality interface. They’ve now added a new Expeditions feature, allowing teachers to take students on a field trip to anywhere, all from the comfort of the classroom.
  • Google have been working with GoPro to create Jump – a new stereoscopic VR camera rig due for release this summer. It uses 16 cameras in a circular configuration to capture stereoscopic footage of environments. However anyone can make their own and use any cameras they choose. To make it accessible to virtually anyone, Jump content will soon be playable on YouTube.
  • Project tango – we’re holding out for more info on this but we’ve got high hopes. The context-sensitive tablet that has an almost-human spatial perception was shown off last year. Although not ready for release yet, we’re promised a preview that will “blow our socks off” so watch this space.

If all this tech talk has left you wanting to ‘google’ Google to find out more, step away from the search engine and get yourself an invite to next month’s Tech Lab for everything you need to know. Email or call 020 7479 4500

The social election

With one of the most unpredictable elections approaching, Art Director Matty was invited along to a breakfast with our friends at Bircham Dyson Bell to learn how social media is set to influence the votes.

Elizabeth Linder from Facebook headed the talk. Her role is to jet around the world, speaking to different governing parties about what they should be doing on social. Pretty cool, right? She’s found that a staggering one third of 18-24yr olds say social media will affect the way they vote this year. That just shows what an incredible tool it is to reach a generation of non-voters.

Obama was famously one of the first to put a lot of weight behind his online presence, and this time round the UK are following suit with two thirds of our parties making sure they have a voice online. That’s a big contrast to five years ago when only one third believed it was necessary.

It’s a time where parties have a chance to be human. They once had to rely on being interesting enough to make the news in order to be seen, but now they can have real conversations with real people to win votes.

Although it doesn’t look like 2015 will be the first digital election, it certainly will be the first conversational one.

Vicky McGarvey and Matt Burrows

Time travelling

It doesn’t seem long since I was throwing my graduation hat up in the air, breathing a big sigh of relief and wondering ‘now what?’ – quickly realising that no amount of partying can prepare you for the big wide world. I’ve blinked and somehow four years have flown by. With university seeming like nothing more than a hazy dream, Matty (the sketch pad to my sharpie) and I decided it was high time we took a step back and gave our much-loved lecturers and the current students a visit.

It gave us a great chance to reflect on what we’ve achieved since uni, the best bits, the worst and what we really wish someone had told us while we still studying. So here they are – Matty and Vicky’s top tips in all their glory:

  • It’s not all about ads. You’ll get stuck into everything from smashing-up tins with bricks to making a mini race track and writing tweets for a fish
  • None of your friends or family will ever understand what you do at work
  • Recruitment agencies can help you – even if you’re an intern (thanks for hookin’ us up, Farzana)
  • Prepare to have your soul crushed at book crits. No matter how good your work is – there will always be someone who will tear it apart
  • Do something to stand out. A team came into Pepper and called themselves ‘Cake for crit’. They had thought about the whole experience. They had their own branding, their cakes came in a lovely box and even made sure they had an online presence. In return Andy gave them a crit and we’re still talking about them now
  • If you’re a writer – have a blog. That’s how our very own Dan got his job. He interned for a bit and then went off and did some other cool stuff. In the meantime Andy kept tabs on his blog and when a job came up, he knew just the guy
  • Whether you’re meeting your Creative Director for the first time or presenting your millionth idea – treat your work like gold. Don’t just shove crinkled pieces of paper in front of his/her nose or put them on the floor. Pin them up on the wall. Give them a black border. You’ve spent a lot of time on your ideas so give them the credit they deserve
  • If you have the chance to own something in the agency then grab it by the horns. Before we started, Pepper didn’t have an Instagram account. Matty stepped in and now the agency has 2000 followers. It’s led to new business opportunities, meeting a pop star and ultimately getting Pepper’s name out of the office and into the world

So there we have it. Everything we wish we’d been told as we left the university bubble. And if you’ve got any tips that top ours, let us know – we’d love to hear what ad lessons you’ve learnt.


Tech Detoxed: Only the good bits

Friday 30 January AD2015. After a voyage to the near future (CES 2015) and deepest cyberspace, our two tech smoothies, Ross and Dan, boldly returned to a packed Pepper HQ to bring our clients the juiciest tech trends for 2015. With pips of hype filtered out, here are their ingredients for a nourishing dose of tech in the year ahead:

1. Nvidia Tegra X1: More power to your mobile

When Ross first heard of this, he spat his cornflakes all over his Mac. It’s the first mobile chip with a teraflop of processing power. For the benefit of those like me who think a teraflop sounds like a lethal Olympic dive, this is 10 times the power of a 2-year-old Mac. IN YOUR MOBILE.

 Amazing things this chip will let us do:

  • Gaze at incredible Unreal Engine graphics – it’s the equivalent of a PS4
    or Xbox One in your pocket 
  • Connect our mobiles to our work screens with full desktop functionality
  • Drive cars with HD screens instead of instrument panels and mirrors
  • Don’t drive cars at all. They can do it themselves. Commercially,
    this is still some way off. But the processing power is there!


 2. Modular mobile phones are coming soon

These are mobile phones that you pretty much put together like Lego bricks. Fun. But there’s a serious side to it. For one, you can add or remove individual elements of the phone as and when you wish – like a better lens for your camera. The hope being that these small, incremental upgrades will reduce the unnecessary costs and environmental waste associated with buying the latest smartphone every two years.

 Examples to check out:

  • Google’s Project ARA, set to be released anytime now.
  • Phonebloks. A pretty collection of cubes that was actually announced before Google, no release date as yet.
  • PuzzlePhone, allowing us to re-use old processors to run a modular computer. You could do some good and donate your old phone processor to power a computer in a developing country.


 3. Wearables: The Apple Watch 

Do we want one device that controls everything? Or many little devices controlling many little things? At the moment, you, I and everyone else prefer lots of little devices. But this is all about to change with the upcoming launch of the Apple Watch. Research tells us customisation is key to attracting people to wearable tech. The Apple Watch answers just that, with its many different strap and face combinations giving you around 2 million ways to wear it. And you can even pay for real life things in real life shops with a double click of the watch face – another key trend we see taking off this year.

The Apple Watch is coming soon. Don’t forget to set your alarm.


 4. Connected homes’ clever use of big data

Remember when Wallace (from Wallace and Gromit) wakes up, his bed lifts, tipping him through a trapdoor into the kitchen, mechanical arms clothe him and a jam shooter fires jam onto his mid-air slice of toast? Don’t expect anything like that for connected homes in 2015. Sorry. However, the likes of Nest and Hive are giving their partners access to their customers’ data, so expect to see more of the following:

  • Phillips Hue lighting. Your lights turn on when you get home – off when you leave. In the event of a fire or CO2 leak, they flash red to warn you.
  • Automatic. This plugs into the port of your car and tells your heating to turn on when you’re nearly home.
  • Kēvo. A Bluetooth lock with all sorts of smart security settings. You can unlock your front door with your smartphone and it turns your heating on when you get home.
  • Whirlpool washing machines. Using data from your energy tariff, they do your washing when your electricity is at its cheapest (off peak times, for example). 
  • Jawbone. Monitors your sleep to turn on your heating just before you wake up.

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s Wallace and Gromit’s connected home.


 5. It’s all set to get a bit talky talky touchy feely 

Is this the year we can truly talk to our tech? We already have Siri. Okay Google seems to be doing more than okay. Microsoft is about to release Cortana. And Amazon Echo is in its BETA stage. It’s the Echo, at a very modest £200, that we’re particularly excited about. As a standalone product for the home, you can ask it to play your favourite song, search the internet, turn on the TV and more. Amazon are currently looking for BETA testers. You can apply online now.

On the touchy side of things, Fujitsu are working on a prototype tablet that simulates the textures of different surfaces – fun for feeling a crocodile’s scaly skin, useful for typing and playing virtual instruments. The Taptic engine for the Apple Watch uses haptic sensations to differentiate all your alerts. And Myo is a gesture control band that lets you control things like your TV, drone and Powerpoint presentation by pointing, swiping and waving your arm.

Amazon Echo.


6. Do not underestimate the importance of user experience  

4K TVs
Dan has a 4K TV. He ‘bloody’ loves it. And due to the steep price drop – you can now pick one up for £600 – we’re going to start seeing more and more of them in homes and offices in 2015. There is, however, one problem. Websites are not yet 4K compatible and therefore have a rubbish user experience – it takes Dan 3 minutes to log into Netflix. Although not critical just yet, brands don’t want to be left behind when their competitors are making apps and websites that are 4K compatible. Because people are more and more likely to switch brands due to a poor user experience.

The brand barrier killing decent apps
This year’s breakout app will most probably launch from a teenager’s musty lair. Why? Because year nines don’t have brands sacrificing user experience in return for a logo and a headache. Last year’s example was Impossible Rush, a simple yet very addictive game. It was developed by a 15-year-old from Australia. It peaked with more downloads than Vine, Google, Gmail and Twitter.

So how can brands develop successful apps? Make user experience the priority. Spend more time on making it fun, interesting and genuinely useful. And less time on ‘we need a strapline that’s gonna sell this shit’.


7. Virtual reality has come a long way

All you need to do is watch the reactions of people wearing virtual reality headsets to see just how much it’s advanced. Last year, SXSW showcased the Game of Thrones ‘Ascend the Wall’ experience that had people clinging to the nearest sturdy object and soiling their braies. The hardware used for ‘Ascend the Wall’ was Oculus Rift, which is due to be released this year. Gaming and movies are the obvious benefactors of this advancement (and porn, depending on who you speak to). But we’ve seen brands take advantage of the tech already. And we expect to see more in 2015. These include:

  • Topshop virtual reality in-store catwalk
  • Audi test drive
  • Travel agent hotel tours
  • Estate agent home tours

Game of Thrones Ascend the Wall.


To conclude

‘It is very difficult to predict – especially the future.’ Niels Bohr, physicist.

It’s impossible to know exactly what’s going to happen this year. We can tell you what tech is set to be released and what’s being developed. But predicting how people will interact with it is like trying to predict what direction a rugby ball will bounce on ploughed farmland.

What we do know is people are demanding a better experience – whether in a shop using their mobile or at home browsing the internet on their TV. So brands need to go beyond using exciting new technology just because it’s available, and focus on creating the best user experience possible.

If you’d like a more detailed rundown of our tech trends for 2015 (there’s only so much that fits in a sensibly-sized blog post), or are interested in attending a future PepperLab talk, drop Crissie Craig a line at

Content by Ross Peet and Dan Owen
Written by Dan Simpson

What did I learn talking to a hall of thirteen year olds?

I remember the phone call clearly.

‘It’s motivation week at Chase High School and we’d love it if you could spare us some time and tell the kids about your career during our year 8 assembly’.

Here I was a week later, sitting through the hub-bub and murmur of a school hall filling up with 12–13 year olds.

I had already decided what the school was after was going to be almost as boring to talk about as it was to listen to.

I made one request of myself. Whatever I presented had to either get me escorted from the building or invited back for more.

Anything in-between would be a failure.

Where do you start when it comes to motivating a school year? You certainly don’t spend too much time talking about yourself.

So after spending a minute or two on my career to date. I spent another minute or so describing life as a very average school ghost, haunting the corridors and classrooms invisible to most of my year.

Lets face it, not every kid is a jock, a chic geek or just plain cool.

With the consistent feedback filling my young ears ‘Must try harder’, I left School with little in qualifications and an overwhelming desire to design film posters.

Already I’m starting to question my ability or even my experience to make a difference to these kids.

And if you can’t make a difference (or at least you’re not going to try) then what’s the point in standing up in the first place?

So the rest of the presentation (about 15 minutes) was used as a social experiment.

I wanted to see if the stuff I believed in, loved and loathed was the same as what kids today believed in, loved and loathed.

I also wanted to know if this stuff still had any resonance with the ‘me’ right here, right now and what bearing it had on my career.

In a nutshell the answer was a resounding ‘yes’.

Speedier expectations apart, the kids of today are no different from the kids of yesterday.

We all hate going to bed and hate getting up even more.

Most of us love films.

We all love video games.

Everyone hated apples (ok, ok only a smattering of us agreed that apples are vile).

Rude words are still funny no matter how old you are.

And there was a definite leaning towards the thought that you learn as much in the playground as the classroom.

I admitted that I still dilly-dally between wanting to kiss girls or kick footballs more. That question was probably a year too soon for this bunch.

I find sad songs sadder than sad films – that was a room splitter with the majority disagreeing.

We all love pop music.

And finally we spoke about being scared of horror films but still watching them, which surprisingly quite a few agreed with. Especially at their age.

But what was the point of those questions? What did I learn?

Quite a bit was the short answer.

There wasn’t much to learn from whether they shared my hatred of apples, but it did lighten the mood.

And the whole bedtime/wake-up debacle was really just a lesson in some things just are, you just have to get on with your day, no matter how tiring.

What we did learn from my love of films, or more importantly film posters was the importance of finding something that helped carry me through school. It gave me a purpose that led me to better things. Something that double physics could never do.

A love for pop music taught me that things move on. Don’t get left behind. Horror films helped me understand things are scary but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t face them.

To kick or to kiss?

Well life is full of decisions, don’t leave them to other people and don’t worry if you get them wrong. We all do, it’s part of life. But don’t kiss footballs and kick girls. That is behaviour to be frowned upon.

Video games, well gaming can give you focus. Especially if like the younger me you’re saving up for 6 months to get a Spectrum 48k. This taught me about endurance and that great stuff doesn’t just happen straight away.

The playground taught me social skills that have been invaluable to me throughout my life.

But finally at the end of it, no matter what chances and successes I have enjoyed throughout my career, I learnt that ‘Must try harder’ wasn’t a curse or a moan.

‘Must try harder’ was in fact a way to live everyday, no matter what it might bring or how successful you are.

Andy Bolter
Creative Director 



Ten tips from top authors on how to write (with a copywriter’s ad-related elaborations).

3 minutes to read

As an insecure writer racing against Lycra-tight deadlines, I’m forever seeking reassurance that I’m working as efficiently as possible. From Brain Pickings to Buzzfeed, the internet is overloaded with ‘Top tips on how to become a successful [insert anything here]’. I’ve scrolled through an afternoon’s worth of wisdom to give you the writing tips I find most useful, elaborating along the way (in green) so they relate to the day job – writing adverts. Whether spending an afternoon searching for ways to be more efficient is actually efficient is up for debate. Comments are welcome.

1 – ‘Write.’ Neil Gaiman
Pretty obvious. But if you’ve absorbed all the product information you can and still find yourself staring at a blank page, just write. It doesn’t matter how childish or basic it sounds, just start. The good stuff will soon follow.

2 – ‘Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are all hallmarks of a pretentious ass.’ David Ogilvy
…a pretentious ass who doesn’t understand what he or she is talking about. Short words. Short sentences. Long-lasting impact. 

3 – ‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time – or the tools – to write. Simple as that.’ Stephen King
Read as much as you can. It doesn’t ALWAYS have to relate to work, but you should be aware of what’s going down in the industry. Read science fiction, children’s books, the news, obituaries, greetings cards, football programmes, old postcards. Everything. You never know, that toilet graff
iti you stared at for five minutes in a Meat Mission toilet may one day ignite an idea.

4 – ‘Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.’ Neil Gaiman
It hurts when your senior or creative director says the strapline your genius subconscious weeded out at three in the morning doesn’t work. More often than not, they’re right. Get over it and figure out how you’re going to fix it. 

5 – ‘Have the courage to write badly.’ Joshua Wolf Shenk
This may be easier for novelists because they’re not working to a deadline tighter than Victoria Beckham’s jeans on Jonny Vegas’s legs. However, you have to start somewhere and the quicker you build up the courage to get the bad stuff down, the better your final product will be.

6 – ‘Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.’ Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt had it easy, people choose to read novels. We’re in the business of interrupting their favourite TV shows and cramming brand stories down their throats. So make sure your advert is entertaining, funny or thoughtful enough to stop them from throwing their remote at the screen. 

7 – ‘Never stop writing because you have run out of ideas.’ Walter Benjamin
Another painful one, but if you’ve presented 100 yellow-pencil-worthy ideas and still haven’t answered the brief, keep going. It’s there somewhere. Probably hiding behind the brain matter polluted by Buzzfeed.

8 – ‘If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.’ Elmore Leonard
Write how you speak. Write how the costumer speaks. Don’t write like a 40-year-old marketing director who has a London School of Economics textbook and a Will Self novel open on their desk. It is axiomatic your antediluvian, perplexing parlance will go [head explodes].

9 – ‘Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.’ George Orwell
Avoid clichés like the plague [LoL]. They make your ads the same as every other boring ad. Overused figures of speech switch the reader to autopilot with a course set to Zombie Town. Think of your own metaphors, similes and wordplay. It’s fun. It will make your writing stand out.   

10 – ‘Read your work out loud. Only then will the tripwires in syntax show themselves.’ Everyone
Everyone says this. You may sound like a tit, but it’s worth it. Read aloud. Read it proud. Then hold down delete for a very long time and start again.   

Bonus tip – Always poof reed you’re righting.

Daniel Simpson

Great work comes from not being at work

The other day Andy, our creative director, said something that had been festering in my gut for a while. Something that turns me into an anxious, fidgety wreck every time I receive a new brief. Something that makes me want to smash my MacBook with my iPhone.

His words were:

“We’re not going to do our best work by looking at our computers all day”.

In an industry where tight budgets and even tighter deadlines demand the right answers yesterday, the easy thing to do is to get in the comfortable, familiar posture of mouse in one hand and detox smoothie in the other (new year, new meh) and scroll through the internet. Because the internet has all the answers. Good old internet.

What the internet is good for is finding information. Today we have more of the universe at our fingertips than ever – clever sparks that ignite our brains into action are only a click away. But I fear what we’re gaining in online mental ignition, we’re losing in real life experience. And real life experience is what reveals the hidden truths that turn these sparks of cleverness into great ideas. The fresh ideas that resonate with real people in the real world.

What we can learn from David Simon.

David Simon is the genius behind the hugely respected US TV series The Wire. In 1988, David took a year out from being a crime journalist at the Baltimore Sun to write the factual book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. This book was followed by two more books and a TV miniseries, The Corner. Then came The Wire in 2002. Regularly cited as the greatest TV drama ever made, The Wire was most notable for its gritty realism and shockingly truthful depiction of urban life both sides of the law. Like all good writers, David spent years studying his subject. But it wasn’t time spent reading about what was happening on the streets that gave him his spark, it was the year he spent shadowing the Baltimore Police Department. A year strapped into a bulletproof vest attending the aftermaths of murders, robberies and drug overdoses – he even assisted in an arrest when one of the cops he was riding with got trapped by a faulty seat belt. David learnt the lexicon of the corner kids first hand. He went on boozy benders with the cops who’d accepted him as one of their own. He discovered with his own eyeballs the hidden truths of life as a cop, a drug dealer and a junkie, all of which gave The Wire’s storylines unrivalled plausibility. The result was not just the realest depiction of ‘cops and robbers’ ever made, but the most complete analysis of inner city life ever seen in popular culture.

Now, I’m not comparing the writing of a seminal piece of TV literature with the selling of soap through tweets. What I am doing, in addition to revealing my unhealthy obsession with The Wire, is showing that all the reading, watching, interviewing and internetting in the world cannot replicate personal experience. Have you used the product you’ve been briefed to sell? If you’re asked to advertise the benefits of swimming, then go for a swim and see how it makes you feel. These personal experiences are the truths that make our work real and effective.

On the other side of the same hand, our experiences don’t necessarily have to be directly linked to the brief. Go to an exhibition or museum, listen to what people are talking about on the bus. Just get out into the real world and experience the good and the bad for yourself. If anything, the distraction of doing stuff other than work will let the clever internet sparks fester in your subconscious until something you see, touch, feel or hear sets off a ‘eureka’ moment – where you discover an unexpected connection between what you’re selling and something interesting, funny or emotional that people can relate to.

In my opinion, getting out of the office is the difference between creating good work and influencing people with great work made of intricate, everyday truths. It’s why I’m now about to ask if I can have the afternoon off to go paintballing. Wish me luck.

Daniel Simpson

Don’t let food get in the way of a good story.

I’m English. Which means I wouldn’t normally get giddy with excitement when Germany win the World Cup.


But this year I drew Ze Lean Mean German Winning Machine in the Pepper sweepstake. And the prize was a meal. For two. At a place of my choice.

Weltmeister! Wunderbar!

Expensive food! I usually sweat over breaking the £10 ceiling at wagamama, so I saw this as my chance to rub shoulders with the high-rollers. I wanted to sip fancy cocktails and nibble tiny tastes nestled on plates bigger than a banker’s head. I wanted to leave the restaurant with more gout than Henry VIII.

Fast-forward three months, 1,456,777 booking portal refreshes and 35 mate-date auditions later and I finally took my seat in ‘London’s version of The Fat Duck’, Restaurant Story. (Oh, and I ended up treating my girlfriend).

Restaurant Story is the imaginative work of Tom Sellers. He’s been on The Great British Menu and worked at some of the world’s best restaurants. All before turning 26. A quick scroll through his Twitter tells you he’s ruthlessly ambitious and incredibly creative. This, his first restaurant, was awarded its first Michelin Star within five months of opening.

When it comes to ordering, I always make the wrong decision and get food envy. At Restaurant Story you get the simple choice of either a six or ten-course feast. Naturally, with gout as our goal, we went for the full ten courses – EVERYTHING. Without giving too much away – just in case you one day decide to go – each course comes with a unique story, enthusiastically told by the chefs who deliver the dishes to your table.  It’s captivating stuff; a beef-dripping candle (because Tom’s dad loves dripping), seafood exploding with dry ice, and surprise snacks kept us on the edge of our seats all night long (in a good way). Gimmicky, pretentious, fun, friendly, warm and weird. Whatever it is, it’s certainly not boring.

Growing up, my palate hit peak-experimentation the day I invented the Scotch egg filled with baked beans al la melted cheese. I had my sights set high. And Restaurant Story didn’t disappoint.

It was so good in fact, I’d happily name my first child Lothar Völler Klinsmann Müller Schweinsteiger Von Özil if it meant I could eat there again.

Daniel Simpson

The right answer is in tiqui-taca

Johan Cruyff was a dutch footballer, winner of the Ballon d’Or 3 times and was regarded as the poster boy of a footballing philosophy known as ‘Total Football’. After a playing career that took him from Ajax to Barcelona to the States and back to Holland again he finally stopped playing in 1984.

He then ignored his feet and turned his hand, to coaching.

It was as a coach that he made his biggest contribution to the global love of football.

Between 1988 and 1996, whilst coaching Barcelona Johan Cruyff put the roots down and developed a style of play that is now known as Tiqui-taca, pronounced tiki-taka. With this footballing philosophy, possession is key and every channel and player on the pitch is used.

This quiet revolution was used by subsequent coaches and was fundamental in creating one of the most successful club teams in the modern era.  Tiqui-taca was then taken on by the Spanish national team and in just 4 years it made them, one of the most successful international teams in the modern era.

The key to it’s continuing success, and the difference to say the success Argentina enjoyed during the 80s through Diego Maradonna, is the system is built on every player being involved, if one player is injured or out of form then another (albeit brilliant) footballer can come in with minimum fuss.

Putting the team first brings more success to the individual.

Or as Xavi, one of the finest footballers living today, beautifully said…

‘Without my team mates my football means nothing.’

We think that sums up the way we work perfectly.

That doesn’t mean ‘everything is decided by committee’.

What it means is collectively our work is better, stronger. Collectively our work means something… actually it means more than that.

As an agency our work means everything.

It means that even before our clients see our work it has already had the advantage of exposure. Which means everything has been questioned and evaluated.

Like Tiqui-taca, if the agency is set up where everyone attacks the problems of our clients from different angles we should start to create a myriad of thoughts and ideas. We think of this as the geometry of opportunity.

That means we create and understand frameworks in which we can thrive.

One of our firmest beliefs is everybody or should we say anybody can have an idea. Having ideas isn’t difficult. Judging, evaluating and executing ideas though take a whole set of skills and experience that could fill an agency. In our case it does.

The agency has been set-up in a much more fluid way. Every player can be used.

As I mentioned earlier there are frameworks. These frameworks have been created to help everybody thrive in the process of creating great work. Including our clients and suppliers.

If getting to away games includes driving through the Alps, then nobody wants to shut their eyes as they leave home and wake up at their destination.

That’s why we include our clients every step of the way. If they are only included in the original briefing and then the final presentation, they miss out on the journey and we miss out on their experience.

It all comes down to ownership. This way everyone feels a part of it and the campaign in question doesn’t feel like a foster child.

At Pepper we’re all charged with doing ‘Whatever it takes’. This ethos is carried through from developing strategies, writing briefs, answering briefs and delivering answers.

Delivery shares equal billing with strategy and creativity.

The time when teams are at their most vulnerable is just after they’ve scored. There’s no point in celebrating great ideas if no one is focused on defending them to the final whistle.

There’s nothing worse than spending weeks and months of late nights, spilling blood all over the strategy and creativity to literally get a bloody nose from a mistake delivering the work. Brilliant work can get written off just as quickly as lousy work, so we always treat every part of the game with the same respect.

Again, that takes different people to ensure the work always exceeds our high expectations.

Sometimes we have to step backwards a little to leap forwards a lot.

We’re not ashamed of that, running headlong into a cul de sac is a waste of time and energy. Johan Cruyff understood this.

The aim is to score great goals beautifully. The same goes for our work too.

That’s not a style over content thing, they should work hand in hand.

As Buckminster Fuller, a non footballer said ‘When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty… but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.’

Andy Bolter
Creative Director 

Everybody was Kung-Fu writing

Bruce Lee made Kung Fu a global phenomenon during the 70s. His biggest claim in the martial arts world was founding Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid style of fighting and philosophy that had no style.

Or as Bruce described it, ‘fighting without fighting’. In essence Bruce Lee believed just using one style was too restrictive, too rigid and in essence ineffective. He believed combat should be spontaneous, that fighters should ‘be like water’ and be able to move fluidly and without hesitation.

Interestingly, that ethos is exactly the same in the way we work. As a communications agency our expertise lies in just that… communication.

We believe for brands to talk with the myriads of different audiences that it needs to effectively, then it’s conversations need to ‘be like water’ and be able to move fluidly (and quickly) through different channels, without hesitation.

Now it’s true to say that companies already understand this, that’s why they use different agencies for different aspects of communication. The problem arises with all the agencies involved working on their individual briefs either in ignorant bliss of the bigger picture or worse than that (for the client) trying to carve out a bigger piece of work for themselves like street gangs battling for more turf.

The other issue working with different agencies, without a clear path for all to travel with is the hesitation that can grow between the different briefs.

So what does communication mean?

The Collins English Dictionary describes it as ‘the imparting or exchange of information, ideas or feelings’. Which seems to sum it up quite well and a good place to start.

First thing’s first. Whatever result you’re after, whether it’s simply brand awareness or a measured response we start with a defined strategy, where we establish exactly what we need to say and work out what the response will be.

We then work out how we want to say it. This goes beyond tone of voice. This is where the relevant disciplines are highlighted. From advertising to social we analyse the best way forward for getting the message out to the relevant people.

At the same time we also gather a better understanding of who we are talking to. Which obviously informs the way we speak to them. It’s important to remember that we don’t speak to target markets, we speak to people.

And finally, when we know what, how and who we’re communicating to we work with experts to understand the key factors to where and when.

The most important part of this process is our product, the creative idea. Being creative isn’t a fluffy box to tick. Being creative is the process of having original ideas that have or create real value.

Anyone can have idea, but it takes a collection of people to execute the idea in a way that adds real business value. From communication strategists to creatives it’s incredibly important that we work with our clients to produce effective work.

The whole way through the campaign we always think of a quote by Eisenhower ‘In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.’ In today’s world of constant, fluid communication, that quote has become indispensable to our approach.

Then once everything is in place, we’re confident that our work will have another thing in common with Jeet Kune Do… maximum impact, at extreme speed, if necessary, without wasted effort.

Andy Bolter
Creative Director