This article was originally published for Creative Brief’s ‘Voices’, on BITE. It was written by Colin Montgomery, copywriter at Leith.

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Really? I mean, do you really have to ask that question? Because obviously the rest of the UK is Mad Max meets The Road meets Dawn of the Dead. OK, there are parts of deepest Lincolnshire that are admittedly twinned with Mordor. But really? Creative life beyond London? People need to get out more. Quite literally out of London, if the trains allow it. Or just use the internet; it exists outside the M25. But enough of the chippy Scotsman…


Thoughts on sleep, waking up and everything in between, by Leith Finance Assistant Frances McGonigle.

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I used to dream that I could fly, tearing off the landing in my sleep like a runway at the top of the stairs. I always came out low over endless cornfields in bright sunshine, skimming the leaves with my toes on the way to nowhere, fast. I was free.

In the daytime, daydreaming, zooming through the clouds, cutting holes in the nimbus stratus until the rain fell out and I tumbled down to earth, landing, splash, in a puddle, before falling further, deep inside to the upside down world of my unconscious mind.

Then nothing but a void, a…


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Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash

Leith copywriter, Colin Montgomery, takes a trip down memory lane to document the incomprehensible, the inane and the downright invidious.

It’s not a bad job, advertising. Especially the creative bit. You get to come up with ideas. You get paid reasonably well. You get a whole bunch of perks. Given all of that, you might think the bitter charge sheet you’re about to read can be filed under ‘First World problems’. I care not, it has to be done. These are actual words uttered by actual people in actual advertising agencies. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

“They (the clients) pay our wages.”

No…


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I love ads that make you laugh.

But being funny doesn’t excuse an ad for perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes.

I’m talking about Philadelphia’s ad, banned last week by the ASA for breaking new rules.

It opens in a restaurant. A mother gives a father their baby. He gets chatting to another new dad by a conveyor belt serving buffet food. Distracted by the delicious snacks, they absentmindedly put their babies down on the conveyor belt. “Let’s not tell mum”, one dad says, after they’ve rescued the kids.

Being a new parent is tough. Of course you’re going to screw…


Leith Content Strategist George Gunn charts the history, and analyses the success, of Scotland’s finest modern export.

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The Festival Fringe is a weird one for Edinburgh residents. On the one hand, we’re treated to the world’s largest celebration of arts and culture on our doorstep. Thousands of performers cram into every available hall, public square, cafe, underground vault or whatever else they can find. Theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, music, spoken word — you name it, it’s here; with the city providing a launchpad for many successful careers.

It’s also a nightmare. The bursting city centre is effectively shut down for a month, earnest Oxbridge students pester us with flyers, and my daily commute has been reduced…


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European Week Against Cancer was abuzz with talk about #PatientEmpowerment this year.

And rightly so.

Because what use are cutting-edge diagnostics, personalised medicines and billion dollar clinical trials if, out in the real world, Jim can’t face doing his bowel screening test, Sandra thinks her breast change is OK because it’s not a lump, and Karima declines treatment for lung cancer because she feels it’s a death sentence anyway?

As the Scottish Government’s lead creative agency on the Detect Cancer Early public health programme, we’ve spent the last nine years talking to people about cancer and learning what #PatientEmpowerment means…


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Image: Icons8 team (Unsplash)

You may have heard of information overload. And if you haven’t, you will have experienced it. In fact, the act of reading this is likely to be contributing.

We are all subjected to an enormous amount of information every day. Banners and skyscrapers dancing around the edges of web pages, chanting ‘Read me!’ Emails stacking up inside our inboxes. Podcasts plugged into our ears. Six sheets flashing at every bus stop. Bottomless social feeds. The list goes on.

And if we’re looking at a digital screen, it actually inhibits our ability to remember information. The high quality of liquid crystal…


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Image: Marty Finney (Unsplash)

OOOOF!

You’ve been working your brains out, you had great hopes and then — bam! — they’ve not gone with your idea.

The absolute imbeciles. How could they not see your genius?

The dark cave awaits. I’m off. See you in a month or so.

If you’re not a creative in an agency, you might wonder what I’m on about, but I suspect not. My masterpiece script that no one will ever see could just as well be your business plan, or the idea you shared with your manager, or the dungeon equipment you suggested you and your partner get…


Leith copywriter Colin Montgomery talks truth, lies and advertising.

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Image: Dan Carlson (Unsplash)

So, the pencils have been doled out. Yay! Well, actually nay in my case — another year of peering through the sweet shop window, otherwise known as the D&AD annual. To be fair, it’s always a pleasure. Yes, there are some things in there that leave you scratching your head, but there are also moments of sublime genius that leave even the most cynical awards sceptic wide-eyed with wonder (and green round the gills with jealousy). For me, one such moment came in the form of Droga5’s ‘The Truth is Worth It’ work for the New York Times (NYT), which…


Leith copywriter Sam Muir on the importance of creating space to think and work.

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Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Before every important meeting a fine selection of biscuits suddenly appears on our meeting room tables. These aren’t your bog standard digestives and custard creams, but quality baked goods. Things like dark chocolate gingers, oat crumbles, butterscotch and lemon melts. And to accompany them, an equally impressive array of teas — Earl Grey, lapsang souchong, chai, Darjeeling, breakfast, afternoon and mint. Such biscuity tea goodness is happily demolished within the first ten minutes. And no one really gives them a second thought. But it’s time we give such sweet sustenance it’s due. Because stuff like this matters. It makes folk…

The Leith Agency

Bold ideas that work, since 1984. We tweet too: https://twitter.com/TheLeith

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