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Same-sex Flings on E, Drunken Pashes, am I or Aren’t I Gay and Shouldn’t I Know by Now?

This is an historical artefact: Originally written and published in 2003 for Re:mix magazine in New Zealand. So there’s a number of things I’d change about this article, but also surprisingly few. Feel free to discuss which in the comments if you get that far.

“He’s got a pretty persuasion
She’s got pretty persuasion,
God damn, pure confusion”

- REM, ‘Pretty Persuasion’

Michael Stipe of REM sings love songs where characters tend to be gender-unspecific or include both men and women, as…


Sometime in the mid 2000s I found myself writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. The year I’m unsure of, but it was definitely November — as that’s “National Novel Writing Month” (NaNoWriMo) and I had committed to complete their challenge.

The, quite dreadful, novel sits unedited in a Google drive folder — testament to the power of speed over consideration. The only thing that really came from this effort was an optimistic sense of how much I could write in limited time.

Which is probably one of the reasons why it seemed achievable to write a 21-chapter multimedia…


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The only time you should be pleased to find yourself shouting into the wind is onboard a yacht.

Thought-leadership. Think about the name for a minute. What about how we believe business should be conducted today — open, collaborative, diverse & inclusive — does it reflect?

The very term is singular, masculine, exclusive. And to get specific, thought leadership today is, still, too often:

  1. Lacking diversity on-stage and on paper.
  2. Prioritising clickbait, short and shareable stories over well reasoned and evidence-based arguments.
  3. Self-promotion and sales-gimmickry in disguise.
  4. Hiding thinking behind paywalls and exclusive, expensive events.
  5. Privileging the new and the novel over the right for right now.
  6. Simply shouting and showing-off in a filter bubble, not engaging with…


Eight. If you were wondering. That is the number of 3.5” floppy discs you can fit in a standard size envelope without having to pay to send the “letter” as a package. Which, age 14, was key to me as I had a business selling discs of software by post.

Which might sound like the beginning of a “my first brush with the law” tale but is rather “my first startup” story. I had stumbled upon an arbitrage game — the online worlds were not yet accessible to most people, but home computers were. …


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Japanese pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at The Great Escape festival in Brighton (2018).

Behind the sounds of today’s music

Could you name a song by Martin Sandberg? Hum a bar or two perhaps? Probably not. And it likely won’t help if I let on that his pen name is “Max Martin”. Yet the 47 year old Swedish songwriter has penned more number-one hits (22) than anyone else — except the much more familiar names of Paul McCartney (32) and John Lennon (26).

From his initial success writing for the likes of the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears in the ’90s to Taylor Swift and The Weeknd in the past few years — MM is a behind-the-scenes hit making machine…


Facebook being an advertising platform is not the problem - it was them NOT being one during the early 2010s that led to the current Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Recently Mark Ritson called out marketers on being silent on the Cambridge Analytica x Facebook issue,

Marketers know consumers are shocked at the level of Facebook user data that Cambridge Analytica acquired, but they can say nothing without admitting they have been targeting people in the same way for years.

However Ritson, and many others who think likewise, are wrong in characterising the issue as being about Facebook as an “advertising platform”. This thinking is popularised in much bandied about expressions like,

“You are the product [Facebook sell to advertisers] not the customer [of Facebook]”

Which sounds clever but doesn’t…


We’ve learned nothing radically new about Facebook in the past year — the Cambridge Analytica scandal has simply slotted neatly into a liberal narrative about the role technology played in an election “we” lost. As industry professionals, we’re washing our hands at the collective responsibility we have - to raise a red flag when we think technology might have negative consequences - even if we believe our specific uses of it are positive.

I knew, well before Cambridge Analytica (CA) ever started harvesting data, what personal information Facebook gave developers access to. …


tl;dr: Advertising won’t become more representative just by the industry employing a broader spectrum of people. Those people need to go out into the world to truly understand and empathise with its diversity. There’s a group of people within advertising, Planners, for whom this is their role. Today, they’re not as good at is as they could be — blame decades of adland lacking diversity, and new tools that make it easy to gaze at, but not engage with, the world. An article for ad planners, and those who don’t know they exist.

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The stories we tell are the stories we hear — tall tales being told at Adland’s “Gutter Bar”.

The morning after the UK Brexit vote…


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In the past four years, across 7 intakes, we’ve had nearly a hundred startups come through Queen Mary’s incubator programme. And to help the students develop their ideas we’ve been supported by just as many individual mentors. For whom myself, and QMUL, are incredibly grateful.

The diversity of thinking and experiences they bring to the table is always impressive. But every round there is always that one guy that I wish we hadn’t invited… He’s the one on Googling on his phone as a team are talking through their idea — trying to catch-them-out with a question designed primarily to…


On Monday this week it didn’t matter if your sauce was white or black, it was a sticky mess — at least if you were Dove or McDonald’s. And the hot-takes were coming thick and fast on the two brand’s advertising faux pas.

Dove’s problem seems black & white on the surface — they ran an ad which, ostensibly, features a black woman pulling up her top to transform into a white woman to advertise a body lotion. …

Thomas Scovell

Creativity x Diversity x Marketing. Always asking, “Why do we do the things we do?”. 🇳🇿🇬🇧🌈

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