Keepin’ it hyper-real

Ad Contrarian,

We see from your recent blog post that you have some doubts about the working philosophies of certain digital agencies.

Well, the Department of Words sees your ‘Phygital’, and raises you one ‘StoryScapingSM’; SapientNitro’s proprietary approach to…. well, I’m not sure what it’s their approach to. But there are some nifty diagrams that might help you decipher it.

So, here goes…

The power and intimacy of story is enabled through a vast interconnection of technologies and platforms that weave into the lives of connected consumers and make it ever-actionable, regardless of where or when a person comes in or out of it… StoryscapingSM creates a ubiquitous presence for a brand’s story and promise in this always-on world of possibilities.”

Well, obvs.

The more I think about it though, the more worried I become about today’s ‘agile, mobile, non-linear’ consumers. I mean they’re living in a ‘multi-dimensional, hyper-informedALWAYS-ON environment for Chrissake! They must be absolutely knackered. (And just how ‘agile’ are they by the way? Like, Sharapova agile? More agile than MARIA SHARAPOVA you say! Shit. The. Bed.)

Surely they’re in danger of becoming as ‘unhinged’ as the traditional marketing techniques making them physically sick with their irrelevance. Maybe we could give them an off-switch? For the elderly ones at least? No? Ok. Just a suggestion.

So guys, hey guys! What do you call this connected-to-everything way of thinking anyway?

“ We call this Connected Thinking and it creates magic by bringing the right mix of minds, perspectives and ambition into the same ideation room (versus the same board room model of many agencies) in service of an organizing idea to help our clients and their connected consumers to connect.” 

Awesome. But I do have just one more question: how big is the ideation room, and are there any biscuits? (Hyper-real, or otherwise.)

In all seriousness though, when it comes to  ‘About Us’, it seems like we could all do with being a bit more direct. We’re definitely guilty of the odd hyphenation binge here at the DoW. It’s kind of one of the reasons we started this blog – so we’d have a place to take ourselves, and these kind of philosophies, a bit less seriously.

Be assured, this post was brought to you today from inside a big glass house.

This week’s word of the day: hippophage


Are you a hippophage? Have you indulged in hippophagy?

If you’ve eaten frozen lasagna lately, you might well be one, because it means ‘eater of horse meat’.

A pleasing word for something I have to admit I ‘squeam’ just thinking about.

On a related wordy point, isn’t it interesting that we don’t have a special word for horse flesh? A cow’s meat is beef, a pig’s pork, a sheep’s mutton.

These dual names supposedly come from our Norman past. Anglo Saxon words were used for the living beasts because the peasants were the ones who had to live with the animals and feed them. French words were used for the meat because the Norman lords were the ones who actually got to eat it. (‘Boeuf’, became beef, ‘porc’ became pork and ‘mouton’ became mutton.)

It seems that in those days the French were not the hippophages they are now. Horse eating across the channel only came into style in the late 19th century when the people were revolting against perceived irrationality in all its forms, including dietary taboos.

Perhaps this explains why we don’t use the word ‘cheval’ to mean horse flesh today?

Food for thought, anyhow (even if not deemed suitable for consumption by us English).

Why we are copywriters

Back in 1960, an American copywriter named Charles Piccirillo wrote an ad for National Library Week. It’s one of the all-time great press ads, and the reason I’m bringing it to your attention is that it’s all about the power of words.

After reading this, why would anyone want to be an art director or designer?


Apologies for the quality of the scan, but the only reference of it I could find was in a coffee table book I have at home which I didn’t want to wreck while scanning. I’ve typed out the copy below in case you can’t read the words easily from my scan.


At your public library they’ve got these arranged in ways that can make you cry, giggle, love, hate, wonder, ponder and understand.

It’s astonishing what those twenty-six little marks can do.

In Shakespeare’s hands they became Hamlet.

Mark Twain wound them into Huckleberry Finn. James Joyce twisted them into Ulysses. Gibbon pounded them into The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Milton shaped them into Paradise Lost. Einstein added some numbers and signs (to save time and space) and they formed The General Theory of Relativity.

Your name is in them.

And here we are using them now.

Why? Because it’s National Library Week – an excellent time to remind you of letters, words, sentences and paragraphs. In short, books – reading.

You can live without reading, of course. But it’s so limiting.

How else can you go to Ancient Rome? Or Gethsemane? Or Gettysburg?

Or meet such people as Aristotle, F.Scott Fitzgerald, St. Paul, Byron, Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Tolstoi, Thurber, Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Margaret Mead?

To say nothing of Gulliver, Scarlett O’Hara, Jane Eyre, Gatsby, Oliver Twist, Heathcliffe, Captain Ahab, Raskolnikov and Tom Swift?

With books you can climb to the top of Everest, drop to the bottom of the Atlantic. You step upon the Galapogos, sail alone around the world, visit the Amazon, the Antarctic, Tibet, the Nile.

You can learn how to do anything from cooking a carrot to repairing a television set.

With books you can explore the past, guess at the future and make sense of today.

Read. Your public library has thousands of books, all of which are yours for the asking.

And add books to your own library. With each book you add, your home grows bigger and more interesting.

National Library Week, April 16-22